Michigan the Upper Peninsula

Michigan the Upper Peninsula

Had the pleasure of going up to Michigan for New Years Eve this year. It was about a six-hour drive from where I have been staying in Chicago. The six hours were surprisingly not dreadful. I slept the majority of the time which definitely made the hours go by a little faster. I have been spending a lot of time in cars and planes recently, and especially in the last year, so honestly six hours seemed like a piece of cake.

We drove past Lake Superior, which was frozen solid with many people out ice fishing on it. Ice shantys were everywhere which was surprising this early in the winter season. There was lots and lots of snow, and if I remember correctly I think it snowed the whole entire time we were there. We stayed in a beautiful little cabin that was very isolated from the rest of the world, at least it felt that way. No internet, cozy, warm inside, but carrying with it that extremely wintery feeling that comes with Cabins.  It was one of those places right off the page of a story book.

I got to go snowmobiling for the first time which I really enjoyed. The only downside was that there were certain trails that had yet to be groomed so they were super bumpy which hurt my neck. Unfortunately, before our trip I had a little accident and injured my neck and back. I fell down a flight of stairs the next day which definitely made the injury worse, so the bumpy parts took a toll on me in that way, but when we were smooth sailing I really had fun. After stopping for lunch at a lodge in Shingleton, Michigan we decided to make our way back to the cabin on the snowmobiles, this is where things took a turn.

The belt on the snowmobile broke! Anyone who knows me knows that the thing I hate most in this world is being cold. So being stranded for an hour in the cold was not my favorite moment, but I napped in the snow (I know counterproductive) while everyone else built a snowman.

We were finally able to get home and relax where we spent the night playing cards and watching movies while ringing in the new year – cabin style!

All in all a very calm but warm and fuzzy new year!

Let’s make this new year a great Ranch Bucket style one!

XX

Gabi

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Small World

Small World

It is crazy how it took me traveling all the way across the world to learn that the world is actually a small place. Yes, I have always understood that the earth is just a speck in the workings of the entire universe. This makes me basically non-existent, but when it comes to our tiny little speck it felt pretty big growing up. There are seven billion people on the planet, and this number is fluid and constantly growing. There are 195 countries on the earth, and all of them possess different cultures. There are five different oceans, and I have only dipped my toes into three of them, but moving to Australia made me realize the world is not actually quite as expansive as my young mind once thought.

I moved half way across the world to live with girls from my home state. Yes, this is true, I moved to Australia only to move in with two east coast girls and two girls from Evergreen, Colorado. Evergreen is an hour and thirty-minute drive away from where I grew up, but a fourteen-hour flight from where we live in Australia. I now have three girls I have met and become close with in Australia that attend the University of Colorado in Boulder. It has lead us to connect over mutual friends and childhood experiences. I will get to keep these forever friends close to my heart and close in vicinity. I got to have little piece of home away from home and I honestly could not be more thankful.

I have a sorority sister that has recently moved to Australia. It was wild to me how this sisterhood had brought me the ability to travel the world and still know there was always going to be someone close by to have my back, no matter where in the world I was residing. That was a feeling that did not parallel anything I have yet to experience.  Along the line of my sorority, even one of my roommates happens to be a sister of mine who attends Boulder. I have now even been blessed with the opportunity to expand my sisterhood through my study abroad journey.

I have met so many individuals from the United States. States all over, states I now cannot wait to visit. I have even made one friend, from Nevada and she knew people that went to my college in Arizona. The world continues to grow smaller and smaller to me.

Coming to Australia I expected a very different educational environment. The most intriguing thing I did not see coming is that one of my professors was American. Not only was he American, but he also formerly taught at my rival school… the scumdevils… sorry Sun Devils back home in Arizona. What are the odds of that out of the four classes I choose to attend during my trimester abroad that would happen.

Along the way we met people from the same state as us, even the same city sometime. That is something I could not have imagined when my plane took off for this adventure. I have had a lot of favorite things about this experience, but my very favorite has to be what I am taking away with me, a whole new set of people who have substantially made a huge difference in my life. Thank you guys, and I love you guys.

Kate, Mollie, Jen, Carroll, Lauza, you have my heart.

Also, big thanks to Veronica for always being down to adventure or for a photo-shoot for my beloved Ranch Bucket! I am so glad to have you joining our team and I am so lucky that the Gold Coast brought me you!

