How to Stay Healthy and Energetic when Traveling

How to Stay Healthy and Energetic when Traveling

Traveling full-time, part-time, or some-time can be exhilarating but at the same time exhausting. Finding a travel style and pace takes time and practice and will most likely change as you and your desires change.

Long before Al and I bought an RV, we usually traveled by air to our destination, and on occasion, we tent camped. Even when we were younger, whether we were flying or road-tripping, finding a pace that wouldn’t wear us out was always a priority. After all, the whole purpose of traveling was for us to explore and immerse ourselves in new places and that would require good health and plenty of energy. Most times, this was easier said than done!

For the better part of a month, I’ve battled a nasty cold that has kept me housebound, or rather RV bound. All that downtime had my mind wandering aimlessly. I was focused on feeling better. I was reminded of how important it is for us to listen to our bodies. During my illness, my body seemed to crave soup and vegetables. And of course, being the smart gal that I am, I listened to my body and fed it what it wanted.

Japanese Garden

So while downing gallons of warm nourishing soup, (okay, maybe it wasn’t gallons, but I bet it was close ūüėÜ) my mind drifted to places I’d like to visit and photograph. My poor camera has been sitting idle in the camera bag for weeks, and that does not make for a happy camper around this RV. Although I’m finally beginning to feel better, I’m still struggling with a lack of energy. Even with an addled mind and lack of energy, I’m still fantasizing about RV adventures.

Energy? … During our travels (and we’ve traveled a lot), Al and I have learned plenty of lessons the hard way … including the importance of food, rest, and listening to our bodies. By fueling ourselves properly and getting a good night’s sleep, we can put in ten-hour driving days. Now mind you, that’s not preferable but sometimes necessary.

Pinterest pin, tips to stay healthy and energetic when travelingI think we’ve all experienced those long road trips … grab some junk food, wash it down with some carbonated soda, and call it good. And an hour later, we’re either ready for a nap or just not feeling well, and we certainly aren’t enjoying the adventure of rolling down the road when we feel less than optimal.

Our bodies are constantly sending us messages in an attempt to find a happy balance. Are we smart enough to listen? I truly believe, the best thing for overall health is to learn what our bodies are telling us. Therefore, we can make better decisions that’ll help keep us healthy, energized, focused, and ready to discover what’s around the next bend.

When we feel great, we can immerse ourselves whole-heartedly in exploring new places, new environments, and new adventures.

And get that camera clicking again!

7 Tips for health and energy when traveling

1. Eating for fuel. Just like we try to put quality gasoline in our vehicle so it’ll perform optimally, we need to do the same for our bodies. This means being aware of what our body needs and eating when we’re hungry and stopping when we’re full.

Step away from the potato chips and no one will get hurt. Mindless snacking while sitting in a car or airplane due to boredom doesn’t do anyone any favors. That’s not to say, the occasional snack needs to be avoided, but in moderation and only after the body has been properly nourished.

When I know we’re getting ready for a stretch of long travel days, I meal plan ahead of time. Obviously, one of the best things about RVing is bringing my kitchen along. I’m able to keep items easily chilled and when it’s time to eat, all we have to do is find a convenient place to pull over. Badda bing Badda boom, lunch is served!

Bruschetta board at Postino’s in Scottsdale, AZ. Great place for Happy Hour or Sunday Brunch. Smoked Salmon and Pesto – Ricotta, Dates, and Pistachios – Brie, Apple, and Fig Spread – Proscuitto, Fig, and Mascarpone.

2. Hydration is probably the most important thing we can do to maintain our health and energy, and not just while traveling, but every day. If you’re feeling tired, drink a tall glass of water. If you’re feeling hungry, drink a tall glass of water. If you’re having trouble focusing, drink a tall glass of water. I think you get the idea!

Paying attention to our water intake is even more important when visiting higher elevations or dry arid climates. If you once start feeling thirsty, you’re already dehydrated and probably feeling somewhat fatigued. Water is the only nutrient that has been shown to enhance performance for all activities including the most demanding endurance activities. So drink up!

I'm a Pilot coffee mug

3. Getting a good night’s sleep is vital to maintaining health and energy throughout the day. I think many of us may underestimate the effect disrupted or shortened sleep can have on our overall well-being.

