Monthly Recap // November 2019

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What went on:

Happy November everyone! October was quite a busy month for me, and I’m excited to share what I’ve been up to and update y’all on what the next stage of my life is looking like.

To kick things off, John and I finished up our jobs as activity guides at Brush Creek Ranch and said goodbye to Wyoming. Our last day at the ranch actually came as a bit of a surprise – our contracts were scheduled to end on October 20th, but I asked our manager if we could leave a bit earlier and he moved our end date up to the 6th. We found out about the change in our contract right at the end of September, so we immediately rushed in making preparations for our departure. Our last week at BCR flew bye – I got in a few last climbs with friends, and started saying goodbye to the people who were by my side almost everyday for the last five months. Leaving a job is always hard but this felt different because of the lasting friendships that I made during my time in Wyoming; that being said, I know that some people from the ranch will remain in my life for a long, long time, so it was less of a goodbye and more of a “see ya later,” as cliche as that sounds.

As soon as we left Wyoming we started driving south. We needed somewhere to go for an extended period of time in order to work on converting John’s van and figure out what was next in store for us, so I suggested driving to San Diego, California, to stay with John’s lovely sister Rose. We stopped once along the way in Las Vegas to visit John’s brother and sister-in-law (and their adorable baby) who were coincidentally vacationing there, and before we knew it we were away from the cold and dreary Wyoming winter weather and sweating on the deck of Rose’s apartment in sunny California.

I had never been to California before and was eager to check out the sights, but our top priority was the van. We wanted to mount the solar panels on the roof, install the fan, put up the paneling on the walls and the ceiling, and build the bed before we felt comfortable hitting the road. I’ll let you in on a little secret in case you’ve never converted a van into a living space before: it’s hard work. Nothing ever seemed to go right on our first try, and we were the living embodiment of the saying “measure twice cut once” only in our case we were measuring fifty times, cutting once, and then remeasuring because it didn’t quite fit. It was frustrating to say the least. While we were caught in a limbo of ordering parts, waiting to get them, researching, driving to Home Depot a million times, and cutting wood, two whole weeks managed to pass us by. We somehow managed to get everything done and started loading up the van to leave San Diego.

Don’t assume that since we were so busy we weren’t able to enjoy ourselves – we actually found time to see a few sights while we were there. Rose took us to her favorite restaurants in town (Pressed Juicery is now my kryptonite), we went to a Jiu Jitsu tournament to cheer on Rose’s boyfriend, we took Koda to dog beaches, and we explored popular spots like La Jolla Cove and Julian. Check out the slideshow below to watch the progression of the van build and see some of the places we visited in San Diego.

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Our next destination after leaving San Diego was Salt Lake City, Utah, where I accepted a job with The Front Climbing Club. We were eager to get to SLC so we could start the arduous process of hunting down an apartment, but we couldn’t resist stopping at a few iconic spots along the way. The first place on our list was Joshua Tree National Park.

Joshua Tree was surprisingly pet friendly as far as national parks go, and I’m working on writing a guide to visiting the park with a dog. We managed to explore a lot of the area with Koda and had a blast doing it! I’ll link the blog post here once it’s finally up.

Photo by John Miller.

After a long day in Joshua Tree we drove to the nearby Mojave National Preserve to camp for the night, and the next day we were back on the road. We stopped at the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada for a few quick hikes to stretch our legs, and then traveled on towards Northern Utah. As I drove along the interstate I had the strangest feeling of deja vu – I’ve been to Utah several times now and usually recognize places that I’ve been right away, but I couldn’t figure out why those mountains looked so familiar. We stopped to get gas outside of Fillmore and it finally clicked: we were near some hot springs that we camped at during our Utah roadtrip in 2018. I checked google maps and found out we were only 15 minutes away, so John and I returned to the Meadow Hot Springs in order to spend the night.

It was very surreal to visit the same place under such different circumstances – last time we were there we were traveling in John’s beat up Subaru with two of our friends, now we were living in a massive van with Koda. When we went to bed we were the only people for miles around, and the next morning we were surrounded by rigs of different shapes and sizes as people came to warm up in the hot springs. If you’re interested in checking out this spot for yourself, you can learn more about it in my Hidden Gems in Utah and Arizona blog post!

When we finally wound up in Salt Lake City we were eager to start the house search and in desperate need of a shower. As of right now the hunt continues, but I’m confident that we’ll find a place soon and will establish ourselves in the community.

What I’ve been digging:

October was a little too hectic for me to enjoy the things that I usually end up digging, so my favorites are a little more niche. I’ve been loving the Mr. Heater portable buddy heater that has been keeping the van warm during our snowy nights in Utah – if you’ve used a Mr. Heater yourself then you know exactly how lifesaving they can be.

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Here are my intentions for November 2019:

  • Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. It’s easy to get caught up the comparison trap and make yourself feel horrible because you aren’t at the same spot in life that other people are in. This is something that I personally have been struggling with for a while, and it’s almost impossible to be truly happy when you’re always upset with yourself for not “doing enough.” I want to focus on congratulating myself for being exactly where I’m at, and focus on how I can be happier without fixating on what everyone else is doing. Everyone’s path looks different, and I want to stay focused on my own.
  • Learn more about finances. If you’ve been following along with my monthly recaps since the start then this intention might look a little familiar – back in January I wanted to mindfully budget, and it’s safe to say I haven’t kept up with that one (oops). I want to redeem myself in November by actually taking the time to educate myself on finances so that I can better manage them. If anyone wants to take the time to teach a clueless girl about how to file taxes and make a budget on Excel please reach out, or even better if you know of any resources where I can learn on my own send them my way!
  • Immerse yourself in your new community. I’m a firm believer that first impressions matter a whole lot, so as I move to a new city and start a new job I want to put a lot of effort into fully immersing myself in this new community. I’ve learned the hard way that the relationships you form (or don’t form) can really influence your experience in an area, and I want to create bonds with people in SLC that will help me make the most of my time there.
  • Track your time – don’t waste it! To some degree, I feel like I’m reentering the world in November – I spent the last five months working at an all-encompassing ranch where my entire life existed on the property, and after that I dedicated two weeks to the van-build-limbo that was San Diego. In many ways it felt like I was existing in a space that was separate from the real world, and as I adjust to living in an urban area again and working a normal job I want to make sure I spend my time in the right ways.
  • Get back into making. I absolutely love creating things, whether it’s handmade knitwear, lengthy blog posts, or my take on a classic recipe. Over the past few months I never felt like I had the time or the resources to devote myself to making things that I’m truly proud of, and I want to change that. In Salt Lake City I plan on investing time, energy, and maybe even money into the things that I wish I was doing so that I can start creating again. If that means ordering a new scoby off of Amazon in order to get back into brewing Kombucha, I’ll do it. Taking a class at a local community education center so I can learn a new skill that I’ve been dreaming about learning? Count me in. Organizing my yarn and experimenting with new knitting patterns? Consider it done. November is now officially my month of making, and I can’t wait to get started.

What are your intentions for November? Let me know in the comments, or shoot me an email at All photos in this post were taken by me unless otherwise specified in the caption.


I'm a climber, dog mom, and a hater of plastic. I like seeking wild adventures and sharing them with people.

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