Travel, Travel Guides

A Short-and-Sweet Guide to Bozeman, MT

Thinking about a trip to Bozeman? Check out this travel guide to help you make plans for your time there. #travelguide #ustravel #bozeman #restaurants #hiking #sightseeing
Sunset over Bozeman as seen from the top of Peets Hill in Spring. Photo by bmswanson via iStock/Getty Images

Bozeman is a charming little college town nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in southwest Montana. With a population of just under 50,000 people, the town has a fun and lively character but doesn’t feel as crowded as some of the bigger cities in the US. It’s a lovely destination for outdoorsy types as well as city dwellers who enjoy good food and drink.

When our truck broke down and derailed our plans for a northwestern US road trip, my partner and I ended up staying in Bozeman for close to a month waiting for the truck to be repaired, and over the weeks that we’ve been here, it’s become one of my favorite cities in the US. Seriously — if I wasn’t such a wimp about cold winters, I’d live here in a heartbeat.

If you’re planning a trip to Bozeman, here are some of my personal recommendations for where to go, what to see, and how to get the most out of your time here.

How to Get to Bozeman

Photo by Leah Kelley via Pexels.com

There are several different ways you can get to Bozeman. Driving here may be your best bet, especially if you are leery of flying during the pandemic — we certainly are. The heart of town is located just off of I-90, about 200 miles west of Billings. We drove here from Denver with our truck camper and found it easy to find and access by road (it took us about 10 hours in total).

If driving isn’t practical or you’d rather fly, Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) is conveniently located just 15 minutes northwest of the town center. It’s a fairly small airport, though, and only a handful of cities offer direct flights to and from BZN. Kayak and Skyscanner are my go-to services for finding inexpensive flights.

Whichever way you decide to go, travel insurance might give you extra peace of mind when planning. These policies can reimburse you for many non-refundable travel expenses if you should need to change or cancel your trip plans.

Where to Stay

Bozeman has a handful of hotels right in the heart of town. If you like hostels, Treasure State Hostel is rated well and located right along Main Street. There are also plenty of options to choose from on Airbnb and Vrbo

If you are coming to Bozeman during the summer months to camp (whether by tent or RV), I would highly recommend the Bear Canyon Campground. It’s only three miles southeast of downtown and easy to access via I-90. Bear Canyon was clean, safe, and reasonably priced. Plus, they have Wi-Fi, a swimming pool, and friendly staff who went above and beyond to help us when we needed to extend our stay for much longer than originally planned.

When to Visit

Photo by Amber Carlson

In Montana, you’ll probably get the best weather in the summer. We stayed here for the whole month of September, and although we had a couple of cold snaps, the weather was mostly pleasant with temperatures in the 70s and 80s and lots of clear, sunny days. The early fall here brings vibrant, colorful foliage that is a beauty to behold. During the wintertime, you can expect lots of snow and temperatures averaging in the low teens. 

If you’re a skier or snowboarder, though, it could be worth braving the winter cold for a trip to Bridger Bowl Ski Area or Big Sky Resort. Both are less than an hour from downtown Bozeman, and each one has thousands of acres of alpine terrain to play on.

Getting Around Town

It’s easy to get around downtown Bozeman by walking; most of the restaurants and main attractions in town are either on Main Street or within a few blocks of it. The town is also very bicycle-friendly, so if you’d rather travel on two wheels, you should have an easy time getting around. The Streamline bus system offers in-town public transportation, as well, and local rideshare company Blink Rides provides electric scooters for the area.

If you are planning on getting up into the mountains or just want a little more freedom to go where you please, you may want to rent a car. This site lists a few different car rental options in Bozeman. In general, you should be able to get by pretty easily without a car, but it’s good to know that you have options.

What to Do

Bozeman is a vibrant town with plenty to do and see. There’s no shortage of excellent places to eat — foodies will enjoy the fun and eclectic restaurant scene. For hikers and mountain bikers, there are a handful of easily-accessible trails in the area. If you’re looking for fun and unique activities to do in and around town, here are some of my favorites.

