Trust Those That Love You

family, musings

My title is self-explanatory. Trust. Those that love you, they love you for a reason.

Their love has power. Truth.

Love has power.

Because when someone says you are such a good…. writer, artist, singer…. phlebotomist…. you probably are. In essence they are seeing the magic you have in you, the talent and the work to make something happen. They see it. They are telling you that you should see it too.

This isn’t to say that just because you do one thing right and receive praise that you can’t keep trying. It’s to say, someone sees where this can take you, keep going.

The thing is that far too much of my life has been spent doubting what people tell me. How people encourage me. My insecurities meant that I always felt like a fraud or that others must have been just trying to be nice. I believed this so deeply, especially in college, I figured my good grades weren’t earned and my bad grades were so much more honest. Yet some light deep in me knew that hell yes I did deserve a good grade. Hell yes I did the best I could. So I’ve taken this light and I’ve let it shine, brighter and more fully year after year.

Sometimes I know that I could have, should have, would have done better. But I also know that the not so good stuff helps to eventually create the good. My failures move me into better. My mistakes shine light on the dust in the corners.

My team of friends and family… they help me get to the next stage. They see my potential. They’ll hold my hand while I get there. And I see theirs.

So, dear reader, trust what people praise you for. Trust in their love and support. Trust that they know a thing or two. And listen when they give advise. Life is hard enough, why choose to think everyone hates you or is lying to you?

These people that love you, they share their adoration because they see what you have to offer the world. They support you because you have something to offer. So believe them. Is it such a bad thing to have cheerleaders?

Besides, even if they lie a little, just to keep your feelings safe, maybe just maybe that little lie can light a fire to greatness. Maybe have of success is just believing and trying and trying again?

Just some thoughts…..

Advertisements

My First Travel Adventure

adventure of the week, family, Travel, United States

My first trip without my parents was in 2008 with my great aunt and uncle. My uncle was a retired Vietnam Navy Veteran and his group of “Navy Rats” decided to have a reunion in Norfolk, Virginia.

In the summer of 2008 I was 17 and I wanted to work for the summer to save for a trip I wanted to take in 2010 to Europe. However, living in the sticks of Colorado and in the beginning of the worst recession since the 1930s, I didn’t have many choices.So, Casper, Wyoming was having an oil boom and there were ample jobs for those needing “something”. My aunt and uncle graciously opened their home to me, and I worked that summer as a hostess at IHOP (I don’t recommend this part of the experience).

However, the first few days I was gone I learned the first boy I kissed had died from Bacterial Meningitis. I missed home and the comforts of my small town life, and I felt isolated in a job with a lot of drama (think back seat shags in the parking lots, and being screamed at by drug dealers).

However, even though it felt like I got kicked out of a car driving down the interstate, I found a lot of strength that summer. Strength to fight through panic attacks. Strength to go to a job I hated. And the reward was my first time on an airplane and other firsts.

We headed to the east coast, I flew the first time. Saw Ellen Page at the Detroit airport (Juno was a new movie still). I saw the ocean for the first time. We visited Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement as well as Colonial Williamsburg.

It was at these locations that history began to come alive to me and I began to appreciate the layers and complexity around every turn.

It was then that I became totally hooked on travel to real and historical places. It was at these places that I started to think critically on what I knew about American History and colonialism. And I have never looked back.

This journey would push me into being away from home for months at a time. It would push me to seek knowledge and stories. It would encourage me to face my fears and anxieties like a warrior. It would make me a stronger girl that would turn into the woman I am today.

The moral of the story, is don’t give up because it scares you, move forward because you should.

Happy Travels!

The Best Lessons Have Been My Mistakes

adventure of the week, Caribbean, colorado, Colorado Events, family, Ireland, italy, love, mexico, musings, outdoors, Scotland, Throwback Thursday, Travel, United Kingdom, United States

I have been traveling internationally for 8 1/2 years. Mostly by myself. Always on a budget. And with a few struggles along the way. Some have been all my fault. Others I can blame on fellow travelers. All of them are important.

Here are 10 of the best/worst lessons to learn on the road.

  1. Carry a phone-
    A part of me hates this but it has saved my butt more times than I can count. For instance, when you forget to learn out to read bus schedules, you can call a cab.

2. Buy good maps

    I don’t know how many tines having a bad or outdated or confusing map has messed up a day, turned me around, or got me lost. So, investing in a good map is an important way to preemptively save the day.
  • 3. self care!
    • I have become sick 2 out of 3 extended trips. If I had used more hand sanitizer, brought some vitamins, and got more sleep, I would have had an easier time with everything.

