how does this author know so much about me?

A friend sent me this blog post today and as I read it, I kept thinking; YES! YES! YES! That is totally me.


She’s the one with the messy unkempt hair colored by the sun. Her skin is now far from fair like it once was. Not even sun kissed. It’s burnt with multiple tan lines, wounds and bites here and there. But for every flaw on her skin, she has an interesting story to tell.

Don’t date a girl who travels. She is hard to please. The usual dinner-movie date at the mall will suck the life out of her. Her soul craves for new experiences and adventures. She will be unimpressed with your new car and your expensive watch. She would rather climb a rock or jump out of an airplane than hear you brag about it.

Don’t date a girl who travels because she will bug you to book a flight every time there’s an airline seat sale. She wont party at Republiq. And she will never pay over $100 for Avicii because she knows that one weekend of clubbing is equivalent to one week somewhere far more exciting.

Chances are, she can’t hold a steady job. Or she’s probably daydreaming about quitting. She doesn’t want to keep working her ass off for someone else’s dream. She has her own and is working towards it. She is a freelancer. She makes money from designing, writing, photography or something that requires creativity and imagination. Don’t waste her time complaining about your boring job.

Don’t date a girl who travels. She might have wasted her college degree and switched careers entirely. She is now a dive instructor or a yoga teacher. She’s not sure when the next paycheck is coming. But she doesn’t work like a robot all day, she goes out and takes what life has to offer and challenges you to do the same.

Don’t date a girl who travels for she has chosen a life of uncertainty. She doesn’t have a plan or a permanent address. She goes with the flow and follows her heart. She dances to the beat of her own drum. She doesn’t wear a watch. Her days are ruled by the sun and the moon. When the waves are calling, life stops and she will be oblivious to everything else for a moment. But she has learned that the most important thing in life isn’t surfing.

Don’t date a girl who travels as she tends to speak her mind. She will never try to impress your parents or friends. She knows respect, but isn’t afraid to hold a debate about global issues or social responsibility.

She will never need you. She knows how to pitch a tent and screw her own fins without your help. She cooks well and doesn’t need you to pay for her meals. She is too independent and wont care whether you travel with her or not. She will forget to check in with you when she arrives at her destination. She’s busy living in the present. She talks to strangers. She will meet many interesting, like-minded people from around the world who share her passion and dreams. She will be bored with you.

So never date a girl who travels unless you can keep up with her. And if you unintentionally fall in love with one, don’t you dare keep her. Let her go.


I’m amidst one of the worst winter-duldrum/when does this end and get warm again already/why am I not living in the tropics/on the road full time right now- times I’ve ever had. I’m sure you’re probably thinking boo-hoo, Diane- don’t you travel enough? Haven’t you been to enough spots? Aren’t you thankful for what you have done and where you have gone? Well, no, no, and yes. Travel is simply a part of my heart & soul. I can’t explain it. The above blog post makes me want to run- not walk, and do more.

I’ve tried so hard to shake this pesky bug, this lifestyle, this insatiable hunger for all things exploration and travel, but I just can’t. Sigh. I want to (I really do!) I want to be “normal” but I just can’t be. I’ve realized more and more lately, that probably the only thing that will ever keep me happy is living light and free; Free to stay if I want, to go if I want, to embrace the full “Me-ness” that is me, the forever overly curious, fight to feel truly alive everyday, wanderer.

At the moment I’m under a big blanket feeling cold, stuck, pretty uninspired, and not really myself. In an effort to ditch those yuck feelings, I just perused a bunch of my goofy, fun, and slightly ridiculous travel photos:

The above photo should actually say; I just love everything…TRAVEL. 

Ok, now I feel better. I guess when those blah, endless feeling wintery days strike- It’s best to fight back with memories of all the awesome that has been a part of my life already, and all that is still to come.

The reason I started my current BLR 365 project (have you seen it and gotten on board yet?) is exactly for days like this. I really do believe we can feel totally alive and make everyday an adventure, even when we are feeling glum/stuck/yuck. It’s all about taking a minute during your standard day, to look back, dream forward, do something creative, or let your mind wander about all that’s possible in the future.

What makes your soul burst with excitement?

#LifeOfATraveler #Wanderlust #StayUnstuck

PS~ A huge THANK YOU! To my always supportive, fellow lover of all things travel & adventure, fantastic friend, David who sent me Don’t date a girl who travels.


365 days of blue lollipop road; day 26


Today is my Mom’s birthday!

