It's Been Awhile...

Sherine and John (picture right) have officially turned over the bus to us.
Fun fact: My brother was on tour with this EXACT vehicle (it was previously branded for another ed-tech company) before it was handed over to John and Sherine and now onto us.

The last time I blogged, I used a cheesy late 80s/early 90s song as the title. So, why not go for round two? It's Been Awhile (2001) since the last time we chatted and my taste for music still hasn't gotten any better.

Previously I was grappling with leaving our new home, but now I have to say it feels so good to be back on the road. You see, the road is home. It has been for the past four years, and as we go into our fifth year of hotel life - it feels like we opened the door and we're back in our humble abode in the nearest Marriott/Hilton hotel. We had been yearning for that constant movement again, so it feels great to have it back.

To catch you up to speed since my last post, we drove back to our parent's houses in the Midwest (St. Louis/Chicago burbs) so Casey could store his vehicle at his mom and dad's and we could unpack/repack anything necessary for the next 10-11 months on the road. From there we flew to Atlanta for training, took off on our new tour for our first event in Columbus, OH where I celebrated my 29th, traveled to Myrtle Beach for our next activation/Valentine's Day and back to Atlanta where we've been for about a week.

Here's a quick recap of what the past few weeks have looked like....


Kicking off our fifth year on the road at Lambert. Gotta love St. Louis.
It's a rare occasion to find a line at this airport. It usually takes me only 10-15 minutes to get a bag checked,  get through airport security and get in line at the one and only Southwest terminal Starbucks.

One of my favorite things about Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta. 

The Wine Bistro | Worthington
I don't know when my birthday and National Pizza Day starting sharing the same date, but it's one heck of a way to celebrate. Casey spoiled me rotten on my birthday, and then picked out this super cute place near our hotel where we treated ourselves to red wine flights of "Western Classics" and flatbread pizzas. I opted for the "Juliette" with brie, slices of pear, garlic cream, caramelized onions, Parmesan with white balsamic vinegar reduction - SO GOOD.


Spending Valentine's Day in Myrtle Beach, SC. 

We had the perfect Valentine's Day involving: running/exploring, wine, chocolate covered strawberries, a documentary and I even found my favorite pickles at the local Fresh Market!


I hope to do a separate post on Kennesaw Mountain (I know...famous last words, right?) but this park is a GEM. Free to park, free to enter and such a great trail system. About 17 miles of trails total and views of Atlanta, Stone Mountain, and Kennesaw/Marietta. Definitely make it a priority on your next trip to ATL, and if you follow me on Instagram - you may find yourself making some new friends while you're at it. 

We met up with one of our favorite friends and Georgia Bulldogs Alum, Mary Beth. She always shows us a good time and constantly takes us to the raddest restaurants and over the course of two trips to Athens, she didn't disappoint (because she never does). We checked out her cute new digs, got in some college baseball (FSU vs. Georgia), and frequented two places that you need to put on your "to-do" list the next time you're in Athens: THE GRIT and TRAPPEZE PUB.
Random side note: I love college towns. They're the best - for the atmosphere, the obscene amount of bars/restaurants and how cheap it is at said bars/restaurants.
Also: Finally tried New Belgium's new Slow Ride Session IPA. DELISH.

I would recommend Wild to anyone, but I think my adventure-seeking friends would especially love it. If you've never heard of the book or the blockbuster film, it's a memoir written by Cheryl Strayed chronicling her journey [solo thru-hike] on the Pacific Crest Trail. I really fell for this book because I can relate to losing a parent at a young age, the depression you often feel because of it, the thrills you seek to get away from it and the feeling of needing to be 'alone.' An epic novel that can appeal to all. WARNING: May cause a serious urge to sell everything you own, spend tremendous amounts of money at REI and walk 2,500+ miles on the PCT ASAP.

Next up on my reading list is A Walk in the Woods.
I had picked up this book numerous times in the bookstore, before I had even heard of Wild, and finally pulled the trigger and purchased it. You can say I wanted to stick with the trail theme as Bill Bryson's book follows his (and his quirky friend's) trek along the Appalachian Trail. So far, it's been neat to hear two different versions of two very different trails - similarities in thru-hiking mishaps and adventure, finding oneself, but the narrative is very different. Wild was more serious as Cheryl was at an impressionable age, trying to find herself and straighten out her life. Whereas Bill Bryson's story, thus far, has been very comical and light-hearted.
BONUS: While I was typing this and searching for links, I stumbled across an IMBD page for A Walk in the Woods! Apparently, there is a film adaptation and it will premiere in August 2015 starring Robert Redford!

This Academy Award nominated film for Best Documentary Feature is currently available on Netflix and is worth a watch. Synopsis: The documentary follows the story of four characters fighting to protect Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, home to the world's last mountain gorillas, against war, poaching, and the threat of oil exploration. 

This documentary left us both feeling disgusted by money and big business. If you're stripped of all of your belongings, the land is all we've got. It was truly inspiring to watch Emmanuel de Merode, the park rangers and a French journalist fight for the park, for justice and for what they believe. We live in such a beautiful country and we are so fortunate to have so much land protected. I was moved so much by this documentary that it compelled me to donate to the Virunga National Park and if you feel it in your heart, I suggest you do the same.
Note: My computer blocked the pop-up that allows you to insert your donation/cc information. So if you're having problems, open up the donation page on your smart phone (it allowed the pop up) and donate that way or turn off the pop-up blocker on your computer. Every little bit helps, even $8 buys a ranger a new pair of boots!



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