Things to consider … avoid exposure to bright screens like phones, computers, or tablets right before going to bed. Studies have shown, the light from these devices interferes with our natural body clock making it more difficult to fall asleep. And speaking of body clock, try to stick to a routine. Al and I go to bed almost every night around 10:00 and get out of bed every morning around 6:00 making for a solid eight hours of sleep.

Avoid caffeine after a given time of day. This is where listening to our body comes into play again. Personally, I stay away from anything caffeinated much after 3:00 in the afternoon. Most people aren’t quite as sensitive as I am, but this is something to take note of and be aware of the effects of caffeine on you personally.

4. Move! Last summer while enduring some very long driving days as we transitioned from northern Wisconsin to Phoenix, Arizona, Al and I frequently stopped at rest areas to stretch our legs. Energy begets energy! If you’ve been sitting for hours on end in a car, RV, or airplane, simply standing up and doing some squats or getting in some walking will immediately get the blood flowing and make you feel more energized.

Don’t forget to get in some deep breathing while you’re at it.

5. Laugh! Al and I are the kind of people that seem to find humor in most situations. We don’t take life or ourselves too seriously. Studies have shown that laughing can boost energy and be a stress reliever. So, while you’re sitting on the side of the road in a broken-down RV waiting for assistance (if you can even get assistance), pull up YouTube on your phone and watch some silly videos. Laugh! Life is too short not to.ūüėĀ

Or if you’re like us and tend to break down in places without cell service (no internet), then all you can do is laugh at the situation, or make fun of your partner. We’ve been traveling in our RV since 2011 and have made a ton of RVing mistakes. At the beginning of our RV journey, these mishaps and mistakes would overwhelm and stress us and now we just shrug, tackle, and laugh.

Our favorite word to say after an incident is “recalculating“. Not only do we need to reaccess our schedule, but we need to be honest about how we’re feeling. Once again, we listen to our bodies! We may change the pace, grab a healthy snack, hydrate with water, coffee, or tea, or better yet, eat chocolate. Oh yeah, my fave!

6. When all else fails, eat chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better! Chocolate has caffeine which is a quick pick-me-up, and it also has flavonoids that have been shown to boost cognitive skills and improve mood. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m all in for improving my mood and functioning brain. So, we always have a stash of chocolate in the RV.

By the way, I’ll take one for the team, and eat your share of chocolate if cocoa ain’t your thang!ūü§£

7. Listen to your body and do a mental check-in. We need to check-in with ourselves and travel companions regularly to access how we’re feeling. This is the perfect time to get real with what our bodies are telling us. And this holds true for our furry travel companions as well.

When we worked in the airline industry, we used to call it “get home-itis” (The determination of a pilot to reach a destination even when conditions for flying are dangerous). Don’t fall victim to “get there-itis“. When feeling tired, that’s not the time to ignore what your body is telling you and push through. This is when mistakes and accidents happen. Listen to your body! Be clear on how everyone is feeling and make simple changes as needed.

Pace yourself, drink water and eat more chocolate. If you’re not feeling your best and you’re driving, pull over … if you’re on a cruise, forgo that shore excursion … if you’re flying, take a nap. If you don’t feel well, do whatever is necessary to regain health and energy.

“The single biggest difference between people who get what they want and people who don’t is energy.”

By listening to our body, we can enjoy our travels while also benefiting from good health and plenty of energy. All it takes is a little inner reflection, planning, and flexibility.

Do you have any travel tips to help maintain health and energy?

old bicycle in a flower garden

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Reflections of Life

With summer coming to an end, I find myself in a reflective mood. Maybe its the overnight crisp cool air that’s reminding me that summer will soon be coming to an end. Perhaps I’m not relishing the change of season that has me feeling rather melancholy today. The summer seemed to have whizzed by, and now fall is just around the corner… sigh! Although, looking on the bright side, who doesn’t love fall colors? But clearly, I’m not ready for the change … just yet, anyway!

