outdoors

Adventure Time: Smithville Historic Park

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While I have been very active these days it’s been a good time since I got out there and really took myself on an adventure. Mind you I have done plenty, I went up to the Poconos again and went horseback riding for the first time in my life. So I am remained busy and remained going places. It was nice to get back out there and really take myself on an adventure, as I have missed it. This week I happened to be on vacation, and did not have anything really planned. So I decided to make the best of it and get myself back to those adventures that really turned my life around.

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Whitall House

I have gone to a few places this week so far. I went to a local lake and enjoyed the fresh air and water. I headed back to Redbank Battlefield, which I have been to many times in the past. There is something about that place. It draws me to it and I love being there. Down by the water, and just enjoying the sights. The main house, Whitall manor, is an interesting place. I have only been in there once, but this time, was the first time being there, since I become more open, and embraced my gifts instead of shutting them down. The house itself has so much energy. Just being near it, you can really feel it. As soon as I got near the home, I could feel it. It really hit my right in the chest. There is also a sense of sadness within the energy. It has been said, the place is active with spirits, that have died during the Revolutionary war, when the house was used as makeshift hospital. It is said to be more active in the higher floors, that were not open to the public when I went in there once last year. I need to get back into their, and really check it out, and see what I feel and pick up. That ought to be an interesting time.

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Smithville Mansion

So my next adventure that I had taken, was to Smithville Historic Park, in Mount Holly. I had been to this place once before. Which you can read about, here. This place was my first stop when I started my adventure of going out so very long ago, back in March of 2016. 15 months ago. It was nice to go back to where it all started for me and just take a stroll through it all again. I have come such a long way in the past 15 months, to be back to where it all started was kind of a surreal feeling. When I took that first adventure I was very nervous. While I had been making great strides in my health and healing, and had just come off of a week in the Poconos, it was different to take myself out, on my own, into an unknown territory and continue to do it weekly for a year.

I had much to learn and open up to during that journey. While I was feeling better physically I still had to work on the mental aspects of my healing, and in working on the fear and anxiety that was controlling me and my life. So I came up with going on a weekly journey to push myself into new places in life. Something I had never done before. It wasn’t something that just happened for me. I didn’t just get out there and all that fear disappeared, no, I had to work on it. I had to work through it. For me I learned the only way I was getting through it, was to go through it. To face it head on. Which to me, was ironic, because I had always struggled with that concept. I had always fought the idea of facing fear to heal fear. To me that was a crazy concept and I could never do that. I have learned through that journey that I was completely wrong with how I viewed things in life and my life.

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“I saw the sign. It opened up my eyes, I saw the sign.”

 

For me, and I am sure many other people in the same shoes, I would spend countless hours asking for a miracle. Asking for a sign that we are being heard. Begging for help. Begging for the strength to get through another day. Begging for the courage to get through things. Begging for a miracle. Begging for help and healing. I was one of those people. I begged, and I pleaded, and hoped for a miracle. I hoped I would be given the strength and the courage to do it. To be able to live a normal life. And what I found, was surprising and shocking to me. I found that I had the strength, I had the courage, within me, all along. All I needed was the opportunities to see it myself. That was the greatest thing I found within myself through all this adventuring. Was that I could do it. I had the strength to do it. I was courageous and brave when in the face of scary things. I just had to believe in myself and what I could do. When I realized this truth within myself was when the real healing could occur. It was then that I could get out of my own way, out of my head, and allow myself to see things I never even knew existed within myself and within the world. It was then that my whole life changed and spiraled and snowballed into more and more.

My life has changed and improved so much and for the better in the past two years than I have ever seen in my life, for the entirety of it all. All because I dared to challenge the status quo of the life I created for myself. All because I knew I needed to and had to change my life. I had to changed everything. I could no longer sit idly by and let life pass me by. I could no longer not live life. And I was willing to do whatever it took to get there.

It was a triumphant moment in my life to return to where it all started, and this time, in a better state of being than when I first visited there. Where there was no fear about being there. There was no anxiety about how long I would be there. Or if I was able to do it. I was able to be there, be present in my adventure, and just enjoy myself and what I was doing. Walking, admiring, sitting on benches, and just enjoying life. It is a well earned victory for me. To enjoy life. To enjoy myself. Next time I return here I will need to take a tour of the mansion and the buildings, as I have not really explored them. I really spent my time walking around through the trails through the woods. Next time. There is now a next time. I can say that, and not dread it. I can enjoy myself. Finally.

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Adventures in going out: Week 19

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The scientific progress goes boink edition.

