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Exploring The Columbia River Gorge

I’ve drove through this amazing gorge in the past and gazed upon it’s beauty but never really stopped and explored the area, so that’s exactly what we did last weekend and it’s one of my favorite locations in both Washington and Oregon, as it is located on both sides.

We made our way to the Columbia River Gorge from the Oregon side, which has more of the popular views and waterfalls. I recommend taking the Historic Highway, just the drive is gorgeous and you will find many waterfalls along the way that I cannot find the names to, as they are a little smaller, but it is a must do. If you have an R. V, it may not be quiet safe for you to drive it though.

The first official stop we made was Latourell Falls, one of my favorite Oregon waterfalls, you can get right up to where the water meets. It’s so powerful you can feel the spray without being too close, this thing is massive!

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We saw a trail that led further down that I definitely recommend taking, the entire area is gorgeous.

There are many other stops along the Historic Highway, Multnomah Falls, the tallest waterfall in Oregon, was unfortunately blocked off during the season, so we couldn’t get any good shots, but it is still quiet the view. When on the Washington side of the Gorge, you can still see this massive waterfall on the other side of the Columbia River.

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We didn’t get photos of Bridal Veil Falls or Horsetail Falls because that part of the Historic Highway was closed when we were there, but we will be sure to be back to these natural wonders.

When driving along the Gorge, make sure to look onto the Washington side of the river to see an enormous waterfall going down into the river, I’m not sure of the name of this but it is absolutely breathtaking.

As I said before, you will run into waterfalls along this highway every few minutes and each one is worth stopping to see, some even without names. For a full list of the popular waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge, click here.

We crossed over the Bridge Of The Gods, which links the Oregon portion of the Gorge to Washington and is a two dollar toll bridge that is pretty awesome.

Once we got onto the Washington side, we found a local secret waterfall that took us on a National Forest Development road all the way up a mountain where it began to snow! By the time we left this area, we had about two feet of snow!

The waterfall we saw was Panther Creek Falls and it was amazing, it was a short hike downhill with an overlook, it also has a little rock climb down to the lower level. It has a rope to help you down and I definitely recommend it.

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Afterwards, we started heading towards our Airbnb towards Washougal and stopped at Cape Horn, right off the highway and it is STUNNING! You can see the entire Gorge and even spot the waterfalls on the Oregon side.

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In Washougal, we stayed at a Treehouse we found on Airbnb, and it was perfect for our lifestyle! I definitely recommend Airbnb for travelers, it allows you to meet new people and discover new creative homes and places.

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Washougal Treehouse. Click here to sign up for Airbnb and get $40 off your first stay.

We are going to be heading back to this area soon, the summer would be more ideal for this area so we wont run into snow again. But after doing some research, we realized that there is an incredible amount of hidden waterfalls on the Washington side of the Gorge that we must see! We already have a wish list.

We used the book, Curious Gorge, to help us find all these waterfalls and it was extremely helpful and will be our guide for our next adventure here.

If you’d like to check this book out, click here.

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R. V Travel Tips

My boyfriend and I have been traveling in our R. V for about four months now; there have been many challenges and mistakes that we have learned from this new experience and we’ve realized that living in a house on wheels is much different.

Here are some tips to help your R. V travels go a bit smoother, these are the resources that we took advantage of while living on the road.

Boondocking:

Boondocking is a term used for overnight parking for free in many areas. National Forests are the best places to boondock, as it is completely legal to overnight park in National Forests for nearly a month as long as your not disrespectful to the forest. Other things we looked out for were abandoned parking lots, or any lots that had no signage saying that they’re is no overnight parking in that area.

Some stores such as Walmart and Safeway were useful to us often, we spent a total of two weeks in an R. V park during our four month travel and saved a ton of money doing it.

Finding Internet:

During our travels, we shared a pay-as-you-go phone, our internet was limited, which we needed to look for work, email and my blog here! We’ve found that you can find WI-FI without a password in a lot of unexpected places. If we were parked someplace near a store, we would find internet almost every time.

Starbucks was a common place to go and use internet. We had tried other places, but found that Starbucks was consistent, with plugins, reliable internet and a coffee every time.

Sewage:

Many cities will actually have a free area to dump your sewage, make sure to look up if any city your traveling by has it, an extra $10 adds up if you’re needing it every week.

