road trip

Road tripping through Utah

Hi guys!

Apologies for the unintentional break I took from this space. Between life on the road and then getting sick almost as soon as I got back east, this space was pushed a bit from my mind. Anyway, I’ve officially been back home for a bit after a whirlwind three weeks on the road. It felt SO GOOD to be back out in my element; hiking, skiing, and just daydreaming on endless stretches of highway. After meeting up with my friend, Allee, in Arizona, (and our brief detour in Colorado!), we set our sights on Utah.

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I first visited some of these places a couple winters back, but that didn’t make them any less amazing the second time around. If anything, I was more excited, as I knew the cold temps would make them less desirable to visit. Pro tip : if you’re looking to have hiking trails in the southwest to yourself, visit in the winter! Even at sunrise, I’ve always shared hiking trails - especially national park trails - with other people. While there were a couple other brave souls out enjoying the sights, it was nothing like summer time with hoards of people!

Our first stop in Utah was Monument Valley. This time around we car camped nearby, but my first time visiting this place, we stayed at The View hotel, which looks right out over the infamous buttes. It was a bit overcast, but we had a small window of clear sky that made for a perfect sunrise. Like most southwest spots, you’re going to want to plan around where you’ll be for sunrise or sunset. That’s when the landscapes truly seems to glow.

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This section of the trip was definitely about car camping - aka saving money on lodging! - and we continued the following night at Dead Horse Point State Park. Using the ioverlander app, Allee was able to find a camp ground in the park, just a short drive from where we’d be shooting sunrise the following morning! With the recent snowfall, we couldn’t pass up a visit to nearby Arches National Park. Like I mentioned earlier, this place is a ghost town in winter! We had entire trails to ourselves, and got to explore the snow covered red rocks to our hearts content.

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From Moab, we continued our journey north in search of a little sunshine. I’ll be the first to admit, as much as I love Winter, the goal for this trip was definitely to embrace the sun and some WARMTH. We were able to find both at our next stop - Mystic Hot Springs. This place is a trip, I loved how unique the individual tubs are! Once we we were closer to Salt Lake City, we hiked to a natural hot spring (I personally preferred the natural pools. Can’t think of a better reward after a hike).

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I knew I couldn’t leave SLC without at least ONE ski day, and fortunately my long-time friend, JJ, was able to meet up with me to make it happen. We spent the day at Solitude Mountain, where I was able to use my Ikon Pass (have I mentioned lately how much I love this pass?! I’ve skied more this season than any other because of it! More on that in my next post). Solitude is unlike any mountain I’ve ever experienced. I’ve never skied in powder so deep in my life! It was such a fun day, and truly has me dreaming of more winter trips to the area. There’s certainly no shortage of mountains - Brighton, Alta, and Snowbird being a stone’s throw away.

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On our final night, our friend, Kevin, brought us out to nearby Antelope Island for a sunset campfire. If we had gone nowhere else in Utah, this place would be enough. It’s INCREDIBLE. Roaming buffalo scattered throughout, and mountain vistas that made me feel as though we had been transported to southern Alaska. It was a dream.

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Can’t wait to share the last leg of this trip with you guys! Promise it will be soon.

xo

J.

A Colorado Snow Day with New Frontier Outfitters

Hi from the road, guys!

A few days back, we found ourselves in a very snowy situation right outside Telluride, Colorado. After holing up for the night to let the storm pass, we ventured out to the mountains. On this trip, I had the pleasure of working with outdoor lifestyle brand, New Frontier Outfitters.

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Based in the Appalachian mountains, New Frontier Outfitters sells adventure-inspired apparel and accessories - perfect for road trips! In fact, one of my favorite pieces of theirs is the Winter Van Sweater. All the wanderlust vibes, and SO SOFT. Not gonna lie, this is probably one of the softest sweatshirts I own!