Reflections at Steamboat Lake Colorado
Steamboat Lake, Colorado

Perhaps it’s this nasty summer cold that I can’t seem to shake that has brought about my somber mood, or perhaps it’s a combination of a bunch of things happening in my life right now. I guess today, I’m feeling more like a Debbie Downer than an inspiring Ingrid, and for that, I apologize, but we all have our down days, don’t we?

See, I’ve told you before, this RVing gig isn’t all rainbows and unicorns! Nope, it’s still life with all its normal ups and downs.

Grand Tetons National Park
Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming

And right now, life is a little on the down side for me. Quite frankly, I haven’t felt like myself all summer, and have barely touched my camera which is, of course, uncharacteristic of me. But life happens, things change, and we all get older. This too shall pass, and witnessing beautiful scenery always helps improve my mood.

Corpus Christi Texas
Corpus Christi, Texas

The month of August brought about some major changes in my life … some good and some not. My son got married (which was good, considering everyone couldn’t stop smiling the entire evening), I had a milestone birthday (which I prefer not to be reminded of considering I stopped having birthdays years ago ūüėĀ), and I lost a sweet RVing friend (loss is always sad). But the most difficult moment for me this month was loosing a beloved family member. I’m still processing that one!

San Diego California
San Diego, California

Although I’m feeling rather somber and down today, I can’t help but smile as I gaze upon these images. Each photograph evokes a fond memory and reminds me of some of the amazing places AND people that I’ve been blessed to have encountered, and that makes me happy. Beautiful photographs and memories always lift my spirits.

reflections at Watson Lake Prescott Arizona
Watson Lake, Prescott, Arizona

I love landscape images with water reflections. It’s probably one of my most favorite things to capture on film (rather on media card, but that just doesn’t sound right, does it?) Yep, there’s something about a calm body of water reflecting the landscape that captivates my attention, refreshes me, and reminds me that life is good!

reflections at Steamboat Lake Colorado
Steamboat Lake, Colorado

For this weeks photo prompt, I’ve chosen the theme “reflections“.¬†Feel free to share a link in the comments below or link back to this page on your own post.

The word¬†reflection¬†pertains to more than a reflective image. It also means serious thought or consideration. Perhaps there’s a fond memory you’d like to share along with a reflective photograph. We all have our moments in life where we need to slow down, take a deep breath, and reflect on life … reflect on what’s important and what isn’t. I warned ya, I was in a reflective mood today ūüėŹ

Beach Living along the Gulf of Mexico
Fulton Beach, Texas

I’m sure as my head clears from this annoying cold, my state of mind will improve, and eventually, I might even share a photo or two of my son’s wedding which turned out beautifully by the way. Until next time … happy shooting!

Oh, and I promise to be in a better mood next week ūüėĀ¬†After all, next weeks photo theme is Sunrise. How could I not be in a good mood looking at inspiring photographs?


Wandering Wednesday – Ingrid’s Inspirations

Each Wednesday I post a different photo theme as a way for bloggers to share their love of photography and engage with other like minded bloggers. Maybe you just need a little inspiration to pick up the camera in search of a composition or a reason to go through your photo archives. Whether you shoot with your phone, a DSLR or something in-between, don’t be shy,¬†share and connect! ūü§ó

Next weeks photo theme is Sunrise …. get out and shoot or peruse those archives!

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How to Pick the Perfect RV

How do you pick the perfect RV for your personal needs? I’m not sure there’s an easy answer.

But before we get into the meat of the post, let me take a step back …. a few weeks ago my daughter wanted me to meet the parents of one of her friends. You see, these folks were contemplating selling their house and moving into an RV full-time, but didn’t know the first thing about RVing …. total newbies.

on the road againAfter a three-hour luncheon, I had inundated this couple with so much information that their heads were spinning. To make a long story short, eventually, I recommended that they rent at least one RV.¬†They wouldn’t have to travel far, just spend a couple of nights in a nearby state park and test things out. Figure out what they liked, didn’t like, and how they felt about the overall RV experience.

RVing is not for everyone, and buying the wrong RV can be a very costly endeavor. Remember, RVs are a depreciating asset. It’s really easy to get caught up in all the pretty bells, horns, and whistles on an RV Dealership lot, especially with an encouraging salesperson eager to spend your money, only to walk away with something that doesn’t fit¬†your personal goals and will lead to unhappy travels.

