My Traveling Secret #TakeADayNow
I have a secret to confess: Since 2008, the year I started blogging, I have been secretly having adventures. Not just ordinary adventures. BIG. ADVENTURES. Blow your mind adventures. Freaking awesome adventures that have changed my life forever. Every time I travel for business I take an extra day – a “day” in my brain being anywhere from 12 hours to 48 hours long – and I go meet someone I have always wanted to meet or see a site I have always wanted to see. I do this mostly alone with an occasional adventure with a friend. I usually do this with little to no funding. It has been transformational. It has been empowering. I feel as if, for the first time in my life, I am connecting with the greater world in a unique and special way. I highly recommend that you #takeadaynow and experience the world yourself – it is eye-opening.
Where Have I Visited
What all have I done? The list is long — I have hugged Yosemite redwood trees in the Mariposa Grove; visited Lisbon on the way back from a speaking gig in the Netherlands; driven through Amish country in Pennsylvania; driven on the autobahn in Germany; visited botanic gardens all over the place – Chanticleer, Longwood, Dallas Botanic, and many more; hiked the desert at Joshua Tree National Park; saw the Burren in Ireland; toured the Pacific Coast Highway in Oregon, California, and parts of Washington; driven from the top of Alabama to the bottom just because I could; visited Mayan ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico; toured an American rain forest – Muir Woods; shopped a wig shop in Little Rock, Arkansas; spent a morning photographing the boardwalk in Atlantic City; walked the streets of Rome, Italy and bought hot chestnuts roasted on the streets; and I have also met ALL the amazing people. Meeting new people and learning about them is the best.
How To #TakeADayNow
Here’s how I do it — When I need to schedule a flight or drive for business, I do a Facebook friends location search to see if I know anyone in the area I’m going to that I can meet up with. Then I Google Maps search and find any natural parks, oceans, mountains, or amazingness nearby. Sometimes I create a list of people I’d like to meet and see if I can set up an appointment for an interview. Often, I am on an incredibly tight schedule and do all this knowing I only have a few hours to make it happen – or I have to drive 400 miles from my speaking gig in less than 24 hours in order to accomplish the task. When I haven’t made an advance plan, I just hop in a rental car or put on my walking shoes and go walking. I bring my camera (see photos) and magic happens in my soul.
There are times when I get up at dawn to see a sunrise (top photo) and I am the only one at a national park at 5 AM watching the light change and I feel something akin to awe and I have tears in my eyes at the beauty and I am the most grateful person ever in the history of the planet to see that sight. Totally worth the effort.
What if you can’t afford to travel? No problem. #TakeADayNow in your own neighborhood and discover your local world. Meet people. Shake hands. Get up at dawn and see the sunrise. Experience the world around you because it will make your heart sing and empower you to make a difference in that world.
Safety is Key
Here’s the thing you should keep in mind — safety is incredibly important on these adventures. I always carry a cell phone. My family knows where and when I’m going places and has my full itinerary in order to find me. I always know where and how to reach an emergency team if I need it and often call ahead to let park rangers or security know that I’m there. I work with a tour guide when I can. I wear the proper clothes and bring supplies on these adventures — being trapped in a desert with no water is simply irresponsible, for example, so when I recently took a day at Joshua Tree National Park I was sure to bring water and emergency supplies just in case. I do not meet strangers I want to interview privately – I meet in public or have a friend come along to join the adventure if necessary. I would not recommend these adventures for children, teens, or the elderly without a friend or family member participating. Never trespass or go places considered “illegal” or off-limits. Be safe. A #TakeADayNow adventure can be empowering and beautiful and rewarding, but definitely consider your safety first because when you take an adventure on your own you are doing so at your own risk.
Why Reveal My Secret?
A few weeks ago I was on a #TakeADayNow adventure meeting television garden celebrities in Southern California. I was sitting at the kitchen table of my good friend Shirley Bovshow, who is a garden expert on the Home & Family Show for the Hallmark Channel. She was listening to me tell these hilarious stories from my #TakeADayNow adventures and interrupted me to say, “You do this alone? ALONE?” My answer is, “Yep. Mostly. I climb mountains, hike deserts, visit cities, and wake up at dawn everywhere I can.” There was a long pause. She said, “Why aren’t you writing about this? This is empowering to women – they need to see this – they need to do this even if it’s just a local adventure.” We both grinned at each other and I thought, “Maybe…hmmm…”
And so – here we are. I’m confessing my deep dark soul-empowering adventure secrets to you.
