Tag Archives: Sequoia

Five Years of Travel

Greetings! And welcome to my newly revamped little corner of the world. This is a place I share my adventures, my stories, my photography, my books in progress, (I really am writing books…..) and whatever else crosses my path on this wonderful journey we call life. I admit, I haven’t been the most reliable blogger, but it took me a few months to settle some of my life down before I could get on with this new phase. I have spent several weeks organizing my Lightroom library, trying my best to forge a friendship with my MacBook, trying to figure out where the heck I’ve been, and relocating yet again (am in Northern Arizona until end of November right before I leave for Italy but thats a whole other blog post…..)  For those of you who are new, welcome! And for you faithful who have patiently waited for me to rev it up again….welcome back.

I plan on posting a new blog every Wednesday morning, about 9am MST. I have a lengthy list of subjects as I have learned (and continue to learn and save those little pearls!) about how to travel far and cheap, (did you know you can fly from Denver to Paris one way for less than $200?) minimalist packing and how it works well, many many destinations, my year journey to plan and prepare to go abroad for three months next year (yes, on my own. Yes, backpack only….. yes I’m planning on writing a book while I’m gone as well so stay tuned) So? Please add your name to my email list for reminders on new posts, leave a comment with suggestions or your thoughts on any given subject, I’m sure this will be entertaining, and hopefully educational on some level.

I absolutely love to travel, anywhere and at anytime. It is my true passion. There is nothing I love more than going someplace new. I keep it simple, pack light, and bring a journal and a camera. I have many adventures to share and even more in the planning phase. Alas, that gainful employment is necessary, but it also affords me to take off (after much  sacrificing, saving, cutting back, and throwing odd dollars and change in a jar). I started basically traveling for a living with my profession, that being a Family Nurse Practitioner. I work in Family Practice which is very demanding, and I prefer to go to places where I can treat the poor and homeless. It has sent me to some very interesting places. About five years ago I started working this way, and about four years ago I started truly downsizing. At this point, my belongings are in a storage unit, I gave up my rented home, and gave away my car. I basically live out of a little more than a suitcase, hence; my blog name.

I love planes, trains, long car trips being the driver, walking,  buses, trams and trolleys. I have had major trips abroad, I have taken day trips in my car, and everything  in between. I was reminded recently, (when I was whining about wanting to get up and go again) that I am a very well traveled person. Am I really? I started a list, started gathering photos off of Lightroom (thousands and thousands) and realized that during the past five years of traveling with my vocation, mini side trips, well planned tours, sporadic long weekends, and not needing much of an excuse to take off and go……the list of places is long. Surprisingly long. So as I sit here writing about it today and having a VERY difficult time picking out photos, I feel completely thankful. I also feel extremely excited, as the feet are getting restless again……

So this is what this week’s blog is about. Five years of travel. There are individual blogs planned for the major destinations (San Francisco, U.S. East Coast, Budapest, Prague, London, the South, and a blog post dedicated to the different doors of the world that I seem to be obsessed with plus more I’m sure) Keep in mind, I work full time, sometimes VERY full time, but I have truly mastered the art of capitalizing on cheap flights, holiday days off of work, creative planning, minimal packing, and just not making excuses and just GOING. So get a tasty cold beverage, find a comfy place to sit, and get a taste of the past five years. It has been quite the journey! (and if I can do it, being a single mom, working very full time, living on a very tight budget……then I truly believe that anyone can…..you just have to WANT to!)

So strap yourselves in, and here’s a thumbnail of some of the adventures I’ve had over the past five years. Some planned. Some not. Had to save for some, and others just filled up the car, made a sandwich, grabbed my camera and went.

PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY, CALIFORNIA

I have gotten to drive the Pacific Coast Highway three times…..This is definitely a “have to” for anyone and everyone. It’s endless, gorgeously breathtaking, and a peaceful way to spend a few days. There is no wrong place to stop. It’s all fascinating.

SCOTLAND

I experienced Scotland with my mum, including pubs, kilts, William Wallace, Celebration of the Haggis (delish!) and spending the afternoon at a Scottish Sheep Farm.

WINE COUNTRY, NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

Wine Country in Northern Cali….what can you say? It’s everything that you’ve heard. Miles of winding roads and vineyards as far as the eye can see.

WALES

Experienced a taste of Wales, and this is one quirky place! The language, the street signs are an adventure in itself. This is one country I would love to thoroughly explore. Put it on the list!