Try before you buy

An RV is a hefty investment. And, like any good consumer, you should do your research before investing in one. While RVs offer a freer, more fulfilled lifestyle, they can also be a significant strain on your bank account. If you purchase one frivolously, it could turn out to be a nightmare of an expense that you’ll be paying off for many years to come. Thankfully, renting an RV before you commit is a great way to find out if ownership is right for you.

classes o RV's

Various ways to rent an RV

More than 9 million Americans own RVs. More people are buying RVs today than ever before, but sadly,¬†roughly 90% of RVs sit unused for most of the year. The RV’s gather dust while ownership costs accumulate. A peer-to-peer rental networks like RV or can help owners and renters alike. Owners can rent out their RVs and supplement their income, and renters get to try before they buy.

RVing in Moab Utah


You wouldn‚Äôt buy a house without making sure it met your needs first, would you? Therefore, it’s really important you do your research when buying an RV. Considering that some RVs can cost as much as a house or more, it makes sense to rent an RV first. Here‚Äôs why:

‚óŹ Renting an RV isn‚Äôt difficult or expensive. Depending on the type of RV you rent, you can find rates starting at $80 per day. It‚Äôs a small price to pay for the experience.

Grand Tetons National Park‚óŹ You‚Äôll start learning to see through the eyes of an RV’er. Whether you‚Äôre considering buying an RV to live in or to use for weekend camping, you‚Äôll need to know how to downsize and prioritize. Renting an RV for a few days will help you change your perspective and learn how to pack for RV living.

‚óŹ You‚Äôll learn a lot about how RVs work. This is knowledge you absolutely must have if you want to buy an RV. You need to know how to dump and clean the tanks, maintain the batteries, make minor repairs to appliances, use the slide outs and leveling jacks, and much more. Even a short weekend RV rental will enlighten you to the necessary skills you need to own an RV.

‚óŹ You‚Äôll figure out which type of RV is best for you. Can you imagine spending thousands of dollars on an RV, only to find out it‚Äôs too difficult to drive or too small to fit your family? ¬†By renting an RV, you‚Äôll get to try out a variety of different types and sizes, so you can determine what you like and don‚Äôt like.

‚óŹ You‚Äôll get some driving (and lifestyle) practice. Traveling in an RV is a skill in and of itself. You need to plan your routes and campground stays carefully; but you also need to be able to adapt to changes quickly. Taking a road trip in a rented RV will teach you how to be organized and prepared, and how to think on your feet.

RVing Dillon Colorado

How to Choose the Right RV to Rent

Before you rent, you should narrow down your list of potential RVs. There are millions of different RVs out there, each with their own features, floor plans, and price points. Ask yourself the following questions to help you find some good rental candidates:

‚óŹ Would you rather tow or drive your RV? Towables are more affordable, roomier, and can be left at the campground if you need to run into town for errands. On the other hand, motorized RVs are much easier to drive, and thus more comfortable for many.

Steamboat Lake Colorado‚óŹ How many people will travel with you? Small trailers and Class B vans are perfect for two people, plus they‚Äôre affordable and easy to drive.

Mid-sized RVs, usually between 25 to 30 feet, are good for three or four people. Anything over 35 feet in length is considered large and good for big families or if a couple is considering living in the RV full-time.

‚óŹ How important is privacy to you? RVs with separate bunks and bedrooms (like Class C‚Äôs and large Fifth Wheels) give everyone their own personal space. If privacy isn‚Äôt an issue, convertible dinettes and sofa beds might be enough.

‚óŹ Do you plan on dry camping a lot, or do you prefer campground stays? Maybe you’re not sure. If you like the idea of camping under the stars and away from the crowds, you‚Äôll want an RV that‚Äôs adequately equipped for boondocking. Features like solar panels, large holding tanks, and a good-sized generator are key.

‚óŹ Finally, how do you plan on paying for your RV? Generally, you won‚Äôt be able to finance an RV that‚Äôs 15 years old or older. So, while older RVs are more affordable, you‚Äôll need to either pay in cash or take out a personal loan to buy one. New RVs can be financed, but can cost close to $100,000 or more. If you‚Äôre looking for a middle-ground, look for RVs that are about 10 years old and come with financing. But keep in mind, some private RV parks have RV age restrictions. Usually the cutoff is around 10 years old. The park will want to make sure your RV still looks good before guaranteeing a site.