 

redbank_3The adventure train just keeps on chugging along. Chug -a- chug -a- chew – chew. The train got hungry there at the end. I am so close to the 20th week of adventuring which would be five months. Holy smokes, Batman. Before heading out I checked my weather app to see what I would be contending with. It was calling for thunderstorms today which put a cloud upon what I could do outside. (All puns intended.) I thought about just doing something indoors but that was not tickling my fancy. Plus I could not get a ticket to the movie The Secret Life of pets. So I opted to do something somewhat local and go outside and have some fun. Today was the first cool day in a week as we were facing a heat wave, and I have never been a fan of heat. I decided to do something local-ish that I could think of and decided to go to Red Bank Battlefield again. I know it’s my third time there. I don’t know what it is. I just… Like it there. Something about it. It feels comfortable to me. Very familiar. I’ve never been in the military or even am a violent person. I’m passive and don’t believe in violence. Perhaps it’s a past life of mine, if such a thing exists.

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I am also a nerd and since Pokemon Go just came out, I had to take it with me, and see what I could find at the park. I was excited to do so. Yep, I am a nerd. I’m a keeper ladies. **wink wink. Nudge nudge.** Pokemon Go tricking nerds into going outside and getting some exercise in the guise of collecting Pokemon. Ironically enough something like Pokemon Go is actually a great tool for someone who deals with anxiety and agoraphobia, and things like that. Anything that can help them go out of their comfort zone to new places is a great thing. Who knows this may help me go out even further in life to more places than I thought of. Of course you end up staring at your phones all day, but we did that anyways. Sure enough at Red Bank Battlefield was a ton of people staring at their phones trying to collect Pokemon. I kid you not. You could hear them all talking about it, and see it on their screens. Even a couple passed me and said, “I know you what are doing.” It could even be a tool to get people to talk to each other. So for people like me these types of things that are fun to play can have so many more benefits than they even thought about.

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After catching some Pokemon and enjoying the view and the scenery there I heading out of the park and drove to another place to go and enjoy. I stopped at place called Strawbridge Lake and just walked around a little, saw some fish jumping and enjoyed the atmosphere. I have not been there in a probably a decade. Happens when you used to not get out much. There is just something so lovely and soothing being in nature. It’s very calming and happy. It is literally my happy place. Of course the servers of the game I was playing was offline I had to actually put my phone down. I know that is like a fate worse than death these days. We spent the major part of our lives without phones, and the internet on phones and texting on phones, and now we can’t put them down. Even at the dinner table we are starting at them. We are so disconnected from the real world and life now.

When I got to the lake I noticed a handicap parking spot. All the spots were lined in a row. The same row. On the end was the handicap spot. Which got me to wondering. What is it providing easy access to? The tree? The trash can? It’s not any closer to the lake than  any other spot. I’d get it if all the other spots were behind it, but they were all lined in a row. After enjoying the scenery I heading back home, after spending a few hours outside enjoying myself, life, and nature. It was a perfect day.

I’m hoping next week to be able to visit a Vietnam Memorial that is in the state. That should be a fun time. And will be something new. Just think of all the Pokemon I could catch out there… Yep, I’m that much of a nerd.

 

 

 

Adventures in going out: Week 17

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The Silly String Edition.

This week out was my 17th week of adventuring out into the wilds of the world. I was not sure exactly if I was going to go out or not this week. With vacation just two days away I am saving money for my vacation, and still have things to do with regards to my vacation and its planning. I still have little idea of what all I will do down in D.C. I am leaning more towards just winging it. This is all out of my normal routines and bounds that I have no idea and instead of just overwhelming me I am gonna just go with the flow. That is what I have been doing with my adventures and it has steered me well so far.

I did not want to not do something and take a week off from my adventures as that is the route to the Darkside, that Yoda, warned my about so many years ago. Skipping one week now becomes skipping another week at another time. To eventually I am not going anywhere at all.

So I decided to just to a quick Google search on what was around to go an see and explore. I came across a place called Wharton State Forest, which was 40 minutes away from where I lived. Off I went to go and have some adventures. After driving and getting to where my GPS says this place is suppose to be all I see is just woods and some road that keeps on going. I drove down it some but did not find any parks. While there was tons of tree and woods to explore, I learned from my trip to Rancocas State Park to not just randomly walk in the middle of nowhere. I decided to not stop there and just start driving aimlessly. After about 10 minutes or so I found Wharton State Forest and eventually turned around to go to it. Upon arriving I saw lots of people on some sort of beach swimming in water. It looked like a fun little place. I get to the gate, and they want cash to park there. Sadly I did not have any cash on me. I did not know I would need some. I had to turn around and go about my merry way. Rejected and defeated from my place of exploring.

