Do you know where you’re going?
It’s time for me to say goodbye to Naples and head back home to Vegas. I couldn’t help but think back to the last time I was in Naples and on this beach. I don’t remember the specific time, just that it had to be over two years ago.
Back then I was broke, (haha past broke, in debt) and at 30 I’d come to the awful realization that I was drifting through life instead of driving. Following the “normal” life everyone kind of falls into instead of really being who I’d always known I would be ... an entrepreneur and world traveler.
From time to time, I’ll grab a notebook and jot down where I want to be in one year. Nothing fancy. Just the 5 Ws. Who I want in my life, where I am, what I’m doing ... things like that.
I’m not afraid to change it, nor do I wait an entire year to write another. For example my last one was on June 15th, 2018. Since then an amazing business opportunity has come into my life that completely changes the “what” I see myself doing in a year. So I’m writing a new one. I just keep adding “one year” plans as things in my life progress.
My main point is if you don’t write things down and work toward them you’ll never get where you want to be. And if you never THINK about where you want to be, then you’ll just end up anywhere.
Where ARE you going to be a year from now?
“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan, and guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” ~ Jim Rohn
To me Venice is not a city that can be explored. It must be experienced
Personally I don’t find that in museums or churches or tours ... but instead in walking along its maze of streets and sitting in cafes, watching and talking to people
It was strange to see this amazing city I first visited 12 years ago now filled to the brim with tourists. To watch selfies on every corner of every canal and so many people rushing around like crazy trying to get that “perfect” shot. Smartphones didn’t exist back then ... and I think in some ways it was better
I took far fewer pictures today than I would have thought. Partly because it was so hot and sticky and crowded. But also I think because it saddens me to see how we (myself included) often feel the need to document EVERYTHING
I feel that many people come to Venice to try to play out a fantasy that exists in their heads
You see it as women toddle along cobblestone streets, feet aching from heels that are far too high and out of place
You see it in the couples that lean in and flash smiles for a selfie before returning to stalking through the street unsmiling and not speaking to each other
It’s as if everyone comes with an agenda that leaves them stressed out, tired out, hot, sweaty, and unhappy
My answer ... be as un-touristy as possible. Check my stories for yesterday in Venice and today’s slower paced alternative!
It’s live! New blog post(s) — that’s right 2 up today! Dogsledding in Big Sky Montana and how to pack for just such a weekend! Link in bio! I love this part of the video. Every time I watch it a smile breaks out as I remember just how amazing it was to do something new!! 😍 exhilarated, happy, like a kid — those are all things I feel when I remember to go do new and crazy things and just have fun! When was the last time you did something new?! 👌
Such amazing beauty out here. It’s is SO big it blows my mind. I’m already thinking about coming back in the summer because I simply can’t imagine what it will look like. This shot from the car on today’s drive from Helena to Bozeman.
I love that when I'm missing Europe I can just pop down to the strip. Love the architecture on this building at the Venetian. I just have to remember not turn around and look at the hordes of tourists headed for debauchery! 😂⠀
Getting out in nature as much as I possibly can these days. Not only is it good for my soul but I have to take advantage while I can. I'm noticing signs everywhere that say, "Danger. Extreme conditions! Stop. Do not hike Jun - Sep. Heat kills."
