Posts Filed Under Traveling

A few years ago I wasn’t much of a traveler. I was kind of scared to venture out and about with a sick kid at home. And we definitely didn’t have much money. For seven years, I didn’t get on a plane.

Divorce is hard. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, but a really beautiful thing happened on the way to the courthouse. I reconnected with an old friend who (spoiler alert) I fell madly in love with. But, before I fell in love with him, he helped me fall in love with traveling again.


A few weeks after we started dating he brought me along on a work trip to Tennessee. I had been to Nashville as a kid, but my only Grand Ole Opry memory was arguing with my mom because I wanted to wear jeans and she wanted me to wear a dress. I think Loretta Lynn was there, but I’m not sure because I was seven, and I WANTED TO WEAR JEANS.

Enter Andy.

So, two years ago, he brought me to Nashville. And, when I write that sentence I get a giant lump in my throat, because it was a turning point on this journey I’ve been on. The lump is so big that I can actually feel it sitting on top of my soul. That’s a really big lump, because my soul is, roughly, right under my diaphragm. Roughly.

I have always loved live music. I’m an experienced concert attendee and have hundreds, if not thousands, of them under my belt. I used to travel all over the country (even the world) to see concerts, but I had never seen anything like Nashville. If you like live music, GET HERE. It’s amazing.

The talent is incomparable. The food is fantastic. The people are good. It’s clean. The weather is perfection. And, they make one hell of a bloody Mary.

But, what Nashville really gave me is a deep love for travel again. It reminded me how much I missed new experiences, and music, and meeting people, and having a spirit free enough to dance. It led to trips to nine more states and Mexico. And, it led to me coming back to Nashville over and over again.

Thank you, Andy and thank you Tennessee. You are both life-changing gifts. I’m just fine with that giant lump. It’s a reminder of how fortunate I am.

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Life List 41-50 and a Review

posted by Momo Fali on November 20, 2016

In 2010 I started a Life List of items I wanted to accomplish. It took almost five years (and a divorce) for me to mark any of them complete, but as of last August I had crossed five things off. And, as of a couple of weeks ago I’m happy to have made some more progress.

I had to revise the order because some things had to be removed for reasons beyond my control, but that’s okay. I can adapt. Here’s where I stand.

1. Graduate from college. (This is in progress. Also, one of the reasons I never have time to write blog posts anymore.)
2. Run a half marathon.
3. Travel across the United States in an RV.
4. Stand under a Giant Sequoia.

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5. Hike into the Grand Canyon. (Two weeks ago I hiked around it, but I’m not counting that.)

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6. Get published.
7. Become a Certified Interior Decorator. (#retirementgoals)
8. Paint a picture.
9. Camp in a tent, on a warm beach.
10. Visit all 50 states.
11. Visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
12. Get a tattoo.
13. Go skinny dipping.
14. Grow my own tomatoes.
15. Take a dance class.
16. Learn how to properly skip a stone.
17. Sample 100 types of beer.
18. Breed a dog and keep one of the puppies.
19. Learn to play guitar. (I bought a guitar, so I’m one step closer!)
20. Go on a winter campout.
21. Hike in Zion National Park. (This right here? Is why this Life List was created. GO THERE. Trust me.)

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22. Learn to golf. (With some accuracy.)
23. Participate in an adventure race.
24. Learn to paddleboard.
25. Visit the Vatican and attend mass at St. Peter’s Basilica.
26. Float in the Dead Sea.
27. Sit in a natural hot spring.
28. Take a photography class.
29. See the Northern Lights.
30. Ride a snowboard.
33. Go whitewater rafting.
34. Learn to play the drums.
35. See a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater.
36. Ride a Segway.
37. See a Broadway show.
38. Canoe or kayak down the Colorado River. (A couple of weeks ago I saw where they drop the boats in the water. I stood there and cried.)
39. Write a screenplay.
40. Go snowmobiling.

Now for some new additions. Not to be confused with New Edition.

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41. Visit Chichén Itzá. (I hear it’s awesome.)

42. Hike in Yosemite National Park. (Zion was just the warm-up.)

43. Do 50 push-ups in a row. (Don’t laugh. I can’t even do five.)

44. Learn to knit.

45. Brew my own beer.

46. Visit Chile. (When I was young I saw pictures of Chile and wanted to move there. That hasn’t changed.)

47. Go sailing.

48. Go whale-watching.

49. Watch a baseball game in Fenway Park.

50. See the sunrise from Acadia National Park’s Cadillac Mountain (the first place the sun rises in the United States).

Had I known how amazing some things would be on a recent trip I took out west, I would have included a lot of them on this list. They will have to be bonus items, I suppose. I will be sharing those details soon.

Have you started your list? What are you waiting for?

 

No Resentment

posted by Momo Fali on April 2, 2016

It’s no secret that life has changed a lot around here. Many days are still hard – there’s a lot of anger and resentment, and having a child with special needs who goes through major life trauma isn’t as easy as it sounds. As a matter of fact, it sounds a lot like a screaming cat. In heat. Dying.

But, some days are beautiful. There have been so many new experiences that were possible and yet, not possible, in my former life. I’m specifically referring to an eight year period in which I didn’t travel more than a couple of hundred miles away from home.

