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6 months of traveling, and a new home!

So, I went MIA for a few months… and I thought it would be nice to try to squeeze all of what I did during that time into 1 little blog post!

In December, I packed up my belongings in my apartment that I had called home in NYC for the past few years. With the help of a friend, Chris and I moved out of our apartment the day after his last day of college. And a few days later we were sitting on a train, and then a plane flying to Germany.

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We took a sleepy selfie on our way to the airport! And then here we are, landing in Berlin!

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First stop, Berlin. We visited my brother, and my parents came too! We all celebrated Christmas together, and a few days later we traveled from Berlin to Dusseldorf to celebrate my grandpa’s 80th birthday! There was a LOT of singing, and a ton of food!

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This photo has 4 generations, my brother, my nephew, my grandpa, and my dad.❤️ And of course we had to get the entire family together for a photo, no I didn’t take this one.

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Ok, next stop – Prague. Chris and I rented a car and drove from Berlin to Prague… on our way it began to snow. It kept snowing and snowing, and by the time we arrived in Prague late in the afternoon the city was transformed into a winter wonderland. We checked in to our airBnB and then wandered through the streets of Prague, all the shops and galleries were open late for the holiday season, the snow was lightly falling, and everything was glimmering with christmas lights. Truly, a magical experience.

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We also squeezed in some hiking while we were in Germany. It’s a very different experience than hiking here in the US!

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After our time in Germany and the Czech Republic we came back to NY, and got packing – next leg of the trip: Six weeks of hiking through the Appalachian Mountains. (Really we had planned for about 5 months, but plans change). We started on February 13th, in Georgia at Springer Mountain. Oh, and if you are thinking it was warm, it was not! Our first night out we camped in -2F. Over the next 6 weeks we experienced plenty of snow, subzero temperatures, freezing rain, trees and branches crashing down around us, and then the magical arrival of spring! About a week into the weather turning the crowds also started turning up. So, as we sat down going through our food inventory for the next 10 day stretch, feeling frustrated and overwhelmed by the crowds of hikers and the trash they brought with them we decided to change gears. Chris suggested ‘Let’s rent a car and drive to California!’

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The view from the top of Blood mountain, we could see all the way to Atlanta, although my little camera didn’t quite get that!

And here I am, all geared up! And those funny looking goggles I wore for you, my dearest clients, to protect my eyes.

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We got to hike through fields of wild ponies, in the Grayson Highlands! They were adorable.

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This is Bland, Virginia. The place were part 2 of our trip ended, and part 3 began! Also the place where I decided I really needed to bring my work camera on the next section of traveling.

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Turns out, it would have cost a fortune to rent a car for that distance, so we rented one to drive back to NY from Virginia, and a few days later we were on our way. Part 3.

Part 3 started out with a marathon 27 hour drive from NY to the Badlands in South Dakota. We arrived the next day just in time to find a place to camp and set up for the night. Now we were ‘glamping’ with an extra mat to lay on, and a real pillow that we brought from home! That night we fell asleep to the howling sounds of coyotes. From there we made our way through Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada.

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Salt flats, Utah. Someday I hope to take my clients here for a photo session!

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We camped most nights, and found beautiful and remote places to hike. We saw practically no one. It felt as if we had found a magical ghost land. From Nevada we drove across to the California coast, stopping in Tahoe to admire that mind bending lake (and hike a little). We explored the giant and majestic Redwoods and then slowly made our way down the coast along highway 1. Stopping to hike and camp when the mood would strike.

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Lake Tahoe, prompted a rare Selfie!

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Once we got to the bottom of California we started to head back east. Going through Arizona, of course we stopped and hiked to the base of the grand canyon! It was well over 100 degrees at the bottom in April. We woke up just before 4am, packed up our tent and gear as quietly and quickly as possible, and with the light from our headlamps started the 10 miles hike back up to the rim of the canyon.

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View from the top of the grand canyon! And then a photo I took around 4:30am as the sun started coming up as we hiked out of the Grand Canyon.

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Ok, clearly this photo needs a caption, this is us on our way to puppy preschool. We volunteered in Dog Town at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. They assigned us to puppy preschool (yayyyyy puppies!!). So we were very excited! We started our volunteer day by cleaning a litter of recently rescued puppies and their momma. They had experienced some less than ideal conditions and were in serious need of a good scrub down to help their sores heal and give them that shiny puppy look. Afterwards we took 2 siblings for a walk, and then played with another group to work on socializing them. Introducing them to standard household items, such as vacuum cleaners! The day ended with mopping, laundry, doggy dishes, and general cleanup.

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The southern bit of Utah was also an incredible place, from Arches to the dessert washes and abandoned towns to volunteering at the Best Friends Animal Shelter, I’m not sure what I loved most!

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Then back through Colorado, then Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee and North Carolina. From there we sped up the coast to Baltimore, where we stayed for a while to help with my parent’s move. Then, back to NY, job hunting in all the places we had liked on our trip. It didn’t take long for Chris to find himself flying back to California for an interview, and a week later we loaded our belongings out from our storage unit and into a truck. This time as we drove from NY to CA, we didn’t stop to hike, we made it in 3 days. Arriving in Oakland on July 3, on the 5th we moved into our apartment, and here we are!

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Our trusty little red car, aka ‘Tank’ or “Tankeroni” got a bit dusty driving through the desert! This is essentially what our living conditions looked like for the driving portion of the trip. Car, tent, dust, stuff, gear, nature, heaven!

This trip was an amazing experience for me. I learned to live in the moment, to appreciate the little things in life (like running water, and toilets), and I learned so much about this beautiful country that I live in. While taking 6 months off was definitely not a smart move for my savings (hah, what savings!?) I gained an experience that no amount of money would be worth trading it in for. Now I’m living on the other side of the country, building a new business and new friendships, I am so grateful for every challenge that I have faced to get here and all the strength I have found along the way.

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