30 things I learned while traveling abroad

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We learned that, given enough alcohol, we will eat haggis.

We learned that, given enough alcohol, we will eat haggis.

Our trip to Ireland and Scotland was very educational. I learned some things about myself. Scott and I learned some things about each other. And I definitely learned some things about traveling in these countries. Here are 30 things I picked up, in no particular order.

  1. We are not good with maps. We got lost. A lot.
  2. The Irish are quite possibly the friendliest people on Earth, until they get behind the wheel of a car. Then they’re crazy.
  3. Even after touring the beautiful Blair Athol Distillery in Pitlochry, Scotland, and seeing all of the care and skill that goes into making some of the finest Scotch in the world, I still don’t like it.
  4. Given enough alcohol, we will eat haggis. Continue reading
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motorcycle road trip: lake city, colorado

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Our cozy cabin in Lake City, Colorado

Our cozy cabin in Lake City, Colorado.

I love small towns, and Lake City, Colorado, is one of my favorites. We spent many happy Fourth of July holidays there camping, riding dirt bikes, watching the parade and the fireworks with the kids. Although the full-time population is just 400, it’s a very popular place during the summer. Campsites became harder to find and our visits dwindled. I hadn’t been back in six years, so we decided it was the perfect destination for our first overnight motorcycle trip.

Waterfall near Redstone, Colorado.

Waterfall near Redstone, Colorado.

Packing light is not one of my skills, but I was able to squeeze one night’s worth of my stuff into the travel bag that sits on the back of my bike. Actually, there was a little room to spare, and another small bag that fits on the top that I didn’t need, so longer trips are definitely an option. Continue reading

nesting, nesting, one … two … three

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Empty nest camping!

Empty nest camping!

Ready or not, here it comes! The last year of high school passes so quickly and there’s so much to do, particularly the last couple of months … graduation announcements, senior pictures, college visits, prom, senior boards, the last track meet (or soccer game or concert), end-of-season banquets, scholarship applications, choosing a college. Before you know it, you’re buying extra-long twin sheets, mini refrigerators and more storage bins and closet organizers than will actually fit in a dorm room, and dropping your baby off at college.

What now? I have several friends getting ready to enter the empty nest world, some with a sense of accomplishment and some with a good deal of trepidation. Here are three things that helped me during year one. Continue reading

burnin’ rubber

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A stop at the Redstone General Store for ice cream on our first ride.

A stop at the Redstone General Store for ice cream on our first ride.

Another item on the “someday” list: learn to ride a motorcycle. Scott has ridden most of his life and lives to ride. I  tried riding on his bike with him, but, as Austin Powers would say, “that’s not my bag, baby.” Control issues: Check.

For our anniversary last year, my gift to Scott was a promise to take the Learn to Ride* class to find out if I like riding my own bike any better. Fast forward to April. I took and passed the class and got the coveted “M” endorsement on my driver’s license. And a crappy new driver’s license photo to go with it.

Long story short, I practiced riding Scott’s street-legal dirt bike for a while and then I bought my own bike. Not a little girly bike, either. A big, bad Harley Davidson Heritage Softail. It’s awesome. It’s still a little scary, but I’m definitely walking with a little more swagger these days. And learning a lot about motorcycle etiquette and rules of the road. Here are some of the things I’ve learned: Continue reading