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the roadtrip

11 Apr

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As many of you already know one of my goals from last year was to drive across the country before I turned 30. I’ve always thought it sounded incredibly adventurous and the idea of roaming the country without a care in the world sounded beyond romantic. At heart I am a total free spirit; sometimes I think I forget that when I am busy writing to-do lists!

I am happiest going with the flow of life, without an agenda.

Leading up to the trip I wasn’t sure how I was going to pull it all off. Who was going to go with me? Mr. McClafferty would just die if I drove it by myself. How would I take all that time off from work? How would I afford the trip? How? How? How?

But as most things do when you trust the universe, it all fell into place perfectly. My wildly adventurous and free-spirited best girlfriend, Rachel of One Part Gypsy signed up to go on the trip with me. I got the time off from work and we somehow paid for most of the trip with the help of fabulous sponsors (thanks guys!). We got lucky, but we also worked our asses of to put this trip together.

We left on the roadtrip exactly one year ago and it ended up being the Best. Month. Of. My. Life.

Sure, there was some fighting…I mean, have you ever traveled in a car with a person for a month? Sure, we almost lost our lives in Mississippi when a big rig swerved into our lane and ran us off the road. Sure, we got lost more times than I’d care to admit (shhhh….sometimes we drove hours out-of-the-way). Sure, we woke up most mornings at 4am to start the drive. Sure, we probably both gained 10 (ok maybe 8) pounds eating our way across America…I mean, have you been to the South?? But, we survived it all with our senses of humor and an insane amount of red bulls, and we are better friends because if it.

There really isn’t another person I could imagine having accomplished this goal with. Traveling across the country with Rachel will forever be one of my favorite memories. I’m pretty sure when we are old and grey we will be telling our grandkids about the wild month in 2012 we conquered the USA.

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Read some of my favorite posts from that month!

– Marfa, Texas

– Getting chased by a dirt devil 

– Visiting Georgia O’ Keefe’s private residence

– Memphis! 

– Our night at a sweet little B&B in Alabama

–  Our day with wild horses 

– Santa Fe

– Struggs

–  Going to F. Scott Fitzgeralds home 

– We’re going to Graceland! 

thanks for the fun 2012!

28 Dec

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Firstly, I want to say thank you so much, truly, for reading 365 til 30. It means a lot to me that you take the time to come here and 2012 wouldn’t have been the same without you guys! So, thanks.

I’ve been reflecting on 2012 the past few days. Tis the season to take stock, right?! 2012 was a year filled with blessings. I don’t say that lightly either because 2009-2011 were years filled with struggles, uncertainty, loneliness and fear. As I approached 2012  things started to shift. I started this blog in the summer of 2011 and regained a clear focus, light heart and grateful attitude. Things just started to flow, click and move. I have many hopes, goals and wishes for 2013 which I will get to in a later post but in the meantime I wanted to reflect on my favorite moments of 2012. Above is the vision board I created last year on January 1st. When I look at it I see so much that came to fruition – 2012 was an embarrassment of riches. Thanks 2012 for putting a huge smile on my face.

My top moments-

traveling across the country with One Part Gypsy

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turning 30 and watching my baby 365 til 30 grow…

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getting engaged to the man I love…

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traveling to Hong Kong and Nepal with my new fiance…

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And lastly we have some exciting news to share (no, I’m not pregnant)!! We bought our first place!!! Now I can cross “New Living Space” off my goal list for the year. We hopefully move into our new home next month. Not a bad way to start the New Year, huh? Be prepared for an influx of cooking posts because this kitchen inspires me….

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What are your top five’s from 2012. Please share below!

18: Dear drive across the country

20 Jun

(photo by)

Dear Drive across the country,

You, I love. You speak to the free-spirited, adventurous and untamed side of me. The wanderer. The nomad. The girl who hates order, rules and schedules. The woman whose soul feels most alive when dipping her toes into the unknown. You speak to the part of me I happen to love the most- the very essence of me. The thing that makes me tick. The part of me that I fight to keep alive despite needing and wanting to plant roots.

When I first decided I wanted to accomplish you, I was the tender age of 20. Nothing sounded more exciting or more intoxicating than being on the open road for an extended period of time- getting lost, getting found, exploring, hearing stranger’s stories and seeing the different landscapes of the USA.

You have been a dream that I have been desperate to make a reality for the last 10 years.

When at 20, I decided I wanted to accomplish you, you seemed like an easy goal to tackle before 30. I had 10 years to find the time to take a month off from my life and hit the open road! But then, a funny thing happened. The years started to slip away and it never seemed like the right time to make you a reality. Life got in the way. Responsibilities got in the way and I started to feel as if you were a selfish, silly and impossible goal to accomplish. But the truth is, I never stopped thinking about you…I always pined for you.

Cut to a few days before my 29th birthday- the day I was writing my crazy 365 til 3o goal list. I felt alive with excitement and full of possibility and I, of course, wrote you on my list. I knew that somehow, someway I would find a way to make you a reality this year. Come hell or high water, I was driving across this great country of ours.

