Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Key West, Florida, November 2016


Fate has landed me in Key West, Florida. The other California, though no beautiful mountains and earthquakes. The island has just about everything else, from coconuts to free spirits who wear painted birthday suits and sip on spiked slurpees. Think this might not suit your fancy? I highly recommend it!

“But there’s weird people down there!” “Aren’t you afraid to get hit on by drag queens?” “Have you seen any naked people?” “Six-toed Cats?!” “What about Zika virus?”

Weird is what makes us all unique. Go against the grain and experience a different culture that may be outside of your “normal” box. You will only grow as a person and just might come back with an interesting story, especially about the Garden of Eden. *insert winky face*

To answer the above questions: Yes there’s weird people. Yes there’s drag queens (pssst, they’re human too). Yes there’s homosapiens smothered in paint, but you really have to try hard to find them, unless you come for Fantasy Fest (Usually the end of October). Six-toed cats really do exist at the Hemingway House. As for Zika, you can be human, or you can just live vicariously through me and be a hobbit. No judging though.

On to the potatoes!

Etiquette
Don't blatantly stare, unless you plan on complimenting. Just because you're in a different location, don't get wasted and ruin it for others. If someone asks you to buy something, say no thank you, and continue walking to your destination. Finish your food on the street, not in the stores. Step out of your comfort zone and say hello to others looking at you. Don't leave trash, make it cleaner than you found it. No matter how bad you want to be a pirate, don't. Reminder, the people who work there see obnoxious people EVERY DAY. Make their day, if you can.

How much should I plan to spend in Key West, Florida?
This calculation is for one person spending a day there. Adjust for the group or kids you may bring and factors such as staying in a hotel (+$100.00).

Total: $200
Gas ~ $30 (127 mile round trip from Homestead, FL)
Food ~$70 (3 meals $15 plus hydration, candy, alcohol)
Souvenirs and Presents ~$100

How to pack for the Florida Keys
Flip flops (the same ones you used at the truck stop), shorts, shirt, underwear or swim suit, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen.

How to arrive
Options: Car, Bus, Bike, Cruise, or Horse (no seriously, don’t). If you’re choosing to drive down, I highly recommending stopping at the RaceTrac gas station in Homestead. Point blank, there’s only one way in. This includes gas ($$). Also, if a wreck happens, you wait in a long, terrible line, sometimes for hours…But the good news is, YOU’RE IN THE KEYS!

The last tidbit of advice I’ll suggest is to not bring a truck. Parking is ri•DON•culous! This is not USPS. If it fits, chances are, your vehicle will end up different than you left it. In case you had no other options than to bring a larger automobile, the two parking garages listed below should help you out.

Old Town Garage
Address: 300 Grinnell St, Key West, FL, 33040
Phone: (305) 809-3910

Public Parking Key West
Address: 220 Simonton St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 912-7275

How to travel the Florida Keys for FREE.
Get on Rideshare through Craigslist.com or ride with a friend. It’s dangerous, but you can also bike the 127 miles from Homestead, FL. Eat before you go and pack a day bag with food at home. Don’t buy anything. Sounds pretty plain and simple, but it’s okay to not buy that fancy dress or Fat Tuesday Slurpee. Join a buddy boat and help someone on their vessel.

Ways to make MONEY in Key West, Florida.
Sell parking space • Sell coconuts and other fruit • Street perform (people love fire) • Upcycle items in to Artwork • Fishing charters • Landscape • Pet and Child Sit • Braid Hair • Sell Sarongs • Rent Boats • Sell Fish • Beach Bag Kits • Dress up

Where are some unique places to eat in Key West, Florida?
This list could be quite extensive, but I’ll spare you some time. I’ve personally visited these four places to eat and drink. All are very good, but just depends on your mood. I started off with Better Than Sex because my inner diabetic told me to!

Better Than Sex – Dessert
Dessert bar offering an extensive menu of decadent treats in a dimly lit, intimate space.
Address: 926 Simonton St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 296-8102

Sloppy Joe's – Restaurant/Bar
Open since 1933, this bar offers live music & dancing plus a separate tap room for sports-watching.
Address: 201 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 294-5717

Hog’s Breath Saloon – Restaurant/Bar
Popular pub providing bar food on a covered outdoor patio plus live music & dancing.
Address: 400 Front St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 296-4222

Fat Tuesday – Slurpee Bar
Address: 305 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 296-9373

Things to do in Key West, Florida

Mike marker 0
Address: 501 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 294-1129

Ernest Hemingway House – 6-Toed Cats Live Here…
The Ernest Hemingway House, officially known as the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, was the residence of author Ernest Hemingway in Key West, Florida, United States. Opened in 1851.
Address: 907 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 294-1136
Rate: ~ $13.00


Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory located at 1316 Duval Street, Key West, Florida, United States is a butterfly park that houses from 50 to 60 different species of live butterflies from ... Wikipedia
Address: 1316 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 296-2988
Rate: ~ $12.00

Southernmost Point Buoy
The Southernmost Point Buoy is an anchored concrete buoy in Key West, Florida marking the southernmost point in the continental United States. Wikipedia
Address: Whitehead St & South St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 809-3700

Walk Duval Street

Watch the Sunset Festival

Souvenirs
I’m an aspiring minimalist, so souvenirs turn me off. Especially if they’re not recyclable. But, I understand everyone is different. Here’s my list of environmentally friendly souvenirs you can get in the Keys!
Painted Upcycled Items • Handmade Grass Hats • Chopped Coconut Cups • Sand • Shell Mobiles • Hair Braids • Take a Picture and Frame it with Scraps Found

References
https://www.google.com/#q=better+than+sex+key+west
https://www.google.com/#q=sloppy+joes+key+west
https://www.google.com/#q=hogs+breath+key+west
https://www.google.com/#q=fat+tuesday+key+west
https://www.google.com/#q=mile+marker+0+key+west
https://www.google.com/#q=Ernest+heming+way+house
https://www.google.com/#q=butterfly+conservatory+key+west
https://www.google.com/#q=southern+most+point+bouy


I hope you enjoyed this guide.