RVing in Moab Utah

Once you’ve narrowed down your list, start looking for two or three different RVs to try out. Experiment with different types of floor plans and features. Maybe you test out a large Class A with slide outs one weekend, then rent a mid-sized Class C the next. This way, you’ll get a sense of how it feels to drive different types of RVs and how well the layouts suit your needs.

Hit the road and explore

RVing is a great way to travel and see the country, but the lifestyle isn’t for everyone. I, personally, can’t imagine traveling any other way. Have you ever rented an RV to test out the RVing adventure? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

RVing Grand Tetons National Park


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Full-filling Dreams

June is always a time for Al and me to do a little celebrating. We have a couple of important anniversaries to celebrate. Sometimes I don’t know where the time has gone. Time can be fleeting. On one hand it seems like yesterday that I was preparing to walk down the aisle and marry my partner in crime and on the other hand it seems like a lifetime ago. The last thirty plus years have sure been one heck of a ride!

outdoor weddings
over thirty some years ago – where has the time gone
So not only did we celebrate another wedding anniversary, we celebrated our full-time RV living adventure. At the end of June, we completed four years of living in the RV full-time. Funny how what was suppose to be a year or two has now turned into five. As we enter year five, we have no immediate plans to change things up.

I was feeling a little nostalgic the other day and started reading some of my earlier blog posts about the transition of selling the house and moving into the RV. I thought I’d re-share a post I wrote back in April 2013 as we were preparing to move into the RV full-time.

outdoor wedding
let’s take a look back
¬†A look back……

Skirts AloftI came across a book titled ‚ÄúSkirts Aloft‚Äú.¬† I smile, sit down, and open the front cover.¬† On the inside of the book in handwriting it says, ‚ÄúIngrid, may all your dreams come true. Love, Mom‚ÄĚ. I had lost my mom exactly a year earlier and coming across this handwritten message brought tears to my eyes.

Ah, the memories ……

I was seven years old the first time I traveled to Europe.¬† It was the mid 1960‚Äôs and my parents had not been back to Germany since they immigrated to the United States in the late 50’s.¬† My mom had been¬†experiencing¬†twinges of home-sickness.¬† So after a year of hard work of¬†scrimping and saving, our family of five was off to Germany for a three-week vacation.

It never ceases to amaze me what memories my mind chooses to recall.  My mom, an excellent seamstress, had made matching dresses and coats for my three-year old sister, myself, and our Thumbelina dolls.  These were the years everyone dressed up to travel, white gloves and all.  Our outfits were the latest, most up to date fashion in Jackie O style.

We boarded a Lufthansa plane.  My three-year old sister sat at the window. My mom sat in the center and I sat on the aisle.  My dad sat across the aisle with my eleven year old brother.  I remember being bored and having trouble sitting still.   My mom was exasperated and embarrassed as the gentleman sitting in the seat in front of me had to repeatedly turn around and ask that I stop kicking his seat.  Come on, it’s a long trip to fly from Chicago to Frankfurt, Germany, and this of course, was long before any kind of technology for entertainment.

My mom thought traveling with a three-year old would be a challenge…..not….sister slept most of the time when she wasn’t eating.  What a good little girl.  The seven-year old, moi …..well, the kicking of the seat, the whining, and the frequent visits to the bathroom were just a precursor to the ensuing fun for mom.

Flight AttendantWith an hour left before landing, the crew came through the cabin taking care of last-minute clean up and paperwork.¬† I‚Äôm¬†mesmerized by the pretty gals in their navy blue uniforms adorned with bright yellow scarves.¬† This is when I tell my mother, ‚ÄúI‚Äôm going to be a¬†Stewardess when I grow up‚ÄĚ.¬† ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs nice honey‚ÄĚ, she responds, clearly exhausted.

