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Adventuring West: My Trip to Wyoming

For those of you who know me personally, you’ll know that I’m not super spontaneous. Especially when it comes to traveling. Personally, I like to plan things out. I want to make sure that I’m always prepared. So, this next part is definitely going to surprise you! About a week and a half ago, I decided to take a trip with a close friend to Cheyenne, Wyoming. My friend is moving there! Adventuring to the West was the BEST spontaneous decision I’ve ever made.

I’ve never really left New England except a few family trips to Virginia Beach and Myrtle Beach a few years ago. So, you can imagine how nervous I was to be going to the West. Oh, and get this, we drove there. It took almost 30 hours but it was so worth it. We drove through 9 different states, 7 of which I’ve never been to so you can imagine my my excitement.

We drove through Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and finally, Wyoming to get to our destination. Of those states, I had never been to Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and for obvious reasons, Wyoming. As an added bonus, I got to visit Colorado while I was there but I’ll tell you more later! Sadly, I don’t remember much, I was sleeping a majority of the ride. Oops!

It was a long 28, almost 29, hours but we made it safely. We spent a good chunk of that first day just sleeping our lives away but it’s only because we were so tired. It wasn’t very exciting. We didn’t go anywhere but we did start to unpack some of their things and start to settle in. We spent most of that weekend just hanging out. By Monday morning, we were definitely ready to start adventuring.

On Monday, we decided to do some small errands. Nothing crazy. We were still trying to get used to all of it. The next day, we ended up taking a trip to the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens. It was absolutely breathtaking and by far, my favorite part of the trip. There are so many beautiful plants there and I absolutely fell in love. I don’t think I could name all of the plants in there if I even wanted to! I’m so glad that I was able to visit because you all know how much I love my plants. I felt like I was right at home with all of that greenery!

The view from the second floor of the inside of the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens!

After the gardens, we walked around Lions Park, which is where the gardens are located. It’s a pretty big park and there’s not much there but it’s absolutely beautiful. I even got to catch some Pokémon (Yes, I still play Pokémon Go. Don’t judge me). We ended up going back to the house for a little while and then got Sonic. The next day, we took a trip to Colorado!

We decided to drive into Fort Collins, Colorado. It was pretty rainy but we figured, why not? We did not have a plan. We were just driving until we found something cool. On our way into Fort Collins, we came across a canyon. We knew that’s where we had to go. Driving into that canyon was so peaceful, I was so glad that we got to go.

A peaceful view I got to see in Bellvue, Colorado

I can go on and on about everything I got to do but I won’t. Because there was something I got to experience on this trip that was unlike anything I felt before. I felt peace. For the first time in my life, I felt like I had no worries. I know there’s always going to be something to worry about but in that moment, there wasn’t.

Adventuring West really put my life into perspective for me. I have always put everyone else first and have never really made what I wanted a priority. This time, I did something I wanted and it was one of the best choices that I could have made. It gave me the chance to really think about what I want out of life and I want so much more out of it. I want to do more of what makes me happy and so should you!

Check out Cheyenne’s website for more Things to Do if you plan on adventuring there!

Read Kailey’s post My Trip To Oregon here on TurningPointCT.org to hear about her adventure in the West!

Provincetown Made Me Feel Safe

Like I mentioned, I’m trying to practice more social self-care so I decided to be a little spontaneous for once. Last weekend, a couple of friends, my brother and I took a trip to Provincetown. For those of you who weren’t aware, Provincetown has been a long-standing safe haven for many artists as well as lesbians and gay men. I’ve wanted to visit forever and my friend, Sienna, finally convinced us to go!

Sienna had been there before but this was a first for the rest of us. From the minute we entered the town, we were already feeling so welcomed. I always worry for myself and friends being so openly LGBTQIA+ in a world that can be so unkind. But being here felt different. I didn’t have to worry about anyone making rude comments or making me feel bad. Everyone was so free to just be themselves and I loved every bit of it.

I could tell that even Dante was feeling this way. The people who were there were all so friendly. Everyone was friendly and incredibly kind. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I had to worry about being in danger. Though, I was still cautious but it was hard to feel unsafe in a place that was so bright, happy and welcoming to all.

Provincetown is amazing, I love it and we will be visiting again because there are so many more places to see. We only did a few things but those few things were amazing. We each got two pressed pennies to commemorate our trip and tried some of the best foods. It was all amazing. We even got to enjoy the beach in beautiful weather. I cannot wait to go back!

