Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Vagrants

We are still enjoying our transition period at the cabin between one adventure to the next. I have loved having a space for silence, a space for ourselves and a space for routine. We're still pet-sitting and it's also been nice to have pets again; we are not typically dog people, but it is becoming pretty natural to us. When we move from place to place, the unfamiliar becomes familiar. When we work in the hospitality business, your time is never your own. So while I love the exhilarating experience of these things and of change whole heartedly, it is nice to let my brain stop spinning for a bit. 

It's pretty easy to stay in our pajamas all day by the fire admiring the view from the window (and watch the bobcat that runs by … no picture yet, because, bobcats can run up to 30 MPH and I cannot). 

In the last couple of days, over a foot of snow dumped and our Big Bird can't quite handle the roads in those conditions, so we've stayed inside a lot, aside from the occasional walks with the dog on the unplowed road. We discovered we can play the Bean Game with just the 2 of us and it's just as great as playing with 3-7 players!. J has also been busy planning, for not one, but TWO bachelor parties for 2 of his best friends coming up this month. Really, really rough life here. 

But, in a few years when we look back on the time we "lived" in the mountains of Colorado during a snowy winter, I'd be disappointed to say all we did was stay inside. 

So, we get out, when we can. 

Last week, we went over to a friend's house for an authentic German dinner. This friend is actually someone who lives in Chicago and escapes to the mountains each winter. Her aunt, uncle & friend were nice enough to host and feed us. Love all these Colorado connections we are making! 

We also went to Breckenridge to see the 2014 Budweiser International Snow Sculptures, which is in its 24th year! Sixteen teams from around the world hand sculpt stunning designs out of snow and ice over the course of 5 days. The last pix is of the winner!

And of course we've been XC skiing and snowshoeing every chance we get! 

PS - I will avoid putting any pictures up of Kosby the cat because I heard Mr. McKinley was not at all happy to see the attention given to another cat, something about us abandoning him, blah blah blah. 

PSPS - J also has something else top-secret he is working on that could really expose him to the world … we'll keep you posted … 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Retired Life at the Cabin at 10,000 Feet.

You have to be wondering what we are doing these days since we don't start our new gig until April.

I imagine our life is very much like a retired couple's life. And we are purposely enjoying what retirement periods we can now because it will take some major lottery winnings for J & I to enter traditional retirement down the line. We just don't plan that far ahead for the future. We live for now; I mean I almost died of a blood clot last year, so you better believe I live for now!

So what does retirement look like for us?

We sleep in. We find the hours between 6am and 9am (sometimes later) to be the best sleep time. This is one of the reasons we could never have kids. 

We stoke the fire. Kosby the cat helps sometimes. 

We read and play on the Internet. I am still doing medical writing on a freelance basis (gotta pay those medical bills somehow). But, the best part about that is I can do as much, or as little, as I want. Also, Kosby the cat helps. 

We watch streaming Netflix, a new, awesome, addition to our lives in the last month. We have already finished 4.5 seasons of Breaking Bad (not sure we can wait for Netflix to put out the last 8 episodes)! We are well aware that we are always late to the game for many popular things like Netflix and Breaking Bad. Kosby the cat likes it too. 

We enjoy the mountain views. Kosby the cat likes them too. 

And when it's not windy (boy do they get wicked winds in these mountains), we go out XC skiing and for walks. Pet-sitting has motivated us to get outside more. Did you know you can burn 700 calories per hour XC skiing? I figure this makes up for my pure laziness the other days. (Jamie & Rachel - here's proof that both your pets are still alive!) 

We also go outside to go to watch sports at the local bar, the highest saloon in America. It's a small town, so they now know us by our yellow car. We are happy to hear they will be televising the Olympics, so we may be there daily in a few weeks. 

We also window shop for local delicacies. 

J still finds time to go to concerts, of course. 

Lastly, we are honing our cooking skills in preparation for Oregon. This cat and dog LOVE to beg for people food, so when a dish doesn't work out, we know who will eat it. 

I have to say, I like this retired life. We've had these "retirement" periods a few times in our life, and we often spend them here at the cabin. It's a good life and we might as well enjoy it before life gets super crazy busy again this summer. 

Speaking of our future life in Oregon, we loved all the comments and e-mails from everyone! You all are just as excited as we are! 

