As I sit here writing this blog post from my backyard, my thoughts return to the absolute beauty we had the pleasure to experience this summer. I miss being on the road. Everyday was a new adventure However, on the other hand, I simply adore my new lifestyle. Taking the plunge into self-employment has felt empowering and oh so freeing. One of the things I love most is having complete freedom to decide how to use my time. This allowed us to take this tremendous trip over the summer. Simply, I cannot think of a better way to have spent the summer.
Over the next several blog posts I wish to share a glimpse into our trip, along with tips and of course lots of photographs. Photographs are at the heart of this blog and my passion in life. I hope you enjoy as much as I enjoy sharing.
Before diving right in I would like to take a moment to give you a short back story. If you have been a long time follower feel free to skip this paragraph.
The quick story is this. About two years ago I decided to come up with a plan to get out of my lab job and into full-time photography. Through a lot of patience, diligence and meticulous planning I was able to accomplish this goal this past May. I paid my debt off, starting saving money & vacation time at work and during my off time I begin working on my business. At times I would lose motivation but I kept at it and finally on May 29, 2014, I left the lab behind and struck out on my own.
Was it scary? Of course! Was it worth it? Absolutely!
Today, only a few short months later, I am healthier, less stressed,and much happier. I eat better, practice yoga everyday, sleep soundly, cook at home daily, eat out less, and spend a lot less money. Money has become unimportant to me. I recognize I need some to live but I DO NOT need much. Today I am less rich in terms of money but exponentially more rich in time. To me that is the most valuable commodity we have at our disposal.
So where does the trip fit into all of this? As part of my strategy in leaving the lab I also put aside the money to make this trip possible. After all, part of reason for the lifestyle change was to travel more. At most jobs (in the US) you earn a finite amount of vacation days. For me this was not the problem, instead my issue was the amount of time I wanted to take at once. Regardless of my vacation balance my lab job only allowed me to take x amount per year and x amount at one time. In my opinion if I work hard and earn the time I should be able to take it as I see fit. I knew we would need at least a month for this trip to the western United States. So this trip became part of my plans for exiting.
What did I envision for this trip?
The trip originally started as a high school graduation gift to my son and it morphed from there. The original plan included a huge loop from Indianapolis to Seattle to San Diego and back to Indianapolis with many stops throughout. (As a side note, my son was born in San Diego and we had not been back in 14 years) After doing some research I realized a month would not be enough time for this trip. We decided to do the west coast part of the trip at a later date. However, other circumstances entered the picture and once again the trip morphed again. In the end my son and his girlfriend went along for the first two weeks of the trip. Shane and I, having more time at our disposal, decided to extend the total length of the trip to about 6 weeks and included most of the west coast.
The final trip remained close to the original plan minus San Diego. San Francisco was as far south as we went in California. It was an adventure we will never forget. We both came back enriched and truly new people.
Welcome to Shamy’s great adventure out west! (As another side note, Shane & I have inherited the nickname Shamy from all of our friends and I will use it throughout this blog)
As an introductory post I wanted to give you an overview of the trip through photographs.
First, here is the quick list of the states covered: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Iowa.
And now onto the good stuff, the photographs!
A cyclist (he is the tiny speck at the top of the hill) walks his bike after almost 19 miles of an uphill battle at Pike’s Peak, Colorado.
A brave photographer stands on the edge to snap a great shot of Dead Horse Point, Utah.
Shane admires the view on the other side of this rock passage at Bryce Canyon, Utah.
People admire the sunset over the Grand Canyon from a North Rim viewpoint (they are located in the lower right hand corner), Arizona
What an amazing engineering marvel! The Hoover Dam, located on the state lines of Arizona and Nevada. Only the top third of the dam is pictured here.
One of the many beautiful views of Yosemite, California. This particular viewpoint is from the top of Lembert Dome.
A beautiful day along the California coast near Ft. Bragg.
Sunset along the Oregon Coast.
Wildflowers in bloom with Mt. Rainier in the background, Washington.
Fresh seafood for sale in Pike’s Place Market in Seattle, Washington. (Looks like someone is reaching for their favorite fish)
The view from Mt. Baker, Washington. Lots of snow still remained in late July along with crystal clear streams.
A beautiful, relaxing view from Lake McDonald. The largest lake in Glacier National Park, Montana.
One of the many sides of Devil’s Tower, Wyoming.
Buffalo traffic jam in Custer State Park, South Dakota. As you can see this particular buffalo was in no hurry :-)
George Washington with Thomas Jefferson in the background at Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota.
The beautiful and varied colors of The Badlands, South Dakota.
This is a quick snapshot of the many places we visited. There will be many more photos to come over the coming weeks.