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA

I had a four day weekend and a total of $500 to spend. Total. (Airfare, Accomodation, food and extras) and went to Victoria, British Columbia. Rode in a little puddle jumper airplane, walked for miles, ate great food, and took too many photos to count. Fascinating place. Highly recommend. Thanks to a $188 flight, AirBnB, and Groupon, the total weekend cost me $496 total. Gotta love minimalist traveling!

SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NAT’L PARKS

Had the opportunity to visit Sequoia National Park twice. The giant Sequoia trees are literally majestic, extreme, and fascinating. I got to go there once with my son which made it really awesome. I drove straight through the park and experienced life above the clouds at Kings Canyon National Park.

MULTNOMAH FALLS, OREGON

I got to drive up to Portland and see Multnomah Falls. This place is pure magic and you feel the strength and incredible beauty of Mother Nature as you stand in front of this magnificent sight.

NORTHERN CALI

I spent the longest time I’ve ever spent at one assignment in Ukiah, California, a total of 16 months which translates into 500 consecutive nights in a hotel room. It was worth it as I experienced coastal sights that took your breath away, lighthouses, and towns that I fell in love with including Ft Bragg and Glass Beach and Mendocino.

SAN FRANCISCO 

I was an hour and a half from San Francisco so I got to go there a couple of times. Fresh sourdough bread, the Golden Gate Bridge and trolley cars.

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UNITED KINGDOM

London with my mum along with Chester, York, Stratford Upon Avon, Windsor (where both Her Majesty the Queen and the leader of Ireland were at the time, so there were flags everywhere) and Bath. And I got to see my beloved Peter Pan statue in Hyde Park.

IPSWICH, SUFFOLK, ENGLAND

Mum and I got to go back to our hometown of Ipswich, England.

MENDOCINO, CALI

Mendocino deserves another mention. Northern Cali.

CAPITOLA AND THE DEPOT INN

My favorite Bed and Breakfast: Depot Hill and Capitola

RANDOM FINDS

Random drives to find some “pretty”.

YELLOWSTONE NAT’L PARK

Drove through Yellowstone National Park on the way to work assignment in NewTown, North Dakota.

EAST COAST

Experienced the East Coast when I was on assignment in Middletown, CT.

ZION UTAH

Zion in Utah

MONTERREY CALIFORNIA 

Monterrey California was very cool. Eating seafood out of paper as you walked. Everything was pretty. And when I saw the interesting mileage sign? This is the day I decided I should experience Dubrovnik, Croatia. Which I added to my three month Euro trip next year.

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY

I needed to go someplace and I needed someplace that 1) required a passport and 2) was as cheap as possible. So I headed off to Hungary! My sister decided to come with which was an extra and unexpected blessing! Will have its very own blog post as just far too much happened!!

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC 

2nd leg of that impromptu sister trip was Prague, Czech Republic. We both decided we could live here. Again, a specific blog about this fascinating place! Can’t wait to go back!

CHARLESTON AND SAVANNAH 

The South, Charleston, Hilton Head and Savannah and yes, I broke my arm…..

There were definitely more side trips, but I’m sure you get the picture. I have traveled far and wide with what I had at the time and the list turned out to be surprisingly long. Very humbling.

This was kind of like a list. There will be more specific posts coming I promise, at least 12 are in the works as I type this.
I have pretty extreme plans coming up for the next 12 months. I plan on working hard, saving all I can and making all of this happen. So please stay tuned. I will be posting one time per month about my year plan to travel Europe next year for three months with a backpack. A lot goes into doing something like this at my age, so I am starting now. I also have a trip planned in December and another in April. I realized I can’t wait anymore. Time isn’t waiting for me.

So my time is now.

Thank you so much for spending your moments with me! Please leave a comment so I can know you stopped by.

Until next week……..as always…….be kind.

Cheers,

Polley93

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Traveling Solo, Adventures and The Land of the Giant Trees

Greetings! And, as always, thank you for spending your moments with me.

Adventure. What is it? In my world, it can be anything you want it to be. I love to travel. I also need to work. So my life has become somewhat of a balancing act. Over the past few years I have learned that Adventure can be anywhere, doing anything, meeting anyone, and for me? It has been solo. Nothing I love more than just taking off to some new place with a camera and capturing its flavor, its personality, and its people.

Some people tend to think an adventure is a well thought out, planned, financed trip of some kind. Vacation time, hundreds or thousands of dollars and packing a week ahead. For me? Adventure could mean a five dollar bill and an hour. I have day trips. These are basically getting in the car, taking roads, traveling for four hours, and having GPS guide me home. Half the time I couldn’t even tell you where I’ve been. A weekend trip is 200 miles or less. An overnight someplace. A three-day weekend means I can go as far as 500 miles. Two nights stay. These are solo and I bring my own food.

