Animal Crossing My Mind

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During this Year of Adventure, one of my tools is The Adventure Challenge Book, Solo Edition. I received this book last year from the company. I’m grateful for the opportunity to experience these fun adventures and share some of them.

Today I scratched off adventure #18, Animal Crossing My Mind. How fun this evening, to carry out the adventure.

Animal Crossing My Mind title me

The Adventure Challenge

As a reminder, the Adventure Challenges are scratch off adventures, suitable for adults, families and individuals. Each hardbound book contain 50 fun and unique challenges to experience with a partner, spouse, friends, family members or on your own.

The challenges encourage you to get off your phone and electrical devices and connect with each other…or more deeply with yourself. The challenges are the perfect way to explore your city or the great outdoors, try something new, reconnect with your inner child or make new friends.

The keepsake book makes it easy to document the memories, with snapshots and a few words about the experience.

There’s a catch though. The challenges are hidden. You don’t know what the challenge is, until you scratch it off. If you’ve followed me for very long, you KNOW I love playing games built around randomness. The Adventure Challenge books are like the games I play, where I draw random slips of paper out of a jar, and do the activity I select. There are no “do overs”, in those fun games I make up or in The Adventure Challenge.

Animal Crossing My Mind petland
Animal Crossing My Mind – a visit to Petland

Animal Crossing My Mind

Today I scratched off Adventure Challenge #18. It reads:

“Go to your nearest pet store and bring your phone. As you look around, take photos of you and 3 – 5 of the animals you see (do not use flash).

Return home and come up with a name and backstory for each new friend. Once you’ve done all that, write a short story about an adventure they’d all go on together.”

This evening, I drove to Petland in my city, armed with my phone and my instax mini 11 instamatic camera. Greg accompanied me, thankfully, to help document the adventure.

Before taking photos, I asked permission to do so from the store manager and explained about my adventure. She was delighted to have me there and immediately suggested I hold one of their snakes! Store employee Donovan kindly assisted me with the four animals that I took photos of and answered my questions.

Animal Crossing My Mind donovan
Donovan at Petland, helping me with my challenge.

Vanilla Ball Python

Donovan first introduced me to a vanilla ball python. This gentle beauty, with a sleek brown body and vanilla splotches, makes a perfect pet for first time or experienced snake owners. The vanilla ball python grows up to six feet long and lives for about 30 years. Ball pythons are friendly and fairly easy to care for, preferring a diet of crickets, mice and rats.

Following my challenge instructions, I named this snake Pearl.

Pearl’s backstory: This wise snake lives with Chloe, a college student. Pearl’s roomy terrarium sits in a small sunroom, at the back of Chloe’s ground level apartment. The other animals in the neighborhood stop by frequently, to ask Pearl their deepest questions.

Animal Crossing My Mind ball python
Animal Crossing My Mind – Pearl the vanilla ball python


Animal number two was making a joyful racket behind me, along with her buddies. The white and dark gray bird caught me eye. Before arriving at the pet shop, I hoped to see such a parakeet.

There are more than 30 recognized color combinations for parakeets. My sister owned a blue and white one when we were young.

Parakeets belong to the parrot species. They are social birds that enjoy companionship and typically live 5 – 8 years.

I christened this gorgeous parakeet Henrietta.

Henrietta’s backstory: Henrietta…Henri…finds herself without a home after her elderly owner passes away. When a relative attempts to load Henri into his car, he accidently drops the cage, freeing the frightened bird. Henri is the main character in my story. She’s experiencing fear as a result of her freedom.

Animal Crossing My Mind parakeet
Animal Crossing My Mind – Henrietta the parakeet


My grandchildren purchased their pet ferret, Rocky, from Petland. I hoped to see one there tonight, on my visit. A single ferret, identical to Rocky, occupied the spacious pen.

I snuggled him while Greg attempted a photo. This little wriggler enjoyed burrowing under my hair and would not hold still. I snapped his photo after returning him to his pen.

Ferrets belong to the same family as badgers and minks. They make excellent pets for those dedicated to caring for them properly. Ferrets are affectionate, playful and quiet. They live for 5 – 10 years.

In my story, the ferret goes by the name Griffin.

Griffin’s backstory: Griffin lives with his family, in the same neighborhood as Pearl and Henri’s former owner. He is playful, outgoing and always looking for adventures. He may or may not frequently find himself in a spot of trouble.

Animal Crossing My Mind ferret
Griffin the ferret


Finally, Donovan asked me which puppy I’d like to hold. While many of the frolicking pups make me smile, the little corgi tugged at my heart. What a sweet bundle of fluff.

The corgi is a cattle herding dog breed that originated in Pembrokeshire, Wales. These stocky, short legged dogs reach a height of 10 – 12 inches and live for approximately 15 years. Corgis are playful, tenacious, bold and protective.

I named the corgi in my story Major.

Major’s backstory: this friendly little guy takes it upon himself to patrol the neighborhood. He knows every human and every animal by name and prides himself on knowing schedules and habits. If anything out of the ordinary happens, Major is on it.

Animal Crossing My Mind corgi
Animal Crossing My Mind – the sweetest corgi

Working on the Short Story

Now that I’ve met the animals, named them and created brief backstories, it’s time to let the story simmer in my brain for a few days. As I prepped for this adventure today, a story began to play out that included a parakeet, a dog and a ferret. The surprise addition of the snake changes the story somewhat, however I like how it is developing.

My intention is to write a story featuring these four animals that can be sold as a children’s story. How’s that for an adventure? It’s what I love about new experiences. While I never quite know where the adventure will lead me, I’m always game to find out.

I’m working on a title and allowing the story to flesh itself out. Stay tuned for more about this fun adventure challenge!

Animal Crossing My Mind solo edition
Animal Crossing My Mind – book and camera

Purchase Your Adventure Challenge Book

Does this type of adventure sound fun to you? The Petland store manager asked me questions about the book and my experiences. The Solo Edition sounded perfect to her.

Challenge books are available in solo, family and couples editions. Each book contains 50 scratch off challenges. Check out the various books and the camera/book kits HERE. Use my code GOINGBEYOND to save 10% off of your order.

You can also purchase the camera HERE, from Amazon. The instamatic photos add to the fun I think, plus there’s a spot to add them in the book as you document the challenge.

I look forward to experiencing more Adventure Challenges, and sharing them with you. If you purchase a book, please share which challenge you tried first!

Animal Crossing My Mind 18


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Fun Facts About the British Custom of Tea Time

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This post combines two of my favorite passions: travel and tea time. I first experienced the delights of afternoon tea in Scotland, during my 2014 trip. My cousin Mindy and I visited several tea rooms while traveling the country. And we discovered that every hotel and Bed & Breakfast that we stayed in included all the makings on site for afternoon tea.

I enjoyed the practice so much that I embraced drinking hot tea when I returned home. I sip on at least two cups of hot tea a day and pause in the afternoon for a tea break. It’s a refreshing way to relax for half an hour and refocus. Additionally, I’ve learned how to keep my afternoon tea times plant based and healthy. It’s a win/win for me.

Have you ever wondered how this tradition began? Wonder no more! Check out these fun facts about the British custom of tea time.

Fun Facts About the British Custom of Tea Time title meme

Fun Facts About the British Custom of Tea Time

The practice of afternoon tea time originated in England. It’s estimated that today 80% of Britons drink tea, consuming 165 million cups daily. I’ve found the practice in Scotland and Ireland as well. Plus, there are a surprising number of hot tea drinkers in the US.

How many of these fun facts about tea time do you know?