Walk along Main Street in downtown Bozeman.

Photo by Amber Carlson

Every Bozeman travel guide probably mentions Main Street — and for good reason. The busiest, most bustling street in town is lined with cafes, cocktail bars, and boutiques. Victorian brick architecture dominates the landscape, giving the area an elegant, old-school vibe that juxtaposes nicely with the town’s hip, modern eateries and social hotspots.

It’s fun to just stroll along Main Street and see what you find, ducking into stores and stopping for a drink when the mood strikes. If nothing else, it’s a great spot for people watching.

Go to the farmer’s market in Lindley Park.

Photo by Amber Carlson

If you visit Bozeman during the summertime, make sure to check out the farmer’s market on Tuesday evenings in beautiful Lindley Park. Local farmers, artisans, and eating establishments set up shop beneath a canopy of pine trees that will make you feel like you’re somewhere deep in the woods. Take your time enjoying the scenery as you meander around between the various tents and food carts.

Visit the Montana Grizzly Encounter.

Brutus the Grizzly after a splash in the pool. Photo by Amber Carlson

If you love bears but aren’t so keen on seeing them in the wild, you’ll want to visit the Montana Grizzly Encounter, located about 10 miles east of Bozeman. It’s a small sanctuary that cares for rescued grizzly bears, providing them shelter and habitat while educating the public about these incredible creatures. For an $8 per-person admission fee, visitors can view the bears from a safe distance away while the animals are out and about.

Pick apples and berries at Rocky Creek Farm.

Photo by Amber Carlson

Spend an afternoon picking fresh fruit at Rocky Creek Farm. There’s a small shop in the barnhouse that sells seasonal produce as well as orchards and growing areas where you can pick your own fruit. We spent an afternoon picking apples and we got quite the harvest. This is a great activity for families, friends, or anyone who’s feeling a bit nostalgic for a simpler time.

Take a scenic drive through Hyalite Canyon.

Photo by Amber Carlson

Hyalite Canyon, located just southwest of Bozeman in Gallatin National Forest, was easily one of the most beautiful places we visited. Drive along the winding mountain road, you’ll be surrounded by dense evergreen forest and pristine wilderness. If you’re visiting during September or October, you can catch a glimpse of spectacular fall colors as the leaves start to change.

After heading south on this road for about 30 minutes, you’ll reach the beautiful Hyalite Reservoir. Close by there is a short hiking trail leading to a dramatic waterfall — more details on the Palisade Falls Trail can be found below.

Go on a hike.

Bozeman is surrounded by mountains and foothills in all directions — with the Bridger Mountain Range to the north, the Spanish Peaks to the south, and Yellowstone National Park less than an hour’s drive from the city center. Although there is a network of walking and cycling trails in town, hiking trails are easy to find and access for those who love to get out into nature.

Whether you’re looking for an easier hike or something more challenging, there are options for hikers of all levels, and many of the trails are dog-friendly. Bears do live in the area, so you may want to bring a can of bear spray with you. Here are a few of the best hiking spots we found in and around Bozeman.

Bear Canyon Trail

Bear Canyon Trail is an easy-to-moderate hike just southeast of town. You can do the trail as an out-and-back, turning around after 5 miles at the Bear Lakes Trail junction, or you can hike all the way to Bear Lakes for an 18-mile round trip with a total elevation gain of 1,400 feet. 

We only hiked a total of about 3.5 miles, but the trail was beautiful, well-shaded, and not overly crowded. The sound of water rushing by in the nearby creek was lovely to listen to, as well. Just make sure to bring bug repellent!

Mount Ellis Trail

If you’re up for more of a challenge, try the 10.1-mile Mount Ellis Trail. With a total elevation gain of over 3,100 feet, this one is a true mountain climb and is rated as a difficult hike. If you want to make it shorter, you can just do the lower section of the trail, which is 6 miles long and goes up 2,400 feet in elevation. 

