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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Guest Post: Audiobooks for Road Trips

Today's guest post is from another fabulous Utah blogger (and awesome friend) Hilary from NextStopAdventure. I found Hilary's blog online while doing some Utah adventure research.  When I she was also an East Coast transplant, I creepily emailed her asking if she ever wanted to meet up for coffee, dinner, or a drink.  We met for a coffee and chatted for a while about Utah, moving across the country, and our love of travel.  She jokes that I asked her out on a "date" and its hilariously true (I love meeting new people- especially bloggers!).  Before I knew it we were line dancing at the Westerner and hiking The Living Room.

Her blog, is a lifestyle blog dedicated to celebrating everyday adventure. She focuses on outdoor activities such as hiking and camping, but she demonstrates that adventure can be found anywhere, including in your own city! Her blog showcases her travels and adventures through her photography, trail guides, trip itineraries, and documenting newlywed life.

Originally from Florida, Hilary moved with just her car cross-country at the end of her years at University of Florida. As soon as she was settled in Utah, she fell in love with the mountainous vistas and red rock deserts. She also met a Utah mountain man, Brighton. They recently got married in Florida, and are living out adventurous newlywed bliss in Salt Lake City.

Hilary and I share the same love for road trips and audiobooks (I use them for EVERY road trip!). We both like to tackle crazy long road trips with ambitious itineraries (ask her about the time she drove all the way to Banff, Canada!). She may be the only person I know who has me beat in this category.  This lady knows how to go on the ultimate road trip, and she is sharing some great Audiobook tips and some great options for your next road trip. 

Let’s talk about road trips.

Music is one of my favorite parts of driving, but when you’re only in Hour 4 in a 12 hour road trip, listening to the same music over and over won’t cut it. My husband, Brighton, says that the beats and thumping of the music eventually make him tired, and that’s the last thing we want to happen on a road trip. 

You can only rage for so long. 

Luckily, I have a co-pilot for my trips, and that means I can read, write, edit photos, or play on my phone while I’m not driving. But when we switch? That’s the tricky part— staying focused.

Brighton and I decided that one of the best solutions for this problem is listening to audiobooks on our frequent road trips. Brighton and I have wildly different taste in books, but we have found common ground with biographies from comedians.  Next time you’re setting out for a long trip, give these a download and prepare for some laughs and insight!

This is my favorite book that we’ve listened to so far. Amy Poehler is one of my favorite comedians and people in general, and through this book I gained so much respect for her as an individual. She gives you a detailed look into her childhood stories, how she began her career, and becoming a parent during SNL. She had us laughing, crying, and gave us those warm-fuzzies until the very end. She made our 11-12 hour drive to Portland in November fly by. 

I was expecting Bossypants to be just like Yes, Please. It was not. Tina Fey’s book had a different tone— a little more serious than Amy did in her reading. She had plenty of jokes, but I felt like Bossypants was a little more of a lessons learned and guidance than Yes, Please! She also describes her childhood experiences, but she spends more time on her career successes and failures. We listened to her’s on the way back from Portland in November (but our trip was 5 hours longer due to a blizzard…). 

To finish our drive back from Portland, we listened to Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance book. It was surprisingly informative and educational. I felt like it was geared for 18-35 singles age group, but I still thoroughly enjoyed hearing him read it. I will also say that Aziz is an acquired taste, and he’s not for everyone— but I happen to love him as a comedian. He covers how dating and romance has changed from marrying your high school sweetheart who lived in the same neighborhood as you to something that I wouldn’t even consider dating anymore— the “hook up culture.” He also does cross-cultural research including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. 

His narrative and research was all too familiar and real— by that I mean that almost everyone can relate to at least some of the stages of love and romance that he discusses. It’s especially fun to listen with your partner, if you are currently in a relationship. :) 

This book was Brighton’s latest pick on our mini-moon through the Smoky Mountains. I became familiar with Rob Lowe in Parks and Recreation, but he’s a seasoned actor with many movies and shows before Parks and Rec was even conceived. Rob gives a candid retelling of his career and personal life starting with his early career days. I am not a movie buff, and most of the movies and TV shows that he mentions acting in, I have not personally seen— but with that being said, this audiobooks makes me want to look into his work from years ago. It’s really interesting how star-studded his life has been. One complaint I had was that some of the stories that I would expect to be told a little more in detail— specially his personal life with his mother and wife— were somewhat brief and abrupt. I felt like the most recent years were a little rushed, and I wonder if he’s planning a sequel to continue these stories. He’s an excellent writer, with honest narrative. 

Tips for Choosing an Audiobook 

Listen to the sample on Audible before purchasing it. Do you like their voice? (Seriously, though) Do you like their inflection and style of speech? Do they seem monotone or entertaining?

Be aware that books may not always be the same book that you read in paper-form or in audio form. I recently bought books on my Kindle/paperback that were by comedians… and it was not the same. I also tried buying Audible books that I typically read on my Kindle, and neither situation worked. It’s amazing how different a book can seem when someone is reading it to you versus on paper. 

