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. 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 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, “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 for my health. #TakeADayNow and change your outlook on life – and remember to be safe out there my friends.