• sparkfireswan

A&A Celebrate A Summer Birthday In The Redwoods

End of Week #59


Gualala River Redwood Park, Gualala CA


Miles traveled since last week's post = 0


Total miles traveled to date = 7,955 with trailer


It's another one of those weeks where the time is just flying by, and here we are at Tuesday night already. I will have to admit, I was pretty useless today, as we had a lot of adventure and other shenanigans throughout the day yesterday, so today was primarily a day of rest. But I had a wonderful birthday out here in northern California, and I'm grateful that the way things fell with our workamping schedule we had the day off and a day to recover too!


This week's post will share what we did to celebrate and the lessons and reflections from the wildest year of life...



Celebrating My 31st Birthday In The Redwoods


The time has come, and I've completed another trip around the sun. The first year of a brand new decade has been completed. My first time celebrating my birthday away from friends, family, and the familiarity of a place I lived my entire life. It has been a year primarily spent outside of my comfort zone and outside of all the ideas of what I thought a perfect life consisted of. Going against the grain, going against what I've always been taught and what I've always known, and enjoying life in so many new meaningful ways.


Cheers to 31 and all that is ahead of me. I'm so excited to see what comes next!


What we did


We took off from the campground around 9 AM and headed north, with a destination about 2 hours north and a little west of Gualala, to a place called Montgomery Woods State Reserve. This is a protected state park in northern California with some of the oldest and largest Redwood trees in all the world. There is only about 5% of original growth old Redwoods left, that can tower to almost 400 feet and are around 2,000 years old. The other 95% of old Redwoods were logged in the 1850's and what remains is new growth, like what is in the campground we are staying at in the town of Gualala. It was once believed that Montgomery Woods had the tallest Redwood in the world, clocking in at 367.5 feet tall, but taller ones have since been discovered in Humboldt Redwoods State Park and the Redwoods State & National Parks, which are both further north along the coast. We plan to take a trip to Humboldt Redwoods State Park in a few weeks, but we likely won't make it to the Redwoods Parks this time around on the west coast.


On our way up we stopped in a city called Elk along highway 1 and had brunch at Queenies, a restaurant I had been eyeing up for awhile now! Their menu was all organic, locally sourced and they had too many good things to choose from. Of course everything was outstanding, and unfortunately that sounds like it might be one of our last dine in eats for the summer, as Governor Newsom has announced that dining in restaurants is no longer going to be allowed at this time.



After a bit of a tiresome and gruesome drive, typical to when we try to go absolutely anywhere around here, we did some hiking around in Montgomery Woods where the temperatures were a good 15 degrees (or more) warmer than they were on the coast. We were over dressed and sweaty, but it was an absolutely surreal experience walking amongst the Redwood giants and listening to the sounds of the forest. It's hard to accept that what you see is real and that these magnificent giants really do exist! I felt like I was an ant walking around in a forest made for dinosaurs.


When we got back to Gualala we picked up some build your own sandwiches from the deli at the Surf Market and came home to prepare for a little dessert and bloody mary happy hour with the other workampers. Adam put out lights and we used our picnic table to set up the spread. Everyone came over and we had a bonfire, tequila shots (of course) and had ourselves a good time. The crew sang to me and showered me with love, and it was a truly special way to spend a birthday, and in so many ways it was not anything that I would ever have expected. I think I was still in bed before midnight, with a heart full of gratitude and a stomach full of treats. I couldn't have asked for anything more!


Reflections from my year of 30


Honestly, my year of 30 has been the most transformational year of my life. I've done more in the past 365 days than I could ever have imagined, and stepped further out of my comfort zone than I did in all 30 previous years combined. I would not have necessarily ever of thought that I would wind up on the coast of northern California for my birthday this year, and I definitely had a lot of other intricate plans for the summer before covid hit, but I'm really content and happy with how everything turned out. As always, I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and I also believe that certain people come into your life for specific reasons too. I am thankful that we had a community of like-minded souls to celebrate with, and that we can celebrate with all summer long for every milestone each one of us has!


I think that my 30's decade will far exceed my 20's and it is already off to a stellar start. This is the decade for ME, for taking life by the horns, for seizing every opportunity out there, and living fully and boldly with no regrets. This is the time to make magic happen, and to pave the path that was meant for me. This is the time to step fully into my power. And I've only just completed the first chapter.



Looking back at how far I have come (we have come) since last July 2019 - from dealing with Roscoe's health issues last July, to leaving Stone Lake on my birthday, to closing on our house at the end of the month and officially leaving Minnesota - it's been a wild ride man. I went from the most stressed out I've ever been, to the most excited and adventurous I've ever felt, to moments of fear, panic, and so many other things I've never dealt with or done before. We traveled across 5 states from July to October, and then spent 3 months in Texas where we celebrated Adam's Birthday, holidays, and had a surprise visit from my mom. Going into 2020 I had very elaborate plans for us and all the places we would go, including stopping back in Minnesota and Wisconsin for the fall - all of which were turned upside down and completely changed when we accepted our first workamping job in northern CA and then when covid and everything else in the world hit.