Thanks to Shirley’s inspiration, my plan is to bring you along with me on my future journeys and also offer photos of the sites around the world to download to show you how empowering and rewarding seeing the world can be. When I was diagnosed with severe degenerative osteoarthritis I thought I would be limited in what I could do, but since the diagnosis, I have done more #TakeADayNow adventures than ever before (see photos below). This fall I have plans to visit Washington D.C., tour a large production plant nursery in Pennsylvania, and climb a pyramid in Mexico. I cannot wait for the next speaking gig, the next opportunity to see more of the world, and the next chance for my soul to feel empowered. It is about emotional wellness and living on the edge, and my secret travel plan works well with my diet and exercise plan to make a difference in my health. #TakeADayNow and change your outlook on life – and remember to be safe out there my friends.
Shirley, I think that’s just a wonderful idea! I would have loved to do that before I became disabled. I think my dad could have benefited, my husband. Oh well, life changes & after while you realize you just can’t do the things you used to. Like for me, walking more than a few ft & needing to sit down because of my heart, or my asthma, etc. It’s all downhill after 40. You can still have lots of fun, but spending days on end camping, hiking, boating the Mississippi, tubing all day, these things have all changed. It’s hard to wrap your head around, but we just went on a spur of the moment trip to the Black Hills. Fabulous!!!! Never give up, just re-think things. Thanks Shirley! Love your segments on H&F!!!
Thanks Cindy – I’m not Shirley, but I will let her know you love her work. 🙂
I LOVE this post!! You are an inspiration to many and you are living your life.
::HUGS TO SARA:: Thanks roomie!!! I love you too lady!
Shawna, thanks for sharing. I know you go out and enjoy all you can, great to see the pictures!
LOVE this Shawna! It’s not news to me, I suspected all along with your ‘dawns early light’ posting from points in the national parks and such! And this is right up my alley! A friend calls me the queen of add on’s when it comes to travel. I rarely simply just go somewhere but try to wrap as much into each adventure as possible. I’m not going alone this time but I’m taking a two week road trip in a couple of weeks with two friends and I intend to spend fourteen days making each one as WOW as possible! We are flying to Seattle, picking up a rental Tahoe and spending a couple of nights there catching Bainbridge Island, the Public Market and the Chilhuly exhibit before heading toward Montana and Glacier NP. A night in Alberta, CA just because we can and then heading to Bozeman for the next night and get ready for a day in Yellowstone. That night in Idaho, a quick view of the Grand Tetons the next morning and then a ride to Price, UT where we’ll get ready for a day in Arches NP near Moab and then on to Colorado for a couple of days and Mesa Verde NP. Four Corners Monument as we leave that area and then out to search for a view we spotted on FB in southern Utah…then on to the Grand Canyon NP with a night spend in a little red caboose in Williams AZ. Another night in AZ before heading north to Nevada (skipping Las Vegas, just not our thing) and then heading west through the Cascades to the Redwood National Park…then heading up the Oregon coast with hopefully a stop in Olympic NP before heading back to Seattle! I’ve booked AirBnB’s and hotels for every night but remain flexible in every other way…and most accommodations are flexible enough to change if we get a wild hair.
Thanks so much!
I heart you right back! Thanks Jane!!!
It’s been an amazing journey — go get’em!!!!! Have a fantastic experience.
Shawna, it’s been so amazing to watch your incredible journey since my husband and I met you by chance in Playa del Carmen 6 years ago!! You are such an inspiration and we share so many loves – travel, organic gardening, healthy living… you keep us entertained, laughing, and smiling! My husband still breaks out into a little bit of a cold sweat some times when I talk about my solo adventures when I visit different cities, but I’ve had so many awesome adventures, and sometimes something as simple as choosing a random back road has led me to some of the coolest places and experiences! From one kindred spirit to another, keep it up!! 😀
Thank you for your kind words Mary Ann – so appreciated!!! 🙂
Excellent post, Shawna… It was exactly what I needed to read because I’m planning to start making more time in my life for trips like these.
Hi Shawna! Your pictures are just stunning…..love your journeys and can’t wait to incorporate this Take A Day now philosophy into my life. I am inspired by you. Happy Travels!
Thanks buddy! 🙂
Thank you Debi!!!!
I love this, I love that you wrote about it. I am often a lone traveller, I never considered it empowering to women but now, thanks to this post I can see how it can be. I’m coming along for the ride on more of your adventures
Thanks so much Amy!