Whatcom Wanders

I shared in my last post that I have been spending a lot of time up in Bellingham with Trung, (and I realized that lately I have just been going on about my move), so I figured I would share about one of our adventures from last week.

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We met up with a friend and his wife to go explore Teddy Bear Cove last Friday. Yes, it used to be a nude beach. No, it isn’t anymore. It’s safe, I promise! If you’re not familiar with the area, Teddy Bear Cove is off of Chuckanut Drive, which is one of the prettiest roads I have ever been on. We pulled into a packed parking lot, and followed a long, zig-zagging trail (and watched in terror as Trung ran down the hill through the steep shortcuts and almost killed himself), until we got down to the train tracks. Just on the other side of the tracks was the beach. We wanted to sit up high, so we climbed up some rocks, and through the trees, to a small cliff with a view.

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After Teddy Bear Cove, and some frozen yogurt of course, we made a short trip to Whatcom Falls Park, and ate lunch alone the side of the trail.

Nothing beats the outdoors!

Live Bravely!

Always,

Danielle B.

The Road To Now

A year ago I would have never guessed that I would be where I am today. I’ve always wanted to be here, it was always my goal (obviously), but part of me always felt to afraid to go for it, and I didn’t see that changing anytime soon.

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At the end on July 2016, I made my yearly visit home to see my dad, grandma (Bami), friends, and family. I was in Mount Vernon, WA for only one week, and I hated how short my visit had to be. I always did, even when the visits were all summer. I spent the week as I always did, running around like crazy. Bami always said “The grass doesn’t grow under you’re feet!”, but I only had so long to see everyone here, and enjoy all the beautiful places. I was selfish with my time too, spending most of it up in Bellingham with my best and longest friend, Trung, my favorite person. It only made it harder to leave. The last few years I had planed it so that someone else was with me. I made sure that they drove out of town, and over the mountain pass instead of me. I didn’t believe that I would make it that far without turning around. Every time I left, I left another piece of my heart here. I cried, because it hurt.

By November my longing for the Northwest had not subsided, which was odd because usually by then it would have been tolerable. I missed the ocean, and the mountains. The lakes, and forests. Mostly, I missed my friends and family that I rarely got to see. I had the feeling that I was missing out on everything here.

On New years I made a promise to myself. Not a resolution, but a promise. I am done waiting. Done making excuses. Done thinking about everyone else before myself. When you sit around daydreaming about the same thing, and it is an attainable dream, then what the hell are you doing? So, I worked my ass off. Seven days a week, all hours of the day and night. I saved my money, and fixed up my car.

Last month was my first month as an official Washington resident in about 19 and a half years. I’ve been busy. I think I’m still in the mind set that at the end of the summer I will have to pack up my things, and go back to South Dakota. It feels good to have more time here. To be able to enjoy everything, without the fact that I have to leave soon looming over my every move.

I’ve been spending most of my time up in Bellingham again, with Trung. He’s taken me to so many new and beautiful places, along with the familiar places we have always gone to. I’m enjoying all the green. And the ocean air. And the island beaches. And motorcycle rides through the mountains. And the farmers markets. And all the food. And all the people. I’ve been feeling less anxious, and bored. In return I already feel more open to things, and more creative.

I do miss South Dakota very much, and I can’t wait to go back and visit for a week in October. I catch myself saying things like, “well, in South Dakota it worked this way.” and, “That’s nothing to me, I grew up in South Dakota”. It’s pretty ridiculous, really. I don’t so much miss the place, as I miss the people, and how I know where everything is. The day I had to take my South Dakota drivers license out of my wallet, and put it away in a drawer was the definition of bittersweet.

BUT, in the end I am happy to be where I am, and I am proud of myself for staying true to what I want, and not letting anything stop me. I think I’ll make that a new habit of mine.

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Thanks, May! For being so good to me. 2017 is definitely my favorite!

Live Bravely!

Always,

Danielle B.

No One Said It Was Going To Be Easy

This is the part where I pull a wrinkled news paper out from between the cushion of an old leather chair, and straighten it out in front of me. The date: May 3rd, 2017. The headline reads:

“Twenty-Something Year Old Makes Quick Decision To Quit Job, Empty Bank Account, Say Goodbye To Friends & Family, Pack Car Full Of Belongings, And Move Half-Way Across The Country To Start Life Anew.”