Photo by Amber Carlson

We found parts of the lower trail to be a little strenuous, but still doable. We hiked part of the way up the lower trail and then turned around. The good news is that even if you don’t get all the way to the top of the lower peak, if you go on a clear day you’ll still get some amazing views of the Gallatin Valley below.

Palisade Falls Trail

Photo by Amber Carlson

The Palisade Falls Trail, located near Hyalite Reservoir about 30 minutes south of Bozeman, is a 1.1-mile paved path leading to a dramatic waterfall tumbling down a towering rock cliff. It’s got a little bit of an incline but should be accessible for hikers of all levels. This easy, quick trail is perfect if you want a short hike with stunning scenery, and the drive through Hyalite Canyon to get there is gorgeous as well.

Where to Eat

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Bozeman is chock-full of excellent restaurants — from breweries to new American bistros, from sushi to Thai food, you’ll find a huge array of options to choose from here. We ate out a lot and it was hard to narrow down my list to just a few favorites, but in the interest of keeping this guide fairly short, I’ll just tell you about a small handful of places that really knocked our socks off. All of the restaurants I’ll mention have outdoor patios so you can stay safe and socially-distanced while eating.

Revelry

For lunch, dinner, or weekend brunch, Revelry does not disappoint. The eclectic new American fare includes sandwiches, burgers, steaks, fish and salads with some gluten and dairy-free options. 

For a simple appetizer, try the marinated olives and bread — the herbed citrus marinade is unique and delightful. If you’re in the mood for pasta, their homemade cheese tortellini is an indulgence not to be missed. And for brunch, the loaded potatoes are seriously awesome — your taste buds will rejoice at the melding of creamy, cheesy and spicy flavors.

Revelry also has a great selection of wines, beers, and ciders, and their outdoor patio has both covered and uncovered sections. We ate there three times in four weeks and we’d absolutely go back for more!

Fresco Cafe

Fresco Cafe is a charming, upscale Italian eatery. Their patio and courtyard area out front is full of trees and borders a creek, which made for a lovely ambiance. And the food and wine were top-notch. They offer a selection of pasta, meat and seafood dishes (and gluten-free pasta is available for most dishes) plus suggested wines to pair with each. I enjoyed my pasta carbonara, but my partner loved his creamy penne with salmon — it’s one of their signature dishes. 

We finished the meal with a scoop of the honey gelato. It had such a light and airy texture that I felt like I was eating a cloud. The honey flavor was strong, but not overpowering. Our meal was a bit pricey, but totally worth it for the all-around excellent experience we had. 

Urban Kitchen

With their new American brunch, lunch and dinner options, Urban Kitchen became one of our other go-to restaurants in Bozeman. Their patio area is behind the restaurant and away from the street, so it’s a little quieter than some of the other patios in town. I tried the brunch hash, the eggs benedict and the gnocchi (on separate visits, of course!) and all were excellent.

If you’re into fun and unique cocktails, make sure to try the cotton candy martini. The presentation is half the fun: your server brings out a silver shaker in one hand, and in the other, a chilled martini glass filled with a towering pouf of pink cotton candy. After a quick shake, they’ll pour the drink mix on top of the cotton candy, and you get to watch as the candy melts right into your glass. The result is delicious and not as crazy-sweet as you’d expect it to be.

Little Star Diner

Although the word “diner” is in their name, Little Star Diner is no greasy-spoon establishment; it’s an organic, farm-to-table restaurant that’s open for brunch and dinner. We only tried brunch at Little Star, but my partner was thoroughly impressed with the griddled maple corn muffin — I only got to sneak a couple of bites before it was all gone. It had a flavor and texture like soft, fresh pancakes and maple syrup, and was served up with fresh Montana peaches. Delightful.

I went with the cheddar scrambled eggs — and they did an excellent job of transforming a simple dish into something memorable and delicious. Bacon fat and sheep cheese added complex, savory notes to the eggs, and the greens on the side were a zesty blend of fresh spinach, basil and Italian parsley.

