Writing again

It’s difficult to be authentic on the internet. Every time I sit down to write, I think about the world reading my words. It’s not the strangers I fear or my family and friends, it’s the acquaintances that don’t know my heart. I fear their judgement. In my head, I know if they do judge me then that is their choice and their judgement is really no cost to me. They will judge no matter what I write. I’d rather be judged on my true self than a made up version of me. If I am willing to accept critiques and gentle nudging, then I can slowly grow to be a better person. I want to be a better person. A long time someone close to me told me that I didn’t love myself. It made me very angry and it hit me where it hurt. I don’t know the intentions of this person, but I do know that it is an accusation that would be true for most people.

What would it cost you to be authentic?

Rowan Eli

People who know me know that I adore kids. Especially my nieces and nephews. I have 4 biological niblings (niece and nephews). I also have several other kids that call me Aunt Karleen that are not biological.

Today is my nephew Rowan's 1st birthday. Eli was the name of my mom's dad. I still remember when Rowan was born Titus called us right away. We were talking about the name Eli. Titus was expounding on how much he loved the name Eli. He said "Think about it. It's a three letter word with two vowels! And just listen to it E-li! (dragging out each syllable)." We could tell that Titus already adored Rowan.

What the bib says.

What the bib says.

Rowan loves to be outside. If he's cranky or tired all you have to do is take him outside. He just learned how to give kisses. He isn't walking on his own yet but he loves to hold onto your hands and go exploring. His parents encourage his adventures. He has a very contagious smile. When he gets scared or hurt he has the most heartbroken cry but his mom can always fix it. Last month Rowan and his parents moved onto my little street and I am so incredibly happy about that.

 I love you Rowan. 


San Francisco Day 3

Sunday was our last day in San Francisco. We decided to take it slow and drive north along the coast on Route 1. Before we hit the road we tried to go to The Mill in Alamo Square for breakfast. It's a beautiful coffee shop but there was a line out the door. We ended up going down the street to the Bean Bag Cafe. The food was amazing! It felt like a locals only kind of shop. After breakfast and coffee we stopped at a little farmer's market and got some cookies and scones for the road.


First, we tried to go to Muir Woods but parking was impossible so we just drove through and went to our next stop. Muir Beach.

The beach was full of people so we hiked up the hill a ways and settled in for a while. It was a beautiful day even with the clouds. We spent several hours there just journaling and watching the waves. It was a much needed time of rest before going back to work.

Beautiful Nita! The perfect traveling companion.

Beautiful Nita! The perfect traveling companion.


Around 3 that afternoon we were starving and I was craving pancakes. It was a Sunday afternoon so there wasn't much open but we found Bayside Cafe in Sausalito (just north of the bridge) and they happened to serve breakfast all day.


After that we did a little shopping until it was getting close to sunset. Then we tried to see the sunset from our favorite spot at the Marin Headlands Park. It was too cloudy to really see anything but it felt right to finish our trip at our favorite spot.


The sun broke through the clouds for a second.


Monday morning it was back on the plane headed east. 


Reading "Lion" on the trip home. I often go to a bookstore in the airport and buy a book from the best seller list. This one was really good.


All in all, the trip was definitely worth it. Since my flight was free the only major costs I had were half the motel ($130/night) and half the car ($30/day). I got to spend more quality time with Nita. I got to explore San Francisco and some of the Pacific coastline. And I got some much needed time to breath and think and process my life. 

My next trip is to Florida with my friend Carita. I'm going to be gone from Sunday to Thursday. Then from the airport I'm going to REACH in Lancaster. 

I'm excited for some sun and warmth and catching up with friends.  

San Francisco Day 2

The second day we left the city behind and drove down the coast on Route 1 to Big Sur. We stopped all along to check out different beaches. The first stop was Half Moon Bay but the beach was full of giant seaweed. It was also very foggy so we kept moving south. We found a few treasures along the way. Including coffee! You'll have to excuse the iPhone pictures. 


We went to Pigeon Point Lighthouse.  


We did lots of slamming on the brakes to catch another beautiful view. 


For lunch, we tried In-N-Out Burger. It was so good we ended up getting supper there too. We were a little embarrassed because the people recognized us from earlier in the day. We just told them we were from the East and they nodded knowingly.  


I had always wanted to go to Big Sur but I thought it would be too far to drive from San Francisco in a day and still have time to take our time... We ended up getting all the way down there. It was so worth it. 


We headed back north, keeping an eye on the sun and watched for a place to pull over to watch the sunset.  


The spot we chose reminded us both of Ireland. The only thing missing was the spoungy grass.  


A few pictures from my big camera.  

The ocean waves bring a calm to my soul like nothing else. Some day I want to be able live near the water. 

San Francisco - Day 1

In January of 2016, I got bumped on a flight. Delta generously gave me an $800 voucher. I used the first half to go visit a friend in Iowa. In October, I realized that the voucher was going to expire after a year so I needed to find some way to use it. No hardship there. I'd been wanting to go on a vacation for a while. I kept seeing pictures from the west coast and I decided it was time to use the remainder of that voucher. I looked at Delta flights to all the major cities along the west coast and figured out San Francisco was the cheapest option. 

I contacted my cousin Nita and asked her if she wanted to go along. We figured out the first weekend in November would work for both of us. She is one of my favorite traveling companions. She is almost 10 years younger and we grew up 500 miles apart but somehow we are very similar. Maybe it's because our dads are brothers. We traveled together for the first time in January of 2015 to England. I had to work a farm show there and didn't want to travel by myself. After that trip, I knew that we would be traveling together again in the future.

Anyway, on to the pictures! San Francisco is a beautiful city.

The first day we just explored the city.

Pier 41 on Embarcadero St. You get a nice view of Alcatraz Island. 

From there we walked over to Ghirardelli Square where we ate the best Chocolate Carmel ice cream I've ever had at 10 am. We figured since it was 1pm on the east coast we were ok.


A clear beautiful sunset was the perfect way to end the day.

And before you go...

Throughout the day we had some of the best food. You can't be on vacation without delicious food right?

We went to Koja Kitchen for lunch. It was late afternoon and we were starving. I'd never had Korean BBQ before but it was absolutely delicious. Looking at this picture right now makes my mouth water.


Across the street we got some coffee at the Blue Danube coffee Shop.


For supper we ordered in giant, meat filled calzones at the motel but failed to document it with pictures. Trust me they were delicious. And we had leftovers for breakfast the next morning since the breakfast at our motel consisted of toast and cornflakes and mediocre coffee.

That's it for now!




I have moved! I have been meaning to get my own website for a long time. I loved Wordpress but I was almost out of storage space so here we go.

If you want to catch up from before the old site was travelingsole.wordpress.com.

Things I hope to share 

  • Photo shoots
  • Travel photos
  • Before and Afters of my little house on Creamery Rd and
  • Life in general