My Birthday Trip 2015, Away and Unplugged

***Note***  This was my birthday adventure last year 2015.  I started writing about it after our trip but evidently never finished or published it.  While looking for photos of the trip i found it still in my drafts.  So here i am, almost a year later, posting it.  On another note, we enjoyed this trip so much that we have decided to do it again for my birthday this year.  Only two nights rather than one and a different, smaller cabin!

 

This year, to celebrate the start of my 38th year in this life I decided that I wanted to get away from it all.  To unplug from all the screens that run our lives.  To reconnect with nature, and myself.  After some internet research I came across this rustic, primative cabin in the  Shenandoah National Park along the Appalachian Mountains.  To get to the cabin you had to hike in around two miles into the forest, which meant carrying in everything you needed for the two days in your backpack.

I loved the idea of this, and immediately booked the cabin for the night of April 26th.  We left Saturday afternoon and spend the night in Culpeper, VA – just exploring the new little town, having happy hour at a busy little bar along the main street and deciding on Thai for dinner, before heading back to the hotel to relax and get a good night sleep before our hike the next day  Saturday was rainy and cold, so when i awoke on Sunday morning and the sun was shining i was so excited!  It turned out to be a beautiful day for a hike and to spend the night in nature.

We drove the scenic road from Culpeper to Skyline Drive.  We had three hike options to get to the cabin of varying distances, however we were warned a couple days prior that due to flooding only one of the routes was passable.  We stopped at a little gift shop along the way to get a trail map and a bottle of wine (that i had been badly wanting to have to drink by the fire at the cabin that night, to toast my birthday).  When we parked to finish up the last minute packing of our packs, i dropped the bottle of wine and it shattered all over the ground.  I was so disappointed!  But i wasn’t going to let that ruin our time.

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This is us leaving the car behind and starting our journey!

We hiked 1.8 miles, mostly downhill, until we reached Corbin Cabin.  Coming upon the cabin from the back i started to get so excited, i couldn’t wait to open it up and explore!  The renters there prior to us did a great job of having wood all stocked to start a fire.

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Inside was just as exciting!

 

we explored a little, started a fire and read through the guest book and book on the property including the history of the cabin.  After getting a good fire going we decided to start some dinner.  The water took way too long to boil in the kitchen area stove so we ended up just heating it up over the fire in the fireplace.

We had plenty of wood to last the night and went to the little creek below the cabin for our water.  After getting settled in, exploring and having dinner we cleaned up and settled down to relax.  We lit some candles and played some cards and just enjoyed the whole experience, until we were ready to fall asleep.

Up early to chop some wood, have breakfast and head out.

I hated to say good bye. wishing we had another night here

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We cleaned up, packed up and headed out for our hike back to the car.

We stopped at one of the lodge restaurant/bars for some grub and drinks before we headed back home.  This was a most incredible adventure and a way of life that is so simple and carefree, one i would love to have!  I didn’t mind not having electricity and using fire and candles to warm, light and cook.  I didn’t mind not having a toilet and having to go outside.. but i think i would miss a shower/bath tub after a while 🙂

Promotions, Birthdays, Struggles and A New Start

Right now, I am drinking delicious coffee from my Nespresso machine that my mom got me for Christmas last year.   Oh how I love the deliciousness!  I had ran out of the coffee pods a couple of months ago and haven’t been able to have any in a while.  The pods are quite expensive.  So when mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year, I told her “More Nespresso Pods!”  Only tonight I am enjoying the secret ingredient of Kahlua!  And eating some leftover chocolate birthday cake.  Is it bad that I went out and bought myself a birthday cake?  And that I am fully planning on eating the entire thing all by myself?  🙂

Last week was bad and good… for many reasons.  With my birthday coming up, I found myself dealing with some mental struggles.  The worst part of the week was the troubles in my relationship.  Troubles so bad, in my mind, that I almost gave it all up.  I was left feeling unsatisfied, and losing hope that anything would change or get better.  However, we decided to put all of that aside and step away from the battered emotions we were both left with.  We would both spend some time thinking and regroup once our emotions weren’t so raw and the open wounds weren’t so exposed.  Our plan was to just celebrate!  Enjoy my birthday and make the most of our time together.  Time that we are not fortunate enough to have as much of together as we used to.