A Duchess Began the Tradition of Afternoon Tea

In 1840, Anna Russell, seventh Duchess of Bedford, routinely experienced hunger in the afternoon. With an 8:00 pm dinner time seemingly far away, the famished Duchess began requesting tea served with bread, butter and cake in the afternoons.

Anna invited friends to join her and soon the practice of afternoon tea spread, becoming a popular way to socialize…and stave off hunger. By the 1880s, upper class women changed into long gowns, gloves and hats for their afternoon teas, served in the drawing room between 4:00 and 5:00.

Those early afternoon teas consisted of a selection of finger sandwiches, scones served with clotted cream and preserves, cakes and pastries. Tea grown in India or Ceylon filled delicate bone china cups.

Fun Facts About the British Custom of Tea Time beet root sauvage
Fun Facts About the British Custom of Tea Time – Beetroot Sauvage vegan afternoon tea, in Edinburgh, Scotland

Monks Invented Devonshire Cream Tea

Cream tea is a type of afternoon tea consisting of tea served with scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam.

At a Benedictine Abbey in Devon, England, monks served tea and bread with clotted cream and strawberry jam to local workers helping to rebuild their abbey after a Viking raid. The locals enjoyed the treat so much that the monks served it to travelers passing by.

Devonshire cream tea was born.

Cream Tea in Cornwall is Different

However, cream tea served in Cornwall differs slightly from that served in Devon. In a playful rivalry between the two towns, the distinction is in how the clotted cream and strawberry jam is served.

In Devon, clotted cream is applied to scones first, with strawberry jam added last. In Cornwall, the clotted cream goes on top of the jam.

Fun Facts About the British Custom of Tea Time home
Fun Facts About the British Custom of Tea Time – my version of a healthy, vegan scone, served with tea at home.

There’s a Low Tea and a High Tea

During the Victorian Era, two types of tea were common.

Low Tea was served on low lounge chairs and low, small tables. The aristocracy enjoyed low tea. Those partaking of high tea sat in higher chairs, around a normal height and sized table. The working class often substituted high tea for their evening meal.

Afternoon Tea and High Tea Aren’t the Same

As established above, afternoon tea is typically enjoyed between 4:00 and 5:00 and sometimes as late as 6:00. Afternoon tea is what tea rooms across the UK serve, with those little sandwiches, sweets, savories, scones and pastries.

High tea is traditionally an end of the day meal for the working class. That meal might include meats, pies, salads, pickles, bread and butter, cakes and of course, a pot of hot tea. Today, most simply use the term “tea” for this meal, which is still popular in Northern England.

Fun Facts About the British Custom of Tea Time edinburgh
Fun Facts About the British Custom of Tea Time – a traditional afternoon tea in the Garden Room at the Kimpton Hotel on Charlotte Square, Edinburgh. It is vegan as well and beautifully presented. The pitcher contains oat milk.

For a Proper Cup of Tea Add Milk

In the UK, a cup of tea isn’t complete until you add milk. And traditionally, milk is added last.

The reason might surprise you.

Cheap china cups can crack when hot tea is poured into them. However, fine china does not crack. Putting milk into the tea last became a way for the upper class to show that they possessed the finest china cups.

While in England and Scotland, I too added milk to my tea. It became a habit at home as well, until I switched to a plant based lifestyle. I also discovered that the stronger black tea caused inflammation in my joints. Now I primarily drink plain herbal tea, although when I do indulge, almond milk is my choice.

Don’t Hold Your Pinkie Finger Out When Drinking Tea

According to etiquette experts, stretching out the pinkie finger while drinking tea isn’t consider proper. In fact, it’s rude.

Proper afternoon tea etiquette rules include:

  • hold the teacup by the handle, not by cupping with the hands, and keep that pinkie finger down
  • stir tea up and down with the spoon, when adding milk or sugar, not around in circles
  • also, don’t clink the spoon against the cup or tap the spoon on the top of the cup after stirring
  • remove spoon though after stirring…don’t leave it in the cup while drinking and never put the spoon in your mouth
  • you don’t need to lift the saucer with the teacup, while sipping tea, unless you are standing far from a table
  • let tea cool naturally, if it’s too hot…don’t blow on it
  • eat the treats accompanying the tea with your fingers
  • eat the savories and sandwiches first, then the scones with clotted cream and jam, and lastly, the sweets
  • break scone into pieces to eat, using a knife to add butter, clotted cream or jam to each piece, and never dunk them into the tea
Fun Facts About the British Custom of Tea Time healthy
Fun Facts About the British Custom of Tea Time – my healthy snacks with lemon balm herbal tea

Are You a Hot Tea Lover?

I love my hot tea. A typical afternoon tea for me includes a cup of herbal tea and a healthy snack such as fruit, dates or a gluten free, vegan cookie or scone. Rather than finger sandwiches, I might have cucumber bites made from sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and a sprig of fresh basil. And frequently, I simply enjoy a cup of tea without treats.

Beyond giving me an intentional pause in the day, sipping hot tea connects me with my Scottish and English roots. I love the tradition and enjoy afternoon tea whenever I visit the UK. There are many cafés that offer vegan treats for tea time. I am grateful.

Do you drink hot tea? What’s your favorite? And do you take your tea with milk?

It's always tea time at my house


Other posts about tea:

Afternoon Tea at the Historic Phelps House

Ms Gilmore’s

Afternoon Tea Week


Click photo to order your teapot and start your own tea time tradition


Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to, all at no extra cost to you.



The Power of the Dog

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It’s award season for movies. On February 8 nominees are announced for the 94th Academy Awards. In preparation, I’m watching the top picked films that may receive the honor of a nomination.

One film, The Power of the Dog, is a stand out already. This Netflix film has garnered a staggering 262 nominations and 183 wins, in a variety of movie categories and award platforms. Those stats placed it high on my “must watch” list.

Check out my movie review and my thoughts about this slow burn drama. No spoilers included.

The Power of the Dog title meme

The Power of the Dog Cast

This western…and I use that term loosely…stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Durnst, Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee. Jane Campion wrote the screenplay, based on the novel by Thomas Savage. She directed the film as well.

The Power of the Dog carries an R rating, for sexuality, smoking and mild alcohol use and language. It has a run time of 2 hours and 6 minutes.

Two Brothers

In 1925 Montana, brothers Phil (Cumberbatch) and George (Plemons) carry on managing the ranch, after their elderly parents return to the east to live.

The wealthy brothers share the austere family home, little changed since their childhood, which suits Phil fine. As the elder brother, Phil runs the ranch, inspiring fear and awe in the hired cowboys, and controls his younger sibling. He is rugged and unkept, bathing infrequently in the river, with a severe type of charisma that both attracts and repels others.

While he seldom shows appreciation for anyone else, Phil idolizes the mentor from his youth, Bronco Henry. Not a day goes by on the ranch that Phil doesn’t share a larger than life story about the now dead cowboy.

George lives in his brother’s shadow. Thoughtful, quiet and more refined, he allows Phil to make all of the decisions. And when his brother treats others cruelly, George surreptitiously does his best to smooth over the situation.

That’s how George meets his wife.

The Power of the Dog phil
The Power of the Dog – Phil. played by Benedict Cumberbatch
The Power of the Dog george
The Power of the Dog – George, played by Jesse Plemons

A Mother and Her Son

After driving cattle to a nearby town, Phil, George and the cowboys dine at the local inn. Rose (Durst), widowed with a teenage son, prepares the meal. Peter (Smit-McPhee), a gentle, artistic young man, helps his mother out by serving the rowdy guests. Phil’s taunts and jeers, egged on by the cowboys, brings tears from Rose and Peter.