As the plane starts the initial descent, that‚Äôs when I reach for the¬†first¬†barf bag.¬† Did I mention, I have a problem with motion sickness?¬† Not a big surprise for dear mom as she had plenty of practice with my car sickness.¬† Once again the three-year old sits quietly and is duly entertained by looking out the window while poor mom deals with the¬†puking¬†seven-year old.¬† Two barf bags later and an empty one in hand, we‚Äôre in my uncle‚Äôs car heading to his house.¬† That‚Äôs¬†when my mom turns to me and asks, ‚ÄúSo, you still want to be a Stewardess when you grow up?‚ÄĚ

The car is warm.¬† I‚Äôm sitting in the middle in the backseat.¬† I have my barf bag in hand.¬† Before answering mom, I dry¬†heave into the bag then respond, ‚ÄúYes mommy, I still want to be a Stewardess‚ÄĚ.¬† My dad chuckles and shakes¬†his head in total amusement, while mom clearly could use a break from this seven-year old.

Nine years later at the age of sixteen, I board a Lufthansa flight by myself bound for Frankfurt,¬†Germany,¬†for a summer abroad.¬† Hugs and kisses goodbye are plentiful.¬† Mom goes in for a second hug and whispers in my ear, ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt forget to¬†keep¬†one of ‘those’ bags within reach just in case you need to throw up‚ÄĚ.¬† ‚ÄúYes mom, thanks‚ÄĚ.¬† Yep, at sixteen I still needed one of¬†those¬†bags.¬† Oh, how embarrassing!

My summer in Germany was amazing and in many ways, life changing.  And although I still endured motion sickness, the dream to become a Stewardess did not falter.

Chicago skyline

In my early twenties I fulfilled this dream and¬†was hired as a Flight Attendant for a small airline based in Chicago.¬† My first day¬†on the job was a six leg flight schedule.¬† Each flight is referred to as a ‚Äúleg‚ÄĚ.¬† This was my flight schedule that first work day as a Flight Attendant‚Ķ..

  1. Chicago to DetroitChicago
  2. Detroit to Chicago
  3. Chicago to St. Louis
  4. St. Louis to Chicago
  5. Chicago to Detroit
  6. Detroit to Chicago

Sounds glamorous, doesn’t it?  Strap on throwing up eleven times!  No problem with next months weigh-in for this vomit comet.  Yes, those were the days of regular weigh-ins.  You had to maintain a certain weight or risk being fired. Heels, make-up, and nails done were also requirements back then.

My second day on the job went a little easier…..

  1. Chicago to Kansas City
  2. Kansas City to Chicago
  3. Chicago to Washington D.C.   Arrive in D.C. at 9 p.m. and spend the night.  The next morning check-in at Regan National Airport for a 6:30 a.m. departure.
  4. Washington D.C. to Chicago
  5. Chicago to Detroit
  6. Detroit to Chicago      Off for three days…..time to rehydrate.

The vomiting stopped after six weeks, but the headaches and occasional dizziness would still rear its ugly head from time to time, especially in the spring time when the cold and warm air currents were mixing.  To me, the movement felt like the gentle rolling of a sailboat riding the waves ….. NOT the kind of movement that agrees with me.

Trips to the Caribbean confirmed my lack of love for sailing.¬† I love the water but prefer a speed¬†boat,¬†jet ski, or even a canoe.¬† Cars?¬† I‚Äôll take a¬†Jeep over a Cadillac any day of the week.¬† When the airplane would encounter severe turbulence, I was fine.¬† It‚Äôs that gentle rolling motion I can‚Äôt handle.¬† I‚Äôll refrain from saying, ‚ÄúI like it rough‚ÄĚ for fear some folks might take this statement the wrong way¬†ūüėČ

It was during my third month on the job when I walked into Flight Operations to check in for a flight.   There standing at 6 feet 4 inches tall was a German-Norwegian hunk of a man in a navy blue uniform.  What is it with me and those navy blue uniforms?

outdoor weddingI¬†introduce myself, ‚ÄúHi, you must be new around here.¬† My name is Ingrid.¬† I believe we‚Äôll be working together for the next few days.‚Ä̬† I never imagined I had just introduced myself to my future husband‚Ķ. First Officer Al. And they said it wouldn’t last!

