Embracing Nevada: A Georgia Girl Moves West

Embracing Nevada - Val in Real Life

Twenty-two years. Half of my life. That’s how long I’ve called the Atlanta area home. (The other half was in Florida, for those that aren’t in the know.) And now I’ve left the southeast. Sort of… More on that in a moment. My tapestry… I’ve talked about the art of living with you before in a slightly different context. But largely I …

Motorcycling: A Metaphor for Life

Moto Metaphor - Val in Real Life

Throttle therapy is an amazing thing. Lately when I’ve been out on the bike to clear my head, I’ve been musing on how much motorcycling is a metaphor for life. The three concepts that come to mind are: Look where you want to go. Avoid target fixation. Lean and accelerate. Here’s the skinny for my non-rider friends.  And for my …

Carson City Motor Cop Competition

Carson City Sheriff's Office Extreme Motor Officer Challenge 2016

Each year, the Carson City Sheriff’s Office hosts the Extreme Motor Officer Training Challenge. This year marked the 13th anniversary of the event, designed to bring motor officers together for friendly competition, training exercises, and community connection. This year’s venue, Mills Park, proved to be a fantastic site to be able to see all of the action brought by motor officers in …

Identity

identity - val in real life

In the wake of changing my name, I’ve gotten many inquiries about how and why I chose it. Keep in mind this took over three years of searching and consideration. It’s a difficult decision and legal process so I didn’t force or rush it. It took a lot of patience to accept that when I found the right name for …

Virginia’s Appomattox Court House National Historic Site

Appomattox Court House - Val in Real Life

Back in April, I ventured out for my second time at the Horizons Unlimited Traveller’s meeting in Appomattox,Virginia. Before I left, I extolled the virtues of extended travel and how it gives a traveler the ability to have a richer experience. Because of changing how I approached this trips by combining with my annual spring photography workshop in the Smokies, I succeeded …

A fresh start, a new name.

New Name - Val in Real Life

It’s no secret that I’m an independent-minded woman. Or that I’m a feminist. Or that I’ve been through a lot of changes in the last few years. Or that I spent the last seventeen months rebuilding my life from a nearly fatal motorcycle crash. I’m not one to resist change but there are also times you have to facilitate it. There …

Turning Misfortune into Opportunity: A Photographic Journey

Val in Real Life

Each April I return to the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont for the spring photography workshop led by the fabulous Bill Lea. While it’s largely a family reunion for me and I love spending time with people who constantly inspire me, I also look forward to honing my photography skills when I’m there. At the Tremont workshops (both spring and …

For the love of extended travel…

val in real life

For some, extended travel seems wearisome. Spending weeks (or months, or years) on the road, not seeing your home, managing your life from a distance, finding laundromats, having to find a new place to sleep or set up camp every few days, all of the uncertainties—there are definitely some challenges. For me though, short-term yo-yo travel is harder: trying to …

Embracing Community with Horizons Unlimited

Horizons Unlimited - Val in Real Life

When I attended my first Horizons Unlimited Travellers meeting in April of last year, I didn’t know what to expect. It ended up being a delightful feast of adventurous souls, practical knowledge, and the beginning of beautiful friendships. It was a no-brainer then, to dart off to to the Horizons Unlimited North Carolina event last October. Held at the Iron …

Fear

Ted Simon's fear quote - Val in Real Life

News flash. I’m not fearless. I’m often told I am and it makes me laugh. I think “Are you kidding me?!?” Of course I have fear. Lots of it. To the well-meaning commenters it’s a compliment to tell me I am fearless. I understand the intent. Especially the extra layer of concern that is draped over the compliment for a woman who …