In Episode 108 of the Wandering But Not Lost Podcast, co-hosts Matt Emerson and Jan O’Brien begin a 2-part discussion on well-being.  There is so much that hits us from all sides that it is easier than ever to feel overwhelmed but if you focus on a handful of techniques you can get yourself back in alignment and ready to take on the world.  In today’s Zen, we are on the road paying a visit to a classic roadside attraction – the Wigwam Motel.  We’ll explore the history and the man behind this unique concept.






Practices and Tools for Well Being – Part 1


Our lives can be stressful, chaotic and drama-filled. All of us are in information overload; bombarded from all directions with noise, distractions, notifications and content from our friends and family, online and traditional media, our smartphones and other devices. Add to that the litany of stress and anxiety created from personal, family, workplace, community, national and world events; it is a wonder how we keep it all together and function in our daily lives.

So, how do we find that elusive work-life balance? How do we cultivate more joy, peace and mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being?

We have compiled this list of tools and practices to consider integrating into your life to reduce stress and cultivate more balance, peace and overall well-being.

Our recommendation is to read through the list of practices and see what resonates with you. You certainly don’t have to do them all. Select one or two and give them a try.

Design and Follow a Daily Ritual

Adopt a daily ritual to start your day in a positive mindset.  Show up every day: Mentally, Physically, Emotionally and Spiritually.  Now more than ever it’s important to get up, do your morning mindset ritual, get dressed for success and get to work!

Some suggestions:

  • Morning meditation or prayer
  • Exercise, stretch, take a walk
  • Review your goals and say your affirmations
  • Eat a healthy breakfast
  • Review your day’s tasks and schedule

Take a Digital Detox

Take a break from ALL of your devices and disconnect from the Internet and Social Media for a period of time.

Try one or more of these ideas:

  • Don’t check your smartphone, emails or go online for at least an hour after waking up each day
  • Do your daily ritual instead!
  • Commit to turning all cell phones off during meals
  • Block out time at least once a week to unplug
  • Schedule a minimum of one day a month to disconnect
  • Try a digital detox week where you disconnect from your social media platforms and minimize use of your digital devices

30 Reasons to Do a Digital Detox

Read Thrive by Arianna Huffington

Get More Sleep

Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more. How much sleep you need each day varies between the experts but generally, the recommendation ranges from 6-8 hours (more for children and teens).

Set a bedtime routine

  • Go to bed at the same time every night
  • Get the same amount of sleep each night
  • Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual (warm bath or shower, aromatherapy, listen to music, podcast or meditation for sleeping)
  • Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Know the best room temperature for you. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise or light that can disturb your sleep.
  • Avoid eating, talking on the phone, or watching TV in bed
  • Try not to lie in bed worrying about things
  • Allow 2-3 hours between your last meal of the day and going to bed
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine for at least 4 hours before sleep
  • Sleep on a comfortable and supportive mattress and pillow for you

Good Stuff In Concept

Remember it’s BE – DO – HAVE

Your State of Being, it comes first.  It’s not contingent on anything that you do and it does not rely upon anything you have. Most people live Have Do Be.
“I will DO this thing.” (Lose weight) “So I can HAVE this other thing” (Self-Esteem) and I can BE this thing. (Confident.)


When you begin changing on the BE level of your life, then the DO level and the HAVE level follow more easily.

 You ARE the Creator of your Reality  Episode 106 in 7 Strategies to Thrive

The only thing you can really control is your thoughts and how you decide to react to situations and events in your life. Monitor your thoughts and self-talk. Be conscious of your language.

Take personal responsibility for where you are at this exact moment.  All of your thoughts and actions have led you to this specific place in time.  If you are not entirely pleased with your results, then change your thoughts and take action toward what you want to create.  Be deliberate and intentional in your thoughts and actions.

Ask yourself:  “What am I focusing on right now?”   “Am I focusing on what I want or what I don’t want?”

Are your thoughts positive or negative – towards or away from what you desire? Most people pay attention to their current reality and attract the same. Focus on what you wish to experience instead. In order to effect true positive change in your experience, you must disregard how things are, as well as how others are seeing you, and give more of your attention to the way you prefer things to be.

Thoughts Become Things… Choose the Good Ones!

Listen to positive, uplifting music & podcasts

Podcasts are all the rave and there are so many to choose from in the Apple Store or StitcherDo some research and discover what takes you to your happy place!

Healthy eating & drinking habits

  • Be aware of your constitution, health and physical well-being.  Ingest healthy, nutritious foods that uplift you and give you energy. Moderation is the key!
  • The company you keep. It is said that your surroundings, your home (feng shui principles) and the people in your life are a reflection of your current state of being. This is the law of attraction in action. Like attract like. What you think about you attract into your life. Do the people in your life lift you up or tear you down? Are they positive and supportive or focused on the negative?

