Hiking Solo

Recently I talked with a coworker about her love of hiking. I have never really been hiking before, and thought it sounded kind of boring. Me? Alone? Trees? Why? Sounds unproductive. My brain works at a different speed than that. I need to stay busy to feel like I’m accomplishing something. But my brain also told me that I needed this. I needed to unwind, disconnect from technology, people, and reconnect with what I wanted in life and what was important to me. So I asked her for a good route here in Wisconsin and she delivered! I decided on Kettle Moraine State Park, the Zillmer Trail. I did about 5 minutes of research on what to bring, it was only a 5 mile hike after all…


Make sure to bring:

Water, small and filling snacks, (as not to get a stomach cramp) a book to read, something to take notes down on when you have an epiphany, more AND less clothing in case it’s hotter / colder than you thought, toilet paper, bug spray, sun screen, some kind of hat, good hiking shoes, some way to communicate with the outside world in case of bears / rocks / werewolves or other dangers, and an open mind.




I went hiking on the anniversary of the passing my Step-Mother who was in my family for 19 years before she succumbed to cancer. I had decided this hiking trip would be my date with her, where I can walk around the woods and talk to her, shut off from everyone, and just be me. I had a few goals going into the woods as well, so I could have an objective when I came out the other end of the trail.




Hiking goals:

  1. Figure out what I want from the next 5 years.
  2. Figure out what I LOVE in this life and don’t budge on letting those things fade. Keep the things / people / places you love, dear to you. And keep them. It’s what makes you, you.
  3. Figure out what I want from the next man in my life and what I’m willing to settle for and not settle for. This is really important. DO NOT SETTLE.
  4. Love yourself first. Drill it into my head.
  5. Talk to the woods. Step mom. Grandmother. Chipmunks. A random snake.
  6. Listen to music and dance a little in the woods. This happened as well.


Hiking lessons learned:

  1. Everything in life is about balance. Working out / rest days. Eating well / comfort food. Helping others / taking time for yourself. Social time / alone time. Accepting life / changing your future. When the scale tips too much in one direction is when life gets out of balance. You can feel it, and you can adjust accordingly.
  2. Only accept from a future partner the love you put into the relationship. Don’t settle for less than how happy you are being alone. A partner should be an ADDITION to your life, not someone that makes your life less amazing.
  3. Life is short. Grab it by the cahones. Take it. You only get this one precious chance.
  4. Your past isn’t you. YOU are you. Your past just makes you who you are today, in this moment.
  5. Accept others / love yourself. Love others / accept yourself. But love yourself first. The rest of the things you’re looking for in life will follow.
  6. You can love without expectations. Love others because you are a loving person. Don’t expect others to give you the care and generosity that you would give to them. You only get hurt when you expect. Just be careful about being taken advantage of. You’re a person with needs too.
  7. You are not crazy for talking to relatives that are passed. If you think they can hear you, they can. Who is anyone else to say otherwise.

SO it may sound crazy but when I was done with my 5 mile solo hike I was a little different of a person. I forced my overactive anxiety ridden brain to shut off for a few hours, no one could get a hold of me, and I had to think about what I needed instead of what other people needed for once. So get out there! Unplug and unwind, reconnect with nature, ask yourself, what do I love / need? What makes me happy? And then go after it!


Road Trip Map: Elizabethtown Style

So the fiancee and I are planning a road trip to the west coast this summer to celebrate being young, and engaged. We want to do a total west coast camping and driving and biking excursion, using flier miles and bringing a tent and just playing everything by ear. But me, I can’t play everything by ear! I’m a total control freak. I need to plan some things. I plan on planning things. Haha. Where are the gas stations? Where will we sleep? And most importantly, where will we eat? I will surely be doing a TON of research ahead of time, and putting it somewhere I would like to resemble the awesome road trip map Claire made in Elizabethtown for Drew (Orlando Bloom.) This movie isn’t that good. Minus the soundtrack and the eye candy, there’s not much good here. I’ve already blogged about this, I’m sure. But this book is inspiring! She also must have stayed up like a robot for days straight to make it, there’s not enough time in the, like 3 days, she knows this guy to make this EPIC map, er, binder of awesomeness.

road map


  • Binder
  • Tons of paper. In many colors.
  • Printed maps, or actual purchased maps
  • Tape (washi, scotch, double sided, or anything you desire)
  • Binder page clear sleeves
  • Thick cardstock
  • Post it notes
  • Elmer’s glue, gluesticks, mod podge, adhesives.
  • CD sleeve pages and blank CD’s.
  • A computer with a CD burner, and printer.
  • Polaroid Camera.
  • Instant camera and point and shoot camera for the trip.
  • Every brochure and business card, stickers, bumper stickers, placemats, you can get your hands on.
  • Wine. Lots of wine.

elizabethtown 1

 Claire and her planning. Glue stick and magazines and brochures galore . Image cred.

claire living room

Where is that cat? You know cats love crafts. And if she is sitting on the floor, the cat would be ON HER.


Intro to book with lots of maps.

Eliz Map

He starts in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and ends in Oregon, his home state.


Here’s Drew’s first look into the book. I’m sure it’s a little overwhelming since Claire has timed every second of his day.


Here’s a sample of the book. Where did she get all those postcards on such short notice? My book will have to have blank pages to fill as the trip goes on. You should have a passenger to read the directions to you. It must be hard to drive and read this novel at the same time.


A true testament to the sharpie. She lists the music she picks for him. All 42 hours worth!


