Tag Archives: hiking

#WEverb12: LIVE

Standard

14. walk [LIVE]: Describe the path to a favorite place of yours to walk in 2012. What’s meaningful about the place or the journey?

The Inca Trail was pretty epic!  You can read about it at La Aventura Project.  I think what made is so meaningful is the idea that we were walking in the footprints of history.  The Incas developed that path so many centuries ago and hid it so well that it took the Spanish soooo long to find it!  And getting to Machu Picchu at the end was pretty cool too.

_DSC0339

Advertisements

#WEverb12: LISTEN

Standard

3. stay [LISTEN]: How did you stay in the moment this year?

 

In general, I am AWFUL about staying in the moment.  I’m such a type-A planner aheader that my brain is almost ALWAYS a few steps, or a few years, ahead of my body.  I have tried harder to stay in the moment this year though.

Traveling through Latin America we experienced so many amazing moments and saw so many stunning sights.  It’s always easier to feel calm and present in gorgeous nature.  Not having a cell phone to be constantly tweeting and instagraming on helped also.

This year I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a book that talks a lot about presence.  In one scene the characters are hiking and the narrator philosophizes about how on a hike, oftentimes you miss what’s there by fixating on what’s next.  If you’re always anticipating getting to the next bend, the next summit, you’re missing the beauty of where you are!  This resonated with me and after reading it, I tried extra hard to enjoy the moment while running and hiking, rather than anticipating the next mile, or the end.

Physical Challenge Life List

Standard

As our time here is winding down, I’m overwhelmed with mixed emotions.  Partly happiness about going home to friends, family, grocery stores and farmers markets, microbrews, and a kitchen!  But a big part of me is very very sad to be saying goodbye (for now) to all the adventures, the constantly-changing scenery, the daily challenges of travel, the cheap street food, and the gorgeous hiking.

Feeling victorious after climbing the highest peak in El Salvador!

I do feel like I’ve matured a lot on this journey, and one of the ways I’ve matured is in regards to my outlook on health.  I used to say that I wanted to die before I get old.  I don’t want that anymore, but I do want to be a super healthy, on-the-go old person.  I think it makes sense to say that accomplishing that goal depends a lot on the investments I make towards it now.  I’ve preached about the organic, vegetarian diet on here before, so I don’t need to go into that again.  And yes, I will always have a sweet tooth and a baking addiction, but moderation is the key.

I’ve kind of gotten over drinking on this trip.  I think an occasional, special-occasion, in-moderation drinker is what I would like to be.  I’m just getting too old for the college-type shenanigans!  The less I drink, the healthier, happier, and more alert I feel.  I’m sure this is a normal transition that most people go through, otherwise there would be a lot more 40-year-old running around doing kegstands.  But still I read what I’ve written and think, “Oh my gosh I’m becoming a lame old lady!”  C’est la vie.

Also, all the hiking, pack-carrying, and occasional surfing we’ve done here has gotten me into better shape than I’ve ever been in.  I’ve still got a spare tire but I am stronger than I’ve ever been in my life.  And it feels great!  What sucks is that with our return to Ohio looming, I’m already missing all the awesome hikes, mountains, beaches, and activities available here.  I really want to maintain, and hopefully improve, my fitness level once we get home.  It’s going to be hard in Ohio, because I’m not a big fan of running, and gym workouts are just so boring compared to mountain climbing!  Our time in Ohio will be brief, however, and I’m committed to finding ways to stay moving somehow.  Once we head west again, fitness can become a lot more fun.

Because I love lists so much, I came up with a new goal list of all the “physical challenge”-type activities I would like to accomplish in my life.  This will probably get added to a lot as I think of new things.  Not all of them are super-physical, some are just outdoorsy activities.  Hopefully I can check one or two within a year of getting home.  These are the things that get me excited and motivate me to work out hard (well, other than wearing a wedding dress next summer)!

Physical Challenge Life List
1. Master surfing

2. Master rock-climbing

3. Master snow-boarding

4. Climb Cotopaxi (Ecuador)

5. Climb Mt. Whitney (California)

6. Climb Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)

7. Hike the Grand Canyon, to the river and back

8. Bungee jump at Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe/Zambia)

9. Ride in a hot air balloon

10. Really give yoga a try

11. Learn to swing dance

What do you think of my list?  Way too ambitious or do-able?  Has anyone else ever made a list like this?

