Honda

HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY BLUE LOLLIPOP ROAD!

YIPPEE!!!

Today is Wednesday October 16, and this makes b-day number 5 for BLR. Let’s celebrate!

Cupcake anyone?!

She-Daisy Cupcakery Cupcake

This is the perfect time to write about the above de-lish treat (sun drop pound cake with a sun drop glaze and lemon buttercream) that Wendi, Owner of She Daisy Cupcakery gifted me a few weeks ago after she bought a pair of my vintage Frye boots. (Craigslist rocks.) So yeah, I took a treat from a stranger. (I seem to keep breaking all those rules our parents told us to live by.) Wendi was a blast to talk to. She quit a career that was blah, followed her passion to the land of things sweet- and voila a cupcake company! Another good story about a random encounter with a hard-working, inspiring person who followed their heart. I love being able to share about these kind of people here.

Without a doubt the best part of these past 5 years on the Blue Lollipop Road, has been meeting new people, the kindness of strangers, and spending time with those already in my life that I love. What else is there, really?

Ahhh- yes, the people I’ve met along the way, who share similar interests:

Million Mile Joe

Hood River, Oregon travel people

Allen & Judy Kirkwood on Alaska Ferry Boat

Meet Jack Burrows: Blue Lollipop Road

…the cities I’ve fallen in love with:

Chicago skyline from my apartment

Toronto view

…my various office locations:

Blue Benn Diner Office

Coffee Shop Office

Finger Lakes Office

My BLR Chicago Office

Coffee Shop Office

Coffee Shop Patio Office

…the food I’ve noshed on:

Chicago Brunch de-lish

Food truck tacos

Bongo Room Pancakes

Blue Benn Diner breakfast appetizer

…the places that’ve helped me find the way back to myself:

Thank you Argentina! I found myself again

…the signs that make me laugh:

Signs at The Chocolate Barn

Signs In Bathrooms

Upstate, NY Road Signs

Farmer's Market

Funny Signs: Blue Lollipop Road

Funny Signs: Blue Lollipop Road

…the excitement, energy, and adorable kids (and adults) who keep the Strong Mojo alive:

BLR Play It Forward Day 2012

Ben & Sam with blue tongues

The Carter Girls playing mini gold in BLR tees

Blue Lollipop Kids!

Caleb & Carter with blue tongues

Scott & Sierra love blue lollipops

…the adventure from coast to coast and beyond:

Cape Elizabeth, Maine

BLR-Mobile at the Alaska Border

BLR in Bermuda

The original Blue Lollipop Road: Cafayete, Argentina

Henna in India

Bermuda sights

Iquazu Falls, Argentina

London

"Crabbing" in Ketchikan, Alaska

…the lessons I’ve learned:

BLR inspiration

…the special friends I’ve reconnected with:

BLR Play It Forward Day 2012

BLR Play It Forward 2013

BLR PLay It Forward Day 2012

BLR PLay It Forward Celebration Cocktails 2013

…honoring lost friends by giving back to hometown female athletes, so they have the opportunity to go out and see a bigger world too:

BLR Memorial Scholarship recipients Hannah Patterson & Mercedes Chen

(Above left 2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson, and 2013 recipient Mercedes Chen at a recent soccer game:)

…events with good friends in beloved landmarks:

Cubs at Wrigley!

…the strangers out there who’re also on the Blue Lollipop Road:

BLR partners in crime

…the freedom I have found and felt:

Finding freedom on the Blue Lollipop Road

Finding freedom on the Blue Lollipop Road

…the truths I’ve come to know and trust:

Knowing what makes me richer

…the journeys and daydreaming in the sky:

Plane ride to Bermuda

…and on the road:

VA farm country

…the cheesy places I’ve been:

BLR-Mobile at South of the Border

…and the beautiful:

Napa hot air balloon mornings

…the nicknames I’ve acquired:

Nicknames

…knowing that there will always be bumps, so I better strap in tight:

Buckle up on the BLR

…never losing faith in things that I hope for:

I think so too

Things I wish

…and to wherever, and whatever- the road leads to next:

The Blue Lollipop Road

5 years ago today I drove down a road in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and “Blue Lollipop Road” popped ever so randomly into my head as I was brainstorming a best way to share my stories with more than just family and close friends. Who knew this is what it would become! I’ve managed all the above on a shoestring budget and with no plan whatsoever. I didn’t grow up with a trust fund, I never spent my childhood jet-setting the globe with my parents (I barely made it out of the state of Vermont until I was 15), I’ve never taken any writing or computer classes (I’m sure that is very obvious considering my regular grammatical errors and other:), and at the risk of sounding so cliche’- I’m just a small town wildly curious kid, that came from humble beginnings, learned in an heartbreaking incident at a very young age how short life is, and since then have decided that every day is a chance and a choice to live like I mean it. During my journeys on this Blue Lollipop Road, I’ve learned things that’ve absolutely changed my perspective and my life as a whole, I’ve seen places that’ve taken my breath away, and I’ve met people I wouldn’t have been able to in my wildest dreams- all because of this platform. Now that is something to celebrate!

I’ve written and shared here in and effort to keep myself in check and awake about what’s really important, to prevent myself from falling into the drone-zone, and to remember all the things that are possible. I hope by visiting here, you stay fired-up about life, like a kid in a candy store too.

Here’s to the next 5 years, and to going for it all.

What are you celebrating today?

#HappyBirthday #LifeOnTheBlueLollipopRoad #ThisIsWhatILove.

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ILOVERMONT

It’s amazing how when you grow up here, all that’s on your mind is; UGH- this place is sooooo boring. I can’t wait to get out of here!

Vermont Farm

BLR-Mobile in Vermont

Vermont Farm

…Then when you’re a grown up and spend time here, all you think is; SIGH- this place is sooooo beautiful. Can I stay a bit longer? 

Saturday afternoons in the summer wandering around like today will never get old for this Vermont kid..

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a stop in the shop

Holy moses we have a lot to catch up on! I’ve just finished a whirlwind and unplanned (isn’t that always the way) 5 weeks and 5,000 miles on the road. (Yes, five thousand) The results, just to share a few:

1.) A happy girl, because I:
*Found a home base city
*Got to participate in fun activities
*Worked from many interesting places with pretty views
*Saw lots of great people in lots of fun places like Charlotte, Nashville, Columbus, and Chicago
*Ate lots of de-lish food
*Had the moments of quiet I live for; On the road alone, windows down and dreaming big

2.) A very tired BLR-Mobile that ended up on the shop yesterday after my trek from Chicago to Vermont for a bit of an emergency appointment:

BLR-Mobile goes in the shop

(Tear, I know…)

Fret not though! (Ok, so I was freaking out a little because after all- this car is my home.) She’s getting all fixed up as we speak and it was “just” a wheel bearing. When I asked the mechanic in a panicked voice as he and I drove around the block so he could hear the loud rumble I was worried about “What the heck could cause that?!” He looked at my odometer and replied: “185,000 miles causes that!” We both laughed.

Oh yeah- that wear and tear thing. This car really does work hard for me. No wonder she needed some love! I have never put a single penny into my amazing partner in crime other than for regular maintenance. That’s what I’m talking about! (I love you Honda:)

I have a laundry list of things to share, news, updates and exciting things about BLR Play It Forward coming up in just 6 shorts weeks, interviews I’ve been asked to do, the Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship, and other awesomeness. Catching breath and up on work after a 5,000 speed-racer road trip is a big pile to tackle, so I’ll be back. Right now It’s time to go pick up the mighty Civic. I feel like my left arm is missing without her!.

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queen city to music city

Windows down, warm and sunny on the road is my perfect kind of day, so naturally the drive from Charlotte to Nashville in the green nature gorgeousness made me very happy yesterday. I highly recommend the 6.5 hour trek to anyone who hasn’t been through Western, NC/Smoky Mountains.

One little hiccup though, was that my malfunction indicator lamp came on in my trusty little Civic:

BLR-Mobile has a boo boo

My car is my constant and these lights never come on so I was worried for a few seconds there. Thankfully at this point nothing seems to be wrong. (It’s a Honda and I never go without AAA so I’m not afraid to keep on trekking.) This light can come on if something as simple as your gas cap isn’t screwed on tight enough. I made stop into an Advance Auto Parts and had them hook up a code reader just in case to make sure I was good to go and nothing seemed alarming so I kept moving! 183k plus and counting.