Through the looking glass ... @jessekuskiephotography snapped this cool picture of me a few weeks ago as we were hiking the Calico Tanks trail in Red Rock. ▪️ While the temperature was gorgeous for a hike (cool with tons of sunshine) we found that the largest basin was frozen over in many places making for some great photos! 😁⠀
Bridge to nowhere? Or bridge to everywhere? ▪️ The bridges of Samana were theorized to have been built to create pedestrian connections through surrounding islands, which could then be built up with restaurants and other tourist attractions ▪️ Alas, that vision was never finished, if indeed that was the plan, and the bridges now just provide for a long, long, long and beautiful walk. I went in 2015 during my last spring break of teaching. ▪️ This wandering and searching trip, easing back into the solo lifestyle, was the catalyst for the huge changes in my life since then. ✌️⠀
I absolutly adored my visit to Seattle last week, though the cold and rain made it quite a different trip than the first time. ▪️ The other MAJOR thing missing was my bestie, her hubby, his brother and their toddler (note the sippy cup on the table!) ▪️ I love that they bring their son along, introducing him to travel at such a young age. And I love that they drag me to places I'd never go, and push me to try things I normally wouldn't. ▪️ I'm not much of a seafood or sushi eater though -- note the beef satay in the lower right corner 😂 But this dinner at Momiji was amazing!👏
From the right viewpoint even the tiniest wave can look like a mountain 👏 Captured this gorgeous shot yesterday during a perfect day of driving, randomly stopping, spurts of writing, playing around with my new tripod, and of course, reflecting and meditating. ▪️ I feel like I’m getting somewhere in life. Things have been moving and moving and moving positively and I can feel a massive breakthrough coming. ▪️Getting out and lost in nature always inspires me. It reminds me how small I am in the grand scheme of things, but also how important it is that I, just like all of us, constantly strive for better - to give more, love more, learn more, be more. ▪️This photo reminded me that if you look at your problems from a negative point of view, even the smallest can seem like insurmountable mountains. Just change your attitude. Approach it with positivity and for goodness sake “stand up!” 👏 You may just realize how small it actually is! 😂
Bumping balloons at this morning’s #mesquiteballoonfestival in #mesquitenevada . ▪️I nearly froze my nose, toes, and fingers off but it was worth it! ▪️ The event was free for spectators and we were able to walk right up among all the balloons as they readied for takeoff! ▪️I’d never expected to get so close and it was an amazing sight, complete with little kids completely in awe! ▪️After the majority had taken off I drove up a nearby hill to watch them drift off in the distance. ▪️An amazing sight and still going on tomorrow if you’re in the local area. Mesquite is only about 75 miles north of Vegas. They start taking off just after 7:30 a.m.
Flying back to Vegas yesterday from Seattle I looked out the window and saw this completely #unrealview and it hit me ... #thisishome . I’ve been here so many times but this was the first time flying into the city and heading for my own place. ▪️It’s a constant struggle for me. I’m in love with travel and I’m also the biggest homebody. ▪️Working to balance the two is at the same time exhilarating and draining. ▪️Still my heart thrilled at recognizing so many of these mountains I’ve driven and hiked through ... and as the city came into view a few moments after this shot I felt so much happiness at being able to identify so many neighborhoods after such a short time. ▪️My heart belongs to the world, yet I still love to belong to a city.
Teetering on the rocks today on the Calico Tanks trail in #redrockcanyon . This gorgeous trail led all the way up to a beautiful icy basin, and just a bit further, a spectacular view of the whole valley, complete with Las Vegas in the distance! Check my stories for more ... 📸 @jkuskiephotography 👏
Felt like a break from work so drove down to check out the Seven Magic Mountains art installation just south of Las Vegas. ▪️This exhibit will only be on display until May of 2018 so go see it soon!▪️This little adventure got me thinking of something I’m very passionate about ... doing new things constantly in life. ▪️Funny enough, as I was driving back home I saw this question (ironically, painted on the side of a bar) “When is the last time you did something for the first time?” ▪️ Luckily I could answer “just now!” ▪️For the rest of my life, I want to always be able to answer that I’ve done something new within the last week. ▪️ Little things count! This only took me a little gas money and about an hour. But it makes me feel like I’m living while I’m alive. ▪️”When was the last time you did something for the first time?” ▪️For simple ideas check out the link in my bio
When I was studying abroad in Spain in 2006 I went over to London one weekend and saw The Phantom of the Opera at #hermajestystheatre . I was a broke student and went to a matinee and paid about 25 Euro to sit behind a pole where I had to crane my next to the side to see the show … but it was absolutely incredible and I felt rich just to be able to partake in the experience. To this day I can still remember my amazement at the incredible effects they were able to engineer on stage with rapid set changes. What’s the best play you’ve ever seen?⠀
I met the coolest cat Benji on my hike today! Talk about a sight that makes you feel like a kid again! ▪️I loved him! And it made me wonder what my cat Soco would do if I dragged her off her warm windowsill and took her outdoors in the snow! 😹 ▪️I spent today tooling around Mount Charleston. It’s such a luxury to only see the snow when I want to! 👏❄️
Wishing I was back in paradise today ... I spent just one night at this gorgeous resort. A treat to myself after a week in hostels. ▪️This place was like an entire apartment. Kitchen, laundry, living room, a balcony big enough to live on, and this gorgeous bedroom with sliding doors that opened up to let in the roar of crashing waves. The majority of the resort was deserted in late March 2015 and I felt like royalty. The night was only $200 and it makes me cringe when I think of how many Holiday Inns I’ve spent $200 a night on in Nowhere, USA. ▪️This is one of those places I’m definitely going back to, only next time with loved ones and we’re going to have a ball! Where would you take your peeps back to?
