Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Everyday Adventure Challenge #12

Road Trip!
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I saw on TV the other night that gas prices are the lowest they have been in six years!  SIX YEARS!! Do you understand how crazy that is?!?! We all know they won't stay that low for long, so take advantage of it. And by take advantage I don't mean go stock up on gas like its the apocalypse. 
Road trips are almost an American past time.  The United States is a gorgeous place and as such lends itself to amazing scenery regardless of your location. (If you're not in the US, there are plenty of places around the world that are built for road trips.  Send me an email and we can discuss…plus it would just be fun to chat :D). You can road trip pretty much anywhere in the US, and the view outside your window will never disappoint. 
A road trip does not mean that you have to pack up in an RV and travel across the country (even though that would be AWESOME). I realize that we have just gotten through the holidays, so vacation time might not be in abundant supply.  But most likely there are wonders just hours away that you have never had time to see before.  Mansion tours, waterfalls, hiking paths, natural wonders (like in the Great Smokey Mountains of Tennessee every year, a bazzillion fireflies come out and do a synchronized light dance.  Check it out), could be anything.  Sometimes the areas closest to you end up being the areas you explore the least.  And even if all you have is a weekend your possibilities are still endless.
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For example.  Branson, Missouri!  *Crickets Crickets*  Hear me out on this one. Branson is filled with entertainment, music, shows, a whole variety of things to do.  But the best part about it, Branson is within a days drive from almost anywhere in the continental US!  No joke! A DAYS DRIVE!  And thats just one place.  There are places all over the country that might be even cooler and even closer, you just have to look. 
And sometimes, it doesn’t matter about your destination, its the journey that counts. For those type of people, check out this site or this one or THIS ONE! They are filled with ideas for the best road side attractions in the world.  My personal favorite.  The Cryptozoology Museum!  
In fact check out this site tooRoadtrippers has tons of ideas of crazy amazing places to go and see all over the US.  All meant for road trips. And while we are at it, lets add one more link. The 39 BEST ROAD TRIP SONGS!!
Now you have everything you need to get out there and there is no better time than now to add adventure to your life, so go and hit the open road!

——I’m always interested to hear about your adventures!  So send me your stories, tips, or whatever you want!  Either comment below, or send me an email to makeyourownadventures@yahoo.com

Monday, January 12, 2015

Everyday Adventure Challenge #11

Set Some Goals
No!! This is NOT a New Year’s Resolution.  I purposely waited this long so this did NOT get clumped with the resolution rave that comes at the beginning of each year.  The reason for this is, with a New Year’s Resolution, there is almost always an underlying feeling of “it’s just a resolution”, which then takes all seriousness away from the actual thing you want to do.  ALSO, New Year’s Resolutions are kind of infamous for being vague.  I want to lose weight.  I want to eat healthy.  I want to quit smoking.  I want to start exercising.  The problem with this, is that vague goals lend themselves to being easy to talk yourself out of.  Such as “I want to lose weight.” So I start the year off by going to the gym, eating “healthy” and lose ten pounds!  YAY!  But then by the end of January I have technically “completed” my resolution, so I fall back into my own patterns and gain it all back.  This is NOT what this challenge is about.
Chasing Goals By
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Make Your Own Adventures is about getting things done.  Actually doing things!  And one of the best ways to do this is to set SPECIFIC GOALS.  Not “I want to Lose Weight”. More like “This year, I want to start going to the gym at least three times a week and using Fitness Pal everyday including the weekends. By doing this I hope to gain muscle mass and lose fat” Ufda! Did I really just set that goal for myself this year?  I guess so, and I have you as my witness, so I will keep you posted on how that goes.
By setting specific goals, with specific steps to take to get to them, it makes your goals that much more attainable. And by keeping them specific, it also makes them easier to do in general. Because instead of spending time wondering what you are going to do to 
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try and lose weight, you know exactly what you need to do regardless of how much weight you lose.  This also makes it easier to do long term.
Now me personally, think it is kind of hard to figure out goals to set for an entire year. So, as a reference to you I have included my list of goals below. Hopefully this can help you come up with some ideas for what you want to accomplish this year! Check it out!

