Finding Hope in Friendship

In the midst of a worsening global pandemic, a gut-wrenching American presidential election and the beginning of some painful family estrangement, I wanted to post about the people I’m especially grateful for these days.

♥️♥️♥️

Jaclyn and Dustin / Detroit, 2020
Carolyn / Washington D.C., 2020
Linley counts as a person too, right? / 2020
Saskia / Germany, 2016
Bethany / Colorado, 2020
Jacomijne 😂 / Sweden, 2016
And Bernie… always Bernie!

Zip Lining and Problem Solving

My love for zip lining began in Gatlinburg, Tennessee on a family vacation. The freedom and thrill associated with it is empowering and so exhilarating!

I’ve been zip lining a few times since our Smokey Mountain adventure: once with my Little Sister and twice with a friend in metro-Detroit.

If you’re looking to overcome your fear of heights, for a family-friendly activity, a team-building exercise or something fun to do outdoors, zip lining might be the perfect pastime for ya!

If you live in Michigan or Tennessee, feel free to message me for company suggestions and additional information 🙂

Media taken August, 2019 and October, 2020

Friend & Family Breakups

I wanted to put a pause on my regular travel posts and write about something that’s been lingering in the forefront of my mind this year.

I’ve been struggling with long-term extended family estrangement and somewhat short-term immediate family drama, as well as some pretty upsetting friendship breakups. I won’t go into specifics in order to protect those around me, but I’ve been in a dark place for about a year or so now. As one can imagine, this has taken a toll on my mental health.

I recently heard a quote on one of my favorite podcasts that goes a little something like this:

“Depression is the greatest acting teacher. I can smile through anything even though I just want the ground to open up and swallow me whole.” If that doesn’t hit you like a semi truck, I’m not sure what will…

I’m not a therapist or licensed professional by any means, but I wanted to share some strategies I’ve been applying to help with the pain of broken friendships and family relationships. It’s important to note that all of these points coincide with each other and this is the “flow” as I see it. Remember: everyone’s journey is highly personal and individual.

1. Don’t change who you are for those around you.

I have a lot of people in my life – family members in particular – who will never be proud of me, no matter what I do. In the past and present, I have been laughed at or mocked for my dreams and ambitions. Family members have and will continue to make me feel small to build themselves up. About five years ago, I chose to let them go as opposed to clinging onto the gaslighting and the guilt (e.g.: “well, I guess it’s your choice if you don’t want to be here” comments when THEY were the ones hurting ME).

2. Create your own closure.

Oftentimes we find that friendship and family breakups seem abrupt, without true closure. I was best friends with someone for nearly 12 years and I’ve been thinking about our good times lately. But with that, I’ve also been thinking of the bad. The truth is that she was like an older sister to me, whereas I was her “plan b”/“second choice” friend for a very long time. Write a goodbye letter. Get rid of photos. Do something that allows you to create your own closure. Remember, don’t change yourself to fit others’ narratives of you.

3. Try not to hate the person on the other end.

It would be so easy for me to say, “She was a horrible person because of X, Y and Z.” Although there are times I’ve been hurt by family and friends (and honestly still am hurting from recent experiences), I try my damnedest to acknowledge that we all have flaws and shortcomings. I realize this is much easier said than done, but I’m hoping this will make me a better, stronger person in the end.

4. Allow yourself to feel all the feelings.

Conversely, it’s okay to be angry, hurt, frustrated or upset. As long as you aren’t taking it out on the other person, allow yourself to reflect on your feelings in the present moment. Thinking of a past memory you miss? Cry. Thinking of how good things were in the past? Smile. The more you hold back and shove your feelings into a corner of your mind, the longer it’ll take you to move on.

5. Focus on yourself and the great relationships in your life.

I may never have a best friend who reminds me of an older sister ever again, but I do have amazing friends in my life. I feel loved every day, even if it isn’t by a family member. I may never be close with my family, but I have several friends-turned-family relationships that fill my heart. Be around like-minded, supportive people who will always be there for you (and always be there for them, too!).

Every day of 2020 has felt like an overwhelming struggle, but I am much more resilient than I was before. “When life hands you lemons, they say to make lemonade, but you can’t make lemonade without any sugar.”

