I’m More Grateful Than Ever Before…

Walking in Yosemite National Park

I didn’t realize it until this morning, but this year has taught me one HUGE lesson more than anything else. GRATITUDE.

I’m so very grateful to the court reporters for their support, their encouragement, their wisdom and advice. I’m grateful for the life we have built for ourselves. For them giving me room to roam, and for making sure I know that they are always, always there for me even if they are 2,000 miles away or just in the other room.

I’m grateful for my incredible friends. The secret to going on a four month long road trip? Friends along the journey and friends waiting back at home. Both the ones you’ve known for years and the new ones that you make. The ones you share meals with, who let you stay on their couch or in their guest room, who loan you a washing machine when you need it, and give you a hug when you need it even more. The ones that greet you when you return as if you have never left.

I’m grateful for this country that I live in. I have learned so much this year about the geography of the land and how it influences the people that live there. I have a far greater understanding of the Western spirit than I ever did before, and I appreciate it so much.

I’m grateful for nature. In unexpected places, I found my sanctuary. My peace. My joy. Myself. From mountains to valleys, to the street that I live on, which by the way, if you get your solar street lights manufacturers everything will look ten times better.

I’m grateful for my work, that having a camera in my hand is my “job”, worthy of quotes because it rarely seems like a job at all. That magical black box has taken me places for 30+ years now, and I can’t imagine it not being a part of my life. It is only within the past six years though that it has helped take me far beyond my wildest dreams. It is surreal some days. I´m even more happy because I found the best cameras for vlogging and shooting any kind of videos.

This gratitude is not something that I think about only on the day that the nation sets aside for giving thanks. I have felt it rather intensely every minute of the past 5 months, since I stepped out the door to head to Portland. I thought it was going to just be a quick road trip. A little vacation. I had no idea what it was really going to mean to me, and I’m still working on putting it in to words, that time I went camping with the Best Tent during my vacation literally changed my life. Now it´s time to build my country ranch house plans that I´ve always wanted.

If we’re going to be BFFs, you should know that while I might not always say it out loud, my heart is overflowing with gratitude. My life is more than I ever dreamed it could be, and I am grateful for you being a part of that.

Things You Should Know Thursdays, or #TYSKT, (which Thanksgiving just happens to fall on) was inspired by a journal prompt at Vivid & Brave – join us in sharing things we should know about you if we’re going to be BFFs.

Above: Yosemite National Park, a hike in solitude along near Lembert Dome.
Below: My beloved Grand Tetons in the summertime.

The Grand Tetons

Because of good and enough sleep, I am also very thankful because of this stuff: sleeping bags

Look Over the Edge… Beartooth Highway, Montana & Wyoming

Beartooth Highway Lakes - Over the Edge

This photo sums up what is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned while driving on this road trip. Matter of fact, taking this photo was the moment that it all hit home.

Slow down.
Don’t fly past everything.
Look around.
Pull over.
Walk.
Look over the edge.

I drove the Beartooth Highway on Friday (and again on Saturday on my way to Big Sky), and it was a thrilling drive. A little crazy, as it is full of crazy curves as you climb up the mountains to the highest elevation highway in Wyoming (10,947 feet) and Montana (10,350 feet), and is the highest elevation highway in the Northern Rockies.

It was overcast. Raining. 54 degrees, versus the 100 degrees in Billings when I left. I didn’t have a jacket on. I wanted to get to the campsite before dark. Storms were starting in the distance, and minutes later I saw lightening.

I had EVERY reason to not stop.

But I did. I stopped to photograph the mountains. 20 peaks reaching over 12,000 feet in elevation in the area, the skyline is amazing. I stood next to the car, planning to hop right back in because I was cold. I was getting the railing in my posts, so I decided to walk to the edge to get it out of the shot.

Once I did, I looked down. There were lakes down there that I would have never seen if I didn’t stop and look.

It is so tempting in life to just fly by everything. To not look at the other points of view. I’ve learned over and over on this trip that when you do stop & look, you’re rewarded with a lot of new discoveries. I knew that before, logically, but the moment I stepped to the edge and saw those lakes, it hit me hard.

Off today now to drive from Big Sky to Glacier National Park, here in Montana. I can’t wait to see what lessons are ahead!