Archives for April 2015

Road Trip Part 1: Kentucky to California

Holy cow. The past month has been such a whirlwind and these last couple weeks even more so. Tango and I left Louisville two weeks ago, today. Here’s what the first part of this huge trip entailed:

First stop: St. Louis

My Aunt Nancy lives in St. Louis and although it’s only 4+ hours away from Louisville it made for the perfect first day stop. I was absolutely shattered when I drove away from Louisville. I had about 5 days in a row of less than 5 hours of sleep prepping to leave. I had to be up early to get my last class in with my bootcampers, run last-minute errands, and load the car to be out of town early enough to miss rush-hour traffic in St. Louis. The morning was just manic. About two hours into my drive I think the adrenaline finally wore off, my emotions were just there, and I had a big cry. It had been raining throughout the morning, but right after I had my cry, the clouds literally parted and it was blue sky all the way to Missouri. I got a quick nap in as soon as I arrived and then spent the evening with my Aunt hanging on her back patio with Thai food. I slept about 10 hours that night then the 3 of us did a short, morning run through the neighborhood before we hit the road.

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Contents of my car: Tango’s Kennel (which takes up the most space), Yeti Cooler, two suitcases (the big one for shoes and outerwear for the cold places, the smaller one for the overnight stuff), my backpack, my workout gear, and my car emergency bag. See? Totes prepped for anything.

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Second Stop: Western Oklahoma 

I wanted to camp a majority of this trip. First, to get to sleep outside. It’s therapeutic. Second, to save money. It’s gonna be a long two and a half months of very little income so I need to make my money last. I wanted this day to be my longest driving time but to still stay around only 8 hours, for both my sanity and my dog’s. We made it to Foss State Park in Oklahoma around 7:30 that night, pitched the tent and caught the best sunset with hardly anybody around. Although it was SUPER muddy (good thing I didn’t get Tango’s bath before we left) we did a bunch of running, jumping, and dancing around to get out some energy before bedtime.

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Third Stop: Albuquerque

The great thing about being on East Coast Time and traveling west is that even with 10 hours of sleep, you can still wake up super early. We were wide awake at 6am so we packed it up and hit the road. We were in Albuquerque by 1:30 pm. After a quick stop at REI for a new tent (our old one had started leaking so we decided it was time to replace it) we set out to find mexican food and a nap. We decided to check out the National Petroglyph Monument park and arrived about 45 minutes before closing time. We decided (Tango and I have lots of discussions) to do the quick 2 mile loop to check out some petroglyphs. We would walk the trail on the way in and jog on the way out. We saw a few petroglyphs, pretended to see a few others, about died trying to jog in sand at that altitude, and called it a day.

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According to the sign, there was a petroglyph of some sort of deer or other 4-legged animal “straight ahead and halfway up this hill.” We looked for a few minutes and decided to move on.

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Fourth Stop: Sedona, Arizona.

This day’s drive was the best. It was pretty short, only about 5 hours or so, and absolutely beautiful. We camped at the Pine Flat campground in Coconino National Forest, where I’d made a reservation a week in advance. There’s a bigger campground called Cave Springs about a mile up the road, but the reserved spots were all taken when I went online. There were other sites that were first come, first served, but I decided not to chance it being full and reserved at Pine Flat. The entire place is gorgeous! We set up camp and had intended to do a hike but clouds moved in and it got a little chilly so we took a nap instead. When we got up we did a big drive around to check things out and then fell asleep around 7:30 that night. The night was a little cold so I got up at about 3 am to get some heat packs out of my car to stuff in my sleeping bag. The sky that night was SO amazing. Stars everywhere. Millions of them. I literally said, “wow” when I stood up out of my tent. Again, I slept about 11 hours that night, but woke up feeling like a million bucks. I thought about spending the day there wandering around, but I was really excited to get to San Diego so we left. I made a mental note though to do a weekend trip back there since it’s only about a 7 hour drive from SD.

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Finally: San Diego! 

The first thing we did once we got in town was get an oil change… because responsibilities. My good friend Brenna was kind enough to let us crash at her place. We had an awesome evening catching up in her backyard and at dinner. I got to shower up and in the morning, we set out to get settled in SD: setting up an account at our old bank, getting a P.O. Box for the next couple months’ mail, and getting to chill at the DMV for a few hours getting my car registered… all the fun stuff. After teaching a few classes at Barry’s Bootcamp we got to set up camp at the San Elijo State Beach Campgrounds for a couple nights in Cardiff by the Sea.

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First meal back: Fish tacos! It had to be done.

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I had to leave the next day for a 6 day training with my TRX crew up in San Fran and just got back to move my stuff into storage. I’ve got to head out again tomorrow morning to teach a couple TRX courses a few states away. Things have been absolutely non-stop since I left, but I’m house sitting today and had some wifi so I wanted to show everybody what I’ve been up to. When I get back on Monday morning I’ll be work-free for a couple weeks so things will finally slow down. Hopefully I’ll be able to post more in a couple days! Holla!

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Making My Long Distance Relationship Work

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I get asked all the time how I make my long distance relationship work with my man-friend. I’ve been asked twice this week! Then,  just yesterday, I received a message from a friend asking for advice on the subject. She wanted to know basically what our best practices were since we’ve been together this long… so I thought I’d write about it.

I live in Kentucky and my man-friend lives in Canada. It’s a two hour time difference, 6 hours worth of flights with a border crossing, or a 30 hour drive. So we’re legit long-distance. The good news? We have been making it work for about 2 and half years now.

