DNK Presents is part of an original Facebook Watch show, Boost My Business hosted by Tan France, co-star of Netflix’s Queer Eye.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be on a film set for 2 days and hang out with Tan France, co-star of Netflix’s Queer Eye; or meet and work closely with executives from multi-billion-dollar company, Facebook. It’s still mind blowing to me that DNK Presents, the adventure business Kate and I started back in 2014 is one of companies chosen to be part of an original Facebook Watch show, Boost My Business. The show is part of Facebook’s Summer of Support, 6 weeks of free trainings, tools and insights that begins June 24th. We started DNK Presents because we are passionate about getting people, especially women to step outside their comfort zones, try something new and in turn build confidence through outdoor experiences. I could have never guessed our small business would be part of something so incredibly big.
It’s hard to believe it was almost a year ago that Facebook reached out to me. They were pretty vague in their description but did tell me they were wanting to talk, AKA interview me, about being part of a new Facebook show and thought DNK Presents might be a good fit. I quickly gathered from the emails with several people copied and phone calls with folks from across the U.S. and overseas that this “show” might be a big deal. I tried not to get my hopes up because I knew nothing was for sure.
When I got word that DNK Presents was one of just 7 other small businesses from across the country selected for Facebook’s first original show called, Boost My Business, I was beyond thrilled. Facebook has been a huge part of the growth of DNK Presents. I come from a marketing background and took notice that over 80% of people who signed up for our trips found out about our business through Facebook. I knew I needed to spend more time and money learning, marketing and building our Facebook and Instagram presence.
We’ve been lucky to have several interactions with Facebook over the years
The first time Facebook contacted me was over 2 years ago, I was assigned an ad account manager and learned so much from working with him. We built ads together, tracked them, tweaked them and built more. This by the way was all completely free, people often ask how I got this opportunity, and all I’ve heard from Facebook is that it’s a lottery system, I guess I got lucky.
Then I got to be part of a Boost Your Business event. Before COVID-19 Facebook went across the country to different cities and offered one or two-day conference-like events with sessions and workshops on how to grow your business using Facebook and Instagram, again these were all free, you just had to sign up. In October of 2018 I got to speak on a panel with 3 other small business owners in the Central Indiana area about how we use Facebook and Instagram to grow our businesses. For this opportunity again I was randomly contacted by Facebook.
Less than a year later a woman emailed me from a separate team at Facebook about the show. From there it was lots of phone calls and emails, each interaction Kate and I grew more enthusiastic about being part of this show, especially when we found out Tan France was going to be the host of Boost My Business! Tan was the perfect host because of his experience building 2 small businesses and then years later selling them himself and of course he’s an amazing co-host of Queer Eye. It was a dream to have Tan in our small town of Nashville, Indiana for 2 days shooting in the middle of winter. It was cold but we had perfect snow and even got Tan on a bike, you’ll have to watch to see this in action. Tan said he hadn’t been on a bike for 20 years! Seeing this alone is worth it, I promise, our episode is out Monday July 27th at 6pm EST, watch it live here. Kate and I learned a lot from his experiences starting and growing his businesses. It was especially awesome to learn from another LGBTQ person. I would definitely recommend checking out his book, Naturally Tan if you want all the details and learn more about Tan’s real life, it’s quite fascinating.
I would be remised if I didn’t mention the amazing team at Facebook that we have worked with now for almost a year on this project. They are absolutely incredible, these people really want to help us grow and be successful, they care and it shows. There’s been even more opportunities Facebook has offered to us since filming the show. We are currently part of a new product test at Facebook, which has also helped grow our reach and boost our business. I am also on a virtual panel that you’ll be able to see during Facebook’s Summer of Support. At one time I think I was emailing with 4 different teams on Facebook, I am so grateful for these opportunities to help us grow our business.
Kate and I (and Asher) are so excited for this show to air and I still have a month until I even get to see it! Make sure to join us in our Facebook Watch party or watch the episode on Facebook Watch on Monday July 27th 6pm EST.
