It’s OK If The Road Is Your Home

Even when everyone else is settling down and focusing on something completely different like marriage and babymaking.

It’s a little bit hard to think that you are doing the wrong thing because you are not doing the “right” thing. You know the script—graduate college, find a job that is OK(in your field, that pays the bills), find the love of your life in a coffeeshop, get married, get a mortgage, have kids, go to soccer practice..sound familiar?

I’ll admit, sometimes, when I’m passing by a small child on the sidewalk with his mom and dad I definitely have the urge to have the same thing. But when I really think about it, that’s not the life I want at all. I am proud of myself for not following the crowd; no matter how sweet it may seem. I feel comfort in the road, and the constant moving. I actually start to feel itchy if I stay in one place for too long. That may be why I left to volunteer in California, drove down then moved to Florida, and travelled throughout Europe for two months.

I like the constant movement. My best memories have been on the road, on a trail, or simply on my feet. I know that one day I may look back on this period of my life and think of how crazy I was(like when you look at old photos from 10 years ago and realize those pink bangs were not quite as cute as you thought they were) but for now I’m pretty happy with my lifestyle choices thusfar.

48 HR+ Roadtrip to Banff National Park

On a whim in the summer, we decided to drive to Banff National Park. Now that sounds like a nice plan. However…we are in Northern New Jersey which happens to be 48 hours away from that park.

Well, traveling across the whole United States of America is a big challenge but one we were willing to take in order to see that gatorade colored lake.

We packed our bags, shopped for all the snacks in the world, mentally prepared by researching long road trip tips(this is the longest roadtrip I’ve EVER done), and filled the gas tank to the brim.

The landscape changed every few hours. There were mysterious mountains and windy roads in Tennesee, followed by a pink and yellow sunrise we obviously stopped the car to watch. There were weird hills and giant fields of tiny yellow flowers in Canada. In North Dakota there was the longest, neverending road with ´middle of nowheré vibes. The sunrise on that road brought bright bright yellows and oranges to the horizon. The nightime on that road was scary though. At 1am we took a random exit in attempts to find a motel. We arrived at a town that only seemed to be inhabited by one small bar and a handful of half drunk men. We went into the motel and found noone except taxidermied animal heads on the walls. Although it was probably more dangerous than we realized, we slept in the weird motel’s parking lot.

We met a group on the Couchsurfer app to go hiking next to Moraine lake with. They were all either avid travelers or hikers, so I loved hearing their stories from around the globe. They wanted to climb an unmarked hiking trail that seemed much more vertical than we were experienced. It was full of tiny rocks that slid very very easily which made the hike dangerous but I couldn’t resist the challenge. We proceeded with the hike and were absolutely amazed by the view. The mountains looked like they were very skillfully drawn by the world’s greatest painter, the smell of the pine trees was enough to make it seem like Christmas in July, and the incredible color of the lake shined in the distance.

We had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and apples on the middle of the mountain sitting on rocks. There was a moment when we had almost reached the top when my friend had a panic attack because we kept sliding and rocks kept falling. We were extremely vertical, and I began thinking about what branches to grasp onto if I fall. I was sliding on my butt and I made a mess of my yoga pants with the rocks. It was the most adrenaline and sweat I had ever produced on a hike. I loved every minute and do not regret it— even though it was definitely almost fatal(lol).

We drove to Seattle to meet our Russian friend who was visiting. With him, we hiked a steep and narrow path to a waterfall called Bridal Veils. The falls really did look like a part of a wedding day. The forest was different here, and a refreshing change of pace from the east coast foliage i’ve grown accostumed to.

Even with all the crazy moments we had, I don’t regret the trip and I would do it a million times over. The weird, scary stuff is what makes any trip better in my opinion. I wouldn’t want things to go perfect.

Adventuring Across The Street

I have a deep case of wanderlust.  I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up with road trips and cross-country moves being the norm, but it’s a big part of me that I don’t want to ever give up.  Well, this summer I’ve learned that to satiate wanderlust you don’t necessarily need to jump on a plane or drive hours and hours in a car.  

My aunt, cousin and a good friend from high school have all come to visit within the span of a month.  I took them all to some of my favorite places in the tristate area (Bear mountain, Liberty State Park, and Rue B Jazz Club to name a few) but in order to not get bored, I also researched new places that we could discover together.  Many people tend to go to the same places over and over because of the comfort of already knowing you like it.  I totally go to the same places, but at the same time I LOVE going somewhere for the first time and trying new things. Here are a few resources you can use to rediscover your own city:

1.  Yelp. If you’ve never been to a place, you might be curious about whether you will like it or not. Fear not, many people have probably been to that restaurant, rooftop bar or state park and those people have opinions that are conveniently written out on Yelp to help you decide if venturing to that new place will be worth it or not. A 5 star system is used to rate, people add photos of their experience and a map shows you exactly where their location is. A place rarely gets a perfect 5 stars but a good rule of thumb is to only go to places who have 3.5 stars are more.

2.  Groupon. Who doesn’t love to save money? Nobody. That’s who. Groupon saves you money on things you are going to purchase anyway.  Groupon gives you discounts for local services (Think hair salons, yoga classes and professional photo sessions), things to do (Think the Spartan Race, kayaking, and cruises down the Hudson river) and much more.  It tells you how much you’re saving, gives you a map, and shows you reviews from people who have bought that Groupon before. There’s so many companies I may not have even considered if I hadn’t found an amazing deal with them.

3. AllTrails. A mini roadtrip to the mountains can always lift my spirit. What lifts it even more is discovering a new hiking trail I’ve never been to.  A great app for finding new trails to explore is AllTrails.  They categorize each trail as easy, moderate, or hard(which is great because some days you want a challenge but other days you’d rather a stroll in the park). AllTrails shows you the length, altitude, and whether the trail loops or not. Photos and videos taken by actual other hikers are available as well as reviews detailing their experience on the trail. Hundreds of trails you may have never known about are ready for you to find.