I hope these tips help you as much as they’ve helped me 🙂

Our Pup’s Birthday/Gotcha Day!

Three years ago today, three-year-old Linley was dropped off at my parent’s house. After a rigorous adoption application process consisting of filling out a packet and researching animal health problems, multiple reference calls, a meet-and-greet and a final home inspection, Linley instantly became my best friend!

September 9, 2017
September, 2019

I’ll be spending all day with our beloved pup, but I wanted to share some past photos and posts in the meantime 🙂

https://adventureinspades.com/2019/07/14/going-places-with-your-pup/

https://adventureinspades.com/2020/01/02/everyday-resolutions/

https://adventureinspades.com/2020/01/28/my-dorky-dog/

https://adventureinspades.com/2020/05/28/lake-michigan-with-mom-and-linley/

https://adventureinspades.com/2020/06/20/petoskey-michigan-with-the-pup/

https://adventureinspades.com/2020/08/18/munising-falls-michigan/

https://adventureinspades.com/2020/08/24/back-to-the-beach/

Back to the Beach!

Our last evening at Pictured Rocks was by far my favorite. After some epic hiking, we returned to Lake Superior Beach to enjoy our final sunset and some good night’s sleep. Juan and Linley needed a quick nap in the Jeep when we arrived, so I re-explored where Linley was digging around the day prior. I was drawn into the creek and the way the light was reflecting off the water.

I went back to the car to wake Juan and Lin up from their nap, and we settled in to enjoy the sunset. We didn’t take many photos because we were living in the moment, but it was a wonderful way to end our time on Lake Superior!

I can’t wait for my next adventure with my little family 😊

Photos taken Sunday, August 16, 2020

Au Sable Light Station and Log Slide Trail

Another dog-friendly activity we participated in during our time at Pictured Rocks was visiting the Au Sable Light Station. There was a nice trail between this point and our next attraction that called for some great views – and photos!

The three of us relaxed and had some Gatorade (Lin did not…) as the waves below us crashed into the cliffs. No photos can truly capture upper Michigan’s beauty, but they can always capture Lin’s attitude(s)…

“First they’re sour,”

then they’re sweet!”

After our snacks, we hit the trail and headed East for great views of the dunes. To Juan’s and my surprise, we didn’t even realize the upper peninsula even had dunes to explore!

One main viewing point was along the log slide trail, where they literally slide logs to freighter ships. We didn’t dare go all the way down because it took people (even hyper children and cross fitters) over an hour to climb back up! The views were worth the trek though.

Photos taken Sunday, August 16, 2020

Lake Superior Beach

After a (shockingly!) restful night’s sleep in the Jeep, we hit the beach for a morning walk. Lin and I were the first ones there, and we allowed Juan to get s’more beauty sleep.

There was a small creek flowing into Lake Superior that Lin and I wanted to explore (and by ‘explore,’ I mean dig around in for hours!). We obviously had Juan on photography-duty!

Watching Lin dig, sniff and mark his turf in and around the creek was thoroughly entertaining! Juan and I walked and sat with him for about two hours while he went on this little adventure. If only we could see the world through our pup’s eyes…

…and no day at the beach is complete without a nap!

I hope you enjoy this post! More to come…

Photos taken Sunday, August 16, 2020

Sunset at the Lake Superior Beach Overlook

Last Saturday, Juan, Lin and I needed to find a place to park our Jeep for the night. Luckily, we found the perfect spot:

The best part? We were able to hit the beach first thing in the morning!

Our pup had the best time exploring a creek leading to the lake; stay tuned for that post next 😊

Miners Castle

After visiting one of Michigan’s most beloved waterfalls, the three of us wanted to explore one of Pictured Rocks’ best views: Miners Castle.

This was by far one of the most picturesque spots in all of Pictured Rocks, and luckily we arrived when it wasn’t too busy. Not only were the cliffs a sight to see, but the teal water made you want to jump right in!

…Linley also had a blast while marking new territory!

Happy birthday, Cassidy!

There aren’t enough words to express how much I adore my friend Cassidy. She’s been there through thick and thin, and today is this lovely lady’s birthday. I can’t wait to celebrate with her soon ❤️