Thank you’s continued
A big shout out and thanks to our friends who came out and bundled up in the December cold to do a mock bike clinic for the filming at none other than our favorite spot in Brown County State park, Hesitation Point. Media Monks film crew for making us look good and also braving the cold (they were mostly from L.A.). My parents and friends who helped watch Asher for those few days we were filming, we are so grateful to you and we love you so much! Thank you, Hard Truth Hills for allowing us to film for 2 days at your amazing facility, and keeping us all well fed. Our friends and board members at the Brown County Visitor’s Center, thank you for making this extra special for us and always showing your support.
Reflect on the experiences of awe in your life and join me in a guided awe meditation.
I was taking my son for our regular walk last week in the yard. We are lucky to have a mix of open space, woods and a pond we share with the neighbors. Our usual half-way point is on the other side of the water, that’s where I take a moment to stop, take in a few deep, slow breaths, and reflect on the surrounding beauty. It’s here when I get my moment of awe, the feeling of wonder, amazement, and admiration. I don’t have too long before my son wants me to keep moving again but even though these moments of awe are short they fill up over time, day after day, week after week.
The first time I heard about an awe moment was several months ago listening to an episode from Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday podcast, one of the questions Oprah asked her guest at the end was, “when was the last time you had an awe moment”. I thought about the last time I felt a feeling of awe, it happened to be that morning, but I wanted to make sure to incorporate moments of awe in my daily life. Since having a baby my meditation practice has taken on new forms, which has been a blessing in disguise. I am now able to find meditation, mindfulness and moments of awe in ways I never thought before and was able to use some of these new methods in our latest Online Outdoor Wellness program.
Awe doesn’t have to be trekking to the top of a 14,000 ft. peak to see the sunrise over a snow-capped mountain range or being in the room when a new baby is born into the world. It can be each and every day, usually for me my awe moments are in nature; a blue heron swooping down from the sky diving towards the water, the sound of the breeze rustling through the trees in the forest, watching the bees pollinate from flower to flower in our yard. Our 14-month old son gives me awe moments and of course a lot aw moments too! An awe moment is another form of mindfulness, meditation and gratitude. It allows me to pause, look, listen and be fully present in an experience where I am consciously aware of the now.
Join me in a guided meditation exercise to experience and reflect on a moment of awe. Watch or close your eyes and listen to the practice below.
Join us in a Daily DNK adventure, share on social for your chance to win!
As we go through these unprecedented times, things are changing daily even hourly. We have taken on a new routine with having our son at home full time with us, DNK Presents planned trips on hold, we are still figuring out our “new normal” and how we can remain healthy during these times. I’ve listed some things that you and your family can do right now.
- Hiking/Running/Walking – Some parks are still open, the weather is getting warmer and it’s a great time to get outside. Check to make sure the trails and parks are open in your area before venturing out, with the Hiking Project (app) you can find trails in your area.
- Camping – Have your spring break trips been cancelled? You can still have fun in the outdoors and it’s something you can do with the whole family. Springtime means less bugs, cooler temperatures and sometimes fewer crowds. If going to a campground isn’t an option for you try camping in your own backyard or even in your living room. We could all use something else fun to do inside with the kids, am I right?!
- Biking – Road, gravel, trail – Choose a trail close to home and one you have been on before.
- Tree or spring flower identification – Have fun doing something fun and different in the outdoors with your family.
- Plant a garden – You can order seeds online and have fresh fruit and home-grown vegetables this summer and fall.
Do you have other ideas? Let us know in the comments! Starting today join us in sharing your #dailyDNKadventure by posting a photo or video of what you are doing to stay adventurous and healthy during this time. Make sure to use the hashtag #dailyDNKAdventure and tag DNK Presents on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to be considered to win some prizes like one of our new Buffs (neckware) and some sweet DNK Presents stickers. We will be picking our favorite photos and videos and will be selecting winners randomly!