Aside from that, we enjoyed sitting on their rooftop patio and admiring their planter boxes full of fresh herbs for cooking. And our server gave some of the friendliest, most attentive service we had during our time in Bozeman.

Nordic Brew Works

If you’re into craft brews and cocktails but also want to enjoy fabulous food, Nordic Brew Works has got you covered. Neither of us are beer people, but we loved the Rosebay and Hot Norlander cocktails. Also, we tried the dirty potatoes after reading raving Yelp reviews about them, and I can tell you: they are not exaggerating. The unusual combo of curry-spiced potatoes with beets and creamy aioli sauce is outstanding.

For dinner, we both had pizzas, which were tasty as well. Nordic offers a gluten-free crust, which I tried on my Pigs of Parma pizza — a pie with prosciutto, arugula, blue cheese and fig jam — and I was very satisfied. The crust had a nice, soft texture and wasn’t too thin or crumbly.


Although we hadn’t originally planned on spending so much time here, Bozeman has been a delight. I’ve loved our time here, and although it’s a bit far away for a weekend trip from Denver, I have a feeling we’ll be back.

How about you? Have you spent time in Bozeman? Where are some of your favorite places to go in town? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Health and Wellness, Self-Care

8 Self-Care Tips for the Fall Season

Feeling a little off-balance? Learn some of my favorite self-care tips for keeping yourself healthy and well in the fall. #fall #health tips #meditation #mindfulness #selfcare
Photo by Amber Carlson

Fall is the season of deepening shadows; of longer nights and ever-shorter days. The trees turn brilliant shades of yellow, orange, red and purple as they shed their leaves and sink their roots deeper into the earth; animals gather food and seek shelter for a long winter sleep. There’s a slowing down of the summer festivities as we unpack our cool-weather clothes and shift into a quieter, more introspective season.

This time of year makes me want to cozy up with a mug of hot tea and spend whole mornings writing, sketching, or dreaming. I can just as easily spend afternoons cooking green chile or spiced apple cider while my house fills with delightful aromas. Fall seems to bring out my creativity, and yet the mood is bittersweet as the daylight begins to fade and the nights grow colder, reminding me that winter is on its way.

As a gardener, I feel a little melancholy around this time of year because fall brings the end of the growing season. My beautiful plants that thrived and bore fruit during the spring and summer months are starting to die back. In a few weeks it’ll be time to clear out the garden beds and get them ready for winter. The summer went by too fast, as it always does. And yet, I understand: the earth needs its time of rest. Things have to die and go back to the soil so that new life can come back next year.

Photo by Valiphotos on Pexels.com

And just as the earth needs time to regenerate, so, too, do we need periods of quiet and stillness for rest and contemplation. Fall provides us the perfect opportunity to slow down, to take stock of our lives, and to give thanks for all that we have. Because it’s a season of change and transition, fall can also leave us feeling a little anxious and unsettled, and our bodies can become more vulnerable to illness as the weather turns cold.

I’m always an advocate of self-care no matter what time of year it is, but as the fall arrives it seems especially helpful and important for us to nourish ourselves in various ways — at least, it does for me. So in case your body, mind or soul is also feeling in need of a little TLC, here are eight of my favorite self-care tips for the fall season.

1. Cultivate gratitude for your life.

Photo by Panos Sakalakis on Pexels.com

If you don’t already have a gratitude practice of some sort, now is a great time to begin one. As the summer activities wind down, it might be easier to find a little more space in our days for quietly reflecting on everything we have to be thankful for. According to Psychology Today, practicing gratitude on a regular basis improves our physical and mental health, makes us more empathic, and increases our self-esteem. 

And the more often you take the time to be thankful, the more you’ll find you have to be thankful for. You may start noticing smaller, more subtle things that you’ve previously taken for granted as you shift towards a more positive mentality. Cultivating a sense of gratitude will open your eyes to the beauty that is already around you.