Instead of just heading back I decided to just keep driving, driving, driving. With no destination to go. With my trip coming Monday and needing to drive 2.5 hours to get to my hotel, I used this opportunity to practice being in the car, in a route I have no idea about, and see how I feel and did. I kept on driving, and turning, and driving, cruising to some good tunes, I managed to be out there driving for two hours. And I did great. I was calm, cool, collected, and had some fun out there. Today was not a failure in adventuring, as I did a car adventure and prepared myself for my big adventure this Monday.

It was a success and I am all ready for vacation. Well after I pack for it. Then I will truly be ready. Then the grasshopper will become the master.

 

Adventures in Going out: Week 16

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Holy Mackerel! Week 16. That is four months of going out at least once a week. That is an incredible accomplishment.  And an incredible feeling all together.

This week was a little different than my usual going out. This week I had a BBQ to go to for my friends daughter’s/son’s graduation. This BBQ was at his wife’s father’s house. Yes, it’s confusing for me as well. And I was there. So not only is it going out of my comfort zone I was pushing limits even further by going to someone’s house for a party with a bunch of people at it. A year plus ago I would not have even dreamed of this day. Back then when I went to something like this I would be so full of anxiety, so nervous, the whole week I would have been a mess. With the morning of I would have been sick in the bathroom all morning. While it was a new experience for me going to another person’s house, it did not really impact me. It did not slow me down or give me anxiety and panic attacks. Anyone that has ever experienced them in their life know how overjoyed I am at that.

It was a nice day out and was a nice day at this BBQ. The scariest thing with these things like BBQ for me is wondering what kind of food will be there, and if I can eat it, or if I need to eat before hand. When your body is like mine you have to eat a very special diet. Luckily there was foods that I can eat there. That does not always happen. It was a nice day hanging out with good friends and having great conversations about life and the pursuit of happiness. And at the game called Washers, I am not that good. More surprising was when it was all said and done I was there for 5 hours total, ate food and did not have to run to the bathroom, get anxious or feel sick. It was another win for me. I never thought I’d say that in life.

Two Monday’s from now is my big vacation a trip to the Smithsonian for the week. As so far I am going there alone that will be a big challenge to my journeys. I am confident and feeling good about myself and being able to do it AND have a good time.

 

Adventures in going out: Week 14

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The adventure train just keeps on chugging a long. When I first started out doing this adventure of mine it seemed large. I was afraid I had bitten off more than I could chew. It was scary, the idea of going out someplace, once a week. That was way beyond my norm and my comfort zone. But I knew this was something I had to do. No this was something I NEEDED to do. To bring down every wall I created and put in place to hide and protect myself my whole life. That life was no longer working for me. It had to go.

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Then here I am at my 14th week out in a row, more than I thought I could ever do. Yet here I am. Not only did I go out today, but this was not the first time I went out this week. In fact today was the 4th time I went out in one week. 4th times? Crazy! Yet, I did it. Monday on memorial day I went out to eat with my friend, twice. Thursday I went out to a group activity of a meditation class. With people I did not even know. I could not have even imagined that I would ever do something like that. Yet I did, and loved it, and will be doing it once a week for the next 8 weeks. Friday was my days birthday and it was my idea to go out to dinner with my family. I put it all together. Me? Once who would normally run from such ideas. This time it was my idea. Plus I really wanted to go back to Applebee’s to have their Maple Mustard Salmon. It was delicious. That there would be enough for most people, and originally I only had the goal of going out once a week. Yet I did not and would not stop there.

Today I decided to go and do some hiking and went to Rancocas State Park, down in Southern NJ. It was a nice day out to do some hiking so off I went. It was not too far from where I live. The park was nothing special for me. There was a lot of trees, I mean a lot of them. Which I guess is all part of the nature walk. I opted for the blue trail as that was the only one I could find at first. I followed that, and who knows what happened but the trail went all over the place, and I went all over the place, and had no idea where I was. At one time I heard a rooster and thought I may have stumbled into the twilight zone. It was freaky, and I was a tad hungry for some poultry now, and if only I could find a pig, I could have had one tasty breakfast, in the afternoon. I remained on the blue path, and then some how I ended up on the white path, and passed the same guy twice. It was all types of discombobulating. I walked, and I weaved, and I swatted an annoying fly over and over, and eventually. I got lost within the path, that was within the path, that was within the path. And boy is it scary not knowing where you are in a park full of trees. I was sure at this point I was being hunted by a Werewolf. There may not have been a full moon, and it was during the middle of the afternoon, but I could tell, he was out there. You weren’t fooling me werewolf, I was on to you. And your Teenwolf basketball skills. Eventually I found the start of the blue path, but that was not where I came in at, so I exited anyways, and had no idea where my car was. Dude, where’s my car? So I did the only thing I could think of, I turned to my GPS and asked for directions. It took me back to the start of the park, and where I was able to find my car. I was a little worried as I didn’t think I ever would find my car again. It was truly scary not knowing if I would see my car again. Once I found my car, I was so happy, I wanted to kiss my car. And I almost did. So Rancocoas state park, I do not like you. And your twisted blue/white paths of terror. I did see a chipmunk, but never saw the rooster, or the woodpecker I heard.

