Bringing Home the Baja Mañana Spirit

baja mañana spirit - val in real life

I recently returned from my first trip to Baja, Mexico. Intent on living my life as well as I can in the moment right now, I rode my motorcycle 1,500-miles south from my home in northern Nevada to the town of Loreto, on the Sea of Cortez. Why travel? The benefits of travel are well known but hard to measure. …

My Forty-Fifth Birthday: Celebrating with Adventure

birthday - val in real lie

I’ve published a birthday post every year since 2011. It’s a reflection of my outgoing year as I consider the new year ahead. In that first birthday post, I confessed to my behind-the-scenes health issue. Little did I know how much worse things would get for me. It’s ok to laugh ironically, I promise. I have at least some sense …

Forty-Four: Eat the Cupcake

eat the cupcake - val in real life

Tomorrow marks my forty-fourth birthday. I view birthdays as personal new years: a time to reflect, assess, and consider the previous year. Birthdays are usually safe from the turmoil of other holidays so it’s easier to be more thoughtful. This year, more than ever, I’m grateful for the amazing support of the people who love me. And for a fabulous therapist. …

On Remaining Vibrant

My forty-third birthday is a mere four weeks away. And with autumn in full swing and the leaves turning, I’m facing my own change. Yep… I have officially found my first gray hairs. I can’t help but consider the corollary. While trees go through a dramatic change every year, I will only face this once. It’s just one of those …

Another year of perspective…

Today marks another birthday for me. In the last year alone, I’ve gotten to travel from coast-to-coast, through 32 states and five Canadian Provinces. Seriously, in just one calendar year I’ve been to places like Big Cypress Swamp, Cumberland Island, Great Sand Dunes, Overland Expo in Arizona, the Women’s Rights National Historical Park, Fundy National Park in New Brunswick, Washington …

…and then Fred became a teenager.

That’s it folks, as of today I’m the mom of a teenager. Today is Fred’s thirteenth birthday. He was born on Mother’s Day… late, just like his brother. 😉 But he’s filled with sweetness, a sarcastic sense of humor, and a creative mind that never ceases to amaze me. From being toted through the woods in a backpack to outgrowing …

A Decade of George

Dearest Camp Granola friends, our “little” George turns ten today. And while the decade marks seem to be intriguing to all of us, for George ten is an especially magical number. For those of you who don’t know, my sweet boy was ten days late in his arrival and that entrance to the world was marked by a maternal-body-destroying birthweight …

Another notch on the birthday belt…

Today I get to tick up my age another notch. Of course, we all know that age is as much a state of mind as it is number on our driver’s licenses. I’ve had my times this year when I felt “middle-aged” but I’ve managed to maintain the attitude and energy of a twenty-something for the most part. Anyway, I …

Seeds of a Road Trip

So obviously I haven’t completed the tales of our last three months of adventures, but that’s because we’re so busy having them. That’s certainly a good thing. I figure I’ll catch up eventually and if I don’t…well, that just means we have our priorities straight and having a grand old time here. Just to give you an idea, here’s some …