Monday, July 31, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Prompt 8



Happy Monday! I hope all of you had a splendid few days over the weekend of R&R. I felt so refreshed waking up this morning. I guess going to bed by 10pm will do wonders. Here's to the start of a new week with new challenges and opportunities. The weekly to-do list in my planner is filling up quickly with all things work and fun. Quick shout-out though, to my best friends who continue to support me, give me hugs and a shoulder to cry on, dish out loads of jokes and call me out when I'm not being my real me or if something is up. I love you all. So I had to change up the order of the prompts for this '30 Days of Gratitude' writing challenge I'm following, because today's scheduled prompt talks about a book I'm grateful for...and said book that I really wanted to pull lines from, is at my apartment. Stay tuned for that coming later this week. Therefore here's the substitute from a different date. And I think it's a pretty good one.

Day 8: What Abilities Are You Grateful For?

I take a ton of pride in the fact that I have the ability to forgive and love people for who they are. You cannot go about your everyday life holding grudges or containing inside you, these clouds of judgement and anger against people. You cannot grow and be a positive, strong person by living vicariously through past slumps and moments that brought you down. I'll be straight honest, up until maybe three or four years ago, I had the hardest time moving forward and away from the people that did or said things to bring me down, discourage or hurt me. Whether it be in situations between friends, relationships, family or the workplace. And gosh workplace politics can be horrendously violent at times. I used to let it bog on me, make me feel weak and worthless but then I started realizing that it was just a waste of time, energy and it was just annoying. I learned that you have to accept that that past baggage did in fact happen but also move forward and do everything in your waking power to forget it and stay fresh. I remember four years ago at my first job out of college, I worked for a manager who was almost on the daily, demeaning me and treating me like I was a useless spec of dust. It was incredibly unprofessional and rude, and there were so many days when I'd get home after commuting for two-hours from Chicago that I'd draft-up a two-weeks notice. It was such a toxic environment and it killed any kind of self-esteem and confidence I had. Those toxic vibes trickled into my personal life and started affecting everything outside of work. I was miserable and felt that way for a long time. It took me a few years to recover from that, but I realized that people make mistakes. Sometimes people act out of character. Everyone has done it at some point, including myself. One of my favorite quotes reads (there are a few variations) along the lines of "Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." This is so true. We all struggle with something internally and while some of it can be visibly seen and noticed, some of it stays buried deep inside you. I as a person remember that mindset constantly. I'm a person who will never judge someone as a result of something they're trying to recover from or fix.

I don't 'put up' with people. That's such a negative connotation. I hate that saying. Rather I proudly and tirelessly absorb, understand and love them for who they are. That's what I do. We're all different, we all have different quirks and we all have to love each other. There've been times over the past couple years I've been tremendously hurt by someone or faced some inexplicable form of betrayal. Times when I've had friends and family call me out and tell me to walk away, quit or cut it off. But that's not what I do. But the pain is temporary, only temporary because immediately once some rut or incident happens, I seek out the very best in someone when they're at their worst. And I can always find it, forgive and move forward. It may not be easy, and it may not be immediate, but that's what I always do. It's how you come out on top and become the bigger, better and stronger person. Always, always forgive. That's something I do that I'm grateful for and the people who appreciate and respect that I do this, I'm so grateful for you.

Cheers and have a great day!
Robby

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Prompt 7


How's your weekend? I spent all day yesterday on a sailboat, dipping in and out of the bays up in scenic Door County. It was wonderful and incredibly relaxing. Pulling in and anchoring out in Little Sister Bay and diving off the side of the boat into the cool lake was so refreshing. On the way back into the harbor, my best friend proudly hoisted up the Jolly Roger pirate flag atop his 23ft Precision. Later that night, we all went out to dinner at a pizza joint, came back and stare up at the expansive starry sky in a hot tub while 90s hip-hop and rap played. Perfection. Oh it's Sunday! Lazy Sunday! Well, kind of. Sunday afternoons and evenings are one of my favorite times of the week. It's when I get a solid rock climbing workout in, go to church, meal prep for the work week and catch up with some best friends. And of course, there's a massive amount of relaxing thrown in there too. On to today's writing prompt for the 30 Days of Gratitude series you're seeing on my blog.

Day 7: What Memory Are You Grateful For?