Remember when going outdoors during this time make sure to go to an area close to home, it’s best not to try a completely new trail in a new park, always tell someone where you are going if you are going alone, do not go out if you are feeling sick, stay a safe distance away from people if you see others out on the trails, avoid any unnecessary risk and have fun out there!
Mountain Biker Tips
P.S. Here is a note from Kate and specifically for all the mountain bikers.
– Ride only if you don’t have symptoms
– Ride only with members of your household
– Keep a distance of 6 feet between other riders and while greeting or passing others on the trail
– Ride close to home to avoid spreading the virus
– Ride safely, don’t try any new jumps or drops – avoid any hospital trips
– Wash your hands when you come back home
Stay stoked, be safe and remain healthy!
We could all use a good laugh right now, if you haven’t seen our latest video on Leave No Trace, check it out here!
Do you know a woman who is deserving of an empowering wilderness adventure?
Outdoor adventure company DNK Presents has opened nominations for the 5th annual, Women’s Adventure Giveaway hosted at Mulberry Gap Mountain Bike Getaway in Ellijay, GA. Four women will win a free, 4-day, custom backcountry empowering adventure. Owners, Danielle and Kate Nolan will guide the trip, taking place the weekend of May 14-17, 2020.
The four selected winners will disconnect from technology, experience a variety of unique activities, build confidence and empower themselves through the great outdoors. Each winner also receives a prize package of exclusive outdoor gear from national and local sponsors. In addition, a select team of inspiring, leading women will join the adventure trip as special guest activity facilitators.
“We are so excited to be hosting the Women’s Adventure Giveaway at Mulberry Gap this year. I attended the event last year as a special guest and had the opportunity to witness first-hand the amazing experiences Danielle & Kate provide for these amazing women. To have the opportunity to be the basecamp for their adventures and lasting memories for years to come is a true honor” Kate Gates, Co-Owner Mulberry Gap.
DNK Presents is actively seeking nominations now through February 28, 2020. Nomination submission details and information about the Women’s Adventure Giveaway are available on the DNK Presents website.
If you are interested in sponsoring or involvement with the Women’s Adventure Giveaway contact Danielle@DNKPresents.com for details.
DNK Presents organizes and guides empowering adventure experiences for individuals, groups and businesses. They focus on getting people to step outside their comfort zones, try something for the first time and in turn gain confidence through experiential learning.
Conscious breathing might be the key to finding relaxation
We take approximately 20,040 breaths in a day, that’s roughly 960 breaths per hour, approximately 16 breaths every 60 seconds, and one breath taking almost 4 full seconds. How many times a day do you truly listen to your breath? Most of us don’t unless we’re taking a yoga class where an instructor is telling us to focus on our breathing. We also might if we’re doing a vigorous exercise that’s causing us to get short of breath. More people I see today that are looking to find relaxation through nature, with yoga, Reiki or Thai massage are telling me they are holding their breath certain times of the day for no reason, their breathing is all in their chest, and it’s hard to take a deep full breath from their diaphragm and lengthen the inhales and exhales.
When an animal in the wild breathes in its chest it means it’s in danger, the heart rate rises, blood flow increases causing the body temperature to rise, senses are heightened, etc. Over time if an animal had this kind of reaction every day without being in danger, stress and anxiety becomes apparent. As humans when we have short breaths in our chest it’s telling us something is wrong, and if we have that happen over and over again anxiety can become more present in the body. The good thing is we can change the way we breathe, but like anything else it takes conscious effort, practice and patience.
Below are 3 daily breathing exercises all in under 3 minutes you can try to aid in relaxation and increase your health and wellness.
Morning: With your eyes closed count 4 seconds on each inhale and exhale, after a weekly practice lengthen the exhale by one second.
Throughout the Day: At least 3 times bring your awareness to your breath, it could be every 2 hours or at random — set a reminder in your phone so you don’t forget. Try different times with your eyes closed and other times while doing your normal daily activities. You can focus on your breath while driving your car, sending an email, during a meeting, and many other times. You might find it hard at first to focus on your breath while doing another task but the more you do it the easier it gets.
