People often refer to older single's as 'leftovers.' Well, I am no leftover, nor do I deserve to settle for someone that is.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Good Thing about Being Single...

Being single so long has to have its perks right? There are actually quite a few. One of my favorite though, is traveling! I have several weeks each summer that are free and open to roam wherever I please. I don’t necessarily have to wait on anyone else’s schedule and I have no one to answer to. I don’t have to worry about toting kids around (although I do look forward to the day that I get to!) and I can plan my own itinerary. This year’s vacation lasted nearly a month and included at least 17 of our fabulous states!

The week right before I went on my official vacation included a little bit of adventure in itself so I am including it in my story of summer fun! It all started with a campout in a nearby canyon with some of the girls from my previous church congregation. Besides our night of fun around the campfire playing games, eating junk, and talking till late hours, the main event or reason for the campout was rappelling. Yes, the next morning we rappelled down a 100 foot cliff. I went down the traditional way about four times. The last two times I did some fun spins/flips. Don’t worry, it was all done purposely. The guy who took us is well experienced and knows what he is doing. After he would spin us around, he then let us drop the rest of the way to the ground. Seemed like a good fourth of the total height so maybe 20 to 25 feet? Ahh, it was probably more like 10 to 15 but it seemed like a lot at the time! It was a great adrenaline rush!!

After getting well experienced at the traditional rappel, our guide (trusted member of the bishopric) taught us how to go down face first instead of backward. I was pretty much freaking out so he went down beside me at first and talked me through the whole thing. It was great! I felt elated at having completed the task and hurried up the back side of the hill for one more turn at it. Great times!!

A few days later I had another campout in a different nearby canyon with a bunch of students and other teachers. It was a music camp. Though I was technically working, it was beautiful up there and a relaxing, enjoyable time. The day after I returned from music camp I set out on my longer journeys. The first one included my parents. We hitched an old school tent trailer to the back of our car, tied our bikes on top, and took off for Northern Idaho. It took us a couple of nights to get to where we were going but we camped along the way and saw some beautiful country as we drove all the scenic routes of Idaho and part of Montana. Finally we reached Mullan, Idaho where we began a 71.4 bike trail across the panhandle of Idaho. It was beautiful!!! I can’t even describe to you how awesome it was!! We made the ride in 3 days, enjoying every minute of it! Here are some of my pics:

After finishing the bike trail, I took a good long shower and then we explored the nearby areas of Couer D’ Alene, Idaho and Spokane, Washington. It’s always cool to see new places and to wonder what it must be like to live there. It was a beautiful trip all around. As we took our time heading home over the next few days, we also stopped at Redfish Lake. When I was between 3rd and 4th grades we went there. This was our first time back since. Back then, I had just hurt my finger and was unable to get in the water due to stitches. Still, I have good memories of the place and enjoyed going back and riding the paddle boats again!

Just two days after returning from that trip, I set out on my own and flew to New Jersey! I have a friend from grad school there and she and I as well as 3 other girls, rented a beach house in Ocean Grove. It was a cute house and a nice beach. We stayed there for about a week. It was fun meeting some new people, making new connections, and doing something different than my usual routine! We had fun watching Season 1 of The Cosby Show and eating Italian Ice every night. We also played glow in the dark frisbee on the beach one night…a real highlight, besides playing with one of the girls’ macbook photo booth program one night. A lot of laughs from that!!

When beach week came to an end, I took the train up to Providence, Rhode Island where another friend from grad school picked me and took me to her house near Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Seriously beautiful area!!! She was a great host and took me all over New England to explore the sites. We traveled to Maine and New Hampshire the first day, checking out lighthouses, shopping, and beaches! Then we had dinner in the fabulous North end of Boston! One of my favorite places in the world!!

Day two took us to Cape Cod and my favorite place of all….Nantucket!!! It was sooooo awesome there! Very cute and beautiful and just plain amazing!! Love Nantucket! If I ever go missing, look for me there! After a reluctant ferry ride home and good night’s sleep, the next day we went to tour the Newport Mansions in Rhode Island. If you have never been there or heard of them, google them now! Amazing! People actually lived there?? And these were their summer homes?? Unimaginable. I don’t think I would actually like to live in a house that big but they were definitely fun to tour! And…they were right on the water too. Lucky them! That night my friend had a concert in a gazebo by a harbor in a small town near where she lives. It was super peaceful and relaxing which was a good rest after all the going that we had been doing!

My last full day in Massachusetts, we went over to Plymouth to see a little of our Nation’s history. We got on the Mayflower II, read all about it, took pictures, and then moved on over to what we apparently call, “Plymouth Rock.” All my life I had grand ideas about said rock but no…this, this is what it apparently looks like:

Who knew? Anyway it was still super cool to see where the pilgrims landed! Afterward we walked by the Cape Cod Canal and then went shopping with some friends. Good times! The next day I got on the train and headed for home. Yes, that’s right, I rode a train ALL the way across the country! I started in Boston and it took me 3 long days! The best part was my 4 hour layover in Chicago where I got to hang out with my brother that I have not seen in almost a year! We had lunch and walked the streets of Chicago for a minute. Loved it!! I also loved riding the train over the Rocky Mountains. Another beautiful sight. My train is on the right:

I was definitely ready to come home after all that adventure! It’s fun to see things but it also helps you appreciate home a little more. While wandering the country I kept my eyes open for Mr. Right. I was in 17 different states within just a few weeks. I didn’t find him but I love looking all over the place! I like going to church everywhere I go to see what they have to offer. Usually it’s nothing and I’m always grateful to come home! Haha. It’s good to keep an eye out though, right? Right!