Leave some comments to make it better!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Writer's Block

  • Keep notes in one place.
  • Use a different medium. I started writing on paper instead of the computer.
  • Start over. Yes. Sometimes you just need to know when to start your project from scratch.
  • Ask a friend to bounce ideas back and forth.
----------------------------------------------------
Months. This is how long it's been since I've posted anything. The cause: Writer's Block.

I found myself writing lists of subjects I wanted to write about. Then fell in to a rabbit hole that seemed impossible to get out. I wanted my articles perfect. I didn't want to post garbage. I beat myself up harder over failing to put any content out. In the end, months have gone by without any articles. A steep learning curve, I suppose.

Taking a step back, I've realized a couple things. One, "People just want to know what you're up to." - Kate Masca (Homesteadforeveryone.com). Two, I can use this article to show people what I'm doing differently to get out of my rut.

*Deep breath* Here it goes.


This is my personal map to walk me through my Key West Experience article. Before this, I would stare at the computer screen for hours, hoping words would just fall on to the word document. Just like the refrigerator, food does not magically appear when you open the door.

As you can see, there's not much organization. My handwriting is choppy from being a passenger, but it's forcing me to work through my own mental wall. I wrote down experiences and tried to keep them in order. In the mean time, I'll continue to post other things I've learned along the way, until I'm done wordsmithing.

Personally, I try my best to stay away from cookie cutter posts. They lack authenticity and character. I could recommend more structured resources, but honestly, I'm going against the grain.

I want my readers to know there's a human behind the keyboard and not some robot. I want them to connect with me in a sense that everyone is learning, including myself.

What have you done differently to get yourself out of a rut? Add a comment below!




Friday, June 24, 2016

3 Couchsurfing Tips to Help Boost Your Accreditation

While lying down, I thought of a couple tips that might help your Couchsurfing future!

1. Log in to your profile every couple of days to add the confidence you are open to communicating. I've had multiple guests contact me in the last month simply from logging in frequently. Unfortunately, I've been traveling outside of home so it makes accommodations difficult.

2. Become verified! I cannot stress this enough. Trust is hard to obtain. Make your travels and your guest's travels easier by adding that extra layer of trust with a simple payment verification. It's the same thing as a membership fee. Only, one time! Currently, my home isn't verified because I've misplaced my paper while traveling away from home, but the second I return, it's definitely happening.

3. Obtain more references. Even if you're unable to find a guest. Maybe find someone online to help them get accommodated elsewhere. Leave a review for their communication, and they'll most likely leave you one back. You have to start somewhere!

Nomadic Matt also wrote a great article on How to Crush it on Couchsurfing. His goes in to more detail about trying to get your name out there, but definitely read it if you're interested in becoming a host or traveler yourself!

Anyways, I hope this helps. Comment below if you'd like to read more about certain subjects or need me to expand on an idea.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Real Bathroom Issue: Why would you do this?!

I literally can't even...


Who does this?!?


I spent way more time than I should have in the bathroom this morning because most of it was wasted on ripping small pieces of Charmin's arse-wipe in to my hand. I had MAYBE 3 inches to actually do some weird shadow puppet move to find the end of the rainbow.

Who even puts a handrail right there?? Why couldn't they fix the darn thing after they installed it?! I KNOW the person that installed either of these must have thought this was some cruel joke. One last jab to take out on some poor, vulnerable, individual just wanting a tree, to wipe their bum with. Well, mystery person, you've accomplished it.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Where to Take a Shower While Traveling: Love's Travel Stop

While traveling recently, I came across a slight problem. A cold, dark shower. No electricity. No hot water. Blegh! Too scared of the abyss, I panicked and called Love’s Travel Stop. For those unfamiliar with this, it’s a truck stop. Are you crazy?! Why yes.. yes I am.

“Isn’t it dangerous!?” “Don’t get stabbed!” “Please don’t die.”
No, I didn’t plan on dying at three o’ clock in the afternoon and I definitely did not plan on going in to an environment where I thought I was going to be stabbed. I’ve been around enough to know that if something is going to happen, it will. No matter how much forethought and planning you put in to something. This, is a wonderful example of how fear consumes us from the unknown. A reason why so many people don’t fully indulge in what life has to offer.
Well let me tell you, that was the best damn shower I’ve probably had in a long time. Just mildly scalding with enough pressure to take the paint off of your car and I LOVED every single drop!
Let’s have a recap.
I called first to see if they even offered public showers.
Love’s Travel Stop Rate: $11.00/person.
What’s included: Matching blue towel, facecloth and liquid body soap located on the wall in the shower. For my experience, there was an outlet to plug in a hair dryer, or in my case, my phone charger (because I like to live life on the edge of 2%). A toilet, to contemplate more of life’s decisions or read your Facebook on, is located next to the shower. So, if you’ve had Taco Hell, you’re in luck! There was a fan hanging on the wall, but it didn’t have any awesome features to share.
What to bring: Your nasty bits, your own towelclothes, beer, shampoo/conditioner, soap (if you’re sensitive to lab made chemicals), toothbrush/paste, and FLIP-FLOPS. *I highly recommend flip-flops in any public shower. There’s too much bacteria on the ground that could ruin your dating life or your day, if you’ve got the foot fungi. Protect yourself and just wear them in the shower, plus they dry quickly. I was just kidding about the beer, unless you’re in to that kind of thing.
The experience: I’m not going to lie, I had no idea what I was about to encounter, so I stayed in my car for a minute and thought to myself, “Do it for the blog! No, it’s for me…I stink! But blog!” I grabbed my bag of clothes and flip-flops (noted above!).
I wandered like a goldfish to the counter and shyly asked, “Where do I go for showers?” The clerk pointed with her finger as if Dumbledore (Harry Pothead I mean Potter reference) was showing the way as I continued swimming through the sheeple to the second counter. “I’d like to pay for a shower,” I said. A complete stranger standing next to me dealt his loyalty card and replied “Here, this should cover it.” Never in my life would I have imagined some completely random dude would offer to cover an $11.00 shower at a truck stop, but he did. Thank you truck stop man!
You’re given a ticket with a number, almost like waiting in the Publix deli line, but not as appetizing. I found a seat in Subway and caught up on Judge Judy. I’m fairly certain she’s a vampire because she doesn’t look like she’s aged at all. She still looks the same after all these years!
After my number was called, I was handed a blue towel that looked like it had been stolen from a Dr. Seuss book, and a long wooden sized ruler with a key. Note to self, to open the door, you must turn the lock all the way and THEN turn the handle and THEN walk through. Otherwise, you end up awkwardly close against the door.
For extra protection, I placed my trusty running shoe in the corner of the door and the wall and my small pocket key-knife on top of the soap dispenser. Who needs a gun, when you have the hands of Jet Lee?! Scrub-a-dub-dub, I was finished in the time it took to read One Fish, Two Fish.
Feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world, my first quest was to check out at the counter and let the lady know Thing One’s towel was left it in the bathroom. The second was to buy myself a chocolate bar and slave for 12 hours.


