Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety

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I just wrote a post on overcoming fear. Writing that piece, I thought about the things people are afraid of. While fears and phobias come in many shapes and forms, one that is common among many people is the fear of flying.

We all know people who refuse to fly. That intense fear literally keeps them on the ground and prevents them from exploring far off countries. A greater number of people experience mild to strong anxiety when it’s time to board that plane. They look forward to arriving at their destination. Excitement propels them to board when it’s time to depart. However, the fears are real.

I used to experience fear when flying, even though I love how quickly I arrive across country or over the ocean to a far away land. Thankfully, I’ve overcome that fear. You can too. If you develop sweaty palms, jittery nerves and a sense of dread while on a plane, check out these tips to combat flight anxiety.

Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety title meme


Tips to Combat Flying Anxiety

First of all, if you struggle with a fear of flying, know you aren’t alone. In fact, 25 million people experience some sort of flight anxiety, making aerophobia (fear of flying) the second biggest fear in the US, right after speaking in public.

If you or someone you knows feels dread over boarding a plane, try one or all of these tips, to restore calm and perhaps actually enjoy the flight.

Visualize a Smooth Trip

I love visualization. The imagination is a powerful tool. It helps us overcome problems…or it contributes to them. If you are going to visualize something happening on your upcoming flight, imagine good things happening rather than bad things.

Instead of playing a movie in your mind of the plane crashing or that you’ll feel sick because of extreme turbulence, create a positive sequence that begins with you leaving for the airport and ends with your arrival at your destination.

Spend time before departure imagining every detail of the flight…and if you really want to send ahead some good energy, every detail of your entire trip. Any time your thoughts stray to a worse case scenario rewrite the script and change it.

On the flight, replay that movie you’ve created in your mind as many times as needed, ALWAYS imaging a smooth flight and good outcomes. Visualization also reduces stress levels and enhances feelings of well being.

Create a Flight Routine

Take these steps before boarding the plane, to create familiarity around flying and reduce stress.

  • download airline app and put in flight confirmation number. 24 hours before scheduled flight, precheck on the app and download airline tickets.
  • avoid last minute packing. Do laundry, buy necessities and pack everything except final toiletries the night before the flight. See this post for tips on packing a carry on.
  • keep passport or other sources of identity in a safe, easily accessed place
  • arrive early to the airport, to give plenty of time to go through security
  • make security a breeze by wearing shoes that slip off easily. Avoid wearing lots of jewelry or other metal items. If using a carry on only, have clear plastic bag of toiletries in a luggage pocket for quick removal.
  • find departure gate and get familiar with the surrounding area. Locate restrooms, find a place to fill your water container and pick up snacks well ahead of departure time.
  • check arrival and departure boards to see if flight is on time or delayed

These simple steps prevent rushing and/or arriving late and in danger of missing your flight. Avoiding stress in these areas helps to set up a successful flight.

Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety airport
Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety – create a flight routine

Avoid Coffee and Wine Inflight

Coffee, wine and even sugary sodas can leave you feeling dehydrated during a flight. Caffeine and sugar aggravate anxiety. Plus alcohol makes it more difficult for the body to adjust to flying and contributes to jet lag.

Sip on water before and during the flight, to stay hydrated. And eat lightly to avoid motion sickness. Carry your own snacks and keep them simple. Apples, nuts or granola bars are good choices.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Some airports now provide therapy dogs to help ease passengers’ pre-flight jitters. The dogs’ handlers encourage people to approach and pet and talk to the dog.

At the gate before the flight relax, close your eyes and meditate. Play your visualization mind movie. Or picture arriving at your destination and engaging in fun activities. Take a moment to imagine a white bubble of protective light surrounding you, surrounding the plane and its pilots and flight attendants and surrounding all of the passengers. Anytime you feel anxiety during the flight, do a short meditation. Add deep breathing for increased soothing benefits.

Deep breathing calms anxiety, prevents hyperventilating and relaxes the body. Draw in a long, slow breath, filling your lungs. Hold your breath for 5 seconds. Then slowly exhale, breathing out as much air as possible. Repeat several times.

Keep the body relaxed inflight. Gripping the seat armrests heightens anxiety. Start at your feet and work your way up the body to the top of the head, relaxing all of the muscles.

Listen to soothing, relaxing music via earbuds.

Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety relax
Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety – relaxation techniques, including therapy dogs at airports

Distract Yourself

Airlines know that having the comforts of home around you helps to ease anxiety. They tuck magazines in the seat pockets and many flights, especially cross country or international ones, provide movie screens. Watch a long movie or re-watch a favorite one. Catch up on a television series. Read an engrossing book. Play games on your iPad or phone, in airplane mode. Or chat with your seatmate and get to know each other.

Distracting yourself takes your mind off of flying and convinces the body it is safe.

Release Anxious Thoughts and Replace Them

If anxious thoughts pop into your mind, stop entertaining them. Left to run wild, thoughts can quickly go into negative scenarios. When a troubling thought comes into your mind, acknowledge it and then release it. Acknowledge and release. And then replace.

Have affirmations ready to replace any negative thoughts. Some good ones:

  • I am safe
  • I am protected
  • all is well
  • I’m off on an adventure
  • I travel with ease
  • flying is fun
Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety distract
Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety – distract yourself while flying. Mom and my niece Ashley on our flight to the UK. We all packed books to read. And we watched movies.

Understand Flight Noises

Know that airplanes, like cars, buses and trains, make noises as they travel. If you learn about those possible sounds before a flight, you’ll feel less anxious when you hear them midflight.

Upon take off there’s increased engine sounds as the plane prepares to lift up into the air. You may hear and feel the wheels come up into place in the belly of the plane. During descent the landing gear makes sounds as the wheels drop back down.

Carry on luggage can shift in the overhead compartments. And always there’s the steady hum of the engines while in flight.

Turbulence occurs when air currents interact with the aircraft. It’s perfectly normal and common. The pilot may announce upcoming turbulence over the speakers and ask for passengers to remain seated and wearing their seatbelts, to prevent stumbles.

Trust That You are Exactly Where You are Supposed to Be

I’ve learned much about trusting in the flow of life. I believe I’m exactly where I am supposed to be, when I stay in the flow and trust the Divine. That means, for me, that no matter what is happening, all is as it should be.

When I fly, I trust that I’ll arrive exactly as I should. If I don’t, I wasn’t meant to. It takes away the anxiety for me. Also, I have a mantra that I repeat, if anxiety shows up. “I am with El-le.” El-le is my name for God. I use sigh language to say the phrase as well, and that restores calm when I need it. Also, I ask for travel angels to accompany the flight.

Build up your trust. It’s a day by day trust in the journey that includes flying rather than something you only use when on an airplane.

On a flight to Scotland, my sister Debbie and I waited on the tarmac in New York City while weather delayed the flight for five hours. It proved a good delay. A mechanical problem developed that was easily corrected because we were still at the airport. That’s trust at work.

Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety stats
Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety – understand flight noises and build trust

Express Gratitude

Gratitude is big magic and I’m a huge believer in it. Expressing thankfulness and finding reasons to feel gratitude shift mindset in remarkable ways.

Express gratitude for every aspect of the flight, from the ease of moving through security to taking off on time…or experiencing a necessary delay…to thankfulness for movies to watch inflight to landing at your destination.

Thank the flight attendants for their cheerfulness and hard work. Let your seatmate know that you are glad to meet them and thank them for letting you by when you have to get up to go to the restroom. And tell the pilot thank you for a safe flight when you land.

Make a game of finding as many ways to express gratitude as possible.