I’m not going to lie…you were a hard one to figure out! There is still no perfect time to leave your life for a month and drop off the radar. Well, I guess I wasn’t necessarily off the radar considering I could be found at all times via my twitter, instagram, facebook and blog, but you know what I mean…I was away from my everyday life. My schedule. My worries. My fears.

I was a girl on the open road without a care in the world. 

You didn’t teach me anything about myself that I didn’t already know, instead you strengthened my belief in myself. You reminded me why this is still my favorite qoute- ““Not all those who wander are lost.” – J. R. R. Tolkien

You also reminded me that there is never a perfect time to make our dreams a reality. The time is now.

The world is such a big and beautiful place and I don’t want to stop exploring it…ever. Even if that means having to drag around a few kids and lots of extra baggage one day.

It’s all about balance in life, right?

Love ya

Kate

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

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365til30: instagram  @kate365, twitterfacebook

Day 16, Part 2: Middleton Place

25 May

ROAD TRIP

After a hilarious morning of struggs we made it to Middleton Place just in time for our horse-drawn carriage tour only to be told that they had to cancel the rest of the afternoon tours because it was too hot and they were worried the horses would overheat. I felt their pain. I felt near death as well in the heat.

After recovering from the blow of not having a horse pull us around the gardens we decided to do a walking tour of Middleton place instead and it was gorgeous. The gardens look like something out of a fairytale book. So lush, green and romantic. The highlight of the afternoon was making friends with the huge white water buffalo below. He was quite friendly!

Day 16, Part 1: Struggs

24 May

ROAD TRIP

Ugh. Waking up in Savannah after a very fun night out on the town was difficult. I think I will go as far as to say…it was a struggle or “struggs” as we warmly called it. Sadly, we didn’t have time to indulge our headaches and exhaustion because we had to pack up, check out and head to Middleton Place in South Carolina for a scheduled horse-drawn carriage tour! I was certainly spending a lot of time with horses lately.

We packed up our room (which happened to look like a clothing bomb had gone off in it and only added to our “struggs”)

Before

After

Would you want to pack up this room with a hangover? I think not.

By the time we were actually packed up, in the car and ready to go I was ready for bed again. But onward we went! But, not before I wrote on Rachel’s twitter page “struggs” to which she replied “super-struggs” and we both smiled.

A few hours later Rachel received this email from her uncle…I have NEVER enjoyed an email more. I’m dying to meet this guy!!

Hi Rach,

Just checked @katemcclafferty for the latest LA-ladies’-chinese-fire-drill-teaser but found, instead, Kate’s cryptic “72”.  Hmmm…. to 365Til30.  Oh no!  You eighty-sixed D.C. and Delaware?!  I have followed youz guys with Twitter and blogs several times per day for the past week.  I sipped morning coffee while TCB, and all the while kept an eye out for the day’s first Tweet.  Where are they now and what are they doing?    Now I understand why “soap” addicts swoon when a character is written out; I am not ready for “over”.  
Only after I’d browsed the hilarious photos in, and digested the text of, “72” did I (finally!) get the meaning of “72”.  Duh!, Michael.

The following might bring smiles, so I hope you see this email very soon, i.e. early in the “72”.  The “strugg” flares sent aloft by Kate and then you left me clueless, very puzzled.  What?  Is that a place?  A thing?  Google Earth shrugged; Wiki shrugged;  Both Google and Bing seemed pretty sure that I was looking for a band.  A Band?  OK.  Maybe.  But no further tweets that morning and none in the afternoon felt …. wrong.  The puzzle continued to percolate in my brain.  I do like puzzles, but puzzles that seem impervious to my attacks niggle me no end.  And so it was, until I happened to mention the pesky “strugg” to a neighbor.  He grinned and said, “So you’re STRUGGling with strugg?”.  Yeah…… Oh… Now I get it.  Puzzle had fallen but there was no joy here, because I then understood that Kate was struggling and Rach was super-struggling but I didn’t know the root problem.  WTF?!  Nothing to do but stake out Twitter; I pitched a bloody teepee on its doorstep.  Finally: “And all is good again”.  That’s not all I wanted to know but it’s what I most wanted to hear.  I can wait for the rest.

God speed, Rach, Kate and Herb.

…….

BEST EMAIL EVER

Day 16, Part 2 Middleton Place up next…

Day 15, Part 2: Savannah, Georgia

23 May

ROAD TRIP

After 15 days of staying on a very regimented schedule, we decided to let it all hang out on night 15 (and stay out past 10!), and boy oh boy, did we pay for it dearly, on Day 16…

We arrived in Savannah, Georgia after a fun morning on Cumberland Island (playing with wild horses!). It was late in the afternoon and the city was bathed in a gorgeous warm light. Savannah was everything I thought it would be and more…its quaint, romantic, artistic, eclectic, colorful, mysterious, unique and well, magical. As we drove through the city in search of our hotel, I was in awe of each and every street, building and tree. If you haven’t been to Savannah, one of the prettiest things about the city is that most of the trees are covered in spanish moss- it’s breathtaking and definitely adds to its romantic and mysterious quality.

