Hiking Adventures

Nebraska is a beautiful land, filled with grasslands, gentle rolling hills, and endless skies (blue yet sometimes stormy, like tonight)

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We have been exploring all sorts of terrain with Hiking Experiences. We are so blessed by our landscape, while discovering every treasure this area holds.

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Join us if you are in the area, walk in our footsteps if you can’t connect with us but be sure you visit all of Nebraska’s trails to enrich your soul. Details at our Facebook page, Hiking Experiences

Warm Tea, Winter Days

Spent a cloudy morning with Jeanna of Whispering Pines B & B in Nebraska City.

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I can’t wait to visit during warmer months, enjoying the multiple gardens sprinkled throughout the property. This historic home has been lovingly restored to welcome weary travelers, year round. Thank you Jeanna for the warm hospitality.

Keeping It Real

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Snow, not road dust.

I want to be totally honest…

I hate negativity.

I am a Midwest/Great Plains, proud, independent, gal. I was born and raised in a moderately large town, for us country folks. I strive to keep a positive outlook. I focus on the silver linings of situations. I consider myself a nice person. I immediately fall into the standard finger wave when my tires touch gravel roads. I can drive a sports car, a 4×4 pickup truck, a John Deere tractor, an all terrain 4-wheeler, a massive Case combine, plus a myriad of farm implements and city toys. I sail, jet-ski, even tried my hand at steering a speed boat on the Missouri River. Heck if you let me I can drive a riding lawn mower, maneuver a horse down a tree lined trail or peddle my bike on one of the many bike paths in Nebraska.

I have experienced all sorts of road conditions, snow, mud, gravel, ice, and even the destructive tendencies of “white rock”. The roads department version of speed bumps. These small boulders of white death are spread along the gravel back roads of Nebraska. For miles at a time it seems a truck loaded with them has seemingly opened its back gate, dumped them while driving, and forgot to spread them around. You will be cruising along on an unsuspecting gravel road, then BAM! Your tires slip. Your once forward momentum stalls, feeling like you’ve entered quicksand with the added benefit of sharp meteors striking the underneath of your vehicle.  I am sure there is scientific evidence that this plague of large marble sized, (the shooters, not the mibs~but that’s a whole other post) rough edged, chalky rocks is a better alternative to the tiny gravel stones of my youth, but I am failing to see it’s merits.

I believe in road trips, country drives, business commutes, luxury leisure travel, your basic ‘point A to point B’ transportation. I love the freedom of being in charge of my own mode of travel. I embrace driving to see the world around me. Yet sometimes it is time to let go. Turn over the proverbial reins to someone else.

Which is why I will drive for hours to reach a large airport just to fly Spirit Airlines. Not the airline you thought I would say, huh? Spirit Airlines is a low-cost, 2 star rated*, controversial airline. Their current ad campaign is ‘It’s the age of Aquarius’. The slogan for the company is ‘Less Money. More Go.’ They are the ‘Home of the Bare Fare’. It seems their marketing department has yet to graduate high school.

Yet, in my sunshine attitude, I can look at all of those aforementioned reasons not to fly and fly with them over and over again. I have never had a bad experience with this airline. For all the negative hype around this carrier, I have yet to encounter it. I look with a critical eye at all my travel adventures. I report straight back to you, I refuse to lead you astray. I can’t even stay in a hotel anymore without critiquing every little detail.

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Ready for take off!

So when I book my air travel I am very serious about who I turn those reins over to. I know exactly what I am getting each time I fly with them. My inexpensive seats will have little to no leg room for my almost 6 foot frame. The width of my seat will accommodate my former 16 year old self. The drinks, snacks, bags and check-in will cost more, if I choose to open my wallet.

I know those things. They spell it out on all of their connections with me. I am responsible for my own self (see this is where that ‘independent gal’ comes in). I know I will have a seat on the flight, I chose it. I know I will have my boarding pass, I printed it. I know my bag is small enough to be a personal item to avoid baggage fees, I packed it.