Water:

We ran into many situations where we had no water in our tank. In some ways, this is good; it did not weigh us down when we were driving and saved us gas money. I recommend emptying your tank before driving a long distance.

We made sure to keep our one gallon jugs we bought previously and refill them whenever we could for usually only about 40 cents. If we couldn’t get water in our tanks than we would use that water to drink, wash our hands, brush our teeth, give to our pets and any way we found need be.

Craigslist:

Craigslist was our number one resource for finding work on the road. We could find one day to a few months worth of work all in one area where it is easy to communicate. A few times we would put up posts asking for a place to park our R. V, we got a few responses that led us to other helpful resources and even met some amazing people along the way.

Showers:

Because we didn’t stay in many R. V parks, our showering situation was a little different. We are quiet the naturalists and for the most part would cleanse ourselves in natural waters, but we took advantage of free trial gym memberships often. Every new city we entered that we knew we would be in for a good amount of time, we would get free week trials, where we would use their equipment, pools, steam rooms and showers every day while we had it.

Not having it for so long would allow us to appreciate it even more when we finally got our free trial.

Road Atlas:

During our entire travels, we only used maps. Beforehand, we had gotten a state map for every state and an atlas. The atlas is what I most recommend for finding roads, but every map will show something that another doesn’t and goes unnoticed on a GPS. I recommend maps in general, rather than a GPS, as you can see where the next National Forest will be and any other natural areas to visit.

When we entered a new city, we would visit the visitors center with magazines on attractions and city maps as well. There are so many things that you can discover at a visitors center than you never knew existed.

R. V Travelers App:

There are some extremely useful apps to help travelers find the cheapest gas near them, let travelers know if a Walmart is okay for overnight stay or not. Not all Walmart’s are overnight stay like people say, but as long as they’re are a few other R. V’s there, that was enough for us to stay one night.

A few of these apps are GasBuddy and Walmart Parking App. There are plenty more useful apps as well, depending on what your looking for.

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Blessed To Live In The Pacific Northwest

Every state we’ve explored has been so different from the last, and each one is beautiful in it’s own unique way. But traveling further south through the hot, empty and beautiful roads of Nevada and to Idaho, I can proudly say that I am happy to live in the Pacific Northwest.

Once we entered southern California, towards Nevada, it was like a fight against the heat. The water really didn’t taste the same and the water crisis was even more severe.

We begged for a river, a beach, lake, anything to cool ourselves down, but all around us were dried up creeks and salt flats.

I am grateful to have experienced these areas, especially to drive all the way up Nevada on 93N with absolutely nothing but rocks, wildlife and mountains around us. It was our most peaceful drive yet.

The central Nevada area is hot during the day, but rains and storms with rapid lighting and thunder all night, it’s really quiet beautiful.

The heat may have caused us to flee from entering Arizona, but we shall be back in the future.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from these travels, it’s that nothing goes as planned no matter how much you plan it. But that’s what makes it exciting, that’s what allows you learn.

It’s not about reaching a destination, because there will never be one. It’s about realizing the beauty of the moment with you now. We could have turned off the road every five miles and explored something amazing because this Earth is truly magic wherever you turn.

But for once, I’m grateful for the rain. I’m thankful to lay on cold, green grass and be surrounded by evergreen trees and mountains. I now know for myself that I am so blessed to live in the Pacific Northwest.

We are coming back to you Washington. We can’t wait to swim in your lakes, be in your mountains and cool breezes.

Yet there is no end to our travels, they’ve only just begun. I cannot wait to plan our next adventure and to continue to explore the beauty around me every single day. I’ve realized that I thrive off of it, the journey and the beauty, to discover something wondrous. And letting go of one single destination has allowed me to appreciate every beautiful moment.

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Small Living, Big Decisions

It took a while for me to get used to making sustainable decisions while never being parked in one place for more than a week at most. But these decisions are important for me and so I have continued to strive to find ways to implement an eco-friendly living into a small budget, r.v lifestyle.

Some steps that I have taken so far is not taking a vehicle along with us. Though our r.v does not take bio-fuel, I’d say that we ride our bikes more than anything so far during our travels. Keeping our r.v in one spot, we travel by foot and by bike 80 percent of the time.