Suggestions: Definitely bring your own towel. Wear flip-flops. Go during the day if you can help it. Arrive early. It could very well take 20 minutes before your number is called.

Kate, from http://www.adventurouskate.com/ recommends traveling with a big rubber door stop. For those that are unsure about the idea of using a public shower, it's one extra barrier to keep the peepers out.














 
 



If you enjoyed my article, please leave a comment below or share it with your friends. Thanks!



Thursday, May 12, 2016

Recovery Monday - Day After Carolina Rebellion 2016


This morning was interesting to say the least. I had crashed so hard, housekeeping woke me up with their taps on the door, only to leap from the bed to keep it from opening. No, I don't want your fresh pillow! Rob Zombie still playing in my head... Too tired to actually get moving, I laid back down and went through the blur of 3 days in my head.

Breakfast is calling my name. Cracker Barrel – because that’s the only thing I ever eat apparently. Unfortunately, my new partner in crime had to adult, so he left me to fend for myself. I did what any other bum would do with a car. I returned to the Hojo (Howard Johnson), found the shadiest bunch of trees located in the back of the parking lot and fell asleep right there, next to a storage container and 2 recycle bins. Hi, my middle name is crazy and you’re about to get exposed to more of it. I had a night shift that was starting in less than 6 hours and I wasn’t about to spend another $50.00+ just so I could contemplate all of my life’s decisions and then nap.  So there I slept, until I was scared awake by the garbage man.

I look at my phone, 2% charge. Lights are flickering and I’m hearing ticking. Whyyyy? Because I killed the car. I want to make a side note, do NOT call your boyfriend and tell him you killed the car, then explain you have 1% battery and then tell him you’re okay through text. I may have caused symptoms of tachycardia and increased respirations on his behalf… It only adds to the story right?

I disconnect the phone, bring it in to the lobby and charge it, while I ask for a jump. No cables available. Plan B (not the medication) – is to walk down to United Rentals and ask if they have an extra set. The lovely man behind the counter offered me his own personal cables only if I promised to bring them back. I pretty much skipped all the way back to have someone jump me.

I hear a scream as I’m exiting the lobby. First, I thought it was because of my face, but thankfully I actually looked down. One of the cleaning ladies was terrified of a dragonfly that had been hanging out on the welcome mat. I placed my finger under him and she continues to scream. The poor little guy probably ran right in to the door. Cables in one hand, dragonfly on the other, the lobby dude and I head towards the car. Screaming cleaning lady runs for shelter.

Fiddling around with the car, I became increasingly impatient because I wasn’t sure if my poor raspberry wheeled baby was actually going to run or not. Twenty minutes later, it finally worked! I returned the cables back to the wonderful gentleman. Note, if you ever want to be asked on a date, act stranded. Anyways, thank you United Rentals man and Hojo dude!

I finished off the night with a trip to Autozone and a 12 hour shift.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle


Minimalism is
          Simple
          A lifestyle - finding happiness while loving, being driven, and adapting to change.
          A choice - living with less, is more.
          A philosophy - a practice of keeping elements that only bring value and enjoyment.
          Uncomplicated - and less stressful.
          Organized - thoughts and spaces.
          A tool - to find freedom.
          Peaceful - enjoying life and focusing on what truly matters.

Minimalism is not about owning a certain number of items. The lifestyle is about being happy with less. If that means you are happy with a 20 piece wardrobe or even 288 objects, then you are well on your way to becoming a minimalist. The main idea is to erase negative influences, mainly clutter and people. Disclaimer: I do not literally mean erase people. I may not like them, but they're good to keep around. Sometimes. ARgh, you get the point. Anyways, minimalism is a choice which also has many positive benefits, which you'll understand by the end of this post, I hope.

The effects of clutter and negative energy:
Visual stress
Anxiety
Too much time wasted looking for items
Not enough time to do anything
Working too hard and too long
Unhappy feelings and emotions
Wasted money and food
 
What is Visual Stress?
Visual stress is the difficulty in distinguishing objects due to disturbing visual patterns.
"It can be responsible for print distortion and rapid fatigue when reading."
- www.ceriumoptical.com/vistech/visual-stress.aspx
This fatigue is exactly what occurred along with anxiety, as I stated above. It mentally hurt looking at my own possessions and caused psychological discomfort because the mind is trying to organize or process all of the items, especially in the photos below. Minimalism is a philosophy and therapy needed, to reduce the clutter, and release negative influences from clouding your vision.