Well this is a tricky question and prompt to reflect and write upon because there have been so many good, meaningful, important memories that have taken root during the past few months and years. Since 2017 started back in frigid January, I've been reflecting a lot more on just how lucky I am to have the very best, most loyal, caring and loving people in my life. I'm incredibly grateful for every single person I know. Thinking back to memories though recently that have stuck out to me and I have to go back to this past Valentines Day, when my mom entered into the hospital to fight breast cancer...again. This was the second time in about two years, that my mother Patty had a run with breast cancer. It's bullshit, it angered me and I was so scared because this round of it was much worse, required more surgery and chemotherapy. I remember in late January breaking down on my knees, when my parents sat me down and my mom had the courage to tell me that they had found a lump, again. We all knew that for the next several months, we'd have to bond stronger than ever as a family to really get through this. Not just to support my mom, but my dad and each other. So many late night phone calls happened between me and my brothers and I was constantly checking in on my mom to make sure she was ready to enter the hospital come February 14. She had her double-mastectomy and I remember my dad tearing up and saying good by and 'I love you' to her as we watched her get wheeled away to the operating room. My dad is almost 70 and having to see him scared like that shook me. For the next week, he was there all the time with her, during the surgery and after. I remember at the time, I was working a dead-end job that dished out no motivation, and every single day after work at 3pm or 4pm, I'd drive illegally fast to the hospital to be with my mom as she rebuilt her strength in her recovery room. She was hooked up to so many different tubes, things were beeping, sensors were reading this and that and nurses and doctors were always going in and out of that tiny room. I had to be there for her. I remember helping lift her out of bed to go to the bathroom or feeding her her dinner, holding a spoon of jello or cup of tea up to her mouth because the intense pain prevented her from moving. I'd stay in the hospital for 8-10hrs every day with her, even when my dad would assure me that it was okay to go. I had to be there, I was her son and that was my mom. The whole role-reversal was exhaustingly hard to accept and process. I was helping my mom get dressed, feed her, take her to the bathroom. I was 26 and she was just over 60. I remember when I would leave her recovery room, late at night, the hospital would be eerily quiet. I'd walk down the long, still halls back to the hospital entrance, stop and just lean up against a wall, trying to collect myself and smile. I couldn't. I was emotionally drained. This was the hardest thing I've had to go through yet, seeing your own mother, the most important, beautiful and strongest person in your life, struggle and suffer. I felt traumatized.  

But the memories from this time that kept me moving forward and stay happy were those ten minute walks I'd take my mom on through the hospital. The doctors required her to get up every few hours and go for a walk, in order to prevent blood clots. I'd help lift her up off the hospital bed, take my shoes off too and hold her hand. We'd walk very slowly, up and down the halls. I'd try to talk to her about all-things not hospital and surgery related, to put her mind somewhere else for that short period of time. We'd walk, step my step and we always tried to (if she had the strength) to walk to a big window that looked out over a patch of woods and farm fields. We'd stand there while I held her hand and look outside. I could see in her face this was so important and reliving to her. Then we'd walk slowly back to her hospital bed. Every minute I'd check in with her to make sure she wasn't in too much pain or if she needed to stop. I was so proud of my mom for these brief walks. She pushed herself and it made me smile. That mother-son bonding that took place on those little walks is something that I will never, ever forget. I'm grateful for those memories we had holding hands and going on slow walks through the recovery ward at the hospital. I'm also grateful for random kind strangers I didn't know and friends of our family who helped us through that hard stretch of months. I'm grateful for my best friends who consistently called or texted me to ask how my mom was doing, bought her flowers and came over to visit her as soon as she got home from the hospital (I seriously have the best friends in the world and I don't know what I'd do without them). I'm very grateful for a very special, genuine, loving and caring person that walked in to my life unexpectedly at the end of February/early March and gave me so much support and was my rock through my mom's whole recovery process. I'm beyond grateful for the power, confidence and love that my father and two younger brothers all had during this time because there wasn't ever a moment that lapsed where we weren't there for each other. Our family grew amazingly close and strong and my mom came out on top. I love you mom.