Not taking a vehicle to tow behind us was a tough decision, but it has already paid off and I thoroughly enjoy walking and riding my bike places. Everything is at walking distance, but if I had a vehicle I would take advantage of it, though it is not needed. This decision has saved us gas, by not caring the extra wait, it has spared Ricky the extra worry and also spared the atmosphere of the extra harmful fuems.

Some other simple decisions I have made is buying compostable garbage bags, though they are a little more expensive, it is far worth it. For any of you who do not know, plastic is not compostable and one of the worst things for our environment. Because of this we refuse plastic bags in grocery stores at all cost, and bring reusable bags for everything we need to carry. In Oregon, some stores give you a discount for using reusable bags as well.

Recycling is another big decision, it takes a moment to get used to not having your own garbage and recycle bin right outside your home, but it is worth finding other solutions. We have two small bins where we put our recycles, we hide them away from our eyes view so the house does not seem cluttered.

For those of you who do not already know, for the most part we have been boondocking, which means not paying for r.v parks, but rather parking in National Forests, parking lots and anywhere where we can overnight park at. This can make it hard sometimes to find garbage bins that we wont get in trouble for putting our garbage in.

Recycling is free to all cities, Oregon especially made finding recycling areas easy to find. So many of the things we use are recyclable and it makes a difference to take the extra second to clean your recyclables. We have found we can make most of our waste recyclable and therefore free.

When not being at an rv park, it can be hard to keep our water tanks full of water, currently they are empty. This can save us money on gas because the rv weighs less, but it is very important to stay hydrated in the California heat.

We have a few one gallon plastic bottles that we refill just about everyday. Refilling these bottles instead of continuing to buy more saves us lots of money as well as sparing the environment the extra plastic.

Decisions like these are very important to me, as they should be for anyone trying to live in an eco-friendly way. Our experience can be a prime example that no matter the situation, it is possible to decrease our carbon imprint as much as we can. It’s all about putting intention into your decisions.

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Smaller Spaces, Bigger Love

I guess you could say that living in a small home can really challenge a relationship. There’s not much room for any personal space or personal time, nor much space to hide your living habits. To some people, these circumstances can seem intimidating, we considered it a new opportunity for growth.

At first I thought such a little space of living wouldn’t require too much cleaning, but three animals along with all our belongings has required us to come together with creative ways to keep things tidy.

Every obstacle is a new challenge for us to solve together, how to keep certain things away so Forrest wont chew them up, places to put the cat food so Forrest wont eat it, making sure the animals have plenty of fresh air while were gone, how to hide things that we don’t want to see, like garbage, recycling, laundry.

We still find ourselves getting rid of things we don’t need and our ability to condense is a lot stronger than before. We both share a dedication to our living and to make sure that we are happy in it.

Our views have changed about personal space and personal time, we hardly have any personal belongings, we share everything together. This lifestyle, this home and our relationship has become our greatest commitment.

There is an entirely new feeling that comes along with living with someone in a small space, you feel incredibly close at all times, everything feels so much more intimate and you begin to be even more involved in one another’s thoughts and lives. This a feeling I will never give up.

Smaller spaces has not created bigger arguments, it has allowed us to grow even closer. Before we left on this journey, I can say that any arguments were truly due to the impatience and dissatisfaction with how we were living, and I think that many couples feel this.

We had a different set of priorities, like money, rent, bills, work with an endless cycle of not going out and doing what really made us happy and never speaking about what really mattered to us.

But I have never been happier than I have, being set free in these smaller spaces and making our big dreams happen together. I realize that a new lifestyle has made me continue to see the man of my dreams while we speak of genuine conversations and see the beauty of the world together.

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I’ve Never Felt As Blessed As I Have With Less

At first, minimizing my things was simply to make sure I had just enough to fit into our 37 ft. r. v, yet it soon started to become much more than that.

Now living in a space much smaller than any other permanent living situation I have ever been in, I don’t remember exactly what it was that I sold in the first place. I know my every belonging and I cherish them more than I’ve ever appreciated abundance.

Every item that I have has an importance to me, and if it doesn’t, than I have no further use for it rather than to give it to someone who will appreciate it more.

I have found that I appreciate a gift a lot more than I ever have, I appreciate generosity and kindness more than any thing that can be bought. When I find myself looking for something that I need, I no longer seek out nice retail stores, but rather thrift stores and yard sales, for I have no need to be ashamed in doing so. I’ve found things of far more character in these places that cost much less.

