Weston, Missouri is a charming historic town located just a few miles outside of the Kansas City metro area.
I first became acquainted with Weston when my family was stationed at FT Leavenworth. Seeking a running route that didn’t include outlines of the massive federal prison, I’d asked local for recommendations from my new neighbors. Weston – a neighboring community – was among the top recs by local yokels, followed by additional directions to Weston’s mouthwatering restaurants and winery to refuel following a long stretch.
While Weston is small, with a population of under 2,000 people, its historic downtown district, neighboring state park, u-pick orchards, and multiple breweries, distilleries, and wineries make it a definite must-see for anyone visiting the Kansas City area.
Can you believe that summer is almost over?
Technically, my summer came to an end with the first day of fall semester classes. I went from riding horses every day to lecturing college students on business and technology. The annual change from a life in cowboy boots to sensible pumps is always a little drastic. I’m still getting saddle time in the afternoons and evenings, just spending most of my mornings discussing economic trends and marketing strategies.
Summer 2017 wasn’t exactly an awesome season for me thanks to unexpected surgeries, moving, and other not-so-glam events. I initially didn’t think the season warranted its very own blog post; however, jotting down a few of the highlights has reminded me that headlining summers don’t have to include Caribbean cruises and blowout weddings. Some – like this past summer – involve some pretty cool, albeit not-so-Instagram-worthy events that shape the year that follows.
So, as we usher in the autumn breath of color changes, football games, and harvest season, here’s five highlights from the Summer of 2017:
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Immediately following my high school graduation, I bought a one-way ticket to Beijing, China.
I’d only been on an airplane once and had never traveled internationally before, so this travel excursion was quite the adventure. I learned enough Mandarin to greet others, say “Yes” and “No”, and communicate about basic navigation. I’d received a slew-full of additional vaccines from my county health department, and leafed through a few travel books on China’s capital province. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I knew it was going to be exciting.
Seeking a more meaningful experience than my peer’s Greek rush weeks, I decided to spend the summer volunteering at two poorly-funded orphanages located a few hours outside of the capital city. I was still pretty clueless at this time about what I wanted to do with my life and whether or not I wanted to go to college. I hoped this summer of philanthropy would provide me some direction. Maybe I’d realize the nonprofit sector would be a good fit for me, or I’d make some international relief work contacts; either way, I wanted to help others and understaffed orphanages on the other side of the world seemed like a good place to start.
Kansas City is a unique city, in more than one ways than one.
The barbeque is fabulous, the museums are awesome, and there’s a lot of history for your inner nerd. Oh, and there’s the KC Royals, and the Chiefs (can’t forget those!).
Another Kansas City distinction is that it’s a city spanning two states – Kansas and Missouri.
Although I’m a Kansas resident, I haven’t spent much time on the Kansas side of Kansas City. The majority of the metro’s population, along with a lot of historical development, is on the Missouri side. So, as a KC local, most of my day to day happenings end up being hosted across the state line, on the Show Me State’s side.
Like many residents, I’d heard a lot about must-see attractions in Kansas City, Missouri; however, I was pretty oblivious to the unique art and culture offered over in Kansas City, Kansas (KCKS). Thus, I was just tickled pink when Kansas Tourism announced the June #NoPlaceLikeKS Instameet hosted in Kansas City, Kansas (KCKS), as I was finally going to get to explore the often underrated KC gems of the Sunflower State!
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love to paddle.
Summer’s a little late coming in the Midwest, so June starts my four month season of kayaking in lakes and rivers all across Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and Iowa. I’m pretty psyched about getting “Susie” – my budget-friendly, Lifetime® kayak – back in the water. It’s been a while since I felt the “paddle burn” in my forearms, after a long day’s trek upstream; there are few places I’d rather be than in the middle of a peaceful body of water with just my boat, my dog, and my camera.
Maybe you’re thinking about purchasing a kayak, or maybe you just enjoy an annual float and are wondering if it’d be cost effective to invest in your own. Paddling’s a great hobby with fabulous fitness benefits; plus it’s a fun new way to see familiar places or explore new destinations.
In case you’ve been bitten by the summertime paddle bug, here are five questions to ask before buying your first kayak:
There are few things in life I enjoy more than a good road trip.
Where we’re going doesn’t seem to matter near as much as how much fun we have getting there.
Over the years, my husband and I have taken quite a few epic road trips, crisscrossing the country more than once on our quest to find inspiration and serenity.
I’ve learned much about the United States of America from sampling local cuisine, chatting up RVer’s and well-placed rest stops, and adventuring into the true jewel of America – her national parks.
Some of my fondest travel memories stem from road trips; like that time I ended up in Kansas and left with the deed to an abandoned homestead, or driving across Texas with a malfunctioning car horn (it made drive thru’s quite interesting). Continue Reading…
As a 20-something millennial, I’m pretty late to The Bridges of Madison County fan club party.
Pretty sure I was somewhere between binge watching My Little Mermaid VHS’s and leaving my latest lost molar under my pillow for the tooth fairy when “The Bridges” made its daring debut. A love story about an Italian born Midwestern farm wife and a vegetarian National Geographic photographer form the Pacific Northwest would probably have received the same reception from me as the “cooties”.
But fast forward 20-some odd years, to a time in life where my dressing up like Ariel has been replaced with an academic career as a business professor, and I receive a free copy of the bestseller The Bridges of Madison County at our local library book sale. I didn’t think much of the book at the time – looked like a good rainy day read for when our rural Wi-Fi leaves Netflix buffering – but boy, was I in for one of the best reads of my life. Continue Reading…
Guest Post by Charlene Rhinehart
Instead of being viewed as a frivolous activity reserved for retirees or dreamy-eyed college grads, travel can help the motivated millennial gain a competitive edge in today’s marketplace.
Any millennial who wants to go beyond what has already been done in the world needs to travel in order to find new and innovative ways of doing business. Whether working as a career driven employee or budding entrepreneur, millennials need to know what’s going on in the world and how they can play a role in it.
Are you ready to show the world the power of millennials?
Here are four reasons why millennials should make traveling a priority: Continue Reading…
Guest Post by Charlene Rhinehart
Pressing pause and leaving the corporate casino to travel the world may sound scary, especially if you are a young professional still trying to make a name for yourself. But traveling may be the best thing you can do to maximize your future growth potential and impact. You don’t want to reach your 40s and 50s not discovering what you wanted to do when you were younger. It happens all the time, but you have a strategic opportunity to change this doom and gloom career behavior and make your mark on the world by going beyond the constraints of the world that you occupy every day.
Save your money, allocate the time, give up all the excuses, and start planning your next travel destination. What do you have to lose? Take advantage of the plate of possibilities that you have at your disposal before you are stuck in the rat race, are pinned down by family obligations and lose confidence in your ability to dream bigger than your current circumstances.
Ready to exponentially boost your career potential? Here are three reasons why traveling the world is the best career decision that you can make before you’re 30: Continue Reading…