Pre-Trip Feels.

It’s the eve before my next big adventure and I’m sitting in an empty nail salon getting a deluxe pedicure sipping complimentary water, but I’m pretending it’s a glass of sweet wine. This is the life.

I leave for Hawaii in less than 24 hours, our flight is scheduled for a 6:15 a.m. departure from Hector International. Good luck self in getting up on time. Though, I do feel like a little kid at Christmas. I’m sure I’ll be up before my alarm patiently waiting for my brother and parents to pick me up before the 5 o’clock hour.

All of my trips are special for differnt reasons but this one is dedicated to my dad. I’m not sure he’s ever really been on a proper vacation outside of weekend getaways throughout his adult life. I remember hearing a tale of a Mount Rushmore road trip in his youth with my grandparents but that was more decades ago than I am old. It’s time to venture out, pops.

My dad turns 60 this year, in October. Two years ago on his birthday, our family surprised him by telling him he was going to make it to Hawaii before his 60th birthday. I doubt he believed us and I’ll never forget his face when we told him.

See, he’s a truck driver. He’s been everywhere, man. Literally. Every state, including parts of Canada. He’s just missing The Aloha State, until now. I know he’s nervous, I’m certain I inherited my anxious tendencies from my father. But I know he’s super amped too. I anticipate “travel day” will be a bit stressful and draining for him and/or my mom but “hello sunshine!” and all the transportation woes will be a thing of the past!

Well, it’s time for my sugar scrub and 10-min leg massage. This is my favorite part of pedis so I’m going to leave you here while I try find inner peace for a moment or two. Have you treated yourself to some kind of self-care lately? If not, get on it girl! Or guy or dude or whatevs.

P.S. I had planned on ending my post above but I need to shamelessly plug Fantasy Nails on South 45th. I usually bounce from place to place for pedis but I’ve finally found the best one in all of Fargo. These guys are legit. The Deluxe Pedi (middle package) included all the usuals like a sugar scrub, paraffin wax, and hot towels but I had 2 hot towel sessions, an amazing cooling gel treatment, and not one but three 5-10 minute massages. While the wax was doing it’s thang, he stepped away for about 15 minutes and I was in a peacefully bliss quiet oasis of massage chair and meditation. Check it out and ask for Hersley (phonetically spelled, unsure of it’s accuracy, lol). A Deluxe Pedi is $40 for regular polish and $55 for gel. 👌

Lastly, here’s our typical night before, Bodhi-thinks-he’s-coming-with photo. One day, bud.

Day 1: Star Light, Star Bright

It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I had embarked on a new adventure. Wait, it was just six months ago! If you live anywhere near where I’m currently living (NoDak), you’ll understand when I say this winter was LONG AF. Just about as soon as I landed stateside again in September, I began dreaming of my next adventure. I desperately need to go back to Europe but I’ll leave that for another day to ramble on about.

About half way through this winter, my mom asked if I wanted to get away and out of the cold. And YA GURL was like “yep.” Without thinking much about it, one of us suggested Arizona and we were both on board. This winter, really, has been draining. Not only have the snow storms put an emphasis on seasonal depressive moods but I busted up my knee twice in the last couple of months. Officially tearing my ACL and my meniscus in two places at the end of January. I have currently managed to forgo surgery for a multitude of reason and have thankfully gotten by with some PT and lots of rest. My knee is no where near 100%, maybe 60% on a good day? We’ll get there.

Enough about that. You’re here for an adventure and I’m about to deliver!

Day 1 is about as routine as day 1’s go, I think. Finishing up packing, because I’ve been a major procrastinator lately and stressing a bit about “did I plan this enough?” were the recurring themes of the days leading up to our trip. I’ve been on a continuous stress-boat of anxiety for a few months due to some work-flow changes in my job and it rarely lets up enough for me to indulge in a life outside of work. Which I know, is incredibly unhealthy, but I’m working on it.

