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Tyler

Rhode Island

Newport, RI

Newport, Rhode Island was one of the first trips that Kayla and I took while on the East Coast and we loved it so much that we decided to swing back up when our friends Janel and Kyle were in town.

We ended up enjoying Newport much more than we had ever imagined. It was covered in fog during our first trip, but that only seemed to add to the awe and spectacle of this little coastal town.

Newport is known as the sailing capital of the world for good reason.  The harbor was dotted with boats ranging from small, one-person sail-boats to America’s Cup racing vessels. The community around the sport bleeds into all the small shops and restaurants as well, which provides a truly unique experience.

During our second trip up to Newport, we made sure to get the full experience and head out on an evening sail. Accompanied by our amazing friends, a little champagne and some good wind, we set out for a chilly sail around the harbor and got a good sense of how deep the sailing history extends in this little coastal town. Without hesitation, I also volunteered to raise a sail, which was probably why we had such a perfect time on the water…

Another attraction to Newport is the large amount of mansions that live within it’s city limits. As early New Yorkers began to amass their wealth, they decided to spend their summers in Newport, where it began to be the “it” place for anyone who wanted to show off their wealth and power. With that, began an era of building huge, intricate and embellished mansions and houses that are now on display for visitors. Kayla and I toured the Breakers and got a good education about what life was like back in that era and a new appreciation for the city and it’s great history.

Outside of the rich history and culture, Newport is simply a nice break from the action of the urban city and filled with it’s own character and charm. From the seafood restaurants to the shops along the harbor, it seems to have it’s own unique charm that is unmistakably “Newport”.

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Maine

Mainely Awesome

Getting a four day stretch of work off has been a rarity for Kayla during this assignment, so we decided to cross a major trip off of our east coast bucket list and headed northeast to Maine.

Not knowing anything besides it being a lobster-lover’s heaven on earth, we didn’t know what to expect.

Somehow our string of good luck was still going strong and we were able to snag an AirBnb on one of hundreds of bays and channels that make up Maine’s coastline.

We stopped quickly for dinner in Portland, ME and then headed up to the tiny town of Freeport.

The weather was absolutely perfect which allowed us to get out for a hike and a memorable canoe trip on the bay.

We ventured into Freeport a couple of times where we wandered around the outlet shops and most importantly, the original L.L. Bean store. Throughout the whole area, it is apparent that L.L. Bean has been a cornerstone for the community and inspires a great deal of attention and visitors to the city.

Following a suggestion from our hosts, we headed into Brunswick, ME for dinner and gelato, only to again be put in awe over the incredible small towns and communities along Maine’s coast.

We stayed for two nights in the AirBnb and then a third night we camped further east on Sagadahoc Bay where we got our fix of campfires and lobster directly from the boat.

For us, this was one of the few times in the past year that we have been able to get away from the sights, sounds and smells of the city. That reason alone made this trip something to look forward to, but after exploring the area and meeting some remarkable people, it was hard to leave.

 

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Boston

Boston

If you are going to live in New England for three months, it would be a sin to not visit Boston at least once. With that in mind, we drove the two and a half hour trip up to “Beantown”, and wished we could have stayed for years.

Around New Haven, it’s a bit of a touchy subject when asking a preference between Boston and New York City. People seem to have their biases and for good reason. After our experience, it’s really hard to pick a favorite, but the smaller population, rich history, brownstone buildings and Fenway Park make it nearly impossible to not call Boston the clear winner.

We ended up loving Boston. Big time.

Last minute planning scored us a good hotel deal near Newbury Street and prime location to both Fenway Park and the Boston Common.

Our first night we simply walked around aimlessly, gawking at the incredible New England style, Brownstown apartments and imagining what our daily life could look like if we lived here.

Embracing the “local” spirit, we ventured into a little bar where everyone seemed to know our name and grabbed a couple of beers allegedly brewed by one of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence. “When in Rome” right?

The next day we ran around Boston, following the Freedom Trail up to Bunker Hill. It’s hard not to feel a certain spirit in the air when you are literally walking around the birthplace of America. It was an inspiring day.

Before we left, we caught a game at Fenway. Obviously this is the modern day heart of the city, so we’d be foolish not to experience it. We opted for the cheapest seats possible and unfortunately didn’t bring the Red Sox much luck, as they were clobbered by the Blue Jays. Nonetheless it was great to see the “Green Monster” first hand and to witness a game in the oldest major league park in America.

Of all the places we’ve visited, few have come close to the connection we made with Boston. We’ll be back.

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Fresno

Adios Fresno!

Well… we’re back on the road. After three months in Central California, we’re ready for the next adventure!

Our time here wasn’t always easy, but we experienced A LOT in three months and would not trade that experience and the amount of knowledge and clarity that we gained, for anything.