Because #1 she’s the best Mom a kid could have, and #2 she gave me life, this BLR is in celebration of her:

To all the amazing Mom’s out there who teach us to live authentically, those who cheer us on to believe that absolutely anything is possible, and those who support us to never give up on any of our dreams…we thank you!

Love you, Mom. Thanks for being the best. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! 

This is what my road looks like today. What’s happening on yours?

#BLR365 #LifeOnTheBlueLollipopRoad #MyMomRocks


365 days of blue lollipop road; day 25


One of today’s BLR’s is by far my favorite of the first 25 days of this project. Check out this submission, by Sydney, Ema, & Nathaniel (left to right) from Louisiana:

How cool is this pic, made from the Comic Book! iPad app?! Love it. Gives me an idea for another BLR creation with people for later. (Yes, that means you’ll have to stay tuned to see what I come up with. I might just recruit you to be a part of it!)

So not only did these super awesome kids pose for this photo, but they sent 2 others too! Sydney & Ema made this one out of bottle caps, clothes pins, and Wikki Sticks:

(I totally just had to Google “Wikki Sticks” to see what they were. I guess I’m not as cool as I thought)…and Nathaniel made this one with his toy trains:

He wanted to make sure I knew that the “R” is made up entirely of boxcars. How cute!

Thank you Sydney, Ema, & Nathaniel for my first kid submissions! Feel free to send in more BLR’s anytime. The more the merrier, so keep staying curious and crafty!

Who else is ready to make a BLR?

Send me your submissions: Diane(@)

#BLR365 #LifeOnTheBlueLollipopRoad #CraftyKids


365 days of blue lollipop road; day 23


Hello submissions! We are on a roll!

This just in from a new Blue Lollipop Road reader, Grace:

Here she is!

She makes maps for a living. (Um…how awesome is that?!) She’s been stuck at her desk all day today, so she said she was happy to participate in the BLR project fun.

Here’s to getting creative, even when you might feel stuck, and to letting yourself daydream about anything and everything during the middle of a work day.

Thanks Grace!

Who else is ready to make a BLR?

Send me your submissions: Diane(@) so I can share here!

#BLR365 #LifeOnTheBlueLollipopRoad #CubicalCreations

PS~ If you ever get to Wilmington, NC– you should definitely go nosh at Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn. It is gooood…


365 days of blue lollipop road; day 18


From the Megs Miles Facebook Page sent to me by a good friend a couple days ago:

Meg Cross Menzies was tragically killed by a drunk driver while out for her morning run on January 13, 2014. As an avid runner, member of the Richmond Road Runners Club, and Boston marathoner, she was a member of the running family nationwide. In her honor, our hope is to raise awareness of drunk driving, texting and driving, and overall safety of runners and cyclists everywhere. 

This Saturday, January 18, 2014, no matter what your distance, no matter where you live, run for Meg. Take in the fresh air, be aware of your surroundings, keep your headphones on low, feel the heaviness in your lungs, the soreness in your legs, and be grateful for it–for all of it. The sweat, the pain, the wind, the cold…everything. Be grateful for that moment. 

I’m a runner and I lived in Richmond for many years, surrounded by amazing friends and a wonderful community. When I heard this news I of course wanted to participate in honor of Meg. What a tragic story and another reason to be thankful for the time we have the people we love. Today I have “made” my BLR my run for Meg, in honor of a woman I didn’t know personally, but a fellow runner, and someone who sounds like an amazing person who was very much loved by all she crossed paths with.


My big smile might look a little too happy, before a bit of a somber run- but all I was thinking when giving the thumbs up, was about celebrating time with those who are so special to each of us. Blue Lollipop Road is in honor of people who were taken from me far too young and far too soon, like Meg- but the spirit of those who we have the fortune to spend time with that are as special as my friends were, and it sounds like Meg was, will truly live on forever.

Here’s to love and support for Meg’s family far away, and to knowing that to live in our hearts, is never to die.

This is what my road looks like today. What’s happening on yours?

#BLR365 #Megsmiles #ThingsThatMatter #RunForMeg


speaking of food

As I keep playing with food to make many of my BLR’s for my 365 project, let’s go all the way foodie-foodfest and help me in supporting my very good friend, and former soccer teammate- Chef Ryan Hutmacher for ABC’s The Chew! Yippee! Ryan is part of The search for the weightwatchers chef!

Here we are a few weeks ago when I was in Chicago:

Ryan was busy and hard at work, so our lunch catch up was where else? His studio; Centered Chef.