George stays behind, after dinner, to comfort Rose. That quiet show of tenderness leads to frequent visits, by George, to see Rose. By the time Phil realizes where George is going, and seeks to dissuade him from pursuing Rose, it’s too late. George and Rose married, without Phil’s knowledge or consent.

The somewhat downcast Peter goes away to school, to study medicine. Rose joins her new husband and brother-in-law at the ranch.

The Power of the Dog rose
The Power of the Dog – Rose, played by Kirsten Dunst
The Power of the Dog peter
The Power of the Dog – Peter, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee

A Hellish Summer

Phil strongly dislikes Rose and what he sees as a disruption to his routines and his life. He rebuffs all of her attempts to merge into his family, making her feel unwelcome and unworthy. Rose’s despondency deepens, made worse when her son Peter arrives at the ranch during summer break.

Phil’s taunting now focuses primarily on Peter, who is unaccustomed to ranch life. The young man spends most of his time in his room, studying medical books and performing dissections on field rabbits that he catches.

And then, unexpectedly, Phil softens toward Peter, teaching the boy how to ride a horse and work on the ranch. He shares Bronco Henry tales, hand plaits a rawhide rope for Peter and for the first time, opens up about his own youth.

The sudden friendship between Phil and Peter does nothing to soothe Rose. In fact, she seeks ways to hurt the man she so despises. Is Phil truly changing and becoming more vulnerable? Or is something else going on?

The Power of the Dog love
The Power of the Dog – is love enough?

My Thoughts About The Power of the Dog

I’m not a huge fan of westerns. However, to my delight, The Power of the Dog is less a western than a subtly played out drama. While there are cowboys and a ranch and incredible vistas, the story focuses on the complicated relationships between Phil and George, Phil and Rose and Phil and Peter.

Phil is the central character and he is one angry, manipulative man. And yet, as much as I disliked his cruelty, I first pitied him and then felt unexpected compassion for all that he kept painfully hidden in his life.

There’s a youngness to Phil that hints that he became trapped in his youth…and never grew beyond it. As adults, he and George still share a room, sleeping in twin beds, but sharing space as they did in their childhood. He dislikes bathing, makes up his own rules, resorts to name calling and taunting and rejects outsiders. Rather than share who he is or what he has, he chooses to destroy so others can’t have it.

All four primary actors give outstanding performances. Benedict Cumberbatch should pick up a Best Actor Oscar.

And Jane Campion excellently builds out this complex story. She reveals, layer by layer, until the end brings a surprising twist that immediately made me think, “Now I need to watch it all again.” That’s the power of this film. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

I’ll watch the Oscars, fully expecting this movie to pick up multiple awards. Have you seen The Power of the Dog? What did you think?

The Power of the Dog ranch


Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to, all at no extra cost to you.



Most Popular Streets to Explore in Charleston

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For those who enjoy walking a city, Charleston’s historic downtown offers  the perfect opportunity to explore. I arrived via an airplane flight and did not rent a car. And I didn’t need one, for what I wanted to do. Other than the transport to and from the airport, everything except the tour of Magnolia Plantation was within walking distance of my accommodations, Meeting Street Inn. I rode a tour bus to the plantation that departed from the Charleston Visitor Center.

The historic district is laid out with beautiful streets that invite the explorer to walk slowly, taking in the sights, and to linger in parks and green spaces. While there’s no wrong street to wander down, these most popular streets to explore in Charleston provide unforgettable experiences.

Most Popular Streets to Explore in Charleston title meme

Most Popular Streets to Explore in Charleston

Grab your walking shoes and a hat to protect from the sun and discover what historic Charleston has to offer, on foot.

Meeting Street

Considered one of the oldest streets in Charleston, Meeting Street features historical and architectural sites. This street served as the western boundary, when the city was walled, with the entrance into Charleston located at Meeting and Broad…over a drawbridge and moat.

The street name comes from the Circular Congregational Church, established in 1686, when it was called the White Meeting House. Meeting House…on Meeting Street.

The intersection of Meeting and Broad is known as the Corner of Four Laws. The four laws include ecclesiastical – St Michael’s Church, federal – US Post Office and Federal Court, state – Court House and city – City Hall. The locals say you can “get married, get divorced, pay your taxes and get locked up” in that intersection.

This picturesque street, lined with gorgeous homes in the South of Broad neighborhood, continues to the tip of the peninsula, ending at White Point Garden.

Most Popular Streets to Explore in Charleston meeting
Most Popular Streets to Explore in Charleston – Meeting Street

Broad Street

Broad serves as the main business thoroughfare in the old city. Initially, apothecaries, silversmiths and merchants provided services here. Now it houses banks, lawyers, art galleries and cafés. Broad Street marks the boundary of the old city and the beginning of affluent neighborhoods to the south.

Originally called Cooper Street, the name changed after Charleston residents proudly boasted about their “broad” 72 foot wide street.

The John Rutledge House at 116 Broad…now a hotel…belonged to a signer of the constitution. The drafters of the US Constitution spent many hours in the drawing room.

And the John Lining House, at 106 Broad, dates back to the early 1700s. It is the oldest frame residence in Charleston.

Most Popular Streets to Explore in Charleston broad
Most Popular Streets to Explore in Charleston – Broad Street

Church Street

Pretty Church Street does indeed house a church. St Phillip’s Episcopal Church was built in the 1830s. The adjoining graveyard contains the resting places of signers of the Declaration of Independence and Dubose Heyward, author of Porgy.

The nation’s first playhouse, Dock Street Theatre, resides on Church Street. And the narrow winding lane is home to many historical houses including Theodosia Burr’s house and the Heyward-Washington House where president George Washington stayed while in the city. Cabbage Row is here too, the inspiration for Heyward’s book, Porgy.

Most Popular Streets to Explore in Charleston church
Most Popular Streets to Explore in Charleston – Church Street

East Bay Street

This street along the Charleston Battery features one of the most photographed sites in the city. Rainbow Row, a block of 13 pastel colored houses built in the 1740s, symbolizes the southern charm and beauty of Charleston.

Opposite the historic homes lining East Bay is the Battery, the seawall promenade along Charleston Harbor.

Most Popular Streets to Explore in Charleston east bay
Most Popular Streets to Explore in Charleston – East Bay Street

King Street

Named one of the top ten shopping streets in the nation, by US News and World Report, King Street offers unique shops and restaurants. Lower King houses the antiques district and Middle King the fashion district, while Upper King is the contemporary design and dining district.  This busy street is where Charleston’s past and present combine.

Initially, King Street served as the primary road in and out of the city. In the late 18th century, the lane evolved into a thriving retail and commercial street full of specialty shops and boutiques. Today it also offers trendy restaurants, an active nightlife and fun events and festivals.

Most Popular Streets to Explore in Charleston king
Most Popular Streets to Explore in Charleston – King Street

Queen Street

Foodies adore Queen Street. It’s home to some of Charleston’s most popular restaurants, including Husk, 82 Queen, Queen Street Grocery & Café and Poogan’s Porch. Poogan’s diners might even encounter the restaurant’s friendly dog ghost! Read Charleston ghost stories HERE.

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Most Popular Streets to Explore in Charleston – Poogan’s Porch on Queen Street

Chalmers Street

Wandering down Chalmers Street, one of eight remaining cobblestone lanes in Charleston, gives a peek into the past. The second oldest residential house in Charleston, the Pink House, sits at 17 Chalmers.

And stop by the Old Slave Mart, at 6 Chalmers. This African American slave museum provides a glimpse into the dark world of slave trading and Charleston’s role in it.

