Category Archives: Adventures

It’s Been Awhile!

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Hola!  It has definitely been awhile!  Life is crazy/busy/awesome, and you can catch up on some of my recent travel adventures over at La Aventura Project.

I’m still here, living in San Diego, making films, serving beers, and trying to be a better person every day!

Last night I finally had some time to sit down and look through all my old personal video footage and make something fun!  So here is a video of my team from 2014 (yes, it’s that old) SoCal Ragnar Relay!  Because running is a thing that I sometimes do, woohoo!

Honeymoon Dreamin’

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As you must have realized by now, Zach and I have a pretty hardcore love affair with travel going on. I started traveling internationally at age 16, when I went to Australia and New Zealand through a student exchange program. That experience was all it took to get me hooked on exploring and wandering the globe.  After that, I went on volunteer trips to the Bahamas and Kenya. If you remember all the way back to our “falling-in-love” story, you’ll remember that I left Zach in Ohio when I went to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania. After I got back and things got more serious between us, Zach caught my wanderlust disease hardcore. For the last few years, we’ve basically worked to travel, working overtime and saving all we could and then taking off on epic road trips and adventures. We’ve done multiple road trips through North America, and our seven-month Latin American Odyssey was the biggest adventure yet.

Our wall map with pins where we’ve been!

Needless to say, one of the wedding traditions we’re most excited about is the HONEYMOON!!!  There are just a few small obstacles to overcome first…

  1. We have no money.
  2. Zach has a real job now.
  3. We can’t decide where to go!

Yep, the sad fact of the matter is that just paying for our broke-ass wedding is going to clean out most of our excess funds. Will it be totally worth it? I’m sure! Do I sometimes think we should just go to the courthouse and then book it to Thailand for a month? Hell yes!

There’s also this whole “growing up and getting a real job” issue.  It’s something we’ve somehow managed to avoid…until now! Actually, I still don’t have a “real job” but rather a seasonal internship AND four shifts a week at a bar/restaurant. Zach however, stumbled his way into an awesome job as a line cook in a 4-star restaurant, complete with salary and benefits and everything! It’s a great new phase for him in a lot of ways, but unfortunately ample vacation days are not part of the deal. In the past, we always just up and left our jobs to travel and found new ones wherever we ended up when we got back. Not something we want to do anymore!

Suffice it to say, we will not be able to go on a big honeymoon anytime soon after the wedding, probably not anytime this year.

While it is kind of sad, we’re going to make up for it in a couple ways.

#1. Vegas Friendy-moon!

Vegas baby!

A lot of our Ohio and east coast friends have never been out west at all. Because they’re a fun-loving bunch, a lot of them are planning to tack on some Las Vegas adventures to their trip when they come out and see us get married. Although Zach and I aren’t really “Vegas types”, we decided to join, realizing we’d never, ever again get a chance to party on “The Strip” with so many of our best friends.  Plus, I’m hoping the hotel will throw some perks our way if I tell them it’s our “honeymoon.”

#2. Real honeymoon in the future.

Despite our more settled, awesome life in San Diego, we can’t go very long without traveling abroad. We’re hoping to go somewhere, anywhere, for at least a few weeks as soon as we can swing it financially and job-wise.  The problem is, we have no idea where to go! Top contenders…

 Spain & Morocco

Gorgeous Spanish beaches…plus we could pop across the straits of Gibraltar to Africa!

Italy

I mean, PIZZA!!!

I mean, PIZZA!!!

Russia

Possibly the most hipster honeymoon destination ever…but Zach REALLY wants to go there for some reason.

Turkey

We’ve heard amazing things about Turkey…

Thailand or Indonesia

Southeast Asia would be a dream, but flights are so expensive!!!

Do you think planning two crazy nights in Vegas on the tail end of our wedding is a terrible idea?  And where should we go for the big trip?

 

#WEverb12: Catching up again!

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18. soak [LISTEN]: What have you soaked in this year? (Baths, sun, ideas?) How did it affect your mentality?