If this is your first audiobook, try something short to see how you enjoy it. Audiobooks can be a little daunting with the amount of time that is listed for each book. 

Sometimes it’s hard to focus— Stick to genres that keep your focus or are entertaining from the start. Mysteries and thrillers will keep you more focused, but try not to pick anything too convoluted—at first— or until you are ready for the challenge!

When planning for a road trip or plane ride, make sure you download the book onto your device before leaving. Many times they will take some time to download fully, and you can’t guarantee that you’ll have Wi-Fi or internet connection when you’re on the road. 

*All photos belong to Hilary/Next Stop Adventure. 
 If you want to read more about Hilary and her adventures, 
follow her blog and on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest

If you would like to be featured/guest blog on Katie Wanders
email me at !

Monday, May 23, 2016

Guest Post: 3 Tips for your first Backpacking Trip!

Happy Monday!  
I am driving across the country this week, so I have some fun guest posts lined up while I am lost in the middle of South Dakota.  And today is the first day of awesome posts by some great Utah bloggers.  If you think I go on a lot of trips, hikes or fun adventures around the west, wait until you meet the author of today's guest post.  

About Me & Charlie

I met Alicia through a Meet Up group she leads on Tuesday "Hiking in Utah with our dogs". I have gone on some fun hikes with Alicia, some most recently being our trip to Southeastern Utah. Not only does she lead a hiking group, but she also writes an awesome blog, Girl On A Hike. "Girl on a Hike" follows hiking enthusiast Alicia, and her hiking companion, Charlie, a Golden Lab, on their outdoor adventures. Alicia became an avid backpacker in 2008, after her first experience backpacking in Winter in Montana. The trip didn't go quite as planned, but she was hooked. She has since then backpacked all over Utah, Arizona, California, and Nevada. She recently backpacked the Bright Angel Trail at Grand Canyon National Park, and has plans to take a week long backpacking trip in Wyoming in 2016. You can follow her and Charlie's adventures on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Friday, May 20, 2016

So Long Utah.....

I have been mentally writing this post in my head for weeks now.  Late at night jotting down thoughts and memories, trying to find the words to describe my nearly two years here in Utah.  The transformation, the learning process, the adjustments, the excitement and fear of this "next step" in life.  So let me just spill the beans (and a word vomit of feelings below), Katie Wanders is moving back to the East Coast.

VIDEO: Oregon Recap

You made it to the last post in my Oregon Road Trip series, and I hope you had fun following my journey from Salt Lake, over to the Oregon Coast and back!  I thought it would be fun to put together a little Infographic about our trip to Oregon and how the landscape changed over the trip. 

It was a beautiful trip, making our way across Idaho, up north through the "Plains area" to see follow the Columbia River, serving as the border between Washington and Oregon.  We then followed the River, past some amazing landscapes that was quintessential Northwest, waterfalls, everything green and rainy.  We drove by "Hipster Village" aka Portland, and crossed into Washington before finally landing in Astoria, Movie land.  We then made our way down the coast, which was historic and iconic, beautiful and diverse.  We stopped our trip down the coast at the Oregon Dunes area, where you felt like you were in the Sahara.  We then cut across to Eugene where we followed a beautiful river, covered bridges, and a landscape that reminded you of Vermont. We then followed the McKenzie to Bend past some beautiful peaks.  After Bend the drive got a little more boring as we crossed the state into Idaho.  A few stops in Idaho and we were back in Salt Lake City.  

If you missed the previous posts all about the trip, you can find them all here.  

Day 3:  Ninkasi and Ikes 
Day 3:  Oregon Dunes 
Day 3:  Newport Oregon

And you can also find my fun recap video below 
(my favorite part about these trips, reliving them through these little clips!)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Southern Idaho: Malad Gorge, Perrine Bridge and Shoshone Falls

After leaving Bend Oregon bright and early, we continued East to Salt Lake City.   It was going to be a long day of driving through eastern Oregon, across southern Idaho and then into Utah to Salt Lake City.  While the drive was long, I was pretty excited for a few stops in Idaho.  I have become oddly obsessed with Idaho lately.... it is a little weird right?  I guess my obsession stems from realizing there was more in the state besides potatoes.  

Shoshone Falls
Shoshone Falls
There are mountains, and streams, waterfalls and caves???  Yes, I was that ignorant.  Growing up on the East Coast, no one talks about the fly over states, or any of the states in the middle of the country really.  Sure Denver gets some attention, but that is about it. 

During my trip last month to Bear Lake sitting on the Idaho/Utah border, I picked up a Idaho travel magazine and was blown away by what I saw.  There on the cover was a gigantic waterfall, and throughout the pages were pristine rivers, lakes, and peaks  I knew my time was running out (more on that tomorrow) for all the things I want to do here, but I swore to see the beautiful Shoshone Falls before I left the West (spoiler!).