I feel it coming…

img_7411Photo Credit: carleyjayne photography

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

My blog is dusty. But, it has settled and I can see clearly now. (Cue the music).

My lack of posting is not due to writers block (thank the gods), but more-so self care is the culprit.  How can I write all the things (profound and personal, ridiculous and irrelevant), if I have personal work to do first?  My iPhone notes are covered in musings and observations, feelings and lessons learned, original quotes, that have developed over the past almost year since I’ve really published anything consistently.

If you’re still here reading this little blog of mine, thank you. I appreciate that you find something in it that feels worth your precious time.  Really I do, more than you know.

It’s not new that 2016 was a doozy for me (and many of you) personally…but we warriored through and survived because we’re bad ass humans who are resilient and capable of doing hard things.

Enter 2017, amirite? It was like 2016 woke up the morning of December 31, hungover AF (because the holidays) and was like, “damn, this shit has been CRAZY. Tonight it’s all gonna change.” And 2017 laughed hysterically and was like, “Hold my Bloody Mary, watch this!”

It’s continued to be another year of struggle, lessons, mistakes, frustrations, wins, and all the things, mostly in a global sense. Pretty sure I just put that SO lightly.  Let’s be real…2017 was a universal DUMPSTER FIRE.  Nationally, we let the most unqualified, misogynistic, narcissist come into the highest power office in the world.  Who then tried to make an immigration ban a thing, attempted to deny rights to women and their bodies, pulled us out of the Paris Climate Agreement, went on to reverse the ban on importing elephant and rhino trophies, denied the rights of some of our most vulnerable communities, continued hiding behind his Twitter feed to launch threats and (almost) nuclear war with N. Korea, took away Net Neutrality, our affordable healthcare, and so many more depressing and shocking moves that would be an entire post on its own and he who must not be named and his ministry of evil don’t deserve that.  Hollywood got the series of wake up calls it needed (insert prayer emoji) and men realized it was time to sit the hell down and shut up.  Globally, there have been some wins for LOVE and marriage equality, some serious statements made in terms of government, big moves made to stand up for the planet and against American bullies, fear, success, hard work, ethics, business, and progressive action.

Personally, I’ve actually had a pretty damn good year in my modest little city life. There have been some bumps, to be sure, but it’s been good due to the self care, self development, and hard ass work I’ve put in to let go of some heavy baggage. BYEEE!  When the hard work must be done, the best way to get through it is taking a serious inventory of your tribe.  I don’t even know how, but I have managed to surround myself with the absolute best humans and I thank the stars every millisecond for my good fortune to have them by my side.  I had some wins in matters of the heart, because I finally started truly listening to mine.  I found the art of self care and took action to make space for more ME in my daily life.  This brought me to meditation, back to yoga, reading books, writing, photography, doodling and handlettering, nutrition, holistic health, and so many other positive things.  This year I gave myself the gift of well, myself.  Sounds selfish maybe or self involved, but really, while working on letting go of the past, I found even more me, and that’s pretty damn cool.  Learned to like myself, fall deeper in love with myself, and never take for granted all that I have and am capable of manifesting.  Which brought me to finding my path in life and choosing to enroll in school to become a nutritionist in holistic health.  HOLLA.

I worked hard at my job, my family life, my friendships, my budget, my heart, trusting my gut…I put myself first when I needed to and sacrificed myself for others.  I grew more into my activist, feminist AF, outraged, woke, humanitarian self and posted about ocean conservation and the effects of climate change.  I attended an amazing and peaceful immigration rally, donated to organizations making big things happen, called my congress people, my senators, signed petitions, engaged in enlightening conversations, and used my privilege to do a little more good for the world.

I drank gallons of coffee, wine, whisky, water, and power. Then I threw myself out into the world of millennial dating and was vulnerable and fiercely myself.  I collected stories, cry laughed A LOT, shared stories, made people almost pee from cry laughing so hard (because dating is ridiculous), trusted myself more, realized I owe no one anything, stood up for myself, shared opinions, was brutally honest, said what I needed to say, even when it was scary.

