Welcome to Life Devoured! This blog was started with the intention of it becoming a place to share ideas and experiences. Here, you will find posts about travel, books, and sustainable living.

There will always be posts that don't fit the mold but that is what we're about here at LD. Comment, post, share-the world is a better place when we connect.

Travel. Read. Life Devour.

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We all get it. I'm the worst blogger in the world. I don't get paid to do this and thus, it's for my personal enjoyment. I will say, I love interacting with all of you on Instagram and I wish there were more hours in the day for me to be able to write here in this space and share all of my thoughts and goings on, BUT there's just not. So instead, y'all have settled into letting me be this way and thank you guys so much for that. I love a good catch up session. So here goes:
In 2017, I left my job. I was not in a good space and decided to be proactive and get out of there. I took a solo road trip through the desert and screamed into the abyss for a while. I wanted to be spontaneous. I wanted to be alone. I wanted to hike 12 hours a day every day. I wanted to be amazed. I wanted to see part of the U.S. I'd always dreamed about but had never visited. I wanted to see cliff dwellings, Monument Valley, and miles and miles of burnt desert ground. 
I got to do all of those things. With a duffel and a Yeti cooler, I devoured my life for three weeks in the desert. Mountain tops, mesas, valleys, canyons, and plains. I experienced it all.
But then I couldn't stop... 
I read books, dozens and dozens of books. I listened to podcasts and audiobooks. I sought out new music and went to concerts. I took more and more trips, spanning across 18 states in the past year. I made new friends. Reconnected with old ones. I walked away from others. I learned that it's ok to let go. It's ok to love yourself more.
I ran with wild horses. I went climbing. I stopped to listen to the soul lifting nothingness that exists only miles away from everything and everyone.
 I went ziplining and didn't wet my pants entirely. That was a shocker.
I performed a wedding on a maple farm in northern Vermont in the fall. So ultimately, I died and went to heaven.
I got to go to Salem three times!!! And see exhibits on two my favorite topics (classic horror and Georgia O'Keefe). 
I got to finally spend some quality time with Charley and Lou. 
I worked part time. I dog sat. I hiked. I petted ALL the puppies and met some seriously legit humans. I was able to work with Lou through rehabilitation.
And get his brows on fleek.
 I hosted a few workshops on travel and one on women's self defense. 
I started to cook again-like a lot. I sourced my ingredients knowing where they came from and the impact they had on the environment and our bodies. I got creative with how I cooked and what I cooked and finally enjoyed getting back in the kitchen and making meal times a priority again.
I remembered the value of a dollar. I got so used to making and spending money, that I forgot how hard it is to earn it sometimes. I made major adjustments to my spending behaviors-spending money on experiences rather than things and when I did actually need something, doing my research to make sure they were sustainably sourced, ethically produced, and high quality goods.
I invested in creating memories. After over a decade of loving Chris Smither and the blues, I finally got to see him live at Eddie's Attic. I got to meet the man who's been the voice in my head for almost fifteen years.
I've cleaned out my closet, and the rest of my house for that matter, and only kept the things I legitimately enjoy and utilize. I painted most of the house-rich, dark, gem tones for the most part, and you'd be amazed at how much it's changed and modernized the vibe. I also recently got rid of a lot of the art we had-items that we bought at estate sales and the like, when we could barely afford the house. Now that I've gone back to work and a paycheck is a little fatter, I've invested in some pieces I really, really love.
I started a new job, obviously. It's been a lotttt of travel but it's good. It's SO good. I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason and happens when it's supposed to. For nearly thirty years, I valued myself by how others saw me-by the grades I made, the schools I went to, the job I had, the amount that I made and where I lived. But I've learned to stop. 
I am not any of those things and neither are you. You are how you treat others. You are your interests. You are the choices you make. I no longer meet people and ask "so what do you do?" What a boring and insignificant question. Now, I ask about what they enjoy doing. I ask what books they've recently read or movies they like. I ask them what is the thing they stay up late at night learning about. 
So much has changed and for that I am grateful. Sending nothing but the best vibes and juju to you all.
Let's talk soon.
Xo R

Holidaze, Mediumism, & Conscious Purchasing

Y'all-this year has flown by. So many ups and downs. Adventures and times spent just enjoying friends and family at the house. I'm really excited for the holidays-not shocking I'm sure, since you've seen that my house has been decorated for Christmas since November 1st. Anyway, we all know this is the time of year people start to dig themselves a hole-of debt. People wait all year long for "Black Friday" sales to buy a bunch of stuff they'll give away as gifts  or for themselves. Before you go fight someone in the aisles at Best Buy, please ask yourself do you need it? Is it worth it? 