Having a gratitude practice doesn’t have to take a lot of time or energy. It can be as simple as spending five minutes before you get out of bed in the morning. If you like, you can keep a specific journal for writing lists each day of what and whom you feel grateful for. I like to give thanks before each meal because I feel lucky to have food on my table (not to mention a wonderful partner to share it with).

Another idea? Every time something positive happens in your day, write it on a slip of paper and drop it into a jar. Keep filling this jar with beautiful moments, uplifting experiences, and even inspiring words people have said. On days when you aren’t feeling so great and need a boost, you can open the jar and read these stories of sunny moments to lift your spirits and remind you of how wonderful life can be.

2. Ground yourself through meditation.

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I wrote a previous post about how beneficial meditation can be, and how little time it truly takes to have a regular meditation practice. The changing weather of fall can leave us feeling a little extra stirred-up, so I like to focus on re-grounding at this time of year. I find it helps me stay focused and centered.

There are tons of ways to do a grounding meditation, but one of the best ways involves (literally) sitting on the ground. Go outside on a nice day and sit underneath a favorite tree, perhaps with your back against the trunk. Once you’re comfortable, close your eyes and drop your attention inward. 

Take time first to notice your breath and the way your body feels, and then sense the earth beneath you. Visualize sending roots from your sit bones down into the soil, going deeper and deeper with each breath. Each time you inhale, imagine drawing nourishment from the earth into your body. Stay here for several more minutes, mindfully breathing and deepening your roots as far into the earth as you can imagine.

3. Keep a journal.

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Because fall can provide more space for stillness and reflection, it’s also an excellent time for personal journaling. I’ve been keeping a journal in some form since I was 10 years old, and I can’t imagine giving it up. For so many years now, it’s been my private space for thinking, feeling, reflecting, processing, dreaming, and making meaning of all that has happened in my life. It’s allowed me to explore my mind, heart and soul at a level of depth that I wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise. It’s helped me develop my awareness of who I am and what’s important to me.

There’s no “right” way to keep a journal. Some people use theirs for documenting what happens in their day-to-day lives, and others write more sporadically. I don’t write in my journal anywhere near every day. Usually I only feel moved to journal when something important is happening in my life and I need to sort through my thoughts and feelings about it. But every person is different, and your journal can be whatever it needs to be to support you in your journey. No matter what your personal practice looks like, journaling can be profoundly healing, impactful, and illuminating.

And one of the best parts? If you keep journaling over the years, you’ll start to accumulate collections of old journals that you can read through for years to come. You’ll be able to trace the changes that happen in your life over time and the ways you evolve as a person because of it. If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can take long walks down memory lane and spend hours reminiscing about bygone days. Sometimes, reading through old journals can even provide fresh insights about life or remind you of long-forgotten dreams. These letters from your previous self are a gift unlike any other.

4. Go for a walk in nature.

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Another way to re-center yourself is to take walks outside. Being outdoors boosts your energy, reduces stress, and improves sleep, and if you live in a temperate area, you won’t want to miss the magical fall colors! They usually only last for a few weeks, so make sure to get outside and enjoy them while you can.

Leave your phone at home (or put it in airplane mode) and treat yourself to a mindful stroll through a park, open space, or along a hiking trail, savoring the sights and sounds you encounter along the way. You may want to bring a camera so you can take pictures of anything and everything that inspires you. Go as slowly as you want — you can even turn it into a walking meditation, only taking a single footstep each time you breathe. You’ll be amazed at how much more you notice and take in when you slow down the pace.

5. Take a hot bath.

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Nothing is more luxurious and soothing than a hot bath. The heat calms your mind and relaxes your muscles, and you can add other elements such as bubbles, a book, or a cup of tea for a truly indulgent experience.

Set aside 30 minutes when you won’t be interrupted, then draw a bath with water as hot as you can comfortably handle. Add scented oils, a bundle of herbs, a bath bomb, or whatever accoutrements you’d like to the water. Pour yourself something to drink, light a candle, put on some music, and let yourself soak for up to 15-20 minutes. (Just make sure to drink some water afterwards since the heat can be dehydrating.)