Evening: Before going to sleep count the inhales and exhales you take in one minute.
When you are focused on your breathing make sure you are not holding your jaw, relax the facial muscles. If the face muscles are tightened, you cannot relax the rest of the body. Slightly open your mouth to make sure your jaw is released. Take your inhales through your nose, add some exhales out the mouth and include a “sigh” for even more relief.
Finally, record your findings. Take notes on how you feel before and after your breathing exercise. After 30 days note your physical, mental and emotional feelings. Over time you should see that your breathing will increase in length, in many cases people find more relaxation, lower anxiousness and a higher consciousness in their daily life. You could also see an improvement in sleep patterns, your mood, productivity and so many other benefits! In more advanced breathing exercises people noted building abdominal muscles. Could you image getting “abs” by better breathing?
With the holidays approaching try these breathing techniques to relieve stress and anxiety and remain calmer and more centered. Share with our community which breathing exercises you enjoyed the most! We hope to meet you in person, check out what adventures we have coming up!
Kate and I are officially country gals
A year ago Kate and I set off on a big new adventure. We packed up our belongings, gave away and threw away a bunch of items in the process and moved from our cute little city “town” of Broad Ripple in the heart of Indianapolis, to Brown County, Indiana. One of my biggest fears was not being able to get my groceries delivered, turns out where we live we can’t even get a pizza delivered! We actually really enjoy it though, Kate and I cook much more at home now baby Asher starting to “eat” with us now too!
I will admit, we have discovered Home Chef and that has really come in handy! We got some meals as a gift when Asher came – great gift by the way! We’ve continued ordering from them and it’s been really nice having a few meals a week that we know we already have all the ingredients for, it’s healthy and delicious!
Since we’ve been down here Kate has started her weekly Trek Tribe Bicycle ride in Brown County State Park. Look for an update on the time and date for the winter season! Kate also started the first Brown County youth mountain bike team through NICA – National Interscholastic Cycling Association and it was super fun! I was able to make a few of the practices with Asher and we had a blast. I am looking forward to being more involved next year and for the kids to get to race other teams across the state as well. Check out the video below from the last practice – Kate let the group jump her! This was definitely one of the highlights of the season!
Kate and I started doing events at Hard Truth Hills, which has been super fun! Kate led a series of co-ed mini Busted Knuckle mountain bike clinics and I am still teaching monthly yoga sessions. We’ve had great weather all summer and are looking forward to continuing to practice this fall and winter inside the distillery!
Kate and I joined the Halloween Town Committee part of the Brown County Visitor’s Bureau Board and are looking forward to the inaugural Halloween Town event next Saturday October 26th in Nashville, come join us for a haunted bike ride in the parade!
That brings us to today, currently we are continuing to improve, grow and work on going into the 5th season of hosting the Women’s Adventure Giveaway. This program is so near and dear to our hearts, we are so fortunate and grateful we get to offer this amazing experience to very lucky and deserving women each year. We are in the process of working with a production company to produce a documentary series to follow the winners of the 2020 Giveaway and stream their stories worldwide next year. We feel it’s important to keep documenting the experience to inspire people all over the world to live a life filled with adventure and ask the question, “when was the last time you did something for the first time?” If you or a company you know would be interested in partnering or learning more about the Women’s Adventure Giveaway please let me know!
Looking back at everything Kate and I have done this year and not just in Brown County but we’ve also traveled with DNK Presents to North Carolina, Arizona, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and we’re getting ready to head to Virginia. We have really learned and grown a lot but our biggest accomplishment of the year would definitely be growing our family and raising our beautiful baby boy Asher! He brings an immense amount of much joy, love and light to us each and every day, we are so blessed to have him and we hope you get to meet him sometime soon.
Have you visited us in Brown County yet? Please let us know when you’re coming to town, we’d love to meet up with you on the trail, over a beer or share with you our favorite places to check out! Now that we’re country folk now I can officially say, Happy Fall Ya’ll and Happy Trails!