I love to travel. I’m sure there are people who would say I didn’t sacrifice enough during 18 years of marriage, but I would beg to differ. I think deep inside I knew what I was missing. Maybe that resentment manifested itself in little ways I wasn’t even aware of. Related: My new relationship mantra is, “No resentment.” There will be no more of that.

In the past 13 months, I have traveled to 11 states. I may have been meant to be a trucker, because my heart is really happy on the road. If I had a CB and an orangutan, I’d be all set. Also, I just made a reference that no one under 42 years old understands.

My latest adventure was on the west coast experiencing the northern California and Nevada I’ve only seen rushing by in taxis on the way to conferences. The best part? I got to take my kids.

This is the picture where I crossed #4 off of my Life List. Stand under a giant sequoia. Check.

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Here’s my daughter, on the edge of a cliff at Lands End park. This child of mine, who is almost a woman (GULP) was quite the risk-taker on this trip; literally living on the edge.

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What you can’t see in this picture is the mighty Pacific and fields of green so vibrant I was sure we were actually in Ireland. So, here you go…

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This is my son sitting inside the roots of a fallen tree in Lake Tahoe.

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What you can’t see is the waterfall to the left, or the bluest lake I’ve ever seen, or the snow-capped mountains dotted with fir trees. Oh, wait…THERE they are.

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And, this? This was when we pulled the van over on the side of the road at a completely random spot, scrambled over some rocks and found a perfect view. You know the feeling when the wind gets knocked out of you? This did that to me. I’m sure it was partly the altitude, but it was also this view. Undoubtedly.

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There was so much more to this trip – dear old friends, Alcatraz, swimming pools and sushi. And, there was the memory created when my son pulled a fire alarm in the hotel at midnight. Sigh…good times, good times.

Mostly, though, there was so much beauty and happiness and I’m thankful to have moments like these in my life again. The bonus is that it’s really hard to be resentful when you experience goodness like that.

Life List 31-40 And a Reevaluation

posted by Momo Fali on August 5, 2015

Almost five years ago, I started a Life List on this site. FIVE YEARS, people. That’s practically a lifetime in itself.

I started with 10 not-so-easy items, then added 10 more to the list a couple of months later, then 10 more in 2014. Up until a few months ago, I hadn’t accomplished any of them.

But, lately I’m on a roll! I’ve knocked five items off and I want to add a few more things until I get to the magical 100 mark. Of the original 30, two have been removed so I’ll technically have to come up with 102, but challenges are growing on me. I got this.

To review (with new notations):

1. Graduate from college.
2. Run a half marathon. (Done DID it.)

Half Marathon
3. Travel across the United States in an RV.
4. Stand under a Giant Sequoia.
5. Hike into the Grand Canyon.
6. Get published.
7. Become a Certified Interior Decorator.
8. Paint a picture. (It’s not gorgeous, but it’s painted!)

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9. Camp in a tent, on a warm beach.
10. Visit all 50 states.
11. Visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
12. Get a tattoo.
13. Taste each chocolate in the Intense collection from Richart Chocolates. (Doesn’t count toward my goal anymore, because I think I really just wanted some chocolate that day. Apparently.)
14. Go skinny dipping. (You don’t get a picture of this. Also, when I say “dip”, I mean DIP. Because nighttime, ocean, dark, JAWS. Also, don’t tell anyone. Wait…)
15. Grow my own tomatoes.
16. Take a dance class.
17. Learn how to properly skip a stone.
18. Sample 100 types of beer. (Good golly, that was fun. Thanks to recent trips to four great breweries – Madtree, Landgrant, Lineage and Wolf’s Ridge – as well as an expanding palate, I was able to cross this off!)

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19. Renew my wedding vows with my kids present. (Um…yeah. That’s not happening.)
20. Breed a dog and keep one of the puppies.
21. Learn to play guitar.
22. Go on a winter campout.
23. Hike in Zion National Park.
24. Learn to golf. (With some accuracy.)
25. Participate in an adventure race.
26. Learn to paddleboard. (I did it! But, there’s no picture because I needed all the hands. Here’s WHERE I did it though. Then my paddleboard sank and I got stung by a jellyfish, but STILL. Done.)

Key Largo
27. Visit the Vatican and attend mass at St. Peter’s Basilica.
28. Float in the Dead Sea.
29. Sit in a natural hot spring.
30. Take a photography class.

Now for some new meat!

31. See the Northern Lights. They try to tell us we can see these from Ohio sometimes. That doesn’t count.

32. Ride a snowboard. I’ve skied plenty, but I understand this is entirely different. I’m going to need a helmet.

33. Go whitewater rafting.

34. Learn to play the drums. Together with #21, I can be my own band.

35. See a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater. I love live music. I love the outdoors. Enough said.

36. Ride a Segway. Because, Paul Blart wants me to.

37. See a Broadway show.

38. Canoe or kayak down the Colorado River.

39. Write a screenplay. I’ve told one other person this in my entire life. She wrote me a note that I carry in my wallet. It says I will. I believe her.

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40. Go snowmobiling. The only thing better than bitter cold, is bitter cold wind in your face.

Have you started your Life List? What are you waiting for?