Wild West Road Trip

so this is the WEST…

 

IMG_1077Our 6 day trip included throwing some money away at a casino in Vegas, seeing our favorite comedian in Los Angeles, sleeping under a canopy of stars in the desert and peering over the rim of the Grand Canyon.

2,000 plusIMG_0961 miles were driven (mostly by James) and at least 3 gallons of Red Bull consumed (also by James.)
We really wouldn’t have been able to do so much unless James had been willing to drive through the night on both the first day and the last.
Our 3 star resort in Vegas was $30 (my absolute favorite,) camping a few yards away from the beach in Malibu at Leo Carillo State Park was $45, the L.A. Hilton was $100, and camping in the desert was free. We didn’t want to put the miles on my car so we rented a car that was $120 for the full 6 days.

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 5.12.55 PM

 

IMG_0840
ANDANTE coffee shop stop on our 16 mile bike cruise from Beverly Hills through Hollywood and back.
IMG_0842
Can I get a hallelujah for this fan-tastic tile-work at the coffee shop door?

We both love some classy craftsy coffee. Like a typical hipster, we looked up the coffee shops in L.A. that roast their own single source beans from Etheopia. I was not disappointed. ANDANTE roasts their beans right there in the shop. It reminded me of a combination between Two Rivers and Crema in Colorado. Just like my IMG_0837favorite joints at home in Denver, L.A. brought the same relaxed vibe, chilled out baristas and the best pour-over cup of Etheopian coffee with notes of lime, strawberry, orange, and chocolate.

 

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 5.12.55 PM

IMG_0844
MERCADO

All that bike riding made us hungry.
I had to have some tacos, and not just any tacos… I wanted craftsy tacos with a hipster vibe, the kind they serve up on the rooftop of my favorite restaurante in Denver, Los Chingones.

IMG_0849
MERCADO to ourselves

5 seconds on Yelp brought us to Mercado, a sweet Mexi joint that was literally a block away from where we were standing.

Gosh, I love the internet…and these tacos.IMG_0855

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 5.12.55 PM

Find a spot in the sands of the Mojave desert, amongst the Joshua Trees and lizards to pitch your tent.

You WILL SEE the Milky Way Galaxy
…and it will CHANGE YOUR life.   IMG_0879

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 5.12.55 PM

Biking up the Beverly Hills and finding a Sunday afternoon BBQ at the house on the top of the hill, complete with Valet parking for your Bentley, was priceless.

IMG_0765 IMG_0774 IMG_0782 IMG_0789  IMG_0822

 

IMG_0715
SUNSET in Malibu

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 5.12.55 PM

IMG_0988GRANDEST OF CANYONS || You will see hoards of deer and Elk, along with tourists from every corner of the world at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Before this weekend I didn’t even know there were two separate rims. James planned a special treat for us and drove through the entire night so we could experience sunrise at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on our way to Vegas. Because we were there so early we practically had the outlook to ourselves. IMG_0941There were just a
few older couples out, coffee in hand, strolling the walk. We climbed the rocks and felt like we were conquering the world, peering down into the canyon and listening for the winding Colorado River.

On the way home we stopped to watch the sun set over the South Rim. I saw a license plate from every single state in the Union at that parking lot. When I think about the effort that the Asian and European tourists had to make to get there, muliple plane rides, probably days of travel…it made me ashamed that I had never jumped in the car and driven down the road to see it before.

IMG_1130

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 5.12.55 PM

IMG_0599

Vegas…the fame, the fortune, the loss and mostly the hot desert sun.

It did not disappoint in any way.

IMG_0643The contrast of the opulent Bellagio, Trump tower, MGM Grand… with the deteriorating motels just a couple miles down the street is very strange. Not stranger than they way I felt when losing $40 in the first 15 minutes of gambling. Listening to the guy next to me say “I’ve already lost $2,000” and watching the guy on the other side of the table lose piles and piles of $10 chips to the dealer.

  I could not have been happier with this rooftop pool, the awesome poolside DJ, and piles of pool toys.

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 5.12.55 PM

Spending $40 on this bike rack is quite possibly the best investment I’ve ever made.
The little effort it took to bring them brought endless amounts of joy and enjoyment to this trip from the Vegas Strip to the beaches of Malibu.

IMG_1094

I’d love to hear about your trips and tips!

…Video of this venture coming soon!

YouTube-logo-play-icon|| subscribe to my YouTube channel ||

 

Budget Travel Vlog

We all have that one thing on our list that we say we’re going to do, but never quite seems to happen. For me it is travel. I would always find an excuse to say I’d go later, once I finsih school, once a busy season at work is over, once I have more money, once I can get some friends to go… as you see the list can go on.