To say that Ryan has been a good friend and support to me, and all things Blue Lollipop Road over the past few years, is an understatement. He is that positive, but no bs cheerleader. The do the right thing when nobody is watching, honest to goodness, passionate, loyal, smart, driven, talented, sweet, and funny guy we all should be lucky enough to have in our lives to keep us inspired. I have seen few people work harder and be more dedicated than Ryan. Blood, sweat, tears, and more, this guy is the perfect example of stand-up, never stop following your dreams, and do work that matters. I hope anyone reading this will join me and  click on this link here and “like” on the Facebook/ABC Chew page to help support Ryan in this competition.

Good luck Ryan! Thank you for your continued support with all my big Blue Lollipop Road goals. You will continue to inspire health, wellness, and that anything really is possible- in all of us.

Here’s to going for it!

#WorkThatMatters #CenteredChef #LiveWell


blr goes patagonia

More specifically, El Chalten.

Meet Erin, who’s sporting her BLR tee:

Erin sporting BLR tee in Patagonia

Erin’s Blue Lollipop Road took her here on a trip of a lifetime. Can you say gorgeous? Sign me up! Oh the paces to go.

Where does your Blue Lollipop Road take you?

#LifeOnTheBlueLollipopRoad #Adventure #Travel

***(Want to make a “BLR” if you don’t have a tee and send me a photo? I love it- please do, and I will post and share here:)


meet henry

Henry of Griffith Street Consignments

I met henry today at Griffith Street Consignments, and bought this antique trunk from him:

Antique truck

Antique truck

It’s no secret that I like talking to strangers, but today I was on a search and in one-track mind mission mode, not necessarily my chatty self…until Henry came over to ask if I was finding everything Ok.

There we stood near that fantastic trunk for the next 30 minutes, talking away. I started the bartering process (of course– my Mother taught me well!), he gave me a bit of a discount, he asked where I was from, I told him Vermont, he said I was the first person he’d ever met from Vermont. From there we went into full life story speed-share. He’s from North Carolina, retired Army (thank you military men and women!), he used to own a big furniture staging company after he retired and before the housing market crash, I told him I’ve traveled all over the US and beyond, have always lived pretty sparsely, that all my belonging fit in my car, and that I had come to Charlotte because It’s one of the only east coast cities I haven’t explored much of yet. He shared about his time in the military, that he has dogs, keeps a garden, and for years himself- lived very simply and sparsely when he was young, owning few belongings:

“Once during my Army years, I flew in from Germany to Brooklyn and drove back down south with everything I owned, including a parakeet in a cage…all in my Austin-Healey!” – he told me with an adorable chuckle. (The above photo does no justice to Henry’s happy, smiley face in real life.)

(Side note: I love that Hemmings Motor News– which is based in my home town- popped up first when I Googled “Austin-Healey” to get car info.)

I asked Henry if I could take his photo and joked, “unless you think I am crazy of course…” He replied “Oh I am crazy too, so no worries!” We laughed. He was kind, sweet, interesting, and full of life & stories. I could’ve stayed and talked with him for hours.

One of my most favorite ways to spend time has always been to spend it with kind, sweet, interesting people, who are full of life and full of stories, especially with those who happen into your path and make a little mark on your day when you least expect it. What a treat.

Thanks for making my day Henry! I’ll look forward to hearing more stories when I come back to pick up my new (old) trunk.

What kind of people do you enjoy spending time with?

#Connecting #PeopleAlongTheWay #OperationCharlotte #LifeOnTheBlueLollipopRoad




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


"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:


…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


blr supports people doing good

It’s Friday! Want to pay it forward and donate a few bucks to an amazing young woman who’s constantly giving back to her community?

Support my former employee and friend Crystal Collins here for her AIDS Walk Philly Campaign. I just did!

I’ve known Crystal for close to 10 years now. When she walked in the door for an interview with me in 2004, she was a quiet, mousey, college kid who seemed so shy. First impressions can be deceiving! She ended up blowing my mind with her personality, drive, ambition, and work ethic. (And she continues to.) In the years since Crystal worked for me, she’s traveled far and wide helping people in need around the globe, she’s volunteered/worked for countless community activist groups, and she’s mentored hundreds of teens. She never fails to have a sweet positive energy that makes me smile every time I see or talk to her. I feel like a proud mamma watching her grow. She has an absolute heart of gold. This “kid” is really one in a million.

Thank you for being awesome Crystal! You inspire me. I feel honored to call you my friend.

Help me support this amazing young woman and one of her many selfless projects!

Who do you support?

#AIDSWalkPhilly #PeopleWhoRock #InspiringYoungWomen