Take Meds

I saved this tip until last, because use it as a last resort. Talk to your doctor, if flying makes you extremely anxious. She can prescribe anti-anxiety meds or suggest helpful over the counter options.

Sometimes sleep is the very best distraction during a flight. Use an eye mask, ear plugs, a travel pillow and cozy blanket to nest in your seat. Drink chamomile tea or take an antihistamine to help you fall asleep. Taking meds can affect how you feel when you arrive at your destination, make you dehydrated and increase the feeling of jet lag too.

Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety gratitude
Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety – express gratitude

Take Charge of Your Anxiety

Taking charge of your anxiety involves deliberate work. However, as I’ve learned from experience, it’s very possible to shift mindset and actually come to enjoy flying.

Instead of dread when I enter an airport, I’m now attuned to the energy of excitement that is so prevalent there. Using the tips above, I created a  routine that serves me well and ensures I have an enjoyable flight and arrive at my destination ready to explore. And instead of an object of fear, airplanes now represent adventure.

Are you a nervous flyer? Which tip seems most helpful to you? And as always, reach out to me if I can help you further in facing this fear.

Tips to Combat Flight Anxiety end photo
Airplanes represent adventure to me!



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Five Ways to Go Beyond Fear

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When I came up with the blogging tagline, “Living life beyond the edges…of fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs”, it served as a succinct statement of my new life. For many years I carefully stayed within my comfort zone. It became a cage, with the bars strengthened by my limiting beliefs. Fear was my jailor. Any desire to leave that cage was quickly squashed by fear.

To reframe my beliefs and leave my comfort zone, I first had to deal with fear.

In this second post in the Going Beyond Series, we look at five ways to go beyond fear. To read the first post, Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone, click HERE.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Fear title meme

The Intimidation of Fear

Fear is a powerful, unpleasant emotion. Typically it is a response to danger or a threat, real or imagined.

Fear produces physiological changes in the body as it goes into “fight, flight or freeze” mode. Breathing and heart rate accelerate, muscle tension increases including those attached to hair follicles, causing goosebumps. We break into a sweat and go into heightened alertness. These changes are important if we need to fight or flee. However, experiencing these changes frequently leads to anxiety or the development of phobias.

Fears can range from trepidation over things like spiders, dogs, dolls and heights to terror due to fear of rejection, failure, living life or death.

While fear can serve the purpose of keeping us safe, it also has the potential to limit life. To live in constant fear is to live a very small life indeed. To be more alive, we have to be less afraid.


Five Ways to Go Beyond Fear

I know much about fear. Since early childhood, it was my constant companion. Various fears kept me small and nearly invisible. It took confronting them and discovering my root fear to go beyond.

While there are a multitude of ways to overcome fear, these five recommendations helped me the most.

Acknowledge Fear

Acknowledging what you are feeling is the first step toward moving beyond fear. Stop dismissing it as childish or shameful or embarrassing. Sit with fear, invite it in and allow it to show you the deeper messages and truths you’ve avoided. Make fear your ally in the inner work you are doing.

When you feel the familiar fear response in your body, stop and ask “What is it that I’m afraid of?” As you discover what it is you fear, continue to ask what about that situation scares you. Keep asking and uncovering until you arrive at your root fear.

Real life example: I grew up terrified of the dark. It’s a common childhood fear however my feelings stemmed from the fact that I experienced what others in my circle of family and friends didn’t. My intuitive gifts made the veil between this world and the spirit world very thin. I sensed, saw, heard, felt and smelled spirits. That didn’t change as I grew up and my fear intensified.

Thirteen years ago, I decided to face my fear. That life changing journey began with acknowledging what I felt and asking questions. The process uncovered my fear of being different from others and ultimately my root fear…I was afraid of who I am and what I could sense.

Five Ways to Go Beyond fear doll
Five Ways to Go Beyond Fear – acknowledge what you feel and ask questions

Change Your Perspective

Once you’ve asked the questions to uncover the deeper fears, shift your perspective. Reframe those fears. Gather information to help you do that. Choose experiences that support that changing perspective.

Afraid of dogs? The deeper fear is physical harm or even death.

Has a dog ever caused harm beyond scaring you? Did an earlier experience frighten you as a child? Did an adult who fears dogs pass on the fear to you?

Learn about dogs. Watch documentaries and fun videos about dogs. The goal is freedom from fear and the negative responses it brings. Find experiences and situations that allow you to acknowledge, confront and change your perspective. You may never choose to own a dog. However, you may visit a friend who has one and learn to pet that dog or at least remain in the same room with her.

Real life example: After I acknowledged my fear and confronted it, I reframed my intuitive abilities as gifts. Part of creating a whole, courageous heart to live out of involved learning all I could about psychic abilities, ghost whisperers, hauntings and the paranormal. I read so many books. I attended a conference and met other people like me. And gradually I ceased to fear the dark and what I could sense and saw my abilities as just part of who I am. I accepted myself.


Follow Curiosity

This is one of my favorite ways of moving beyond fear. When fear pops up, learn to follow curiosity rather than reacting negatively.

Fear shuts down. Curiosity wants to know more. Fear freezes. Curiosity leads us to new understanding and realizations.

Afraid to speak in public? Fear causes the imagination to go into worse case scenarios. People might laugh. You’ll forget what to say. Your ideas aren’t interesting.

Curiosity leads the imagination into positive possibilities. From a place of calmness, follow curiosity. Watch YouTube or TicTok to see what others do. Imagine the speaking engagement in great detail and see it going well. Prepare. Practice. Give the talk and know you did your best.

Real life example: I’ve learned to follow curiosity when someone in spirit shows up. Yes, I can still feel startled. However,  when I allow curiosity to guide me rather than permitting fear to freeze me I respond differently. I ask “Who’s there? And what do you want with me?” That’s so different from my responses 13 years ago.


Use Tools to Combat Fear

Two useful practices, when faced with fear, are deep breathing and meditation.

Fear causes rapid, shallow breathing. Slow, deep breathing helps to reduce fear and change the body’s responses. Focus on the breath. Take a deep breath in, hold for several seconds and release the breath. Repeat several times, until fear feelings subside.

And meditation, coupled with deep breathing, is a powerful tool for reframing fear, calming the mind and relaxing the body. Find a comfortable place to sit, feet flat on the floor, hands resting in the lap. Close your eyes and take several long, deep breaths. Imagine you are in a peaceful, beautiful place. Create that place vividly in your mind. Keep the body relaxed, focus on the breath. Breathe slowly. If thoughts enter your mind, let them pass on through. Let the fear energy circling your heart pass on through as well. Feel it…and let it go. Feel it again…and let it go. When ready, take several deep breaths and slowly return to full awareness. Move arms and legs before standing, to prevent dizziness.

Real life example: Meditation and deep breathing became important tools in handling my fear. During meditation, I could release those fearful feelings swirling around my heart. In a relaxed state, realizations came as did deeper truths. The night I turned out the lights, sat in darkness and invited fear in was the turning point in my journey. I could do that after weeks of inner work that included deep breathing and meditation. Also, I learned during meditation to send light and energy throughout my surroundings, something I still practice, especially when I’m staying in a new environment for the first time.


Take Small Action Steps Beyond Fear

I’m a huge fan of taking action. Fear freezes and brings inaction. Going beyond fear, like going beyond comfort zones, is accomplished one step at a time.

Try these action steps.

Adopt the deep breathing and meditation practices. Journal through your feelings and realizations. Ask questions…of yourself, of others, of people who have faced fears and moved beyond. Read encouraging books. Research your particular fear. What have other people done, to conquer that fear? Seek out a qualified counselor or therapist for help. Pray and ask God for help. Build up trust and faith. Try new experiences. And do the things that scare you to bolster your courage and confidence.