This year I soaked in uncertainty.  Traveling, living in Ohio for a few months, and then moving out here.  It was constant motion, lots of changes of plans, and not knowing what to expect.  It was hard for me, as I’m very type-A.  But it was good for me.  Uncertainty and second-guessing and plans changing are all part of life.  You could also call it FREEDOM!

19. exercise [LIVE]: How did you live actively in 2012? What will you change in 2013?

While we were backpacking, I didn’t make any effort to work out or anything.  But most of our days involved lots and lots of walking, sometimes with all of our crap loading us down.  We also went on a lot of epic hikes, went surfing, swimming and ziplining!  Travel is the best because exercise feels like an adventure!

Since getting back, I’ve done something I never, ever expected I would do.  I started running.  Not just lame-o occasional 30 minute jogs either.  Over the summer, I actually followed Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Plan all the way through, although I never did run a half marathon.  Working my way up to running 10 miles without any breaks and without dying made me really proud.  It was weird how easy it was, too.  Unfortunately towards the end I got a weird muscle strain in my thigh and when we moved I had to stop running for awhile.  As soon as my leg healed, I started the plan all over again, making sure I really stretch and cross train a lot to try to avoid injury.  So far so good!  I’ve gotten faster (which means a 9:35 mile, still really slow!) than I was in Ohio and I love running along the Sunset Cliffs!  I’m about halfway through the plan this time and I’m hoping to run my first half marathon in January!

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The view helps me run fast!

20: reminisce [GROW] What distant memory/time did you find yourself longing for in 2012?

I’ve found myself reminiscing about college a lot this year.  It’s hard to believe that I’ve already been OUT of college for longer than I was IN it.  I graduated almost exactly four years ago.  College was just so much fun and so easy compared to real life.  It’s funny because when you’re in it you think life is so hard!  It’s pretty awesome that you get to live with your friends, learn about things that interest you, do whatever crazy clubs and activities you want, and you somehow still have enough energy to party it up!  More than anything, I miss my old roomie Erica.  She truly “gets me” and is one of the best friends I will ever have!  It sucks because we’re on opposite coasts and rarely get to see each other, but sometimes we’ll still text each other random, “Remember when…” texts.

Roomies for life!

Roomies for life!

(Hey Erica, remember when we met Mr. Belding?)

#WEverb12: GROW

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15. quote [GROW]: What inspirational quote would you associate with this past year for you?

I already quoted a few things from Zen and the Art of Motorcylce Maintenance a few entries back.  I wanted to find something different for this post, so I thought back to some other meaningful books I read this year.  One was Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller.  That book has a lot of wisdom but I couldn’t think of any specific quote, so I googled it.  I ended up finding this, which is actually from another book of his.  It resonates pretty well for my year.

“And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you, about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it?”

What does this quote inspire in you?

#WEverb12 CATCHUP!

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I got really behind on this due to my business trip to Monterey and other life busy-ness.  I want to keep going so I’m going to catch up now!

7. enliven [GROW]:  Was there a book or article that inspired you to make a change in your life this year? What was the source and what did you change?

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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig was the best and most challenging book I read this year.  It taught me a lot about philosophy but also went over my head a lot.  As I mentioned here, the book really helped me realize how TERRIBLE I am at staying in the moment.  I’m trying to get better at breathing in the present without fixating on the future, but it’s going to be a lifelong process.  Here are a couple quotes from the book:

“The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.”

“The truth knocks on your door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for the truth,” and so it goes away.”

“When you are no longer thinking ahead, each footstep isn’t just a means to an an end but a unique event in itself. This leaf has jagged edges. This rock looks loose. From this place the snow is less visible, even though closer. These are things you should notice anyway. To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top. Here’s where things grow.

8. respond [LISTEN]: Do you actively listen to your inner voice/conscience? Describe a time this year you heard and responded to it.

I certainly do try to.  Planning a laid back, nontraditional wedding is an example of this.

9. triumph [CREATE]: How were you challenged by a project or goal this year? What did you learn from it?

The editing of La Aventura Project into a documentary is an enormous undertaking.  I learned that maybe I shouldn’t promise to make a documentary and then end up with a million other things to do and no time to edit.

