A Gluten-Free Cross Country Adventure! Part One

Our cross country adventure this summer was just that – an adventure!  Let me explain that my husband (Eric) and I drove separately in order to get both of our cars over there. Eric drove our van, with a U-Haul trailer attached, and our son and dog went with him.

I, on the other hand, drove our smaller car by myself (which I have to admit was actually kind of nice)!  I could be alone with my thoughts, which is a blessing for an INFJ, and I had the radio all to myself.

Having to be gluten-free has tested my patience because I’m used to eating whatever I want.  With this newfound intolerance, I have to read labels, go online to research, annoy serving staff with questions and plot out any dining establishments beforehand. This made this trip quite the challenge!

Fortunately, there is a free app called Find Me GF. This app can map your location and find the closest gluten-free dining options for you!

Our first day was devoted to getting through most of the state of Florida.  We drove 450+ miles to get to Tallahassee. It was a long day, but fortunately, we found a gluten-free place near the hotel that had a delicious meal.  I give a big shout out to Zoe’s Kitchen! Their food was delicious, fresh, and I had no reaction.

On day two we drove to New Orleans, and I absolutely loved the change of landscape. The flat terrain of Florida turned into rolling hills, beautiful mossy trees, bridges, and swamps. (I should note that I packed gluten-free breakfast bars and snacks with me, so I wouldn’t have to constantly be looking for gluten-free dining establishments.)

I was worried about what I would find to eat in New Orleans but was pleasantly surprised by De-No Seafood. They use a separate fryer for their GF customers, and the owner actually came to my table to explain my options for my meal. It was a great experience.  The food was delicious, and I had no reaction again!  Score!

Side note – the next day I ate a quick BBQ meal in Louisiana and had a reaction. It is much more difficult to stay gluten-free in smaller towns. Pretty much everything is cross contaminated.  😦

The final destination on our third day was Houston. I was glad because we would be staying with my cousin, and I knew that eating would not be so stressful.  Boy, was I right!  I had a delicious meal at Goose’s Acre and had no adverse effects. My cousin also made me a great breakfast before our fourth day of travel.

Texas is quite a large state and East Texas was very similar to Florida – flat and hot.  As we moved through Central Texas, it got more exciting. The flat landscape turned to rolling hills and mountains, trees, and windmills. We ended up in in Sonora, Texas, where people still said “ma’am” and “sir”. I also felt like I was in an old movie as our motel room still had decor from 1980.

Unfortunately, the restaurant we went to was chock full of gluten-loaded meals, so I stuck to the salad bar and went to bed unsatisfied.  Here are some photos from our trip so far.

My next post will be about the second-half of our trip.

Sonora, Texas was like a ghost town.
Happy, delirious family!
I think they need to make gluten-free beignets!
As long as it’s gluten-free!

I Have Emerged!

So much has happened since my last entry, and I now know why I haven’t been engaging as much as I’d like to on here.  Moving across the country and settling into my new life has taken a toll on me. If anyone is familiar with the INFJ personality type, they’ll understand where I’m coming from. I live internally and absorb everything a little more intensely than the average person.  I feel so much that I sometimes have to just shut down for a bit.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic by this life change and am looking forward to this next chapter in my life, I just needed to go into “hibernation” for a bit as I unpacked, set up our new place, shopped for furniture, started a new job, got my son ready for school, kept in touch with family and friends back in Florida, and adjusted to a new environment.

It has all been a bit overwhelming…

I needed to streamline and prioritize where I needed to be and what I needed to do.  I finally feel as if I’ve emerged from the depths of responsibilities and can now attend to all the other things I’m passionate about – blogging, exercising, socializing, and reading.

Yesterday, my car broke down on my way home from work, and I didn’t let it bother me. I remembered the adage about not being able to control what happens to me, but I can control how I react to it.  Well, that worked wonders because as a result, I was FORCED to stay home, sit still, and get a gazillion things accomplished!

I am so ready to share more with you about my amazing cross-country trip this summer!

But first, I have to go order my PowerHoopz and get this booty in shape!  🙂  IMG_2353

One Week!

Packing, purging, preparing…  How’s that for alliteration? 😉  The thought of driving across the country over five days is starting to settle into my brain. Let’s just say I’ll be booking a massage once I arrive in California!

My husband will be driving the van with the trailer, and I’ll be following in our smaller car. With a 9-year-old son and 12-year-old pug in tow, let’s just say our hands will be full. How did pioneers move out west in the 19th century, with dirt roads and horse and carriage?  It boggles my mind!

We’re slowly selling our furniture and the house is getting emptier, as you can see in the photos. Somehow, I’m remaining calm and feeling that everything will work out. It’s funny because a couple of years ago, I’d probably have been a wreck!

Learning about meditation and mindfulness has truly helped me through this process. Whenever I feel like my thoughts are becoming overwhelming, I stop, close my eyes, and concentrate on my breath. Worrying about the future is not going to help me in the present.

Two Weeks!

In less than two weeks, I will be embarking on a cross-country journey that has been 32 years in the making!  There are so many emotions running through me at the moment, but the one that stands out is pure excitement!

My husband and I have been slowly packing up bins, making arrangements to sell our current furniture, setting up service in our new apartment, and getting rid of old, unnecessary items. We have thrown out and donated a ton of items to Goodwill. It feels good for the soul to purge all of the extra stuff that we don’t need!  We’re not hoarders, but my goodness, one can accumulate a ton of junk in 14 years!

Yesterday, I made a final order to NYR Organics since I’m about to run out of some important products, and I’m not stopping my organic skincare regimen because of a “little” road trip. 😉  I also need to load up on gluten-free snacks for the trip and map out our route to Southern California with gluten-friendly restaurants along the way. Something tells me this will be more difficult to find in some states. Do they make gluten-free biscuits and gravy?

A lot of things need to happen before we move, but with grit and determination, we will get through it.  Until then, I will work on blogging about different things and filling you in on how my preparation is going!

Until then – ciao!


Year of Adventure!

Over the last couple of years, I’ve read a lot of motivational books, shared empowering quotes on social media, and have looked inward at my own wants and needs. I realized that I had been in a serious rut, feeling like a gerbil on a wheel with no way off of it.  I was going through the motions of life, but I was not experiencing life the way that I want. Life is so much more than a routine and a paycheck!

Since I was 16 years old, I’ve wanted to move to California. There was something about the weather, mountains, glamour, and beaches that I absolutely loved. I’ve gone there numerous times over the decades and have always felt a certain connection to it – like a magnet pulling me towards the west coast. As the years passed, I had numerous dreams about taking the leap, but it was never the right time.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Florida but after living there for 48 years, I’d had enough of the humidity and mosquitoes! My entire family lives in Florida, and that is the most difficult part of the move for me because we are all so close, but they are so supportive and realize that this is a long-held dream for me.

This year, I was chosen as an O Mag Insider. Out of thousands of submissions, I somehow made the cut, and I felt as if it gave me a new perspective on life. It empowered me in a way that is hard to explain. I felt as if I could control my own destiny by just making bolder moves. Ironically, O Magazine’s motto for the year was Year of Adventure – how fitting!

With both of my girls attending college, and my youngest entering 5th grade, it seemed that there was nothing holding me or my husband back from making the move cross-country. We were able to secure jobs fairly easily, and our house was under contract within two weeks of putting it on the market. Life was opening the door for us, and we decided to walk through it!

I feel as if I have a new zest for life – so many opportunities and experiences await! This blog will document our move from South Florida to southern California – with all of the craziness and challenges that will definitely ensue.