I’ve also found myself giving much more than before, oddly enough because I have less things, but I find that the law of attraction brings things of value right back to me because of it.

I’ve realized that all the pointless stuff I bought at one point was simply to fill a void within me, much like a lot of people do. But it’s as if now my heart is too full for meaningless things to be in my life. I used to find myself with more than I truly needed but always unsatisfied and wanting more. Here I am now, I could pack my personal belongings into a few boxes, and I feel so blessed for all the things I have. I have a home, food, water, a job, amazing friends and family and a loving boyfriend, I have three gorgeous animals and I don’t need anything more.

With this mindset, I find that more meaningful gifts and people have come my way, and I am far more grateful for them than I would have been previously.

Everyone’s version of minimalism is different, it is okay to have many of something that has great value to you, it’s getting rid of the things that truly have no value to you at all. There is always a long conversation with yourself that, that item may be useful at one point, but let’s be honest, it never is.

To me, I like to keep a lot of spiritual tools around, crystals, incense, candles and such, but I cherish each and every one of those belongings and have found no purpose in extra clothing, shoes, makeup, hair accessories, décor, ect.

I am starting to recognize what all the hype was about minimalism, it is all about progression and the change of mentality along the way. It’s going back to simplicity and realizing that’s all you ever needed to feel full; less things to distract you to rediscover what really makes you happy.

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Creating An Aura Of Peace

Everyone has different methods to find they’re own peace. But if you are ready to experiment deeper methods, there are many different herbs, meditations and crystals that are spiritually believed to elevate peaceful vibrations. I use these methods regularly to keep myself at a peaceful, spiritual level and I would love to share some with you.

There are many actions that can promote tranquility, for me, setting a peaceful aura and writing is calming. Meditation is always the most effective in my humble opinion, but whether your reading, writing, meditating or anything in between, the entire atmosphere around you can effective the vibrations of the mind, therefore your aura is very important.

I personally love to turn all my lights off and fill my home with candles, scents and crystals that can better promote calm. Here are some that I recommend:

Herbs:

Dried Herbs + Flowers

Frankincense: An ancient scent known to promote peace and calm and relieve stress and anxiety.

Valerian: An herb strongly known for it’s relaxing effects and even counteracts anxiety.

Gardenia: Believed to attract good spirits and induce peaceful vibrations.

St. Johns Wort: A well known, calming herb, also used to treat anxiety.

Bergamot: Fights anxiety, stress and depression.

Chamomile: A calming herb, I would recommend maybe drinking a cup of chamomile while in your peaceful atmosphere.

Jasmine: Another scent, yet also an herb used in teas, both methods are aura cleansing and calming.

Lavendar: Known to promote purification, calm and to clear negative energies. Can be drank as well, or used as a scent.

Crystals:

Sage + Crystal Cleanse Kit

Ocean Jasper: Eases depression, lifts the spirit of blockages. Known to energize the solar plexus as well as ease stress and exhaustion.

Blue Lace Agate: Promotes peace and tranquility.

Fluorite: Serenity, brings strong positive energy.

Celestite: A stress relieving crystal, gives peace and happy vibrations.

Selenite: A crystal used in meditation often, known to ground energy and bring a sense of calm.

Dragon Stone: Calm, nurturing vibrations.

Petrified Wood: An ancient protector of negative energies. Calming, used to ease anxiety.

Danburite: Cleanses your aura of anxiety and stress, known to give feelings of reassurance and optimism.

Aquamarine: Allows you to let go of worries, stress and anxiety. Fills your aura with relaxation, peace.

I hope you try some of these tools to help ease your mind and remember to be open minded to the power of nature.

I recommend the House of Intuition for purchasing spiritual tools. 🙂

Join the next round of my moon manifestation course!


The next round begins on the new moon… Say yes to your own growth, say yes to new possibilities and the Universe will say yes right back.

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Sometimes Getting Lost Is The Right Direction

I’d be lying if I told you that the travelling lifestyle is all, as my stepmother called it, “hippie flowers and butterflies.” We have our worries just like anyone else, our worries are simply much different, consisting of where we will sleep tonight, the cheapest option for gas and finding the right directions.

After driving about 30 minutes in the wrong direction, we had to turn around and retrack our path. For any of you who do not know, we do not have a phone plan, we rely entirely on maps, which normally is not an issue, but yesterday it was.