Cheers,
Robby


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Saturday, July 29, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Prompt 6

Greetings from the paradise of Wisconsin, Door County! I'm calling my best friend John's cabin in the village Ephraim home until Sunday afternoon and goodness it's so nice to be back up here in this part of the state. A weekend of sailing, bonfires, shenanigans, beaching, going out, spending time outside all in the company of my best friend. Let's hope neither one of us get another speeding ticket. I'm hoping to overcome my terrifying fear of open water this weekend up here. Hah, we'll see how that goes, clearly I shouldn't have watched the movie 'Jaws' when I was eight on a trip to San Diego. So day six of the 30 Days of Gratitude writing prompt is brilliant. It's about nature! Nature things!

Also if you love dogs, you might want to check out my Instagram stories today and tomorrow. https://www.instagram.com/robbyd325/

Day 6: What In Nature Are You Grateful For?

Many of friends and family who really know me, know that I'm an absolute sucker for a solid sunset. I always have been. I'm not ashamed of it at all, but I will go out of the way, move my schedule around, procrastinate things...just to catch a sunset. Yes, I've pulled over on the side of the highway just to take a photo of a stellar sunset. Haven't you? Whenever I plan out trips or hikes, I always jot down somewhere, on my hand, in my pocket-size travel journal, on a wrinkly map, what time the sun sets. There are two reasons I'm grateful for sunsets. First, and yes it's superbly cliche but come on, every sunset is different. To me it's like this reward we look forward to at the end of the day. We bustle for hours on end in our overly-occupied days, combating that work/life balance and then come the late afternoon and the sun slowly starts creeping down across the western horizon, it's like life slows down for an hour or so, we can stare out onto that big open sky at an ever-changing canvass waiting for a vibrance of events happen. Hues and shades of colors explode all over the sky in an uncapped inventory of patterns. I get so excited, ecstatic about a good sunset and want to tell literally everyone I see. You can never get bored of sunsets they are always different, every, single, night. Blue skies with clouds gets dull and monotonous. Sunsets win, always. The second reason I'm grateful for sunsets is because it calls for reflection and strikes up the time for pondering. When the sun goes down, the day is ending. I think about what I did well, what I shouldn't have done or said, what I need to start doing to improve myself, what's on the agenda for tonight, how can I act differently tomorrow in ____ situation to ensure I'm growing into a better and stronger person. I'll sit on a bench at Big Bay Park just down the road from my apartment after a bike ride, or atop a ridge in North Dakota's Theodore Roosevelt National Park and just stare quietly into that slowly fading sunset. And I'll watch it go down completely. To me, that's one of the upmost relaxing and healthy things you can do as a person, sit quietly and just admire in awestruck for an hour until dark. It sure beats staring at a bright phone screen. Door County has easily some of the best sunsets in the world and they take foreverrrrrrr to go down. I can't wait to sit on the beach tonight at Little Sister Bay or Ephraim and see the sky light-up in orange, red, purple, pink, copper, yellow.

Speaking of nature, I've picked out my fall backpacking trip. It's a 19 mile, loop hike that starts in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park and heads up into the neighboring, stunning Never Summer Wilderness. Two nights in the backcountry high in elevation above 11,000ft sounds like heaven to me. I can't wait to swing through the Valley (Grand County) and see some of my best friends from when I lived out there, I miss my home away from home Granby, CO. Time to play with my travel credit card perks and buy plane tickets for a four-day weekend in October adventure. Oh, and get training.

Cheers, thanks for reading along again and have a fantastic weekend,

~Robby

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Friday, July 28, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Prompt 5

And what feels like the slowest week in the world is nearing its end! I woke up this morning full of 'TGIF' energy. I was still evidently recovering from a food coma though, as last night after wrenching away on my fun never-ending project car, myself and one of my good friends Nick splurged on burgers at a spot called The Ruckus, just down the road from me in Shorewood. Oh it was so, so, so good. Speaking of food, did you catch yesterday's prompt? Check it out, phở real. So on to day 5 of the 30 Days of Gratitude writing prompt I'm every day scribing away at. Continued thanks to those who keep following along and read these, the page views here keep going up a lot! Hopefully you too will grasp some inspiration and try out a prompt like this one.

Day 5: What Sound Are You Grateful For Today?