I have been fortunate enough to fly the Red-Eye to Vegas (both ways). I have enjoyed stretching my legs in my own row for a flight. I loved arriving at my destination almost 45 minutes early, due to a tail-wind and an excellent flight crew, much to the stress of my greeting party. Now I will have the opportunity to fly with Spirit Airlines for my teenagers first ever flight. Yep that’s right, my teenagers have never flown. Your travel guru, road trip maven, adventure seeking, Soul Experiencing Guide, has never taken her teenagers on an airplane. Once again, that is a whole other post. 🙂

I personally would recommend Spirit Airlines any time you need to fly a short distance, unexpectedly, or inexpensively. The flight staff is friendly, they live up to their slogan, and most of all they safely get me to where I need to go, when I don’t want to drive.

Travel well, my friends.

*Skytrax 2015 rating. Retrieved July 25, 2015

Winter Toes, Summer Water

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There is magic in water.  It is life-giving and taking.  It washes us clean both physically and spiritually.  We consume, immerse, bend, play, collect, rearrange, covet, and transport our water.  We have a very special connection with this liquid.  It is part of us, literally.

I love the water, open oceans, sprays from a sprinkler, warm showers, rain from the heavens, but most of all, the cooling waters of a swimming pool.  I have maintained a swimming pool of some sort for the last fifteen summers.  I have loving established a small wading pool for my toddler to cool off in during our muggy, hot August days together.  I have graduated all the way up to a 5,000 gallon above ground back yard pool, where you must keep PH, alkalinity, and chlorine levels at a precise amount.  Dutifully changing filters, skimming leaves, refilling water after a wild splashing party.  I find my focus on the perfection of the crystal H2O distracts me from my general dislike of summer. 

My favorite treat in the winter is a dip in an indoor pool.  Letting the chlorinated vapors saturate my sense of smell, the warmth of the pool consuming my body in a truly warming embrace.  I use the stairs to ritually step on to the first of the concrete slabs to my ultimate relaxation.  The water gently caressing my toes, my ankles, my knees, and waist, until I dive under to feel the weightlessness of my watery delight.

Water is also a focal point for my meditations.  I love the varied colors of water in nature, muddy brown with green tinges to light aquamarine, reflecting to the sky above.  I imagine the rapids of a cold river, quiet tropical coves of salt water, expanses of natural and man-made lakes, water trickling down a fountain, cascades of water falling to pools below splashing noisily.  My mind seems to focus and relax, calm transcends my spirit.  Find your focal point and put your winter toes in summer water.

No School…Again

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I originally wrote this on January 6th 2014.  I find if amusing that I am sitting in my living room, snuggled under blankets, watching a movie with my teenagers almost exactly the way I was 1 year ago to the day.

The temperature this morning is -8° below zero.  I love winter and yet this is too chilly, even for me.  The call came in yesterday evening around 5 p.m., schools were closing. 

This phone call was exciting!  My boys will be home all day for us to enjoy one more lazy, watch TV, play video games, eat snacks, do nothing kind of day.  A small extension of their winter break from school. 

Recently calls of this nature were a life line of hope while I was working at a day care center.  If the public schools closed so did this particular institution.  The cancellation of school was a ticket to relaxation.

When I was younger, in the public school system, we didn’t get phone calls.  The responsibility of knowing if your child was to be at school in inclement weather rested solely on the shoulders of the parent.  The parents had an easy job here.  This was news every student in the district would happily receive for their parents.  The news station, yes it was singular in my house, would scroll a banner of school closings across the bottom of the screen.  Every child would sit, transfixed, to read each school listed.  The silent prayers for your school to be closed flooding the heavens.  Brothers and sisters would stop their teasing, teeth would go unbrushed, pets would become restless at the silence in the house.  Sometimes children would be chased to bed because hopes had not been answered, yet.  Sometimes the district wouldn’t make a decision until the morning.  At 6 a.m. the TV would come to life, cereal bowl in hand, more prayers…waiting…waiting…

Then it would happen!  The announcement would come, NO SCHOOL TODAY DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER.  Chaos would ensue.  Siblings who couldn’t sit next to each other at the dinner table, would suddenly embrace with joy.  The cheering was deafening.  Parents would scramble to make sure appropriate care was in place for the younger children.  Pets would join in with the celebrations with yapping and hissing at the commotion.  Nothing compares to the news of unexpected days off from school.