Before

After

http://www.theminimalists.com/minimalism/
The Minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus
These gentlemen work as a team to define minimalism and enjoy a meaningful life with less stuff. Their blog has a plethora of information regarding the basics of being a minimalist, getting rid of life's clutter, wardrobe essentials, money, and so much more. I highly recommend digesting all of the content these guys have to offer.
"Minimalism is a tool used to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom" - The Minimalists

http://mnmlist.com/minimalist-faqs/
mnmlist Leo Babuta - creator of Zenhabits.com
Both sites are an eye opening to a new happy lifestyle. Learning how to let go of possessions, objects and how they consume us, and distractions, are some key points in mnmlist's blog. Opening your mind to zen thoughts and keeping your life calm, zenhabits.com is extremely refreshing by way of reminding us to slow down.
"It’s a way to escape the excesses of the world around us — the excesses of consumerism, material possessions, clutter, having too much to do, too much debt, too many distractions, too much noise." - mnmlist

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/what-is-minimalism/
becoming minimalist Joshua Becker
Joshua Becker and his wife decided learn how to become minimalists and for the past couple years, they've been blogging their journey, views, and thoughts along the way. The transformation over time, including their writing, shows amazing results and progress. Not only is it motivational, it's refreshing to be able to have a connection that they were once beginners too.
"Minimalism slows down life and frees us from this modern hysteria to live faster." - Becoming Minimalist

http://lovingsimpleliving.com/2012/03/what-is-minimalism/
Loving Simple Living Lorilee Lippincott
Not only is this woman living the simple life, she's sharing it for the world to see. She's mastered writing and publishing a book of her own, wrote articles to help with the hustle and bustle of modern day consumerism, and even travels simply. This is a very admirable woman because she's in control of her life and loves it!
"The idea is to not be limited or distracted by material possessions." - Loving Simple Living

http://exilelifestyle.com/minimalism-explained/
Exhile Lifestyle Colin Wright
An extremist in owning little possessions, this man is my biggest roll model as far as living the nomadic lifestyle on 55 items and writing his own content for an income.
"What Minimalism is really all about is reassessment of your priorities so that you can strip away the excess stuff – the possessions and ideas and relationships and activities – that don’t bring value to your life." - Exhile Lifestyle

http://www.minimalstudent.com/minimalism-101/
minimal student Jessica Dang
Also working her way from the bottom up, Jessica is living the simple lifestyle and working on her school all while being happy with less. She's found the secret to happiness for herself and works hard to share it with others on her blog.
"It’s about finding happiness in what we have already, instead of chasing something that is always out of reach" - minimal student
   
What are some steps to help transition to a simpler life?
Write a list of 10 things that are important that you absolutely cannot live without.
Find a good friend to help you determine items necessary to keep or toss.
If you feel overwhelmed, start with one box, or a section of your room.
Keep your favorite spot in the house simple, as an example to follow for the entire house
Only focus on the list of 10 objects and separate all leftover items. Place them under your bed. If there's too many belongings, then place them in the corner of your garage. This is my 3 month plan. If you haven't reached in the bag, get rid of it.
Use samples from the internet, like I have, to keep yourself focused for the lifestyle you want.
Write down 5 goals on a dry erase board and look at it every day to help stay on task.
Also find a quiet place to meditate or at least think alone, without interruptions.



Benefits of a minimalist lifestyle and my personal observations:
Less visual stress
Less time looking for possessions
Less cleaning
Reduced anxiety
Positive energy
Minimalist Wardrobe
More time



References

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Current Life Summary

It was suggested that I should write a summary of what’s currently going on in my life since I’ve detached myself from social media. With this being said, below is a snapshot of what I’ve been up to, besides writing and slaving.



I’m in the process of purchasing a tag-a-long camper. How is this considered a minimalist move? Part of it is for pleasure, most of the decision though, is work related. I travel around the US quite often for my work. Renting hotels a month at a time becomes costly. $1,000.00/month plus, if I want my own personal space. Due to night shifts, it’s definitely easier being alone rather than waking someone else up. I know how I am and trust me, I’m a bit of a monster if woken up. Be quiet and leave the beast alone, unless you come bearing gifts of chocolate.

I’ll go in to more detail about the camper at a later time, but it’s a 2017 Forest River Grey Wolf 22RR. Check out this sweet Youtube video of it here https://youtu.be/eVJQcecN_ho. Investing in this will allow me to have my own breathing room including paying less to someone else. I will essentially be saving at least $500/month. If I use it over the next three years, it’ll definitely pay for itself. In addition, I can sell it at any time. In addition to that last addition, it’ll give me the option of renting my house out. Essentially creating more passive income and enjoying more vacation time.


I went couchsurfing for a second time. I wrote a post on this about a week ago and figured I’d talk a little about it on here too. So far, I’ve only stayed with two hosts. Both of them were completely awesome. I have connections and now they do as well to make their way to the sunny side of South Florida! I even learned people are putting CouchSurfing groups together! How awesome is that? As soon as I go to one, I guarantee there will be a full written report.


Crawfish Hunting? You betchya! This was my first time too! I had a short time to grab as many as I could. I turned out with 5. Originally, I was wanting to farm raise them and eat them, but since I enjoy taking on a thousand projects, I decided maybe it’s better to dump them in to the koi pond until I’m truly ready to take on such an adventure.

Originally finding them, I had rigged a Chick-fil-A cup on a stick to try and catch the miniature swamp lobsters. Unfortunately, I would not have made it as a contestant on Naked and Afraid. Sadly, I had an empty cup, but I went back to Wateree the next day, and triumphed with a pool net! I actually have proof of me trying to catch these mud bugs from a fallen tree. See it below!