I don’t want to give too much away just yet on the dating front because I’ve got a series coming for you and I won’t even try to be humble, it’s GOOOOD. Because it’s real mother effing life and it’s relatable, guaranteed.

I encourage you to pour a drink, like a strong one. Don’t even worry about that “on the rocks” shit. Ice melts. And you know what that does to your drink? It waters it down. Nah. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. You need a stiff one. Because you’re going to read my series and laugh with me as I share the bits and pieces of my dating life over the last year +.

Stay tuned.

Sexless and the City…it is coming.

Oh and happy new year!  Seriously, whether it was one of the best or worst of your life, you get 365 fresh ones to write your story, don’t waste it.  Make every day the best day in the year.  2018…it’s going to be a goody, I feel it coming.

Thanks for sticking with me.

Xx,

h

img_7414Photo Credit: carleyjayne photography

So this is the New Year…

“Ring out the false, ring in the true.”  -Alfred Lord Tennyson

I realize this post about the New Year comes about 5 months and 30 days tardy, but I always arrive fashionably late so deal with it.

Writing is hard.  Like once I start going for it, it becomes this easy thing like breathing and it just flows out of me.  What I mean when I say it’s hard is that it’s raw, it’s naked, and it forces feelings to come to the surface that let’s face it, we as adult humans get really good at setting aside.  I want to try my hardest not to do that so often and I have been working on it, trust me…just haven’t so much been writing about it.  Writing for me is one of the most vulnerable things I do…and it’s been hard for me to allow myself to go there for awhile.

(Truth time: I started writing this post shortly after the new year, then again in March…it’s July tomorrow…just sayin’.)

Let me give you a little recap of what the last year was like in the life of me

I’ll just lay the disclaimer right out there on the table: 2016 was literally the HARDEST WORST F*CKED PAINFUL ETC. year of my whole damn life.  Not exaggerating, not emphasizing for dramatic effect, this is just a fact people.

I began 2016, well, 9 days into last year, by getting my ass kicked.  Physically, yeah…that happened.  Assaulted.  Shoulder grabbed, yanked down to the ground, kicked, hair pulled, drug through the dirt, personal space violated, and expensive technology stolen, by a couple of females.  I won’t go into more detail than that, but it was some scary and eye-opening shit.   I came out of it fine other than some cuts and scrapes, a really bad hair day, and some new emotional baggage to work through oh and a residual shoulder injury that still gives me a really hard time to this day.  Things could have been a lot worse and I am so grateful that it’s all behind me now.  Moment of gratitude to thank the people who helped raise me, who gifted me the ability to see perspective in a tough experience, take the hard, and turn it into empathy.  Being able to look at situations of adversity from the other side is not an easy mission, but it is sometimes the most important piece.  I didn’t just have to take time to heal through that experience for myself, but for the young women who’s lives have brought them to a place where taking that kind of physical action as opposed to using communication is their way of life.  Perspective is power…that was lesson 1 last year.

Some of you that have been following along my random adventures over the past few years know that I spent last summer in Portland, unemployed/FUNemployed (most days), and that I headed back to Seattle late last summer to start fresh in the city I have called home for most of my adult life and second home the rest of my life.  Making Seattle home again wasn’t a decision that came easy or one that was written in the stars for me like I expected it to be.  Since returning to the states, it’s been a long time coming actually.  I couldn’t be happier to be back though, settled into my little cottage oasis in the city that has changed so much over the years, and be working and doing life near my friends and family again.

Fall came in hot with a new nanny job which I LOVE, closing a door on a REALLY f*cking tough love (yeah, that old chestnut FINALLY dropped from the tree for good in October-stay tuned…that vulnerability is coming), and a newfound sense of freedom and self love.  When people say that finding your balance in life is a journey, they’re actually not even a little bit kidding.  And what an adventure it’s been…

I’ve always been fiercely independent, strong willed, and SO open hearted…and truth be told, despite A LOT of heartache and disappointment, it’s NEVER steered me wrong.  With all the trials and tribulations that 2016 brought me in personal health and wellbeing, emotional stability, heartache, mistakes, trust, listening, being heard, self-care, relationships, all that life shiiiiiit,  I have never learned harder, the value of following your own gut instincts…yeah, that was lesson 2.  Now that I’ve (almost) mastered it (real talk, I’m always going to be a work in progress and what brilliant work it is!), I am living a really great version of my life and coming out on top of all the bullshit I survived last year, is a feeling of raw empowerment like I’ve never known.