I have decided that I’m not giving myself exuses anymore. I’ve made the decision to do the things that I want to do, and not someday, but now. That doesn’t mean I’m walking off the job today and foolishly getting myself into a financial bind. Rather, today, I have come up with a very short term plan, with exactly defined financial dates and goals. Plan for no more than a year out (if you goal is super lofty.) Then come up with a fun mini goal that you can achieve sooner, which will also help get you closer to that bigger goal. Feeling accomplishment will help you to stay on track financially.

For example let’s say that you want to take a trip to Europe. It’s April now, make a plan to go by the end of this calendar year. You have 8 months to get things together. That is definitly enough time to start stashing money, getting time off from work and making sure that other plans don’t fill in your calendar.

Watch out, cause the minute you decide to go 100 little excuses and reasons why you can’t will fill your mind. Catch each one of those little demons each time they pop up and find the solution to the problem that they present. This isn’t difficult to do in practice, but it is very difficult to DECIDE to do. Your minds is programmed to say no, and find ways to put things off. You are going to have to be vigilant against your own mind (or resistance…see The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.)

I’m sharing my travel experiences and money saving tips [and other reasons to say YES!] on my vlog.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel!

I give a price breakdown in the description box below each video and I’ll give advice to you from my experienes. I look forward to sharing with you all that I learn, and I hope to hear back from you what you’re learning!

FIGHTING RESISTANCE

WRITING RESISTANCE –

brMy problem with writing is that I care too much about what other people think. For years I’ve wanted to write a book. I’ve even started a few but I’ve never gotten past the first chapter. A lot of people start something great, but most never finish. I confronted this idea in Jess Walter’s book “Beautiful Ruins.” There is a character who makes a special trip to Italy every summer to write a book. He does this for years and all he writes is one chapter.

I don’t write because I’m scared that I’ll run out of things to say. I’m afraid that people won’t like my book, and that all my efforts will be for nothing. I look at the masses of books that are published every year and think, ‘Why would anyone read a book that I wrote when they could read one of these 10,000 books?”

I listen to a lot of podcasts and interviews of great writers and they always say the same thing: to be a writer you have to write. So what did I do when I heard that? I read more books and listened to more podcasts…

Before I could start on the path to my dreams I thought I had to dig into my soul. And I did, for a while. But you can only read so many books and spend so many hours thinking before its time to do something.

waSteven Pressfield talks in depth about the hurdle we face when trying to do something important. He calls it RESISTANCE.

Resistance was winning. Knowing that didn’t stop me from succumbing into its claws. My form of submission was trying to figure out why I was resisting.

“Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That’s why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no Resistance” – Steven Pressfield “The War of Art”

4wwMy resistance continued and I read more books.

These books are life-changing and everyone should read them:
The Four Hour Workweek – Tim Ferriss

 

 

vbVagabonding – Rolf Potts 

 

 

 

The Art of Non Conformity – Chris Guillebeau

anc

Since reading these books, I have not been the same. My outlook on life has transformed. Not in the sense that I’ve changed my desires, but that in that my dreams now seem achievable.

After finishing each book, my mind would go crazy thinking of all the things I wanted to do. More importantly I had ideas about how to get those things. Then after a day or so of brainstorming, the flame would fizzle. Before I knew it, a couple weeks had gone by and my life hadn’t changed for the better. Why was I reading these great books if I was going to just sit around and think about stuff?

Actually it isn’t true that I was doing nothing. That was resistance taking on another form: discouragement. I had started taking steps toward my goals. For example, I was being more careful about my spending so I could save money for big trips and I had applied for a passport.

When you read a book about someone transforming their life from being a cubicle-sitter to a world-traveller you watch their transformation unfold in a period of a few hours. My real-time life experiences were moving at a glacial pace in comparison. I stopped myself and counted all of the positive steps I was taking and realized that progress was being made. Sometimes the apparent lack of progress can be debilitating. Make sure you give yourself the credit and encouragement you deserve when you are taking steps forward.

Knowledge CAN be the preventer of achievement. Gathering data is super important. You have to know what you’re getting into and determine if its something you really want.

BUT At some point you have to start doing. Even if you’re not 100% prepared you will learn as you go. The mistakes you make will be the most important lessons that shape your character and give grit to your success. And I don’t mean stop reading! Learning from others is always less costly than learning things in the school of hard knocks. Just make sure that you’re reading AND working.

So I’m writing! I don’t know where this is going but I’m doing it. Even if it’s just a blog a day, I’m putting in work and THAT is what matters.

Clearly this idea of breaking down resistance extends beyond wanting to be a writer to whatever discipline you’re interested in. As Pressfield says,

“Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work.” -Steven Pressfield

Don’t give in! Successful people are not excuse makers. Some struggle less than others, but there is no formula.

Start and don’t stop.