6. Give yourself a massage.

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Doing a little self-massage can be a lovely practice, especially just before bed or immediately after a shower or bath. Massage is famous for its stress-reducing, pain-relieving benefits, but it also increases feelings of connection and well-being. And in the fall, giving yourself (or your partner) a little love can leave you feeling comforted and nourished.

For extra grounding effects, focus on the feet and lower legs. You can use a scented massage lotion or oil, if you have one, or you can just grab an oil you already have at home (such as sunflower, olive, or coconut oil). Apply a small amount of oil or lotion to your hands, then use your thumbs and fingers to massage the soles of the feet, toes, ankles, calves, and muscles of the shins. Cover feet with warm socks when you’re done to help them soak in the moisture.

7. Sip on hot tea.

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Although I’ve become a coffee convert recently, I’ve always been a tea lover at heart. “Real” teas, made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, come in varieties such as white, green, black, oolong, and pu-erh (all coming from different ways of oxidizing and preparing the tea leaves), but if you prefer a caffeine-free variety, there are all kinds of herbal teas that are lovely for sipping on chilly days.

Teas with chamomile or lavender have relaxing effects, while peppermint or ginger brews can help with digestion. Herbal teas such as nettle, raspberry or blackberry leaf are full of nutrients and have a pleasant, earthy taste. Hibiscus or fruit blends have a delicious sweet-tart flavor that will leave you craving more. For a quiet afternoon indoors, try brewing a whole pot of tea and slowly enjoying it cup by cup.

8. Cook with warming spices.

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When fall arrives and the weather starts to cool down, I like to start eating more warming, spicy foods. Southwestern pork green chile is always a favorite of mine, but soups, stews, and spiced meats with roasted vegetables are other fall-time options.The foods don’t have to be spicy, necessarily (although I like a little heat), but spices like chile peppers, garlic, ginger, cardamom and cinnamon will heat you up and may even have some immune-boosting benefits.


What are your thoughts on these ideas? Do you have any favorite ways to take care of yourself in the fall? Please share in the comments below.

Productivity and Life Hacks, Self-improvement

Why Organizing Matters More Than We Think

Curious to know why organization is so important? Read on to hear my thoughts. #productivity #organization
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A few weeks ago I wrote about why I love Bullet Journaling and how much it’s helped me with keeping my life organized. I use my BuJo not just for my daily to-do lists, but also to track habits like exercise, spending time outside, connecting with loved ones and making progress towards goals. I also use it as a notebook, jotting down ideas as they come to me, taking notes on new things that I learn, and making long-term plans and timelines. 

A few months ago, I discovered time blocking, a productivity hack that involves breaking your day into “blocks” of time that are set aside for various tasks and purposes. If you’re someone who has a lot of competing responsibilities and activities (and many of us are), time blocking lets you decide how you’ll spend your day so you can allocate the right amount of time to each item on your agenda. 

I started using my BuJo to visually block out the different parts of my day using my fancy colored pens — every task or item I need to do is coded with a different color. Check it out:

Photo by Amber Carlson

A Bullet Journal is truly the Swiss army knife of planning tools; it’s a blank book that you can structure and fill in any way that suits you. The only limit is your imagination. And for me, it’s worked incredibly well.

But sometimes I wonder if I’m not taking this whole “organization” business a little too far. I’m extremely detailed and thorough in the way I go about staying organized, but surely not everyone sees the need for this. Surely not everyone is that into, you know, planning. I can almost guarantee that not everyone invests the kind of time and energy into it that I do.

Is there a way this could all be made simpler? Yes, perhaps there is. But I suspect that life would need to be simpler in order for that to happen. Sometimes I yearn for that kind of ease and simplicity; the kind of life where I could just take each day as it comes and not worry about planning or structuring my time. Freedom.

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As wonderful as that sounds, I’m starting to think that that life doesn’t exist; not in the real world. Our lives are complex and full of moving parts. We have responsibilities that continually multiply, and interests and passions that never stop evolving. There are relationships to attend to, dreams to pursue, fires to put out and worlds to explore. 

