I'm still on my mini sabbatical; refueling before getting back to work on Tuesday. We returned from our road trip out west, and the change of scenery and even all the driving really did my soul good. Just seeing the different colors and scenery was vacation enough, but we spent so much time outside, and it just felt good. Of course just spending time in Yellowstone National Park was great- to see the amazing landscape and the animals that I never see was so much fun. We'd be driving by a meadow or river, and then come across a herd of Bison pretty regularly while we were there. On the way, we even saw a mom and baby moose. And bears! We saw four off at a pretty safe distance- it was definitely a highlight of the trip. I was actually terrified that we would be eaten by bears. That may sound irrational, but all the places we camped had really strict food storage requirements that I took SUPER seriously. Everything had to be packed up when not in use, even stoves and water and toothpaste. If a blueberry fell on the ground I'd be searching around for it on the ground, and then scanning the horizon for the bear it would lead to our camp. I learned later how rare it was for a bear to even want to come near people, but while I was there I was sort of obsessed. And the water- I get in water whenever I can- it's my thing, and we found a boiling river that fed into a cooler river, that created a natural hot springs. We had to force ourselves out of this place, after two hours in the water. But, aside from all the driving, we spent every moment outside. We camped most nights, once even on the side of the road in a beautiful canyon by a river, and because of the strict food storage requirements mentioned above, wherever we drove, we had everything we needed to stop, cook or make lunch or dinner, if we were too far from our camp when we were hungry. So, we would see a beautiful spot, and pull out our food, and make sandwiches, or boil pasta, or prepare one of the super crazy freeze dried space food concoctions my husband purchased for the trip, including the ice cream sandwich pictured here. There's just something about having everything you need to survive with you, living outdoors for a while. Definitely not living off the land. I mean, we had ice, and grocery store food, and NEEDED our car to survive for sure. But that sense of respecting, and being so close to nature, sleeping under the stars, finding all of our entertainment from outdoors (no wifi or even cell service in yellowstone): staring at the sky, hiking, swimming, (and once instance of making a teeter totter from a tree trunk) and just feeling the senses on your skin. That's what I love. Just being outside.