That would be enough to stop there, but it wasn’t for me. After barely escaping the woods with my life, and narrowly escaping the Blair Witch, I took myself to the movies to Ninja Turtles 2, out of the shadows. I am not a fan of Michael Bay because of the way he’s butchered that poor Transformers franchise over and over again. One of my favorite cartoons of all time. I still watch the original movie to this day. Yes, I am that much of a nerd. The movie was OK, not sure why they decided to drop some profanity in a Nickelodeon movie. Not a fan of the way the turtles looks Someone needs to tell Raphael to stop hitting the “juice.”

All in all it was a great week and another triumph for me.

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Adventures in going out: Week 9

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This week starts the beginning of three months of adventuring for me… Which in itself is a huge milestone for me. Never thought this would be a reality that I am in. Yet… Here I am.

This week I would go to a little Renaissance faire down in Smithville Village, in Absecon NJ. This adventure would not be a solo adventure I would go with my brother, his wife, and his kids. There was a small amount of anxiety the day before about it. I am not really sure why. It was nothing serious, or even long lasting. Perhaps normal jitters. I guess I am not used to “normal” when it comes to this. So regular anxiety that we all have, no matter who we are, to someone like me, used to be a full blown thing. So I have not fully differentiated the two in my mind yet. It was short lived, and I am happy to report it did not impair me or limit me in any, shape, or form. Usually these thoughts would make me want to back out and cancel. But I did not let them consume me, or take over me, or cause me to run away.

After getting there, it was a nice day out, and I was fine the hour car ride, and being there. Even the drive home. Makes me wonder what the anxiety/fear is with regards to these things? Is it the fear of the unknown? Not knowing what could happen? Is that how the fight or flight mechanics of the body work? Just for me, it’s always been just flight. It is good to be healing and moving forward like this. To be able to be out, and about with family. Instead of not doing family events, or spending time with family. Things are certainly changing for the better. And I am happy for it. For the first time in my life. I am actually happy. Genuinely happy. I look forward to the future for once. It is bright and big things are and will continue to happen and come my way.

While I did have my camera with me there was not much to take pictures of there. So I do not really have pictures to share. And the ones I did take the iso was not set proper for being outdoors, when I was messing with the camera the other day. Tomorrow I go out again, for a whole weekend of being out and about. I go to Lego Brick Fest in PA. I love Lego and have a few sets myself. So will look forward to seeing this event. Which will also be with my brother and his family. The hard part doing this.. Is not spending a ton of money on Lego pieces..

Can’t promise that one.

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Adventures in going out: Week 2

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In continuing to push myself more and more I have started my years journey to take myself out once a week. Today I took myself on a hiking trek through Smithville Historic Park. I hiked for 7 miles today. It was a a little breezy outside, but overall the weather was nice. It was lovely to be out in nature, hiking through the woods. There is just something so serene and peaceful in being in nature. Listening to the sounds all around.

I was surprised to see many people out there. I was thinking I would be kind of alone with the exception of one or two people. Man was I wrong. Lots of people were out there, some were out there jogging, some where out there walking their dogs. Everyone having a nice, and relaxing day, enjoying the weather, and nature. I will saw it was sad to see many of the trees along the paths will people initials on it. I guess nothing says love you more than you and your mates initials in a tree. If you didn’t see it, that was me rolling my eyes at that comment.

I was surprised at how calm and collected I was out there, I was out for about 4 hours. Give or take. My only thoughts really were in the idea of taking myself out there. While at times it felt kind of lonely to be out there hiking alone,  I was OK. I enjoyed the quite times and this was a great experience and exercise for helping me to overcome these types of things so in the future I can be out with other people. One step at a time. I was excited and looked forward all week to this venture. That is saying a lot for me. As I have been one who has spent their whole life hiding and afraid of these things, and coming up with a million and one excuses to not be out there. It is a refreshing change of attitude for myself and gives me hope for a brighter and better future. One not hindered by fear and panic. I accomplished a lot today and this is one step further in life. And I look forward to next weeks adventure.

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