Why Traveling Can Help With Grief

So, this is my personal blog about travel and adventure. Well, this is a personal story. I’ll spare you all the sad details, but in November of 2014, I lost my baby sister in a car accident – she was 19. It was tragic and devastating for my family, but as the saying goes, life goes on. Everyone deals with grief differently. For me, well you’ve heard the story. I quit my job in October 2015 and was hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in New Zealand on the one-year anniversary of my sister’s passing. I believe that travel can help people cope with grief and here’s why.

Remembering the Good Times

Growing up my family did a lot of camping, hiking, exploring, you name it. Spending time outside and enjoying nature has me remembering the good times. Go someplace you usually would visit together, partake in an activity you both enjoyed, and remember the good times you spent with your loved one. I like to visit restaurants I used to frequent with my sister, hike trails I used to hike with her or camp places we used to visit together. I can’t explain it, but it helps me feel closer to her.

Fulfilling a Bucket List

Perhaps your loved one left one behind. I will never know exactly what was on my sister’s bucket list, but I have a feeling it would be filled with a lot of traveling and fun adventures. Each time you visit a new destination, take a momentum of your loved with you – like a trinket or a photo. Yes, they are not physically there, but because of your love, you know you are never truly alone. I believe each new destination I visit is helping my sister fulfill her bucket list and honoring her memory.

New Memories

Whether we like it or not, life goes on. The days pass, the years pass. I know my sister would not want me to sit there and dwell on the past. She would want me to get out there and create new memories. Whether that is taking your first solo trip and backpacking through a country for 8-weeks or going on a weekend trip to New York with some of your besties. Creating new memories is just as important and remembering the old ones.

Sharing Their Legacy

I want everyone to know the legacy of my sister. Whether that’s telling a stranger I met about her or writing her name in the sand for everyone who walks on the beach to see. I find comfort in knowing that I am spreading the memory of my sister all over the world and keeping her legacy alive.

We all deal with grief differently, and that’s okay. I hope you can find some peace during this difficult time. Also, I don’t think we ever stop grieving, so really it’s about how we live with it.

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I love you Fraine 👼💕

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What is your favorite memory of a lost loved one? Tell someone. You can tell me, tell a friend or write it out in the sand on a beach in a far away land.

Until next time…..

Love ❤

Keelie

That Highway 20 Ride

There is something magical about the Northern California Coast. Its rugged coastline, windy roads, crisp air, and that golden sunshine. North of San Francisco you have fewer tourists. The coastline starts to look more like something you would find in Oregon, but you can still have gorgeous sun rays and that vibe only found in California.

My parents were invited to join some family friends in Fort Bragg for the weekend. Everyone would have their fancy camper and the campground had full electricity, flushing toilets, showers and even WiFi. Basically glamping. I decided to tag along because I can’t pass up an opportunity to explore a new place.

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Puppy Kisses ❤

I had only been to Fort Bragg once before. I was in the 8th grade, and it was for a friend’s birthday. However, Fort Bragg is an extremely popular travel destination for everyone in my hometown. I’m sure most of our town folk consider the coastal town a second home. The family friends we were joining have been spending their weekends on Hwy 1 since the early 70s. Obviously, I like to travel (hence my travel blog), and I really like to explore and see new things. So as soon as I found out I would be spending time in Mendocino County, I began researching what to do and see.

My journey started by taking Hwy 20 in California from beginning to end. I pick it up off the 80 just passed Donner Summit and got off at Hwy 1. I journeyed through the mountains of Gold Country and made my way to the valley floor. From there it is farmland as far as the eye can see until Clear Lake. It is slow going around the lake, but it provides nice scenery. You cross paths with the 101 and enter Willits. The quaint little town situated on the crossing of Hwy 20 and 101. This is the start of Mendocino County and the beautifully rugged Northern California Coast. The drive from Willits to Fort Bragg is windy, steep at some parts and exceptionally picturesque. The whole drive was scenic. And it truly shows you how diverse the state of Califonia really is.

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Family Photo Opt

I spent 3 nights there, and during that time we ate a lot of seafood, drank a lot of beer, and walked on a lot of beaches. We ate at North Coast Brewing Company, Sea Pal Cove, and Cafe Del Mar. All were great and unique in their own way. I am also an avid hiker, and I found quite a few hikes I would one day like to try. I suggested we go to Russian Gulch State Park and look around. We found a secluded beach to let the dogs run wild on, and I looked for this hike to a waterfall on the park map. I was alone on the ‘hiking business’ which is why I said I would like to one day try them. We continued down Hwy 1 and stopped in Mendocino. You can walk around the town in probably half hour. The area offers some great coastal views, pathways for short strolls, shopping, eating, and of course a few watering holes. There is a river inlet that was perfect for the dogs and looked like a great place to catch some summer rays.

After learning I would be visiting Fort Brag, and starting my research, I came across a place called Bowling Ball beach. The beach is covered with small round boulders that well look like bowling balls. Some photos had the water just covering the bottom of the boulders, and the place looked magical. It was an hour from where we were staying, and on our last full day in Fort Bragg, I convinced my company to go on a road trip. I will be upfront with you. We made it to Bowling Ball Beach. It was beautiful, but I did not see the bowling ball boulders. Pretty sure you have to go during low tide. See I am just destined to return to Mendocino. Even though our initial goal was not met, the day was not wasted. Our road trip down there provided some of the most secluded and untouched coastline the West Coast has to offer. We made a pit stop at the Point Arena Lighthouse, and of course, the second I climbed to the top, the cloud cover rolled in and I couldn’t see a thing. We had ‘linner’ at the Pier Chowder House and Tap Room in Point Arena. Everyone loved it. The restaurant was situated in a harbor, and we could watch people surf from the window. Overall Fort Bragg was outstanding. I recommend exploring the surrounding area. Glass Beach is a popular town attraction, but it was under construction when I was there.

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Where are the bowling balls?!

 I will definitely be going back to that part of the California coast. I must see Bowling Ball Beach! There is so much to explore in that area, you just have to get in your car and go!