10. lose [HOPE]: Did you have to say goodbye to a person, or even a cherished object, this year? Take a moment to celebrate the memory

I didn’t say goodbye to anyone permanently (I hope!) but I did say goodbye to many people as we traveled, moved, hosted Couchsurfers, etc.  Saying goodbye to the nomadic lifestyle was hard!  It was an amazing year on the road all over America.  But we’ll travel again!

11. spend/save [LIVE]: Are you richer or poorer this year, compared to last year?

Poorer!  But all that money went towards great times and great memories!  I don’t regret it for a second.

#WEverb12: HOPE

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Bartending 80s night at Loki!

Bartending 80s night at Loki!

5. fellowship [HOPE]: What community has engaged you most this year and what did it you get out of your participation?

In the first part of the year, it was the backpacker community in Latin America.  The staff crew at Loki Hostel in Cuzco and all of our ridiculous shenanigans.  Oh, what good times we had there!  We recently reconnected with Ben, our best friend from the hostel, and it was so great to see him!!!  While we certainly partied too much and were so sick of it by the end, we now look back at our experiences there super fondly.  The hilarious moments in the staff dorm and all the characters we bonded with will forever be in my memory.

In the second part of the year, it was most definitely our beloved Couchsurfing community!  Words cannot express how much I love meeting like-minded, adventurous, fun people everywhere we go!  The San Diego Couchsurfing community has really embraced us and we are so lucky to have such good friends after being here only a short time!

#WEverb12: GROW

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Ruinas Tazumal, El Salvador

4. experiment [GROW]: What did you do in 2012 that you had never done before? Will you do it again?

So many things!  What did I do that I HAD done in the past?  Not much!

I traveled through 10 different countries, met countless new people, sailed on a sailboat, hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, got engaged, lived in Toledo (yuck, not doing that again), moved to California, and bought a surfboard!  I also started my own business and it is continuing to GROW.  Not too bad, if you ask me.  I’d love to go back to Latin America again but there are so many other countries in the world that I have to see first!

To Bling or Not to Bling and the MAN-gagement Ring

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Disclaimer: I totally understand that this is a touchy subject and I am NOT trying to diss anyone with a diamond.  I’m just trying to present my own opinion, which is no more than that–my opinion!

I’ve never been into fancy jewelry or diamonds.  If someone gave me a zillion dollars and told me I HAD to spend it on jewelry, I’d end up with 13 billion macrame bracelets and 16 million pairs of beaded earrings.  So call me a hippie, whatevs.  I also kind of HATE when people post pictures of their engagement rings on Facebook.  I know they probably don’t mean to trivialize their engagement, but to me that’s how it comes across.  Emphasizing the rock takes a momentous life event and turns it into a materialistic brag session.  Anyone else with me on this?  Okay, mini rant over.

“OMG! LOOK AT MY HUMONGOUS RING!”
Credit: http://www.ruccus.com

That being said, back in the day, as the prospect of becoming engaged drew closer, I found myself thinking about rings.  Specifically, did I even want one?  If so, what kind?  Zach also subtly dug for answers to these questions.  That’s right, we talked about rings before we were engaged.  We’re modern.  What I eventually decided was that I liked the symbolism of a wedding band but felt pretty ambivalent about an engagement ring.  In the end I basically gave Zach two little tidbits of information on the ring thing:

1. I didn’t need an engagement ring at all, BUT

2. If he wanted to get me one all I cared about was that it be ethically sourced.

Pretty easy, right?  Isn’t he a lucky guy?  Well, despite my insistence that I didn’t even need a ring, Zach wanted to propose with one.  So he found an awesome, inexpensive, handmade metal ring in a Peruvian crafts market and used it to pop the question!  Yay!

The proposal ring. I hope I don’t seem like a hypocrite by posting this but I thought some might be curious. I did not post this on facebook.