A walk through Wateree. Want to see a real snake exhibit? Go to Wateree, South Carolina, walk on the trusses, and look down. In their natural habitat you can see water moccasins, turtles, insects, and if you’re lucky otters! I was scooped up by the parental units and brought to this magical wilderness. It was so enjoyable, I went twice in one weekend! I have to say, this is my new favorite spot besides Ocala National Forest.


Zoo is Jonny? To put it simply, I’m taken, by a man named Jonny. I went through a pretty crappy separation during a really low point in my life. I told myself, my friends, and family, I wasn’t going to jump in a relationship. I even wrote “No Boyfriends” on my goal board.


I’m perfectly capable of doing things on my own, but ultimately, I want someone in my life. Someone who is excited to see me every day as if I left for a year. Who I can create, build and grow together with. I could go on, but I’d rather save you the reading for another time.  Anyways, it’s working.


Isn’t it too personal to post about your relationships? Some might say so. This is what’s happening in my life and I did get permission to mention the mystery man! We’re actually working on some pretty awesome projects right now, including his own blog, https://www.ZooisJonny.com.  It’s still under construction, but will include animals, travel, and more animals! Make sure to check it out next month to see updates!


I’m still hanging out in the Carolinas for work. I’d tell you what I do, but we both know how that ends… I don’t see me leaving before July. In the meantime, I’m going to use couchsurfing and airbnb as much as possible between days off and explore as much as I can of this beautiful terrain!


I roamed around Wilmington and stuffed my face. If you haven’t read the last article, I made it to Wilmington, North Carolina and hung out with my couchsurfing host! It’s fairly detailed of the activities we were able to enjoy, which mostly includes shoving food in our pie holes.


“Bear Necessities.” The Jungle Book was amazing! If you haven’t seen it yet, please do. It’s so much like the original, which made it even better. What’s also fantastic? Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken are in it too!


Homemade steamed and slow cooked dinners. Absofreakinlutely! I literally steam or slow cook everything. So far, I’ve mastered Cheeseburgers, chicken and dumplings, cabbage kielbasa, and chili. Being on the road really puts a damper on your eating habits. Especially staying in a hotel. But it doesn’t have to mean you eat terribly. I also try and stay away from the microwave as much as possible. There’s no nutritional value after your food has been zapped. Eventually I’ll make a post on all of the options you can try while traveling.


Carolina Rebellion. Are you going to be there?! It’s not often that I go out of my way to watch concerts, but this is going to be filled with magic. Three days of bleeding ears, multiple bands, multiple drinks, and awesome memories! There will be tons of pictures and most definitely a blog post to follow! Here’s some quick information if you think you can make it up, or down, or sideways by the weekend.


May 6, 7, 8


7301 Bruton Smith Blvd, Concord, North Carolina




Monday, May 2, 2016

Wilmington, NC

04-29-2016 1352 Wilmington, NC


Morning.

It’s spring. Warm sun, cool breeze, and the sound of nature. Birds speaking a language only Mother Nature understands. I look up. 3 yellow triangles are reaching for the roof of the porch I’m sitting on. They’re freshly hatched baby Cardinals, screaming for a regurgitated meal. Yes, I had to add that in there.

I’m getting ready to explore my favorite quaint little town with my host turned bestie! While I wait, the shade offers me serenity while gazing at the sun glistening off of my Honda FIT. The plan is to hit downtown and enjoy a wonderful lunch, eventually returning to craft handmade pasta noodles.
I am all smiles as I finally have a day off to catch up on appreciating the little things life has to offer. Including nature therapy and writing my little heart out. I can think clearly now that my car has some organization, my clothes are clean, and this last job is complete.

Transitioning into a minimalist lifestyle has allowed me to concentrate on opportunities and experiences rather than worrying about gathering countless belongings. I’d still be doing laundry if I was the same person 2 years ago. Instead, I’m sitting on a hardwood floor, creating and sharing my stories, while listening to Thievery Corporation on Pandora. This outlet provides me a medium to enjoy reading what I’ve experienced and I couldn’t be happier, besides my foot going numb on occasion.

This morning, I’ve been able to learn about other bloggers, start a plan for budgeting and meals while on the road, and enjoy a beautiful “movie scene.”

Afternoon.

I could hug the Earth fur I'm so happy, especially having 24 hours of freedom from the Man. I was brought to Wayfarer, in downtown Wilmington, and had it in my mind that I was going to order a mouth-watering sandwich and dip. Well, our waitress ended up seducing both of us into ordering the Special. Said special included oven-baked fried chicken, layered with bacon, layered with a hard-boiled egg, layered with cheese, lettuce, and other special sauces of which, I've since forgotten due to the food induced coma we were left in.

Waddling down a couple blocks, we made our way to a local family-run book store and the Cotton Exchange - which includes a conglomerate of smaller businesses along the river. Fun fact, yes the building was actually used during the Cotton Exchange periods of our lovely American History.

After spending more than I cared for, I made it back to the house with rocks, a face tube, sage, essential oil bug spray, and books. It was time to make epic handmade spaghetti noodles! The ingredients - just flour and eggs.

Evening.
It's a little after 6pm. Craving tacos from a food truck, the noodles were left on the counter to harden while the two of us ladies were off again to the Fly Trap! We met with her gang and played Old Maid, waiting on the deliciousness to come rolling in. Literally. I had myself a taste of blueberry sour beer, not my favorite. It kind of reminded me of the Kombucha I had, for the first time, when I was valleyganting the Cotton Exchange. I, instead, chose the Farmhouse Ale. A little hoppy for me, but would suffice until the meat-stuffed tortillas were placed in my icy hands.

Alas, after devouring said tasty steak cilantro filled tacos, it was time for me to go. I said my goodbyes to everyone and started preparing for my 4 hour drive back to Chapin, SC.