    4. Pack Light/Buy light

    • I have always made this mistake on longer trips. I pack too much, and immediately regret it. The other side is buying too much. When my aunt went with me to Europe in 2015 she bought so many souvenirs that we had to mail two large boxes home AND a suitcase. Because of the weight and international shipping fees, she spent almost $800 to mail home about $3,000 worth of merchandise. The moral of the story is that it’s better to buy the few things you REALLY want, leave room in your suitcase to bring it home, and consider purchasing some items when you get home. Pro tip- many companies get GREAT shipping discounts if you buy say $100 of merchandise.
  • 5. Eat Well
    • Don’t eat expensive, eat well. Eat your veggies like mamma told you. Don’t drink too much. Make sure you drink plenty of water, and enjoy delicacies in moderation.

    6. Say no

    • Say no to people that annoy you. Say no to drunk guys in bars. Say no to pushy “tour guides”. Say no to flirtatious Italians. Say no when it seems wrong, sketchy, scary, or if your gut tells you so.

    7. Ask Questions

    • So many mistakes and mishaps could have been prevented for myself and others if I had asked more questions, asked for directions, asked for a better map or bus schedule. See 1 and 2.

    8. Bring a Towel

    • It sounds silly, but if you have read Hitchhiker’s Guide (or seen the movie) you know towels are helpful. Truth is having a good towel on the road is also helpful.

    9. Bring a Sweater

    • Weather conditions can change in most places without warning. The times I have needed a sweater I have been so grateful to have one. When I have forgot one, boy did chattering teeth regret it.

    10. Make sure you are physically ready

    • Travel can be thoroughly miserable if you are not in shape. Being tired from long walks, or just carrying luggage can make the trip a miserable time. See 4 for extra help!

    What have you learned on the road?

    Travel Freedom with Fitness

    colorado, Environment, family, musings, Nebraska, Travel

    When I started college in 2011 I did not fully ascertain that it would mean as many sedentary hours as it did. My Bachelor’s is in Journalism and a second degree in History, as you can imagine this means being sedentary, reading, typing, editing. Sedentary. Add a Master’s which was another year of sitting on my butt and I began to realize I could not be as active as I wanted to be.

    What I mean by that is that by not consistently being active I was stuck in a loop of not being able to endure the hikes, tours, and active adventures that I wanted to do a whim. Why I thought it would be different is a bit of a muddled mess.

    My parents grew up with midwestern parents that moved from being farming/ranching families into sedentary white-collar types. Add some poor genetics prone to diabetes, hip dysplasia, heart disease, obesity, and some cancers and you have a family that doesn’t look too good. Of course this is exacerbated by inactivity, a carb and fat rich diet, and sedentary jobs and you get me at a much less fit, higher weight than I ever wanted to be.

    SO I made the decision over the last few years, post grad school, and with some stumbles, to keep moving. Keep moving in being active, working out, eating better, being healthy. I avoid the fad diets, and extreme weight loss and instead I focus on eating what I feel my body needs for nutrition. I avoid sugar and too many carbs, I eat more veggies, and I go for lean proteins. I try to get fat that is good for me, and not overly processed. I am simply making gains to be healthier.

    I want to be healthier so that I can get out and enjoy the world without limitations and with the strength and confidence to do so comfortably. Each step I take on a weekly workout gets me closer to that.

    Maybe the most visible sign is that I feel better all around, while the scale hasn’t moved much, my clothes are looser. While I have more muscle and a leaner face, the best part is being able to hike for 8 miles and not feel a complete disaster afterwards.

    I have some issues to still overcome, such as being more consistently active (three or more times a week) and being strict with portion control. I have a hip issue that I am trying to find a game plan to treat which prevents bike riding and classes like kickboxing (it’s fun but my hip disagrees). With these goals I am hoping to be able to do more and more active trips, tours, and adventures.

    In 2020 I am hoping to hike the Inca Trail. By 2026 I am hoping to add Mt. Kilimanjaro to my list. In between there I am planning on knocking off a few Colorado Fourteeners in between.

    I hope that all of you feel inspired to keep active so that those things you love are in reach. If you have any tips, share below.

    travelfreedom.jpg

    Adventure of the Week- Amtrak Train Journey

    adventure of the week, family, Travel

    Earlier this month I took a road trip to Iowa to attend a cousin’s wedding. The first half was spent on the never ending drive through Nebraska with my great aunt Jayne, her granddaughter Ivy, and my stepdaughter Lily. We stopped at the Omaha Zoo and made a comfortable adventure of the journey.