And here we are!

It’s been one week since I pulled into the driveway of my Dad’s house here in Skagit Valley, car packed, exhausted, and teary eyed. The journey was long, my emotions where out of control, but in the end I am happy to be back in the Pacific Northwest and I know that it will be worth it.

I was joined by my best friend on the drive to my new home, which was comforting, and made the transformation a little easier. She followed in her car, with her little one, and at least once an hour we were talking about the drive via phone. We shared a motel room in Bozeman, MT to rest after a long day of packing, working, and driving, and then headed out in the morning towards my home in Mount Vernon, WA. Along the way I would catch her laughing at me, and my jam sessions, through the rear view mirror, and we would call each other to laugh about it.

I’m not going to lie, it was hard to leave the comfort of South Dakota behind me. I cried, a lot, but you know what? I am going to come back. I will visit. It was not a final goodbye. Leaving the place you grew up in, and know by heart sucks, but it will always be there. Right where you left it. I also cried when I reached the Cascades. (It was a very emotional trip.) At the first sight of the Washington I know so well, and have loved my entire life.. I totally lost it.

Every dream, and every goal just seemed so close. Or maybe I’m just overly dramatic. Either way, I made it here, FINALLY!

The last week has been great! Busy, for sure, but great. So far I have:

  • Unpacked everything! (WOOHOOOOO!)
  • Shown the best friend and her Littles the ocean.
  • Been to the islands.
  • Opened a bank account.
  • Gotten a new Drivers License.
  • Sent out resume and applications. (Unemployment is freaking me out.)
  • Spent time with the family. (Biological & not.)
  • Went to Seattle (China town!!)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2, double feature, in I-MAX 3D (Because I’m slightly nerdy.)
  • And spent A LOT of time with my friends up in Bellingham, having fun and finding my way around. (The plan is to live there.)

It’s helpful to have people already here. Friends that I’ve known for years, that I trust. I got lucky that way. One of my favorite people is here, and thank God for him because he’s made everything so much better. 10 years of sticking by my side, no matter what, back and forth between being here and being 18 hours away, I know I will never be alone here. I already feel at home.

I guess my point is to not be afraid to go after the things you have always dreamt about, but to be aware that making the big changes WILL be scary, and might suck at first, you just have to power through it. You have to take time to adjust. You will miss that little town you always wanted to leave, but everything will be ok.

Live Bravely!

Always,

Danielle B.

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May 11, 2017. Mount Vernon, WA

Update on April 2017 – Moving West

Holy cow guys, it’s almost May! Literally four days left. It’s been a crazy month, I can hardly keep my thoughts straight. I’ve been meaning to write so many times, but focus is definitely out the window… I have a few posts that I plan on publishing in the next few days, but before I get to all that jazz, I just wanted to give everyone an update on what has happened since I last wrote on here. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it short and sweet.

FINAL DECISION – I am officially packing up my car, and moving closer to my dreams! The move to Washington goes down May 1st!

The hardest part of the whole big move… Telling everyone. (i.e. Parental units, family members, friends, loved ones, clients, bosses..)

I’ve been running around like CRAZY! So much to do, so little time! (i.e. Working full-time, changing addresses, talking to banks, packing, organizing, spending time with family and friends.)

The Spring term of the BANGS Ambassador Program is at it’s end! ALREADY!? But the other Ambassador Mentors and I are super excited for what’s to come for the summer term!! Applications are open now – HERE!

I’ve got the beast (my vehicle) all fixed up and in driving condition (i.e. new tires, brakes, windshield wipers- cause you know I’ll need them, and my stereo put in!)

Do you have any idea how good it feels to pay off debt? I recommend it. This girl here, DEBT FREE!! Woohooooo!

I’ve been pouring myself into work, and volunteer help at the office. AND, saving $$$ like a mad woman.. like it’s going out of style.

This week I have begun the goodbyes to my wonderful, and amazing clients. I’M GOING TO MISS THEM! (There is definitely such a thing as a Nurses Mama Bear Instinct, you take care of these people, and you get attached) *NO TEARS, DANNI!*

My last day at work will be this Saturday April 29, 2017 and I will be headed west on Monday May 1st!