Till we meet again Wilmington!




Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I Deactivated Facebook for a Month, and This is What I Learned

I began directing my time and energy in to other adventures. It sounds obvious, but never became clear until actually going about my business with it gone. I’ve focused more on living in the moment rather than reading the same repetitive updates over and over again. With that being said, I’ve had more time to enjoy the following:

Crawfish Hunting, Couchsurfing, Writing, Resting,
Cooking, Building Friendships, Creating

Because of this transition, my daily routines have also curved. I look at the news maybe every one or two days. I see what’s updated throughout the week, instead of the vicious hourly cycles I’d fall in to.
Before my departure on the book of faces, I had posted my email so everyone could contact me. To my surprise, I only had one email with contact information sent. I figured there would be a few more, but everyone has different priorities. Or so I’ve learned.

My attitude has also changed. For the better. I would drive myself mad, constantly looking for “likes”, updates, etc. I would run into upsetting images scattered throughout my wall of abuse, animals, and death. I thought I had created a niche selection of positive sources, but every now and then, something negative would scroll on by.

The driving force behind deactivating social media was a result of a sour recent turn of events. I went through a separation. I would find myself looking for a sign. False hope. I would spend hours looking for answers coupled with disappointment and wasted time. Shortly after, a death occurred in my family and my new job started days away.

I needed space. I couldn’t deal with people and my newly acquired anxiety. An experience that takes your breath away, literally.

With my newly found enlightenment, I find myself logging in only to download pictures that have been left behind. My intentions for the future are to continue creating, writing, and expanding this blog. Maybe then, I’ll reactivate it just to share my link with the world.

What I’ve gained from this experience, is time. Time to concentrate on things that matter in life. Family, friends, and experiences. Instead of wishing, be who you look up to. Enjoy every day as a gift. Life is what you make of it.






http://zenhabits.net/falling/


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

CouchSurfing is the Future

For me at least..

I'm fairly certain I had the best experience I think I will ever have as a couchsurfer. During my month long stent in Wilmington, NC, I stayed with a wonderful host who was practically like a sister to me. She showed me the culture of her quaint town, the art, and knowledge she's gained from her travels. Like the review she left for me, we instantly clicked.

Well, last week I decided I had enough of the same old routine. Leave, go to work, be anti-social forever, then try and pick up where I left off in my previous friendships. Because I seem to work an exuberant amount of hours, I decided to give couchsurfing another try at my new location. I figured, why not? I can always leave and get a hotel!

Sure enough, I found an older lady who's way more hip than I am at 25 years old! We decided to meet at a mutual location, at Starbucks, of course. Everything seems to be a go for tonight!

Because I intended to be on the road for 2 months, I decided I would bring a couple things with me to write off the list. One of them being my sewing machine. And guess what my new couchsurfer host knows how to do... Yep, sew! Instant connection. Now let's just see if I can actually create a teddy bear!

What I truly enjoy out of this, is meeting interesting people. I learn so much more about myself and what I can accomplish. Being exposed to new lifestyles and passions are truly what make me happy.

Here's a nice quote I picked up during our Starbucks conversation, "People may get older, but your mind still works the same."

I'm going to end this post on that thought. Updates to come soon!

Update 04-26-2016: Couchsurfing went well. I think. I don't quite remember. One minute I was in the living room, the next I was on the bed texting on my phone. I awoke at 0600 scrambling to grab all of my belongings because I was almost late for work. However, I will have the opportunity to stay again and maybe this time, try sewing. It's extremely difficult being on the road and working 10+ hour shifts, but grateful for another opportunity and a friend.

2015 Year In Review

2015 was an interesting year to say the least. My exposure to life in general, exploded. I met new people, traveled to the UK and completed personal goals for myself with new ones to accomplish!

January - Started the blog in January.
February - Paid off the car for my birthday $10,000.
April - I got fired. Two days later, I was hired by a better company.
May - Skydived for the first time. It was so amazing, I went the next day!
June - Bought my house at 24 years old with $10,000.
September - I quit being a Paramedic to pursue my other career.
October - I traveled to South Carolina in an advancement of my career.
November - Surprised my brother and Dad in Chicago, surprised my grandparents in Indiana for Thanksgiving, and surprised my other Grandma in Michigan. I was fortunate to see family I had not seen in over a year.
December - Went to London for a week and a half through New Years. The Eye, the fireworks, were amazing!

Created Peer to Peer Lending account with Prosper.com.
Traveled to states: Indiana, Michigan, South Carolina, Illinois.
I adopted a Golden Retriever and two Kenyan Sand Boas.
Passive Income also increased. Hoping to order a Happy Meal in 2016!

2015 left a lot of room to improve myself. Here's 2016 goals:

Travel:
Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Bimini, Japan, UK,
Ice Castles, Diamond Hunting, Gold Panning, Gemstone Hunting

Personal:
Start a Business
Skydiving License
House Projects Complete - Koi pond, Airplant Wall, Compost, Kitchen Bench
100% Paperless
100% Minimalist and Nomadic
Read more and write more

Passive Income:
I already have some income streams in place, but I'm hoping to have a steady amount.
Blog, IRA, Stocks, Photography, Advertise, Rent, Tutorials, Drop Ship

Friday, March 25, 2016

Life On Hold

Life happens. It causes more stress than we care to deal with. So today, I'm placing my projects on hold.

Advancing this site.
Creating.
Business ventures.

I'm focusing on one thing at a time, just as I focused on inbox zero for the entire week. I accomplished something that I thought was so impossible (eliminating 2,000+ emails to be exact). I cannot simply produce quality if I'm giving attention to multiple projects. So here's to focusing on what's important right now.

My Grandmother ▪ Simplicity ▪ My Body

That's it.

My car has been full since I left Florida and only a small amount has been reduced. Today, those items I'm wanting to let go of will be traded/bartered for smaller lighter items for my coaster project. I'll continue that project at a later time, but I'll have more room with other items removed.