More music and pull out brochures. Then again, Claire IS a flight attendant. Maybe she collected all of those brochures on the job?

elizabeth map

Full of brick-a-brack, she also owns a Polaroid.

map shot

Claire also randomly has a map of where Drew is going! That’s convenient. This site has pics of ALL the map shots. I don’t want to steal them all, so I took some of my own.


The book includes highlighted maps that pull out everywhere. In this scene Drew scatters some of his father’s ashes into the Mississippi.






Little notes and phrases everywhere. I will love to do this, as well as overheard conversations and little reminders of the trip.


Again with the Polaroids! I think I will have to get one for the trip… So I can have instant photos for my book!

cortina mapp

How did you document a road trip? What are your favorite destinations?

Happy driving!

Winter in Door County – Day Trip to Cave Point

Winter in Wisconsin seems to never end… It’s March and it snowed yesterday and the forecast isn’t going to get above 38 for at least another 10 days… So when the boyfriend wanted to go to Door County for a day trip, I was hesitant. But after getting to Cave Point Park and getting out of the car, what I saw took my breath away. I’m learning about all of the gems of Wisconsin (making lemons out of lemonade?) and I like what I see.


Upon walking up to the water, all you see is a vast expanse of water and thousands of tiny glaciers.


I loved the colors in the spectrum here. Teal blue and evergreen, with a touch of icy blue-gray.


The view was amazing, and don’t worry, safe. I really wanted to see a penguin, but I know that’s an unrealistic thing to ask of Wisconsin.


This lonely glacier (about the size of a refrigerator) was bouncing back and forth off of the cliff. How cool would it be to explore down there in the summer?


My tour guide amongst the cliffs and the ice. I climbed down to let the wind roll around me and just soaked up the view. I didn’t even notice it was cold that day.


If it’s this gorgeous in the winter, Cave Point must be really amazing in the summer…


The fog got thicker the farther back the water line went back. It was gorgeous, and the pictures don’t do it justice.


We also visited the exterior of a little abandoned house known as “The Mushroom House.” Should I be telling you this if it’s abandoned and probably private? Well, I didn’t go inside or take or ruin anything. I was doing a “study in Architecture.” Or so I liked to think of it as. How COOL would it be to fix this place up?


I’m sure whoever designed this was, well, probably not clear of mind. But it’s a neat little hobbit hole.

What was your favorite outdoor winter adventure? This is at the top of my list, for sure. Even though the mid-west is icy cold, it helps you appreciate the difference in seasons when you get to feel the changes in temperature. Happy exploring!

Trip to Door County

Last weekend, I dove into the shark tank that is a tourist town on a holiday weekend, Door County, Wisconsin. Such towns include Egg Harbor, Sister Bay, and Bailey’s Harbor. Quiet and quaint in the spring and fall, these towns swarm with tourists and locals in the summer season. Parking spaces are hard to find, and the air smells of cookouts, sweet corn, and salt water. Here’s a little bit from my little trip.

Here’s a little map to get you acquainted:

We drove from Green Bay, only about a half hour from Sturgeon Bay.

We took a detour from Green Bay to Door County in Algoma, to peek at the pink lighthouse, and get some sand in our toes.

Welcome to the beach!

Egg Harbor has a gorgeous little harbor with those little telescopes you put a quarter in so you can see the sailboats on the horizon. I recommend stopping in the local organic grocery store, Greens and Grains, and have lunch at Shipwrecked.

I loved the look of this building in Egg Harbor.

Hello! If this doesn’t make you want to eat BBQ, I don’t know what will.

Stop in Fish Creek to visit the boutique “Brilliant Stranger” for one of a kind hand made clothes and accessories, and grab a coffee at Luna, right next door.

One of my favorite T-Shirts we saw at Brilliant Stranger.

Right across the street from Luna is the adorable Door County Confectionary.

I love this “Love” blanket I saw at Luna.  After leaving Fish Creek, we decided to drive up the coast for a bit, soaking up the sights, and driving with the windows down. We turned around to try to find some dinner on the way back.

With the night winding down, it was time to grab some dinner! Yelp is a great app to find out where to eat based on budget, reviews, and menu, depending on what you’re in the mood for. There’s a place in Sister Bay called Al Johnson’s that has goats on the roof that got rave reviews for breakfast, by the way. Oddly enough, I just wanted to go home and order a pizza, so that’s exactly what we did. Happy travels!

Daydreaming of: Rooftops

Ever since I was little I’ve loved the idea of sitting in a window late at night with a cup of tea and looking over rows of moonlit rooftops. I know you can only accomplish this from a higher level in a building, and typically in a bigger city. Maybe I should just do a painting of rooftops, and hang them all over the place, so I always have one to look at. Here’s a few of my favorites.

 I completely blame movies like 101 Dalmations, Peter Pan, and Mary Poppins for my love of rooftops.

Mary Poppins,

… and Peter Pan.

I would love to see this out of my window. Especially at night.

This is a sketch I saw on Etsy one time. I love this style of house. Chicago? London? Paris? I would go to any of those places.

This picture from one of my favorite Paris Blogs, Prêt à Voyager, has tips and tricks on relocating to and living in Paris.

Paris, again. So much to see!

This rooftop is absolutely lovely.

I found this one on Paris’s Craigslist posting about an apartment. It was advertised as “this could be the view out of your window!” Not too shabby.

Maybe someday I will find an apartment with a rooftop where I can have my tea, look out over the neighbors, and read a book.

Happy Daydreaming!