Baja California, Mexico // No. 1

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We hoped the beginning of this mini expedition was not an omen for the entire journey. Between the last minute (very expensive) car fix, accidentally giving a McDonalds cup full of Sprite instead of water to Winston, pouring rain in San Diego, frantic run to the bank and other errands in said rain, and a bit of apprehension about crossing our first border in our own vehicle, we were already feeling a little defeated by this adventure. Turns out we would leave the bad luck in the states. 

We (read: Jesse) had done an enormous amount of research on the Baja; border crossings, gas gaps, road conditions, camping options, paperwork for Winston, etc., but this mode of travel (overloading) is new to us, so there were still unknowns. We approached the boarder at Tijuana and didn’t have to wait even one minute. We’d heard horror stories about having to wait in lines for hours and how stressful border crossings can be (though I think most of these stories are from countries farther south). We did have to stop at a specific building to get our travel visas approved. I was reminded that things are still a little serious when I walked near a dog crate (I think it was a police dog) and he went APE. The whole crate was thrashing around like something straight out of a cartoon. Noted. 

We booked it to Ensenada because Tijuana is…well you know what Tijuana is. We weaved our way through town and made our first fish taco run at the infamous Fenix. Every overlander makes a stop at Fenix. We found the Walmart and I braved the shopping trip i was dreading. We loaded up for the next 2 weeks (side note: our custom cabinetry food storage was right on point, exactly what we needed) and headed south. 

The scenery was beautiful, the roads not too horrible, and the temperatures getting warmer by the minute. There were more cacti than the stars. Word is there are like 300 types of cacti along the Baja, many of which are only found in this region. Oh, and they were 30 foot tall, too. 

We made it to our first camp spot, a beautiful little spot along the west coast. The campground was owned by a rancher(?). Clean and modern. Right on the beach. I definitely would have appreciated the flush toilets and warm showers more if I new what was to come! There was only one other camper there, what looked like snowbirds. More on that later. Winston ran along the beach and we settled into the tranquil life! 

Whale watching was on our minds, so we set off early for San Ignacio. It was a long day of driving through endless desert and hours of no gas stations, the “Baja Gas Gap.” We finally arrived in San Ignacio just as the sun was setting. A darling town we promised to explore on our way out. We decided to push on for the lagoon. We knew a portion of the road was unpaved, but those 20km of washboard quickly turned into the lowlight of the trip. It didn’t help that we did that stretch of road at night (breaking our rule of never driving at night). However, it was so worth it. We pulled up to a fantastic campsite right next to the lagoon. Oskar (from Spain) upgraded our spot and we fell silent in hopes of hearing the whales. It didn’t take long for us to hear the not so distant sounds of the whales breathing. 

We woke up to ridiculous winds. We were sure the whale watching would be off. I wasn’t to keen on being in a tiny motorized row boat out in the open waters in those conditions anyways. But Oskar arranged for a guy to drive us to a different spot to launch from. From January to March, the moms are teaching their babes how to whale, so they hang out in this one spot in the lagoon. To say this was a highlight was an understatement. We lost count of how many California Gray Whales we saw and (almost) touched. They literally surrounded the boat, teasing us with a fin or tail just out of reach. We saw them stick their noses out of water, jump and land with a huge splash, and roll around. It was SO incredible.

The ride back to the campsite was a bumpy one, but it was so worth it. We packed up and headed back up that ridiculous washboard road towards the town. San Ignacio was a little sleepy, but so very charming. It’s called a little “oasis,” which is right on. We stayed in a campsite just outside of the center of town, Don Chon, which went right along with the oasis feeling. The giant cockroach I spotted on the wall by the toilet killed the bliss of it all a little, but that’s the Baja life for ya!

Jackson Hole

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We left a place with snow to drive 5 hours to hang out in another place with snow. Can’t you see the logic? We met up with our friends for a quick weekend of snow shoeing, tubing, good food, shopping, hot tubbing, and everything in between. We really tested the limits of the rig in below freezing temps and it was awesome. But you know what isn’t awesome? Trying to find a spot to winter camp in Jackson Hole. After hours of searching and a few choice words, we ended up in the Kmart parking lot our first night. It was a low point for sure. Our boon-docking skills need work, that’s for sure. In other news, we had the opportunity to step inside a Wheel Haus. 500 square feet tiny homes being rented as vacation homes just outside of Jackson. We have had our eye on them for a while and, to be honest, were more impressed in person than we thought we would be. We really thought through all of our belongings and how it would work living in 400-500 square feet. It was encouraging, actually. Our lifestyle is slowly but surely becoming more intentional, and I don’t think it would be out of the realm of possibilities to actually be happy in a small house scenario.