There are thousands of studies and articles about how nature benefits us physically and emotionally. What a great, free resource just waiting to nourish us! However, as technology nudges its way further and further into not just our work hours, but personal hours too, it can be tough to nurture our innate connection to nature. Our busy schedules often make us feel like we don’t have the time for adventure or long hikes into the woods. But what if it’s simpler than that? What if we can work in simple adjustments that allow us to connect with nature throughout our day?
Here are 6 simple ways to enhance your connection to nature!
1. Bring plants into your life
It doesn’t matter if this means getting a houseplant that requires little attention, filling your space with plants, or making some room on your porch for some potted vegetables and/or herbs. Bringing plants indoors is a great way to remind you of nature and give you something small to take care of. A quick tending to your plants will help you ground and recenter as you water, prune off dead leaves, and notice new growth. It’s even better if those plants produce food you get to nourish your body with!
2. Cook with fresh food
Maybe you’re getting this fresh food from your garden, the farmer’s market, or the grocery store. Make a point to add in fresh herbs, veggies, and fruit to your meals as a way of reminding yourself where your food comes from. Nature benefits us not just from being in it, but eating it too!
3. Take a short walk during lunch or after dinner
Mealtimes are a great time to disconnect from technology and be present. If your work allows, take a break from the fluorescent lights and get outside for a quick walk around the block. It doesn’t have to be somewhere full of trees or grass. Notice the sky, the sun, the breeze. If lunch time doesn’t quite work, hop up after dinner for a slow walk either on your own or with loved ones. Again, the amount of time isn’t what matters. It’s the jolt from routine and time spent in fresh air. Nature restores our attention span and allows us to get back to work with a fresh, clear mind.
4. Make use of your favorite local park
Parks are there for a reason! Find the one that makes you feel most peaceful and then do some of your favorite activities there instead of your living room. Bring a book, a meal, a yoga mat, or a blanket and settle into your downtime in a new location.
5. Get a plant identification book at the library
Use your resources and start learning more about what is around you. The next time you go for a walk, practice mindfulness and really see the plants and trees you pass. As the year goes on, you’ll begin to notice the changes in these plants and watch their life cycle play out.
6. Remind yourself of nature throughout the day
It’s inevitable that technology will be a part of our day and that meetings and assignments will beg for our attention. That doesn’t mean we have to forget about nature until we have time to go for a hike on the weekend! Place reminders for yourself in places you look often: change your phone/computer background to one of your favorite natural spots, put photos up at work, use a planner and/or notebook with a nature design on it. Treat your hardworking brain with frequent doses of nature throughout the day.
While we’re busy and unsure how to fit the next meeting in, let alone some time in nature, it is vital that we connect when we can. Nature provides exactly what we need and restores our attention when we need it most. Find simple ways to weave some nature into your daily life and you’ll reap the benefits of a close connection to nature. We have some awesome ways to get into nature starting this weekend! Friday meet us at Upland Brewery in Bloomington for a bike ride and movie screening of “Live Adventurously” afterwards, Saturday morning join Danielle for yoga at Hard Truth Hills or a hike with Kate in Brown County State Park, and next Thursday yoga at Stone Head Nature Preserve. We hope to see you on an adventure with us soon!
Your first backpacking trip is always full of expectations, unknowns, and a lot of trial and error. While a day hike or car camping may be nothing new to you, combining aspects of both together to create the backpacking trip of your dreams can take some practice!
DNK Presents led an overnight trip to Shades State Park for beginner backpackers. The backpacking trail at Shades was a great place to start as it is about a 2.5-3 mile hike in to the campsites. A trail this length provides a good taste of what carrying a pack for a longer distance would be like without jumping in too deep at first.
The ladies on this trip provided some feedback on their experience trying out a new outdoor adventure. Overall, the women found that backpacking is a bit tougher than expected! The miles backpacking do not equal the miles hiking like they thought. That extra weight on their back added quite a challenge to the hike. Below are some more thoughts on ways to prepare for your first backpacking trip!