The best friend, Kylie, will head west for a few days to bring more of my things to me and see my new home May 3-5!

THE BASIC PLAN – Find a bank, then a job, then an apartment, and then I will finally go to school!!! (Pharmacy Tech, for those of you who are curious)

So that’s it folks, that’s what my little piece of the world looks like. I’m so excited for all the future adventures, and I cant wait to share all the new content I have been dreaming up for you! Stay tuned, this should definitely be fun!

Live Bravely!

Always,

Danielle B.

 

And So, It’s Time…

It’s time that I started sharing my plans with you. You may, or may not, have seen on my social media sites that I am getting restless, and extremely excited for something that happens to have something to do with the month of May. I have refrained from sharing with just about everyone (until recently), what my mind has been circling since my last trip home to Washington, in July of 2016. It’s big, and there are moments when I feel a little scared, but as time creeps closer to my personal set deadline, I feel more and more confident and excited. I have a month and a half to go now, and the choice feels easier and easier the closer we get to May.

So here we go.. For the last seven and a half months I have been thinking about going home to Washington, and this time, staying. That’s right, I want to move. I want to pack up all my belongings  (what I decide to keep at least), load them into my car, and finally just go.

THIS DOES NOT MEAN ANYTHING BAD AGAINST SOUTH DAKOTA. Nor does it mean that I never plan on coming back to visit. (In fact, I already have a plan to come back in October, and I’m not even 100% sure I’ve made up my mind on going yet.) I grew up here, I love South Dakota, and that will never change. It’s just simply not the right place for me. I am a South Dakota girl, but I don’t have a South Dakota heart, if that makes sense. Plus, I would never survive without seeing my family and friends here.

SO MY REASONS ARE: 

1. It’s something that I have always wanted. I look at a lease to have my own place, and I can’t bring myself to sign it because of the commitment to the length of time I would have to stay here. I look at colleges and degrees that I would like to pursue, but I don’t because I don’t want to be here that long. There’s one common part here, I won’t feel comfortable moving forward with my life, until I make it to where I want to be. My dream of living in Washington has never disappeared, and I am tired of wondering what my life would look like if I were there. I want to know. I need to do something for me.

2. Room for growth. I just feel as though I have done everything I can here, and now I am stuck. I feel trapped, which in return has made me unhappy. But I have found excitement in all the possibilities I feel I could find in such a bigger, and more diverse place.

I just need to get out of here. I need something new, and all the little adventures just arn’t enough anymore. All my life I have known exactly where I wanted to be, but never gone after it for myself because I was too busy making excuses to stay where I am for others. I’m tired of making excuses. In July I will be 23 years old. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be settled down, married, and expecting a baby at 23. (Obviously I didn’t realize how young 23 still is.) I’m not even remotely interested in marriage, or any of that yet, but I would like to start making the steps to settling down, at least somewhat.

I feel I have already made up my mind that I am going. I’m just scared to admit that because it means that I’ll have to break a heart, and face an insane amount of change. The change scares me a little, but also excites me. In the end change is exactly what I’m looking for. 

LIVE BRAVELY!

Always,

Danielle B. 

Journey To Poet’s Table. (Black Hills, SD

March 11, 2016- Spring was just around the corner, and here in the Black Hills we were experiencing a very nice break from the cold, and snow. Everything was turning green again, and the sun light felt warm on our skin. My dear friend, Kylie, and I were in the mood for adventure.

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She arrived at my house as I was filling my old backpack full of snacks, and water. We went to pick up the boyfriend, Ethan, after that, and then met up with an old friend, Spencer, downtown. Spencer took the wheel in Kylie’s car, and we headed out of town, deeper into the Black Hills.

Just before arriving in Keystone (a small town at the foot of Mount Rushmore), Spencer pulled off to the side of the road. He wanted to show us something. We got out of the car, and he led us up the hill. We were walking on what used to be a road, but could no longer be used as one… it would be a very bumpy ride anyways. We walked quite a ways before turning, and heading away from the road. Eventually, we came across an old weathered building, we were exploring an old mine.