Real life example: Actions are an important part of my fear conquering journey. I’ve felt afraid…and done the action step anyway. To overcome the fear of being alone, I stayed in Airbnbs and hotels, by myself. At home, I slept with the lights off and confronted my fear of the dark.

Journaling helps me uncover the deeper feelings, the hidden fears and the core truths. All of my big “ahas” around my fears came as a result of writing down my thoughts and feelings. The energy of words flowing onto paper is powerful and enlightening.

Are You Ready to Go Beyond Fear?

What are you afraid of? What fear is holding you back, keeping you small or stopping you from living the life you are meant to live?

I hope this post helps you take that first step beyond fear…and then the next one and the next one.

Reach out to me if you have questions or need to chat. Fear is debilitating when it keeps you caged. You deserve to live in freedom and joy.


Some of my favorite journals for inner work:



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Earth Day Scavenger Hunt

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Spring in Southwest Missouri is unpredictable. It’s cold one day, warm the next, with thunderstorms rolling through one evening and freeze warnings the following night. This April seems colder than normal with lots of rain. So when abundant sunshine and warm temps showed up on Earth Day, I knew I wanted to celebrate by getting outside.

As I pondered possibilities the thought popped into my mind: “Earth Day Scavenger Hunt”. Yes! I loved the idea.

On my phone I quickly listed ten items to hunt for in the Joplin, Missouri area.

Check out the results!

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt title meme

What’s Earth Day?

Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin launched the first Earth Day April 22, 1970. Growing concerns about the environment, spurred by the alarming impact of pesticides, inspired 20 million Americans to participate in rallies and clean up campaigns across the US.

That first Earth Day birthed the environmental movement and led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. Today Earth Day is celebrated each year by an estimated 1 billion people around the world.

My Earth Day Scavenger Hunt List

In a scavenger hunt,  the player or players look for a specific list of items. I created such hunts for my kids when they were young, often including rhyming clues to help them find the item.

I created the Earth Day scavenger hunt with the dual purpose of getting me outdoors and going on an adventure in my hometown of Joplin.

Here’s the list I came up with.


  • a river
  • a park
  • spring wildflowers
  • a garden center
  • eco-friendly item or items
  • a tree to hug
  • recycling bins
  • a bee
  • someplace outdoors to meditate for five minutes and send love and positive energy around the earth
  • trash to pick up and properly dispose of

I found all of the items on the list, although not in the order listed. And one item proved surprisingly difficult to locate. I took a photo of each of my finds, to document the hunt.

Find a River

I considered driving to Grand Falls to check off this item. However, with heavy rains yesterday morning I knew the rivers were at flood level. The chert formations around Grand Falls get very slick after a rain so instead I drove south of Joplin to another section of Shoal Creek.

The rain swollen river flowed swiftly beneath the old walking bridge, discolored by the dirt and silt stirred up by the churning water. I found it beautiful to behold, anyway.

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt river
Earth Day Scavenger Hunt – find a river

Find a Park

Joplin offers many parks, from wooded land with walking trails to memorial spaces to playgrounds for children.

I deliberately chose a small park in my neighborhood, Garvin Park. The fondness I feel for this green space with benches, a pavilion, playground equipment, a little stone bridge and a huge sculpture comes from the days of walking there with my kids and later my grandkids.

And I’ve always adored that fantastic sculpture of irises!

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt garvin park
I stopped by Garvin Park, in my neighborhood, to check this item off.

Find Spring Wildflowers

The wild phlox caught my eye as I walked toward the bridge over Shoal Creek. I passed it by, thinking I’d find a prettier patch of flowers later in the day. When I walked back by the phlox, I noticed how fiercely it grew in a rocky inhospitable area.

Its beauty and tenacity touched me. And I considered my search for spring wildflowers over.

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt - spring wildflower
Earth Day Scavenger Hunt – find spring wildflowers

Visit a Garden Center

This item was such an easy one for me that I probably should have chosen something more difficult to put on the list! Garden centers are one of my happy places.

While Joplin has several places to purchase plants, I chose Lowe’s Garden Center, primarily because those exact words hang above the entrance to the spacious outdoor area.

Although I didn’t buy any plants today, I will very soon. I did enjoy a stroll among the wide variety of annuals, shrubs, trees and perennials.

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt garden center
One of my happy places, Lowe’s Garden Center.

Hug a Tree

As I drove and walked around Joplin, I considered a variety of trees to hug. Plus I have a relationship with Oak Tree, standing tall in Wildcat Park. It’s been a while since I hugged that rugged, ancient tree.

Ultimately, the tree I chose to hug stands in my own front yard. Redbud Tree barely survived the 2011 tornado that ravaged much of southern Joplin. The trunk is twisted and many branches bear scars, witness to the powerful storm that tore the other redbud tree from the ground and left this one broken.

Every winter, more branches die and need trimmed back. Every spring, I feel concern that it’s Redbud’s last one. This tree is so brave, so determined to survive. It budded out this month with the tree’s characteristic purple-pink flowers.

After arriving home, I wrapped my arms around Redbud, pressed my face against rough bark, and sent love and healing energy to the tree.

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt - hug a tree
Earth Day Scavenger Hunt – hug a tree

Find Eco-friendly Items

Leaving the house for this adventure, I realized I carried the eco-friendly items I sought.

After improving my own health and learning to take care of me to the best of my ability, I discovered that my desire to care for the planet increased as well.

Since embracing a plant based lifestyle, I’ve worked to lessen my carbon footprint while also adopting ecological practices. The health of the planet and our childrens’ and grandchildrens’ futures depend on how we care for the planet…or don’t.

I’ve steadily reduced plastic use and shifted in many other ways. For this adventure, I carried water in a metal container and apple slices in a small reusable tub.

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt eco friendly
Using eco-friendly products for the benefit of the earth.

Find a Bee

The bee could easily serve as the poster child for Earth Day. As pollinators, bees are an important part of agriculture. More than a third of all crops require insect pollination. Lose the bees, and we lose vital crops that range from nuts to berries to vegetables.

And we are losing the bees. The number of hives in the US decreased from 6 million in the 1940s to 2.5 million today.

We can help by planting bee friendly plants and flowers in our yards and gardens. I include bee balm, lemon balm, catmint, lavender and a host of flowering plants in my garden, to attract and feed the bees. (Learn how to create a bee garden HERE.)

With the colder than normal month and all the rain, I wondered if I’d find an active bee today. When I opened my eyes, after a five minute meditation, the first thing I saw was a fat bumble bee, flitting from flower to flower in my garden. It’s the only bee I saw today, however I’m encouraged by that one’s early arrival.

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt bee
Can you find the bee? It’s in the center of the photo!

Find a Recycling Bin

Another item that I thought might prove difficult to find, I stumbled on this one at my first stop. The city wisely placed these containers on the bridge over Shoal Creek. When I walked to the bridge to take a photo of the river, there stood recycling bins!

I’m glad to know the bins are there. Recycling is a wonderful way to prevent pollution, reduce the need for new raw materials, save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt recycle
Earth Day Scavenger Hunt – find recycling bins

Meditate Outdoors for Five Minutes

Every place I visited today, I looked for a place to sit quietly for five minutes and meditate. The beautiful day drew many people outdoors, however. I couldn’t find a suitable place to sit….until I returned home.

My backyard garden contains a meditation area. And today it perfectly served as my peaceful spot for a time of sending positive, powerful energy around the earth.

As I mentioned above, I saw the bee immediately after completing my brief meditation. I’m glad I chose my own backyard for this experience.

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt meditate
I found the perfect place for an Earth Day meditation in my own backyard.