M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S

So this is the part where we all get to brag about our lives...right? We'll take a break from our Weekly Adventures (more on this in a minute) to do a quick recap on our year. 2015 was just so good. We continued to live by our motto: work hard, play hard. We also put a lot of emphasis on prioritizing and letting go (more on this in a minute, too). 

We worked, a lot. Jesse continues to work full time while running the videography business on weeknights/weekends. Kim has officially moved her focus from design to video. The business has continued to expand. We've had some really fun projects. We've traveled. We've met amazing creatives and business owners. We've had our share of growing pains. We've learned some tough lessons. 

We traveled, a lot. For work and for play. From Virginia to San Diego, from Iceland to Hawaii, from the Florida Keys to Texas, from New York to Seattle, and a bit more in between. If there is one thing we've worked hard at mastering this year, it's how to maximize our time and resources. 

We made a goal last New Year's Eve to really explore our city/state more. Should we ever move, we want to leave feeling like we really took advantage of what this place has to offer. We called them Weekly Adventures. The only rules were to explore one new thing (to us) every weekend, be it a new park, hike, restaurant, event, activity, etc. 

Working on the weekends made this goal pretty challenging, but it has been well worth it. Playing "tourist" in your own town is important. You don't have to go to some far off exotic place to find adventure, culture, or fun. 

We minimized, a lot. Yeah, words like 'minimal' and 'simplify' are super trendy right now, but it has been a game changer for us. One day I'll write an essay about this topic, we're that passionate about it. We've always done a little spring cleaning, and avoided a "cluttered" house. Over the last two years, this spring cleaning has turned into monthly purges of drawers and closets. We just felt this need to, yes, simplify our lives. But this year we realized two things about ourselves: we are really good at organizing and playing tetris. Our house never felt cluttered because we knew how to strategically organize. When we really started looking at the layers of stuff we had, we were horrified! We took a very VERY critical eye to our possessions and sold/donated/threw away half of our stuff, including one of our cars. We took this same critical eye and looked at our mental clutter. We looked at the to-do lists, the obligations, the hobbies we felt pressure to continue, the guilt over projects undone, etc etc etc.... and we let go. By doing this, certain priorities naturally rose to the top, and those are the things we focus our time/energy/resources on. Now we're working on building the habits that stop the clutter and distractions from entering our lives in the first place. This is where the real practice of Minimalism begins, in our opinion. We're not exactly where we'd like to be, but we have definitely seen the positive benefits.

I couldn't finish this without a word on our furry family member, Sir Winston the Pug. He does rule the house after all... or so he thinks. His stubborn personality has been a challenge and a source of laughter. You know what they say about dogs, "they'll do anything for their master's love and affection," "they love unconditionally," "man's best friend," etc. Well, I think he missed those lessons in puppy school. Ha! Sure we're his master...when we have peanut butter in our hand. ;) All joking aside though, he is a total crack up. He LOVES adventures, he gets very depressed when people don't say hi to him on walks, he is OCD (truly), he'll go sit by the door when it's close to the time Jesse gets home from work without me prompting him, he knows when I (Kim) put on anything more than yoga pants that something exciting must be happening,  he needs privacy to poop, and is just a sneaky sneaky little guy. He is absolutely a part of the family. And we love him so!  

And that, my friends, is the condensed version. 

We feel very grateful for the opportunities that have come our way this year. We are grateful for the friends we have made. We are grateful for the time we have spent with family. We are grateful for the lessons we have learned. Here's to 2016!

With all of our love,

The Moores

weekend adventure // no. 52

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This is it! 52 weeks of Weekend Adventures comes to a close. A quick recap! Last New Years, we set a goal to go on a mini adventure every weekend around SLC/Utah. Our goal was to just really get to know the place we live. Should we ever move, we want to feel like we took advantage of what this place has to offer. Our goal was to keep them simple (go to a new park, try a new restaurant, check out that event that happens every year). Of course, some weekends we were traveling, so we counted those because we were still adventuring, after all. But every weekend we were home, we made sure to get out and make time for a little bit of exploring in our own city/state.

For our final adventure, we stopped by the Artesian Wells in the Sugar House area. A friend had tipped us off about these, so we had to see it for our ourselves. It’s a tiny park with a natural water spring flowing year round. Supposedly people come from all over to fill bottles and containers of this water. We were sure it would somehow be frozen over in these single digit temps, but it wasn’t! In the 20 minutes we were there, we saw a steady stream of people coming to fill up. People of all ages and economic status. Being the geniuses that we are, we forgot to bring something to fill up! So, we’ll make our way back soon to actually try some of this magical spring water. 

weekend adventure // no. 51

This weekend we were in sunny Florida for the weekend, celebrating the holidays with family. The 75 degree weather was a very nice welcome. It was a nice break from the hustle of this month. We filled the days with good food, games, and a little beach time (of course). It was a white Christmas, indeed!