For the first time ever today, I flew out of my local airport, Hector International. Also, for the first time ever today, every inch of my body was patted TF down like I was some sort of criminal. I thought I had this travel thing down. I’m extra cautious with the items I bring on board, my flying attire is basically PJ chic (yogas, sports bra, shirt, slides) and I still was patted down. I don’t know if it was a random spot check but it was weird. Up until today, I was almost weirded out about how “easy” it’d been to stroll through security checkpoints like it was nothin’ because it really was. I had nothing to hide and it’d always been a breeze. Now I know, the pat-down happens. You’ve been warned.

I’m tired and today wasn’t extra eventful aside from the frisk so I may jump around a little bit.

Actually, I’m going to bullet this shit out so I can get to sleep.

  • The people of Alamo as in the car rental service, are jerks. Don’t rent a vehicle from them. We stood in line for well over 30 minutes waiting for a vehicle I reserved. Once I got to the front counter, I was notified that there were no vehicles available. So like, wtf? I ended up dinking around at another rental car place but guess what? They didn’t have any vehicles either and so, head hung low, I returned back to Alamo with the intention of giving them a piece of my mind. Obviously with my mom’s help because lets be honest, she’s the confrontational one between the two of us when it’s go time. We ended up with a vehicle, not the one we paid for and one that will end up costing us more in gas than we had budgeted but it’s better than nothing. I guess.
  • The four and half hour drive (or so) north from Mesa was a beautiful one and filled with angels watching over us. Not only were the roads full of bizarre speed limit changes but we curved around one rock formation after another all the way up. The scary part about this is, I drove. If you know anything about me, two of them should be: 1. I’m a shit driver. And 2. I’m a shit driver because I love looking at all the things. I’m grateful my dad wasn’t with us. We’d surely have driven over cliff because he would have flipped at how distracted I was.
  • We arrived at the Grand Canyon and Yavapai Lodge well past sunset. (I just realized that I hadn’t told you where exactly in AZ we were headed. Surprise!) I was hoping to get a few glimpses of the canyons tonight but we’re preparing for an early rise in the morning so stay tuned. I didn’t know this until I arrived, but Arizona has more certified “International Dark Sky” places in the United States than any other state. This made it a bit difficult to find our actual lodge without streetlights to guide us but we managed. Believe it or not, I do remember the days of finding a place on a map without Siri directing me where to go. I have lived in a city for quite some time so I don’t get to observe the stars as often as I would like. It’s really one of my favorite things in this world. Tonight, I was able to do that for a brief time and am so happy I did. Obviously cameras never quite capture the night sky the way we see it but if you look close enough, you’ll see the Big Dipper in one of my photos below.

That about sums up our day. I feel so lucky to have my mom as my travel partner. Traveling isn’t always rainbows and sunshine but having someone along that can take the good with the bad really makes all the difference when it comes to enjoying the greatest treasures in life.

I’d like to extend a special thanks to our Guardian Angels today for keeping us safe as I drove around admiring this lovely state. The land that is Arizona is truly a beauté so far.

Day 3: I thought our hotel room entrance was through a half-door.

We’ve arrived! Or as the Irish would say, “táimid tar éis teacht!” I’m trusting Google translate on this one so just go with it. Out of the three airports I’ve now been to, the Dublin airport is the most visually appealing. Lots and lots of glass and green; very easy to navigate. Minneapolis’ is too but it’s much larger or seems to be anyway.

All was semi-well today. Maybe more weird than anything trying to adjust to a new normal for the next 12 or so days. The views coming into Ireland were spectacular. We watched the sun rise on the horizon while descending this morning. That, paired with the green island and blue sea.. It was one chef kiss away to a perfecto!

All was good until we hit customs. I had been prepared knowing what our plans were; I have outlines for both my mom and me. We did some reading knowing that we may be asked questions on our purpose for traveling but damn, Daniel was it nerve-wracking. There’s a dude at work that once told me “kindness if free,” yes with the typo. I wanted to share that nugget of wisdom today but I’m sure she wouldn’t have been happy with me if I did. We got through it though!