Through that empowerment, I had to make some really difficult decisions and cull some relationships in my life that were providing me with nothing, but toxicity and draining my heart and soul.  I’ve written about how friend break ups are some of the hardest we experience in adulthood, the factor that makes that one the most challenging, is having to do the work to forgive the people we have to let go of…even when they don’t say they are sorry.  You guessed it…lesson 3, forgiveness.

I chose to disconnect from a 12 year friendship with someone who seemed to be dead set on walking the path towards the pool where Narcissus died.  I knew my love of Greek mythology would be forever, but I didn’t know until last year how painful it could be.  I let go of the BIG love of my life or more brutally, it walked out on me and slammed the door.  Where pain, ego, secrets, insecurities, passion, trust, empathy, unconditional love, fear, were present and thriving and also drowning.  The demise was a long time coming (as you’ve likely gathered), sadly ending an almost 7 year best friendship in its wake.  Freshly reeling from this loss, in the same 72 hours, I had to set hard boundaries with a soul friend who has been a love in my life, but who I felt I’d started enabling; a rapid spiral where love and lie gets so brutally blurred.  I’m not sure where this one will end, my heart remains so hopeful that the shadows can find the light again and if not, the love I have for this person will never cease and the forgiveness work has been done; it will always run deep and eternal.

So in review, 2016 brought a physical ass beating and then continued to mentally and emotionally kick my ass ALL. YEAR. LONG.

12 months. 356 days (yeah that’s 365 minus those first 9 days that seemed so bad ass)…of some hard damn times.  But, being ever the optimist that I try daily to be, those days were the most character building of my life thus far.  Even more so than my backpacking days in the land down under, more so than my crazy college times, more so than any other time life prepared me to survive and thrive through some serious shit storms.  I have come into 2017, a new year, so much stronger, so much lighter, more empowered, more focused, more in love with myself than I’ve ever been and the momentum keeps building.

I have a strong feeling that the final days of this year will be some of the greatest I’ve known, because…really, when all is said and done, when all the false and heavy has been laid to rest, it is the truth we have to live for.  The truth is what gives everyday the chance to be our new best day.

Hoping 2017 has brought you all happiness and health and that the coming days are some of your best!

Cheers,

h

#DoYouIndie Travel Challenge: consciousness…the way forward…

“we don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors. we borrow it from our children.”            -David Brower

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D A Y 16 of this BootsnAll Indie Travel Challenge brings up a lot of feelings that i just began to share in my D A Y 15 catch up post.  although having only really explored AU for longer term travel, i have adopted the responsibility that i strongly believe ALL travelers should exemplify.  we are borrowers.  nothing is guaranteed or owed to us in this life.  as we exist on this beautiful, but wounded planet, i deem it a crucial component to survival that we make impacts that don’t scar.  be eco-conscious and make your footprint small.

QUESTION: do you try to travel responsibly? how do you define ecotourism and how important is it to you? (be honest.) what are some ways you can travel responsibly and how you can tell if a company/tour is actually eco-friendly or not?

i do try to travel responsibly.  leaving my love of fashion behind for a year, i committed to a life with only the clothes and gear i deemed necessary to live.  knowing i wouldn’t have to cart my pack far most of the time, i still aimed to keep things simple and pack “light” to eliminate unnecessary weight.  part of traveling responsibly to me, means letting go of frivolous items and allowing yourself to be freed of the ideas you previously held before you left your comfort zone.  it also means that you allow yourself to contribute to the places you’re experiencing as opposed to taking from them.  travel gifts us something that money cannot buy, but it also teaches us the importance of where we spend our money.  ecotourism to me is truly appreciating the nature spaces you seek.  it is in allowing yourself to experience it in its purest form, giving back to it as it gifts you a memory nothing and no one can take from you.

