Corolla – the town, not the car

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Spending a week in North Carolina’s Outer Banks is “something North Carolinians do”- Like Michiganians go “Up North”, and Las Vegans “stay away from the strip”…

We’d get up at 6am each morning, and walk the two blocks to the beach. Once we hit the sand, we’d kick off our sandals, and dodge the crabs that quickly ran into their hiding holes.

There were a handful of other people up and down the beach, and we’d watch the tide begin to roll in – in big, glorious waves, making criss-cross patterns of water at our feet. We would watch as the sky went from dark blue, to light blue, then pink and orange. The temperature was perfect, and the water was still lukewarm. The perpetual OBX winds were rather quiet, perhaps reflecting on the day ahead, as were we.

We combed the beach while – as Laurie Anderson has put it – “the sun came up like a big, bald, head”. The waves crashed, producing the soundtrack to our scanning the beach for unique gems of the sea.

Each morning, we saw the best sunrise of the day. And later on, we would sit on the back porch and watch the sun set beyond the trees, into the sound.

But from this now 7am point of view, we had the task of a full day ahead of us, filled with the urgency of reading, swimming, and relaxation.

Freshly armed with the infusion of freshly extracted vitamin C, we dodged the crabs again as we picked up our sandals, and followed the boardwalk back to the fortress of Lasting Impressions.

Amitabha Stupa

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The Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park, located in Sedona, Arizona, sits in a quiet corner of a neighborhood at the base of thunder mountain. I am a big fan of Buddhist beliefs, so it was a joy to visit on our last trip to Sedona.

The park provides a few short hiking trails, which are lined with Buddhist statues and prayer flags. You can also find crystals and rosaries hanging from trees.

As visitors reach the Stupa, they make their intentions, and meditate on those intentions as they make three trips around the Stupa in a clockwise direction.

This photo is from the rear of the Stupa, and in the background, you can see some of the amazing and beautiful rock formations that the West is known for. If you look closely, you can also see a woman in white meditating in the sun as the Stupa’s shadow makes its way towards her.

This picture was taken on Thanksgiving weekend, 2014. It was a rushed trip, but we did have the opportunity to take a great four-hour train ride into a canyon, where the leaves were starting to change.

The View That Took My Breath Away

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While living in Las Vegas, we took a trip through Zion National Park, Kayunta (Arizona – home of Monument Valley), and the Grand Canyon.

We also stopped in Bryce Canyon – oddly, we had known very little about this Southwestern gem prior to this trip.

In the Southwest, there are many gorgeous views that I never expected to see, as I grew up in the Midwest. Despite the amazing views, I never truly saw a sight that took my breath away – until we got to Bryce Canyon.

This picture is the view that literally took my breath away. I had never seen anything in my life like this. If you don’t know what to expect, and walk up to the lip of the canyon, this sight punches you in the gut. Amazing.

While at Bryce Canyon – a trip taken over Memorial Day weekend – we drove to higher elevations, where it started raining. Then snowing. I laughed and took pictures – it was the first time we’d seen snow since we moved from the Midwest – more than a year prior!