I was a Flight Attendant for five years and feel very fortunate to have¬†full-filled the dream of a once naive¬†seven-year old.¬† My mom always questioned my ability to be a Flight Attendant due to my motion sickness and encouraged me to go to school to be a nurse or a teacher. She’d say, “just in case, you know“, but she never discouraged or tried to squash my dream.

I have the fondest of memories of those years flying….the good as well as the bad.  Yes, there was plenty of bad like the Air Traffic Controllers strike in the 80’s.  A flight from Chicago to St. Louis usually takes about an hour.  We’d pull back from the gate and sit in line on the tarmac for one to two hours waiting for take off.  FAA regulations requires the Flight Attendants and passengers to remain seated at this stage….no drinks, no potty, no fun, and lots of complaints.  Not the fondest of memories.

Washington DC

Then there’s the travel benefits.  One year for her birthday, I took my mom to Washington D.C. for lunch.  We caught the first flight out of Chicago to D.C.  Several of the pilots I worked with had spent years working at the Pentagon and obviously were very familiar with the D.C. area.  A few restaurants were recommended and I chose one that was known for southern cooking, complete with black-eyed peas, and housed in a historical building.  Mom and I had a great day.

Another time, my folks joined Al and¬†me for a Boston layover and witnessed¬†us at work.¬† Al was the Captain and I the head Flight Attendant.¬† I was the one in the front of the¬†cabin doing all the talking‚Ķ..I love being in charge.¬† ‚ÄúLook, mom.¬† No puking‚ÄĚ.¬† She was proud.¬† Fun times‚Ķ‚Ķah, the stories are plentiful.

Life changes, we grow, and we move on.  New dreams are forged. With that said, time for me to get back to sorting the other boxes here in the basement …… I have a new dream chapter to get started on after all.  Here’s to all your dreams coming true!


That was then, this is now ….. So while Al and I toast to another year in the books, we discuss tentative plans for this next year of full-time RVing ….. plans that are written ‘in jello’ with lots of wiggle room. Although we’ve narrowed down our options, we’re still torn with choices….. our journey continues!

outdoor wedding venue

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Blogging Lessons Learned

We all start blogs for different reasons.¬†¬†I started this blog a little over three years ago as a means to¬†personally¬†document our travels and keep family and friends up to date on our journey.¬† I’ll admit, it’s morphed into something much more than I ever expected.ButterfliesI never¬†anticipated the social aspect of blogging¬†and the making of some wonderful friends along the way…. what an amazing discovery. ¬†Some of those friendships will remain¬†cyber based¬†while others have and will develop into more.¬† Thus, I’m very¬†pleased I started the blog.

Botanical Garden
new friendships are forged – Nancy from Two Trails One Road and I enjoy a day at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ

The past couple of weeks, hubby and I have been doing some remodeling on our son’s home and having a lot of fun in the process.¬† I know, our son thinks we’re crazy too. While painting cabinets, my mind wandered as I thought about blog material.¬† “What ever shall I write about?”¬† I thought about how comfortable I’ve become with writing and sharing.¬† It sure wasn’t that way in the beginning.¬†¬†¬†It¬†took me awhile to find my style, my voice,¬†and learn some¬†lessons along the way.¬† So today I thought I’d share a few of MY personal thoughts and opinions on blogging and¬†a few¬†lessons learned.

blogging 1011.¬† First off, there’s no right or wrong way to blog.¬† Blogging is personal.¬† Some folks blog as an outlet to express themselves while others hope to monetize their¬†site.¬† Some of my favorite blog sites are the ones that are educational.¬† I’ve picked up great photography tips as well as discovered some ‘must see’ places to visit from other bloggers.

2.¬† Finding my voice.¬† It took me awhile to find my¬†voice and style.¬†¬†I really¬†struggled with this in the beginning.¬† I remember watching American Idol years ago and the judges would always tell the contestants to make the song their own.¬†That’s easier said than done, but in the end it’s all about being yourself, being honest, and¬†true to yourself.¬†There’s no need to¬†copy or plagiarise.