Is it worth your time to wait to get in the store? Is it worth the trouble or a day spent away from friends and family? Are you really going to get the amount of joy out of it that can justify the price? 

Beyond that, think about what you're buying. Are you buying it from a person or a company? Does that company practice the same things you value? It takes work to be a conscious consumer however, it can be done. You can always start. 

Understand I'm not a minimalist. I'm more of a mediumist. I really enjoy the things I have and I have quite a few things. When I buy things, I research companies and items before I buy them. Not everything I own is made from recycled plastic bottles or wood (even though a lot of it is), but I do try to be a conscious consumer.

My intention of this post was to make you aware. Like I said, I love what I do own and a lot of the items I have and utilize the most, were made by a person and from really quality materials. Usually the craftsmanship is guaranteed by that person to some extent. By purchasing items from them, you're affecting them directly. You're putting food on their table, clothes on their back and allowing them to continue their own small business and that is AWESOME. 

So. This holiday season, if you need to buy something for yourself or a friend or family member, buy small and local whenever you can. Below are a few of my favorite companies and items. 

Fall Adventures & Airbnb Wonderland

As fall is wrapping up and turning into winter, we're cramming in all the cold, hygge feels and adventures to make the most of the moderate weather and leaves. This weekend we put up the tree and all the holiday decorations (we do it as soon as we take Halloween down so we can just knock it out). Last weekend however, we went camping at our favorite place in the southeast during this time of year. Jones Gap State Park! There's tons of hiking to be done and the views are amazing. There is even a fish hatchery right near the ranger station which in itself is a beautiful mountain cabin. We've been going there for years to see Rainbow and Jones Gap falls and the leaves but it seems different every time.  It's only 3 hours from Atlanta and around $20 to camp for the night. It's a great way to get out of town. Here's the link if you want to plan your own trip!

Finding Joy

I recently finished reading The Geography of Bliss and really, really enjoyed it. It's amusing. It's honest. It's thought provoking. Even if the author is kind of a negative nance. It got me thinking about what makes me happy...and what makes other people happy. People like you, but also people across the rest of the world.

I went to the Dalai Lama's speech at Emory University in 2010 which was hosted by a spiritual leader from every major world religion. It was amazing and not so surprisingly, the rabbi was the most interesting. I've always been interested in Judaism. It's not just a religion-it's a faith, a culture, a lifestyle. Bottomline, the discussion revolved around the idea that we all value things differently and therefore our happiness can't be measured quantitatively. For instance, people in Peru or Nicaragua are typically far less wealthy than the average American and often times, far happier than we are here. I've traveled to other countries that we consider 'Third World' and at a high level, it seems that they are happier as a whole. They seemed to find joy in each other. In food. In quality time. And even though those are all things that we have the ability to enjoy here in the States, a lot of people fill their lives with money and stuff, thinking that ownership is the same thing as happiness. It's not. I know from experience.

Classic Horror Exhibit

While we were doing our New England road trip, we passed through Salem, Massachusetts. We were mostly going for the witch museum (I'd already been but Charley never had and I loved it and forced it on him ha!) but when I saw that there was a Classic Horror exhibit, I had to go. Unfortunately, we were passing through on our way to Newport, RI and it was closed on Mondays. Freaking closed Mondays and Museums, screwed us out of seeing Museé D'Orsay in Paris too...

Well, because we had a horrific Airbnb experience in Cambridge and had to flee what was probably a gambling or sex trafficking operation that looked much like this final scene in Nosferatu (above), we ended up back in Salem for a night just so we could see the exhibit. I was pumped.
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