It seems in our technologically advanced era the excitement has not ebbed.  Social media was flooded with reports of the closings the moment it happened.  My teenagers happily stayed awake as late as they chose.  The anticipation of rest and laziness just for the sake of being lazy is almost intoxicating.  In my house today I will enjoy the company of my boys while I work. I will bake cookies for the sheer love of warm cookies. I will embrace the calm of a restful day that does not require make-up or jewelry.  

Have a warm, restful day.

Where The Birds Glide

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It is nothing short of a miracle to witness the lightening of a loved one’s soul. You see pain etched on the lines of their face. The light in their eyes is dimmed. Their shoulders carry an invisible weight only they can feel. Then, slowly, gently or sometimes all at once, their burdens dissapate. The shoulders that were drooped, are lifted. Their eyes glimmer with love and mischief like you remember. The lines on their face are softened to better represent the soul you love.

I traveled yesterday to The Holy Family Shrine in Nebraska. This was my second journey to this site. In the early spring this year I ventured there with a tour group. I loved the serenity it inspired in me. I wanted to linger. I desired a sanctuary where my heart could heal. I yearned for peace in my soul, even if it was just little bandages holding it together for a few more months. My overall impression was pure love.

As I stood in the chapel overlooking the Nebraska prairie, watching vehicles dashing back and forth on the six lane interstate, I began reflecting on my own soulful journey to this moment from the last time I stood in this place. I am stronger than I believe, I am the beckoning light for others, I am gracefulness emboldened. I stood a little straighter, glanced to my beloved traveling partner and said a silent prayer for her continued strength. Her inner light is back, full of promise and determination, just like always.

We stood together watching the birds outside, gliding on the blustery winter winds. Hovering, dipping, soaring, twirling, appearing to have no reason for their flight except pure joy. Taking the wind and making a playground for themselves. As I moved out the doors of the chapel, I pulled my coat tighter around me against the gales and glanced back one last time at the feathered campions of our visit, they continued their joyous arial acrobatics, using what they were given for happiness not sorrow.

Travel well my friends.

Rememberance

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I remember where I was 13 years ago. I know what I was doing. I can still feel the cold of the wood trim on my hand as I steadied myself while the news exploded with graphic images of destruction. I remember calling loved ones just to hear their voices. I remember worrying about the loved ones who could not be reached.

Our world changed that day.

I will always remember this day but I refuse to let it limit me. I love having tasks scheduled on this day. I intentionally keep busy with my activities. I make sure I continue to live on this day. It is a day for me to reflect and be proud. I reflect on the senseless loss. I take pride in knowing we are a stronger community of survivors. I make time to remember those who have lost so much. I am thankful for their strength.

Take time today to remember. Take time to reach out to loved ones. Take time to celebrate all this great nation offers each and every one of us.

(The above picture is the inside of the Nebraska’s capitol building dome, where I write this excerpt today) To learn more about Nebraska or our numerous travel opportunities contact us at Soul Experiences

And So It Begins

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The leaves are starting their final burst of spectacular colors.  The greens are turning to the vibrant oranges, yellows, and reds.  Nights have become cooler with the promise of chilly temps arriving sooner than we expected.  The graceful moonbeams of North America’s last Supermoon shone down on the Great Plains with eerie luminosity, bathing everything in a silver radiance.  Rain washes the summer heat away, til we are left with soggy patches of intermingled grass and fallen leaves.

This is the beginning of the end of summer and I couldn’t be happier!  Bring on the sights and sounds of harvest time.  Let the nights grow longer and colder.  I embrace the change from growing season to restful dormancy.

Let your soul be rejuvenated by this beautiful time of the year, and of course…

Travel well my friends!

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.

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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