3.¬† Writing has never been easy for me.¬† I can’t tell you how many times I stare at¬†a blank computer screen with severe writers block.¬† It took me awhile to¬†find what works for me.¬† I need to visualize.

bloggingAl and I went on a fabulous hike several weeks ago and I couldn’t wait to write about it, but couldn’t seem to find the words.¬†¬†A friend of ours wanted to know all about¬†the trail¬†and whether or not¬†he and his wife should attempt the hike.

As soon as I envisioned myself sitting across the table having a drink with Gary, the story of that hike made it onto the blog in quick order.¬† So now whenever I get stuck with that blank computer screen, I¬†visualize I’m chatting over coffee with a dear¬†friend.

4.¬† White space.¬† It’s important to break up text with paragraphs and pictures.¬† By breaking up the text it’s easier to read and less overwhelming.

5.¬† Speaking of pictures – always, always include a photograph, cartoon, or graph of some sort to hold the reader’s attention.¬† Think of an ad in a newspaper.¬† All ads have some visual content that draws the reader’s eye in.¬†¬†It’s important to add that visual content even if your blog is writing based.¬† That visual aid will help tell the story and keep a reader’s attention.¬† It’s also extremely important to¬†display the photo or graph¬†large enough for readers to see it clearly.

Do not expect readers to click on an image¬†to enlarge it.¬†Most folks don’t have the time or inclination to enlarge individual photos.¬† I know I don’t.¬† I will however enlarge a gallery when it’s displayed in a slide show fashion, IF I have time.¬† In many of my earlier blog posts, my photos were¬†entered in the thumbnail or medium size format.¬† It was only after a couple of seasoned bloggers recommended that I post my photos in a larger format that I started doing just that.

wild donkey's
Are you listening? Yes, I’m all ears!

6.¬† Write an About page letting folks know what you and your blog are all about.¬† Before I decide to¬†“follow” a blog, I always read the About page.¬† Not everyone is

blogging tips
I’m not afraid to show you the real me!

comfortable posting a photo of themselves, but I find a photo along with general information of residency to be more engaging – more relatable.

7.¬† Editing is a biggie.¬† I’ve learned to edit and then re-edit…..¬†¬† proof read, reread,¬†and¬†spell check.

I try to do my homework on a subject by doing proper research before publishing.¬†I do get it wrong sometimes and am never insulted when a reader¬†enlightens me to my faux pas. ¬†I also like¬†linking to other sites giving my readers the option of more information if they’re interested.

Keeping my posts simple and under 1,000 words is my goal.  If I have a long story, I break it up into parts.

8.¬† And then there’s the social aspect of blogging;¬†this has been the most fun for me.¬† Make sure your Gravatar is linked properly or other bloggers can’t visit your site.¬†That is if you enjoy the social aspect of the blogosphere, and if not, that’s ok too.

I love receiving comments and responding, but every now and then a troll stops by…. you know, someone looking to pick a fight.¬† I can honestly say in the time I’ve been blogging I think I’ve only had 2 such encounters.¬† So embrace the positive comments and ignore the negative ones.lizard9.¬† Be a student….. as I read other blogs I pay attention to design, layout, ease of site navigation, and other details.¬† I also check to see how my blog shows up on different devices.¬† I use my hubby’s laptop to check how fast my site loads.¬† Some WordPress themes load faster than others.¬†¬†You don’t want a slow site or¬†you may not¬†have many readers.

Design –¬†Is¬†the site easy to navigate?¬† Can a visitor quickly tell what the blogs purpose is?¬† What color text to use?¬† Black with white text¬†versus white with black text? ¬†A lot of blogs specializing in photography use a black background with white text.¬† Supposedly the photos show better.¬† My aging eyes have difficulty with the black background.¬† Thus, I personally follow only one or two blogs that use black with white text.¬† Give me a nice white background any day whether the blog’s focus is photography or photography10.¬† Write for yourself first.¬† Remember this is suppose to be fun and we don’t want to make¬†blogging feel like a job (unless that’s the intent).¬† Some say publish posts consistently and on a schedule. I say… post when you feel like it.

Oops, I’ve surpassed my 1,000 word count limit….. happy blogging!
BUT¬†one last thought, my cyber friend Sue and I had a telepathic moment…. check out her¬†recent post on “Getting more blog comments”¬†– click here¬†for more insightful suggestions.

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