Checking In.. June 2020

It’s odd, I never wanted my blog to have non-travel posts like this. I wanted it to be strictly about travel, and maybe a few other things, but here we are.

So much of my life has changed in the short time since The Corona happened. And yes, it gets an article and needs to be capitalized. 

So much has changed in the world too. But I’m not going to dwell on that as I’ve come to the point where I simply can’t anymore in and have basically turned off all news and Facebook notifications.

I do still promise to keep this a politics-free zone. I do have very strong opinions leaning in one direction versus the other, but this is not the place for them.

While many travel bloggers will tell you politics and travel are inherently connected (they are correct), there is still no need for them to shove their views down your throats. You wouldn’t accept that from the bible thumpers, so why do you accept it from others regarding political topics? Something to think about.

Storm Chasing

For starters, I am supposed to be on my first proper storm chasing adventure (versus standing at the end of my driveway) with a close friend. The tour was canceled months ago, but for some reason, I hung onto a little bit of hope that something would come through. I’m forever the optimist.

Snapping photos of the incoming storm

It really didn’t hit me until a couple of days before I was supposed to leave. Storm Chasing really wasn’t happening. It turned out to be alright though.. there really was no interesting weather for us to chase and what weather there was, was in my region of North Dakota. A little funny that I would have flown to Denver just for them to drive me back home.

So I have a few time-lapse photos of storms at (you guessed it) the end of my driveway again.

Loco Llama Naturals

When this madness all started, I wrote a brief little bit about stepping back from writing about travel. To fill the void, I decided to pursue another interest of mine. Making natural soaps and skincare.

A loaf of the shampoo, body, and face bar that I use daily

I had to wait a month for ingredients to show up and by then the website I built was accidentally erased and other things pulled at my attention for time. But it’s still something I want to do and work on!

Peppermint lip balm

I’m not sure that I’ll have a dedicated site for Loco Llama for a while yet. My current plan is to add a few items to my Chasing Departures Shop and see how that pans out before redesigning the Llama site. 

My Work Life

I became the general manager at work and with that came new responsibilities and different hours. 

I still have the awful habit of feeling like I have to be there the entire time the store is open and my coworkers kick me out of the store frequently when it’s my time to leave. One even has an alarm set on his phone to remind me 😅

But I love my job! It allows me to be creative while still having the customer interaction that I’ve enjoyed at all my previous jobs. If you have any creative or printing needs, email me (niki@chasingdepartures.com) and we can discuss your project. 

Photography

This spring, a new fine art gallery opened in Jamestown. I messaged the owner and she said yes to having my photography featured in it! I currently have a couple larger items and a few smaller pieces in there. Stop by Sapphire Gallery when you’re passing through Jamestown if you want to see some of my favorite shots. 

In other photography news of mine, I finally purchased a new lens for my camera. It’s a Tamron 600mm telephoto. I LOVE it! Now I can play paparazzi with the ducks in the sloughs and other wildlife in the area. 

I’m also working on writing a photography book inspired by the many people that ask me how to get started in photography. The title is “Behind the Lens: A Beginners Guide to Photography” and will be available in print (shipping to the US only – sorry!) or digital download (worldwide) in the Chasing Departures Shop. 

Private Pilot Training

Eeeek! I’m stupidly excited to finally be pursuing a childhood dream of mine!

Inside the cockpit

I’ve wanted to fly for as long as I can remember. When we lived on a lake in northern Minnesota I remember watching the float planes land on the water and thinking someday I would have and be able to fly one. And of course it would be pink 😂 because I wanted pink everything as a little girl.

20 years later, I am finally doing it!! 

I’m Selling The Blueberry

As much as I LOVE the blueberry. Realistically, it’s too small for me. And with the Great American Road Trip making a comeback this summer I need a vehicle I can actually sit up in the back when I go camping. Not something that’ll make me claustrophobic.

2018 Ford Focus SE Hatchback

If you’re interested in it, it’s a 2018 Blue Ford Focus Hatchback and the price I’m asking is below KBB value. Send me an email.

The Ford Explorer complete with a proper dust storm behind it in rural North Dakota

And I bought a 2006 Ford Explorer (with some really weird door handles). I’ll get used to them, but some people have no design skills and should not be put in charge of the vehicle design. But the more pressing issue is what should I name it?! The car is a metallic beige if that helps anyone with ideas. Drop your suggestions in the comments below! 

This is North Dakota Project

I really want to start writing travel stuff about my home. North Dakota is an incredible destination for travel that is all too often left for last when people are on their quest to hit all 50 states. And they shouldn’t leave it for last! 

Wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Starting in the coming weeks, I’ll be posting more about North Dakota and the various things to see and do in the state. There will be guides to the national park, cities and towns, and various regions, wine and alcohol guides (except the beer guides probably won’t be very good since I don’t like beer), state park guides, where they see the most diverse wildlife, and where to have the best outdoor adventure. 

Beautiful Theodore Roosevelt National Park

The project is hopefully going to result in a guide book to North Dakota. Like the photography book will be available in print (shipping to US addresses only) or digital download. 

Dog Training Classes

Meet Olaf. A happy, fluffy, Newfoundland puppy. Yes, I named him after the snowman in Frozen 😬

At the beginning of this summer, I was planning on teaching a basic obedience class. But The Corona and The Pandemic happened and that scapped those plans. Plus, I didn’t have a dog trained that I could use as a demo when showing them how to teach their dogs. 

I am still planning on teaching a class this fall when the temps are a little nicer in the evenings and when my dog is trained. 

Moving Forward in 2020 

2020 has been a weird year. But I’ve definitely adapted and I hope you have found some ways to adapt too. 

I want to know how you’re doing. Tell me in the comments, message me on Facebook, or send me an email. Let’s chat! 

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