    To return from the wedding, since I needed to be back to work before Jayne planned to return, my stepdaughter and I could either fly, rent a car, or how we decided – take the train.

    CALIFORNIA-ZEPHYR.jpg

    The Amtrak’s California Zephyr runs through Iowa, and we caught it about an hour south of Des Moines. From there one journey’s overnight before arriving in Colorado around 7:00 a.m. making the train journey approximately 12 hours depending on delays.

    The train was only around $130 for the two of us one-way in basic economy seating. We sat on the top floor of the double decker economy cars and with ample leg room and the ability to walk around it never felt particularly cramped on the journey. No it was not luxury accommodations and a bed would have been nice, but for one overnight journey it was a reasonable price and journey.

    I would say if you were to journey much longer, then a sleeper car of some sort would have been ideal. If only to be able to stretch out properly and have some privacy. Amtrak offers Roomettes and Family Rooms, depending on one’s budget and preferences.

    Naturally, train travel is not the fastest or most efficient, but the experience is worth having and it’s an economical means for some routes. Additionally, trains are not nearly as crowded as buses I have traveled on or even planes, meaning you feel less cramped and trapped by everything.

    Here are some of my tips for making the journey more comfortable:

    • Pack light
      • Most train stations will not have the ability to check your bags, so you will have to carry on suit cases and they need to be small enough to fit overhead. A larger carry-on bag is ideal
    • Keep comfortable items closed
      • Have a smaller personal bag with you to have by you and your seat, here it is ideal you have things like books, phones, laptop, and a toothbrush or any night creams and other items you may want handy. This includes snacks.
    • Keep the kid(s) happy
      • I brought the Nintendo Switch from our house to keep Lily gaming until I felt we should sleep. She also had books, snacks, and other items to keep her comfortable.
      • My emergency kit for all kid-related items includes wet wipes, chapstick, lotion, hand sanitizer, and a game of some sort.
    • Wear comfy clothing
      • Like with a flight, wear items that are comfortable to sit in for 12 hours + and that are stretchy or okay for swollen feet, and other discomforts of travel.
    • Keep medicine handy
      • Sometimes aches and pains happen, as well as the inability to sleep, keep your medicinal items handy for easy treatment.
    • Walk around
      • The journey will be much longer if you don’t move around, so make sure you check out the dining car, observation car, or simply journey the aisles to get some legs stretched.
    • Avoid the food
      • This may be a no-brainer, but food on flights, and apparently trains, are not like the Hogwarts Express as I had hoped. Everything was overpriced, greasy, and lacked flavor. For my next train adventure, I plan on bringing my own oatmeal and other noms
    • Stay hydrated
      • The train offers water bottle/cup refill stations, take advantage of this to avoid buying bottled water. AND it’s ore environmentally friendly. (For other tips, check out Ditching Disposables.
    • Have Fun!
      • Travel can be hard, no matter the means, make it a time to enjoy things you don’t usually. Watch the sunrise, have a glass of wine on a train, talk about silly things with your kiddo, or write in your journal. Sometimes just being is the ultimate treat.

    HAPPY TRAVELS!

    Adventure of the Week – Lory State Park

    adventure of the week, colorado, Colorado Events, family, musings, Travel

    One of my absolute favorite locations in Northern Colorado is the easily accessible and very beautiful Lory State Park. For $7 a day or $70 for an annual pass, Lory and many Colorado State Parks offer a fantastic adventure into our natural spaces. While I adore having Rocky Mountain National Park in my backyard, it is often very crowded in the summer months and three times the drive to access it. Thus, for closer hikes and yearnings of the outdoors, I stick with Lory.

    The park offers a dozen trails for exploring a variety of ecosystems, natural features, and wildlife viewing. My personal favorite is the Well-Gulch trail that offers a great moderate hiking experience, with some of the best views in the area.

    IMG_3813.JPG

    Plan for an hour to hike, and an hour to drive from Fort Collins. If you have the time, take a whole day to explore the area.

    Happy Travels!