Pick Up Trash and Properly Dispose of It

Surprisingly, this was the last item to check off of my list. I carried a container with me as I walked in different areas around Joplin, ready to pick up trash. Except…I couldn’t find any!

Southwest Missouri has experienced strong winds…with gusts up to 45 MPH…for days. I think those strong winds blew all the trash away! It’s a good thing or a bad thing, depending on where those bits of plastic and paper eventually end up.

Finally, at 7:00 this evening, I walked around my own house, looking for wayward pieces of debris. I found a small amount between my house and the neighbor’s house, trapped against the foundations. At last, I filled my container and emptied it into a large trash bin in the alleyway.

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt trash
Earth Day Scavenger Hunt – pick up trash

An Earth Day Scavenger Hunt that You Can Do Any Day!

I loved celebrating Earth Day by doing a scavenger hunt. And the truth is, I can do this activity any day. Or you can. Additionally, take any of the items on the list and turn it into a stand alone activity.

Pick up trash in your neighborhood. Appreciate a river near you. Watch for bees and create a garden for them. Use eco-friendly items daily. Check out this post on my other blog, for more Earth Day activities that you can do every day. May we all become guardians of the earth.

How did you spend Earth Day? What activities or celebrations did you participate in?

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt me
Happy Earth Day!

Check out these Earth Day finds from Amazon:



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Rainy Day Journal Away

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It’s adventure challenge time! This week I opened The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition book to a random page and selected an activity, without knowing at all what it was about.

As it happened, I landed on a page under the category Rainy Days. “Perfect,” I thought. “We have rain in the forecast for Tuesday.”

However, as my favorite local meteorologist likes to remind us, forecasts are based on weather models. And weather models aren’t always accurate.

What do I do, if the weather doesn’t cooperate?

This is Adventure Challenge #26, Rainy Day Journal Away.

Rainy Day Journal Away title meme

The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition

The Adventure Challenge books contain 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. They 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 activity 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.

Rainy Day Journal Away

My instructions for the challenge I randomly selected:

“Time to bring out your inner Vincent Van Gogh. Go and get your favorite hot beverage and some art supplies. Today you are painting in the rain. (Not literally in the rain, that’d be kind of counter productive.

Open up your garage door, patio door or window, sit down and paint. As you paint have some music in the background that fits the theme of your painting. When finished painting, write a short story about the picture you created. You don’t have to paint what’s outside. The open doors and rain are for inspiration.”

With rain in the forecast, this activity seemed perfect! I love when things like this happen. I feel in the flow of life and empowered to create.

Except…what happens when the expected rain doesn’t arrive?

Rainy Day Journal Away buddha board
Rainy Day Journal Away – Buddha Board for art

Rain, Rain PLEASE Don’t Go Away

Rather than gather water colors to paint with, I decided to have fun with a Buddha Board.

These boards provide a relaxing, Zen-like experience for the artist. Inspired by the concept of living in the moment, you paint on the surface of the board with water, using a bamboo brush. The creation comes to life…and then slowly fades away as the water evaporates. You can paint again and again on the board, using water.

Art supplies selected, I waited for the rain.

Tuesday came and went, with no rain. And while the forecast for Wednesday initially included a high probability for rain, the percentages dwindled to zero as the day drew to a close. So far I was 0 for 2, for rainy days.

The thing about living in the flow and embracing randomness is that I’ve learned to trust, even when circumstances seem contrary to what I hope for or want. As I drifted off to sleep on Wednesday evening, I came up with a Plan B if the low chances for rain on Thursday resulted in another day without precipitation.

My plan? “Alexa…play thunderstorm sounds!”

Rainy Day Journal Away rain
Rainy Day Journal Away – heavy rain

Experiencing the Adventure

I awoke early this morning to a flash of lightning and the sharp crack of thunder. Moments later the rain started. And more than just rain, a downpour turned the world watery gray. Thunder continued to rumble. My opportunity arrived exactly when it was supposed to.

In a few minutes, cup of hot peppermint tea nearby, spa music softly playing in the background via Amazon Music, painting began. I loved using the Buddha Board and experiencing the impermanence of my artwork.

A bird graced the board first…and after it faded away a willow tree took its place. Then I knew exactly what I wanted to capture, on the board and with my camera. I painted the Chinese symbol for adventure.

Rather than create a short story around the symbol, I’m living it during this Year of Adventure. It’s my story I’m telling, guided by the adventures that show up in my life.

The rain ended an hour and a half later. My painting faded away. However, the experience lingers still, another wonderful memory tucked into The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition book.

Rainy Day Journal Away adventure
Rainy Day Journal Away – Adventure Symbol

Adventures Await

Do these adventures sound intriguing to you? What about the amazing life lessons that accompany each one?

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, plus there’s a spot to add them in the book as you document the challenges.

I’m enjoying the challenges. And just as much, I appreciate what I’m learning about myself and about life through them. I didn’t need a backup plan for this activity. Nope, I just needed to wait for everything to align perfectly. It did. And when it did, I was ready to seize…or paint…the moment. There’s a bigger lesson here that I needed to experience this week. I’m so grateful for that opportunity!

Rainy Day Journal Away water painting
Rainy Day Journal Away – painting with water



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Exploring My Neighborhood: Zinc Coffee

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

I love when an activity in one area of my life results in unexpected benefits and explorations in another area.

In preparation for a Blue Zones 4 Week Challenge, that I’ll document on my Journey With Healthy Me blog, I am mapping my neighborhood. The idea behind that suggested activity is to establish places to eat, shop and enjoy nature within my own neighborhood…meaning within walking distance. With the Challenge beginning Monday, I’m using the weekend to check off some of the activities for Week One.

I love the mapping the neighborhood activity. Although I frequently walk in my neighborhood, I’m seeing it with different eyes as I look for specific places that I can visit. There’s a little fresh market nearby. And numerous fast food restaurants line Main Street, however they are not what I’m looking for. The Blue Zones Challenge encourages a plant based diet. That’s definitely not a problem for me as I already eat that way.

Rather, I spent time looking for a cute coffee shop within a mile of my home where I could grab a cup of hot herbal tea. I found it! And although it’s only three blocks away, I’ve never visited it before.

As I map out my neighborhood, I’ll share at least one other post about my “backyard explorations”. This is Exploring My Neighborhood: Zinc Coffee.

Exploring My Neighborhood Zinc Coffee title meme

Zinc Coffee

In November 2018 entrepreneurs Austin Daniel and Matt Johnson opened Zinc Coffee at 1825 S. Main Street in Joplin. Their intention, to offer superb coffees in a unique setting, led them to purchase commercial property…a former gas station…six months earlier.

Zinc Coffee offers a variety of coffees including classic brews, lattes, espressos, cappuccinos and Americanos. Plus a variety of teas are on the menu as well, along with smoothies, hot chocolate, Boylan soda, mineral water and locally made pastries and treats.

The name comes from the historical fact that Joplin began as a mining town. And while the discovery of lead established the town, zinc grew it. By 1900, Joplin was the lead and zinc capital of the world. Additionally, the mineral zinc possesses healing properties.

Zinc Coffee bears a name that acknowledges Joplin’s mining history and the owners strive to bring healing to their customers.

Exploring My Neighborhood Zinc Coffee outdoor seating
Exploring My Neighborhood: Zinc Coffee outdoor seating
Exploring My Neighborhood Zinc Coffee former gas station
Exploring My Neighborhood: Zinc Coffee – the building was formerly a gas station

Visiting Zinc Coffee

On a chilly but beautiful spring morning, Greg and I walked the short three blocks to Zinc Coffee.