  • Expand the Make Your Own Adventures community to be at least 2,000 Instagram followers, 500 Twitter followers and 50 blog followers through networking, sharing peoples’ stories and new segments on the blog.
  • Continue to go to the gym at least 4 days a week and use Fitness Pal every day.
  • Finish my book by using Wednesdays as writing days consistently
  • Take classes in website design, graphic design, writing, blog administration, and video recording.
  • Continue to create projects at work that align with my goals in my career.
  • Be Present – by enjoying things as they come and not constantly being plugged in.

Post some of your goals in the comments below.  I would love to see them and could use the inspiration to go towards my 2015 goals!  Together, let’s make 2015 the best year ever!!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Everyday Adventure Challenge #10

JuJu Jar

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Hope you had a lot of fun this holiday season!  Hopefully, you are done nursing your New Year’s Eve hangovers and are ready for adventure!
The JuJu Jar is almost as magical as this pic by
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This year my resolution is to fill my life with adventures, big and small. But just in case you partied hard enough for the need of a two day recovery, we decided to start this year off with an easy one.

Now, I am not going to lie.  I saw this idea on Pinterest (don’t judge), but I loved it.  And for the record, Make Your Own Adventures came up with the name. Oh yeah!  Anyway, it is super simple and such a good thing to do.  We are all about making adventure in our everyday life and learning to value the little victories of everyday, so this idea helps to acknowledge all of these little things.

What you do is you get a jar, mason jar, milk jug, coffee tin, whatever floats your boat. The only thing you have to do is clean it out, so it is completely empty and not covered in muk, and you’re done (really no joke that’s it)…  For now.  Then every time throughout the year something good happens, like you go on an epic adventure, your kid learns to tie his shoes, you actually complete an adventure challenge the week it is posted (hint hint), you write it down and put it in your jar/jug/tin.  Collecting your "good juju".

Then at the end of 2015, on New Year’s Eve night, you dump it out and go through it! It is such an easy way to remember all of the awesome things that sometimes get overlooked in the year.  And really all it takes is for you to clean out a jar, and maybe, if you are feeling really ambitious, label it.  That’s it.  Even if you are nursing a wicked hangover, you can still do that.  So get to it and let’s make 2015 a year to remember!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Everyday Adventure Challenge #9

Random Act of Kindness

It's easy to get wrapped up in the holiday spirit this time of year, but to many people this season isn't the most cheerful. For some people it can be downright hard! So this week’s challenge is an easier one and one that we should strive to do throughout the year. Random acts of kindness tend to have a ripple effect. A smile and a helping hand often become contagious. And we are not talking about
I couldn't find the owner of this pic, so if its
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donating a bazillion dollars to a charity or donating a weekend’s worth of time to a soup kitchen. Random acts of kindness can be anything from letting someone else have the closest parking spot, to paying for someone's coffee. Just the other day I was at a grocery store buying a few last minute things. Stores are crazy this time of year so there was not a single lane without a thousand items lined up to be scanned. I was a little perturbed seeing as I only had three things, but I picked a row at random, and put my patience hat on. But then something magical happened. The lady in front of me, with her million items, asked if I wanted to go ahead of her. She said she wasn't in a hurry, and since I only had three things, she wouldn't mind at all. I was more than a little taken aback. I mean she didn't do anything crazy, but this small act of kindness was just enough to brighten my day. And before I knew it, I was opening doors for people, putting a little extra money in the Salvation Army donation bucket, and walking with a little extra pep in my step. Random acts of kindness have the ability to brighten someone's whole day. So try to squeeze one in before the year is through. Happy holidays everyone!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Everyday Adventure Challenge #8

Learn about a New Holiday Tradition
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WOW!! Where has the time gone?  I mean it’s already DECEMBER!!!  And you know what that means! It’s my favorite time of the year… the HOLIDAY SEASON!!  I bet a few of you thought I was going to say Christmas season, but there are so many more holidays this time of year.  Each one as unique and interesting as the last.  
You can feel it in the air, the uplifting spirit that comes with this time of year as if everyone is joining in a mental group hug.  Can you feel it squeeze ya?  Anyway, one way to promote that overall good cheer is to increase tolerance of things and people who are different from us. And an excellent way to do that is to learn about other people and cultures holiday traditions!  I love this idea, because there are so many fun and interesting things that people do this time of year, all over the world and maybe in the process you can add something new to your holiday traditions.
For your ease (because let’s face it, research is hard) I have created a short list of different traditions, and celebrations that are going on this time of year.  Check them out and see if there is anything you want to adopt into your holiday routine.  I have included a brief description (if you click on the holiday it will bring you to the website where I got the description) and below will be a link for more information. Some you will probably know, some you might not, but if you think I have forgot any feel free to leave a comment and I would be happy to add.  