    <blockquote class=”instagram-media” data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-permalink=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BXjLeWtHRd8/&#8221; data-instgrm-version=”8″ style=” background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% – 2px); width:calc(100% – 2px);”>

    <p style=” margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;”> <a href=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BXjLeWtHRd8/&#8221; style=” color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;” target=”_blank”>Today's after work #adventure meant heading to #lorystatepark finding some beautiful view + two friendly toads #colorado #fortcollins #horsetoothreservoir #foco #hikingcolorado πŸŒ„πŸŒ²πŸΈπŸŒΏ</a></p> <p style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;”>A post shared by <a href=”https://www.instagram.com/beccaleephoto/&#8221; style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px;” target=”_blank”> Rebecca Lee Robinson</a> (@beccaleephoto) on <time style=” font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;” datetime=”2017-08-08T22:32:00+00:00″>Aug 8, 2017 at 3:32pm PDT</time></p></div></blockquote> //www.instagram.com/embed.js

    LorySPpsd.jpg

    Packing for Kids

    family, Travel

    My mom and I used to fight about who got to pack bags for trips. My mom and I are both type A personalities, and stubborn, and sometimes control freaks (just being honest).

    Thus, when stubborn preteen me took a trip, she would argue with her mom about what was packed and what made sense to take.

    Mind you, I have never forgotten more than like a toothbrush on a trip. I have maybe broken many chargers, sunglasses, tubes of shampoo and more, but it usually makes it in the suitcase first!

    Anyway, fast forward 17 years and I have a step daughter that doesn’t care what goes in her bag. Which helps so much when we travel! The down side is that she doesn’t end up helping in the planning stages as much as I would like.

    Thus, I put together this handy guide on what kids need for a summer car trip with a train return. Making it an easy and simple way for adults and kids to know what to plan when hitting the road.

    Side note: I totally forgot shoes, which are usually attached to the kids feet.

    DNA Travels – Part II

    family, geek, History, musings, Travel

    Part I

    For my own tests I started in 2016.

    First off was Ancestry. As I had done my genealogy research on there I figured it would be beneficial to have DNA data to match with the paper trail available in Ancestry.

    Ancestry pulls much of its data in comparison to the gene pool of today. Meaning it takes DNA samples from around the world and matches it based on location, genetic markers, etc. giving the user a general idea of where their DNA matches in the world.

    This is a little murky in that DNA changed in parts of the works due to the mixing of cultures and people resulting in more diverse peoples. So DNA markers change from year to year, decade to decade etc. You get the idea.

    However, in Ancestries defense they are always updating their methods and means in which they track DNA and how it connect to the larger world. So this will continue to reveal more information for users new and old.

    Here are the results:

    As expected I’m mostly European.

    Screen Shot 2018-05-12 at 8.25.16 AM

    Screen Shot 2018-05-12 at 8.25.54 AM

    The surprise was this Iberian peninsula, Eastern Europe, and Middle East. All of which I had no information on in the paper trail.

    The other surprise was this little less than 1% Native American. Being that family had pushed the Native Princess narrative for so long I was surprised that it wasn’t more.

    Then I dug deeper into the family tree and found a relative in the 1700s that was Ita Ha Ha (Barton Married Name) she married one of my white relatives Joab Barton, common for the time, but an exciting find none the less. She was Shawnee, born and living in Missouri in the 1700s. For that time, Missouri and the surrounding areas she lived such as Maryland, West Virginia etc. would have been something of a wild frontier, a borderland to much less familiar Western United States. This was a time before Lewis and Clarke, and the Louisiana Purchase. She passed away in Virginia in 1807, around 40 years of age.

    Some records (maybe myths) indicate her marriage to a white man, Joab, was intwined with him being adopted into the Shawnee tribe after a conflict with his parents. I am not convinced that find grave.com is the best information for this type of thing. However, these incidents were common. Conflicts between settlers and native populations were not uncommon, and not unjustified. I might be pretty pissed if someone just waltzed in laying claim to my life too. However, a lot of people also died from diseases, injuries, and plain human violence among each other. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for native peoples to adopt orphan children, raising them, caring for them, nurturing them; the same that any of us would do.

    The princess narrative came in as a way to inflate egos and ideas around white identity and intermarrying with native peoples. I’ll address this in a different blog.

    When I took the 23andMe test around a year later the results were slightly different.

    Part III

    dnatravelsII

    A Shoutout to “Moms”

    family, musings

    I imagine at least a few of you are “moms” that read this blog. By “moms” in parenthesis I mean several things. I mean those that have physically given birth, I mean those that raised or helped raise a child, I mean those that take in animals needing a home, I mean those that are role models and loving and supportive members of their community and the children that live there.

    This extends to family friends that gave me guidance. This extends to aunts that shared presents and hugs. This extends to cousins that opened their homes and shared wisdom. Being a “mom” is much more than the equipment and the birthing. It is the love, compassion, patience, knowledge, and joy shared with children.