as i mentioned in my previous eco-travel post, i aimed to give back to the communities and national parks and beaches in Australia that were allowing me the experiences i will never forget.  it is so important for us to take only what we need to survive and leave behind only dust.  in this day and age where money and power and information are rulers, we have to decide for ourselves where we stand and what issues and causes we contribute to and believe in.  as with all things, moderation seems to be the key.  pack out what you bring in is a nature aficionado motto…why we don’t all strive for this in our day to day lives is a mystery.  i’m certainly not perfect at it, but i really do try my hardest to be conscious.  conscious as a consumer and as a human being.

being able to tell if a company is eco-friendly or not seems easy enough.  i try to exist under the notion that all people are good and that i can trust them…until they prove me otherwise.  seek out information.  take personal testimonies, but also do your own research.  it’s important to form your own opinions in everything in life and it comes into critical play whilst traveling.  read reviews and ask questions when you’re looking into destinations and activities, etc.  read labels for your food and clothing and other products you use.  i have improved on this practice GREATLY in my travel experience and it’s something i continue striving for in my day to day life.  nothing and no one is perfect, but if we choose to be forward thinking as travelers and as humans, remaining conscious and in tune, we can contribute towards saving this planet for ourselves and for our future generations.

#DoYouIndie

tell me how you choose to be an eco-conscious traveler in the comments below!

#DoYouIndie Travel Challenge: priorities…

“never get so busy making a living, that you forget to make a life…” -unknown

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D A Y 7-9…got lost in the shuffle of an epic weekend back at my alma mater celebrating college friends and football, seeing old roommates that now have an adorable little human roommate and driving 6 hours in several different weather conditions to get to my boys in Montana for much needed, dad, bro, nephew time.  WORTH IT.

THAT being my reasoning for skipping the writing for the past 3 days, i’ve decided to sort of “catch up” by not really catching up, but explaining a concept that i learned in life, but executed and accepted fully in my travels.  no disrespect to the BootsNAll Indie Travel Challenge at all, just sharing my experience.

one of the most incredible lessons the traveler learns is the concept of making a life vs. making a living.  i love writing, the pen hitting paper, my fingertips hitting the keys…but sometimes, you just have to challenge yourself to leave the screen behind for a weekend and LIVE.  i connected with old friends, made some new friends and reconnected with one of many pieces of myself…tapped into one of the life chapters that helped shape me into the writer and the woman i have become.  so with that said, remember that when you make commitments to yourself, to others, to the universe…it’s always okay to make your own rules, adjust your sails and to establish a method to your beautiful madness.  without further ado…my attempt at “catching up” with this writing challenge…

CHALLENGE: write your top 10 values for life and/or travel and create your own manifesto!

it’s not a list, but you can read my travel manifesto here.

QUESTION: where did you want to go on your RTW trip? what destinations will you have to skip and why? if you’ve already done a trip would you have changed anything?

although i haven’t taken one yet, i can say that living and traveling around australia for a year can FEEL like a RTW trip of sorts.  it’s a MASSIVE country, continent, island and there is SO much culture to see, feel, taste, learn and explore.  i would love to do a real RTW trip someday and although i know i won’t hit every continent or every country…i will go to the places that i feel the most pulled.  i truly believe that one of the most important things to remember as a traveler is that it’s not about going because you feel like you want to define yourself and your life a certain way.  it’s about feeling like you want to live in your truth.  travel is not for everybody.  and we all get to define it and learn it for ourselves…for some, they won’t ever go past visiting family in their home country, for others, it’s a long weekend in Vegas or a spring break in Hawaii, some people fly to Europe every year with wheels on their luggage…others choose a backpack.  there is no right or wrong in travel…there is only your truth.

lately, i’ve been feeling pulled to the third world.  i’ve been to various parts of Mexico a few times and i’ve experienced culture there and not only sunned myself at a 5 star resort.  i want to live in a treehouse in Nicaragua, i want to work on a farm in Guatemala, i want to learn to surf in Costa Rica.  i also dream of adventures in SE Asia, exploring jungles and beaches, caves and wide open rice paddies…i want to see, feel and taste it all.  Europe will come for me…someday.  i am a history buff for certain and cannot wait to take in the richness of the ancient ruins and museums, art and architecture, standing in places where great world leaders and influencers have stood…i dream of taking a European tour of everywhere Audrey Hepburn has been for filming and also a world tour of where she stood as a UN Ambassador fighting for children and people in poverty.  i want to live in an orphanage in India and volunteer with children, learn and teach music at a school in Africa.  the beauty about an RTW trip is that there are limitations…but only the ones you place on yourself.