On our ride to City Centre, there was a couple celebrating 50 years together this year. He and his wife are spending three days in Dublin and then heading to Rome for a couple of weeks. He was trying to figure out what stop to get off on and said something along the lines of just being a small town farm boy from Indiana. He just wants to get to Rome so he can serende his wife on a gondala. At that moment on an Airlink Express Bus somewhere in Dublin, my heart literally melted.

We found our hotel pretty easily after the bus stop and dropped our bags off before hitting the streets to find our first tour bus. With the help of a local Irishman, we found where we needed to be in no time and took a loop around the city just to see the sites and get used to our surroundings. Parts of Dublin remind me of Madison, WI. I think it’s mostly because of the pedestrian only areas. It was unusually mellow and relativly quiet though, in Dublin. We had expected more of a hustle and bustle vibe.

After a pit stop back to the hotel for a power nap (because we were crashing hard) and a break to watch a violinist play Somewhere Over The Rainbow (one of my favs!), we jumped aboard an evening sightseeing tour. Dublin in the evening is just as beautiful as in the day. Our tour guide sang us songs the entire time and played guitar to boot. It was a perfect way to end our first day in a new ‘land.

P.S. I’ll update this post sometime tomorrow with photos. I need to figure out how to get to sleep tonight. 🙂

Day 1: What about a bog? Say that 3 times fast.

Operation world traveler wannabe to will be is about to begin! Some of you may or may not know that I have a binder full of our to-do’s while on vacation. I’m an ultra-planner by nature and my mom, not so much.

Our first trip was planned out to a T. It eased my stress to know what we were going to do when but it did have downfalls, of course. Being so attached to my “plan” made it difficult to stray from it and there were a couple of activities or days where we would have loved and preferred to stay awhile longer.

Trip two, I tried to be a bit more loose with our plans. I still had our time away organized as shit but I had a lot more “ehh, we can decide when we get there” pockets and days. This trip made me a lot more of a stress ball and I feel like we had wasted time that we could have used a bit more wisely had I made some decisions ahead of time.

Present day, I’m trusting in the motto “third times a charm.” Our days are planned out via day trips around the Emerald Isle and Scotland and our evenings are free for adventure and spontaneity.

Before we left for Minneapolis, we met up with Bodhi’s godparents, Nick and Katie to go over my helicopter cat-mom of a list and visit a bit. They’ll be taking care of Lil’ Boat and my apartment while I’m away. (THANK YOU!) Then, funny enough, my dad was also in town so we all hit up Qdoba (otherwise known as Kubota, thanks to Dad) for lunch before leaving.

We stopped in Albert(s)ville for a minute or 30, Wiki’d all the different types and true definitions of bodies of water, stopped at Minnehaha Falls for a break from the humidity and ended the night walking on the very dimly lit Stone Arch Bridge.

‘Twas a great first day to the start of our vaca. Even if Mom compared the heat to St. Louis!

Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself.. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tomorrow ’tis the day my mom and I embark on our 3rd mother-daughter trip! When my mom turned 50, she super informally announced that she wants to see all 50 states before she dies. Providing that she’s going to live to 100 (she knows this for sure), that meant at least one state a year. Obviously, she’d already visited a couple of pockets in our country because one, she’s been on a trip or three with my truck-driving dad and two, she’s not a hermit. The math isn’t perfect, but it’s a fun story. 50 states in 50 years.

Our first year, we knocked off five states and in our second, five more! The third year, we decided instead of a “ma and Or” trip, we wanted to get our family together for a mini-vacation. So, instead of another road trip, we swooped up the rest of the fam and spent just about a week up at the Zippel Bay Resort in Lake of the Woods.

This year, we are resuming our travels. We’re going bigger this time. The 50 state goal is still one of both my mom and me but we decided to reach a little further this year. We’re breaking free of the single-continent life and jetting off to a new land, or two rather. Ireland and Scotland!

There are a handful of reasons why and how we picked our destination this year. Around this time last year I had just announced, what had then been, a very important date. I had been engaged about nine months and had been 51 weeks from the big day. Fast-forward a couple more months to the holidays and the story was very different. During the most difficult time in my life, my mom and I were having a conversation about our yearly trip; where were we going to go this year? Which states?