Most Popular Streets to Explore in Charleston chalmers
Most Popular Streets to Explore in Charleston – Chalmers Street

Tradd Street

The lane that drew me to Charleston, Tradd Street runs west to east in the South of Broad area. It’s named after Robert Tradd, one of the first babies born in Charles Town.

The beautiful little street is famous for its historic homes, the Tradd Street series of books by author Karen White and as a filming location for the movie The Patriot. Rent The Patriot HERE.

Wander in Charleston and Get a Little Lost

I loved my time in Charleston. My favorite cities are those rich with history and culture. And my favorite way to get to know those cities is by exploring on foot.

Wander down any of Charleston’s streets…veering off occasionally into hidden alleyways…and you’ll discover beauty, history and delightful surprises.

Have you explored Charleston? What street is your favorite?

Most Popular Streets to Explore in Charleston tradd
Tradd Street, the street that brought me to Charleston.


This fun historic map of Charleston, from Amazon, accompanied me on my trip. Click photo for more info or to order.


Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to, all at no extra cost to you.


Year of Adventure

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

It’s a new year. Time for fresh starts, changes, goals and exciting opportunities.

For me, 2022 also brings a new theme, a symbol and a song. It’s a long standing tradition for me that is more than fun. The theme, symbol and song are important elements of my guidance system for the year.

This is the Year of Adventure. Discover more about what that means to me.

Year of Adventure title meme

Year of Adventure Theme

Near the end of 2021, as my attention turned toward a new year and new possibilities, the word adventure began showing up in my awareness. That’s how my word for the upcoming year finds me. It shows up via repetition and synchronicities. I’m very familiar with the word and use it occasionally. However, in the space of a few weeks, I saw the word or representations of adventures everywhere.

With my attention caught, I looked up the word. I love etymology…the study of words.

Adventure originates from the Latin word advenire, meaning ” to arrive at or reach”. That word formed the basis for the Latin adventurus, meaning “about to happen”. For me the root words imply a sense of anticipation for something about to happen, or about to arrive.

Today adventure means an exciting, remarkable or dangerous experience.

And, I like this thought. Venture is a “daring journey”. Ad, as a prefix, means “toward”. Put those two together and I have “toward a daring journey”. That’s what I’m doing…moving toward…reaching out for…arriving for…a daring journey.  I love it!

Year of Adventure travel guides
Year of Adventure – travel guides

Year of Adventure Symbol

Like the word for the year, the symbol for 2022 began to show up in repetitions and synchronicities.

I’ve felt drawn to the vintage teal colored VW bus for a couple of years. It actually showed up on last year’s vision boards. And a couple of years ago I adopted a teal mini van  as my travel mascot, naming her Ferni. However, beginning last fall, the symbol popped up everywhere. My great nephew Kaleb even presented me with a stack of cool vinyl stickers…many of them featuring colorful VW vans.

The vintage VW van is the perfect symbol for adventure. It represents freedom, travel, hippies, peace and fun. It became an icon of the counterculture movement in the 1960s, a symbol of protest against overpowered cars, expensive lifestyles and society in general. VW vans during that time frequently sported a peace sign on the front.

Although I’d love to own a vintage van, for the fun of driving one around, it’s not necessary. I’m charmed by the symbol and looking forward to developing a deeper relationship with it this year.

Year of Adventure vw van
Year of Adventure symbol – VW Van

Year of Adventure Song

And finally, my song for the year arrived.

Staying open to possibilities, I listened carefully to any song that caught my interest. And then one night, while I worked on a project, my Echo Dot randomly selected “Life is a Highway” by Rascal Flatts for my enjoyment.

I tuned in about half way through the song, then requested a second and a third playing.

“Life’s like a road that you travel on, when there’s one day here and the next day gone. Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand, sometimes you turn your back to the wind.”

The lyrics remind me that life is fleeting and I’m no longer a young woman. I’m certainly not beyond adventures, but I don’t want to wait until “someday” to enjoy them. As I’m entering my twilight years, I’m determined to ride this highway called life all…night…long…in a vintage VW van. See how perfectly that works?

Year of Adventure highway
Year of Adventure song – Life is a Highway

If You’re Goin’ My Way

I look forward to experiencing adventure this year.

The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition scratch off book is part of my “map” for 2022. The 15 cities I want to experience definitely fall into the adventure category. My adventure list is growing longer with ideas. However, I know that adventure doesn’t always mean risky or dangerous. Jumping out of a plane is adventurous…and on my list. However, discovering different aspects of myself is just as much an adventure as exploring a new city or trying something daringly new.

Solo adventures are important to me. And sharing the adventure…with my kids and grandkids, other family members and friends…is important too, as is sharing with my community of readers.

If you’re goin’ my way…or watching and cheering me on as I zip by down the highway of life…it’s all good. I wanna drive it all night long.

Year of Adventure Cindy

Get your Adventure Challenge Books below:

Family Edition

Couples Edition

Solo Edition


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Ms Gilmore’s Springfield, Missouri

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During my solo getaway weekend in Springfield, Missouri, I enjoyed exploring historic C Street. What a delightful mix of unique restaurants and shops and home to the beautiful Culture Boutique Hotel, my accommodations for the weekend.

As a long time hot tea drinker, a visit to Chabom Teas & Spices allowed me to bring home an assortment of fragrant teas. And located next door, the most wonderful surprise awaited.

Ms Gilmore’s delighted me the moment I walked through the door. With its Alice in Wonderland themed décor, tea rooms and wide selection of new and vintage items, I truly fell down the rabbit hole into a whimsical place that I wanted to linger in.

Ms Gilmore's Springfield, Missouri


Ms Gilmore’s Story

Robin Gilmore grew up in the Branson, Missouri area. As a young girl she and her friends loved visiting the wonderful shops on the square there. After their favorite lunch, consisting of an egg salad sandwich and a soda, the girls enjoyed chocolate from the candy counter.

In their teens, the friends traveled frequently to Springfield to try on vintage clothing at Nellie Dunn’s. The tin ceilings in the building caught young Robin’s eyes and snagged her heart. She wished she owned such a building.

Eventually, she did. Ms Gilmore’s continued to honor the thrill of looking through antiques and finding treasures and enjoying memorable meals and afternoon teas. Many of the entrées on the menu carry the names of historic sites in Springfield.

The historic building, built in 1874, was originally part of a manufacturing complex for Parce and Gray Wagon Builders. Over the years it housed a clothing company, a men’s fine fashion retail shop, a salvage and sales company and Nellie Dunn’s.

Robin Gilmore retired in 2020 and the business continues under new ownership,

Ms Gilmore's exterior
Ms Gilmore’s inviting exterior

Shop for Treasures or New Merchandise

The charming building is divided into retail space and tea rooms on the first floor with antiques, vintage pieces and collectibles on the second floor.

Walking through the front door, the cute décor is the first thing you notice. The Wonderland theme is apparent everywhere and creates a magical experience. Umbrellas and teacup chandeliers hang from the ceilings while prints and treasures adorn the walls.

Tea rooms occupy space to the right and left. However, the center of the first floor…and various nooks…offer a variety of unique items. Specialty gifts share space with bohemian style clothing, cozy throws and fun collectibles. During the holidays, shop for Christmas gifts, ornaments and decorations,

Upstairs, browse for one of a kind finds among antiques, vintage pieces and craft type items. The large windows at the front of the building drew me to the rooms there, full of golden sunlight.

As I visited in December, Christmas dominated the retail shop. I purchased an ornament, as a memento of my trip.

