45 Things on My Nebraska Bucket List

45 Things on My Nebraska Bucket List

I absolute LOVE Nebraska. It is and always will be my home. Here are 45 things that I look forward to doing in Nebraska.
Nebraska has been my home my entire life. I absolutely love the beauty of the gravel country roads. Driving through the middle of no where is one of my favorite things.  While I am excited to travel and see the world, Nebraska also holds tons of things to do and a lot of them I haven’t done yet.. I have experiences some of these items on the list, but I am excited to slowly cross off photography opportunities in my own home state.

In alphabetical order by town, here are 40 Things to Do in Nebraska!

1) Dobby’s Frontier Town, Alliance

2) Carhenge, Alliance

3) Ice Skating at Mahoney Ashland

4) Wildlife Reserve, Ashland

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Thankful for The Things that Traveling has Given Me

Thankful for The Things that Traveling has Given Me

After a year of part-time travel, I have been blessed with so much. Here is what has changed with me in the last year! I am only a week late, but I have been pondering everything all week. Of course with the holidays coming up, everyone starts remembering the things they have to be thankful for. As a writer, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to tell my readers how blessed I have been this year. I have spent a lot of time in the last few months traveling, writing, planning trips, and doing research for how to get the best deals. I spent a great amount of my days on my laptop reading other blogs, participating in social media “sharing” parties. Time and time again, blogging has proven to be more work than I really expected, but it has definitely been a learning experience.

Traveling changes the perspective of the traveler for every new place that is visited.There was a similar blog post that I wrote last year about my life changing so much, but I honestly feel like that is just part of life as a “20 something.”  This year, like the last few, has been a whirlwind of changes, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. At the beginning in the year, I was living by myself in a 2 bedroom apartment. Now I am sharing a duplex with 4 other people. This year, I have gone on my first solo travel adventure. I loved every second of it and it taught me so much.

Ryan and I went on our first adventure together. I learned a lot about Ryan and our relationship while we were traveling together. We are preparing for a road trip in the next few weeks. I started my blog just 7 short months ago and have already had a ton of adventures because of it! This year has given me a lot to be thankful for.

I am so thankful for…

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Henry Doorly Zoo: 5 Tips for a Super Great Day!

Henry Doorly Zoo: 5 Tips for a Super Great Day!

 

The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha Nebraska: 5 Tips for A Super Great Day!

I absolutely love going to the zoo. When I was a kid, it was always one of my favorite places, just because seeing all of the different animals was so fascinating.

I know that I don’t have to tell you that the Omaha Zoo is amazing  because they were the Number One Zoo in the World in 2014. There is more than 960 species of animals in this 130 acre area. They have put together so many wonderful buildings full of different exhibits.

I have been blessed to have this one so close to home. There are so many memories of going here with elementary school class. Memories of my parents bring me to the zoo as a child. In high school, we also did an overnight trip to the zoo, which was super cool because we got a little behind the scenes of the exhibits.

Top 5 Tips for Visiting the Number 1 Zoo in the World

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Going to the Beach: A Few Pointers for the Most Perfect Day

Going to the Beach: A Few Pointers for the Most Perfect Day

Want to have the perfect day at the beach? Check out these tips to make sure that no one leaves unhappy!A day at the beach was the perfect day trip for our Florida trip. Being from Nebraska and completely land locked, I love any chance to spend some time in the water. There is nothing better than spending some time fighting the waves or just sitting on the beach playing in the sand.

This was Ryan’s first time seeing the ocean, so I wanted to make sure that we got to see it while we were in Florida! I absolutely love the beach and swear that someday I am going to move closer, but realistically, I probably won’t. I wish I could explain my love for something I have only seen a few times. During the summer, I spend as much time as I can at the lake, laying on the beach, swimming, and enjoying the afternoon. The ocean is just so completely different than the lake ever will be to me. The clear, salty, brisk water of the ocean is one of my favorite things on this entire planet. I continuously look forward to another day on the beach.

I always think I overpack, but yet I seem to find myself unprepared for so many things. I always think about the things that I wish I would have packed once I get there! Use these pointers to make sure you have the most perfect day at the beach!

Don’t forget these things when you are on the beach:

SUNSCREEN!Cocoa Beach

Ryan and Autumn both looked like lobsters by that evening. Unfortunately, I didn’t even have good tan lines from a day at the beach! Be conscious of how much time you are spending at the beach. Every person knows their limit and whether they tan or burn quickly. Personally, I very rarely burn, so I could have spent 8+ hours on the beach and been fine, but Ryan was burnt in the 3 hours that we spent. Reapplying sunscreen after going in the water and having water resistant suncreen are two great things you can do to prevent nasty burns that ruin the rest of your vacation!

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The Best of Florida: Packing in Weeks Worth of Fun in 3 1/2 days!

The Best of Florida: Packing in Weeks Worth of Fun in 3 1/2 days!