It was near 90 degrees, so when I stopped outside Asheville, at one of those gas/McDonald’s stations to fuel up the BLR-Mobile, I went inside to grab a diet coke with lemon. (Always a craving on a hot day.) The young kid behind the counter handed me a cup and winked as I pulled out my money to pay, shaking his head and offering “Have a nice day!”

Why thank you, young one. I promise to pay it forward:

McDonald's Diet Coke

A full tank of gas, full diet coke, and full water cup and I was on my way through this beautiful scene:

Great Smokey Mountains

…and drove through sunset as I rolled into Nashville:

Sunset outside Nashville

Sunset outside Nashville

Not too shabby for a bug-splattered windshield.

There’s nothing like a Great America Road Trip. If you’ve never just jumped in the car for a few days with no plan- do it. It will change your life..

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good charlotte

What a lovely little weekend I have had. Lots of time outside, caught up with an old soccer friend from VT, found myself a sweet home base place and the BLR-Moble got a bath after several weeks of up and down the east coast on the road:

Southend- my new home

Pool time

The BLR-Mobile in the NC sun

Next stops:

Knoxville, Nashville, Columbus, Chicago and Vermont before circling back to the place they call the Queen City.

Drop me a line if you’re in/around any of the above spots! You know I love a good catch up..

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hello new england!

I’m going on 1,500 miles in 5 days, racking up the miles on the BLR-Mobile:

Racking up the miles on the Civic

…going from DC to Charlotte, back up through VA, DC again, Maryland, NJ, NY, into MA:

Massachusetts State Line

Why? To get to my New England summer home base of course! To work on a most exciting project with:

Rita's books

…and a few other amazing people.

Big things. Good things. GREAT things are happening and the tipping point has tipped.

Boo-yah! .

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tetris and other tricks

Recently I’ve gone from home base to home less once again. (Don’t cry for me Argentina, this is a chosen mobility.)

I’ve boasted many times in the past about my mad organizational skills and ability to live light, and I admit I am patting myself on the back a bit again today for this. As I was unloading the BLR-Mobile and repacking all my life belongings for the 7,777th time, I couldn’t help but think; Man do I rule at box and car tetris. Michael Phelps gets the gold for his by-a-tenth-of-an-inch precision in the pool, I think I should medal in- I fit all of THAT in THAT size box/bag/bin/compartment with not a fingernail length to spare like him.

Here’s an old photo of my mighty partner in crime during one of the pack, unpack, repack, days. This photos was taken in September of 2011, after I arrived in NJ to pick up my new Honda Civic Hybrid for my Honda sponsored road trip. The transition time never usually looks this neat and tidy, but I have just discovered during my iPhoto search, that surprisingly have very few car packing day photos:

The BLR-Mobile in NJ September, 2011

If you’ve followed here for any length of time you know, that everything I own fits very comfortably in my little Honda Civic any time I want it to. When I rent an apartment or find home base, I buy the big “stuff” I need, and when I leave I sell it. This is not only fun (because who doesn’t like furniture and vintage store shopping and scoping)- but also affordable for the smallest of salaries.

How you ask? Well:
1.) I usually resell for the same price I pay for items (up to 25% less- worst case scenario.)
2.) I don’t have to move any large items because buyers come for purchase pick ups.
3.) I never pay for storage.

Yet another bit of insight on how I have afforded my nomadic lifestyle on a very low budget.

The ability to sell for free on Craigslist, and liquor stores anywhere USA that offer free piles of boxes on any given day- are a very beautiful thing. It’s not easy, it takes a lot work, sweat and organization, but It’s all very, very worth it to be able to live free. There’s a good possibility I’ll continue training to stay on the medals podium in the unpacking and repacking Olympics forever..

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what are you leaping for?

I’m sure you all have seen the fantastically awesome new Honda commercials for the CRV the Leap List. There are lots of good ones, but my favorite is Ferris Bueller of course! Gotta love his last line:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Here’s my current leap list. I’ve already checked off things like running a marathon, working at the Olympics, road tripping across the country and spending time in all 50 states, whitewater rafting on the Grand Canyon, Hiking to Half Dome at Yosemite, skydiving, etc. but there’s always room for more.

Make your Leap List here today and start jumping. There’s always a safety net on the other side. I promise..

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