Ms Gilmore's Springfield, Missouri
Ms Gilmore’s whimsical décor
Ms Gilmore's Springfield, Missouri upstairs
An upstairs room at Ms Gilmore’s.

The Tea Rooms

Ms Gilmore’s offers lunch, tea and desserts. They have a full lunch menu and scrumptious desserts plus an assortment of teas.

Their large tea rooms accommodate large parties and private events.

Before settling into the main tea room, for afternoon tea, I wandered about in the other rooms, charmed by the incredible details. One tea room features a mural with the famous words from Alice in Wonderland, “It’s always tea time.”

I agree!

One of the other rooms on the left, as you enter the building, featured a lovely gown with a Christmas tree beneath the raised up skirt. I could happily enjoy tea or lunch in any of these amazing spaces.

Ms Gilmore's Springfield, Missouri
One of the magical tea rooms at Ms Gilmore’s.
Ms Gilmore's Springfield, Missouri
The farther down the rabbit hole you, go the more incredible it gets!
Ms Gilmore's Springfield, Missouri
It’s always tea time at Ms Gilmore’s!

Tea for One

I actually stopped by Ms Gilmore’s twice on the Saturday of my trip. I spent a wonderful hour there before my lunch at Café Cusco, exploring the downstairs and snapping photos.

After lunch, and a brisk walk down C Street, I returned to warm up with a cup of hot tea. Although past the lunch hour rush, the main tea room remained filled with people. I enjoyed my table for one, sipping hot strawberry hibiscus tea while people watching.

Ms Gilmore’s is perfect for a family lunch, girls’ afternoon out or a mother/daughter tea. While the lunch menu offers vegan options, the dessert menu, unfortunately, does not. Perhaps that will change in the future!

After my tea time, I explored the upstairs, admiring the assortment of vintage treasures and antiques.

Ms Gilmore's Springfield, Missouri
Look at that fun chandelier in the main tea room!
Ms Gilmore's Springfield, Missouri
Strawberry hibiscus tea for one at Ms Gilmore’s.

Location and Hours

Ms Gilmore’s is located at 211 East Commercial Street in Springfield, Missouri.

The shop and bakery counter are open Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 am until 4:00 pm.

The tea rooms/café are open Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00 am until 2:30 pm on weekdays and open until 3:00 pm on Saturdays.

If you are passing through Springfield, or live in the southwest Missouri area, drop down the rabbit hole into the fantasy world of Ms Gilmore’s. Enjoy a meal, a cup of tea or shop the eclectic mix of items there.

I spent a couple of hours there, however, I’d love more time in Wonderland. I’m planning another visit. It’s always tea time for me!

Ms Gilmore's Springfield, Missouri


It’s Always Tea Time


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Let the Adventures Begin

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I celebrated my 64th birthday last weekend. What a fun, if busy, time…experiencing 64 wild things for my 64th birthday over the last two months. Was it easy this year? No. I struggled to fit time into my schedule to complete the activities. Am I grateful that I did the birthday game anyway? Yes I am!

I managed four birthday update posts this year. Here is the final one, Let the Adventures Begin. What a great way to start the new year. Truly, I’m grateful for a January birthday.

Let the Adventures Begin title meme

64 Wild Things for My 64th Birthday

As a reminder, here’s how this works.

I listed and numbered 64 activities in my notebook. Beginning on November 7, I randomly selected a number, using an online generator, and then dated the chosen activity.

While there are some “wild” experiences on the list, I’m leaning heavily into adventures. My word for 2022 is adventure and I’m super excited about that. As I complete this wild year and embrace an adventurous one, this blend of birthday activities moves me solidly into a new year.

I created birthday posts to update what I did. And like last year, I didn’t write about every experience but highlighted some. I also note whether the activity is completed, in process or scheduled out.

Here are the final activities.

12/15/21 Reach Out to 10 Adventure Companies for Collabs (in process)

12/16/21 Create a Wild Woman Playlist on Spotify (completed)

Using Spotify is a fun way to create a playlist of songs. Some of the songs on my list include last year’s song, Girl on Fire, plus Eclipse of the Moon, Jaguar Dreaming and Earth Breath.

12/17/21 Design an Adventure T Shirt (completed)

I’m having fun designing tees and sending them to my daughter in law Megan to create! My little granddaughter Finley and I even came up with t shirt ideas for Christmas gifts to her parents. I appreciate Megan’s willingness to take my ideas and turn them into reality for me! Check out her Facebook page, MiliLou Styles. I’m excited to wear my wild woman and adventure t shirts this year.

Let the Adventures Begin tee
Let the Adventures Begin – design an adventure tee

12/18/21 Research Things to Do in Carmel-by-the-Sea (completed)

I’m excited about visiting this charming European style city in California.

12/19/21 Research Things to Do in Chicago (completed)

Chicago is an short plane ride from Joplin. I’m aware of the high crime rate, which puts this city a bit lower on my adventure list than other cities. However, it’s still a place I want to explore.

Let the Adventures Begin chicago
Let the Adventures Begin – Research things to do in Chicago

12/20/21 Email Pitch to Fort Lauderdale + Accommodations (in process)

12/21/21 Email Pitch to Boston + Accommodations (in process)

12/22/21 Eat at a New to Me Restaurant (completed)

While enjoying my getaway weekend in Springfield, MO, I ate Peruvian food for the first time, at Café Cusco. Read my review on Journey With Healthy Me HERE.

12/23/21 Create an Adventure Playlist on Spotify (completed)

Some of the songs on my  Adventure Playlist include Life is a Highway…this year’s song…plus I Lived, Castle on the Hill and Another Day of Sun.

12/24/21 Create a Capsule Wardrobe for Travel (in process)

12/25/21 Create Simple Christmas Décor (completed)

I cheated on this one. I created the simple décor before Christmas Day, knowing this activity would pop up at some point. Due to my schedule, I really simplified my Christmas decorating, relying on Decocrated items from the Winter 2021 Box and a few pieces from my own collection. I actually like what I created so well that some of the decorations are remaining up until spring!

Let the Adventures Begin decor
Let the Adventures Begin – simple Christmas décor

12/26/21 Create a 2022 Symbol Board (in process)

12/27/21 Email Pitch to Portland + Accommodations (in process)

12/28/21 Research Things to Do on John’s Island, South Carolina (completed)

I’m excited about this return trip to the Charleston area, scheduled for May. I have comped accommodations too, in an Airbnb on the island. While I’m planning a day trip to explore more in Charleston, the rest of the time I’ll enjoy the beauty of this island. One of the things I’m thrilled about seeing is the Angel Tree, a 400 – 500 year old Southern Live Oak with an impressive size and spread.

Let the Adventures Begin angel tree
Let the Adventures Begin – Angel Tree on John’s Island

12/29/21 Research Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale (completed)

Another of the cities on my adventure list, Fort Lauderdale shares my maiden name, Lauderdale. I’m looking forward to a visit here!

12/30/21 Email Pitch to Tempe + Accommodations (in process)

12/31/21 Research Things to Do in Seattle and Portland (completed)

I’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest. I’m excited to visit both of these cities and explore.

Let the Adventures Begin portland
Let the Adventures Begin – Research things to do in Portland

1/1/22 Pick a City to Visit in Each of the 50 States (in process)

1/2/22 Try a New Tea (completed)

While in Springfield on my weekend away, I visited Chabom Teas & Spices on historic Commercial Street. What a wonderful shop to wander about it. It smelled amazing in there. I selected several teas, including Christmas in Paris from Stash Teas. It’s a flavorful blend of lavender, chocolate, peppermint and vanilla. How perfect for the holidays.