Being our first travel assignment, we were both getting used to what life in temporary locations feels like. A new hospital with new procedures and problems allowed Kayla to learn and also to understand what it REALLY means to be a travel nurse in a new hospital. For me, I learned that organization and a good coffee shop are crucial to my success as a freelancer. Being able to set your own schedule and work where you want to have been incredible, but not without it’s fair share of stress and issues to overcome.

When we look back to this first assignment, we will undoubtedly realize how much we learned about ourselves as a couple and ultimately what it means to ONLY have each other to rely on. This will always be remembered as a place where we both grew closer and gained more clarity on what we want our future to look like.

The next month will be a little crazy for us as we slowly make our way to the next assignment in New Haven, CT. We’ll spend some time with family in St. Louis and Minneapolis along the way and we look forward to a trip down to Cancun with some incredible friends as well!

Below is a small glimpse of the area immediately outside of Fresno. Stricken with drought and full of mega-farms, the area has a very unique and desolate vibe.

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Yosemite Nat'l Park

Return to Yosemite

It was a bittersweet realization that our time in Fresno, CA was coming to an end. Don’t get me wrong, we are excited to get to a new location with a little more character, but the location and adventures that we took advantage of during our time in Fresno is something that might not ever happen again.

One of the biggest advantages of living in Fresno was the proximity to one of the most hallowed places in America: Yosemite National Park.

You might remember that we took a little trip here earlier in the assignment, but the draw of the granite cliffs, solitude of the enormous redwoods and the glow of the night sky is something that begs to be returned to many times over. So we packed up the Jeep and headed toward our respite and last piece of relaxation and adventure in the Southwest.

It was still a bit early in the year for backwoods camping, and the weather wasn’t looking to be in our favor, so we opted to stay in the historic “Curry Village”, where we were put up in a canvas tent for the night.

In the early years of Yosemite, the Curry family established a tented campground in order to provide the camping experience to all who wanted it. Their motto was “a good bed and clean napkin with every meal”. This is still very much the spirit of Curry Village today. For anyone wanting an affordable and memorable camping experience in Yosemite, this is about as perfect as it gets, without using your own gear.

While we were in the park, we took part in a couple hikes, climbed to some waterfalls and slept through hail/thunderstorms. It is always such a freeing feeling as you drive down and around the Yosemite Valley. The fresh air, smell of pine needles in the sun, sounds of distant waterfalls all seem to be alive and in perfect symphony.

This place… There is simply no other place like this in the world.

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Phoenix

Spring Training 2015

It’s spring in the southwest, so that means it’s time for baseball!

We flew down to Phoenix, AZ to meet up with Kayla’s dad and take in a week of baseball and sun. Ryan and Ellen and Nate met us down there a couple days later as well to truly make it a family affair.

Every single day we were in AZ, we saw a baseball game. In fact, within a couple of hours of our plane touching down, we were sitting down with a Summer Shandy in hand, watching the Brewers play the Cubs. We even left the ballpark on our last day and went straight to the airport to catch our flight later that evening. While we might not be the greatest baseball fans during the season, for this week our lives revolved around America’s favorite pastime.

While we were there, we also managed to get out a few times and do some hiking and obviously had our fair share of playing ball with Nate.

Getting down to Spring Training was a really eye-opening and crazy fun time. It was interesting to see the city embrace the influx of visitors and welcome the teams into their homes for the spring.

We’ll be looking forward to making this a potential yearly tradition!

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Big Sur

Big Sur Camping

When we were asked by a couple good friends to join them for a quick camping trip in Big Sur, it took us all of one second to mark it on the calendar. Any excuse to spend time with Seth and Monica Hines and their two dogs is a good one, and spending a couple of days in Big Sur was icing on the cake. The Hines’ lived in Seattle while we lived there and moved to San Francisco a few months before we began traveling.

Big Sur is a California staple. With nearly 90 miles of coastline, this area of the Central Coast contains some of the most incredible beaches, cliffs, groves and mountains I’ve ever seen.

Our first night was spent enjoying some incredible “camp” food that Seth meticulously put together, catching up on the past few months and planning our next day.

We slept in the next morning and headed up the road for a nice hike in the woods with the gang and the two viszlas. After a couple hours and some good elevation gains, we headed down to Pfeiffer Beach to get some sand and saltwater. We played some frisbee, threw a few many sticks for the dogs and snapped a bunch of photos.

Our second night ended a little sooner than the first and the next morning we were back on the road home.

The drive to Fresno from Big Sur should have taken around 3 hours, but with some intense fog, amazing coastline, a beach full of seals and a stop back in St Louis Obispo, we turned that into an 8-hour adventure.

A couple of days in Big Sur was a much needed getaway and spending it with an amazing couple and two rad dogs made it even better.

 
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Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Continuing our trend of exploring the areas in Central/South California, we recently took a trip to LA to experience the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

Neither of us had ever been to LA (that we remember) so planning the trip was exciting to know that we would finally be taking in all the sights and sounds that have been made famous by TV and movies.

