So, it seems that I blinked or blacked out or something and all the sudden it’s been almost a whole year since I’ve written anything on here. Oops!
There’s a lot of reasons for that. I’d itemize a list for you, but I’d prefer to blather on endlessly because after all, that’s what blogs are for.
For a long time, this blog was all about my “homes on the road,” which was a fun way to share cool places we camped all over the continent while full-time RVing. When that shindig ended, my blog (and I) felt a bit lost. I optimistically mused about blogging on topics like DIY house renovations, gardening, mom-hood, etc. But even now, 2+ years after being out of the full-time RV life, still none of that stuff makes that sense to me. At least not enough to pretend to be enough of an expert on to write about.
Full-time travel? Of course, that was never as easy or glamorous as it probably appeared in small snippets every few weeks on your screen. But it made sense in my head, at least most of the time. House life? Mom life? None of that comes as naturally, and I sometimes feel like I’m going through the motions of someone else’s life while barely treading water.
Over the years, I’ve taken this blog to some semi-personal places but it’s all been pretty travel-related, and that’s my safe place. Owning a legit housing structure on a remote piece of property where the desert meets the forest and the mountains is its own adventure. So is keeping a small human alive, day in and day out. Yet writing about those things for all the world to see (correction: probably three friends and two stalkers) makes me want to squeeze myself under the bed and hide even though I don’t fit down there.
Meanwhile, more and more people I know aren’t cool publicly sharing things online anymore, that whole concept is iffy with a baby, and talking about travel during COVID sometimes feels sketchy too. Other excuses I make for neglecting this blog are being too burnt out from writing for work to ever feel like writing for “fun,” being too generally exhausted from baby life to do anything creative, and being distracted by shiny things.
But alas, I feel crappy about letting my miniature corner of the world go to waste. It’s a place I carved out to chitter-chatter about cool places without selling out or turning a passion project into yet another chore to weigh me down. In the meanwhile, I’ve actually been traveling quite a bit since full-time camper life ended and exploring lots of awesome places around my home base in New Mexico. I’ve also finally started to bust out of my comfort zone and meet some cool local people who are into some of the same stuff I am. Some of this deserves writing about, which is why I’m here again to fill the void.
Enough blather for you? Okay then. Moving on!
Besides the blather, my actual goal with this post was to give a quick recap of cool places I’ve been hanging out so far in 2021. Yet again, I considered venturing out to other topics for this blog but that didn’t go so well. So, why not stick with the tried and true?
Sure, travel hasn’t always been without its controversy his year, but I’m not a dumb traveler….I’m vaccinated, a responsible masker, a relentless planner, and an informed reader of reliable things. I’ll always have a restless spirit and a wandering soul. But the Southwest still feels like home to me on most days, and I want to share that with you, dear world.
So, without further ado (and I think you’d agree that there’s been plenty of ado), here are some cool spots I’ve been lately with one representative photo per place to keep it simple and moving along. Oh, and a few anecdotes because that’s just what I do.
Tucson/Wilcox, Arizona – January 2021
What better place to escape for the winter in the Southwest than Tucson? This camper trip was filled with wonderfully wearing tank tops in January, cool rock formations, iconic cacti, and buying some random pottery. So far, my baby hasn’t fallen into a cactus, and I’m trying to keep it that way.
Taos/Angel Fire, New Mexico – February 2021
Despite the adorable look on little Chikoo’s face, snow isn’t exactly his cup of tea. Regardless, we headed up to the Northern New Mexico ski resorts to get in some runs and playtime out in that white stuff.
Las Cruces, New Mexico / El Paso, Texas – March 2021
One of Monkey’s favorite places on the planet is White Sands National Park. The gypsum sand stays cool on even the hottest of days and is oh-so-soft on doggie paws. Yet the winds here are absolutely nuts, and this visit was no exception. We met our good Chicago friends, Bryina, here and following a winery/lunch stop nearby on a particularly awesome day. Other highlights from this camping trip were walking through the pueblo ruins, bike trails, and roadside antique shops selling super weird stuff.
Grandparents Visit NM – April 2021
April was one of the rare months when we didn’t leave the area for a camping excursion. My little man turned one year old in April, so Grandma and Grandpa drove out to New Mexico to celebrate. The local staycation involved the small man’s first trip to the zoo, a sugary birthday cake, and a crazy number of new things to play with.
Southeast Utah – May 2021
May is always a big travel month for us…it’s the husband’s birthday, our marriage anniversary, and a perfect time to be outdoors in the Southwest. Those red rock landscapes in Utah are my favorite places to be, and it’d been too long since we’ve been back among them. This trip included a first-time visit to Capitol Reef National Park, a revisit to Canyonlands National Park and Moab, and some random finds like Leprechaun Canyon and the Factory Buttle OHV area. Bonus points for an overnight in one of our favorite Colorado spots, Cortez, on the way back home. It was pretty much all hiking all the time, so definitely thanking the universe that the Chikoo rides awesomely in a baby hiking backpack.
Ladies’ Weekend in ABQ & Jemez Springs – June 2021
This girl is my ride-or die. We text and video chat every day, but that’s not always enough. She was awesome enough to fly out to see me in June so we could party it up downtown, go hiking, wine tasting, and get into random shenanigans along the way.
Arizona Pitstop – July 2021
It was 112 degrees outside, but that doesn’t stop us from seeing awesome people. Arizona transplants, Chancy, met up with us for a delicious lunch and boat cruise on Saguaro Lake. There were good drinks, great views, and even better times hanging out. I give this day a solid two fist bumps, even when we spent a stupid amount of time loitering in a CVS just because it had air conditioning.
SoCal/NorCal – July 2021
Now this was a fun camper excursion. We set up camp just outside of San Diego and took the Chikoo to his very first beach, Imperial Beach. There were also splash pads, breweries, in-laws, more breweries, fun Cali friend meetups, and lovely weather. Bonus points for a fun rendezvous in Downtown Flagstaff on the way back.
Northwest New Mexico Birthday – August 2021
The time came to turn 38, so I may as well get on a boat about it, eh? Birthday celebrations took me to Northwest New Mexico with stops in Farmington, the Bisti Badlands, and Navajo Lake. Getting old isn’t so bad when you’re surrounded by scenery like this.
Local Adventures Close to Home – 2021
Yet within a 30-minute or less from my house, I’ve found plenty of other good stuff to do too. There have been a scattering public pools, cat cafes, brew spots, music festivals, playgrounds, trails, group hikes, and mom meetups…not to mention monsoon season with its epic sunsets filled with lightning and double rainbows.
Dunno when I’ll be back here…maybe sooner, maybe later. But for now, my blog neglect guilt is absolved! And there’s still plenty of 2021 left to go exploring. Toot-a-loo!