Holiday List

Hanukkah Doughnuts Yum
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Hanukkah - Also known as the Festival of Lights or Feast of Dedication. Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire of the 2nd century BC. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar

Kwanzaa - This is a week-long celebration held in the United States and also celebrated in the Western Africa Diaspora and in other nations of the Americas. The celebration honors African heritage in African-American culture, and is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a feast and gift-giving. Kwanzaa has seven core principles (Nguzo Saba). It was created by Maulana Karenga, and was first celebrated in 1966–67.

New Years - New Year is the time at which a new calendar year begins and the calendar's year count is incremented. In many cultures, the event is celebrated in some manner
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Hopi SoyalunaThe Hopi Indians traditionally believed that at the time of the Winter Solstice, the sun had traveled as far from the earth as he ever did. Only the most powerful humans could persuade the sun to turn around and come back to the pueblo. The purpose of Soyaluna, which is still held among the Hopi who live on the mesas of Arizona, is to prevent the disappearance of the sun at the time of year when the days are at their shortest.

Winter Solstice - Winter solstice is an astronomical phenomenon which marks the shortest 
 day and the longest night of the year. Winter solstice occurs for the Northern Hemisphere in December and for the Southern Hemisphere in June.

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Las Posadas - This is a nine-day celebration with origins in Spain, now celebrated chiefly in Mexico, Guatemala and portions of the Southwestern United States beginning December 16 and ending December 24, on evenings (about 8 or 10 PM).

Boxing Day - This is a holiday traditionally celebrated the day
following Christmas Day, when servants and tradespeople would receive gifts, known as a "Christmas box", from their bosses or employers, in the United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and other Commonwealth nations, as well as Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden. Today, Boxing Day is the bank holiday that generally takes place on 26 December
Bodhi Day – This is the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautauma (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment also known as bodhi in Sanskrit and Pali. According to tradition, Siddhartha had recently forsaken years of extreme ascetic practices and resolved to sit under a peepal tree and simply meditate until he found the root of suffering, and how to liberate oneself from it.
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Pancha Ganapati- This is a modern five-day Hindu festival celebrated from December 21 through 25 in honor of Lord Ganesha, Patron of Arts and Guardian of Culture. The festival was created in 1985 as a Hindu alternative to December holidays like Christmas by  Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (born Robert Hansen), a Western convert to Hinduism who founded the magazine Hinduism Today and the Saiva Siddhanta Church, headquartered in Hawaii; the festival is uncommon among traditional South Asian Hindus.
Christmas (I almost forgot this one haha)- This is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ,  observed generally on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world.  A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it closes the Advent season and initiates the twelve days of Christmastide, which ends after the twelfth night.  Christmas is a public holiday in many-of-the-world's nations, is celebrated culturally by a large number of former or non-Christian people,  and is an integral part of the Christmas and holiday season.
Also check out this site for even more holiday fun!
So many fun things!  I know I am eyeing up those Venezuelan Christmas Butter Cookies! What are your holiday traditions?  I wanna hear them!!  Leave a comment or send me a message to makeyourownadventures@yahoo.com

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Everyday Adventure Challenge #7

Be a Tourist in Your Own Town
One thing that really bothers me about the travel blogs that I see are that they are all about people who have up and left. They quit their jobs and travel the world.  And what really bugs me is that we applaud them for it.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I would love to do the same thing. But that’s not real life.  Most people in the world can’t just leave their jobs, their homes, their families, in search of adventure.   And you shouldn’t need too!  That’s what this blog is all about.  It’s about building a community of people who find adventure in their everyday life.  It’s proof that you don’t have to runaway to find adventure.  
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That being said, this challenge is probably my favorite one yet!  Be a tourist in your own town.  What are the things that people travel to your area to see? Even if you live in the middle of nowhere I bet you, there is something “touristy” that you have never done.
Take me for example.  I come from a tiny little town in WI.  I am going to be honest, there is not a lot to do there.  But we do have one claim to fame.  We have one of the BEST fly fishing streams in the country.  Guess how many times I have gone fly fishing in my life.  ZERO.  Now fly fishing isn’t really my thing.  There is so much technique to it!  But still, I should really try it at some point, just to see what all the fuss is about. Maybe take a class on tying flies or go on an excursion. It could be an amazing adventure!
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Now, if we even expand that a little. I am half an hour away from the Mall of America, the biggest mall in the country.  An hour away from one of the country’s best theater and arts scenes . Two hours away from the world famous SPAM museum (I know right!).  Three hours from Lake Superior.  And let’s face it four hours from Canada (yes I do have a Fargo-y accent). And yet there are so many days when I am thinking I just want to go on an adventure.  