Then, because he is AWESOME, Zach decided that he wanted to wear an engagement ring too!  That’s right, without any prompting from me, he realized that if I was wearing one then he should as well.  I was all for that!  I mean, let’s face it, how unfair is it that a woman is suddenly marked as taken from the proposal onward, but the man is still ringless until the wedding?  My little feminist heart was thumping with pride!  Once we began looking for his ring, we decided we wanted our rings to match, since we might as well just keep using them as wedding bands once we get married.  After awhile, we found some handmade, matching silver bands from a silversmith in Ecuador and snatched them up.  I now wear the proposal ring on my right hand, and the silver band on my left.  We might upgrade our silver bands someday, as they’ll probably get scratched and tarnished, but because we didn’t spend a fortune we won’t feel bad if, eventually, we decide to change them up a bit.  For indecisive people like us, the simple/cheap ring route was totally the way to go!  Also, if you’re looking to save some money, buying from a local craftsman while traveling in a less expensive country is a great option!

Our engagement rings which will probably turn into wedding bands.

Zach has definitely encountered a lot of questions about his MAN-gagement ring.  I know it’s pretty rare.  The only other guy who I can remember to wear an MAN-gagement ring is Cory from Boy Meets World, the best show ever!  (Anyone else remember that episode?).  It’s just so weird to us that many people never question WHY a woman wears an engagement ring and a man doesn’t.  I’m so happy that Zach chose to wear one and that we are presenting a more egalitarian option!

Did anyone else have a two-ring engagement?  Or did you not care and go totally ringless?  What do you think of the incessant facebook ring pictures?

A Venue Decision!

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Remember my state debate from this post?  Well, here’s the follow-up…

Time was ticking away.  More and more people kept asking me if we had set a date yet, as their calendars were booking up for next summer.  My online search for an affordable spot in California was proving fruitless.  More than anything, we just wanted to decide on a place and set a date so that we could give people enough advance notice in this over-scheduled day and age.

So, after much discussion, we made the decision I somehow knew in my gut we would make all along:

We’re getting married in Arizona!

After examining all factors, we decided that having our wedding at Zach’s parents’ house in northern Arizona would allow us the most freedom to DIY and be the most affordable, despite the cost of renting tables and chairs.  We talked to his parents about the idea and they were thrilled!  They’re happy for an excuse to do more work on the house and give some of their relatives an extra reason to come visit.  We’re happy because we know there’s lots of fun stuff for our guests to do in the area, and the hotels are affordable.

I’m already drawing inspiration from gorgeous photos of backyard weddings.  The mission now is to turn this:

into this:

Source: Young House Love

 

It’ll be a challenge but I think we can do it!  I’m so excited to dance the night away under the gorgeous Arizona stars!

Did anyone else have an at-home backyard wedding?  Was it worth all the DIY work?

The next epic road trip

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Zach and I have road-tripped across the country multiple times, usually with the end goal being either getting to Arizona from Ohio or getting to Ohio from Arizona.  But we don’t like to waste the chance to see things on our way!  Why make it a two-day looooong drive when you can make it a two-week long Couchsurfing trip and see some new places?  That’s our philosophy.

So of course, when planning our upcoming move to San Diego, we decided to make another big road trip out of it.  (Assuming we save enough $$$, of course).  Right now, this is the tentative route.  We can’t take as long as we did last cross-country trip (six weeks!) but we think we could take three weeks and at least have a couple days each in a bunch of new places.  I’m excited because this route will have me checking four new states off of my list (North Dakota, Montana, Washington, and Oregon).

Here’s what we’re thinking as far as destinations along the journey:

1. Marquette, Michican (supposedly the UP is really nice!)

2. Fargo, North Dakota (because who’s ever hung out there?)

3. Bozeman, Montana

4. Kalispell, Montana (Glacier National Park!)

5. Coeur D’Alene, Idaho

6. Vancouver, British Columbia

7. Seattle, Washington

8. Portland, Oregon (and a stop at Crater Lake)

9. Eureka, California

10. Santa Cruz, California

Woo, that’s a lot of driving!  But I am so pumped to Couchsurf my way across the country again, meet some amazing new people, and see new sights!  At the end of the trip, we will settle in a brand new city, sunny San Diego!  Unless, of course, one of these places we visit captivates us enough to make us stay.

You tell me, is there anywhere else along this route that we can’t miss?