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.

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.

 

2016: Don’t Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out

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As 2016 tranformes from present to history, I find myself getting more and more excited for the new year. I have found myself looking back on this year, and not feeling satisfied. That along with the very bad ending 2016 is giving me, has me seriously looking forward to the clock striking midnight. I guess I can’t say it was that bad, there were some things that I wouldn’t give up for anything.

I have looked my fear of driving in the snow in the eye, and traveled long distances through it. I have gone to new places, and gone from sleeping on a toddlers bunk bed to unexpectedly getting a really fancy hotel in the middle of a big city. I have found the hidden gem of the Black Hills, and laid in the back of a vheicle to watch a drive-in movie. I have hiked more, explored more, and photographed more. I bought myself my camera. I got tattooed. I’ve added to my book collection. I started an etsy shop, and then failed to keep up with it. I’ve walked in the ocean, and wandered the dense woods of the northern Cascades. I have ridden on the back of a motorcycle around the San Juan islands of Washington. I’ve escaped town to a different state for a random day getaway. I’ve driven through the night, and gotten lost in a big city. I learned that there is such a thing as too many weddings in one season. I’ve lost people, and left people, and i’ve also embraced some new and some old friends. I learned that if you drink to much at a company christmas party, you will hear jokes about it for the next seven months. I opened my heart to a company, and in return gained a whole new family. I’ve learned that I love writing, and it’s a great way for me to process things. I started a completely new job, and left my job of three and a half years, my comfort zone. I experienced my first big panic attack, and it scared the mother-lovin crap out of me.

Best of all, I’ve learned a lot of new things about myself, or at least accepted things that I didn’t want to before. I know what I need to work at, and where I need to begin, and now that I have some new answers, I don’t feel lost anymore. I am not in limbo. I know what I want, I know where it is, and I have a plan to get it. No more free falling. 2017 will kickoff the life that I have always dreamt of, but never had the courage to drop everything and go after. I am excited to start. I am excited to experience everything. I am excited to feel like everything is coming together. 2017, I think we are going to be good friends.

Some Resolutions:

  • Be there for myself.
  • Go after what I want.
  • No holding everything in.
  • No procrastinating.
  • Stop playing hard to get with my ideas.
  • Travel more (South & East).
  • Make this year better.

Live Bravely!

Always,

Danielle B.

Precious Moments of Luxury

img_20161211_013152Every once in a while, it’s nice to splurge on an exciting family tradition. Actually, every once in a while it’s nice to really fun to do something out of the ordinary with the people who have, and will always be by your side no matter what.

Every year around Christmas, a group of my family members pitches in money for a limousine. We all drive down to Story Book Island (a park here in Rapid City), and stand in the arctic temperatures, waiting for this large stretched out vehicle to whisk us away on a snowy holiday night, for two hours.

The Hummer Limo, driven by a family friend, pulled into the parking lot rather quickly this year, saving us from a long icy wait. The 12 of us piled into this fancy, lit up vehicle as quickly as we could, picking our seats, and stripping our winter layers off. We had hardly made it out of the parking lot before the radio was playing old rock songs, and the champagne and sparkling apple cider bottles were being passed around.

Laughter began to fill the air, and the little ones began there own adventures up and down the limo. The point is always to see all the Christmas lights together, in a more extravagant setting than we are used to, but the limo always turns into a temporary family home for us to catch-up with each other and share an exciting experience together.

With all the chatting, and laughter, the windows always end up fogged over, and me being me, I always want to take pictures. I had to get a bit creative this year, because we forgot to bring paper towels to clear the fog, and ended up with the above photos.

Our annual Christmas tradition all in all was a success. So many great memories are made from small little moments of fun and happiness, never forget to enjoy where you are, and what you have. I recommend taking a moment during the seasons to splurge on an exciting, and out-of-the-ordinary adventure with the people who mean the most to you. And, of course, have a merry Christmas, it will be the only Christmas of 2016 we will ever get.

Live Bravely!

Always,

Danielle B.

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Solo Road Trip! {Throwback}

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Super 8 Hotel in Missoula, MT. July 18, 2014.

 

At the age of 19 I finally got what I had always wanted, my first ever long distance, solo road trip. I’ve traveled back and forth between my home in South Dakota, and my home in Washington, my whole life. The idea of driving by myself between the two was always a dream, and in the year of 2014 I made it happen.

After months of planning, working hard, and saving my money, I was all set to go. The morning of July 17th, 2014, I loaded my car up with WAY to much of my belongings, water bottles galore, and a butt load of snacks. After stopping to have breakfast at the nearest McDonalds with my best friend, and a quick stop to fill up my gas tank, I entered Interstate 90 west bound and began my journey. My excitement flew into over drive as I crossed the state line from South Dakota into Wyoming. Free at last, behind the wheel of my Equinox, I was in complete control of where I was going, and no one could stop me. Music blasted, windows down, hair flying around in the wind, (and probably speeding).  I made my way through Wyoming, and finally to Montana which is the longest part of the trip.