 Always be learning & growing!

  • Limit your exposure and consumption of TV, media, and the Internet.
  • Choose to watch positive and inspirational movies and other media channels
  • Read something to enhance your personal or professional development a minimum of 1 hour/day
  • Take specific courses, seminars, or workshops based on areas you want to improve or master
  • Listen to audio programs in your car (average car owner spends 500 to 1,000 hours/year in their car)
  • Listen to educational or inspirational programs or podcasts while you walk or workout


In today’s Zen, we hit the road and visit one of the remaining Wigwam Motels.  I knew that there were more than one of these classic roadside attractions built back in the 1930s and 1940s but as it turns out there were 7 built across 6  states for a total tepee count of more than 110!  Oh, the things you learn when you wander!  Let’s jump in the family station wagon for a quick road trip…




Frank A. Redford grew up in Hart County, Kentucky.  After high school, he landed a job at the United Fruit Company in Honduras where he lived and worked until news of his father’s death brought him back home to be with his mother.  During a trip to Calfornia, the two came across a small tepee shaped restaurant in Long Beach that they enjoyed and he never forgot.  Seeing an opportunity back home due to the newly recognized Mammoth Cave National Park, located just 11 miles away, Frank set out to attract the cave tourists and built his own version of the tepee experience.  What is now referred to as Wigwam #1 was built in 1933 and consisted of a lunchroom and a service station.  He had a hit on his hands and in 1935 he added 6 tepee shaped motel rooms along with 2 additional tepee shaped restrooms for the ‘squaws’ and ‘braves’ that were traveling the roads of the day.  An Indian Trading Post was built out front to capture the eye of passing visitors (as if the tepees weren’t enough) that sold ice cream, sodas, and souvenirs.  His creation was so successful that he was awarded a patent in 1936 for his ‘resort design’.

Before we go on, let’s take a moment for an architectural debrief.  Although Frank called his locations Wigwam Villages, they technically contained no wigwams.  A wigwam is a dome-shaped hut or tent made by fastening mats, skins, or bark over a framework of poles versus a tepee which is a portable conical tent made of skins, cloth, or canvas on a frame of poles.  I’ve found no definitive reason he fancied wigwam over tepee but just wanted to clear the air on that in case anyone was scratching their head on the nomenclature!

In 1937, Frank built his second Wigwam Village in Cave City, just 5 miles from the original.  This location was better suited to capture the road trippers and was built on a larger scale.  It included a larger lunchroom, a gas station, restrooms and 15 motel rooms that were placed in a semi-circle around an open area.  Wigwam #2 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

Villages #3 – #6 were not built by Redford.  He held an open patent that allowed others to use the patent but typically pay a licensing fee to use the patent.   Village #6  was built in 1950 in Holbrook, Arizona, on Route 66 and is perhaps the most famous of the Villages because of its location on America’s Mother Road.  It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places list in 2002.

Wigwam #7 ~ Route 66 ~ Rialto, CA

In 1950, Frank built the last of the Wigwam Villages on Route 66 on the border of San Bernardino and Rialto in California.  This version had 19 motel units a lobby building (which varied from his original design) and a connected larger teepee which was built to be a two-story apartment for Redford. Redford lived in this apartment until his death in 1958.  Wigwam #7 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.

As with most things from our collective American Adventure you have to take a step back and reflect.  Was Redford capitalizing on and even, perhaps, exploiting Native American culture?  I admit, my research on him is not vast, however, he did seem to have an appreciation and respect for the culture and its people.  Thankfully, we continue to evolve as a society.  At the end of the day, the Wigwam Villages have definitely made their mark on the road trips of families from across the globe.  If you have a chance to pay one a visit, you won’t be disappointed.  These roadside attractions are numbered and aging and it’s fun to see them while you can!  



Villages #2, #6, & #7 are still in operation today.  The others have suffered the fate of progress.  Here is the complete list:

  • Village #1: Horse Cave, Kentucky
  • Village #2: Cave City, Kentucky
  • Village #3: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Village #4: Orlando, Florida
  • Village #5: Bessemer, Alabama
  • Village #6: Holbrook, Arizona
  • Village #7: Rialto/San Bernardino, California



Cozy Cone Motel ~ Disney California Adventure

We end our road trip today with a present-day homage to the Wigwam Villages.  Next time you are at the Disneyland Resort, take a stroll down Route 66 in Cars Land located in the California Adventure and stop into the Cozy Cone Motel for a few delicious treats purchased straight out of a Motel Room Cone.

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