The Big Question with Only One Answer

Standard

Well, for me at least.  If you haven’t guessed it yet by the title, I’ll just let it out now.

Zach and I are ENGAGED!!!!!!!!!!!   Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!  Happy dance!!!!!!

Think I’m thrilled enough?  I’m pretty freakin’ happy.

I kind of knew/hoped that the question was coming sometime during our South American adventure.  Of course we talked about wanting to get married many times before he proposed, because really, if you don’t already know the answer, you have no business asking.  That’s what we thought.  But although we could have just diplomatically decided to be engaged after so many discussions, we both wanted a proposal.  We wanted the fun and the surprise of it.  And so for many months we (I, mostly, I think) suffered through the awkwardness and slight tension of the “pre-engaged state.”  (This was totally me.)  I had this like, insane itch to talk about a wedding, plan a wedding, I just was so freakin’ happy at the thought that I HAD FOUND my person that I was going to spend the rest of my life with!!!  But without an official ring on the finger, society makes us women feel like we are desperate and obsessed if we start thinking at all about the wedding before we have the ring.  I call a bit of BS on that.  But I kept trying to pretend I wasn’t reading wedding blogs obsessively and I tried to keep my daydreams in my head.  “We agreed that this is Zach’s thing that he gets to do and he gets to do it on his terms…so chill,” I kept telling myself.  I think I did alright…I’d give myself about a C+ in the chilling department.

Well, finally, all my patience finally paid off.  March 13, 2012, in the gorgeous Cañon del Colca, Peru….

Yes, we probably should have found a flatter rock to set the camera on for this reenactment shot.

Yosemite

Standard

A quick Yosemite recap is on Zach’s blog.  Perhaps I’ll add more later, but for now I’m relishing the clean feeling I got from my last shower until next week.  Bringing back the Africa style, yeah!  We are just chilling near Lake Tahoe and trying to sleep well tonight before heading to Burning Man tomorrow!!!!

Nevada Falls at Yosemite. I'm pretty proud of this photo!

116 and no shade!

Standard
Death Valley was a crazy place!  It took us about 2 hours to drive through it, stopping a few times to take fun pictures with my new tripod.  We didn’t hike or anything because it was literally 116 degrees!!!  We blasted the AC in the car and still sweated the whole way through.  Any time we got out of the car we could instantly feel heat radiating off of everything and the sun sucking every last drop of moisture out of our bodies.  I was chugging water the whole time and still thirsty all day.  What a crazy place!  Here are some pics:

That's Zach, way up there!

Death Valley is the 8th lowest dry land in the world. The lowest point in the valley is 282 feet below sea level.

Starting to try crazy things with the tripod and timer.

This could be an album cover pic, I think.

So long, Arizona

Standard

Do me a favor.  Start here.  Meg’s post about doing things we’re afraid of is so well written and TRUE.

There was a short but bright rainbow in the sky tonight.  A sign of good luck for the start of our journey tomorrow!  It’s been a weekend of goodbyes and wrap-ups.  Packing sucked.  As usual, I found myself with a way-too-big pile of “essential” clothes and a way-too-small suitcase.  Trying to convince myself that I don’t need these, I really don’t need these, I don’t!  Who cares about variety?  The car is packed to the gills with camping supplies, clothes, food, and camera equipment.  But I’m sure we’re still forgetting something.  The rest is in boxes in a closet here.  So of course I’ll come back, because after a year of only what I stuffed in one suitcase, I’m gonna want to see the rest of my clothes again!

It’s been a year.  A seemingly quiet one compared to last year, but I still can’t believe all that’s happened.  I’ve learned how to live with someone in a real, day-to-day, “in this for the long haul” relationship, survived our first real fights, and found myself more in love than ever.  I’ve worked two new jobs and started my own business.  I’ve learned to snowboard, tried rock climbing, hiked long distances, cliff jumped from 50 feet, and climbed my first two mountains.  I’ve been to Mexico for the first time.  Biked many miles, saved many dollars, made new friends, started to integrate into a whole other family.  Tasted western microbrews and Spanish wines.  Shared so many homemade pizzas with couchsurfers from around the world.  What a year.

