Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016: My Year of Traveling in Review

As I reflect on 2016, two thoughts come to mind when I think about my travels: a) "WOW! I got to do all that this year?!" b) "Is that really all I did? Man, I need to travel more".

It is weird to think these conflicting thoughts at the same time but I really do find myself going back and forth often. I am extremely thankful for all of the traveling I was able to do this past year but I am hungry for more. There are so many places I want to experience, that it can be easy to push aside all that I was able to do. So, as I reflect on 2016 I choose to be thankful rather than longing for more.

This year I was able to travel with my husband, both our families, and friends. We took quick weekend trips, drove, flew, and took every opportunity that was available to us to go out and experience new places. This was our year:

Lawrence, KS
Laura took a weekend trip with friends to Lawrence.
Duration: Weekend
Activities: breakout room, good food, dancing, patio sitting, and being with friends

Laura and friends in Lawrence, KS

Austin, TX
Grant and Laura went to visit a friend in Austin, TX.
Duration: 3 Day Weekend
Activities: Hamilton Pool Preserve, great food: tacos, Graffiti Park at Castle Hill, Sixth Street, and live music
Grant and Laura at Hamilton Pool Preserve, TX

Grant and Laura went to 3 Oklahoma State Parks.
Duration: Weekend
Places: Gloss Mountain State Park - Roman Nose State Park - Red Rock State Park 
Activities: Hiking
Natural Springs at Roman Nose State Park, OK

Kansas City, MO
Laura went to Kansas City with friends
Duration: Weekend
Activities: Crawl for Cancer and time well spent with friends

Crawl for Cancer

Grant and Laura met a friend to go camping in Oklahoma.
Duration: 3 Day Weekend
Places: Alabaster Caverns -  Foss State Park - Great Plains State Park and Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
Activities: camping, hiking, and visiting a great friend

Micah and Grant at Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, OK

Boston Trip
Grant and Laura went with Grants family to the East Coast.
Duration: A Week (flew)
Places: Halibut Point State Park  - Cape Ann - Plum Island - Portland, Maine - Boston, Massachusetts - Salem, Massachusetts
Activities: hiking, great sea food, watch a sunrise, run on the beach, shopping, duck tour, aquarium, Boston Red Sox game, whale watching, witch house tour, and so much more with Grant's family

Laura and Grant whale watching

Nashville, TN
Laura went with friends to Nashville, TN.
Duration: Wednesday-Sunday
Activities: Country Music Hall of Fame, Tour the Ryman, watch live music, Bluebird Cafe, lunch at the Gulch, shopping, visit Franklin, Grand Ole Opry, and Pedal Bike Bar downtown

Laura and friends at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, TN

Cowley County Fishing Lake
Laura and a friend went to the lake to see the waterfall
Duration: Day Trip
Activity: hiking, waterfall viewing, and friend time

Waterfall at Cowley County Fishing Lake

West Coast Road Trip
Grant and Laura went with Laura's family to the west coast.
Duration: Two Weeks (Laura) One Week (Grant had to fly back early)
Places: Denver, CO - Colorado National Monument - Arches National Park, UT - Great Basin National Park, NV - Yosemite National Park, CA - Fresno, CA - Sequoia National Park, CA - Kings Canyon National Park, CA - San Francisco, CA - wine country - Humboldt Redwoods State Park, CA - Eureka, CA - Redwood National Park, CA - Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, CA - Crater Lake National Park, OR - Twin Falls, ID - Great Salt Lake, UT - Rock Springs, WY - North Platte, NE
Activities: An amazing road trip filled with outdoor activities and far to much to list out, the places was hard enough
Grant and Laura with family at Arches National Park, UT

Fort Worth, TX
Grant and Laura went to visit Grants dad in Fort Worth.
Duration: Weekend
Activities: Vivian Meyer Exhibit, Texas Rangers vs. KC Royals game, and time well spent with family
Grant and Laura at the Rangers vs Royals game

Lansing, MI
Grant and Laura went to Lansing, MI for a wedding.
Duration: 3 Day Weekend
Activities: wedding fun and time with family

Grant and Laura at a wedding in Lansing, MI

Denver, CO
Grant and Laura went to Denver for a Mandolin Orange concert.
Duration: Weekend
Activities: hiking part of the Colorado Trail, mimosas, pretzel necklaces, good beer, and Mandolin Orange Concert
Hiking in Colorado

Manhattan, KS
Laura went to Manhattan to go brides maid dress shopping
Duration: Weekend
Activities: juice box mimosas, dress shopping, K-State football game, chips and salsa, great breakfast, and even better company

K-State football game

Fort Collins, CO
Grant and Laura went to Fort Collins to celebrate New Years with friends.
Duration: Friday- Monday
Activities: TBA

For 2017, my wish is to see and experience many new places. I want to stay present in all that I do and not take any days for granted. My hope is to look forward to traveling but not pass up days that I get to spend at home with my family and friends. There are many trips already in the early planning stages.  I look forward to all of the new places I encounter in 2017.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Watching the Sunrise on Cape Ann

Watching the sunrise on Cape Ann was one of the most peaceful experiences I have ever had. I had to make the sacrifice to set my alarm at 4:30 AM, yes the sun really does rise that early on the East Coast. This quickly became a solo mission since by husband, Grant, valued his sleep too much. When I told him the time I would be getting up to watch the sunrise he did not hesitate when telling me to go for it but I was on my own. Therefore, I had the rare opportunity to have this lovely beach all to myself, on a chilly June morning. I was certainly tired but most definitely in awe. The beach was so serene that I could hardly believe I was the only person to venture out. Yes I lost a few hours of sleep, but was it worth it? It most certainly was! It is hard to put into words having the pleasure to witness a sunrise on a deserted beach, so I will let my pictures do the talking.

4:40 AM

4:50 AM

4:52 AM

4:53 AM

4:59 AM

5:10 AM

5:12 AM

5:13 AM

5:14 AM

5:16 AM

5:18 AM

5:25 AM

8:45 AM

8:50 AM

All of the photos have been placed in the order that they were taken. One of my goals while watching the sunrise was to stay present in that moment. I feel that I was able to stay present at many times and just take in the beauty of the sunrise. I was lucky to be able to capture these photos so that I could remember and share my wonderful experience. The array of colors in such short periods of time still has me in awe. This was a bucket list item that I was extremely excited to be able to cross off my list.

Laura and Grant on Long Beach, MA 

These photos were taken at Long Beach where we stayed. Cape Ann Motor Inn was located directly on the beach. Some of the photos were even taken from the balcony of our room.

Cape Ann Motor Inn

I would like to take a brief moment to thank my wonderful in-laws, Jeff and Sheri, whom without, this trip would not have been a reality. Thank you so very much for this breathtaking adventure. My husband and I are so extremely blessed to have them!

Have you seen a breathtaking sunrise? Where? Tell us about it in the comments below!