Ingersoll Mine was an amazing place to explore. We wandered inside, and sat in the shade to relax for a moment, before continuing to venture out the back door. We followed a trail up another hill to an opening of one of the actual mines. It was pitch black inside, but I was curious to follow Spencer into the cave, and see what was there.

We illuminated the tunnel with our phones. The tunnel took a 90 degree turn half way though, and we found light at the end. As we got closer to the light, the cave opened up in front of us. It was a huge stone room with a hole in the ceiling, letting the light in. The boys went to check out the other dark tunnels connected to the room, while Kylie and I felt more content just enjoying the big, well lit cave.

We came out of the mine to a beautiful view, and before heading back down to the car, we sat with a lady and her son, on the side of the hill, picking through the rocks and minerals, and chatting.

Back in the car, we headed through Keystone, and up towards Sylvan Lake. We parked at the Harney Peak Tail Head, and began walking the trail. We were looking for Poet’s Table, a Black Hills gem. We had only seen photos from people who had found it, and I wanted so badly to experience it in person. (It was actually one of my bucket list places.) If you live near the Black Hills, or if you have ever heard of Poet’s, then you know that there is no clear directions to get there, and no clear landmarks to find it. Basically, your best bet is to have someone who has been there already take you, or cross your fingers and hope you get lucky.

The only things we were told to look for were a birch tree, and a stump with a rock on it, and that would tell you were to turn off of the Harney Peak Trail. Well, there is birch trees everywhere in this area, so that wasn’t helpful, at all. We did happen upon a stump with a rock on it though and we made a decision to turn off the trail there and head left, up the hill because it was clear in the photos that poet’s was up high.

We walked for a long time trying to decide what to do next. We looked all over for something that matched anything in the photos, but we found nothing. We were all ready to give up, and head back to the car when Spencer spotted a doe up the hill, and started yelling at it. At first, we all just laughed it off, and let him yell. Then someone started yelling back, and it was coming from above us.

We followed their voices, and started climbing up the rocks until we got to the top of one, and sat down to take a brake. Spencer and Ethan where standing in front of Kylie and I, they started grinning, and pointed behind us. There it was, on a small ledge on the side of a rock. The green table and chairs surrounded by small treasures brought from others who came here before us. It was occupied by another group at the time, who were reading endless entries from the thousands of notebooks that filled the green cabinet next to the table, and writing their own entries to add to the collection. We waited until they left, and then we took over the spot.

It was amazing.

Where is your favorite place to adventure to? Or a Bucket List Location you want to see? Feel free to drop it in the comments!

Live Bravely!

Always,

Danielle B.

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What is “Home”.

A roman philosopher by the name of Gaius Plinius Secundus, or Pliny the Elder, first said “home is where the heart is” almost two thousand years ago. I’m sure he didn’t realize just how vastly this phrase could be taken, but in any case, it’s my personal opinion that he nailed it.

When I was a child I used to think that home had to be a place. This only confused me, because since the day of my third halloween I have had two homes. Two bedrooms. Two daycares. Two groups of friends. Two addresses, in two very different states.

Some of you may be thinking, “LUCKY!!! You get double everything!”. Well, yes, I do concider myself lucky. I love my life, both homes, and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. BUT, it’s not all just a can of peaches. There are a lot of things that come with having your heart streached between 18 hours of travel time.

So, I have made a list (because I love lists) of quite a few pros and cons that should be understood of people who grew up with two homes. If you are about to be put in this situation, if you know someone in this situation, if you’re going through it and feel alone, or if your just curious- this is for you.

Let’s start with the cons, since taking bad news first is always best.

1. Usually, this happened because the parents are divorced. In my case, yes, which is on paper, very sad. My parents where younger than I am right now when they were married, brought together by a series of “fate” filled events. I have been told that it wasn’t the greatest at first (after the divorce), but they never let me see that part of it. In this con, I am truely lucky, because my parents have proven that even if a relationship doesn’t work out, that doesn’t mean a friendship won’t.

2. Feeling more connected to one place over the other. This sucks. Especially for the parent living in the other place. You get so caught up in how much you LOVE the one home, that you unintentionally make the other less than, and make a parent feel unloved by their own child. Heartbreaking. I talk a lot about one home, and not much about the other, but I feel it should be noted for family that may be reading this– I LOVE BOTH of my homes equally. One is not greater than the other, they are perfect in their own unique ways.