Every morning as soon as I step out of the shower, I yell out to my Amazon Echo one of two requests "Alexa, play José González Pandora station" or "Alexa, play NPR news." The first request repeatedly being the more common sound playing throughout my wood-floored apartment. NPR is on during my AM commute though. I've always thought having a series of morning rituals, habits, routines whatever you'd like to name 'em, is really important to starting your day off right. In the background I can have soft, gentle acoustic music that streams from said Pandora station going, fresh coffee brewing, my creaky bedroom window open with a breeze floating in past the curtains- all while I'm tying a tie in front of the mirror or brushing my teeth or just thinking about the day ahead. Do you wake up to an actual alarm clock or your phone? Try an actual alarm clock that forces you to get up and shut it off. I started awhile back keeping my phone plugged in overnight far away from my bed or just in a different room and it's been wonderful. That sad, obnoxious temptation to instantly swipe through your social media feeds the second you wake up, check texts or even worse- email is saved for later in the morning instead of when your heads still attached to that comfy pillow. Try it out, I bet it'll make you happier and more productive in the morning. Back to that José González Pandora station. José González is this Swedish-Argentinian indie folk singer that I heard for the first time on 88.9 Radio Milwaukee three years ago. I was hooked immediately, sold, and downloaded tons of his stuff. That strumming of guitars, chillingly-good authentic voice and simple, colorful lyrics- it's just this warm experience listening to music like this. When my dad and I loaded up my station wagon and moved me out to Granby, Colorado in the fall of 2014, I created this Pandora station and my iTunes library grew tremendously. On nearly all adventuring, camping, backpacking, road tripping, traveling- I'm dialing up music I've heard on that José González Pandora station. It's turned me on to other similar acoustic, folk and indie artists like Iron & Wine, Stateless, Gregory Alan Isakov, The Shins, Junip, Ben Howard, etc. I constantly listen to these talented musicians and I have many of vivid, happy memories that come to mind when some of their tracks play. Listening to Iron & Wine's "Cinder and Smoke" while driving through snowstorms in Colorado, or their song "Jezebel" while excitedly exploring Iceland. Listening to Stateless's "Miles To Go" or "Bloom" by The Paper Kite's while roaming the National Parks in and around The Badlands and Black Hills. Listening to "Night Time" by The XX when backpacking in Utah. I'm crazy grateful for music like this that fuels the stoked wanderlust side of me. Here's a list of goodies to take a hear to if you're in need of new tunes:







Cheers and have the very best day,
Robby    
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Thursday, July 27, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Prompt 4

Traffic and page views to my blog have been on the rise this past week, so thank you for reading along! See, gratitude right there. The best thing about a blog is that it serves as an avenue for me to open and just be straight-up honest about all things life. The weekend is almost here and I cannot wait for it. I'm heading up to Door County, WI with my best friend John. It'll be a solid two days of brotherly bonding, catching up, sailing, no-alarm mornings, bonfires and unplugging. Prompt number four of this '30 Days of Gratitude Writing Prompt' I'm following is well, delicious.

Day 4: What Food Are You Most Grateful For?
 
When I turned on my phone this morning and pulled up the prompt, I knew the answer immediately: phở. Again, cuing this prompt in a travel-y way. Phở is a widely popular, traditional Vietnamese dish that's explosive in tastes. Served hot, it's a soup with broth, meat (usually chicken or beef), sometimes veggies, herb, spices and whatever rice noodle you want to throw in it. It is gloriously good and filling. When I lived in Vietnam for almost five months in 2011, we ate phở on the daily, sometimes twice in one day. Six years ago, one U.S. Dollar $1 equaled out to just over 20,000 Vietnamese Dong. Phở was crazy, crazy, crazy cheap. We'd order it in upscale restaurants in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), on street corners from people preparing it and selling it off the back of their bike in a big metal pot and from small phở joints that you'd have to walk through a maze of alley ways to get to. We lived in a pretty much a government-run hostel, right in District 1 across from our university we went to school at, the Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities, right on Đinh Tiên Hoàng street. There were five of us Americans from Loyola University Chicago living abroad that semester in Vietnam and our favorite spot to get phở, or the 'dirty, dirty phở' was just right around the corner, left on Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai street and then down an alley way on the right side of the busy street. This joint was narrow and tucked in between other stores and homes. We'd sit on tiny plastic, almost child-like, stools at a table knee-high and slurp away on this cheap, spicy bowl of wonderfulness. We'd go for lunch, dinner or if we were craving a snack in the middle of the night, venting about school, comparing days at our NGOs (non-government organizations) we volunteered at throughout the city and just general chit-chat about this vastly amazing life we were living in Vietnam. Then on our way back, there was a milkshake stand that sold the best Oreo milkshakes for again, crazy cheap. Desert, of course. In writing this prompt, I hopped on Google Earth's Street View, plugged in my old address I lived at in Saigon and found that alley way (which I've been told the phở joint is sadly no longer there). Here's a look:
I've been to a few phở restaurants here in the United States since I moved back from Vietnam, and while the dishes have been fairly spot-on, they don't even hold a candle to the raw exuberant flavor and experience of sitting down on small plastic stools on the streets of Saigon in 90-degree heat, engulfed in the constant whirring and honking of mopeds and in the company of your four best travel friends with a hot bowl of authentic phở in your lap. I'm so grateful for that cultural immersion. 

