Long Work Weekends

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Home again!  I love being on the road, but coming home feels wonderful too.  My work leads me on journeys.  This past week I discovered winding trails, small oasis retreats, historical markers, and so much more!  What astounds me is I found all this in Kansas.  I live in Nebraska.  You would think Kansas is just an extension of Nebraska, yet it is not. They are very different in so many ways.  From architectural designs to community forums, each state has their own personalities’, and I loved discovering all I could in one long weekend.

A friend recently asked me how work was going, just normal chit chat, between friends.  I expressed how much I love my work.  As the conversation progressed my initial response of love, was soon overshadowed by the dawning knowledge, I was having a very hard time dividing my work from my play.  I find myself working when most are relaxing.  Even traveling for work I was not taking time to play.  Don’t get me wrong, I do love my work of exploration for the sheer joy of it.  Treading up a hillside just to see where the path leads, poking my nose into a local store just to meet new people, taking photos of a run down school house just to share it with anyone who will listen, those are the events that keep me working.

The problem I have seen in myself over the past few months is I stopped shutting work out.  That distinct line between your work life and your ‘real’ life is very fuzzy right now.  I know I am not the first entrepreneur to feel this, and I am sure I won’t be the last.  What I want to stress to every independently employed person is to not lose complete sight of that separation.  Find time to shut the work away, look to others to distract you from your to-do-list, embrace the life you created with a clear mind ready to be wholly present for the ones who count on you.

Bring Home Travel

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“Every step we take is a step closer to discovering who we are meant to be.”

Our travels with Soul Experiences takes us all over this vast world.  It is sheer joy to experience new destinations with fellow travelers.  Immersing yourself in another culture with patience and understanding feels easier to accomplish when you are not alone.  While we journey to our next discovery our feet trod across any number of surfaces.  Who walked here before us?  What did this road look like before it was paved?  Where will this path lead?  Our feet kiss the earth with determination, taking with them every place we have graced.

It is a soulful moment when you arrive home only to find you have brought a little of the foreign land with you.  As you wash your travel worn clothes, unpacking all your treasures, settling back into your ‘real’ life, you reveal to yourself the magic of a smear of mud.  Not just the grime of the place you call home but the smudge from half a world away.  

The rejuvenation of travel feeds our spirits, our souls, the part of us that makes us…us.  Bringing home the experiences of our travels reminds we must move forward everyday.  Moving ever toward the person we are meant to become.

Travel well my friends.  

Sun In Your Face

Soul Experiences

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“Turn your face to the sun…and the shadows will fall behind you.”

Traveling with little, to no, destination in mind is a wonderful way to discover new unexplored areas.  Lessons I have learned while traveling are invaluable.  Until you walk, dine, interact, immerse yourself in a region you cannot fully understand the travel presence in a community.

Iowa is home to miles and miles of year round outdoor activity opportunities.  Even the urbanized areas put a high value on their green spaces.  You would be hard pressed to find a city, town, or community that does not boast at least one city park.  The open areas are shaded by towering shade trees, and the hiking trails lead you on remarkable winding adventures.  It is a nice respite to hike instead of drive for awhile, even if I no destination in mind.   

As I wandered aimlessly down a twisting path, through the overgrown brush, the words above crossed my…

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The Wild West

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What can money buy?  Well quite a lot!  On my travels back from the Black Hills I stopped off in North Platte Nebraska just to see what money can buy.  My destination was Scout’s Rest Ranch just north and west of this growing community.  Scout’s Rest Ranch was the retreat home and entertaining oasis for Buffalo Bill Cody.  He built his ranch during the height of his Wild West Show entertainment era.  Buffalo Bill called North Platte home, although he was away for many more days than he was actually there.

The grounds of this historic park are beautifully kept.  233 acres of the original 4,000  have been designated a state historical park 16 of which encompass the actual living space of the Cody family and are open to the public to explore.  The rest of the 233 acres are part of the state parks of Nebraska.  Camping, picnicking, hiking and relaxing are available.

The Victorian mansion was built in 1886 at the cost of $3,900.  No expense was spared in the construction of his home.  Large, graceful living areas were furnished to Buffalo Bill’s liking.  Areas open to large numbers of guests invite you to stay awhile and enjoy the respite from the wide open and usually dusty plains. 

Two huge barns also graced the property.  The original horse barn is still standing.  Giant white letters on the roof, which are original to the barn, announce where you are, in case you forget.  The enormity of the barn leaves no room for doubt of the wealth the owner once possessed.  Pictures on the wall showcase the T-barn which was adjacent to the horse barn but burned down in a fire long ago. 

This bygone era is richly displayed with memorabilia throughout the buildings.  Posters hung on the walls advertising this American icon remind you of a time when simplicity was not that simple.  Fame does have a price and even the richest among us long for more in their lives.

