I know taking mini vacations and visiting amusement parks don't sound challenging -- and they really aren't -- but challenges aren't what these goals are about. They're about bringing more love, fun, laughter, and adventure into my life, and they wouldn't have been possible without Cliff, who is always so supportive of anything I wish to do.
Initially, I had hoped to visit an amusement park on a day that I played hooky (talk about fun!), but it didn't quite work out that way. You see, this week is my transition between jobs. I'm going back to a field I understand well and feel incredibly passionate about, and am stoked for the new opportunity. But I also know that no play and all work makes Jack a dull boy (or in my case, Jill a dull girl), so I gave myself a week off between jobs. And you know what? I learned a lot!
I've never taken time off between jobs before, nor have I ever understood why people would use paid time off for a "staycation." I get it now. Having a week devoted fully to myself without anywhere I had to be was pretty awesome.
Cliff and I kept things low-key at the beginning of the week, but on Wednesday we ventured to Kings Dominion. It's been years since either of us have been on a roller coaster and had an absolute blast riding everything from The Grizzy to The Intimidator. I know the new-fangled rides are what all the cool kids are into these days, but our trip only reaffirmed by affinity for wooden roller coasters. They're just the best! (Sorry, no photos from the amusement park. I might be crazy, but I'm not stupid ;) )
We spent Thursday and Friday in the mountains of Shenandoah National Park, where we camped at Loft Mountain. On that trip, I did take my camera and you can see photos below. This was the first time Cliff and I went camping together -- and it was also my first time in a national park. I still get goosebumps thinking about the insanely incredible things we saw. Highlights included a leisurely four-hour drive on Skyline Drive, viewing thunderheads from a distance (I'll never forget the sound of thunder echoing in the mountains!), hiking to a waterfall, and watching the sun set from a secluded spot on the Appalachian Trail. I now understand what John Muir meant when he said, "The mountains are calling and I must go."