Want to plan your own trip to Provincetown? Visit their tourism website here! 🙂

Also read my post Coming Out As Pansexual right here on TurningPointCT.org!

Vacation – Worth The Stress

Post Written by Kailey MarcAurele

At the top of Bodie Island Lighthouse

Sometimes, you just need a break. This past week, I went to the Outer Banks on a family vacation. This vacation was a great way for me to get away from work and all of my responsibilities at home.

The Stress of Being On Vacation

I’d love to say I loved every second of vacation, but that would be a lie. Traveling does come with a lot of stress. It’s hard to be out of routine and when you’re traveling with others, there are a lot of compromises. You might have one thing in mind for what you want to do, but the people you’re with might have other things in mind.

Even with me bringing my best friend that I’ve been friends with since childhood, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. On vacation, you can’t just hide away and isolate like you can at home so if there is some kind of disagreement, you have to deal with it right then.

The other thing about vacations is you have to spend money. While there are plenty of things to do, you have to feed yourself for a week and that means a lot of eating out. But, I was lucky to find so many gluten-free and dairy-free options. While I was definitely stressed out about how much money I was spending, I really did enjoy getting to experience a lot of awesome food that I could eat even with my restrictions! My friend did an AWESOME job of finding restaurants that had plenty of options for me.

Finding food I could eat was something I was really stressed out about prior to vacation. Going out for food is one of the best parts about going on vacation, but when you’re gluten-free and dairy-free, there’s always the stress of having to watch everyone enjoy regular food while you struggle to find something you can eat.

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Vacation Food!

While I was so excited to be on vacation, I missed home only a few days in. I have three cats at home and honestly I just missed my routine at home. Working from home, I spend a lot of time by myself while my boyfriend is at work all day. I missed the comfort of being alone at home where I could just do my own thing. But really, I also just missed my cats.

I actually ended up coming home early from vacation. I was just really homesick. I drove my car the whole 10+ hours down so thankfully I was able to be in control of when I left. For me, I hate feeling trapped or stuck anywhere so I like to always drive myself places, and I was willing to make the drive myself just so I could go places when I wanted and leave places when I wanted on vacation.

There’s no worse feeling than carpooling with someone and being uncomfortable and wanting to leave, but not being able to. I’ve been in that position too many times to allow it to happen anymore. While I was anxious to drive my car for almost half a day down and back with me as the only driver, it was worth it to me to be able to drive myself around and be able to go when I wanted.

While vacations are supposed to be awesome, it’s totally normal and okay to be stressed out! Don’t feel like there’s something wrong with you, there’s definitely a lot of things that can trigger stress on a vacation.

Vacations Aren’t All Stress!

The stress of traveling is almost always worth it! While I was stressed out quite a bit on vacation, I really did have a good time while I was in the Outer Banks. This trip was my third time going there, so I already had an idea of everything I wanted to do.

One of my favorite things about the Outer Banks are the lighthouses! I don’t know what it is about them, but I love seeing them, learning the history, and climbing them! I was bummed that Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was closed for climbing because it is the TALLEST brick lighthouse in the United States. But, I was still happy to be able to see it!

Bodie Island Lighthouse – I visited this lighthouse THREE different times this vacation!
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

I also spent a lot of time enjoying the scenery and wildlife! Anyone that knows me knows how much I love being by the water. So naturally, I loved being on islands for a week! I could see the ocean from the rooftop deck of the rental we were in and I could walk to the beach. I was able to enjoy a sunset and morning and evening walks on the beach.

outer banks sunrise

On top of enjoying everything the Outer Banks has to offer, I also had a good time with my best friend and my family. If you’ve ever been to the Outer Banks, you’ll know that there is a lot of driving to go and do stuff (the Outer Banks is HUGE and made up of multiple islands). I spent a lot of time blasting music while driving and scream singing music with my best friend. I spent time with my parents and my siblings and we shared a lot of laughs and made awesome memories.

Vacations can be tough, especially when you deal with anxiety and depression. Try and make the most out of vacation. While they’re a lot of work, you can still have a good time and make some great memories.

Tips for Keeping Your Mental Health Well On Vacation

If you’re feeling stressed about traveling, here are some tips that can help keep your mental health well while you’re away:

  • Find time to relax
  • Bring your medication
  • Bring a good book
  • Have headphones to listen to your favorite music
  • Stay hydrated
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Bring reminders of home with you for when you get homesick
  • Set realistic expectations
  • Stay present and appreciate the moment you’re in
  • Don’t be afraid to say no – don’t do things you feel uncomfortable doing