Getting my Nevada State Parks Passport

nevada state parks passport - val in real life

I spent many of my years in Georgia exploring the vast offerings of its state park system. Much of that was with Fred and George in tow as we pursued the Parks GeoTour and History Trail GeoTour geocaching challenges. Through that effort, we got to know the state and the Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites in depth. Now that …

For the Love of Extended Travel…

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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 …

Working Past Fear

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. The well-meaning commenters see it as 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 …

What is Adventure Travel?

Adventure Travel - Val in Real Life

I’ve been in full-tilt travel mode the last few weeks between three different events. And guess what? Much of that time has been spent riding in the rain, sleeping in a soggy tent, and finding creative ways to extract my motorcycle from mud bogs. It’s been extraordinarity difficult. And I’d do it all again. But make no mistake about the …

Joining Progressive for Bikes, Blues, and BBQ

Bikes, Blues, and BBQ - Val in Real Life

A couple of weeks ago, I partnered with Progressive Insurance to ride to my first major motorcycle rally. Since my motorcycling interests skew towards adventure travel, most of my experience has been with events of the overlanding variety. I knew Bikes, Blues, and BBQ in Fayetteville, Arkansas would be a completely different beast than my typical haunts of Overland Expo …

Parenting Teens

Val in Real Life

This week when I shared the nuts-and-bolts of visiting Bandelier National Monument, I had to think back to why I enjoyed camping there so much. Certainly it’s a very agreeable campground in a technical sense but really it was that the time with my sons went well. There are so many challenges to traveling in a small car with two …

Foundations

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Back in March I wrote about why it’s important to keep your bucket full. But I realized my thoughts at the time were an incomplete picture of the tools needed to weather unfortunate life events. A full bucket is actually about creating a foundation. When your bucket is full or close-to-full, it means you’ve been mindfully living your life. That …

2014: Real Adventure. Real Life.

Seems it’s that time again… to review one year before beginning another. With the 2015 calendar staring at us and inspiring introspection, I marvel at what 2014 held for me as well as my boys. 2014 Recap… Overall, 2014 was a year that began in lots of excitement but ended on a mellow note. The bulk of our adventures were …

Overland Expo West 2014

My first official destination of the Pacific Northwest Tour was Overland Expo 2014 at Mormon Lake in Arizona. This was my second year attending and after my first visit last year, I knew this event would be something I’d want to return to year-after-year. The largest reason part behind that is the reunion with some of my favorite outdoor folks, …

48 Days on the Road

This past Sunday, I wrapped up the Pacific Northwest tour my longest road trip ever, 48 days. Given the type of people I often associate with, the overlanding and dirtbag sorts, my trip is small beans. Even so, returning from an extended trip has it’s challenges whether it’s seven weeks or seven years. The longer you’re gone, the longer it …