Let the Adventures Begin tea
Let the Adventures Begin – Try a new tea

1/3/22 Add Adventure Décor to My Home (completed)

This activity is also still in process. I added a beautiful “To travel is to live” fabric wall hanging, from the Decocrated online shop, to my bedroom using it as a covering over my double windows. I’m also working on a couple of adventure vignettes that I’ll share another time.

Let the Adventures Begin wall hanging
Let the Adventures Begin – Travel is Life

1/4/22 Enjoy a Winter Firepit Night (scheduled)

1/5/22 Full Moon Dance in the Backyard (scheduled with firepit night)

1/6/22 Email Pitch to Seattle + Accommodations (in process)

11/7/22 Email Pitch to Salem + Accommodations (in process)

1/8/22 Email Pitch to Providence + Accommodations (in process)

I’ve created an email template to use, when sending pitches to tourism boards in cities, and one for pitches to accommodations. I’m preparing to batch send emails.

1/9/22 (my actual Birthday) Read a Book about Adventure (completed)

Greg gifted me a book for my birthday, that is perfect for this activity, titled The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse. Charlie MacKesy wrote and illustrated this gorgeous book about the adventures of…you guessed it…a boy, a mole, a fox and a horse. The little group shares simple yet deep conversations and fun adventures in the “wild”, a place that represents life.

Easily read in less than an hour, the life lessons, however, remain forever. And the whimsical drawings and paintings touch the heart. It’s a delightful book that I’ll re-read every week and pick up frequently, to open to a random page.

Check the book out and order HERE.

Let the Adventures Begin book
Let the Adventures Begin – read an adventure book


The morning before my birthday, I journaled about the things I’ve learned the last decade. As I wrote out my thoughts, I realized how much I’ve grown. It’s a good realization to have, turning a year older, and hopefully a year wiser.

This is what I wrote:

Let the Adventures Begin words

It’s been an intense time of learning during the last ten years. And it began a few years before that, with much unlearning.

I claim my years…all 64 of them…and the experiences…all of them…that brought me to this place in life, right now, right here.

This is me. And this is 64.

I’m excited to see what I learn in the next 12 months, during this Year of Adventure, and where I go.

This is 64
This is 64.




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15 Cities on My Adventure List

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As I dream of adventures this year, I created a list of cities I want to explore.

The success of my solo trip to Charleston last fall fuels this desire. Because while I enjoy the beauty of nature and walking in forests and along rivers, I learned something important about myself during the Charleston trip. I LOVE the energy of cities, especially historic ones. Walking in charming downtowns, hearing the stories behind the area and looking at architecture and old houses lights up my soul.

Check out these 15 cities on my adventure list. I’ve included a brief summary of each city and why I’m excited to visit.

15 Cities on My Adventure List title meme

15 Cities on My Adventure List

Last year I shared a post called Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US. First of all, I decided I possess some hipster qualities. And secondly, I felt drawn to some of those cities based on what I discovered about them.

Shortly after that post, I enjoyed the solo trip to Charleston and fell in love…with the city and with traveling on my own. Even while in Charleston, I began a list of other cities to explore.

I included these cities in my birthday activities, researching them, writing down things I’d like to do there and listing possible accommodations. I’m in the process of gathering city travel guides and reaching out to tourism boards and accommodations. I’ll visit the cities as accommodations are arranged, preferably comped as part of a travel blogger/writer trip. So whether I visit two or three of these cities this year…or six…or all 15…I’m open to what unfolds.

John’s Island, South Carolina

I’m so happy about this visit, which is already scheduled for May with comped accommodations. After an incredible trip to Charleston, I longed for a return visit.

An Airbnb reached out to me, offering a comped stay on John’s Island which is near Charleston. The largest island in South Carolina, John’s Island is home to wildlife, rivers, marshes, abundant flora and hundreds of bird species. About one third of the island is actually within the Charleston city limits

Why I’m Visiting

I’m excited to visit Charleston again. Although I spent four days exploring the historic district last September, there’s more to see. And, I’m excited to explore John’s Island. It’s a gorgeous setting for rest, writing, walking and taking photos and it’s ideally located for a day trip to Charleston. Plus John’s Island is home to the famous Angel Tree, a sprawling 400 – 500 year old Southern Live Oak tree. I wanted to see the Angel Tree while in Charleston and didn’t make it by. Now, I’ll be staying near it.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

This small California beach town is on the Monterey Peninsula. The village like setting is home to charming homes and shops, museums, historic Carmel Mission and the Carmel River State Beach.

Why I’m Visiting

I’m drawn to Carmel’s European style. Spanish style buildings and Victorian homes share space with storybook cottages and shops. Additionally, Carmel offers hidden passageways and quaint courtyards. It’s a very walkable community with artisan shops and one of a kind establishments. The beach is a huge bonus.

Savannah, Georgia

With its cobblestone streets, gardens, and 22 historic squares, Savannah is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Like Charleston, at the heart of the city lies the historic district featuring culture, charm, shops and restaurants.

The squares house museums, mansions, gardens, monuments and accommodations.

Why I’m Visiting

Over and over, while exploring Charleston, people recommended that I also visit Savannah. After researching that sister city, I see why. I love the 22 squares in the historic downtown area and the historical and cultural aspects. This city is high on my adventure list and I’m hopeful about a bed & breakfast that I found.

15 Cities on My Adventure List Savannah
15 Cities on My Adventure List – Savannah

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

This city on Florida’s southeastern coast is known for beaches and boating canals, The Strip…a promenade running along oceanside highway A1A…and upscale outdoor restaurants, boutiques and luxury hotels. Its nickname is Venice of America, due to the canals.

Why I’m Visiting

This city caught my attention many years ago. My maiden name is Lauderdale so of course I must visit this city. When I discovered Fort Lauderdale’s canals and ocean promenade, it moved higher up on my list. It’s also a hipster city.

Tempe, Arizona

Located just east of Phoenix, Tempe shares space with Hayden Butte, a mountain dotted with centuries old rock art. Tempe offers Tempe Town Lake, Tempe Beach Park, one of the longest standing juried arts festivals in the state, and 100+ bohemian shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs in the downtown area.

Why I’m Visiting

This city showed up on my hipster list as well, intriguing me with its artsy culture and those bohemian shops in the fun downtown area.

San Francisco, California

Another hipster city I’ve long wanted to explore, San Francisco offers the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz and cable cars that trek up and down those steep streets. Victorian houses provide photo opportunities in San Francisco’s 11 historic districts.

Why I’m Visiting

I’m fascinated by San Francisco’s history, cable cars and those gorgeous houses, called Painted Ladies. And visits to Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge Park and Fisherman’s Wharf rank high on my explore list.

15 Cities on My Adventure List San FranciscoSs
15 Cities on My Adventure List – San Francisco

Providence, Rhode Island

This little city in the smallest state in the US offers much to visitors. Providence, a university town, is famous for its beautiful outdoor spaces, historic locations and the delicious food in the Little Italy area. This hipster city ranks high in culture and boasts the most coffee shops of any city in the US.

Why I’m Visiting

I love the energy of college towns. Providence’s historical spots appeal to me and the promise of coffee shops hints at possibilities for afternoon tea times.

Portland, Oregon

This hipster city sits in the shadow on Mt Hood, in the Pacific Northwest. Portland is famous for green spaces, bridges and bicycle paths, eco-friendliness and its microbreweries and coffeehouses. The city offers a vibrant downtown, a unique aerial tram and the Pearl District, a trendy area full of art galleries, shops, boutiques and fine dining.