Yesterday’s exploration of the Valley of Fire resulted in tons of amazing shots that blew my mind! The sun came and went, the clouds disappeared, then reappeared and through it all there were the rocks. Everywhere. In all sizes, shapes and colors! An unbelievable setting for incredible hiking, picnicking, photography and enjoying nature. Where’s your favorite place to get lost outdoors?!
A shot from Paris in 2006. ▪️My baby sister begins her journey to Paris today to study fashion design for the next 5 months. I’m so proud of her, setting off on her first international trip! ▪️My time studying abroad in Bilbao, Spain made an enormous contribution the independent traveler I am today. Did you study abroad⁉️
When you visit Vegas treat yourself to a drink at Parasol Down in the Wynn … the waterfall is unbelievably peaceful. I almost didn’t stop in because I was wearing running shoes and yoga pants since “strip walking” is my version of “mall walking” some days 😂 But I’m glad I did and I definitely will again!⠀
I can't believe how fast a week goes by. Just 7 days ago we were ringing in the new year. ▪️ Now several days of 2018 have gone by that we'll never get back. ▪️Too often we don't spend enough time reflecting and giving ourselves credit for our accomplishments. ▪️ I'm proud that I: Read 2 new books, created a strategy plan for my business for 2018, and set up an accountability meeting schedule with one of my best friends. We both want to grow various business ventures this year and realize that two are better than one. ▪️ What have you done that's got you excited for the weeks to come? 😁⠀
It's been far too long since I've had a drink here and watched the boats go out ▪️One of my main 2018 goals is steadying my freelance income and achieving true digital nomad status by the end of the year. ▪️I want to be able to pick up and visit my peepsin Florida whenever I choose. Love and miss you all❤️
In love with my new backyard! Another Saturday exploring. This shot is from Boulder Beach in the #lakemeadnationalrecreationarea . It’s not even noon yet. I can’t imagine what else I’ll come across today! 🙌👏
TBT to the 4th of July ... standing on a bridge and watching fireworks across the entire horizon ... and the never ending cars whizzing by below ... I love holidays because they provide such a frame of reference for the time since. ▪️Ten days later I was laid off without warning. ▪️One month later I was drowning in the abyss of applying to jobs I didn’t even want to do. I wasn’t sleeping. I resolved to quit applying to jobs - forever - and make it on my own. But money puts food on the table ... and a roof over one’s head ... and I was starting to have chest pains. ▪️Two months later I’d pieced together a few freelancing projects and had wobbly but starting to be solid clients. ▪️Three months later, things were steadier, but I’d exhausted way more of my meager savings than I’d wanted. Feeling 68% steady. ▪️Four months later, I’d seen all of my former coworkers at a conference and (I think) convinced them that all was well. October went on to be fantastic and I landed clients into the future. My clients loved my work and talked a lot about “we” and “2018” and “by end of next year” ... and you know what ... ? I was already staring to feel secure and complacent and bored - even after all I’d just been through. It’s insane but human nature craves challenge. ▪️Five months later to the day I signed the lease on my new place in Las Vegas after a cross country drive. I channeled the complacency into action and moved across the country just to change things up. ▪️Six months later ... is today. My one-month-anniversary in Las Vegas and I’m sitting here writing this reflection on how amazing 6 months can be.