Did I mention before, that my air conditioning in my car did not work at the time? Well it didn’t, and this was a particularly hot summer. My cars thermometer read that it was around 100 degrees throughout the entire trip. By the time I made it to Butte, MT, I was calling my dad to make a reservation at a hotel somewhere in Missoula. I was hot and tired, but I refused to give up just yet, so I drove the 100 and something miles till I made it to Missoula, MT.

At the Super 8 Hotel in Missoula, I walked in covered in sweat, and paid for my reserved room with the credit card I had gotten a week before. By the time I made it to my room, the sweat and make-up began to run into my eyes, which stung so bad I could barely open them. Immediately, I stripped off my clothing and ran into the shower, face tilted up toward the shower head. I had thought that having my own hotel room would have been just as fun as the road trip itself, but by the time I was out of the shower, all I wanted was the bed. The alarm went off at 7am, I was up and out of the door by 7:15, after first snapping the photo above.

The second part of the trip flew by. Before I knew it I was passing the Idaho state sign. I decided to stop for fuel in Coeur d’Alene, ID, taking the first exit with a fuel symbol. I didn’t realize until leaving the gas station that I had gotten myself stuck on a one way road, going away from the interstate. Lost and panicked in a town I did not know, in a state I did not belong to, I started driving down random streets in the direction I thought I needed to go. Eventually I spotted the interstate, and then finally an entrance to the west bound lanes. Crisis averted! Hallelujah!

It only takes about fifteen minutes MAYBE, to get from Coeur d’Alene to Spokane, WA, and as I crossed the Washington state line in Spokane, all the happiness in the world flooded over me. I was home (at least the state anyway!), and I instantly felt like I belonged. Windows open, arm stuck out into the Washington air, I smiled all the way across the state. Until I got to Ellensburg, WA. I knew that driving over the pass there wasn’t much for stops, and on the other side was the chaos of Seattle traffic, so I stopped to fill my tank in Ellensburg, and that was when my father called me.

First, he wanted to know if I had seen anything about the wild fire that was apparently in the cascades and nearing I-90. I hadn’t seen anything about any roads closing so we figured I was safe on that one. Still scary though. Next, he offered me a decision, because according to KING 5 news, the traffic in Seattle was so heavy that it had eventually stopped moving. (Typical.) My options where: A.) Get stuck in traffic that was basically a parking lot for two hours. Or, B.) Bypass Seattle entirely by taking a bunch of back roads I didn’t know, while risking running into the aftermath of a mudslide that happened a few weeks prior, and praying to God that I don’t get lost AGAIN. As my fathers daughter, I chose trusting in my sense of direction over big city traffic. (Dad’s a truck driver.) He texted me the basic  directions I needed, and I set off over the pass, repeating “Exit 202” over and over in my head as I went.

I followed the directions carefully, memorizing each turn I had to make as they came up. The euphoric happiness overwhelmed me again as I drove deeper and deeper into the dense woods of the cascades, no longer afraid to be lost, only wanting to take in every piece of my surroundings. This was MY Washington. This was my home. I had made it to the road that would lead me straight to my hometown of Mount Vernon, WA. Of course, I was too busy looking at the scenery that I had missed so much, that I took a turn way too soon. My heart sank for a short moment before I realized that I knew this road as well. It was the road that lead straight to Conway, where a friend of ours owned a restaurant. Conway also happened to be only a fifteen minute drive, not just from Mount Vernon, but from my actual house! A few minutes later I drove up the drive way to my house, with my grandmother in the window waving her arms around like crazy, and my father opening the garage door to let me in.

I won’t go into detail about the rest of the two and a half week trip, because I feel like this has been long enough, but it was one of my favorite trips I’ve ever been on. For a quick highlight reel, I: went to a wedding of two wonderful people from my “biker family” we’ll just call them. Met an old friends brand new baby boy. Got to see my sister, and my two nieces. Turned 20 years old, and had a friends entire restaurant to ourselves for a party. Went Skydiving for the first time ever!!! Reconnected with a loved one from my past, and had a blast with him and all his friends from Bellingham, WA. Spent at least half of my trip up in Bham with all of them. My childhood best friend from SD flew in to Seattle, from being stationed in Hawaii, in the army. Adventured, and showed her as much of Washington as I could within only two days. Went to the last “Pete’s Pig Roast”, which is basically just a big party at our friend Pete’s house, with a live band, and bonfires, and camping, and lots of alcohol. My two best friends from childhood finally got to meet! My best friend and I drove back to South Dakota so she could see her family for her vacation, and I could get back to work.

Always go after your dreams, even the small ones.  You never know what will happen unless you go for it, and the memories you make will last a lifetime.

Live Bravely!

Always,

Danielle B.