I’m failing to remember the exact moment that Ireland came up but Éire has been my number one bucket list destination for as long as I can remember. And when I brought it up, my mom said YASSS. Okay, maybe not actually YASSS, but pretty close. Quite honestly, the entire world is on my bucket list but the Emerald Isle, for so many reasons, is a bright and shiny green star right at the tip top. It might have still been a dream at the time of our conversation but it was one I was ready to make a reality during an otherwise Boulevard of Broken Dreams time in my life.

Stay tuned for more on our mother-daughter travels in the coming days and weeks! Yes, weeks!

-XOXO, Ori

Ask us about Sam Sung..

Ahh, today we came home. A short trip but a wonderful assortment of memories that will last a lifetime. We visited the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame today. We were in a hurry before our flight so we didn’t take as much time as I’m sure is recommended but we came, we saw and we conquered. That’s what matters.

There are so many things I feel like I’ve left out. The airport and our nights on the town. The conversations we had and things we saw, the people we met. I’ll trust that my memory will hold onto those moments beyond the words that I haven’t typed. Right now, I’m exhausted but the good kind of exhausted, I suppose. I wanted to write because I haven’t written in so long. Going on trips makes me want to pick up my tablet and write everything I see. I miss writing.

I went on my first and second plane rides this week. I stayed in my first Airbnb. I saw so many beautiful things and have memories that will stay with me for years to come. I did all this with a wonderful, hilarious and kind human by my side. She puts up the toughest of fronts and she’d kill me if she ever reads this but I’m so grateful that she’s let me into her life and allows herself to let her guard down even if I have to pry it out of her. I don’t think she realizes how much this trip, this adventure, this friendship has meant to me. It’s so hard for me to let loose and relax but she makes me do it. Even though I tell myself that I have the spirit of a vagabond, I reluctantly have the mind of an organized spaz and it is so very difficult for me to stray from that.

So, if you’re reading this.. Tough as nails but secret softy, Alicia.. Thank you. Thank you for being my person this week and hopefully many more weeks to come. ❤ 

All of the things.

I definitely cannot hang. My idea of a vacation and Alicia’s idea of a vacation are so far apart, they aren’t even funny. She sleeps until she wakes up, takes her time getting ready and would be cool avoiding most of the touristy spots. I, on the other hand, want to be up as soon as the suns first ray hits our faces, check out the agenda and see everything we can possibly see.

Juggling our completely opposite narratives was an act for the circus today but we managed and succeeded. Schwing! We slept the entire morning away. Apparently staying out until 3:30/4:00 AM is not something I can do on the reg. No way, Jose. Anyway, what happens in Cleveland stays in Cleveland.

We eventually got our butts in gear and packed our day with all the things. We hit up The Melt which will cure even the worst of hangovers. The Melt was featured on Man vs. Food and Diners, Dives, and Drive-Ins. You definitely get what you pay for and that in itself is even an understatement.

After a late lunch, we rushed to The Christmas Story House and toured that little block of cinematic history. I wished I’d rewatched the movie before our trip to have a more vivid recollection but it was still pretty sweet to see. We met an uncle/nephew combo, Matt and Tyler. Again, Alicia and her ability to meet people is just so foreign to me. We ended up exchanging numbers and met up with the duo later in the evening for cocktails and swapped traveling stories.

After the CSH, we decided to explore downtown Cleveland and news to us, it’s so easy to get around (aside from the damn bus lanes and lights). We didn’t realize how close everything was. We had walked around a bit the night before but if we’d just gone one street over, we would have been in a totally other, really cool, area. Lightbulb moment for sure.

We found the Worlds Largest Chandelier, walked around East 4th Street, were bombarded by a mob of graduates and made a pit stop to view Lake Erie. I’m surprised how much we were able to see in just a few hours but that’s what you get when you have two determined women making it a point to see all of the things.