Animal Crossing My Mind

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

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


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.