This isn’t my first long-distance relationship. I’ve had a few before this one, all ending for different reasons. When people wonder how their relationship will weather the distance if somebody has to move or they meet somebody that lives somewhere else, I think you just have to look at the relationship by itself first. Is it really good so far? If so, it’ll be able to handle anything. If it’s just so-so, you could try it out and see how it goes. If things are already rocky, then abort mission! It’ll never work. You could force it, but both of you will be miserable so I’d let it go and let the distance be the excuse.

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When my friend asked for my biggest tips, here are the ones that stick out the most:

1: Communication. COMMUNICATION!! 

In any relationship, being able to talk to your partner about anything is imperative and vital to its success. When you add distance to the mix though, it’s even more important. I’ve always been horrible at talking about the hard things. In the past, I’d always hold things in, not wanting to rock the boat. I’ve had to work really hard at this over the years, but having a partner that I feel completely safe talking to has helped immensely. If there’s even the slightest issue, we discuss it right away, before it has the chance to grow into a huge ordeal. The best thing you can do is provide an environment where nothing is off-limits when it comes to conversations. If you scream, if you don’t let your partner talk, or if you criticize or down-play what they have to say, they won’t feel safe talking to you and eventually they’ll stop. So talk it out! Encourage the talking! Even if it’s hard every now and then…

2: Be Supportive. Genuinely. 

You can say you support your partner and you can go along with what they’re doing, but if don’t genuinely like what they’re doing, the distance will soon become your weapon to use against them anytime you’re upset. I have to travel a lot of weekends. I have to get up at 5am most days of the week, which means I go to bed early most nights. If my partner scolded me for any of these things, it’d leave me questioning if they really supported me or not. Sure, it’s not the most convenient schedule, but running my own business and calling my own shots is what allows me to have a job I love and a flexible vacation schedule, which is crucial for me. Sometimes work comes first and that’s ok. If I bitched my man out every time he told me he had to leave the country for work, he’d probably be on his way out. I feel so lucky to have somebody that understands my travel schedule, supports my work choices, and encourages me to invest in the things that make me thrive. And I’m happy to do the same for him.

3: Schedule Regular Date Nights

With awesome technology like FaceTime and Skype, we get to talk to and SEE each other every morning and every night. But just doing the day-to-day conversations isn’t enough. Dates night are in order! Sure these date nights might not happen as frequently as they would if your partner lived in the same city, but they have to be scheduled regardless. My man-friend and I have crazy schedules. We live in different time zones, we both travel for work, I run my own business, he has two little boys, etc. It’s all crazy, but we make it a point to schedule a date night every other week or so. We’ll rent the same movie and FaceTime while we watch it. We’ll sit and have dinner together while we chat. We’ll read the same book and then talk about it (this has only happened once and we’re still only halfway through it, but we’ll pick it up again later when things aren’t so hectic). It doesn’t matter what the “date” actually is, it matters that we’ve got uninterrupted time together. Usually these only last about an hour and a half or two hours, (because I wake up at 5am every day and I’m lucky to be awake past 10pm during the week) but it’s better than nothing. Just like any other relationship, if you don’t tend to it, it’ll suffer.

“Just Because” flowers are always a hit too… Big points were earned when these bad boys were delivered:

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moving on…

4: Have a life of your own. 

If I didn’t have my work, my hobbies, my family, or my social network, I’d be miserable sitting around all the time and waiting for him to call. He’s got a long work day during the week, and he’s busy with his kids at night and on the weekends. He also loves to be outside so when he doesn’t have his boys he’s out climbing, biking, or skiing. All of that is perfectly fine because I have a lot of similar things that take up my time and energy as well. We are each happy in our own lives so we’re not looking for somebody to “make us whole” or “fill that gap” in our lives. If you think having a relationship will fix everything that’s wrong in your life, you’ve got bigger fish to fry.

5: Have a limit. 

We make it a point to never go more than 4 weeks in between visits. Now sometimes this can’t be avoided and it goes over a little, but for the most part, we see each other once a month. I will travel to him, he will travel to me, or we get lucky and both have to be at the same fitness event. Either way, we knew this had to be part of the plan. There were some really long periods between visits when we first started and that made things difficult. It didn’t make us fight, it just made us really sad because it was emotionally draining not to be together. Once we realized how much it affected us, we made the 4 week rule.

6: Budget for it.

Now that I’m a little older, paying for visits has become easier than it was in college. Back then, it was saving to pay for calling cards and scrounging every penny to buy a plane ticket every few months, which made things way more stressful. Traveling so often can get expensive so I’ve just made it part of my budget and cut out non-necessities from my monthly spending. I also have a United Airlines credit card that I use for almost everything (bills, gas, groceries, business trips, etc) so that I can get the airline miles to help fund trips. If you know you’re gonna have to do the long distance thing for a while, you’ve got to find a way to make it happen, but without breaking the bank.

7: Have a plan. 

Hopefully, there’s an end in sight. Whether one of you had to move to finish school, do an internship, complete a work contract, or wait for immigration, you should have some sort of ultimate plan to be together in the future. If you don’t… then why are you spending all your time and energy on this person? My man-friend and I will live together one day, but since the immigration process for me to move to Canada is a big, huge beast of a process, we’ll go with the flow until we get the green light. Until then, we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing. Since it’s working. : )

 

Being desperately in love doesn’t hurt either…

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Are any of you guys in a LDR?

Any distance tips you’d like to add?

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