I appreciate that the owners didn’t change the former gas station exterior too much. I love the industrial look. There’s an outdoor seating area, for when the weather warms up a bit.

Inside, the interior is clean, bright and spacious, with two rooms offering an assortment of tables, cozy groupings of sofas and chairs and a high bar with views out the window. The original overhead doors from the gas station remain, letting in lots of natural light. There’s a barber shop on site, with a barber available during the week. And a meeting room adjacent to the seating areas for special occasions.

Greg and I ordered hot teas…green jasmine for me and plum cinnamon for Greg…and small treats. I enjoyed a blueberry scone while Greg sampled a cookie. We found a couple of comfy chairs in a corner, with a small round table between them for our cups of hot tea.

The staff is extremely helpful, polite and attentive. The young man who took our order brought out our teas after they steeped for a few minutes.

Exploring My Neighborhood Zinc Coffee treats
Exploring My Neighborhood: Zinc Coffee – order counter
Exploring My Neighborhood Zinc Coffee interior
Exploring My Neighborhood: Zinc Coffee – inviting interior

Happy to Find Zinc Coffee

We enjoyed a leisurely time sipping hot tea and looking around. Exposed beams in the ceiling, white painted brick walls, natural woods and concrete floors create an inviting space. Lots of green plants soften the industrial look. And the many windows are perfect for bringing in light and allowing views of South Main Street.

People sat with their laptops or clustered in groups of two or three for conversation. The environment is friendly, uplifting and soothing. I love it.

I’m so grateful for the activity in the Blue Zones Challenge that led me to Zinc Coffee. It’s exactly what I hoped to find in my neighborhood.

Although I’m a bit embarrassed that this lovely place existed for almost four years before I visited, I intend to remedy that. This is my new “go to” spot for a relaxing cup of hot tea or to meet a friend for conversation.

And I love that I can walk to Zinc Coffee. It’s good exercise and walking reduces my carbon footprint. I’m excited to see what else I discover, exploring my neighborhood!

Have you made such a discovery in your own neighborhood?

Exploring My Neighborhood Zinc Coffee green jasmine tea
Exploring My Neighborhood: Zinc Coffee – green jasmine tea

The Blue Zones 4 Week Challenge Book

Interested in the challenge? Pick up your book by clicking on the photo below. And watch for weekly challenge updates on Journey With Healthy Me.



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Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone

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When I began my blogging journey in 2014, my free WordPress site carried the name “Going Beyond”.  A few years later, as I began monetizing my blog and social media sites, the name changed to “Cindy Goes Beyond”. The idea of going beyond remained important to me, so much so that I added the tag line “Living life beyond the edges”. In my writing, I often include the longer version of that statement that reads “Living life beyond the edges of fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs.”

My whole life journey is encapsulated in that statement. It’s in continually going beyond the edges that I learn, grow and experience the most freedom in a life that I love living. What does it mean to live that way? And why does it matter?

I decided to write a series of posts on ways to step over the edges and into a more expansive life. This is the first…five ways to go beyond your comfort zone.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone title meme

What is a Comfort Zone?

What is this comfort zone, that we want to go beyond?

By definition, a comfort zone is a psychological state in which things feel familiar. In that state, we feel at ease, with low levels of anxiety and stress, and we come to believe that we have some control over our environment.

Using that definition, a comfort zone doesn’t seem like a bad place to be. However, when we choose to stay in that space, we don’t grow. Our learning centers shut down.  We get into routines that become ruts. And instead of overcoming challenges by facing them and dealing with them, we find it easier to shrink back into our comfort zones, where it feels safe and predictable.

Eventually, that comfort zone becomes a cage. It constrains our growth and also our creativity, our dreams and our purpose in life. Often fears and comfort zones are connected. The longer we try to control life and keep it safe, the more fearful we become about trying new experiences and about what others think about us.

Although occasionally we take a huge leap beyond the edge, the best way to go beyond is one step at a time. This gradual way of expanding the zone helps to keep anxiety and stress at a manageable level. Every time we bump up against the edge of the comfort zone, we take a step beyond it rather than step back into comfort. How do you know when you are at the edge? You feel the discomfort that going farther brings.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone life begins
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Ready to live a more expansive life? Excited to discover more about who you are and what you can accomplish?

Try these five ways to go beyond your comfort zone.

Change Up Routines

There’s nothing wrong with creating routines. I have night time and morning skin care routines that I adhere to.

However, with routine comes a tendency to operate on auto pilot. We don’t have to think about what we are doing. The brain and the body get lazy. We’re not learning anything different or challenging ourselves.

Have you ever driven to a destination the same way so many times that you realize you’ve arrived and you don’t really remember anything about the journey? We can begin to travel through life the same way. Dullness and boredom set in.

Shake up your routines. Drive to the park a new way. Or better yet, get there a different way…walk, ride a bike, skateboard or jog. When you notice mindless activities, it’s time to break a routine. Doing so allows you to see things differently, learn something new or discover something fresh about yourself.

Real life example: When I started my blog I quickly settled into a routine of writing approximately 500 words and adding a photo or two. I had a formula that allowed me to write quickly and post. A mentor at the time gently encouraged me to add photos of myself. None of my early blog posts contained photos of me. The reason? I hated having my photo taken.

I learned to move beyond that feeling of discomfort by taking lots of selfies. It’s not such a painful process now. To keep growing in this area, I’m working on creating more Instagram Reels with me in them.


Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone selfie
Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone – shake up routines. A recent selfie.

Shift One Situation that Bothers You

I know. It’s easier to complain about situations than to do anything about them. When I find myself bothered about something repetitively, that’s my signal to take action.

What bothers you? And…and what bothers you but makes you uncomfortable to take action concerning it? That’s the situation to shift. Find a way to do something positive and productive rather than complain from the safety of your comfort zone.

Do you dislike injustice? Weep over children in the foster care system? Hate that your local dog shelter is overcrowded? Feel protective of the elderly? Let that indignant energy fuel your actions and propel you out of your comfort zone and into action. And of course, you aren’t limited to shifting one situation. However, start with one and then shift another…and another.

Real life example: I’m very ecologically minded. And yet for many years I only worried about the earth’s resources and how badly we treat our planet while doing nothing. One of my first actions that moved me beyond was limiting the use of plastics. I started with swapping out plastic water bottles for a reusable metal container and eliminating the use of plastic straws at restaurants. I refuse them and simply sip water straight from the glass.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone plastics
Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone – shift one thing that bothers you

Do Something that Scares You

You don’t have to dive with great white sharks or bungee jump to go beyond your comfort zone, although go for it if these activities both scare you and excite you.

Many common experiences scare people. Speaking in public, singing in front of others, solo travel, going to a movie or a restaurant alone or sharing a poem you wrote all qualify…if doing any of these things makes you break out in a cold sweat.

Overwhelming, debilitating fear we will deal with in another post. For going beyond your comfort zone, make a list of things that you’d like to do or want to try…but they scare you a little. When we step over the edge of comfort the first thing we often encounter is fear. That’s normal. Keep going. Don’t let fear push you back into that small cage. I promise you, fear will step aside when you face it, acknowledge it and move beyond anyway.

You learn so much about yourself when you do something that scares you. Courage is born. And it becomes easier to go beyond the next time.

Real life example: I love to travel, however I only last year experienced solo travel in a bigger city that I’d never visited before. Yes, the night before my flight, I felt fear. A lot of “what ifs” crowded into my brain. I’m so grateful I did it in spite of the trepidations. I learned so much about my capabilities.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone solo
Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone – do something that scares you

Break Down a Big Goal into Small Steps

Tony Robbins says, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” It’s also an important step for going beyond your comfort zone.