    Of course I thank my own mother, but in the sense of “it takes a village” I feel I have many “moms”. I have my grandma that lived in my own house and taught me many great things. I have aunts, great, great-great, and beyond that shared more wisdom than I can ever describe. Then there are adopted grandmas and aunts and other people I have brought into my family that have been like mothers, even if they are just a good shoulder to cry on.

    Being a “mom” at any capacity is not easy, but please know that it’s appreciated.

    Our culture puts a lot of emphasis on these “DAY” holidays, but I know it can be a painful reminder to those women, and men, that have lost or have not been able to achieve certain cultural norms. Please know that your value is so much more than the norm, and your participation has been a world of difference to others.

    Some of you are teachers, ones that inspired learning and growth (not just in the school sense).

    Some of you are comedians that have brought much needed laughter to those in need.

    Some of you are makers that brought gifts and food when it was desperately needed.

    All of you were kind, and all of you were powerful, all of you are wonderful!

    So “Happy Mother’s Day” however you want to take it, just know that this woman appreciates all of you.

    wild-flowers-flowers-plant-macro-40797.jpg

    Road Trip Survival U.S.A.

    Allergen-free eating on the road, colorado, family, new mexico, Travel, United States, wyoming

    Growing up in the west, we take a lot of what the rest of the world would see as “road trips”. This could mean just a shopping excursion in the biggest city for 300 miles (Denver) or traveling state lines to get to family, friends, or just out of your bubble.

    Growing up in a rural environment meant that we had to travel to get anything and anywhere. 30 minutes to the grocery store. 60 minutes to go clothes shopping. 120 minutes to go to a concert…. it took a while to get places. Then of course you had to return, usually the same day.

    In some respects I feel like a road warrior, always prepared with a book and wet wipes for whatever may come my way. Yet I always cringe a little bit at the prospect of a five hour drive from where I live to my hometown. Thus, there are always a few things I bring along to make sure I can survive without going batty.

    1. Entertainment
      • This depends on the journey and if I am going solo or with family or friends. If I am solo, I bring out the audio books. Especially longer books I have been struggling to get to with my own eyes…..hello Ulysses. If I am going with a buddy I make sure we have a good song playlist.
      • Remember to download files to your phone or device as cell phone service is often unreliable or totally nonexistent in many parts of the American West.
      • If you aren’t the only driver, bring some physical books, movies, magazines, or anything else to help pass the time.
    2. Comfort Food
      • This doesn’t have to be food that’s bad for you, but rather something you enjoy munching on that fills in the gaps between meals. I personally love chips (crisps to you brits).
      • Don’t go heavy with your snacks, make sure it’s not something that will upset your system or leave you bloated and uncomfortable. I find vegetable based treats and minimal grease make the best combination.
    3. Plan You Meals
      • I often pack a car lunch of tasty meals so we don’t have to make extra stops. This is often breakfast or lunch, with the next meal being one we stop for.
      • This is often a sandwich of some sort such as an egg and bacon for breakfast, hummus and veggies for lunch, or peanut butter and jelly. I always plan for something that won’t sour and that will taste good in a few hours.
    4. Leave Extra Time
      • I feel that it’s better to be stupid early than late. Meaning it makes more sense to show up before you planned than to show up late and make a mess. If you can’t commit to a time, don’t make plans and show when you get there. This leaves frustration behind and makes the journey easier.
    5. Plan for Frustration
      • Life happens, especially when you are on the road. Maybe you’ll hit a traffic jam, or an elk jam (this happens) which means you may take longer to get where you are going. This is just a reality of driving through the U.S. of A.
      • Make sure you have an emergency kit in your car, a AAA membership and other things to make your emergencies less tragic.
    6. Plan Your Routing
      • This seems obvious but a lot of people don’t plan their routing ahead of their journey. Yet, when you look into say traveling Raton Pass in New Mexico, you learn that storms can make the journey a nightmare. Make sure you look into where you are headed, especially using local Department of Transportation Websites and other details to ensure a smoother journey.
    7. Bring Comfy Cozies
      • This means something different for everyone. For me, it’s a few things. I bring my down pillow from home (IKEA brand), a hoodie (maybe a little threadbare), and some favorite leggings. This means I have everything needed for cold morning naps, sleeping in questionable hotels, and for comfort during unexpected discomfort.
    8. Have Fun
      • Regardless of the reasons for road tripping, make sure you add some fun. Maybe it’s stopping at a silly museum, or a famous ice cream shop, but make sure you take time to enjoy the journey. Otherwise, why go?

    Happy Travels!

     

    roadtripSurvival