Well this is our chance to prove there is adventure everywhere.  Even the most exotic locations in the world are someone’s backyard.  So go explore your own backyard this week and make some adventures!

PS this picture is Lake Superior!  I really need to go up there more!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Everyday Adventure Challenge #6

Write a Book

One thing that is on many peoples bucket list (mine included), is to write a book.  And, conveniently enough, this month is National Novel Writing Month.  Now this isn’t some like nonsense type celebration like say National Doughnut Day (which is the first Friday of June each year and in my opinion is
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 not nonsense).  National Novel Writing Month is a big thing.  Like HUGE! In fact it has its own website.  You can find it here.  The description the website gives is this: “National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.  Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.” AKA anyone who has “Write a Book” on their bucket list.  Not only does this get your creative juices flowing and get words down on paper, there are also some awesome prizes that you can win.  You can find out how all of this works here!  Now I realize that it is already November 10th and we have all lost 10 precious days in this writing month, but really the whole point of the month is to get writing!  So to get you started I have come up with a few tips on how to kickstart your writing.  Let's write a book, shall we!!

5 Tips to Start Writing and Keep Writing

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Start a Routine:

Now in November, if you decide to try the NaNoWriMo, you probably are going to be writing      everyday.  Possibly for hours everyday.  But in the long run you need to develop a routine.  Pick one or two days of the week that you can dedicate to writing.  My day is Wednesday.  Every Wednesday, I go to a specific coffee shop away from the world and just sit and write.  This starts the habit of writing and gets your body used to that mind set. 

Make it a Priority:

I can’t tell you how many people have told me to “Try to write everyday!”.  I understand where these people come from.  Its the "if you don't use it you lose it" mentality and yes writing everyday would be ideal, but people who live in the real world, with work and soccer practice and laundry, don't always have time for that.  But, most people can either set aside a chunk of time on one specific day, or spare a moment here or moment there to write.  If you make it a priority you can make the time for it.  I have a friend who intentionally goes to her son’s soccer practices early, to pick him up, so she can spend that 20mins everyday in the car writing.  Its not much, but even if she only writes 10 pages a week, thats still a book in a year.

Have a Place Specifically for Writing:

It doesn’t have to be fancy.  It can be a small desk in the corner of a room, or a quaint coffee shop.  But where ever it is, reserve it specifically for writing.  It can be a way to kick your brain in gear.  Your brain will associate that space with the creative energy that goes into writing, seeing as that is the only thing you do there. This eventually can cut down on the amount of time you stare at a blank piece of paper, waiting for genius to happen.

Forget About Writing What You Know:

It is common advice to “Write what you know.” This is rubbish.  Better advice would be to write what you feel.  You may have a scene where someone is dangling from a cliff.  Well most people have never dangled in their life; however, to convey that sense of terror think of a time you have actually been terrified.  What were your physical reactions, sweating, dry mouth?  What were your emotional reactions? Etc.  This can help you convey a more realistic feeling without actually living the situation.

Just Write:

So many people really want to write a book.  That is why its on their bucket list, but so many people get hung up on the details. Using the right words and language, focusing on trying to make it sound “literary”.  Some of the best writers in the world didn’t use giant words or superfluous language.  Some didn’t even have actual stories.  Stop stressing the small stuff. Writing, like art, is a form of expression, a way to see the way other people see the world. So it feels right to you, it probably is right.  The important thing is to get it down on paper.  To finish the story.  Then you can always go back and play with the wording or the sentence structure or whatever.  I sometimes leave blanks in my drafts when I can't think of the right word, because it forces me to go back and look at it.


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In the end, if writing a book is on your bucket list, let November be the kick in the pants to get you started.  Even if you don't write 50,000 words, it might just be enough to get you started.  Who knows you might have the next best seller on your hands.  For more tips on writing and finishing a novel, check out the links below.