The next one is going to be even better.  A circular journey that will take us through two continents and back.  The western US, Ohio again, all of South America, and back to Ohio by August 2012.  After that, who knows?  These next six weeks we’ll be living out of the car, couchsurfing, exploring new national parks, and going to Burning Man.  I do have several goals for our time on the road:

1. Study Spanish every day.

2. Hike or run every day.  Work my way up to running a 10k.

3. Dumpster dive.

4. Keep the car clean and organized.

5. Take amazing photographs.

6. Keep up this blog.

7. Eat healthy.

8. Enjoy myself!!!!!

So tomorrow we begin.  First a quick stop in Las Vegas, for Zach to sell some of the scrap copper wire he’s collected at work.  Yes, we really are that poor.  And as Zach said “What great story doesn’t start with driving to Vegas to sell something?”  Lol.  Then to Death Valley NP in California, where apparently the highs can be over 120 degrees this time of  year.  Yikes.  Now it’s time to share a bottle of wine in hopes of being able to sleep tonight.  I’ll catch up with you again from somewhere in California!

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”-Christopher McCandless

Operation Bikini: Update 2

Standard

Everyone falls off the wagon sometimes, right???

Right????

‘Cause I definitely did.  Gulp.

Despite my best intentions, I have kind of sucked at my eating recently.  Our trip to Mexico, having lots of couchurfers, and actually doing stuff with friends recently has led to me not following my rules and eating/drinking way too much bad stuff recently.

But, I’m back, because I am not a quitter!!!  However, it is time to seriously get my butt in gear.  I’m hoping that the time ticking down to our road-trip departure will serve as good motivation for me.  If I get serious now, I can still lose 14 pounds by the time we leave on August 22 and be almost done by then!!!  My goal is to lose 20-24 pounds total.  So, in drastic measures, I’ve decided to eliminate the flex days.  I knew I would abuse them, and I certainly did.  Achieving this goal is about sacrifice, and I just need to get my mind around that.  Of course if it’s a truly special occasion or something I will still let myself go a day without counting.  But by allowing myself 2 flex days a week I was just waiting for those days and then stuffing my face to the max.  Not good for learning moderation.

So this is it: 1000 calories per day, exercise every day.  I can totally be at my goal weight by the time we get back to Ohio!!!!!

Now let me celebrate some small victories:

-I have been doing consistently pretty well on my exercise.  Climbing, hiking, biking, gymming it up.  I finally bought new running shoes that actually provide support so I’m not hurting my feet anymore.  Now I’ll be able to keep running outside once we’re on our trip and I don’t have gym access.

-Last night I had a couple glasses of wine with girlfriends but kept within my 1000-cal limit!  I just had a light snack instead of a meal when I got home, then went to bed.

-Today I got a 6-mile bike ride and a bunch of crunches/push-ups in all despite the heat and before 11am.  Getting exercise done early is a great way for me to make sure I get it done!

-I baked something that DIDN’T INVOLVE CHOCOLATE!  Shocker, I know.  Tomato Rosemary Scones.  We’ll see what Zach thinks of them.  I am getting better at baking for him but not indulging myself.  Not having chocolate-filled goodies definitely helps though.

-I’m making these Chipotle Squash Fritters for dinner tonight.  I love trying new, inventive recipes; plus this sounds delicious and super-healthy!  I have been doing a good job making dishes that are heavy on the veggies and light on the cheese and dairy lately.

Must make myself update more on this un-fun topic.  I think I have to get back on the scale too.  That’ll happen sometime next week, after I continue my good habits for the rest of this one.  Then I’ll post another update.  I CAN do this.  Positive thinking, yeeehaw!!!

Yay for a productive day off!  Of course I wish I was working since we desperately need $$, but I’ve used today to bike, bake, blog, (hahaha alliteration!) and now I’ll be studying some Spanish and reading my awesome book about the Colombian drug trade.

Nomadic Tendencies

Standard

How does one become a nomad?  Especially after being raised in the USA?  Sure, we have mobility between cities and states but we are definitely not a nomadic culture.  In fact, I think very few cultures are nomadic in the sense I feel nomadic.  I want to constantly be on the move, exploring new cities, countries, continents.  I know there were small signs as I was growing up, like when I declared at age 11 (half-joking, half-serious) that I wanted to be “a hobo” when I grew up.  The fact is, I’ve got the itch and I’ve got it bad.  It’s now been over a year that I’ve been back in the US, 10 months that I’ve been living here in Arizona.  The mountains, deserts, rocks, and beauty of the southwest is great, and we’ve had amazing day and weekend trips out here.  But I’m getting to that inevitable point I always reach, where I just feel done with it.  I’m done working, done coming home to the same house, I’m ready to GO!  Unfortunately this point usually hits a good few months before my actual departure date, and this time is no exception.  Zach and I have a little over two months before we’re bookin’ it out of this town.  This is necessitated purely by finances; if they were not an issue we’d be long gone by now.