I admit it. I’m a dreamer. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, if ideas only stay in the dream state, nothing manifests into reality. Make a big goal. Think really big. It’s perfect if it scares you a little bit.

Now break down that goal into small steps. Work your way back to Step One. And then do it. Go beyond your comfort zone and take action. Want to visit Spain? Write down all the steps needed to reach that goal. Make a vision board. Research the costs. Study maps. Learn Spanish. Perhaps your first step becomes: Save $25 a week for Spain trip. Then take that step.

Real life example: Three years ago, I got serious about building my Instagram account. At that time I had 1,200 followers and didn’t really have a clue what I was doing. I created a goal of reaching 10,000 followers AND of learning to use that platform as a way of earning income.  I found others to learn from. And I created action steps. Today I have 10,329 followers, an engaged audience and Instagram is the primary way that the brands that I work with find me. Bonus: there’s always something new to learn with IG.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone brands
Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone – break down a big goal into small steps

Do Something New

This is hands down my favorite way of continually going beyond my comfort zone. There are so many benefits from learning new skills and trying new experiences. It keeps the brain alert and active. We learn and grow and adapt and gain confidence. And, in my opinion, it’s a fun way to journey through life.

Doing something new every day in 2014 is what launched my blog. New experiences continue to bring me incredible joy.

What do you want to try but fear or discomfort holds you back? Do that. Don’t worry about perfection or what others think or how you will look doing the thing. Just go for it. Take a class. Create. Step up. Speak out. Ask yourself…”How will I feel if I don’t do this?” If regret comes from passing on this experience, then do it. It’s that important. As you try new things, opportunities come for doing more experiences. It’s just the way life works.

Real life example: This is the way I live my life, embracing new experiences. At this stage in going beyond, I often think about something new I’d like to do and the opportunity magically shows up. Most recently, I expressed the desire to experience the Charleston Tea Gardens after I missed seeing them on my last visit due to not having a car. Next month I’m back in the Charleston area and what is located a few miles from my hosted accommodations? The Charleston Tea Gardens. And, I’ll have a rental car this time.

Are You Ready to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone?

Living life beyond the edges is so much more than a tag line for me. It’s my purpose in life, helping others go beyond even as I continue to do so myself.

I hope these suggestions for going beyond prove helpful for you, if you are ready to leave your comfort zone behind and experience a more expansive life.

Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone podcast
Five Ways to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone – do something new. First podcast.


Books that help me Go Beyond:



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CSI Crime Scene Detective Joplin MO

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I’ve experienced a couple of different escape rooms, where you must find clues and solve puzzles in a set amount of time to unlock the door. However, this weekend I participated in my first CluedUpp Games Event, a fun outdoor immersive adventure that took place in my city’s beautiful downtown area.

Read on to learn more about CluedUpp and my team’s experiences in the CSI Crime Scene Detective game in Joplin, MO.

CSI Crime Scene Detective Joplin MO title meme

CluedUpp Games

Before I share the adventure, here’s a little bit about CluedUpp Games.

CluedUpp Games began in 2016, with a desire to move beyond traditional board games to interactive outdoor experiences. They started with downloadable paper-packs for towns across the UK. The next year they expanded into the mobile realm, creating virtual reality gaming events. They launched their game app in January of 2017, hosting 30 teams at the first event.

In 2018 CluedUpp went global with events in the US and Canada. And the following year the company included Europe, Asia and the Middle East in the fun. CluedUpp is now the world’s biggest geogaming company, hosting immersive events around the globe. They continue working tirelessly to bring players brand new mysteries and incredible outdoor experiences.

The company’s mission is bringing family members and friends together to enjoy the outdoors in shared adventures.

CluedUpp offers fun events in more than 1,200 locations in 55 countries worldwide. To date, over a million players have taken on the challenge and immersed themselves in a multi-award-winning CluedUpp event.

CSI Crime Scene Detective Joplin MO app
CSI Crime Scene Detective App

How it Works

On the day of the event, which typically runs from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm, teams compete to solve a mystery or crime. Using the app on a SmartPhone, teams explore their city’s streets looking for virtual clues, interviewing witnesses and solving challenges. All of these are done via the phone app, using the GPS system and an online map for guidance.

Piecing together the information and gathering important evidence, teams try to solve the mystery, with prizes awarded to the fastest team.

If you start the game early enough in the day, you can pause at any time, stop for lunch, grab a drink, or just take a break and then unpause the game to continue playing. Stay mindful however that the game ends at 5:00 pm whether you complete by then or not.

Up to six people, age 16 and up, can play together on a team. If you have more than six people simply create a second team and you can still work together. CluedUpp allows children to accompany adults, for free, and the family dog is even allowed to tag along.

The game typically takes 2 – 3 hours to complete. And on average players walk 2 – 4 miles while solving the mystery. You don’t need to reserve a start time. Just show up at the starting point. as stated in the welcome email, and start the app.

CSI Crime Scene Detective Joplin MO group
Our CSI Crime Scene Detective team – Pinkerton Detective Agency. Finley was not into sitting still! Greg took the photo.

Pinkerton Detective Agency

My daughter Elissa purchased the tickets for this event and invited the rest of us to join her. Our team, the Pinkerton Detective Agency, included Elissa, grandson Dayan, daughter Adriel, her husband Nate, Greg and me. Finley was our littlest detective and she did wonderfully well during this experience.

Due to work, Elissa turned the leadership of the group over to me. Together we came up with a name…a nod to the famous Scottish detective agency…and set up a time for all of us to meet in downtown Joplin on Saturday. Spiva Park was designated as the starting point to begin the game.

Finley participated in her first Easter Egg Hunt Saturday morning and Elissa had a 1:00 pm appointment. So we chose 2:00 pm to begin, the latest possible starting time. We were all a bit nervous, being new to the event and knowing we only had three hours to solve the crime.

And a crime it was! Our mission: discover the mastermind behind a string a murders plus uncover the motive. Each of us downloaded the app the day before the event and listened to the briefing to get an overview of the case. Gathering in the park at 1:45, we started the apps on our phones and began.

CSI Crime Scene Detective Joplin MO downtown
It was a gorgeous spring day in downtown Joplin for the CSI Crime Scene Detective virtual game.

Tips for Playing the Game

We had such a fun afternoon together, playing this immersive, interactive game. The weather was absolutely perfect…not too hot, not too cold, plenty of sunshine and a cooling breeze. Finley rode in her stroller part of the time and walked with us the rest. And walk we did, all over a six block long by four block wide area. I logged 3.5 miles on my phone’s health app. We all wore comfortable clothes and shoes, smoothed on sunscreen, and brought caps or sunglasses to protect against glare and sunburn.

Here are some other things we learned, during our first time playing.

Helpful Tips

  • carry water and snacks and remember that you can pause the game, if desired, to take a break. Because we started the game so late, we did not take a break however we did carry water and enjoy healthy snacks as we walked.
  • make sure phones are fully charged. Mine was at 100% when we started but by the end, my phone dropped to 10%. Fortunately, you can allow another team member to assume leadership. That’s important because only the team leader inputs answers to riddles and puzzles although all team members contribute, read the interviews and investigation reports and vote on suspects, whether they are guilty or innocent.
  • the game is reading intensive. Assign someone to read all the info and someone else to take good notes. Daughter Adriel thought to bring a notebook and pen and served as our recorder.
  • allow everyone in the group to have input and toss around ideas. The more discussion the better!
  • stay mindful of other teams playing at the same time and in the same area. Speak quietly in your group so as not to give away information to others working on their own solutions.
  • in the case, there were three different crime scenes. We decided, after the fact, that visiting those places first cuts down on the amount of walking.
  • have fun. It’s a timed event. You can subtract time from your score by walking through specific locations and add time to your score as a penalty by asking for hints or incorrectly answering a riddle. However, enjoy the experience. We weren’t going for fastest team. We wanted to solve the crime.
  • take photos and submit them on the CluedUpp Facebook page assigned to your city. The game awards prizes for best costumes, if you want to dress up, best team name, best group photo, best little detective and best dog detective.
CSI Crime Scene Detective Joplin MO church
CSI Crime Scene Detective Joplin MO – we appreciated beautiful buildings in the downtown area

And the Result…

Keeping an eye on the time and knowing we needed to submit a guilty suspect and a motive for the crime by 5:00, we moved steadily through all the points of interest marked on the map, gathering info.