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Why the Suicide of Robin Williams Matters

He is an inspiration! Our memories of an amazing entertainer will hopefully continue to inspire.

Seth Adam Smith

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Actor/comedian Robin Williams just committed suicide.

Truthfully, I’m stunned, shocked, and devastated. I had heard that he struggled with depression, and had always looked to him as an example—someone to help me move forward as I battle my own depression.

His humor brought happiness and hope to so many people. And now…

I don’t know. Part of me just wants to yell and shake my fist. Why did you do that, Robin?! You were loved by so many people. You were an inspiration to millions! You should’ve asked more people for help! Others would’ve rushed to your aid to lift you up. So many people believed in you and loved you!

But there’s another part of me—a quieter part—that beckons me to reach out even further to lift other people. Depression and suicidal thoughts are so subtle and insidious that they can take down anyone—even (perhaps especially) the happiest of people.

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Celebrations

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My parents are my inspiration!  This weekend my siblings and I gathered with my parents to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.  It was a wonderful reunion of family.  We enjoyed laughs, and reminiscing about our childhoods.  We poked fun at who among us was the “favorite” child.  My parents rolling their eyes the whole time.  We ate too much cake and embarrassed the grandchildren.  It was a perfect day!

What I noticed throughout the afternoon was the hand holding my parents enjoyed.  The little glances between the two of them.  The comfortablity of two people who have survived together, parenthood, loss, career changes, moving, retirement, and all that life throws at us.  I’m not saying it was perfect or even close but they did it all together.  Years and years of enjoying each others company knowing neither of them are perfect but focusing on the best of each other.

Congrats mom and dad!    

Rally

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Welcome Riders!

These words were printed everywhere!  Huge banners announced the welcoming spirit.  Small signs in store fronts reassured the masses they were encouraged to step in and enjoy their hospitality.  Not just one town but multiple communities rolling out the welcome mat for this gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts.

Since I was a very small child I had heard about Sturgis.  The good, bad and the ugly of it.  The assemblage of bikers coming together to celebrate their passion for the open road.  I had never had an opportunity to participate, never a bike to ride let alone a bike to drive.  I love the feeling of freedom while on a motorcycle.  The flash of speed, the whipping of wind on your skin, the beauty of a well designed bike, the rumble of power, all these things lead to a mysterious lifestyle, that I have never known.

My travels took me into the Black Hills of South Dakota last week.  The breath taking beauty of the region was reason enough to desire a twisting road trip.  Arriving a full week before the advertised dates of, what has now become Rally, I thought I might see the preparation stages of the community.  I was not prepared for the multitude of motorcycle riders I was lucky enough to drive with.  Not only has the event grown so large that it invades Sturgis South Dakota but it reaches to Deadwood, Lead, Spearfish, Hot Springs, Rapid City and beyond.  Events large and small in continuous motion starting before dawn and lasting well into the night.  It was a sight to behold.  Beauty of design intermingled with art and innovation, creating two and three wheeled modes of transportation.  The amount of pride owners feel towards their bikes is second to none. 

Returning home I thought of all the excitement I would be missing in the Black Hills this week.  Talking about my travels with anyone who would listen I was on a “travel high”.  Then social media erupted Monday night with the tragic loss of a motorcycle enthusiast.  Not in a far away area, but right here in our community.  A young woman was lost to this world in a horrible accident.  She was a bright light to so many, an avid rider, with a zest for life.  A vigil was organized to honor her and rally support for each other in our grief.  As we lit candles, tears were shed, hugs were given and thoughts of our loss flowed freely. 

Rally around each other in celebration of our humanity.  Rider or not we are all here, on this planet, together.  Stay safe on the road at home and away.

Travel well my friends.  

Majestic Black Hills

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The beauty of the land beckons you to stay. The clarity of the vistas encourages you to linger. The sounds of voices speaking various languages evokes pride in the country that you call home.

I do not remember well my first visit to Mount Rushmore. In fact I do not recall that family vacation at all. Except the towering faces of the men carved in the side of a mountain. I was to young to understand the meaning of the artwork emblazoned on the face of a rock cliff. Now as an adult I look with wonder at the perfect blending of art with engineering. The tools used to transform a solid natural mountain face into a man made work of art were clumsy but expertly wielded. The artists vision a mere six foot tall sculpture, enlarged for the world to see.

I often marvel at the innovation of people. The vision of one person, the organizing of a multitude, the completion of a goal, the development of the vision and the lasting impression on a great number of individuals.

Let us all remember to be the ‘visionary’, the ‘developer’, the ‘organizer’, or the ‘voices’ of the impression. Go, travel, learn and tell your stories!