3. Your friends change and move on without you. Before you leave to go to your other home, you may have a great thing going with an amazing group of friends. People change. They get into arguements. They make other friends. Before you know it you’re coming back expecting to start where you left off, surrounded by friends, and things are not at all the same. And you missed it, so have fun playing catch up!

4. You want serious, long relationship? We shall see about that. Haha. I’m not saying it’s not possible, I’m just saying it’s really hard. I had a lot of great relationships throughout highschool, but none of them even made it halfway through the length of time I was gone. Just saying.

5. Get ready to miss A LOT of the important stuff. Graduations. Engagements. Weddings. Final goodbyes. Funerals… Bonding with a new pet- (they will think that your bed is theirs, and then be pissed at you when you steal it for a while). TIP: ask someone to take lots of pictures, and send them to you, that is the only way you will experience these things. Also, facebook is your best friend.

6. The pain of goodbyes is very familiar. You will have to tell everyone you love “Goodbye”, at least once a year. There will be tears, and hugs, and it will hurt. A LOT. Have you ever had open heart surgery? My guess is that it feels something like that. Either way, it’s not fun. I hate it. And, when you get older, and decide to roadtrip between homes (Because it’s the best), I recommend having a friend with you that can at least drive out of town for you. I say that from experience, because once you see that “Welcome to..” sign in your rearview, you are going to fight the urge to turn the car around.

Alrighty then, how about some pros? Those are way more fun.

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1. Travel experience out the butt!!! Woohoo! You, my friend, are going to have all the rules for airport security down before you can even solve a long division problem. IN FACT, you might end up being better at getting to your gate then someone who works at the airport. (Side note: When your under a certian age, and flying alone, they have someone watch you on your layover. This lady put me in my seat on the wrong plane, and I am the one who caught it. I was nine.) Also, your going to be so good at holding it when you have to go to the bathroom, that for the rest of your life you arn’t even going to know that you have to go, until you HAVE TO GO NOW! And not to brag, but I’m like my own compass. YAY for traveling, and pretty places!

2. You have some of the best stories! In your teenage years, most of your friends have never been to this mystical place that you disappear to all the time, so you look pretty awesome when you start telling them all about the places you go and the things that you do. Especially when your two homes are in South Dakota, and in Washington. Washington kids can not comprehend plains, and little trees. South Dakota kids think that the black hills are mountians, and that all ocean beaches are sandy and warm like Hawaii. So you have seen some things. Annd, you are a really good driver in “bad” weather. (You know, because one of your homes doesn’t have as extreme weather conditions as the other, so they’re not used to it like you are.)

3. If you need an escape, you’ve got one coming! I had a little dramatic issue when I was probably 14 years old, between my ex and my best friend (that’s real stuff in highschool ok!) Anyways, I was SO glad that a couple weeks later I was leaving. I didn’t have to think about it, just got excited about seeing my other friends, and for new adventures.

4. Two fully furniched, comfy, FREE room when traveling. Because if your traveling through the area, you know the parentals are gonna want to see you. Hug you. Feed you. Sit in bed and watch TV while eating loads of salad with you. Also, it’s a comfortable place that you already know, and your own bed.

5. All the peoplesss. Do I even need to get into it? You’re gonna have a lot of people. Plain and simple. You got a decent amount of friends in both places. You got family in both places. You have your parent’s friends, who are like family, in both places. It’s a lot… but they are soo worth it!

6. Also, congradulations, you better get a big christmas tree.

So there you have it. A basic list of pros and cons for growing up in two different places. As you can see, it’s equally as tough on a kid as it is exciting, and adventurous. It definetly makes you stronger emotionally. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I certianly blame my restless wanderlust on how I grew up.. and I love it.

From the rolling plains of South Dakota to the evergreen Puget Sound area of Washington, and everywhere in between, my heart longs for the constant travels, and rejoices in all the memories. Home is not a place, it’s a feeling of happiness and content. The heart is an organ of firey passion; it will let you know when you are home.

What are your thoughts about “home”? About growing up in two places? Is there anything you would add to my list? Drop it in the comments!!!

Live Bravely!

Always,

Danielle B.