Xx

Gabi

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Bondi Beach Sydney Review

Bondi Beach Sydney Review

Sydney was my all-time favorite place to visit in Australia, and I have a multitude of stories and places to share from there. I was afraid it was going to be just like any other city and nothing unique, but oh was I very wrong. We stayed in Bondi Beach, which is world renowned and absolutely incredible. I went with five of my girlfriends and we stayed in a hostel this time instead of an airb&b.

The hostel we stayed in is called Bondi Backpackers. They were reasonably priced for being a hostel, and it was clean (all important things to me). They have private rooms for six, so lucky us we all got to be together. They offer a lot of different perks that you can participate in as well. These include sunrise yoga, kickboxing, and different meal opportunities. They also rent out towels and have included Wifi, which most hostels do not so this made the stay more enjoyable as well. It was a great place to stay and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to stay in Bondi where it is less busy and closer to the beach instead of the hustle and bustle of the city.

If you do decide to stay in Bondi or even take a trip down there, I highly suggest taking a casual stroll down the street in the morning to Parisi Juice Bar. It is not even a five-minute walk and they have the best fresh pressed juices I have ever had. They also had a bagel shop around the corner, and if you are American and have been to Australia, you know how rare it is to find bagels in Australia, especially good ones.

The Iceberg Pool is an iconic Instagram spot… but here is a little secret, it’s overrated. It is a really small pool and only makes for good picture opportunities during high tide when the water is splashing up into the pool. Don’t get me wrong it is beautiful, but it is hard to find a time to get a good picture with high tide and it not being super crowded. If you are going for that picture-perfect Instagram then give it your best, but otherwise a casual stroll by it will do just fine and will save you a lot of time and energy.

Next there is the Bondi Beach Walk. The walk is a great exercise and should be alright for any age level to participate. It is kind of a long walk so definitely wear comfy shoes, but it is absolutely breathtaking and has many stopping points to check out along the way. Many people run the path and there are dogs all over, which I honestly did not see many of during my Australia travels. All of the dogs were a breath of fresh air. There are great beaches to stop at, monument marks, and great picture opportunities. The only part I did not like is the large portion that is a walk through a cemetery, purely because cemeteries give me the creeps. Besides that, this is a must do so carve out a good portion of the day to do so.

My final suggestion for my Bondi Beach goers, do your research on your food places. Long story short, with my groups lack of research we ended up in some pretty intriguing places and not necessarily intriguing in a good way. Boy did it make for some funny stories though!

Xx

Gabi

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Juice Bar

Some Pictures from the Trip! Iceberg Pool, Bondi Beach Walk, Parisi Juice Bar, and explored parts of Bondi!

 

 

My Weekend Call To Action

My Weekend Call To Action

I think one of the most difficult things in the world sometimes is to be the first to strike up a conversation with a stranger. I have yet to figure out what is so difficult about this task, but it is undeniably a challenge sometimes. As human beings we are made to communicate and connect with one another, but yet, many of us find it so daunting to ask strangers simple questions. Social media can sometimes be a road block for this as well. It enables us to hide behind a screen, say more with less emotion behind it, and takes away the key social interaction.

Traveling on my own has done many things for me, but one of the greatest was forcing me to self-advocate since no one else was present to do so for me. The more I HAD to ask strangers questions for my own survival, the easier it got to just talk to strangers. Like all things, practice makes perfect. So, as we all head into our weekend adventures I want to challenge y’all to ask a stranger about their day. Why, well because I think it is time to bring back some good ole’ social interaction.

I promise you won’t regret trying it. Everyone has a story, and everyone has something interesting to say. When you are out relaxing on the beach this weekend, or climbing that beautiful Colorado fourteener, find someone new to meet. Sometimes targeting the people we so often peg as “off the beaten path” or the quietest people have the most incredible stories or the most intriguing secret lives they are leading.

Be open to listening to everyone, if you are going to ask a stranger about their day, care about the answers you are going to receive. If you do this, you not only will make someone’s day, but you will leave the conversation feeling like a better person than who you were when you entered into the day.

My last request… Message me about your weekend adventure and the new friend you make. Include a picture of you in your Ranch Bucket Hat and you might have a chance to be featured on our blog or on our instagram! Happy adventuring!

Xx

Gabi

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