This past year of my life is the least amount of times I've seen my friends and family in person, and yet at the same time it's biggest year of ME I've ever had, or could have ever imagined. And not just a year of me, but a year of US for Adam and I (& the kitties). I have grown comfortable with the loneliness and have learned so much about embracing opportunities, traveling with cats, experiencing new cultures of towns and cities, and in navigating my own relationship 24/7. This year has been one for the record books, and one I will always look back on and reflect on as I go forward through every new year of my life.


Life lessons to take with me


It's hard to sum up in one blog post all that I've learned, but I want to leave you with some tidbits that best explain how I feel. In a lot of ways I've learned a lot about myself, my triggers, what makes me happy, what I truly need to survive and thrive, and what I really want out of life. I've learned to be okay with loneliness, okay with missing out on things I want to be apart of, okay with missing the ones I love, and okay with not knowing what is going to happen next. I've lived minimally and never once felt like I needed more to feel fulfilled. I woke up in 42 different backyards across 8,000 miles of the United States, started my first serious entrepreneurial journey, joined an online community of like-minded souls and then an in person community of workampers, and experienced the beauty of like 20-25 different National Parks and National Monuments.



My year of 30 has been a year of taking life by the horns, and here are just a handful of important and valuable lessons I've learned along the way:

  • Do the things you fear, and the fear loses it's control over you.

  • Feel everything that is beautiful and possible in your soul, and let yourself become it.

  • Your time spent in nature always leads you closer to yourself.

  • Let it be wild and unplanned.

  • Live life differently. Do what feels right without needing approval from society.

  • Instead of trying to figure out what to do with this beautiful life, just live this beautiful life beautifully every day.

  • Do not get distracted by what other people are doing or what other people are getting. Other people's opportunities are for them, not you.

  • Do not try to make your life fit into a box.

  • Command transformation from the inside out.

  • Take time to consciously choose your thoughts and thought patterns.

  • Sit with yourself and acknowledge all the growth in your life that looks like growth.

  • Live a life more traveled.

  • Some the best advice you will ever hear will come from the forest.

  • Own your truth.

  • Whatever you decide to do in life, just make sure it makes you happy.

  • Rather than by default, live life deliberately.

  • You are the creator of your experience.

  • Stop sacrificing your dreams for false security.

  • Opportunity is in the eye of the beholder.

  • You have to want your dreams more than you want your drama.

  • Write more. Speak more. And live in your creative force.

  • Miracles are your birthright.

  • You'll be amazed at what you attract in your life when you start believing in what you deserve.

  • It is okay for you to have everything you want in life.

  • It is okay to feel genuine happiness and you don't need to guilt yourself into thinking you don't deserve it.

  • You are in charge of your own success, and success for you doesn't have to equal what success means for someone else.

  • Just because people always told you that you had to live life a certain way, crossing specific milestones, doesn't mean that's the right way to do things.

  • You don't have to do anything you don't want to do. You are in control.

  • The United State of America is filled with incredible places, people and things.

  • You think you'll miss the stuff you got rid of, but the truth is you feel lighter without it.

  • Have less stuff, and more memories.

  • Don't ever give up, the other side is better than you could imagine.

  • You can accomplish anything you set your mind to. The limit does not exist. The only real limits you face are those that are in your head.



Throughout so much of my life, I felt so lost all the time. Wondering what I should be, where I should go, what I should do to feel whole. And now I wander full-time, as a lifestyle, as a way of living, with no end in sight, and I don't feel lost at all anymore. Sometimes the only thing that needs to change is right in front of you, staring you in the mirror every day. Sometimes all you have to do to find the answers is to take a leap of faith into the unknown, and be sure to jump in with both feet.


I look forward to 31, and all that it will bring. I know that this time next year nothing will be the same, and yet everything will be exactly how it should be. I have no idea where we will be in the country another year from now, but I know it will be absolutely amazing, and the journey along the way will be like nothing else I've done before.


NEXT WEEK:


By this time next week we will have reached another 60 days since the last 'Challenges of Mobile Living' post! This will be our second challenges post since arriving in Gualala, and even though we have been stationary for an extended period of time now, there are still new challenges that come up as long as we are living in the RV. Stay tuned next week for the newest situations and our ways of overcoming and thriving.



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For more reviews, content, and other adventures, be sure to follow me on Instagram at Spark Fire Swan.


xoxo











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About Me

Hi, I’m Amanda. Thanks for visiting my page!

I was born & raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. I lived there for 30 years of my life, and always dreamed of warmer winters, mountains & palm trees, and life outside of what I always knew. 

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