hank bought a bus

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now that i’m living in the usa again, i’m all about road trips. and camping. and the wild west. you know, embracing life by living it simply. i’ve been lucky enough to visit the western part of the states a few times, so i already know what’s out there… to a degree. i’ve sampled the west, you could say. i’ve actually driven to california twice – my honeymoon with lina was a cross-country trip!- and once to wyoming. of course, we stopped every place we could all along the way. i was yearning to see it all. and i still am. i want to see more.

don’t get me wrong, i truly love being an east coast girl. i love north carolina and the south, and i love the northeast too. but, the west, with those prairies and deserts and rugged mountains… oh, they take my breath away and make me feel like i am connected with something very wild and ancient and powerful.

so, i’m dreaming about when i get to head that way again. lina and I both are. we don’t have any plans yet, but we will at some point. however, more than just a quick trip out west, we’d love to take an extended trip one day and travel around the entire country for a year. that has always been a dream of ours, and who knows? one day it just may be something that lina and i do. get an rv. and live the simple life. meeting people all along the way for a whole year. writing and photographing and chronicling the entire journey. what a dream!

the other day, i ran across a guy who has done just that – well sort of. he wanted to take his master’s project for architecture school to a more practical level. so, he decided to find an old school bus and turn it into his home on wheels, a place that was comfortable, functional, and flexible. the finished product is amazing! and, then, it was time to travel!

so he and a friend headed out on a month long journey to live on the bus that he turned into a home, inspired by tiny house movement.

to read more about hank’s bus and his trip out west, check out his blog here. in the meantime, look at these amazing photos that he took (from his blog). they will inspire you, i promise.

900x313x130804_064242_JE_28102.jpg.pagespeed.ic.UrLlbUyMXk A view of the bus from near the back. bustour03.gif.pagespeed.ce.FAzPELYl8W Justin doing some photo editing on the road. Watching the kids play on the bus. 130731_202046_je_2650 Relaxing on the roof. Hank and Vince taking in the stunning coast of California. 130816_153554_je_3483 Hank and Ethan marvel at the sunset heading into Yosemite. 130823_165301_je_4124 The bus resting for the night in the Eastern Sierra Mountains. Ethan, Hank and Sam on top of the bus at dusk.

now, let me ask you this: do we really need so much space in which to live? can’t we simplify? and wouldn’t it be amazing to spend time traveling and exploring and adventuring and growing and learning and taking in all that is around us? wouldn’t it be amazing to live the life that we dream of living?

so why don’t we just do it?! why not? we’ve only got one life, you know. let’s fill our days, even our present days, with the things (and i don’t mean material things) and people and moments that we love.

peace & love. xx

disney world: incredible, imaginative epcot!

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day two of our week-long disney world party continued at the amazing world of epcot – a place of imagination, science, techology, and international flair. and let me tell you, we soaked it all in. every single stink in’ bit. it was a beautiful day to explore, ride rides, and visit all the countries, but when the sun went down it turned windy & cooooold, so we enjoyed a three course dinner in paris (hee hee) at a fabulous french restaurant and watched the fireworks from there. well, just check it all out!

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did you know that there is a ride in the big epcot ball? yep. it’s called spaceship earth & it’s freaking awesome.

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we grabbed breakfast after a few rides and some starbucks coffee to warm us up. like i said, it was beautiful, but it was cold.IMG_7733

after some space and dinosaur stuff, it was time for the land area… and an amazing ride called soarin’ and then some more sun worship.
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time for the countries!! they are all situated around a lake, so we planned to start on the left and walk all the way around. each country had authentic architecture and natives working in their stores/restaurants. it’s like taking a mini trip around the world. sooooo cool.DSC_0477 DSC_0482

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BEGINNING WITH MEXICO…

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norway ( a little scandinavian treat for us!)DSC_0499

chinaDSC_0500

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our amazing dinner at the french restaurant ended with creme brulee, chocolate mousse, & fireworks.
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what a great, amazing experience!DSC_0532

as much as i have loved epcot and magic kingdom, i cannot choose a favorite between the two… and there are two more parks to go! all of them are so individually fantastic and inspiring. stay tuned till tomorrow, when i explore hollywood studios!

peace and love. xx

a hometown tourist at the biltmore estate.

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“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” –  Marcel Proust

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on monday, my love and i headed over to the biltmore estate, a very popular american tourist destination here in asheville. lucky for us, we live only 5 minutes away from this amazing place, so we can enjoy it whenever we want (we are also lucky to be annual pass holders). now, biltmore estate is the largest privately owned home in the united states, consisting of hundreds of rooms in the mansion, located on thousands of acres of beautiful land. it is literally a breath-taking place – something you just have to see if you visit the asheville area.

at one time, a family did live here – living much as i imagine the people on the popular series “downton abbey” live. it’s crazy in my mind to think about men and women and children, friends and family, using the rooms, eating meals, walking in the gardens, riding horses, celebrating holidays, and just living their lavish life here. but, every time i visit, i have a movie playing in my head…

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now, of course, no one lives here, but the estate is open to the public as a grand place of history and beauty. and if you are lucky enough, as we are, to live nearby, it is possible to visit anytime to just walk the trails or sip on a glass of wine at the winery – yes, they have a winery and organic farms and stables and… you name it.

IMG_6783like i said, monday my love and i decided to drive the five minutes to the estate and just spend a few hours basking in the glorious weather. we stopped to pick up some coffee on the way and then entered the grounds and drove up to the house – all decked out for the christmas season. we didn’t go in the house, though. instead, since the sun was warm and the sky was blue, we went to a veranda just to the left of the house, beside the mansion’s amazing library. we sat under the twisted, bare vine branches of the veranda and just chatted, sipping on our coffee. it was about 45 minutes of pure peace. some tourists milled about, and i even took a few photos of one couple for them. but, mostly, we just sat and gazed out over the mountains, or looked up at the grand palace, in awe of the architecture.

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of course, i see something new or experience something new every time i visit the biltmore estate. it is a magical, majestic place. and, again, if you visit us (or asheville), it is a must see. but, there is more to just visiting this amazing place that overwhelmed me on monday… it was the realization (once again) of how easy it is to be a tourist in one’s own hometown. not every town or city has the biltmore estate, but it’s not about the big-ness of this place… it’s actually not about the place at all. it’s much more about how we look at things, what we see, and whether we open ourselves up to experience something new or not.  IMG_6782 IMG_6785

yes, it is a dream to be able to travel to far off places… but, it is also amazing to open our eyes and our minds and look at where we live with a fresh perspective. it’s really just about  enjoying where you are, wherever you are at any given time. that’s what makes like rich… soaking up those ordinary moments and letting them be transformed into magical ones.

so, go exploring during the holidays and see what you can find just around the corner. it’ll be fun, i promise!

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peace and love and surprises. xx

have you ever been a tourist in your own hometown? do you ever pretend to be a tourist at home?