QUESTION: how can you practice travel caution without becoming paranoid?

caution is an important part of travel.  i mentioned that a bit here and also touched on it a bit here.  i’ll state it again, we all get to define travel for ourselves…and as humans, we all know it’s really easy to judge others.  i urge you to try not to.  for example, at age 18 on my first trip to Mexico, i witnessed a very stereotypical scenario that made me feel un-proud to be an American.  it happens.  no matter what country and culture we’re from, stereotypes exist and it’s just a fact of life.  the beauty you can create as a traveler from one country, exploring someone else’s is that you can break them down…prove people wrong.  exuding caution is critical because you want to be on your A game keeping safety in mind while also enjoying your experience to the fullest.  paranoia is something that comes easy to some and is easily avoided by others.  often, paranoia can come across as judgement, basing a person or an experience on a stereotype.  no one gets anywhere successful in life relying on preconceived notions…it closes you off from the rawness of an experience…poisons the well before you’ve even had a chance to find the water.

ALWAYS and i mean ALWAYS, keep an open mind and an open heart when traveling.  trust those gut instincts and follow what you feel, but try your damndest not to judge or come across paranoid in a situation.  if you feel uncomfortable, calmly and rationally find your exit and strategize your way out.  travel enables you to be your own leader…execute your inner power of self…you have to be in touch with your boundaries and your safety points to know how to act in a situation that challenges them.  converse with local people…it goes a long way.  ask questions and don’t ever feel stupid for it.  try speaking the language and using the basics like “please” and “thank you”.  all of these small acts can go a long ways towards helping you avoid situations where you’re paranoid.

to avoid terrifying my family and {some} of my friends with a story that occurred while i was traveling in AU, i’ll leave details out, but there was a dodgy situation that could have ended pretty badly.  i strongly feel that if i hadn’t kept calm, but also observant and cautious, it would have gone the other way.  we all trust other humans differently.  know yourself.  know your limits. know your truth.  that’s the only way you’ll know how to conquer a situation abroad like a boss.

share how you choose to make a life over making a living in the comments below!

how #DoYouIndie ?  join the challenge here.

#DoYouIndie Travel Challenge: high five…

“it feels so good to be lost in the right direction…” -unknown

D A Y 6 of this BootsNAll Indie Challenge…anyone else SO stoked that it’s Friday?!

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QUESTION: what are your top five travel tips for new travelers before they start a trip?

i do not, will not, nor will i ever claim to be ANY kind of expert on the subject of traveling.  that’s the beauty of the traveler’s journey, you become seasoned, you become experienced, but you are ALWAYS learning…so for this fact, i will not ever consider myself an expert on anything having to do with travel…no matter how many countries i adventure to.

with that being said, because i moved around frequently for an entire year, jumped out of my comfort zone, i learned A LOT.  like seriously, i have a plethora of knowledge, how to’s, how not to’s, etc.  i get SO excited when i get the opportunity to share my knowledge and the skills i gained {mostly the hard way} while i explored australia.  these tips do not by any means only apply to a traveler heading to the land down under {although i can deeply endorse ANY human making the trip…it will always be a worth while one!}  these tips i now have in my traveler’s toolbox will continue to serve me and i hope they can also benefit you, no matter where your wings are taking you next…here’s my T O P 5 T R A V E L T I P S!