Play around with your pack. Pack and unpack several times throughout the trip until you find the method that feels the best to you. It’s helpful to loosen all straps every time you put the pack on so that you can adjust as needed each time. This will also help you learn which straps do what in order to find your perfect fit.
Camp chairs are worth the investment. Specifically the Crazy Creek style camp chairs that fold up and can be strapped on the front of your pack. They’re great for sitting around the fire, taking a break on the trail, or cushioning a picnic bench if you’re lucky enough to have one at your campsite.
Hammock camping can be a nice alternative to tent camping if you don’t own a backpacking tent or are backpacking solo and don’t want to carry the whole tent yourself. There are a few things you can do to make hammock camping more comfortable. Depending on the season, you may or may not want a sleeping pad. In the warmer seasons, you really just need a lightweight sleeping bag or blanket. A bug net and rain tarp aren’t essential, but can make the experience much more enjoyable. Closing the hammock by flipping the weighted pocket over the side creates a cocoon and can keep bugs out, but it’s a bit suffocating in warmer weather. The bug net and rain tarp keep air circulating while protecting you from insects and the elements. It’s also helpful to keep shoes close, put your essentials in the pocket, and to put your rain cover on your backpack as a preventative measure.
A good number of backpacks include a “brain” (top portion of your pack that fits on top of the rest of the pack) that can transform into a day pack. These are super handy if you want to leave camp and check out some shorter trails near your site. Even if your pack doesn’t have this feature, it’s not a bad idea to bring along your own packable day pack to store water, snacks, map, and other essentials.
Dehydrated meals are an easy and delicious way to get meals taken care of on backpacking trips. They’re lightweight, fold down, and bulk up to a good amount of food. All they require is boiling water and time to rehydrate. In the beginning, dehydrated meals remove the potential overwhelm of meal planning so that you can better focus on the rest of your trip. If prepared meals aren’t your thing, they provide some great meal inspiration.
A common anxiety on the trip was having enough food and snacks to last the weekend. Food is a very personal aspect of backpacking and everyone has different needs. Even if food is being planned for your group, it’s helpful to have bars, trail mix, and other easy to grab snacks that you know you can eat whenever desired. Bulk up your oatmeal in the morning with some of your trail mix! Don’t forget to bring some comforts from home with you like your favorite candy, instant coffee, or tea.
Feeling safe while backpacking is a vital part of enjoying your time in nature. Whether adventuring solo or with a group, it’s important to know what will make you feel the most comfortable. Wander around the campsites so you have an idea of the layout, chat with other campers so that they are aware you’re there, and most importantly, trust in the community. While it’s essential to be cautious and mindful, it’s also important to remember that the majority of people out in nature are there for the same reasons you are.
Backpacking may seem daunting at first, but with a few trips under your belt, it becomes a great escape even for a quick one night sleep under the stars. Experiment with different gear, meals, ways of packing your pack and you’ll be well on your way to dialing in on what you need to make your trip as rejuvenating as possible. Let us know what tips and tricks you’ve learned along the way!
In a world where we consume media almost constantly, make sure some of that media is nourishing and inspiring. Lucky for us outdoor lovers, there are plenty of podcasts to tune into that will feed that wanderlust and leave us ready to pack our bags and explore.
Here are 6 of our favorite outdoor related podcasts that keep us wanting more!
“What if… You could sail to French Polynesia, run from San Francisco to New York, skateboard down the busiest freeway in California, quit your job and ski around the world, start a business, move to Costa Rica, surf every day, get in the best shape of your life, fall in love, and GET WILD?”
“Interviews, narrative stories, and listener submissions make up a tapestry of over 100 episodes covering themes such as solo hiking and camping; entrepreneurship; aging; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); conservation; motherhood; chronic illness; and feminism as they intersect with outdoor experiences. Hosted by Gale Straub.”
