Amanda Williams, Rural TravelingMom

Amanda Williams, Rural TravelingMom

Amanda Williams is a self-proclaimed bird-nerd and mother to two high energy sons under five years old. She has worked as a wildlife biologist, wildland firefighter, and environmental educator, so she has a lot of outdoors experience to share--but those jobs pale in comparison to the adventure of being MOM! You can find her writing as a freelancer or exploring with the family for her own site, Field Guide to Parenting Outside. Amanda and her family aspire to become Global Citizens and consider their house merely a base camp for trip-planning operations. More comfortable in the middle of nowhere than in a big city, most of the year they'll be at large in a loaded down minivan, wandering National Parks and frequenting festivals all over the map.

Five Fun Stops Near Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

While many people think of the ubiquitous reality television series when they think of “the Yukon,” we weren’t sure what to expect while visiting the area for a few days under the August sun. What we found made us wish we weren’t a five day drive away. In just one small sample of the province, we had adventure, education, solace, and even lots of sand while making our way from Skagway, Alaska to Whitehorse and on to Watson Lake as we set off on the Alaska Highway. If you’re embarking upon the Last Great Road Trip, especially if you are...

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Why Camping is Better in Western Canada

We’ve made a lot of positive family memories while camping under the dome of a tent or in the flat, musty loft bed of a pop-up camper, sporadically in an RV or even hammocks. Never have we had such fantastic camping experiences as those we enjoyed while camping in Western Canada, specifically Alberta and British Columbia. Camping in Western Canada will definitely give you a taste of rural living! Have you been out in the Canadian bush while looking for camping adventures under the stars? If not, you should. Playgrounds are a Plenty We’ve been to so many public...

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Legions of Cool Cities like Ames Hidden in America’s Countryside

You’ve heard of “flyover country,” right? Most of the Midwest is included in the catch-all moniker and as a rural mom and traveler I want to let you in on a little secret: if you align with this mindset, you’re missing out on a LOT of cool countryside! Since living rural means road trips, we see a lot of “the middle” of the US as we zigzag our way back and forth, coast to coast, up and down America. We recently decided instead of “passing through,” we would spend at least two nights exploring the places that get overlooked on...

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If I’m Lion, I’m Dyin’ – The Ugly American Abroad

Americans continue to prove we deserve the travel tag: Ugly American. The latest example is the Minnesota dentist who killed a lion that allegedly had been illegally lured from a Zimbabwean nature preserve onto private land. Here, a fellow Midwesterner talks about this despicable act and what it means for travelers the world over. The Ugly American Arrives in Africa When I was younger and so was Val Kilmer, I remember huddling on the couch late at night on a summer evening. The sounds of nighttime were coming in through the open window as we speculated about what would happen...

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Minnesota State Fair Announces NEW Foods for 2015

Minnesota is perhaps best known for foods like lefse (traditional soft Norwegian flatbread), the ubiquitous “hotdish” that can include anything from tuna and potato chips to broccoli and grapes,and maybe homemade blueberry desserts. And, of course, lots of walleye. Here’s a surprise: Every year, foodies from all over the map flock to the Minnesota State Fair to sample the array of adventurous, weird, and just plain crazy fare there. Just as the smell of bacon draws a weary camper out of the tent for a little morning grub, so too do the smells of the State Fair drive hungry travelers to...

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Alaska Marine Highway 101: Planning Your Sailing

Camping on the Ferry is one thing, but do you know how to plan your journey to best accommodate your vacation goals? Unlike a traditional cruise, the Alaska Marine Highway or “the state ferry,” gives you the ability to customize your ports-of-call and length of stay while in port. You can stay for a year or a day (as long as a ship is coming or going) it is a very flexible and forgiving system to plan a trip around. Here are three tips to get you underway! 1. Plan and Book Early If you want a stateroom or you’re...

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Out with the Old, in with the New: Wet ‘N Wild Orlando to Close in 2016. Volcano Bay Erupting in 2017

There is no better way in my opinion to cool off when camping during the balmy (or in many cases hot and humid) summer weather than to visit a water park. Wild, windblown tresses swishing along as the slide swirls you to the bottom has you surrendering to the giddy giggling fits only brought on by those extra exciting rides and slides at a favorite water park. Yes, this is the ultimate perk of parenthood: the kids are a great excuse to sneak off to YOUR favorite water park with no shame! When in Florida and especially the Orlando area there...

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National Geographic Bee – How Well Do You Know Your Geography?

Today the top geographically-inclined brains in the nation (51 state champions and a handful more from territories and DoD entities) will compete in Washington D.C. for the National Geographic Bee. This fun albeit delightfully nerdy contest is something that would have been right up my alley in my youth. In a completely coincidental but rather timely experiment a few nights ago, I sat down at my laptop, fired up Excel, and listed all of the STATES I could recall by memory — there are only 50, how hard could it be, right? Wrong. I missed three. Apparently, my brain had...

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Crazy California Family has Committed the Ultimate Travel Fail

Part of the reason that we love to travel is to show our children the world. We show them other cultures. We love showing them that we live a pretty good life in the United States — that often times involves showing them the best our country has to offer, and for us, that is what Mother Nature has to showcase. Recently, at a vista overlooking Tumalo Falls in the Deschutes National Forest in Oregon, a “family of vandals” brought this notion of respect and traveler ambassador attitudes to the forefront. This traveling family didn’t get the memo about respecting...

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Camping 101: Getting Ready for the Camping Season

It’s that time of year! The snowy weather is likely long gone for most (or for those of you smarter than THIS gal, you live where you don’t have nine months of winter…) Now is the time that we start to plan our summers and for me, that means planning some stellar camping trips! Here are some considerations that you should be taking care of NOW — so that when you get those golden tickets (commonly known in the workplace as “leave slips” — you can throw the packs and gear and the Golden Retriever into the car with...

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