We have such insatiable wanderlust. Our happiest times have been on the road, on the trail, approaching a new city or mountain or anything NEW.  There is nothing like the thrill of constant movement.  We can’t stay in one place for long without feeling stuck and beginning to desperately plan a new adventure.  And now, we are so, so close to get-up-and-go time.  On August 22 we will pack the car and drive to California–camping in Death Valley, Yosemite, then Lake Tahoe before swooping down upon Black Rock City to experience another world at Burning Man.  From there we’ll head back west to spend a week in San Francisco and NorCal wine country.  Then Salt Lake City to see all the Mormons, and a good two weeks in Colorado for lots of hiking and brewery tours.  Iowa City and Chicago will be our final stops in the midwest before arriving back in Columbus.  This will be our longest road trip yet and it is only the prequel to our big adventure, the escape to South America.  We’ll be back in Columbus for a few weeks, just long enough to pack it up and say goodbye to friends and family before our flight to Medellin, Colombia, on October 27.

It takes a certain kind of person to really understand wanderlust.  We’re lucky that although our families and many of our friends don’t get it, we’ve found a vast network of other wanderers through Couchsurfing and are sure to meet more at Burning Man and in South America.  Honestly, I would be fully open to the idea of NOT coming back to the US after a year down there.  Who knows what opportunities may present themselves?  The ultimate dream is to find a way to travel indefinitely.  Maybe that dream will change someday, but for now we are embracing it and chasing it at full speed.  We’re young.  What better time than now to live out of a car, a backpack, a tent, to watch the man burn, to hike the Andes, sail the Amazon, and create countless other stories?

My BFFL

Standard

The best part of my birthday was having my best friend and her hubby visit. They flew in from Ohio on Monday night and stayed until Friday night, hoping for a week of fun in the AZ sun. Well, that didn’t pan out exactly. As luck would have it, the weather was pretty terrible. We had one nice day on Tuesday, then the rest of the week it was a combination of snow, sleet, rain, clouds, etc. depending on what elevation we were at. Yep, that’s right, it SNOWED on my birthday. Big fat flakes actually accumulating on the ground on May 18. Crazy! I tried to look on the bright side and just chalk it up as another birthday “first.” First birthday I’ve ever had with snow falling! Despite the weather, we had a great week. I was off work and acting like I was on vacation myself with lots of good food, drinking, and tour guiding them around northern AZ. We cooked together, played beer pong in the dining room, went to the cowboy bar, jumped in FREEZING Wet Beaver Creek, ate at Criollo, and made S’mores in the fireplace.

The best part though, was just having my best friend there, and having everything feel right between us. The past few years have brought so many changes in our lives and strained our relationship. It’s natural for these years to do that, I know, seeing as the early 20s are when most of us choose the path that we will follow throughout the rest of our lives. Choosing different paths (for her marriage, a career, and a house in Columbus and for me the Peace Corps, moving around a lot, and working just to travel) definitely made things hard for awhile, as we had less in common, found it harder to get together even when I still lived in Columbus, and there was a thin but tangible layer of tension between us.

I was a little nervous that things would still be like that when they visited. But from the moment Zach and I picked them up from the airport it was just like old times. The four of us have made so many awesome memories together over the years (camping, ziplining, whitewater rafting, and many many happy hours) and this trip just continued it. I feel like having the past year (her first year of marriage, my first year back in the US/living with my boyfriend/in a new state) to grow into our adult lives allowed us to become comfortable in our own skins and accept each other’s differences. While growing apart and disagreeing in some ways is inevitable, we still have that special best friend connection of knowing each other better than almost anyone else. We can talk about the hard things and learn from each other’s perspectives. We can still remember our old high school inside jokes and laugh about them long into the night. We can still team up and make fun of our SOs to no end. I could tell that we both have matured in our lives and in our friendship. I love her so much and it was so great to have her here and feel like everything was “just like old times.” Here’s to many more years of adventures together!