Travel Bloggers include Ridgecrest in travel guide

Travel Bloggers include Ridgecrest in travel guideBy LAURA QUEZADA

News Review Staff Writer

“Anything is possible,” says Alise Saunders. She and her husband, Gregg, are proof that major changes can be made to enhance one’s life. They hope their journey “inspires people to make changes in their own lives, to really embrace the things that they want for themselves, not to give up, to believe that anything is possible.”

The Saunders have been in Ridgecrest for a month and wish they could stay longer. “It was such a surprise to us to get to Ridgecrest and see that there was so much within 30 minutes, an hour, an hour and a half, two hours - outdoors; because outdoor living is so important. Greg has loved the road cycling. I have loved the hiking.” However, their mission is to travel from small town to small town and stay for a month; next stop is Chico.

Alise and Gregg are travel bloggers. When they get to a new town Alise creates content about their previous visit on their website: As she writes, Gregg explores on his bicycle and finds places for them to explore together. We should see their Ridgecrest stories on their site in the next four to six weeks.

They not only explore the great outdoors, they also visit restaurants, museums, and anything that catches their interest. Here’s what you will find on their site: “Our free travel vacation guides, which we highlight typically small towns, especially those affected by COVID. That’s really important to us. We want people to know that you can travel outside big cities, and rest, rejuvenate, but really have a good time and eat amazing, delicious food.

They’ll also find our podcast and resources if they want to create a business of their own to be able to get out and travel. We actually have a course on our website to help people identify the beliefs that are holding them back. We also have the opportunity where people can book time with us and ask us anything.” Some questions they have fielded included: “How do I travel just like you? What did you pack? How do you get mail?” They also can advise about starting a new business and Gregg can answer road cycling questions.

They didn’t win the lotto. Alise maintains an online bookkeeping business. Gregg retired early. In many ways taking the risk was lifesaving for the two of them. Both have held high paying, highly stressful corporate jobs. Gregg typically worked 50-60 hours and never had time to ride his bike or get a decent night’s rest and he was seeing many friends his age dying. Alise had accepted a promotion, signed a two year contract, and found that she just didn’t fit in and was miserable. During this time Alise was diagnosed with mutiple sclerosis (MS), was in intense pain, hardly able to walk, yet kept showing up for work.

She says, “The most important thing was that nobody told me that it should be permanent. And that was the biggest blessing for me. Because it’s how I had up to that point as a survivor of my life handled everything ‘I’m gonna kick it. This MS is not stealing my life from me.’” And she kicked it. “I did everything I could to educate myself. My mind was absolutely blown about the chemicals in our water, the chemicals in our food. I changed everything to glass even went from a plastic shower curtain to a cloth shower curtain. I started buying all organic, educated myself. I began this process of eliminating toxins from my life. Eating clean, eating healthy, eating vegetables, eating fruits, and reducing sugars.”

Alise also was doing major mental wellness work. Lessons she learned as a child taught her to repress her emotions, never show anger. “Many scientists and experts that have studied emotions absolutely have validated that it stores itself in a physical tangible form into your body,” she says. She didn’t want to believe it. Then when her second therapist told her that her issue was emotional she began to deal with it and found someone to work with who has been impactful with her healing. In her blog she says, “After years of battle, years of being told to just accept my illness as it was, I had an MRI and learned that the lesion that caused my illness had healed and disappeared.”

Alise left her corporate job and began a homebased bookkeeping business. Yet, after a few years she found herself feeling “like I was dying slowly, like my soul was just dying stuck in this routine. I was sitting on the same couch and the same four walls with the same furniture. Everything was just so stuck in this repeat. That was just what kind of got me going, ‘I’m not ready to die right now. I haven’t really even fully lived yet.’ I felt like I needed a lot of change in my life to come at me from every direction to challenge me to help me expand as a person.”

Their love story continued during these trying times. Alise says, “Greg is everything that I need him to be when I need him to be it from a healing standpoint, as well as from a life and a love standpoint. His strength and his support has allowed me to go out into the world and create and be brave and take risks because I know that he’s there holding me up.”

Greg says he learned to be a risk taker from Alise and he’s learned to trust her crazy ideas. “It’s just been very cathartic; being able to let it all go and just really enjoy life. There’s so much out there. The people that we’ve met have just been absolutely amazing.”

Alise shares the story of one of the most inspirational people she met, a 13-year old girl named Cheyenne Potter in Florida. “She is a racecar driver, too young to even drive a car. She was absolutely inspiring to me because of the way that she looks at life and death. I don’t want to say that she is fearless because she is very focused on safety. It is her belief that ‘I have made myself as absolutely safe as I can. I am fully trained.’ It is her confidence in herself, her belief in herself. She’s going 100 miles an hour and there’s cars zooming by her. She’s making a split second life and death decision every second of that race. She races against full grown men. Some of them even are NASCAR drivers.” Alise is inspired by her confidence and belief in living life to the fullest. Cheyenne radiates joy when she talks about racing. Gregg adds, “It’s infectious.”

For animal lovers out there, it is notable that Alise and Gregg travel with their two 13-year old Siamese cats, Samson and Delilah, adopted through Austin Siamese Rescue. It is amusing that they call themselves “foster failures.” They were planning to foster cats, but the first two kitties were so sick and needed so much care when they took them in that Gregg finally said, “We’re keeping them or we’ll never do this again.” Adding, “It’s just been a love affair ever since.”

Samson gets carsick, so he travels in his carrier on the lap of whoever is in the passenger seat. Delilah loves to travel. “She loves the way that we stack everything in the car. She loves to be at the highest point right in the middle of our two car seats because she just loves to see out.”

Yes, they travel in a car and stay in Airbnbs. They travel with their bikes on back. A cargo container on top is filled 90% with Gregg’s bicycle tools/gear. They also bring a laptop, large monitor, favorite cooking supplies and utenstils, nightlights, a carbon monoxide detector, a pop up clothing storage container, and camp chairs. Gregg says, “The journey that we’re doing is a lot of fun. Not to say it’s not tough; uprooting every 30 days, having to pack, get everything into the car and get to the new place. Drop everything off, learning your way around a new town and by time you do that, ‘Okay, off to the next place.’”

“When I look back at my life, even to being a child, I didn’t believe that this life was even a possibility for me,” says Alise. “ What we’re doing is not a possibility to that child. Life was very pigeon holed, very boxed.

I hope to convey to people to understand that this is crazy for us. Sell everything, let go of our lease, to sell or gift most everything. We have a couple of duffel bags and personal belongings packed into a car with our cats. We don’t have the roots that society says you need in order to live a good life. We’ve thrown so much of the stereotypical societal beliefs out the window.

Letting go of routine; how freeing that can be . The biggest thing is just that wanting to inspire people that anything is possible for their own life. We went from there to here and I hope that inspires people to make change in their own life, to really embrace the things that they want for themselves, not to give up, to believe that anything is possible.”

Laura Austin Photo: Travel bloggers Alise and Gregg Saunders explore Ridgecrest’s great outdoors, restaurants, museums, and anything that catches their interest.

Story First Published: 2022-03-25