 After arriving at our hotel, we checked in and headed to the hotel’s complimentary cocktail reception for a glass of wine. How very nice of them, indeed! Then we hightailed it to our room to shower and change for a night out on the town (the writing may have been on the wall at this point).

(photo by One Part Gypsy/ bag by Sud De Sur)

Our plan was to wander the town letting the wind take us wherever it pleased before we headed to Paula Deen’s restaurant, The Lady And Sons, for dinner. A solid plan indeed! After walking the streets for a bit, the wind ended up taking us into a tapas restaurant where we popped in for a glass of vino. We chatted with the bartender about her love of Savannah (in her words it’s a mix between New Orleans and Charleston) and then she asked the dreaded question…where were we eating dinner that night? When we said Paula Deen’s, her jaw dropped (in a very bad way). Honestly, I’m not sure I have ever seen a person more offended in my life.  After she collected herself, she said “You cannot eat at PAULA DEEN”S! It’s horrible! It’s so touristy and not authentic southern cuisine in the least! Let me make a few calls and see what other restaurants I can get you two into for dinner.” And with that, she was gone. When she returned a few minutes later, she informed us that we would be dining at the restaurant Alligator Soul at 8:30pm.

The wind had changed course.

The crazy bartender was right! Dinner at Alligator soul was pretty incredible. We dined like Queens ordering 1st courses, main courses, dessert and more wine (the writing was definitely on the wall at this point). I ate scallops and they were melt in your mouth good, but I am a sucker for a good scallop.

(photo by One Part Gypsy)

As we were finishing up dinner, our waiter said….”you girls should have a drink at The Bohemian Hotel after dinner. They have an amazing rooftop bar overlooking the city.” That was all he needed to say! We were headed to the rooftop bar!

Let’s just say that our night out in Savannah was AMAZING and the morning after was HORRIBLE. Nothing like trying to tackle a day exhausted with a hangover. BLAH.

A day of struggle and gardens up next!!

….

For Rachels blog click here!

365til30: instagram  @kate365, twitterfacebook

Cumberland Island, GA

22 May

ROAD TRIP

Day 15, Part 1

So after garnering my second speeding ticket and shedding a few tears, we arrived in St. Mary’s, GA late at night, exhausted and a bit crabby (although that may have been just me).  Saint Mary’s was less of a “stop” on our trip and more of a place to rest our heads for the night before catching the ferry the next morning to Cumberland Island. Cumberland Island is Georgia’s largest and southernmost barrier island. The island also has a rich history as it was home to early natives,  missionaries, enslaved Africans and African-Americans and Wealthy Industrialists throughout the years. It’s covered in gorgeous maritime forests, undeveloped beaches, marshes, ruins (of the Dungeness Mansion) and wild horses…yes wild horses! Clearly the whole wild horse thing was a draw for me.

After getting a good nights sleep at our hotel we ate a sad complimentary breakfast (one of the joys of a road trip) and grabbed Subway sandwiches (another joy of road trips) to eat for lunch while on the island. We boarded the Cumberland ferry for a quick 45 minute ride to the island. The ferry also happened to be filled with a massive amount of cute 10 year olds on a school field trip. The were all SO excited to be on a boat headed to an island! Every animal, wave, landmass, tree and fellow boat we passed was more exciting than the next. It was actually rather sweet (I was even daydreaming about doing such activities with my future kids) until one kid yelled down to a smaller boat below- “suck it!” in the loudest voice he could muster. I slumped down in my seat embarrassed to be sitting next to him (in that moment I stopped daydreaming about doing these activities with my future children).

After our lively boat ride, we were officially on Cumberland Island and also officially the only people wearing dresses and flip-flops instead of hiking boots and fanny packs. I was starting to regret my clothing decision as we set off alone into the lush green wooded path of trees on a one mile walk in search of the Dungeness Mansion ruins…oh, and wild horses! Although now I was starting to wonder about the probability of actually seeing one. I mean, usually wild things hate to be contained (welcome to my early 20’s)…that’s why we call them wild, right? As we weeded through the plants, I couldn’t help but read the “animals to watch out for” section of our welcome packet and was surprised to learn that both rattlesnakes and alligators were present on the island. As I continued walking down the lush path I thought, Why am I always reading such things much too late? I must change this moving into my 30th year on earth.

I was just about to start having a panic attack about where I was stepping when we came out on a beautiful, empty beach with cream-colored sand and seashells. It was like being in some foreign film or something. I felt like we were the only people in the world. We climbed down the rocks to stick our toes in the sand and play around for a bit.

(bottom three photos by One Part Gypsy)

Then as we set back down the path towards the ruins, it happened…we turned a corner and voila, we were in a huge open field with a sea of wild horses in front of us!! I almost died. I could not believe what I was seeing. I approached them as quietly as I possibly could, frightened I would startle them and they would flee. But the closer I got to them, the more I realized that they could care less about us. The didn’t even flinch! They just kept eating their grass and swinging their tails. They were so very delicate and sweet. The wild horses against the backdrop of the mansion’s ruins was breathtaking. I honestly felt like I had been dropped in a movie and was suddenly overwhelmed with gratitude for this experience and gratitude for it all.

….

For Rachel’s blog click here!

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