The Best of Florida: How We Packed A Week Worth of Fun into 3 1/2 days! #florida #universal #disney #elyseItravelAll of my friends and family have been asking “How was Florida?”

The response I have been giving is “Oh my gosh. Absolutely Amazing.”

It is so hard for me to sum up everything that I loved about the trip in one post or even one conversation. I loved every second of this trip, minus TSA on the way home, but they were just doing their job.

Every time I travel, I grow as a person. I learn something about myself that I didn’t previously know.

On this trip, I learned that it is possible for me to relax. I like being a go-go-go person for the most part. Busy days are more fun for me, but laying on the beach was a perfect way to destress.

I also learned that a lot of time an energy can be saved by just being upfront with Ryan and telling him that I am grouchy, hungry, tired, etc. When I am upfront and just tell him, we usually solve whatever the problem is and it doesn’t spiral into different arguments. (YAY!) I honestly feel like we grew as a couple and learned a lot about each other from traveling together!

Here is everything that everyone has been waiting to hear about from the trip!

Our flight out of Omaha went pretty smooth, which is always a blessing. There may or may not have been a few drinks on the plane!

Frontier
What kind of traveler would I be if I didn’t have a picture of the plane for Instagram!
Florida-bound-selfie
Of course, we had to take a mandatory airport selfie before we got on the plane!

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9 Things You MUST Do in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter At Universal Orlando!

9 Things You MUST Do in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter At Universal Orlando!

9 Things You MUST do At The Wizarding World of Harry Potter In Orlando Universal Studios!Universal Studios and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was probably my favorite days during the entire trip. There were so many things to see and do! We had a TON of fun. Keep watching for a post about the whole park, but I had to write about our favorite thing first!  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was absolutely AMAZING! I had read a post from another blogger before we left, so I had a good idea of the things that I wanted to see. I have to say that I actually saw most of it too!

Before I tell you about the park, I have to confess that before booking our trip to Florida, I had never seen the Harry Potter Movies! (GASSSPPP) I know. My childhood was not spent growing up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. My childhood was mostly spent deep into classics like Where the Red Fern Grows, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Giver, and other similar books. I still haven’t read the Harry Potter Books, but it is on my list of things to do!Lots of fun at Diagon Alley

When Ryan and I started planning the trip, we knew that The Wizarding World was a MUST!  We started watching the movies almost immediately after booking our flights. We watched one or two a week for the month leading up to the trip. Having watched all 8 movies right before the trip, I was a little worried about looking like a huge nerd through Diagon Alley and even more in the Hogwarts Castle, but I actually fit in quite well.

I also took the Sorting Hat Quiz to see which house I am in before we left! I am a Ravenclaw, which was no surprise because they are known for their wisdom and book smarts. Ryan is 100% Slytherin with no doubt about it. Since I am a new Harry Potter Fan, Ryan got me my Ravenclaw scarf that I will definitely be sporting this winter!

Universal Studios did such a great job putting together every single detail from the movie. Both sides of the park are extremely accurate and great for Harry Potter Fans of all ages!

Here are the 9 Things you MUST do in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter:

1) Butterbeer

 

Selfie with my Cold Butterbeer

Butterbeer is a treat that was enjoyed throughout a few of the movies! In the park, Butterbeer is available in Frozen, Cold, or Hot. I personally tried the Cold and the Frozen.  I personally liked the Frozen better, but Ryan liked the Cold.  It is super thick and super sweet, almost like a cream soda.

They also have Butterbeer Ice Cream. We didn’t try it, but it looked like a really great treat for a hot day! All treats are available in both sides of the park and in multiple places on each side, but for accuracy purposes, Ryan insisted on getting it in Hogsmeade.

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Solo Traveling: 5 Things You MUST Not Forget to Bring

Solo Traveling: 5 Things You MUST Not Forget to Bring

This was my very first solo trip. Here are 5 things that every solo traveler must pack with them!Solo traveling is scary, but it can also be a ton of fun. When I was getting ready to leave for my first trip, I wrote about My 3 Fears and 3 Excitements. It is fun and it is ultimately one really big adventure. Solo traveling isn’t for everyone. It is hard and it is actually a little scary at first, but I promise you that it is well worth it. I truly believe that everyone should go on a fun, solo adventure even if it is just a few days long. It was a life changing experience for me.

I was terrified when I first left for my trip because I had zero idea how I was going to make it 5 days without really talking to people. I am such a social person, but there was so much to see and do, that I really didn’t miss having people around. The biggest thing that worried me was whether I forgot things.  I hate packing for trips.

Packing for me is one of the hardest parts of going anywhere. I have a huge problem with over packing because I try not to spend a lot of money during trips. When packing, I tend to bring things I “might” need, over the things that I will need because I just don’t know what I could run into. On my most recent trip, I brought 4 pairs of shoes and I wore the same two pairs everywhere I went. In hindsight, I really didn’t need all four pairs, but I could have.