That photo at the top was shot in January 2011 of the very first bowl of real phở I had, just hours after arriving into Saigon.

Cheers,
Robby

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Prompt 3

Three days into this writing prompt challenge I found on Pinterest and it's been a blast thus far. I've been in a writing mood lately and it helps that I'm camping out at my parents' house this week in an effort to get some fresh air. So I cranked this prompt out at breakfast as today I'm out in Oshkosh, WI with press credentials to cover the EAA Airshow for the magazine I work for. Planes and cars galore. True fact, I used to go to summer camp out here and learned how to fly. I've actually got a few hours of seat time in a single-engine prop plane from when I was like 13-15 years old.

Day 3: What Color Are You Grateful For? 

"Hah, this will be interesting" I thought when I pulled up this prompt on my phone while sipping the last of my coffee. There are so many different answers to this prompt I could choose. I could say green because I love trees or red because my car is red or white because fresh fallen snow is just magical but I've got to go with blue for this one. The reason is that water is blue (I promise the rest of this post won't be elementary-level writing, stay with me) and something about water is just calming and relaxing. At times when it feels like life is flying by you at a million miles per hour, your're unsure about something or just feeling down, lost or jaded- I find it the most comforting to go sit and watch the shoreline. I'll bike to a local park, drive to a lake or even just stare out the plane window at the ocean down below. It's inexplicable and just hard to describe the serenity and tranquility of water. You can sit there, tune out everything else in the world that's distracting you and just clear your head. The repetitive sounds of the waves crashing in and the sun beaming down on the bedazzling surface of the water, it's simply harmonic. You don't even need to be feeling bummed out to enjoy the blue. You can be in the happiest mood ever and still recharge just by sitting by the water and taking it all in. I think there's also this huge 'What If' factor that goes with pondering and staring out into the blue. Nearly the entire planet is covered in water and we've only just explored a narrow sliver of it There are still millions of square miles of uncharted waters, with new species of marine life being discovered and new islands being mapped out. Ever fly over the Pacific ocean? It's unbelievably cool. When I flew from Sand Diego to Hong Kong years ago, that was nearly a 17 hour flight at 500+mph in a jumbo jet, across water. Unreal. I remember when I was in Iceland driving to the northern most point in the country and hiking out to the very tip of the point at sunset, just to stare north into the Arctic Ocean because I was intrigued by it. Crazy to think the North Pole and Arctic Circle were only nine miles north of where I stood by the light house.

So blue, thank you for providing me with calm when things seem shaken and cuing all sorts of wanderlust feels.

Cheers,
Robby

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Prompt 2


Here's a good prompt. Oh and happy Tuesday!

Day 2: What Technology Are You Grateful For?