Life is an incredible gift that I am deeply grateful to have been given, and yet it can feel like so…much. And that, my friends, is where organization comes in handy: it’s a way of dealing with the “much-ness” of life and transforming the chaos into something meaningful. Here are the three main reasons I’m so passionate about organizing, explained:

Organizing helps life feel less stressful.

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Being organized is about so much more than crossing items off of a to-do list. Of course, lists like these are part of everyday life, because there will always be chores to do, errands to run, and things to fix around the house.

These obligatory tasks aren’t always fun. But taking care of mundane responsibilities matters. When we accomplish these tasks that need to be done, we create more order and peace by taking items off of our plates. We effectively declutter our minds, and we can proactively head off stress by staying on top of these routine tasks that we know we need to do.

And, even better, when we clear unnecessary clutter and stress from our lives, we create space for what really matters to us. When we aren’t bogged down by small to-dos, we free our minds to tackle bigger goals and dreams.

Organizing helps us prioritize what really matters.

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Organizing our lives makes us prioritize. We have to make decisions about what is most important right now and focus on those things instead of trying to do everything all at once. Getting clear on our priorities and understanding what we’re working towards makes us more effective at achieving our goals.

When we get serious about pursuing big life-dreams, we have to realize that dreams don’t come true without a plan — and keeping organized keeps us accountable to those grand plans. Through being organized, we learn how to transform big, faraway dreams into concrete, actionable steps that will carry us in the direction of the lives we desire.

Organizing helps us make the best use of limited time.

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I often feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day to do everything I want and need to do. Sometimes I wish that sleep weren’t medically necessary so I could get back that third of my life and spend those hours in a different way. But that’s not the reality we live in.

The reality is that we have only so much time in a day, a week, a month, a year, a lifetime. It’s all finite. I’m constantly aware of this — and I’m positive that that is a big part of what keeps me focused and drives me forward. Keeping organized helps me make sure that I’m spending my time in ways that feel purposeful.

Being aware that your time is limited is actually a great catalyst and motivator. When I really started to grasp that life doesn’t last forever, I stopped waiting around to live my longest-held dreams. I started taking more risks, opening my heart wider, and spending my days in ways that are more meaningful. I feel more motivated than ever to get out and live my life while I have it, and staying organized helps me do that.


Becoming organized has truly been a game-changer for me, and it can be for you, too. Organizing is vital for keeping your stress levels down, staying on track with your goals, and making the best possible use of your time here on Earth.

How about you? What are your reasons for staying organized? How has it changed your life? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Travel

Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too: How to Take an RV Work-Cation

Want to travel but can't take time off of work? Here's how you can see new places without using your PTO. #travel #rvlife #roadtripideas
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If you’re pretty much any working adult in the US, loving to travel and longing for a more adventurous life can leave you feeling torn. You want to get out and see the world, but you have work (and possibly family) responsibilities keeping you at home. And in the time of coronavirus, travel might feel like a distant dream.

But if you travel by RV, you can do it all: you can take “home” with you and hit the road for a while. Social distancing is easy when you have your own private space that lets you stay as isolated as you want. And if you are in the fortunate position of being able to work remotely, your work can be done from anywhere, so you might as well take advantage of that fact, right? You can continue doing your job while simultaneously experiencing the thrill of visiting new places. It’s the best of both worlds.

My partner and I are on a kick of taking these types of work-cations in our truck camper, and we’re starting to get our system down. We’ve got a list of everything we need to do to prepare and pack before we leave. We create our route plan and book a lot of our campsites ahead of time. Plus, my techie boyfriend ensures that our camper is rigged with the latest and greatest devices to help us get decent phone and Internet service even when we’re far away from all civilization. It’s pretty great.

And now that we’ve done a couple of trips like this together, I can tell you from experience that this kind of travel works and is totally doable. Today I’d like to share some pointers on how you, too, can have your own work-cation experience if you so desire.

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Make a plan for your trip.