I have been asked more times than I would care to admit, the same questions. How can you travel alone? Why do you like to do such random things? And, how can you  afford this? Well, I will try to answer those.

How can I travel alone? Well, if I didn’t travel alone for the most part, I wouldn’t travel at all! I have been single for a very long time and have learned that being solo is no excuse for not getting out there and finding what this world has to offer. I look at it as a benefit. No compromising on the where to go, what to do, and cost. If the trip is successful or a dismal failure, it is all up to me. I keep safety factors in mind, and thus far, I have done well.

Why do I like to do such random things? Oh heavens!! Two words for you….WHY NOT? Life has no road map, and therefore, I tend to not have one either on my travels. I have met the most fascinating people, have seen the most amazing things, and have learned life lessons not from a book. I highly suggest (if you have any) getting over your fears, inhibitions, and just GO. You will be so glad you did. Get out of the proverbial box!!

How can I afford to do this? How can I afford NOT to do this? Most of my trips are extremely cheap. It’s a tank of gas, sandwiches and food I bring, and my cameras. If I have to stay overnight for a weekend, I use my infamous hotels.com and find someplace very reasonable. Every tenth night is free. I pay myself a weekly allowance out of the money I work damn hard to make, but I usually don’t spend too much, so when it adds up? I go. My international trips take a little more planning, but I go on those too (next one is October of this year…..passport stamps…..yay!!)

I was fortunate enough to have a three-day weekend, and since I am working in Northern California, I want to experience as much as I can while I’m out here. I decided to go to Sequoia National Park, about 400 miles away. The trip there was very bizarre. Getting through Oakland was no fun. It was flat and nothing forest-like. I was about 100 miles away and was seriously wondering if I was going the right way! How can giant trees be growing around where it was so FLAT?

But? I found Three Rivers, and I was there. I was committed to driving to the park and catching a glimpse of these huge trees before I settled in for the night, so off I went. The park was ten minutes from my motel, and THE TREES were about an hour up the mountain. Oh my…..how glad I was that I went!

Never had I seen things so ginormous. I mean the pictures surely do not do these magnificent statements of nature justice. The forest was silent. Misty. Serene. It was very emotional. All the stress, the traffic, the patients, the drama, the cell phones and computers and demands were? Gone. Just gone. There was this overwhelming nothingness. Just nothing. Just pure air, occasional chirp of a bird. The random quiet “shush” of a breeze, and these towering, magnificent, amazing creatures of nature.

I ventured back to my motel, settled in and slept like a baby. I got up early and had a plan to just be gone. All day. To find what I could find. And to drive to the end of the road. I was amazed at the sprinkle of color I found along the way.

I knew from what I read about these huge trees that the largest tree in the WORLD was right here in this park. It isn’t the tallest, nor is it the widest, but it has the larges MASS of any tree in the world. His name is “General Sherman” and I began my quest to find him. It took quite a hike, and at 7000 feet no less, but I did. He was so big I just stood there for a good long time just staring.

General Sherman is over 2000 years old. TWO THOUSAND YEARS. I wish I could hear his stories…….

After you get through Sequoia, which is a LONG LONG WAY, you enter into another National Park, Kings Canyon. I literally drove through clouds at 5mph, on hairpin turns that were literally 180 degrees, up the mountain range and down the other side. It was literally breathtaking and no way any photo captures its majesty.

The rushing water of King’s River, the huge mountain peaks, the sheer mighty proud stance of the granite and shale mountain sheers. It was just almost too much. I would stop at a turnout to get a photo or get a better view, and if there was anyone there, or someone who would stop, we would all be doing the same thing. Just standing there, looking, still and silent. It was surreal.

I drove to the end of the road. Literally. It was called “end of the road”, I’m kicking myself now for not getting a picture!

I turned back around and just enjoyed the drive. And spent my time going slowly through the land of these beautiful giants.

If you have never been, this is definitely bucket-list worthy. I kid you not. Life changing. Makes you really understand just how small we are. Very, very small. I’m so thankful we had presidents in the past who realized we needed to preserve our wonderful lands and make them National Parks. They are pristine, spotless, peaceful, untouched, raw and real. This is a must see.

As always, I appreciate your time. I may repeat myself but I truly believe that time is our most precious life gift. You can’t replace it, buy more of it, or barter for an extension. Once you spend your moments, they are gone. So spend your moments wisely, and on those who matter. And for now? I thank you for spending your moments with me.

Feel free to leave a question, comment, criticism or like.

Until next time………be kind………always,

Polley93