This answer is so easy- the camera. Almost fourteen years, in 2003 ago my parents bought me my first digital camera right before my eight grade class trip to Washington D.C. (Gosh I need to get back there). It was a Kodak EasyShare CX6330 with...wait for it...3.1 megapixels! Wow the quality! But this was right around the time when point-and-shoot digital cameras were exploding into the amateur photography market. I shot the heck out of that little camera up until 2006 when at Christmas time, I unwrapped a present with a brand-new, Canon Rebel XT digital SLR camera that I still, ten years later, shoot with today. The first big trip I took that camera on? A two-week mission trip to a remote village in Guatemala called San Jose El Tesoro. I was seventeen and it was my first international adventure. We spent two-weeks teaching english, doing construction work around the village, traveling throughout the country (hey-o Tikal National Park) and helping out in a medical clinic. The stuff I saw and experienced down there in the Yalpemech region was incredibly inspiring yet also terrifying at the time due to a rash of violence that was sweeping over parts of the country at the time we were there. I've used this camera on hundreds of trips since, here and abroad. It's been dropped, spilled on, covered in snow and dust but still snapping away. But it's like actual cameras these days are slowly starting to become, sadly, irrelevant. At a recent lake house party I was at, I pulled out a small newer Canon point-and-shoot camera to capture photos of the festivities and our attempts at yoga poses on stand-up paddle boards. A few friends joked with "What is that?! A camera?" Cell phones these days have impressive cameras, but to me nothing is better than carrying an actual camera around. You can get far more creative with your photography, it's a reliable way to capture the scene and it allows you to still unplug from that constant buzzing and lighting up of your phone's notifications without sacrificing a lens. I've had photos of mine used in newspapers, magazines, on the National Geographic website, on this blog thingy you're reading now, in wedding slideshows and dozens of social media profile pictures. Photography is an art I treasure deeply and take seriously, that's part of the reason I started this new journalism job. I get to shoot and edit photos with professional equipment in a professional environment with professional tools. I love it. 

The other aspect of why I'm grateful for the camera, is because it allows you to give back. One of my absolutely favorite things to do, is give the gift of a photo. I think picking out an image of something that really is important to you, like maybe a shot of your best friends out at a cookout, or a photo of you smiling with the person you love, appreciate and admire, or of a pet that your mother laughs at constantly...and then having it printed, picking out a frame to match...and then handing it over to someone as a surprise is the very, very best thing.

You're sharing with someone a photo of person (maybe that exact person) or a memory that truly means the world to you. They can then keep and hold it close. 


So with that, go shoot some photos, get them in paper form and spread that happiness in the form of a 3x5, 4x6 or 5x7. 

Cheers,
Robby

That candid photo of me with my camera in hand at the top of this post was shot by my roommate and friend Giang in 2011, when we were living in Vietnam. 



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Monday, July 24, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Prompt 1

A few nights ago outside at a coffee shop, I was swiping through Pinterest and saw this writing prompt. It's a challenge, encouraging one to reflect and journal about thirty things they're thankful for. In my ongoing commitment to polish my journalism skills, I decided to give it a go. Why not, right? And since this is a travelogue- err, travel blog,- I'll attempt to tie each day's prompt into something outdoors/adventure related. A coworker also walked by my office today and I asked when I'd be blogging next so here we go.

Day 1: What Smell Are You Grateful For Today?

This is super relevant yet also random prompt to start this off because as soon as I locked the front door on my apartment at 6:20am and walked outside, I took a deep breath and smelt the crisp cool air. A quiet, Monday morning in Shorewood. I always strive to get to work by 7am daily so that I'm done at 3pm with plenty of hours left of freedom. Everything around me smelt just fresh, it had also rained overnight a bit so nothing beats that aroma which made me smile as I walked to my car. It 100% felt and smelled like fall, my favorite season. Only a few more months until the leaves glow orange, red, yellow and a plethora of different copper shades. Only a few more months until temperatures drop to sweatshirt, flannel and jeans weather and every single product you find in a grocery store has the words "Pumpkin Spice," in front of it. Not that that's a bad thing, Ill splurge for at least one, pricey Pumpkin Spice Late from Starbucks but sorry Seattle coffee conglomerate, Wisco's own Culvers has the best Pumpkin Spice milkshakes. I've recently made a list of habits I'm cutting out and changes I'm proactively making to make my life healthier. I feel absolutely incredible, I'm in awesome shape and I love it. But ehhh, maybe I'll make one or two exceptions for fall. PLUS my favorite holiday comes...Halloween! Gosh I'm stoked for carving pumpkins, scary movies, costume parties and all the ridiculous decorations. Fall is also when I take usually one or two big trips camping or backpacking. Last year it was a 14 day trip to Iceland and a 10 day adventure out west to the Badlands and Black Hills to geek out over some stunning National Parks. What trips am I planning for this fall? Colorado is calling my name, specifically Rocky Mountain National Park.

Can we fast forward to mid September? I'll gladly keep smelling sense of fall every morning until then.

Cheers,

Robby

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