Things That Are My Jam: Canadian Edition

Next week marks one year in Canada for me! I’ve learned a lot in this past year here and have discovered so many things I love about this place. I know I complain about the cold a lot, which probably leaves the impression that I’m not happy here, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. So let me give props to some of my new favorite things about Canada and where I live in the Rockies:  [Read more…]

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How to Love Your New Town

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Maybe your university is way across the country. Maybe your job just relocated you to a new city. Maybe you’ve moved to a different town for a relationship, to help out family, or just because you needed a change. Whatever the reason, getting used to a new place and starting all over can be equal parts exciting and stressful. You may love it, but you may not. Since so much of our health is affected by our happiness and stress levels, it’s important that we love (or at least like) where we live.

Since high school, I’ve moved cities and started over 6 times. It’s rough starting over, but it’s always worked out. I’m compiling my  “best practices” just in case you’re in the same boat. In no particular order, here’s how I came to be content in each new place I’ve lived in:

 

{Embrace the Local Stuff} [Read more…]

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Moving On… Again.

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A New Plan: As Rafiki once told Simba… “It is time.”  Time for another road trip, another move, and the beginning of a new adventure. Tango and I are simultaneously happy and sad to be leaving San Diego in June. [Read more…]

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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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The Plan: California, Colorado, Canada

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Apparently I’m only interested in places that start with a C… I’ve had a bunch of questions about where I’m going, what I’m doing, and where I’ll actually be living after Tango and I leave Kentucky next month. There is one long answer because I’m actually going a bunch of places… or at least that’s the plan. It could change, but here’s what I’ve got sketched out in my mind (and on my spreadsheets) at the moment:

 

1. California… by way of Texas. 

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I will leave here mid April to head out to San Diego to put my things in storage, since that’s where I will end up after my road trip. My good friend, Karley, last seen here, is getting married to her sweet fiance in their backyard in Austin, TX so I’m gonna go there first. It’s not entirely “on the way” but it’s only a 300 mile difference. So I’ll stop a night in Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, since that’s the halfway point, then make a stop in Dallas to see a couple friends (plus, I’ve never been to Dallas, unless you count the airport), then head down to Austin for their nuptials. I’m hoping to catch Sara on either side of the city since our past blate attempts have never played out, so we’ll see on that one. After I leave Austin, I’ll make the long haul to Tucson, Arizona, (since camping alone on the border doesn’t sound like the safest thing to do)  to check out Saguara National Park. From there it’s a short 5 – 6 hour drive to San Diego.

I used to live right up the hill from San Elijo State Beach. I’d always wanted to camp there as it’s  right on the cliff on the beach but it never made sense to pay $35 to camp literally down the street from my place so I never did. Plus the campsites fill up fast and you have to reserve a spot well in advance, which I’ve already done!! So we’ve got 2 nights there.

I have to head up to San Fran for a 6 day training at TRX Headquarters so Tango is going to stay with my awesome friend, Danielle while I knock that out. I’ll come back down to San Diego just in time for my U-Box to arrive and I’ll toss everything in storage and we’ll head to our home for the month of May…

 

2. Colorado! And surrounding areas

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I’d been debating on moving to Denver, which is where this whole idea started. I’d always wanted to live there, I have quite a few buddies there, and it’s gorgeous! But San Diego was home for 4 years and I’ve just been feeling it pulling on me a lot for the past year so I ultimately chose it. I still wanted to spend a significant chunk of this trip in Colorado though so I will be cruising all around the state and using Denver as home base. I want to see Boulder, Breckingridge, Aspen, etc. Half the state of Colorado is pretty much all state parks so I plan on checking out as much of them as possible. Hopefully I can wrangle some climbing partners along the way and I’ve got a little side trip to Santa Fe, NM I’d like to sneak in there as well. I’ll have the whole month to wander so we’ll see how long gas money stays around… It’ll go by quickly but I’ll be pretty excited about my next section of the trip though:

 

3. Canada!! 

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My man-friend and I do a pretty good job of making sure that we never go more than 4 weeks between our visits, but we’re usually confined to 3-5 day visits because of work. This time though I’ll finally be able to go stay with him for most of the month of June! He’ll be working, but I’ve got several work projects I’ve needed to start hammering away at so that’s what I’ll be focusing on while I’m there. The good thing is that during the summer, that part of Canada stays light outside until around 10pm. So even after a full day’s work, you’ve still got time to go climbing, head out for a bike ride, or just hang out outside. I have a feeling that month will go by a lot faster than I want it to, but onward!

 

4. And ending up back to San Diego

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Although it will be hard to leave my man-friend, after all that time on the road I’m fairly sure I’ll be dying to get a paycheck and and to not live out of a suitcase. I’ll cruise back to San Diego via the western route (maybe… by that time I may be looking to save those extra 5 hours and go straight south) either the last week of June or the first week of July. I’ll get my things out of storage and move them into an apartment. I’m looking forward to getting back to teaching fitness classes and seeing some of my old clients and class attendees. Hopefully an 80s Friday will be in the cards for July! I’ll be super broke but the great thing about San Diego that I learned when I moved there the first time (when I was 21 years old, a week out of college, and with $200 to my name after I paid rent) the beach is FREE and you can spend as much time there as you want! I’ve been dreaming of getting to eat one of Ann’s famously delicious meals while shooting the breeze with her and Ted on their patio. And hitting up the Whistlestop for game night with Brian, going for a hike or climb with Brenna and Danielle, and drinking coffee and laughing with Julie. Saturday brunch at Colleen’s and the french toast… all me goodness!  I can’t wait to see ALL my buds there, experience regular Taco Tuesdays and happy hour margaritas, and carne asada nachos from the many available taco stands around the city. There’s a good chance I’ll gain 10 lbs the first month I’m back, but Barry’s Bootcamp will take care of that in a jiff. I’ll also get back to taking dance classes on a weekly basis. Culture Shock and APA both have plenty of daily open classes to choose from so I plan on getting my “Adult Jazz/Contemporary” and “Advanced Tap” on as quickly as possible. Ryan, I hope you’re ready!

 

It’s all still 4 weeks away, and all subject to change a wee bit, but there it is! The plan!

Will you be on any of my stops along the way?

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