What will you do by next July 4? Stick with me to see what I do. ❤️ and thanks for reading! 🤗
Beautiful view from the restaurant at the #gettycenterla . It was almost closing time when I went and people were flocking to the exits so I had this place all to myself in silence. || I just love poking around on my own! 🤗🌺🌸🌷
I'd guess it's a little bit warmer here than where I'm at. Even on an overcast day, Florida is gorgeous. || If you’ve never checked out the The Breakers in Palm Beach, do it! The resort is breathtakingly gorgeous and I felt fabulously rich (even though I wasn’t a guest)! || Go do some day drinking, gaze out at the beautiful Atlantic and wander around exploring some of the gorgeous hallways and ballrooms. Even the bathrooms in this place are ridiculous! 🌴⠀
Funny story ... back in 2006 when I studied abroad in Spain ... my dad let me and 3 friends use his timeshare for a week in Ibiza for Spring Break. He clearly didn't know anything about the island 😂But #welivedtotell#partyanimals 👏💃🍹
I spent a day at the gorgeous Xeliter Vista Mare back in early 2015. That trip changed my life .... reminding me how important travel was to me and creating major change in my life. Fast forward to 2018 and I couldn’t be more excited for the trips and growth this year will bring!
Started out with plans for dinner ... instead got lost in this wild and beautiful country I live in.
:: Adventure isn’t a once in a while thing ... It can be every day if you let it. ::
2017 was a bit of a regrouping year ... I’m declaring 2018 a year of full speed ahead. I have big big plans ... and only one “resolution”
Give thanks daily. Gratitude is everything! 👏
Happy New Year everybody 🥂
So blessed to be living here this season and just wander over to the strip anytime I please to see one of my favorite things about Las Vegas ... the lavish Christmas displays! 🎄
This one at the @mgmgrand is one of my favorites! 😍
Hope everyone had an absolutely beautiful Christmas yesterday! 🎄✨🎁🛍
Spent the morning hiking and exploring #redrockcanyon ⛰
:: Captured this great moment of a grandfather teaching his grandson how to climb the rocks. They made it looks so easy. Maybe another time. 😇
I still can’t believe I live near such incredible beauty. I can’t wait to see the changes the seasons will bring. ::
Just one of many stunning views on today’s drive through Colorado. It will never cease to amaze me how some states can be so flat then explode into glorious peaks and valleys. ⛰
Today’s drive was definitely a bit stressful with all the elevation and curves but thankfully the weather was beautiful and I think the other drivers gave me a little bit of leeway with my Florida plates 😇
Shortest day of driving tomorrow. Only 7.5 hours to Vegas baby!
Graffiti on the rocks. This is just one of the many places I stopped off by the side of the road to take pictures on my way to Laguna Beach.
Growing up landlocked in Ohio I just can't imagine having the ocean as part of your everyday drive ... 😍
Happy Thanksgiving! 🍂 I'm thankful for the crazy changes life has brought this year. This picture is from July 14th — the day I got laid off. I hiked up to the Vasquez rocks and spent a ton of time thinking.⠀
I'm smiling on the outside but it was a completely different story on the inside. I KNEW I'd be OK eventually (because I always am) but it was a rough few months.
Now, even though traveling has taken a backseat for a few months, I'm a full-time freelancer with amazing clients, work I love, and the freedom to do it from anywhere.
The layoff was actually the biggest blessing I've ever been given in that in catapulted me into pursuing what I always wanted to do — be my own boss — ready or not!⠀
I couldn't have done this alone. So grateful for those who pushed me, inspired me, and believed in me all along the way. You know who you are! ❤️⠀
Reflecting back on some of my travels from 2017 ... I'd completely forgotten I started the year off with a trip to #losangeles . My brother got our group a killer @airbnb right across from the @conventioncenterla. This views were 360 around downtown and the sunny skies and warm temps were a welcome escape from January in Ohio!