“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves, and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again—to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.” Pico Iyer
As I type this I am listening to the latest album by Moriah Peters. She is an amazing Christian artist who played the soundtrack of most of our recent trip to California. A trip where I just wanted to feel Jesus. Where I wanted to just travel. See. Experience. Worship. As we just returned, I wanted to share our journey. We didn't have Wi-Fi our entire trip, which at first freaked me out, but ended up being a huge blessing. So on with it...
Mr. Charming and I just embarked on an eight day tour of California spanning from Solvang to Newport Beach.
Moriah's words are so many of the words I've uttered to my Heavenly Father many times over and I know I needed His strength, courage, hope and peace to allow me to connect, REALLY connect to the beauty that was surrounding us on this journey. To let go of the stresses, to let go of home and just explore. It was exhilarating and romantic and fun. Things that fear, anxiety and over-analysis can sometimes cloud. Or steal. I can't remember the last time I've felt pure JOY for that many days in a row. Feeling so thankful for His blessings.
Santa Barbara was our first stop, and we originally had booked a canvas tent at the stunning El Capitan Canyon. While I was excited about the canvas tent experience, temps had really dropped in the area and I was worried I was going to be super-cold, but I had brought lots of blankets in preperation. When we arrived (since it was midweek) they had a cabin open and offered to upgrade us! With hope and eagerness in my eyes I glanced towards Mr. Charming who had already started to accept the keys for me. (such a gentleman). I pulled him aside and told him that if it went against what he expected I would OF COURSE camp with him in the tent, as I wanted this to be everything we BOTH wanted. But he thought having a full kitchen would be good for both of us too, so he agreed that it was an awesome blessing!
For two days we relaxed, played board games in the cabin's loft and cooked food over the fire. Even though we had been upgraded, we still took advantage of the beautiful outdoors and cooked over the fire, enjoyed the stars from our camping chairs and hiked the grounds many times. A note: The area is home to ticks, mountain lions and snakes, so beware if you hike throughout the area and be back at camp before dark.
One of my favorite parts of our two day stay in Santa Barbara was visiting El Capitan State Beach. A quiet, private beach we had most of it to ourselves which allowed us to just enjoy the peaceful stillness of the waves softly crashing against the shore. I got to worship God in natural beauty, away from the hustle of work or the city and all was well with my soul.
And there is just something about splashing through the waves, even when the water is frigid, that makes you feel so ALIVE. So youthful. I highly recommend the area for its privacy and breathtaking scenery. The staff at El Capitan were extremely friendly and the amenities is like no other campsite you've been to before. A full on-site market offers an array of delicacies including gluten-free and dairy-free selections. I was eating Paleo while in town, but they even offered gluten-free graham crackers for those of us with allergies who are craving fireside s'mores. They got points in my book for this little detail.
They also have a children's playground (where I may or may not have swung on the tire swing), a heated swimming pool, a llama farm and onsite boutique.
It was an amazing start to the trip, and I know you're probably wondering about the FOOD. Like I said, since we were planning to tent camp, I had packed the car cooler with the food we were going to have in Santa Barbara. Day one consisted of our looooong drive to Santa Barbara, so Mr. Charming and I enjoyed protein smoothies in the car as well as snacks such as rolled lunch meat, sweet potato chips, fruit & veggies. That night for dinner when we got into town we cooked up foil dinners over the fire. Wrapped in foil (which I ONLY use for cooking when camping, so I'd say MAYBE once a year)... was apple chicken sausage, sweet potatoes and onions, all fire roasted and served with a Paleo compliant ketchup.
Day two's menu consisted of leftover onions and sweet potatoes, bacon and scrambled eggs cooked over a fire in bacon grease for breakfast (have you ever done this? If you haven't you need to. Right now. Go light a fire and cook eggs in bacon grease. I'll wait.) For lunch we headed to city #2 on our adventure, Solvang, and we were back to the campsite for dinner where we had an organic chili and avocado. We always like to stick with our traditional camping foods, as it makes it feel like we're truly camping.
I felt so at peace out there. And even tried a couple "firsts". Aside from visiting some new places, many new places actually, I climbed a tree. Something I hadn't done since childhood. I was a little terrified (don't like heights, like, at all, and bugs, I was sure if I saw I bug I'd fall from the branches and crack my head open) but I worked through it so we could get some cute photos, and then we carved our initials in the tree. I've always wanted to do that, and I can't think of a more deserving man to have my initials scribed into a tree with for all time than my Mr. Charming.
not all those who wander are lost..."
Nosh & Nurture was born of this journey I am on to better the health of myself, my family and those around me. What started as a simple compilation of recipes has grown to a all-around lifestyle journal with ways to incorporate organic products into your home, pantry and beauty cabinet. I also include stories on pregnancy, new motherhood, travel, Proverbs 31 marriage, and spiritual health, as I am a Christian who couldn't do any of this without my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. For more of my story you can click here.
All recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free with a lot of soy-free, grain-free, sugar-free options.