We found a shady place to sit, 2.5 hours after beginning play, to discuss our findings. After we all agreed on a suspect…the mastermind behind the murders…and the motivation for the crime, Elissa submitted our answers.

Our answers were correct! We solved the crime with half an hour to spare. Out of 72 groups playing in Joplin, our team came in 29th, based on correct answers and amount of time taken to solve the crime. We are happy with that.

And our Finley won best little detective for Joplin!

We all enjoyed playing this game. So much so, in fact, that we are looking at playing again this fall, in Springdale, Arkansas. A new Alice in Wonderland themed adventure awaits.

Have you heard of CluedUpp or played this outdoor adventure game? You can find a location hosting the event near you by clicking this LINK. If you enjoy solving mysteries, playing outdoors and working as a team, you’ll love this adventure!

CSI Crime Scene Detective Joplin MO finley
Best Little Detective


Dress the Part



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The Shop on Royal Street

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

If you’ve read my series of posts on Charleston, South Carolina, you know that my trip there last September was inspired by the Tradd Street books by Karen White. (Read my spoiler free review of that series HERE.)

I love those stories set in the Holy City and the fun, eclectic cast of characters. How grateful I am that Karen is creating a spin off series, featuring one of the characters from Tradd Street. The first book just released and I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

Check out my spoiler free review of The Shop on Royal Street.

The Shop on Royal Street title meme

Author Karen White

Karen White is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 31 books…and counting. She lived in London, England as a child, however she now resides near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. They have two grown children.

According to her website, Karen grew up in a house full of brothers. She came to appreciate strong female characters in the third grade, after reading the Nancy Drew Mystery, The Secret of the Old Clock.

Although she initially pursued a career in business, she wrote her first book, In the Shadow of the Moon, in 2000. She is well known for the Tradd Street Series, publishing the seventh…and final…book in that collection last November.

Karen’s roots are in the south, where many of her stories take place. Her charming tales contain a fun mix of drama, mystery, intrigue, romance and sometimes ghosts and hauntings.

The Shop on Royal Street karen white
Karen White, author of The Shop on Royal Street. Photo from her website.

The Shop on Royal Street

In the book The Strangers on Montagu, teenager Nola Trenholm arrives unexpectedly at Melanie’s house on Tradd Street. She surprises Melanie and Jack with the announcement that she is Jack’s daughter. Jumping right into parenthood, Jack and Melanie take the young girl in, giving her a home and helping her cope with the tragedy of her mother’s death.

The Shop on Royal Street takes place ten years later and moves the story, along with Nola, from Charleston to New Orleans.

Nola’s entry into adulthood wasn’t easy. New Orleans offers a chance for a fresh start with a new job and a house in the historic and offbeat Marigny District.

However, after the sensitive young woman purchases her first house, a fixer upper that everyone else avoids, she encounters old ghosts from her past…and new spirits that occupy the space she’s carefully renovating.

There are intriguing mysteries to solve, complex life situations to navigate as a young adult, an old friendship to rekindle and the perplexing Beau Ryan to figure out. That young man attracts Nola and irritates her equally.

And the shop on Royal Street refers to the antique and collectible store that Beau’s grandmother Mimi owns and operates. More mysteries surround the older woman and the shop with the locked room in the back.

New Orleans serves beautifully as the backdrop for this engaging story, with its lively neighborhoods, historic homes and French, African and American cultures.

The Shop on Royal Street sign
The Shop on Royal Street – street sign

What I Love About The Shop on Royal Street

As a fan of the Tradd Street series, I’m so delighted with the launch this new series.

I like knowing who Nola is, having “met” her in the first series and watched her personal growth while living with Melanie and Jack. The references to characters from the Tradd Street series build on that sense of familiarity. It’s also fun to see what’s going on with those characters a decade later and discovering if they are living “happily ever after”.

However, The Shop on Royal Street is very much Nola’s story and I enjoyed seeing how she’s developing as a character and a person. Karen uses humor in her writing and that is evident in this story as well.

And, as with the Tradd Street series, the supernatural plays an important part in the plot. As a sensitive and intuitive myself, I appreciate that thread woven throughout these books. I admit experiencing full body goosebumps a couple of times as I read about Nola’s encounters with spirits. However, the hauntings are well written about, without blood and gore or outlandish “that could never happen” extremes. Karen expertly portrays ghostly situations and hauntings that are very believable…and in my own experiences, entirely possible.

The Shop on Royal Street candle
A fun book to read, while sipping on hot tea.

New Orleans

Although I’ve had the pleasure of visiting New Orleans, my explorations there focused primarily on the French Quarter District.

New Orleans is one of the 15 cities on my Adventure List. Reading Karen’s newest book amplifies the longing to visit New Orleans again and explore other districts in the city such as Marigny, which lies adjacent to the French Quarter.

I love the way Karen writes about her book locations. She wonderfully captures the spirit…and sometimes spirits…of the community, weaving in vivid  and accurate details that make it easy to imagine the flow of events.

If you enjoy reading a good story set in a gorgeous city with lovable, quirky characters, mysteries to solve and things that go bump in the night, I highly recommend The Shop on Royal Street. While this story can stand alone, I’d suggest reading the Tradd Street series as well. Doing so adds depth and context. You’ll thank me later!

Have you recently read a book that inspires adventures? Share it with me in the comments below.

The Shop on Royal Street book



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Funny Travel Stories

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Anyone who travels has them…funny stories of things that went a bit sideways or askew while on  a trip. While often these experiences are not especially funny while living them, later they make humorous tales to share over a meal with friends.

I hope this collection of funny travel stories, collected over a span of years, brings a chuckle, a smile or at the least, a recollection of a funny experience of your own.

Funny Travel Stories title meme

Little Sister Scores Some Tickets

When the kids were ages 10, 14 and 15 years old, they accompanied Greg and me on a business/vacation trip to LA. With a week to spend in sunny California, we carefully planned what sights to see, what parks to experience and how to best budget our time and resources.

Because the kids had been to Disney World in Florida a few years before, we opted out of Disney Land and chose instead to visit other attractions such as Universal Studios. The choice stung a bit though, as our hotel was RIGHT next door to Disney Land.

Every night, my youngest child, Adriel, wanted to soak in the hot tub. Whether it was the novelty of it or she genuinely appreciated that hot water, the practice became a nightly ritual. Her older brother and sister teased her for grabbing her towel and flip flops every night and joining a decidedly older crowd in the hot tub. I of course went with her.

Toward the end of the week, as Adriel and I settled into the hot tub, an older woman joined us. After chitchatting for a few minutes, she suddenly asked Ariel if she enjoyed Disney Land. Adriel explained we chose other parks instead. Turns out, the woman had tickets to the theme park that she did not use with her grandkids. She kindly offered them to us. We followed the woman to her room and gratefully accepted the tickets. Adriel took great delight in flip-flopping her way back to our room, and waving those tickets in her siblings’ faces.