We had two main objectives for the trip: 1: Experience the celebrity lifestyle and 2: Visit the infamous beaches and surf spots LA lays claim to.

The first stop though, was Pink’s– where we partook in true LA history by ordering hot dogs topped with more concoctions than the dog itself.

In order to hit objective number one, we stayed a couple nights in the Hollywood Hills. This offered us short proximity to Hollywood Blvd, the Sunset Strip, Beverly Hills and Universal Studios. We filled the days with the typical tourist hotspots and spent the nights on watch for celebrities in the nearby restaurants and pubs.

For the latter half of our trip, we stayed in Marina Del Rey, which was a good staging area for days in Venice Beach and Santa Monica.

Not quite ready to give up the sand and sun, we decided to postpone our drive back to Fresno long enough to meander up the coast to Malibu and spend some more time in the sand. After lunch at Neptune’s Net (made famous by Fast and the Furious) we found a little slice of beach heaven, hidden by rock formations and completely secluded from any other beach goers. We debated whether or not to building a tiki hut and moving in, but the call of “real life” rang through and we soon found ourselves back on the road to the central valley.

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CA Central Coast

Pismo Beach & SLO

We have started to get into a groove and find our way around Fresno more and more. In all honesty, the city itself could be Anytown, USA – but add some palm trees and consistently warm weather and it becomes slightly better than average.

Even the Fresnonians adhere to a strict code when it comes to finding things to do… Get out of the city and enjoy some of the great places that are merely a short drive away.

Naturally, when presented with a few days off, we headed to the coast.

Pismo Beach, CA is a short 2.5 hour drive from our place in Fresno which made it a perfect getaway for some time on the coast. It’s a small, surfer town where life slows down and flip-flops are customary.

A couple days spent lounging by the pool and exploring the beach were just what we needed to relax and reset after transitioning to life in Fresno.

Only ten minutes away from Pismo Beach is the neighboring city of San Louis Obispo or “SLO” as the in-crowd calls it.

While Pismo has the sand and surf, SLO has the art, music, local food & college town feel. We spent a day wandering down Higuera Street and popping in and out of cool stores and coffee shops.

I needed to get some work done, so I befriended a new favorite coffee shop and posted up while Kayla continued touring the city. If you ever find yourself in SLO – be sure to grab a late from Scout Coffee.

Not surprisingly, we had the camera in hand and took away some great memories and photos from the weekend.

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Yosemite Nat'l Park

Yosemite

Experiencing Yosemite National Park is something that doesn’t translate well into words, but we figured we’d give it a shot…

Ever since watching 180° South, I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to visit this place and to see, first hand, the amazing and truly mystical walls and valleys that so many people have photographed and written about for years.

“It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.” – John Muir, conservationist

Our trip to Yosemite was quick… From our place in Fresno, CA it was only an hour and a half drive to the entrance and another hour until we were on the valley floor looking up at El Capitan. We were lucky enough to have Keith and Dede along for the trip which made it a fun experience for all of us.

The first stop in the park was the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia trees. Walking amongst these giants is truly a humbling experience. It’s hard not to reflect on our own time on this earth and how truly minuscule that is in comparison to what these trees have seen. Some of the trees in the grove have been there over 2000 years and are still growing each year.

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From the Mariposa Grove, we drove another hour to the Yosemite Valley Floor where we were surrounded by some new giants that go by the names of El Capitan, Half Dome, Cathedral Rocks, Yosemite Falls and The Sentinels.

The road to the valley winds you through the park in a way that was designed by artists and after guiding you through a mile-long tunnel, spits you out to the most majestic view of nature that I have ever seen.

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From the tunnel, we got down to the valley floor and had a picnic in the meadows below Yosemite Falls. Even a PB&J somehow tastes more amazing when you supplement it with views of the towering peaks… From there we visited the Yosemite village and stopped below El Capitan to reflect once more.

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Even though we spent the day touring the park, it seems that our desire for more may never be filled. We’ll be back soon and next time we’ll bring a tent and our hiking legs.

This place is truly amazing and inspiring. Everywhere you look in the park brings a new peak to imagine climbing or a new trail to ponder. The experience resonates with you in a way that gives you a sort of calmness simply knowing places like this exist.

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“Yosemite Park is a place of rest, a refuge from the roar and dust and weary, nervous, wasting work of the lowlands, in which one gains the advantages of both solitude and society. Nowhere will you find more company of a soothing peace-be-still kind. Your animal fellow beings, so seldom regarded in civilization, and every rock-brow and mountain, stream, and lake, and every plant soon come to be regarded as brothers; even one learns to like the storms and clouds and tireless winds. This one noble park is big enough and rich enough for a whole life of study and aesthetic enjoyment. It is good for everybody, no matter how benumbed with care, encrusted with a mail of business habits like a tree with bark. None can escape its charms. Its natural beauty cleans and warms like a fire, and you will be willing to stay forever in one place like a tree.” – John Muir