Tag Archives: Zion

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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Around The Next Corner – 1939 Miles

When my recruiter asked me “Hey Cathy, how’d you like to go to North Dakota?” Several things flashed through my mind. First? Not too sure even where North Dakota is. Second? I’m in Arizona, isn’t it uber cold there? And third one of my favorite quotes, “If you risk nothing, you gain nothing and go nowhere”, After I was assured I could drive there and not fly, I agreed. Took about a minute, so no, didn’t really think it through. But I had just agreed to work in North Dakota for the  next three months, and I was gonna drive there. My recruiter arranged for me to have a new Mustang to drive (never had I done that), I mapped out a route, booked places to stay, bought snacks and drinks, packed one suitcase and a carry on plus a back pack. Made sure I had my camera and left Tucson Arizona for destinations waaaaaay north.

I25 miles later I stopped in Phoenix to have lunch with my daughter, drove another 125 miles or so and had dinner with my son. Grabbed some sleep at a motel and woke up the next morning ready to go. I had never in my life driven north of Flagstaff so it was all going to new to me. Every time I changed directions

Utah Idaho 2014 004

or would go around a curve I would see something spectacular like this above. For me? This is inspiring. I thought if I was going to drive a couple hours north of Mexico clear up to a couple hours shy of the Canadian border, I was gonna grab it for all it was worth.

I had always heard so much about Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park in Utah, so I didn’t go the usual (and shorter) Denver, Casper route, I headed up to those places and so glad I did! To say it was breathtaking would not do it justice.

Utah Idaho 2014 007Utah Idaho 2014 100Utah Idaho 2014 032I spent an entire day there just driving without a true direction. It was peaceful, majestic, mysterious and overwhelming to look at.

As I headed north through Salt Lake City and onward, I became keenly aware of these wide open spaces we have in this great land. Untouched earth with the natural beauty of all of my surroundings was definitely awe inspiring. I kept going north and next big adventure was Yellowstone. I was truly not prepared for all the things I saw there. This is one place that should be on EVERYONE’S bucket list!

Yellowstone 2014 114Yellowstone 2014 118 Yellowstone 2014 105 Yellowstone 2014 072 Yellowstone 2014 087 Yellowstone 2014 058 Yellowstone 2014 035 Yellowstone 2014 055 Yellowstone 2014 005I wasnt’ quite prepared for the snow, but I had made a pact with myself that I would not let a little weather stop me so onward!! To try to describe this is literally impossible. I found myself getting out of the car often with a camera and a pencil and small journal I always carry with me. So many thoughts you tend to be able to be aware of when you are away from the hustle bustle of everything and can just calm and quiet your soul. Inspiration for writing something new is overwhelming.

I continued on through Billings, Montana and had to drink in that wonderful state. So much wide open land!  I eventually made it to my little biddy town in North Dakota where I will be working for the next three months. (post on that will follow soon). I have begin to venture out and see what is around this state and to be honest? I totally misjudged it. It is beautiful and it has renewed my respect for the American Farmer of which there are many here.

The point of this post is simple.

If you risk nothing, you gain nothing and go nowhere. And? You simply do not know what is around the next corner. So experience it! Quit making excuses!

1939 miles later I arrived. I traded in the Mustang for a 4WD so I can drive home in December. And I’m excited as I will take a different route to get there.

Healthcare is different on an Indian Reservation (yep, another post!) I have a few “rants” that will be in upcoming posts as well, plus another amazing road trip that I must share!

Winter is Coming. Be prepared for some humor from this Arizona girl that was raised in UK. I have never done a winter like these people describe……stay tuned.

You never know what’s around the next corner.

Until next time, Be kind……all the time.

Cheers,

Polley93