And, as usual, many of you said you'd be visiting. We already had 4 friends from New Hampshire book a trip and I expect many more. I just want to warn you … we are literally in the middle of NOWHERE. If you thought BD was isolated, wait until you see RR. Closest gas station: 34 miles. Closest airport: 3 hours. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Twist of Fate

I have been dreading this post. You can probably tell I've been avoiding the blog, since I haven't posted since the first day of the new year. 

Well, here goes. We have some bad news and some good news. 

First, the bad news. BP decided not to rehire us.

I am sad, pissed and hurt all at the same time. I would be lying if I didn't say otherwise. 

Sad because that was our killer, dream job and we felt very at "home" on the road and in that role. 

Pissed because we waited 3 excruciating months without knowing if we had the gig, but were led to believe that we had it. And pissed because we turned down 1 other job opportunity, which was working with good friends managing a premier hostel.  

Hurt because it feels like it had to do with some shortcoming we had, but we only received positive feedback over the last year. It's just business, they say. Hard not to take their decision personal. 

With that being said, we have zero regret for taking the leap and working for one of the top outdoor adventure magazine in the country. We rubbed shoulders with executives we never would have dreamed of meeting. We made connections that were so far off our radar. We met Phil Keoghan of the Amazing Race. We acquired more gear than we could ever dream of owning. The list of bonus points went on and on. 

So let's just call this as it was, our adventure storybook come to life for the summer of 2013. We got to be professional backpackers and public speakers, live out of an RV on an epic road trip (30,000 miles through 37 states) and see as much of America as we could … all while getting paid for it. The only regret is that it's over, but at least it happened. And when things like this happen, you just have to believe it wasn't written in the stars. 

Which brings us to the good news. Thankfully, I think I can wrap this post up with a pretty little bow because as one door closes, another opens. Once again, a stroke of fate and a chance meeting has led to our next adventure. 

We will be the managers of an off-the-grid bed-and-breakfast inn with a mix of rustic (tipis!) and luxurious accommodations (beautiful lodge with indoor plumbing!) in … drumroll please … northeast Oregon!!  

Once again, J and I will combine our respective talents by bringing this young business to the next level and working with some very talented people. This time, we will add a new skill to our resume: cooking with fresh, organic and local ingredients! 

What a whirlwind our life has been the last 3 years, right? We always let fate (with a little planning ahead) light our path and we have certainly gone down some pretty wild roads. We went from being fully employed individuals with separate jobs and employer-sponsored health insurance to being starving, smelly hikers to being hostel managers of a castle in the woods to being professional backpackers/public speakers living out of a sick RV to being innkeepers at a rustically elegant bed and breakfast on the edge of a canyon.  

And since you've followed our adventures at Bears Den, then at Backpacker, we invite you all to follow us at RimRock! Like us on Facebook, or better yet, start planning your vacation! 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hello, 2014

Happy New Year from Colorado, our temporary "home" for the next 2 months. Lest you think we are on some "pot tourism" trip, I assure you we are not. Marijuana is JUST what my clot-infested lungs need, right?. It is merely pure coincidence that we are now living in Colorado and pot is legal for recreational use. Although, legalization of recreational pot is most certainly the "toke" of the town around these parts, that's for sure. 

We are staying at our favorite cabin in the mountains thanks to Rachel/DocDoc. Don't worry, pictures to make you jealous will follow. And for those who are wondering, I am breathing fine so far at 10,000 feet.  

We just arrived on Sunday and J already went to 2 concerts. And before heading to the mountains, we rang in the new year in Denver with some of Jamie/SILAdventure and Rachel's friends. Their friends did a White Elephant Party with a "Feast of the Seven Fishes" theme, an Italian-American celebration usually celebrated on Christmas Eve to abstain from eating meat. Though I am part Italian and Catholic, I never heard of it and no one in my family did it (that I can remember). But I was happy for the fish fest. We ate cod (baccala), trout, shrimp, salmon, scallops, crab cakes and sushi. I'm still full. It was a smashing good time. 

So here we are in 2014. The year 2013 for me will be remembered as the year that my physical being slept in 160+ different places. We spent more time this year moving from place to place than stationary in one place. We loved it; it was a great year. We hope to do repeat our life less ordinary in 2014, but that remains to be seen.

East coast friends - send your snow our way!! We are ready to hibernate in the cabin for the next 2 months!