Adventure Girl

I love a good adventure. I am an adventure girl, though probably not in the traditional sense most people associate with the label. I don’t mean an adventure like roughing it under the stars in a sleeping bag with a kettle of beans over a fire I built with a couple of rocks and some sticks. Heavens, no! I think we’ve already established that I’m not a fan of roughing it. But that does not mean I don’t love adventure. Just consider the definition: Adventure: (ad-ven-cher) noun, verb. N: 1. an exciting or very unusual experience. 2. participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises. V: 1. to take the chance of; to dare Yes, please! Sign me up!
Denali, Alaska, glacier, helicopter adventure
In glacier boots in Denali, Alaska
I will jump at the opportunity to have an exciting or unusual experience, and I love to take the chance to have one. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate undertaking, although I have ziplined through Costa Rican mountains, hiked to the top of an active volcano in Italy, snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef, and flown alone to Paris for a weekend. An adventure can be as simple as a road trip to the beach or taking a scenic route to somewhere familiar. For me, the adventure is in the opportunity to experience something. Something new, something unique, something exciting, something beautiful. I am always on the lookout for a new adventure. And while I certainly love the undertaking of a long trip to faraway places, I can get just as excited about planning a moonlight walk in a cemetery or a day at wildlife park. And that word “planning” is key. I am not so much a spur-of-the-moment, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of adventurer. (Though I secretly wish I was!) I want to know where I am going, what to expect, what not to miss, and where to eat!
adventure, fly, wing in the sun, wing and a prayer
Did you say GO? I'm there.
The planning is a huge part of the draw for me. Researching the area, looking for the best deals, mapping it out, framing an itinerary in my head—that’s all part of the anticipation and excitement for me. I love getting ready for a trip. Picking out clothes, determining accessories, checking for weather. Planning and packing and making arrangements. I get almost giddy from the combination of stress and excitement. (My family may not agree that giddy is what I get, but they can write their own blog.) And, of course, I love actually going on the adventure. Discovering new things, meeting new people, seeing new places. How is it like home? How is it different? What can I learn? What can I take away from it? What will I remember most? Luckily for me, I am blessed with a Knight who is more than willing to adventure along with me. He is the best adventure partner ever, whether we are flying to New Orleans to spend the day or driving to Cocoa to watch the moon rise over the beach. He's even planned a few adventures himself; in fact, the moonlight walk in the graveyard was his surprise for me! He indulges me in my need for adventure, and he puts up with my incessant planning of every last detail. He tries really hard to balance me out with a healthy dose of going with the flow and taking naps here and there. (Okay, so I don’t ever really just “go with the flow”, but he tries to get me to, and because of him, I do at least think about being less structured.) And he is always patient and understanding when I stop to take 500 pictures of the same thing at different angles trying to get the perfect shot!
rental car, adventure, test drive
We are intense rental car test drivers.
My Knight and I find excitement in the smallest things on our adventures. Like rental cars. We are all about a rental car. It’s like an extended test drive. We are always excited to see what we’ll get and how it measures up to what we drive every day. “Oh, I like the visor. The seat doesn’t go back far. It rides nice. That’s a great place for a clock!” We love hotel rooms. Comfy beds, comfy pillows, ice cold air conditioning, and light-blocking drapes. Coming in late, sleeping late, and occasional room service. And someone else makes the bed!  
dessert, adventure, chocolate
Best. Dessert. Ever.
Did I mention how much we love finding great eats at a hole-in-the-wall? Look for the locals, and don’t go anywhere that’s empty. If it’s a little scary looking, but full of local people, take a chance! That’s how we ended up having some of the best steak we’ve ever had when we were in Costa Rica—in a pole barn with no walls, plastic chairs and the most incredible view of an erupting volcano! For me, going on an adventure—even just for a day---refreshes me. It recharges my batteries and clears my head. It’s my therapy I guess. I read once that Sagittarians need to travel to stay grounded. And the Chinese monkey thrives on travel. So even though I don’t live my life by either of my signs, I’ll take what works to my advantage from both and use that as an excuse to travel! Some people buy designer handbags or expensive shoes. I’d rather go somewhere.
travel therapy, relax, adventure
Travel is Therapy.
It really makes a difference for me. I can tell when I haven’t gotten away in a while because life starts to completely overwhelm me. But when I can go on an adventure, it’s like I am able to take a deep breath, stretch, and then come home with a clear head and a new determination to live life to its fullest. Which brings me to the best part of an adventure. Coming home from it. As much as I love planning a trip, packing for it, traveling to it, experiencing it and enjoying it, I love coming home even more. Back to my kids, my dogs, my friends, my home. My own bed. It’s as though every time I get away, I come back ready to be home and in my own routine. Refreshed, energized, feeling blessed, and ready to tackle daily life. But always on the lookout for the next adventure, of course! What recharges you? What is it that you do that keeps you sane and happy? I’d love to know!    

Blood, Needles, Movies and France

Blood mobile, give blood, donate blood, the gift of lifeOur church believes in giving, so on some regular schedule that I have never figured out, the blood bus shows up for everyone to donate blood.  I have always had a slight aversion to needles, especially those piercing my skin.
It's not that it hurts overly much, but the anticipation of it nearly drives me to tears.  Oh, who am I kidding?! It has driven me to tears on more than one occasion, which is almost always embarrassing (eyes watering, not sobbing. I'm not THAT wimpy).
But since it seems unlikely that I will be able to save lives in the normal course of my daily routine, I think it's important to give blood and make the effort at saving lives that way.
A couple of years ago, I was settled in one of the bus recliners with a nice cup of OJ, giving blood, donating bloodtrying hard not to pay attention to the nurse about to stab me in the arm.  I usually talk non-stop to the other people in the bus in my efforts to ignore it (and those of you making mental comments asking how that is different from any other time I'm talking should be ashamed of yourselves).

I Love Paris Because . . .

Food is definitely one of the reasons Paris is my favorite city. The wine, the sauces, the bread, the crepes, the pastries. But one of the things I really love is La Cure Gourmande.
La Cure Gourmande
Paris, France

 

The biscuits and sweets are to die for, but the entire shop is a journey into a pastel and sugary aromatic playground of visual delights. I am on a sugar high before I even take a bite just from wandering through here. I wanted to share this experience with you. Too bad there's no scratch 'n sniff or lick 'n taste on your screen! (don't try it!)
How do you pick just one?
Too pretty to take anything off the shelf!