Why I’m Visiting

I’m drawn to Portland’s mix of green spaces, such as the Japanese Gardens, coffeehouses and the Pearl District. And I’ve always wanted to visit the Pacific Northwest.

Boston, Massachusetts

This historic city offers visitors a wealth of fun experiences, from Fenway Park to the Freedom Trail to the North End district to a wide array of museums and public gardens.

Why I’m Visiting

Boston’s historical locations strongly appeal to me. The North End, Boston’s oldest district, offers cobblestone streets, fine dining, Paul Revere’s house and the Old North Church. Boston features amazing gardens and museums as well that I’ll enjoy wandering through.

15 Cities on My Adventure List Boston
15 Cities on My Adventure List – Boston

New Orleans, Louisiana

Located near the Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans is famous for its round-the-clock nightlife, 18th century architecture,  live music scene, spicy cuisine, Mardi Gras and its blend of French, African and American cultures.

Why I’m Visiting

Although I’ve visited New Orleans twice, both trips were for real estate related conventions. And yes, we had some free time to walk the city. However, I’d love to visit again as a solo traveler and explore the French Quarter more thoroughly.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, on the island of Oahu’s south shore, is the capital of Hawaii and the gateway to the island chain. The city is famous for its tropical climate, beaches, hotels and culture.

Why I’m Visiting

I feel drawn to this hipster city because of its incredible beauty and culture. The riotous abundance of plants and flowers is a gardener’s dream.

Salem, Massachusetts

Another historical city, located north of Boston, this town is most famous for the 1692 witch trials. While it becomes Halloween Town during the month of October, Salem also offers historic homes, museums and attractions.

Why I’m Visiting

I’m drawn to Salem’s history and also curious about the energy there, due to the witch trials. My ideal itinerary is a few days in Boston and a day trip to Salem, preferably not in October when 500,000 other people visit.

15 Cities on My Adventure List Salem
15 Cities on My Adventure List – Salem

Memphis, Tennessee

Located on the Mississippi River in southwest Tennessee, Memphis is famous for all types of music. BB King and Johnny Cash recorded albums here as did Elvis Presley. That artist’s Graceland Mansion is a popular tourist destination.

Why I’m Visiting

I’ve driven through Memphis several times and have yet to stop. I’m most interested in visiting the Civil Rights Museum and walking along Beale Street. I’m very aware that Memphis has a high crime rate, which puts it low on my list of 15 cities. I’d love to hear of your experiences in Memphis, if you have visited recently.

Chicago, Illinois

This midwestern city is one of the largest in the US. It offers visitors bold architecture, many museums, sporting events and music. Foodies enjoy Chicago as well.

Why I’m Visiting

My desire to visit Chicago’s museums and see the cityscape is tempered somewhat by the high crime rate here too. It’s a short plane ride from Joplin, however, and would make a great weekend destination.

Seattle, Washington

Located on the Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest, beautiful Seattle is surrounded by water, mountains and forests. The futuristic Space Needle is the city’s most iconic landmark. Seattle also features a variety of museums and festivals.

Why I’m Visiting

The beauty of the PNW lures me to this busy city. The art culture is huge in Seattle, which hosts 100 annual festivals and houses 200 art galleries.

Your Adventure List

How many of these cities on my list have you visited? What did you enjoy most while there?

And do you have an adventure list? I’d love to know what experiences are on it!

15 Cities on My Adventure List Seattle


Click photo to order Adventure Tee

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Year of the Wild Woman Review

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It’s the end of the year and the start of a new one. Unbelievably, the pandemic continues. In spite of that fact, 2021 brought many incredible experiences and opportunities. 

Check out Year of the Wild Woman Review, to see what 2021 taught me.

Year of the Wild Woman Review title meme

Year of the Wild Woman

This year I embarked on a journey to unleash my inner wild woman. The moon was my symbol for 2021 and “This Girl is on Fire” my song. The books Untamed by Glennon Doyle and Women Who Run with Wolves provided valuable information and guidance.

Stated simply, becoming a wild woman is more about living out of my untamed heart than living in an unruly, out of control way. All of our hearts start out innocent, pure and untamed. As we grow into adulthood, we allow ourselves to become domesticated for a variety of reasons. The primary one, for me, was so that I would not disappoint others’ expectations of me.

Reconnecting with the wild woman within reconnected me as well with my truest self. That freedom to be me shifted my whole world, from my business life to my relationships to my personal life.

My Business Life

Interestingly, unleashing the wild woman within helped me to narrow down my niche in Cindy Goes Beyond, especially on social media. What I offer to others is the tagline I adopted several years ago. I help people live life beyond the edges…of fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. I do that by encouraging them to live as their truest, most authentic wild selves, by my example and via my writing. Right now that manifests as inspirational, motivational posts and travel posts.

On social media, I almost exclusively focus on travel as that is how I best go beyond and discover new experiences to try.

It’s no surprise to me that my top post for 2021 was The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition. It continues to bring in new readers every day and the Challenge scratch off book is foundational to this Year of Adventure.

Year of the Wild Woman Review solo
Year of the Wild Woman Review – Adventure Challenge

Collaboration Opportunities

Knowing what I want to offer to others helped me to also narrow down what brands and companies I work with. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with working with a wide variety of brands initially. It’s good experience and I learned much about how to create good content.

Last year I became more selective about working with brands that closely align with who I am and the direction I’m heading. As a result, I turn down many more opportunities than I accept. Doing so, however, strengthens my own brand and attracts companies and readers that are in alignment with me.

Two of my favorite paid campaigns this year: Missouri Tourism and Splendid Spoon, a plant based meal delivery box.

The success of 2021 encourages me to really challenge myself for 2022. I’m no longer timid about reaching out to collaborate with brands that I align with. And I’m excited to already have several collaborations lined up for this year.

Year of the Wild Woman Review missouri
Year of the Wild Woman Review – paid campaign with Missouri Tourism

A Greater Focus on Instagram

The majority of collaborations come to me via Instagram, encouraging me to focus on that social media site in 2021. I began the year taking a class that helped me tremendously.

If you want to learn more about working with brands and building a genuine Instagram account, I highly recommend Insta Success by Christine McEvoy. Bonuses from taking the course, beyond the vast improvement in my Instagram work, are: the course continues to update with new, pertinent info (such as creating Instagram Reels) AND there is an extremely supportive Facebook group.

While the course focuses on the travel niche, the class is helpful for anyone who wants to build a successful Instagram account and work with brands.

The Insta Success Masterclass is free. Click this LINK.

Or enroll in the Insta Success course HERE. The lessons are all available online and you can move through them at your own pace. Plus Christine offers a convenient payment plan, making this course affordable for everyone.

Please, if you enroll in either class, type in my name in the referral box at check out.

Year of the Wild Woman Review splendid
Year of the Wild Woman Review – Splendid Spoon

Favorite Experiences as a Blogger

My favorite experiences this year involved travel. I chose to stay in the US, while the pandemic continues. However, I am discovering wonderful places to explore here.

The solo trip to Charleston is definitely the highlight of the 2021. It was my first big solo travel experience, to a city I’ve never visited before. I not only learned I can handle solo travel, I enjoyed everything about the experience. That trip is paving the way for many more solo adventures.

I also enjoyed a solo weekend in nearby Springfield, Missouri and day trips to places in Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Year of the Wild Woman Review charleston
Year of the Wild Woman Review – solo trip to Charleston

My Personal Life

The Year of the Wild Woman changed me…or rather, it allowed me to become myself in deeper ways.

I spent much time delving into the experiences I enjoyed as a child, for therein lies clues about who I am made to be.