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My friend, Allee, threw on their NFO Winter Badge Crew before we headed out, which has an awesome vintage look to it. After tossing on our very suitably named Aspen beanies, we definitely felt like we were reading for the slopes! A very snowy drive later, we made it to town and hopped right on the gondola. Even at 10,000+ feet, we stayed snuggly warm!

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New Frontier Outfitters has tons of great winter apparel and accessories on their site right now, so be sure to check them out! At the moment, they also have a 30% off sale with code “snowman”. Head over to check out their Winter collection !

xo

J.

This post is in partnership with New Frontier Outfitters.

How I Travel on a Budget

Hey guys!

Before I became full-time freelance, one of the questions I was constantly asked is how could I afford to travel as often as I did?. I would get tons of comments along the lines of “I wish I could travel as much as you!”, and truthfully, it wasn’t that long ago that I would browse through friends and strangers feeds alike and have my own serious case of FOMO. The first step to any adventure is, of course, to just GO. When I was just starting out, (and to this day!) sometimes the adventures would be on a small scale, and only as far as a tank of gas could carry me. Others, like my five week road trip last summer, required a bit more planning. So first off:

Plan Out Your Route in Advance

I know this takes away from the fun, spontaneous aspects of a trip, but having a rough itinerary is the easiest way to rid some unnecessary stress. This is especially important if you’re traveling with a group! Each person should share a list of places they’d most like to visit, and together, you can start to draft together a route to hit as much as possible with your timeline. Last year, my friend introduced me to the site, Furkot, which allows multiple people to add and edit locations to a road trip! Obviously, things happen, and you won’t be able to get to everything, but having that initial itinerary can save from some backtracking (and gas money) down the line. This also opens up opportunities to find sleeping arrangements, food, etc. Which brings me to:

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Car Camping is Free

In the warmer months, long-term travel becomes a lot easier for me, because sleeping arrangements are a lot easier! Last summer, two of my five weeks on the road consisted of car camping. I had a tent with me, too, for the days I’d be with another person, or in a national park. For over a month of summer travel, I spent less than $300 on sleeping arrangements. Sites like Hipcamp are great, if you’re looking for campsites in the U.S.! For travel outside the U.S., look into local hostels or hut systems (if you plan on hiking!). To keep my sanity, I made sure to have a non-camp place to sleep at least once a week. It gave me a chance to recharge my batteries - literally - and have some personal space to sprawl out (which is super important, no matter the length of a trip!). Camping also makes it easier to meal plan and save on food. Eating out - especially in touristy areas - can be super pricey, so traveling with a Jetboil and some non-parishables (like soup and pasta), brought my food budget way down.

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Sign Up for Airfare Alerts

If you’re heading out a bit further than your car can take you, obviously the farther out you book your airfare, the cheaper it will be. I take advantage of email blasts for some of my preferred airlines. Every now and then, they’ll have specials going on during periods of time. Two sites I use fairly often for flights are Scott’s Cheap Flights and Skiplagged.

Give Yourself a Weekly Allowance

Once you’re out on your adventure, it’s important to have a little in your budget for SOME spending money. I gave myself a $20 spending cap every week for non essentials. Having that dollar amount in mind can save you from overspending in the moment. So allow yourself to get that cup of coffee, but hold off on that overpriced magnet. Everything in moderation!

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Not every trip has to be on a Grand Scale

Living in Brooklyn, there isn’t a TON of nature in the immediate vicinity. However, upstate New York is home to two pretty remarkable mountain ranges. Traveling wise, sometimes the best adventures can be within your own state! Check out parks, national monuments, and national parks that could just be a day’s drive away. Personally, some of my favorite adventures have been right here in the Northeast. A round-trip train or bus ride upstate from the city will in most cases cost you less than $100, with endless destinations just a few hours away.

I hope these few tips help you to plan and budget for your next trip! After January, I’m getting back out on the road, and couldn’t be happier to spend time on some long stretches of highway.

xo

J.