My birthday was wonderful! I got up Saturday and started drinking my traditional birthday mimosas, watched a movie and did my nails.  Eric got home from class and planned a birthday picnic on the beach.  It was a beautiful spring day to have a picnic! Oh yea, and I finally got to wear the new dress that Eric got me for an early birthday present!  We hung out on the beach for quite a long time then headed to my favorite Mexican restaurant, Ole, for drinks and dinner.  Jumbo mango margarita for me!  At some point Eric snuck and let our server know it was my birthday so they brought out the traditional sombrero to put on my head, sang me happy birthday an Spanish, and presented us with two tequila shots in these adorable cactus shot glasses!  What a fun night.  I am sure that my face turned as red as my hear, and the sombrero.  Before the end of the night, the owner brought us over two more tequila shots, on the house.

Sunday we got up early and headed to the Eastern Shore.  We had a date for a kayak ride and winery tour at Holly Grove Winery.  Definitely a day full of activities to add to our “something new every month” list.  We had a great time kayaking the waters, enjoying how peaceful and beautiful it was.  And enjoying our time together.  Before headed back home, we stopped in Cape Charles to eat at a fun little irish pub we like.  Monday, I had the day off.  We pretty much spent the entire day lounging around on the couch, recovering from a long weekend of fun, celebration, activities and excitement.

Another exciting part of my week – bittersweet – was that my supervisor let me know that he had gotten a new job and would be moving to DC.  The good news is that they offered me the promotion into his position!  I excitedly accepted!  I am proud of myself for being offered a promotion after only six months at the organization.  A promotion that means more work and more responsibility but I feel very confident and am up for the challenge!

For now, I am going to be working very hard to impress with this new promotion.  All is good on that front and I am excited to see what the future brings.  On the personal front – I still have some things to think about, some decisions to make and some conversations to have… when the time is right.

Rejoice in whatever life gives you.  Do not crave otherwise.  Know that whatever you have been given is for your own highest good.

The world spins without your help, people do what they do, and your life will run its course one way or the other.  Sometimes your plans don’t work out.  You can decide not to get upset, anxious, or angry about things over which you have no power.  You can choose to do your job and live your life with integrity, compassion, mindful observance, and a healthy sense of humor.

Maybe I had been looking at things all wrong.  Maybe I had been expecting too much.  Those are still thoughts I am contemplating.  Until things become more clear, I have decided that the best way to look at the struggles is to realize that I am blessed to have what I do.  And maybe I need to be more grateful and less demanding?  The best way to look at things, for the moment, is that we have been given another chance.  An opportunity to make a new start and to make the most of each and every moment.

 

Contemplation

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This picture looks like a good place to think, contemplate, ponder the questions of life.

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Maybe with age comes more thought.  In a few days I will be 36.  It seems that hump over 35 makes me more alert that 40 really is just right around the corner.  Holy Crap, how did I get to be almost 40 years old?  I have always felt, acted and looked so much younger than my true biological age.  Hardly anyone would ever believe I was the age I am.  But these last… maybe two years, I would say that age has slowly started to catch up with me.  I am feeling older, which I believe in turn makes me act older, leading to looking older.

But when it comes to birthdays, no matter your age, I have always thought it important to celebrate birthdays.  To celebrate your life.  To make this day stand out apart from all others and make it special and memorable.  And even better to have someone in your life who understands that and goes out of their way to put towards the thought and effort to make this day special, and not ordinary.

I think it is probably pretty normal to start to take a deeper look at your life.  Are you where you thought you would be?  Are you where you want to be?  Are you working toward being the best you that you can be?  Are you surrounding yourself with the people who bring out the best in you?  Are you making a positive impact towards humanity and this universe?

What more do you want out of life?  Are you getting all that you need and want, feeling fulfilled?  If not, what do you need to do to change that?  Is it something that you can change in your current circumstances?  If not, will you be content to live life the way things are, without the changes that you are seeking?  Or do you need to change your life circumstances in order to receive that fulfillment.  It is easy to look toward someone else to help fulfill those desires, needs and wants.  But what if they are no longer able to, or choose not to?  You can’t change anyone else.  What they choose to do or not to do is only within them, and out of your control, no matter how hard you try.  So in turn, you can only control your self.  So what does that mean?  No matter how hard you try to amend your situation and circumstances to help yourself feel more fulfilled and satisfied with life, if you are relying on someone else for some part of that… you are out of luck?  What else is there to think?   What else is there to do?  I am not satisfied with that answer, yet no matter what I try or what other questions I ask myself, that is the only thing I can seem to come up with.

What do you do… when something is missing?  Something that you used to have, something that made you so happy, excited, fulfilled and connected.  Then for some reason, seemingly unknown, it fades away.  Sometimes it comes back here and there, but never stays as long as you would hope for it to.  When you can’t figure out, no matter how hard you try, why it went away and why it won’t just stay… like it used to.  When you ask for it to come back, when you specifically voice that is what you want, what you need… but you are still left searching.  What do you do?