Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Two weeks in Ecuador

Beer tastes better on the road. Even though we've only been drinking domestic Ecuadorean beers. The import tax is so high in this country (which successfully promotes domestic production) that even a Corona costs $6 at most bars. Instead we've been drinking Brahma Grande, Club and Pilsener, all for around $1.50 for 20oz of lite deliciousness.  
Traveling through this country has been very eye-opening as it marks my first visit to South America and seeing how many people live in conditions much different than mine in the US.
Long bus rides unfold displays of living at what I can presume is folks living at likely less than $2 a day. Many houses wouldn't even pass for abandoned shacks in the states. Dogs roam freely, barely surviving the cars, trucks and buses passing each other up hills and around tight curves. Trucks pass by loaded with families. Babies riding shotgun on siblings laps. Entire families sharing a tiny motorcycle to get around town. Yet so many people we encounter are happy and more than content.  Makes me realize how much of consumer-based society we live in in the US. Without our iPhones, iPads, and whatever anyone else "needs," we consider our lives incomplete (Admittedly, I'm currently typing this on my iPad, though when I realized my iPhone was in my pocket playing in some large surf, I didn't sweat it). Just check out Facebook. How many posts in your feed include somebody complaining about their sports team losing, or their phone being lost, or the the traffic on the way to work. Really? If that's what warrants complaints in your life, than stop and realize just how fortunate we are to live in a country where we have access to unlimited clean drinking water.  That alone should put things in perspective. 
We could all (by all I mean many citizens of first world countries) learn something from traveling through countries poorer than ours. We could learn that happiness is an intrinsic thing. Strip away all the perceived necessities and see what kind of happiness you're capable of producing. 
For now, stop and smell the roses. I know I do.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The journey continues!

So let's see...a year ago, I was starting a Master's in Social Work program.  In October, I had a three week break and delivered a Eurovan for friends to Colorado and then spent almost a week in Iceland.  By November is was snowing, I started skiing, and couldn't stop.  A trip into Baxter State Park in February sealed my fate.  I dropped out of school, got a job bartending, and started putting away money for a new adventure.  I wasn't sure what it would look like, but I knew that I wanted to pursue my passion of being in the mountains with my friends (ideally on skis, bikes, crampons, or rock shoes).

After sneaking out of my cancer diagnosis with a little scar, getting divorced, selling the house, losing many of my belongings in a house fire and quitting my teaching job at Portland High School, I really started to re-prioritize my life.  Fun first, everything else second.  I've sold everything down to the point that the essentials fit in my little Nissan Versa hatchback with my roofrack.  Skis, climbing gear, camping gear, clothes, laptop and camera.  What else do I need?

I've learned that life is just too precious to talk about the things I want to do and now is the time to just make them happen! After deciding to move west for the winter (and potentially longer, I really have no idea), I decided to look into a trip overseas before I started driving west.  A quick search of the interwebs found really cheap tickets to Ecuador!  After a little hemming and hawing, I pulled the trigger and bought a ticket!  Soon after two of my friends decided to join me and now we take off tomorrow!

Let the adventure continue!

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Alps of America

Wanted to share a few pics from the drive up Slate Peak and Hart's Pass, plus the last hike up Sahale Mountain with Adam.  The North Cascades are too cool.  If you haven't been, go!


Monday, July 15, 2013

It can happen

I'm sitting on the train out of Seattle, heading south to Portland to head east to Maine...I should be home in around 24 hours from now. Let the fun begin...

Anyways, now that I'm giving an effort to writing this blog, I find myself thinking about what I should blog about, and if it really means anything to anyone.  Like I've said before, I have no amazing insights to life that are unique. There are too many amazing people out the in the world who have way more experience than I do and can really see things for their simplest parts.

What I do know though is the past three weeks have been pure bliss.  I mean seriously, there have been but few moments where I wasn't completely present and immersed in what I was doing. The whole thing just got better and better. But wait! It's not over yet! I can chose to live this way all the time, right? Okay, maybe I need to work, have health insurance and have a roof over my head (sometimes), but really, the way I've felt on this vacation does not have to end when the wheels touch down on the east coast tomorrow.

There were a few themes that kept coming up over the past few weeks and I think they helped me maximize my fun out here but can also help maximize fun in life in general!

Now these two ideas are certainly not new. Not at all. And they can potentially seem conflicting, but I'll try to do my best to explain how I utilize them.

First, be deliberate. Deliberate in your thoughts, deliberate in your words and deliberate in your actions.  It's your choice, but turn those positive thoughts into powerful, positive actions. If you have a hard time not letting your mind run wild with self-doubt, start small. Say to yourself, "I'm going to wake up tomorrow and drink a glass of water before I do anything else." Do you know how much drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning can do for you? If I had to take an uneducated but reasonable guess, I'd say 99.99% of us go through life dehydrated. It's a simple thing you can do to improve your mood, eat less food and generally be in better spirits. Drink water. Start simple, be deliberate.

Now here's where this might get confusing to some...don't be outcome oriented. I don't mean blow off drinking that glass of water, but don't stress too much if you miss a green light, or someone cancels on you for dinner, or the back country camping permit you were really hoping for went to somebody else right before you got to the ranger station (might have happened to me and it worked out beautifully)...It all just means that something else will come of it, and if you can deliberately choose to be open to outcome, then everything will go your way because you're not outcome oriented! Does that make sense?

What it really comes down to for me is control the controllables and let go of everything else. The less you're focused on the destination and more on the journey is when things start getting really good.

Make your life, but don't jump the tracks if it all goes haywire because it probably will from time to time...Choose to be strong and don't forget to let others help you along the way when you can't get there yourself.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment if you're so inclined!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Some pics from the trip this far

So I rolled into Leavenworth late last night thanks to Greyhound and Amtrak to meet up with one of the greatest, Dave Heinbach.  DH and I hadn't seen each other in 12 years, and despite both of us living through some serious life, it hardly seemed like a day had passed.  We woke this morning, got in a few pitches before the heat was too much, then went for a very refreshing swim in the Wenatchee River that runs right through town.  Perfect start to the end of my trip.  I'll be here for a week and then work my way back to Maine.  Weather looks pristine so I know we'll get out into the mountains as much as possible in our given time.  Figured I should post up some photos of my travels thus far to provide some good eye candy for those of you vacillating about a trip to the Pacific Northwest...just go already! It's amazing here!