I need to finish scanning papers to reduce them to create my other project, handmade cards. While I'm not creating them at this time, it'll allow me to have my items fully separated, reduced and ready to go when I have the time to start.

Being on the road, you lose track of your health and eventually stoop down to what's available. Fastfood. It's horrible! You run out of life's most precious gift. Time. You feel like garbage. Too lethargic to make something, so you grab a burrito or a KFC bowl to help nourish yourself, only to wake up feeling worse and more lethargic. Unmotivated. Unable to get up and actually create something healthy for yourself. I'm stopping that too. I can feel it. My teeth, my cardio, my fatigue. It's awful.

Yesterday was my breaking point. While it wasn't fastfood, I sat down to eat at a diner and found a hair in my food. After eating the entire plate and coming across a pubic looking strand, I became nauseous. What else could I have shoveled in my pie hole? I left in disgust and realized I need to get in control and cook again.

Cooking delicious food for myself will allow me to eat simpler as well. I struggled the past month with buying too much food and accidentally letting it expire. I want to reduce waste. Not contribute towards it. So I will be working on mindful eating. And eating for sustenance rather than comfort as well.

This brings me to my next project placed on hold. Miniature aquaponics. Because I travel so much, gardening is not always an option. Or is it? When life is in control, I will be attempting this adventure as well.

Until then, slow down.

I'll see you on the other side.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Seeing the Light

I'm finally beginning to see the light at the end of my very long journey as far as minimalism goes. Most of my belongings have been reduced and my life is more meaningful. I've been fortunate to have wonderful experiences and awesome support along the way.

What I have found:
Less stress. Happiness. Time.

I couldn't have done it if I didn't have others that I looked up to for inspiration. The Minimalists that I've been following all live very simple lives and I've been walking in their footsteps focusing on areas that bother me most.

What I've learned:
Take your time getting to your goal. Be aware of yourself and your interactions while trying to achieve it. You'd be surprised what you learn in the journey about personal thoughts and how others react. It's okay to feel stuck when trying to obtain something intangible. As long as you're moving in a forward motion, you're still accomplishing something. Writing down numbers for goals didn't really help me. Even though I had over 1,000 emails at one point, the thought of having nothing in my inbox drove me harder. The thought of doing less laundry made me stick to it longer. Physically not having to carry an abundance of belongings and worrying about objects gives me mental relief. This is not an overnight walk in the park. I've been exploring this concept for almost 2 years and I've only now begun to see the final results. Choose one area to improve on. If it becomes tiresome, find another subject to improve on, then go back to the original plan. Start with small achievements and move to the larger daunting ones. When you do, split it in to chunks.

Examples of splitting tasks in to chunks:
Laundry - 2 piles. What you wear and what you don't. Or start with a specific type: shirts, pants, undergarments.
CDs - what you listen to and what you don't. Take a step further then start scanning in those favorite CDs. Once scanned, either toss or keep.
Paperwork - again, two piles. The pile to toss and the pile to keep. If you have an abundance of forms in your keep pile, scan them, then toss them.

It's been almost a month that I've had all of my belongings in my car. Not all are reduced but as long as something is accomplished every day, it's moving in the right direction.




Saturday, March 19, 2016

Love From Far Away

I've had many people come and go in my life. In 2014, I was asked by someone close to me if it was possible to love more than one person. Flipping through the pages in my head of memories, at first I thought No! That's a preposterous mentality! I took a step back and realized, you can. Though not everyone is loved EQUALLY.

You can love your parents, you can love your siblings. You can love your friends, and you can love multiple partners. Generally, they are loved one at a time. Not at one time - if you know what I mean!

I hit a wall when a relationship fell apart in 2014. I didn't have depression, but convincing myself to get up everyday was a common occurrence. I also didn't mind if a bridge collapsed while driving on it. I was in love and was heartbroken. I didn't want to go to work, knowing he would be there. The pain didn't go away for a very long time.

In that time, I learned you can care without staying in love and you cannot love without caring. I also learned you can both care and love someone far away.

Love does not simply stop. That's why there is so much pain involved with the ending of a relationship. We are hurt. In turn, we do things we don't mean. We just want to be heard, even if it's negative.

With this in mind, I had another failed relationship. I thought I had finally found "the one". The one that would go on crazy adventures with me around the world. The one I could look up to for guidance. The one that wouldn't mind growing old with me.

I realized, I cannot be in a relationship. I cannot be in one if love is not EQUAL. I cannot be happy, if they are not happy, another cruel lesson I learned in 2013.

It simply does not work.

After crying, I collected my thoughts.

I needed to look back how I stood on my own two feet after 2014. I wiped the tears from my cheeks and told myself it's okay to love from far away. I love my grandparents from far away. I love my parents from far away. I cannot be hurt from far away.

They say if things are meant to be, it'll work out. I'm going to follow through on this theory and go home. Remove myself from the picture. Work on myself and accomplish other goals I've set in place. Maybe then, it'll be new, after being separated for some time.

This is not goodbye. This is not the end. In my mind,  it's only temporary. I'm sad because I'm still in love. Only time can change that.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

It's Saint Patrick's Day

I'm in a local bar to Wilmington, North Carolina before 8am. The name, The Harp. There's something free about the atmosphere especially being here on such a festive day.

Before pulling in to the parking lot, I had expected to be by myself and maybe one or two customers, have a delicious breakfast, and be on my merry way. To my surprise, this little community is alive and wearing all sorts of green! Green glasses, kilts, painted faces, spring hats.

A cowbell jingles, the shuffling of feet, and waitresses scoot past my table for two. Though, I'm observing quietly in my own little bubble.

