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.

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

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.

 

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.

 

 

Get Outta Town!

img_20161122_140306It was a few weeks ago, while my best friend (Kylie) and I were sitting at a burger joint, that we came up with the idea to road trip to Denver, CO. Both having been dealing with loved ones from our past, along with the difficulties of our present realities, and long, never-ending work hours, we decided we needed a break from everything. We decided on the one and only day that seemed to work for both of us, and set out to make this happen no matter what. We were going, and nothing would stop us.

For two weeks we waited impatiently for the days to go by, and for the 18th of November to finally grace us with its presence. As the day got closer, the chances for a successful trip started to turn bleak. The forecast began to show rain, which quickly turned to snow, and gradually looked worse as the days crept on. Our co-workers and families began to make comments about our beloved get away becoming inevitably doomed, and in return we began to doubt its existence ourselves. That, in addition to our plans to meet-up with friends from Salt Lake City, UT failing left and right, brought our excitement to a new low. I began to feel disappointed after all the work I had put in to change my schedule around for this one day away from everything. The negativity was getting to me, which is something I try very hard on a daily basis to not let happen.

The day before the trip the snow began to fall, and the roads turned slick. We continued to plan for the best, not knowing what would happen. I packed my bags, and stared out my window at the first snowfall of the year, and prayed for a miracle. By morning the snow had started melting, which instantly filled me with hope. My only worry was that the melted snow would freeze by the time we left after work, before it dried up. I threw my bags in my car and drove to work, testing the roads as I went. Kylie messaged me once I pulled in the parking lot, and said, “We are still going right? Even if we have to drive REALLY slow?”. My reply was “yes”, because duh, I never give up an opportunity for adventure. Leaving work, the roads looked better, and I headed to my friends house in Box Elder, SD, to through my bags in her car and take off into the night, not before picking up another friend who had quickly chosen to come with us to escape as well.

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A miracle happened.

As soon as we were out of Rapid City, the roads became clear and dry, and they stayed that way throughout the trip. We were ecstatic, and we were getting the hell out of town! As we drove though the dark, and under the stars, we blasted our music and danced in our seats. The three of us in our own world, feeling invincible and free at last.

Six hours after leaving our homes, and our lives, the city lights of Denver, CO emerged into view.  We made our way South, through the city, and finally to our hotel. It was about 12:30am by the time we made it up to our room on the 7th floor. We were tired from traveling, but excited to finally be here. (Also, I have a thing for big windows, and we had the prettiest view!) Eventually exhaustion won, and we went to bed.

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Kylie and I woke up early, and immediately started getting ready for the day. (girl stuff) Soon we were waking Jake up to rush him into getting ready so that we could go explore a city we’ve never really SEEN before. But first, Jamba Juice! We started at Broadway street (or Ave. or whatever) to take in the culture, and thrift shop of course. Next, we headed downtown where we ran across the 16th Street Mall, and decided to see what it had to offer. It was still morning, and very cold so we found a Cheesecake Factory restaurant, and went in to warm up and have lunch.

Finally it warmed up a bit and we were back outside exploring bookstores, and thrift stores, and clothing stores in this place that had malls within malls. Something that does not exist in South Dakota. Before heading out of downtown we stopped for my favorite coffee (that we also don’t have at home) Caribou Coffee. Next we found another mall to explore that had one of our favorite stores, and we drug poor Jake around, before giving in and going back to the hotel to drop bags off and relax. We ended up all cuddled on one bed playing a logo game off of kylies phone, and enjoying doing nothing for a few hours.

At 6:00pm Kylie and I got up and got our things ready to go. Jake decided to stay at the hotel for a little while, and work on getting us tickets to an Imax movie (which we also don’t have in Rapid). Kylie and I had plans for dinner with a girl neither of us had ever met in person, but I had talked to a few times through the amazing community of BANGS ambassadors we are a part of. She and her girlfriend live in Denver, and after learning that I was in the city, she invited us out for dinner so we could meet.

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Hops & Pie, Denver,CO

I was completely nervous to meet Cam. Not only for the fact that she was practically a stranger, but also because she is such a well known voice in the BANGS community. I knew she was going to be awesome, I just didn’t know how she would react to quiet, weird little me. The shy little girl voice was screaming at me, “What on earth do you think you’re doing? You cant even talk to people you don’t know in person! Get out of this!” But I wanted the experience, and I wanted to meet this new friend, so I did.

Kylie and I drove all the way across Denver (during a Broncos game) to the small pizza shop that Cam had chosen. “The best pizza in Denver!” We talked, and I tried not to talk with my mouth full of delicious pizza, and we laughed, and the whole meet up was basically just great! After we finished eating, we went outside to let her girlfriend take photos of us together with our BANGS, and of course the pizza. #BANGSfam Eventually it became late, and we parted ways. Kylie and I had to race back to the hotel to get Jake.

I ran up to the room to get Jake, and after hearing me struggle to get the key to work, he opened the door to let me in, and grabbed his things to go. Luckily, the Imax theater was just down the street, and we made it in time to park the car in the parking garage and get inside to take our seats. We saw Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them in 3D. It was great.

We were asleep by 1:00am, and awake by 7:00am. We took off first thing in the morning for home. We arrived just in time for me to get to work on time at 3:00pm. The trip wasn’t long enough, but it was worth it. When you know what you love, and what makes you happy, always do your best to take every opportunity you have to get it, and don’t let little things get in your way. Don’t let fear guide you, this is your life.

Live Bravely!

Always,

Danielle B.