It’s not a big surprise to me to discover that I am, indeed, a solitary person. I love people and enjoy spending time with family and friends. And…I adore spending time alone. As a child, fear drew me away from my true self. Fear caused me to seek out others because I was afraid when I was alone.

I am no longer afraid.

And that brings me the freedom to explore new cities or new regions in my heart, on my own.

The trip to Charleston was so much more than a travel blogger’s dream. It was an important trip that allowed me to fully embrace solo travel and fully cater to that part of me that craves solitude. I loved every moment of that trip. And, for this year, I have a list of cities that I’d love to experience as a solo traveler. I’m excited to see which of the 15 manifest as trips in 2022. Two are already planned, with comped stays. I am grateful.

Year of the Wild Woman Review sunnies
Year of the Wild Woman Review – in Charleston

Becoming Untamed…and Adventurous

During 2021 I also learned to listen to the quiet voice of my heart and follow the deep knowing there. I used challenges and opportunities to learn and grow. I updated my manifesto. And I continue to honor the woman I am and the woman I am becoming while shedding domestication.

Like 2020, 2021 offered unique circumstances and experiences that provided “go with the flow” life lessons that I embraced. The only alternative was resistance and I know that pulls me out of the flow of life and out of alignment with myself.

This year is all about adventure. I’m excited to see where adventure leads me and what I learn as I stay open to all that comes to me.

Thank you for journeying with me. I hope you will enjoy my upcoming adventures and accept encouragement from me to live life beyond the edges…in your own magnificent way.

Year of the Wild Woman Review adventure
2022 – Year of Adventure


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15 Quotes to Inspire Adventure

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Adventure. It’s commonly defined as “an unusual and exciting experience or journey that involves risk.” The word originates from the Latin advenire, meaning “about to happen”. I liken that to anticipation, the feeling of looking forward to what’s about to happen. What better way to experience a sense of adventure?

This is my Year of Adventure. As I look forward to new experiences, journeys and activities, I do so with a keen sense of anticipation. And while I have some of those adventures planned out, I remain open to what unfolds and shows up in my life. Indeed, life itself is a huge adventure.

I love collecting quotes that motivate and encourage. Check out these 15 quotes to inspire adventure, for some of my favorites!

15 Quotes to Inspire Adventure title meme

15 Quotes to Inspire Adventure

Words are so incredibly powerful. The words we speak are a reflection of the thoughts we think. They inspire action. It becomes crucial that we not only choose our words carefully but also that we monitor our thoughts.

Affirmations are one way to bring the power of words into our lives. Another is through writing out or speaking aloud quotes that align with who we are…or the person we are becoming.

Hoping for adventures this year? Add these quotes to your collection of inspiring words.

“Adventure is worthwhile in itself.” Amelia Earhart

Wisdom from the queen of adventure herself. Amelia saw adventure as a worthy pursuit. For her, it was a way of life.

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” Oprah Winfrey

This is one of my guiding quotes for 2022.  To live the biggest adventure I intend to live out of my dreams. That means I need to know what they are. For me, the life of my dreams involves adventures in the form of travel, taking my children and grandchildren on trips, trying new experiences and living fully as myself.

“When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an adventure is about to happen.” Winnie the Pooh (AA Milne)

This quote from Winnie the Pooh makes me smile. When I travel, I always take along my walking boots. Because they take up a great deal of room in my carry on, I wear them during my flight. I love that thrill of excitement I feel when I pull on my boots, grab my suitcase handle and head out on an adventure.

15 Quotes to Inspire Adventure boots
15 Quotes to Inspire Adventure – booting up

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” JRR Tolkien

An appropriate quote, on the professor’s birthday. Tolkien is one of my favorite authors. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books and movies have greatly impacted my life and helped create my longing for adventure.

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.” TS Eliot

These words inspire me to keep going beyond. How far can I go, if I refuse to take the risk of stepping beyond my comfort zone?

“You must go on adventures to find out where you truly belong.” Sue Fitzmaurice

I understand the truth of these words every time I visit Edinburgh, Scotland. More than any other place in the world, it feels like home to me there. I belong.

More recently, I discovered more about where I belong when I traveled to Charleston, South Carolina on my own. For this stage in my life, solo travel brings me deeply into who I am.

15 Quotes to Inspire Adventure dream
15 Quotes to Inspire Adventure – Dean Village, Edinburgh, Scotland

“I hope you see things that startle you…feel things that you never felt before…meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you are proud of. If you find that you are not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” Eric Roth

One of my favorite things is shifting my perspectives as a result of travels and adventures. I expand my views about myself and the world when I go on adventures that push me beyond my limited beliefs.

“Adventure isn’t hanging off a rope on the side of a mountain. Adventure is an attitude we must apply to the day to day obstacles of life.” John Amat

Risky activities such as mountain climbing or jumping out of a plane aren’t the only adventures worth having. The greatest adventure is learning to see life differently and respond accordingly. Challenges become the classrooms that we learn and grow in.

“A woman practices the art of adventure when she breaks the chain of routine and renews her life through reading new books, traveling to new places, making new friends, taking up new hobbies and adopting new viewpoints.” Wilfred Peterson

Pronouns in above quote changed from masculine to feminine.

Do you see the connection between adventures and new experiences? Breaking out of routines and trying new things is the catalyst for fresh adventures.

15 Quotes to Inspire Adventure - wonder
15 Quotes to Inspire Adventure – first time to see this chapel in the woods

“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” Eleanor Roosevelt

I want a no regrets life. How sad to get to the end of life without really living it. I am reaching out eagerly and without fear.

“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered .” GK Chesterton

I love this switch in attitude, this adjustment in perspective. What a great question to ask myself: “Is this an inconvenience…or an adventure?”

“Life is short and the older you get, the more you feel it. Indeed, the shorter it is. People lose their capacity to walk, run, travel, think and experience life. I realize how important it is to use the time I have.” Viggo Mortensen

I’m in this category, with Viggo. I realize how short life is and I too don’t want to waste a moment of it. It’s become so important to pursue the things I enjoy and choose the experiences I desire.

15 Quotes to Inspire Adventure the grave
15 Quotes to Inspire Adventure – adventure while I can

“Then one day, when you least expect it, the great adventure finds you.” Ewan McGregor

These words remind me to stay open to wonder, possibilities and opportunities. While I am seeking adventure, adventure is seeking me.

“Why do you go away? So you can come back. So you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” Terry Pratchett

Adventures change us, expands us. We come back different people than those who left. And we bring fresh perspectives back with us, shifting the way we view our own communities and neighborhoods. People see us differently as well.

“Don’t let the expectations and opinions of other people affect your decisions. It’s your life, not theirs. Do what matters most to you; do what makes you feel alive and happy. Don’t let the expectations and ideas of others limit who you are. If you let others tell you who you are, you are living their reality, not yours. There is more to life than pleasing people. There is more to life than following another’s prescribed path. There’s so much more to life than what you are experiencing right now. You need to decide who you are for yourself. Become a whole being. Adventure.” Roy T Bennett

I love how the words progress from freeing yourself from the expectations of others, to breaking people pleasing tendencies, to living the life you decide to live…and ending with a single word: adventure. Freedom from what others think leads to freedom to see life as an adventure.

15 Quotes to Inspire Adventure follow
15 Quotes to Inspire Adventure – follow your own path

Do You have a favorite adventure quote?

This promises to be an exciting and fun year of adventures and continuing to live life beyond the edges.

Which of the above quotes inspires you?

And do you have a favorite adventure quote? Share it in the comments below.

15 Quotes to Inspire Adventure curiosity


Travel Quotes for the Wanderer


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