I made the decision to try a geek omelet with a side of hashbrowns, buscuit, bacon, and sweet tea to wash it down. The tables are beginning to fill up, the conversations are getting louder. Riverdancers are warming up their feet on TV.

I feel pure joy.

Not because it's a holiday. Not because I'm devouring this delicious breakfast. Because I can finally stop, and take in all of my surroundings. This is a moment I've missed being consumed by the MAN and working my precious youth away.

I'm taking small steps to get there, but I like what I'm feeling.

Slow down.

Enjoy the present moment.




Monday, March 14, 2016

Challenge: Live Digitally, Live Passively

Recently, I just completed my inbox zero challenge. The next phase of my personal challenges include living paperless and passively. This is a difficult feat considering my job requires me to continuously fill out applications and constantly travel. Before traveling to North Carolina, I packed my car with all of my belongings to get rid of them. Slowly, but surely, I'm almost where I want to be.

The following is a list of things I've accomplished while on the road working 12+ hour shifts:
Reduced the inbox to zero
Scanned in receipts
Copied favorite clips of magazines
Removed some items of clothing from my wardrobe
Reduced half of my CDs and electronics bin

What's left?
Another tub full of other documents that need to be scanned
The remainder of my wardrobe needs a couple more items removed

Goal:
Start making passive income - $10/month

Present:
$7/Month with Prosper.com

I'm setting my goal at a low amount because it's an easier to obtain. By the end of the week, I'm hoping to have products to offer. I'm working on multiple projects at once, so it takes longer to produce.

I'm also going to experiment with the bartering and trading world! Wish me luck!

Check back at the end of the week!



Saturday, March 12, 2016

Become A Life Coach They Said

I thought about this for a while today when a friend suggested that I reach out to others.

The only problem: people.

People are going to do what they think is best for themselves, regardless of what reliable resources have to say. They hear what is said, but that doesn't mean it's listened to. I have family members. I have friends. All of which, only hear a small percentage of my opinions and let it roll out the other end. I'm okay with this. They're special to me just the same. However, I don't know that I could become a so called "Life Coach". For years I've watched in frustration, as my brother makes his life choices, my parents follow through on their personal decisions, and my friends stay peacefully in their comfort zone. I feel I cannot help others if I myself, am currently paving an unknown path and cannot share the same visions with those close to me.

While I would receive enjoyment from watching people I care for grow, there's a hard lesson I've learned...

"You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink."
                                            - Quote from someone that probably owns horses...

In this journey, I enjoy the challenge of unwritten lessons, but have not mastered the skill of being able to help others envision successes. If I could, maybe then I shall reconsider Life Coaching. Til then, I'll just share my life experiences!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Words Can Hurt. Only If You Let Them.

*This post contains sensitive material.*
For those who are easily offended, I encourage you NOT to leave the page, but keep reading.


2014 was a very difficult year for me. I wasn't where I wanted to be in life. I wasn't happy. The screenshot above, which includes offensive language, is only a snapshot of how crappy my life was at my lowest. I didn't have my own home, I was striving to find a career, even though I was a medic. Somewhere I belonged. I wasn't happy in my relationship, because I was not happy with myself in general. I was NOT the same person. I had an attitude and would lash out due to tensions of being stressed all the time. This and many other reasons are why I searched the internet for days to find myself. 

I responded to this email, in my attempts to reach inbox zero - a challenge I gave myself. Though both of us are hurt from the fact that no one really likes to end on a bad note, I felt it was important to reply that I am doing okay and I have found happiness. That email, from someone who loved me, hurt so much mentally. I knew I was not what the title had been named and I knew I had morals unlike described in the context.

Why am I sharing this? Why did I respond? 

I'm sharing this, NOT to belittle the person who sent it, but to show the world how hurtful situations can become and how to deal with them. Some will probably say, you shouldn't have responded. I'm okay with that, but I did anyways. For a sense of closure. I did because before all the bad, there was good. There was a friendship. Now, I'm not saying I want to be friends and hang out once a week or be in a relationship. What I'm trying to say is, because I have a different mindset, this doesn't hurt anymore. I'm not the same person and it's okay to leave a line of communication open. If perceived wrong, I guess it can be considered abrasive, but it's definitely not how I intended it.

Each day is different. Life presents enough challenges to overcome. By practicing to let go, I've learned where I stand, who I will allow close to me, and know how far away to stay. Life does a good enough job helping people down.

Edit: Not even after an hour and I received this response:


This, is the best closure. Open communication. No more bad feelings. No more mental anguish. Not every scenario will result the same kind of ending, but I'm really, truly, starting to believe, life is what you make of it. Your attitude and approach defines your outcomes.

Minimalism: The Art of Letting Go


Being able to let everything go is astonishing. Personally observing and practicing the art of letting go, I can say it takes a lot, mentally. I’m constantly reminding myself I don’t need my childhood collection of M&M’s and sheets of music, I once spent 10 years of my life practicing. Teaching yourself to let go of others who negatively impact your life also takes a toll. There’s no need to make it a statement, no use in physically unfriending them on social media, or even wasting time to describe to others why people are considered “bad”. Just let go.

Keep what helps you move forward. Keep what is important and makes you happy. Keep the people that lift you up. I’m constantly molding, adapting to a changing society through technology, and have new goals and aspirations including immersing myself in other cultures.

I’ve been on this journey to become minimalist for over a year and a half, hitting bumps along the way, but have actually found happiness through less. I’m no longer stressing about finances. I’ve learned it’s okay to not compete with the Jones’s next door. I don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on “toys”. I’ve learned to just be. Be someone you want to hang around. Be my own coach. Be who I look up to. Becoming minimalist has taught me independence and patience. Knowing not everyone is on the same path, knowing not everyone has the same values and perceptions, has helped me become a better and happier person. 

This new lifestyle, philosophy, practice, whatever you want to call it, has taught me to live freely, openly, and I love it!