Here are the 5 most important things to bring on your solo adventure:

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Why I Would Rather Praise God From a Mountain Top Than A Church Pew

Why I Would Rather Praise God From a Mountain Top Than A Church Pew

***Disclaimer: I have spent a lot of time in church. It usually happens in spurts. There will be people who agree and disagree. I ask that if you comment, you do so respectfully. I am going to attempt to word this post in a way that doesn’t belittle anyone’s beliefs, but explains my own. This is based on my own personal experience.
I grew up going to church,but as I get older, I would so much rather praise my God from a mountain top than a church pew!

A lot of my earliest memories are filled with being in the church. I remember sitting on my dad’s lap during the sermon when I was really little. My parents volunteered in the nursery a few times a year and I remember being a “big helper”. I was a regular at all of the kids programs all through elementary, middle and high school. I went on organized mission trips with our youth group. My sophomore and junior year, I was a small group leader for elementary and middle school kids. One week I figured it out and I was averaging 9-12 hours a week with church based activities plus school, a job, and my family. Through basic training, I went on Sundays when we were allowed to go to church services.

After returning from basic training, I did a lot of self searching. I didn’t really feel like I fit into the youth group anymore. I hated high school my senior year because I felt lost. Maybe it was because I felt older. Basic training’s goal is to make a civilian into a soldier. It changed me. I can’t really explain what changed within me that summer. Maybe it was that I was gone all summer. My grandpa was really sick and we expected to lose him while I was gone, but we didn’t. He was still as stubborn as ever when I got back. Life changed dramatically that Summer.

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How I Did All Of Yellowstone In One Day

How I Did All Of Yellowstone In One Day

I made Yellowstone into a single day trip, but I would never do it again! Here is why!Yellowstone National Park was absolutely breathtaking. The hills and rivers and just absolutely everything was amazing. I also picked a great time to be in the park because the fall colors. The yellows and oranges near the water made for a stunning canvas for photographs. While I didn’t actually see all of the park, I saw a ton of it for one day.

I did Yellowstone National Park on day 3 of my 6 day road trip. I knew that one day wasn’t really enough, but I also knew that I didn’t really have time to fit more than one day in if I wanted to do all of the other things on my list. My goal was to hit Montana on Monday, but instead I spent most of the day getting to Cody, Wyoming.

If there is one thing that I have learned the most about the entire trip, it is that planning becomes a joke along the way. Also, coffee in the morning has become my best friend.

I got to Cody around 3pm on Monday afternoon, which didn’t leave much daylight for exploring the area. My WONDERFUL hosts, Tara and Jarren, let me follow them around for the afternoon/evening while they looked at and bought a camper. They took me out to a point on the reservoir that was absolutely gorgeous.  We ordered pizza and pulled out a Yellowstone Park Map so they could point out all of the stopping points along the way.

From Cody, I went up to Cooke City along the Chief Joesph Highway. The drive from Cody to Cooke City was act
ually probably my favorite part of the entire day, but it took an hour longer than I expected because of constructions and I stopped every mile to get out and take a picture. The views were breath taking.

From Cooke City, I took the Northern Entrance into Yellowstone.

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My First Solo Trip: 3 Fears and 3 Excitements

My First Solo Trip: 3 Fears and 3 Excitements

Female Solo Travel is extremely exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Here are my thoughts and tips from before I left for my trip.

Planning my first solo trip has been extremely exciting, nerve wrecking, and fun. I thought I would find someone to come with me, but most people my age  don’t have the time or money to just take off work.  My mom would love to come with me, but has a busy week at work. My dad is extremely jealous, but has other family commitments right now. This opportunity  is my chance to reach out on my own and spend a little time with me. I know that in my solo travels, I will figure out more of who I am.

I see so many young couples that spend so much time together that they can’t possibly have time for themselves. To each their own. Every couple is different and has different needs. I like attention, but I also like me time. I will be the first to admit that my “girl time” with my best friend includes smashing pizza and alcohol (sometimes) and talking about boys.

Girl time can also be road trips. Brittney and I have been on two road trips together in the last month and it has been a ton of fun. My “Me” time though consists of a good book, my laptop, my camera, or just curled up watching a movie. But this upcoming road trip is 100% different than anything I have ever done, even with my parents. It is all me and no one else. It is a lot farther and a lot more destinations and things to do than I have ever tried in such a short amount of time. I am excited but horribly nervous to be in the car by myself that long. Google Maps estimates 37 hours of driving, but I know that it will be more than that with all of the sites, attractions, and stops.

I am renting a car and I am driving to Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Colorado and then home to Nebraska. The plan is to stay with a family friend in Wyoming the first two nights. I will be on my own in cabins the next two. The last night I am staying with my aunt in Colorado. The best part about a solo trip is that you don’t have to sacrifice your time for things that other people want to do. If I am on the road and decide that I don’t want to do something, I can always just skip it and find something else to do.

Female Solo Travel is extremely exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Here are my thoughts and tips from before I left for my trip.

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