We spent an entire day at Disney Land, one of the most fun experiences we had while in LA, thanks to Adriel!

A Kiss for Luciano

On my last night in Italy, our Globus Tour group prepared for a final meal together in Rome. I arrived downstairs to the lobby early, ahead of most of the group including my daughter and grandson. Fabiola, our lively, wonderful tour guide, directed my attention outside, to the big tour bus at the curb.

“Luciano is there. Why don’t you be first to go tell him goodbye,” Fabi suggested.

Ah, Luciano, our handsome, charming, very Italian bus driver, who spoke limited English but conveyed volumes with his smile and dark brown eyes.

I happily carried out a “thank you” card for him. He listened to me expressing gratitude for his skills as a bus driver, then smiled and nodded. Lightly touching one cheek, he said a single word in English. “Kiss?”

I know I blushed as I planted kisses on each of his cheeks and received his kisses in return. By this time, the rest of the group had arrived in the hotel lobby. In moments a long line formed, of ladies eager to give Luciano kisses!

Funny Travel Stories kiss
Funny Travel Stories – a kiss for Luciano

Scottish Pole Dancer

During the girls’ trip to the UK, in 2017, my mom, sisters, niece and I spent a long day exploring Edinburgh. We made excellent use of the hop on/hop off buses to get around the city.

As the day ended, we felt ready for a quick dinner, hot showers and a long night’s rest after a busy day. Except…we missed our hop off spot. The bus parked for the night, we us still on it. What to do?

We walked to where a group of guides stood, on Waverly Bridge. One of them, a cheerful looking older man named George, approached us to see if we needed help. After explaining our situation, he asked where our accommodations were in Edinburgh. His reaction surprised us. He laughed and motioned the other guides over. Hearing our predicament, they laughed too when George mentions where we are staying.

We don’t understand the laughter, however, the guide helps us by placing us on an empty bus and asking the driver to take us to our apartment. When the driver heard the address, he glances at us in amusement. Finally I ask what’s so funny.

In lieu of an answer, George grins and hops into the bus. Grabbing a pole nearby, typically used to steady standing riders, George hums a tune and spins gracefully around the pole, looking at us expectantly as he twirls. The other guides hoot and clap…and realization dawns. He’s pole dancing.

“Are we staying in Edinburgh’s red light district?” I ask. Yes, yes we are. George hops off the bus and twirls again for our amusement, then bows as the bus pulls away. Walking up to our apartment later, we take a good look at our surroundings, for the first time really. Our apartment is in the middle of strip clubs, lap dance parlors and adult shows. No wonder the guides laughed. We are amused too. (Read a longer version of this story HERE.)

My next trip to Edinburgh, I chose to stay in a different part of town!

Positivity Overload

After a wonderful 12 days spent in Italy, my daughter Elissa, grandson Dayan and I settled into our airline seats, exhausted and ready to return home. Five hours later, we still remained in those seats, on the tarmac at the Rome airport.

While Elissa’s seat was in a different section of the plane, Dayan and I sat side by side toward the back. Watching restless people and shortened tempers, I encouraged Dayan that all was well, we’d leave when we were supposed to and that if we didn’t fly out, it was because we weren’t meant to, even if we didn’t know why.

Elissa fell asleep and woke up, expecting to be in the air and well on our way. Dayan grew weary of sitting on a stuffy plane, listening to people complain. At last, after more than five hours, the pilot announced our flight canceled. We all exited the plane, the airline company giving everyone overnight accommodations at a nearby hotel.

As we walked to the hotel, Dayan darted ahead to walk with his mom, while I leisurely strolled along at my own pace. And no, we did not enjoy another night in Italy so much as we crashed in our hotel room, asleep before the sun went down.

We successfully flew out the next day. It was only after we were in the air that Dayan turned to me, a bit contritely, and shared that he left me to walk by myself because he simply could not handle any more of my positivity! I laughed and assured him it was okay. What followed was a wonderful conversation about having a positive life outlook, something Dayan took to heart. He is a go-with-the-flow traveler now, who has learned at age 22 to roll with what life brings, knowing there’s always a reason for everything that happens.

Funny Travel Stories positivity
Funny Travel Stories – positivity overload. This photo was taken at about hour two of a five+ hour hold on the tarmac before our flight canceled.

Boldly Going…Where No One Should Go

During a week long visit to the state of Kentucky, our family of five enjoyed several equine related events due to older daughter Elissa’s love of horses. She showed Arabians and Saddlebreds in horse shows all over the Midwest, including the large American Royal National Championship Horse show in Kansas City. During that prestigious show, we always enjoyed watching her…and actor William Shatner, best known perhaps for his role as Captain Kirk on Star Trek, showing his beautiful Saddlebreds.

We discovered, somehow, that Shatner owned a horse farm in Kentucky. So…we decided to visit it while in the state. I cringe now that we drove right up to the training barns on his property, totally uninvited. And I sincerely doubt that could happen now. However, we walked inside and found his trainer working with the horses. Rather than calling security…if there was such…or demanding that we leave, Donna Moore visited with us and allowed us to watch as she put one of the Shatner horses through his moves.

While a fun experience, I’m appalled today that we so boldly went where no one should go…without an invitation! (Forgive me, Captain Kirk!)

Wrong Way, Sister

My sister Debbie accompanied me on a 2019 trip to Scotland. Although we attended five days of Clan Maitland activities, we also built in five additional days of exploring Edinburgh on our own.

That’s when I discovered that my sister has NO sense of direction. Perhaps because of my many years as a realtor, I’ve learned to navigate by directions and instinct rather than landmarks or using “right” or “left”. I could mentally call up Edinburgh’s grid of streets in my head as we explored. Debbie, on the other hand, invariably headed out confidently…in the wrong direction…on our many explorations. It became a running joke during our stay in Edinburgh. Debbie striding out with purpose…in the exact opposite direction from our destination. Me waiting until she figured it out and turned to call back for directions.

Back in the US, after ten glorious days in Scotland, I watched as my sister walked to the ladies restroom in the New York airport. I was watching still as she exited the restroom, hesitated and then turned left and strode away from me down the wide hall. One more wrong way for Debbie…before we arrived home! (Read the longer version of this story HERE.)

Mom Doesn’t Have a Clue

On that girls’ UK trip, our group of five finished up in London, England. One attraction we all chose was The London Dungeon.

While this high quality experience, a cross between a walking tour and an amusement park ride, offers performers in period costumes portraying characters from London’s murky past, the highlight of the tour was my mom.

At the time of this trip, she was 77 years young. In spite of breaking a knee a few months before the trip, she kept up with all of us. Walking through the London Dungeon experience, we had enjoyed two photo opportunities.

In the first, the photographer put three of us in stocks, handed Mom and my niece axes and told us to play along. Mom didn’t catch exactly what he said, and the photo shows. While the rest of us are looking at the camera, Mom is gazing off to the side, axe in hand, totally lost.

In the second photo, with a green screen portraying the London fire behind us, four of us look horrified…or amused…while poor Mom is again staring off in another direction, trying to “find” the fire.

We didn’t realize how hysterically funny it all was, until we saw the photos at the end of the tour. We still laugh every time we see the photos or tell the story. Mom remains a good sport about it!

Funny Travel Stories dungeon
Funny Travel Stories – Mom doesn’t have a clue what’s happening!

Your Funny Travel Stories

I hope these humorous tales brought a smile to your face! At another time, I’ll share Funny Travel Stories Part 2, because I have more tales to tell.

What about you?

Do you have funny stories from your travels that you and your family still giggle over? I’d love to read them. Share one in the comments below.

Funny Travel Stories fire
Mom: “Where’s the fire??” I’m laughing right now…..


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