We found ourselves very frustrated with the waste of precious time and gas money. It was difficult to stay positive throughout the situation, until we began to realize that everything happens for a reason, we just needed to wait for what that reason was.

When we reached McKenzie Highway, the sun began to set and we kept our eyes out for a place to camp for the night. We found ourselves parked in an empty lot off the side of the highway, right next to McKenzie River. We may have paid at least $40 a night to camp in a place like this anywhere else.

We took a moment to settle down, knowing that though we may not have reached Tilliwiger Hot Springs that day, we met our own personal nook of wilderness to slow down for a bit from all the driving and directions that we would not have experienced otherwise.

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The lesson we took away from this was that we may reach situations that go wrong in the future, a wrong turn, a wrong decision; but to keep in mind that everything is meant to happen for a reason, even if it appears as a mistake.

Right next to this crystal blue river was an amazing way to wake up the next morning and continue on to 126 towards Tilliwiger Hot Springs and Tamolich Falls.

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Travel Hotspot Down Highway 101

So many times I have drove down Highway 101, just the drive home and sometimes further to Astoria, Seaside and Canon Beach. I drove it to school, I drove it basically whenever I needed to go anywhere at all. But it has taken me until now to recognize that, that very road is a famous scenic byway for travelers down the Washington, Oregon and California coast.

A staple during our travels so far down highway 101 has been stopping at the Elixir Culture Co., a company my aunt owns and has grown into a beautiful, lively destination for travelers down the coast, located in the small town where I grew up, South Bend. The Elixir is full of love that is always sensed as soon as you walk inside, a place to unwind and connect while looking at the beautiful bay right outside the windows.

The Elixir is full of color and unique floral design of which my aunt Nancy creates herself from Washington grown flowers. All choices are made with intention to help the town thrive by selling local products such as handmade mugs, shell jewelry, honey, photographs and as many locally farmed products as possible. The shop also has vegan options for delicious coffee’s and snacks and lots of lovely bouquets and plants around to purchase.

What I have always appreciated about this shop is the atmosphere of comfort and the care for everyone who walks inside and the nonprofit support the company makes to help local business thrive.

Nancy’s plans for the Elixir are big and bold, and I am so excited for the growth that will be happening. She plans to make her own flower farm using permaculture gardening, to be able to make all her bouquets with her own flowers. She would also love to teach others how to make their own flower farms and harvest some of her own foods for the shop as well.

It’s a beautiful thing to be in this shop and hear the stories from traveler’s, where they began their journey and where their next destination is. The Elixir is a must stop shop for just about anyone travelling down the 101 highway, come by and use the internet, unwind and tell your story.

 

 

 

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Limiting Our Things For Limited Spaces

Anyone who walked into our home would definitely think that we didn’t have many things. Within the last few months we have been selling so much and I felt quite minimalistic. But when we officially started packing all of our things, we made the decision to rent a U Haul because we weren’t going to have enough space, I realized I really had a ways to go before considering myself a true minimalist.

We thought this U Haul would have plenty of space, but after an hour or so of loading, we began noticing that we would need to fill the bed of the truck as well, and that was still pushing it for space.

Some things were going with to be sold at a family members yard sale, but this was still in our home. We were on a time crunch and running out of space, we found ourselves simply throwing away the things that would have trouble fitting. Which made me question it’s worth to me in the first place and why I ever thought that I needed it.

To me, this was a big eye opener in my life. Why were all these things necessary? After getting rid of it all, I couldn’t remember why I ever needed it and I felt so nice to let it go. This really hit me as beautiful feeling that I needed to share, so that I may inspire someone to challenge themselves to do the same and ask themselves the same questions.

Even when we started moving our things into the R. V, we threw away and sent even more things to yard sales.

More than half of our previously owned worldly possessions are no longer a part of our lives, and it makes me feel so free of clutter. It feels good to know that everything I own, I treasure.

 

Clearly, when you are moving into a space that doesn’t fit all the things you have, you have no choice but to get rid of things; but if this is not the case for you, you could try multiple other things to simplify your belongings.

Something I would suggest is to get rid of one thing a day. I don’t mean tossing out your shirt with a stain or your overused toothbrush, I mean things you come by in your everyday life that you notice you never use.

It may be easier at first, but doing it for a month or two will lead to ridding so many items from your life and forgetting you ever owned them.