If you are planning to work while on the road, I highly suggest you plan your route ahead of time. Decide, at a minimum, what cities you’ll visit and how long you’ll stay in each place. Unless you’re up for boondocking (aka dry camping), it’s a good idea to reserve most or all of your campsites ahead of time if you can (some places tend to book up well in advance).

You’ll also want to think about the roads you’ll be traveling on. GPS can help you navigate around accidents, construction and closures, but plan in advance for local road and weather conditions in the places you’ll be visiting. Make sure your vehicle can handle conditions like snow and ice if there’s any chance you’ll be driving through them. You might even like to get an old-school paper map and draw out your route in case, for whatever reason, you lose access to your phone or GPS.

The key is to take as much of the guesswork out of traveling as possible. Of course, it can be really fun to fly by the seat of your pants and spontaneously go from place to place — but if you’re intending to keep working while you’re away, it’s best to keep surprises and potential mishaps to a minimum.

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Make sure to get your RV serviced and in good working condition before you leave.

Seriously, it’s worth it. If you’re going away on a long trip, it’s smart to have someone take a look at your RV before you leave and make sure everything’s working as it should, especially if you haven’t driven it in a while. At a bare minimum, according to Camperland, you should check that these essential items are in good shape:

  • Oil levels
  • Battery
  • Engine belts and hoses
  • Oil, air and fuel filters

Even if your RV isn’t having any problems that you know of, there’s a lot to be said for doing preventative care and making sure things are running as they should. Mechanics can spot potential issues before they become a problem so that you can have a smooth and safe trip.

Optimize your RV for productivity.

If you’re going to be away from major cities and you’re at all concerned about having reliable phone and Internet service, there are ways you can enhance your signal quality. Equipment like WiFi hotspots and cellular boosters can help you stay connected even in places that are pretty remote. You’ll want to get these set up and test them to make sure they work properly before you head out on your adventure.

Also, think about where and how you’ll do your work on the road. What equipment will you need? Is there a space within your camper where you’ll be comfortable setting up a mobile “office”? In our camper, we didn’t have a space like this — so my boyfriend built us a simple wooden table with swiveling boat chairs to sit in. It works great and it’s big enough for both of us to share during our workdays.

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Indulge in some sightseeing.

Once you’re on the road, there’ll be so much for you to do and see. No doubt you’ll have all kinds of great stops planned for your trip — so make sure you allow time in each place to take in your surroundings and experience the things that drew you to visit. You may still be working, but don’t forget you’re still allowed to travel and have fun while you’re doing it.

Plus, when you’re on a road trip, half of the fun is the journey of getting from place to place. Whether you’re driving through majestic mountain ranges, wide-open desert plains or wild grasslands, you’ll find all kinds of scenery and hidden gems along your way that will inspire you and lift your spirits.

Be ready to change your plan on a moment’s notice if needed.

The final piece of advice I have is this: remain flexible, and go with the flow. There are always things we can’t predict or control when we travel, and that’s part of what makes it exciting — but it also means that sometimes, things just won’t go the way you plan. You have to be ready to think on your feet and come up with solutions to any problems you might run into.

Case in point: we just planned a 5-week trip around the Northwestern US. We did everything right — we got our truck checked by a mechanic before we left, we updated our phone and Internet gadgetry, and we packed all the stuff we could possibly need. We got all the way from Denver up to Bozeman only for our truck to start showing signs of engine problems. The truck’s still drivable, luckily, and should be for a little while longer, but sadly, it does mean that we have to cut our trip short. We’ll most likely be heading home within the next couple of days.

Disappointing? Sure, absolutely. But this is life when you’re traveling. You can spend weeks planning and preparing for your trip, but once you’re out on the road, anything can happen. It’s still been an adventure, we’ve still gotten to see a new place, and it’s still an experience I’ll look back on fondly. In the end, we can’t ask for more than that from a trip.


How about you? Are you ready to try your own RV work-cation? Or have you done it before? Tell me all about it in the comments below!