“Honest experiences of life on the road, told from the perspective of women who’ve lived them firsthand. Whatever you drive, and for however long, this is a podcast for those drawn to road travel. Interviews, in-the-field recordings, and listener voice submissions range in topic from helpful tips to get started to the inspirational experiences that get and keep us out there. Hosted by Laura Hughes.”
“Are you yearning for a change? Could a grand adventure help you find what’s missing? Could doing something selfish for once be just the thing your relationship needs? Let Out There be your calm oasis, your quiet walk in the woods, the rainy window you gaze out of when all is gray outside. Hosted by Willow Belden, the award-winning podcast captures the understanding, the strength, the inspiration, the healing that humans draw from spending time outside, to help you navigate life’s big questions and ease the anxieties of adulting today.”
“This is adventure. Climbing. Skiing. Hiking. Biking. Travel. Whatever your passion, we are all dirtbags. Outdoor writer Fitz Cahall and his team presents stories about the dreamers, athletes and wanderers.”
“Outside’s longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will entertain, inspire, and inform listeners.”
Now are you ready for your next adventure? Check out what we have coming up on our Adventures page! Contact us if you don’t see something that fits with your schedule we organize and guide custom and private adventures too!
By Ashley Iyer
I just returned from traveling to Zion National Park, Bryce National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Monument Valley Navajo Travel Park, Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. My travel companions were my husband and two-year-old daughter. I have always loved road trips, specifically West of the Mississippi. There is something cozy about being packed in a small SUV together with half eaten snacks on the ground and luggage and coolers packed to the brim of the trunk. We explored the pink and red sandstone cliffs in Zion, outlandish hoodoos in Bryce, the majestic Mittens Buttes in Monument Valley and endless curves and warm hues of Antelope Canyon.
Traveling allows me to see my husband and daughter in a different light. I enjoy my daughter’s unexpected leg hugs and the faint smell of marinara from last night’s dinner in her hair. I love nestling my daughter’s little Disney toothpaste and toothbrush next to my big toothpaste and toothbrush in my toiletry bag. I am always impressed with my husband’s ability to problem solve and the amount of Dad jokes he can spew out when traveling. We were surprised at her insistence on saying hi to literally every person that passed us as on day hikes. She was insistent on being outside and loudly shouted “doggy doggy” every time a dog passed. Nothing beats the simple joy of a child.
I have included some travel tips for traveling with toddlers our family has found helpful below:
- If you can honor your toddler’s sleep and meal routine or make slight modifications everyone will be happier for it. For example, when we were in Arches National Park we decided to get up very very early to avoid the heat and complete the hike to Delicate Arch and come back to our Airbnb in Moab Utah and take a nap. Later in the evening we returned to the Arches National Park to look at the rock features during the sunset. Also, we tried to do most of the driving between parks during her nap time.
- Our favorite baby carrier brand was Deuter. It provided a visor that we could temporarily put up during sunny hikes, there was also a place to put a water bladder. She even learned to drink from a Camelback during the trip! My husband and I took turns carrying.
- Book an Airbnb with a wash machine every 4 days or so to be able to pack less clothes.
- I let my Mommy guilt go about increasing my daughter’s screen time during long car and plane rides. It was important that we downloaded her favorite shows before going on the trip because we were in many areas without service.
- During the plane ride I packed 6 new books and toys from the dollar store and a couple old ones to keep my daughter occupied. I also made sure to have lots of grab and go snacks. If kids cry on the plane and you are making an effort to entertain your kid people can get over it.
- Of course, the best toys I brought were not meant to be toys at all. She loved collecting zip lock bags full of rocks and sand.
- We packed two big suitcases. One stayed in the car during all those hotel changes, we brought one up with us.
- We bought a couple of disposable coolers first things when we landed. We bought grab and go lunch and breakfast food for everyone. Mostly we just ate out for dinner.
- Call ahead to see if the hotel will provide a pack and play, so you do not have to pack one.
- Some things My husband and I decided we would do the next trip include: Getting a portable highchair, bring small almost Bento like boxes to separate her food. We decided we would stop to eat meals more often rather than in the car. Happy trails!