  1. ALWAYS trust your instincts.  i literally cannot emphasize this enough. trust me when i say that that gut instincts of yours, that’s your best mate.  whether you are at home “Netflix and chilling” with yourself on a friday night, drinking a glass {or bottle} of wine or sipping on some choice whiskey, OR in a foreign country anywhere on the planet, TRUST your instincts.  they will get you far and keep you safe.  your intuition will guide you in moments of feeling lost and also encourage you to keep moving forward in those beautiful moments when you finally feel found.  they will never let you down.  trust them.
  2. LOOK UP.  i know, i know.  as i’ve stated before here and here and here, as a human race we are constantly doing just that…racing into the next moment, the next bit of information, connecting constantly to the ever present desire for information.  when you’re traveling, not only do you need to have your wits about you to stay aware of your surroundings and keep safe, but you also need to take the time to actually SEE and BE on your trip.  looking up will allow you the opportunity to experience and breathe in each and every moment of your adventure.  eye contact and a smile can literally save you.  it will take you from a moment of despair to a moment of pure joy when you look up, make a connection with a real human and get the answers and information you seek.  so put down the Lonely Planet book, recycle the map and bloody hell, keep your phone in your pants.  look up and LIVE IN YOUR TRUTH!
  3. PLAN VS NO PLAN.  i can walk this talk.  i’m not really a planner with a lot of things in life these days.  which may be considered ironic since most of the things i’ve done to get me to this point took some sort of planning, however, when it comes to travel, i strongly encourage being on the no plans, plan.  it deeply benefited me.  it doesn’t work for everybody, but that’s why this is my post about my travel tips…you can sift through and take them as you will.  i LOVED not having a real plan.  it was extremely liberating and freeing to book a one-way ticket.  people i love, thought i was crazy and i had a “zero f*cks given” mentality about it.  that was the point.  i had my destination chosen, i had places i wanted to see, things i wanted to do, experiences i wanted to come home with, but no real deadline or direction.  it was brilliant…for me.  i was able to seek a place and go with the flow depending on who i met, where my quickly dwindling bank account was at and honestly, where my heart and feet were feeling pulled.  it’s a great way to experience the things coming at you, wherever your feet and backpack have taken you…it encourages you to just BE.
  4. PHOTO BACK UP METHOD.  yeah.  you can see where this is going.  naturally this travel tip comes from a seriously unfortunate event wherein a self-proclaimed photographer learns yet another life lesson the hard way.  i am in no way encouraging the packing of extra gear by any means…i am an avid cheerleader for less is more when you’re hitting the open road, but PLEASE for the love of all that is frozen in time memory, have a back up method if you’re going to be taking a lot of photos.  my plan would have worked perfectly if i hadn’t gotten so damn excited and acted like a 4 year old playing with the waves at Loch Ard Gorge on the Great Ocean Road road trip i was on with my dad while he visited me for 3 weeks in Oz {you can read about that awesome adventure here}.  my intention had been to send him home with my finally filled up memory card.  what ACTUALLY happened was that in wine country, on the road, my camera card was full and needed to be switched.  switching from old to new was a cinch and i told myself i would just place the old one somewhere safe when we settled into the next accommodation.  well, exploration makes you giddy and distracted…so it never made it to that safe place.  while at the beach, taking photos, my memory card decided to take an adventure of its own and join the sandy sea shore {saying that 5 times fast doesn’t make the blow easier to take by the way}.  1 memory card. 8 months of AU adventures.  over 1,000 photos that i was REALLY effing proud of. never to return.  {i’m going to go cry again and mourn this loss…again}.  alright, i’m over it.   regardless of what backup method you choose, just HAVE one that works.  i still have the memories engraved in my cranium, but pictures are cool to have too.  ’nuff said.
  5. BE THE CHANGE. i know…it’s another “feel good” travel tip…you should know by now you don’t get any itinerary worthy information from this vagabond…it’s just not me.  when you’re traveling and experiencing a new chapter in your life, do as Gandhi tells us to do.  we must BE THE CHANGE we wish to see in the world.  when you’re in another country, another culture, another world…be the change you want to see.  whether that’s a change within yourself, a change for humankind, be it and own it.  so often we are ignorant and impatient and we need to take that extra moment to breathe in love and acceptance and breathe out fear and judgement.  we can apply this travel tip in our daily lives, but when you’re out there, representing yourself, your country, your culture, be someone you would want to meet traveling.  there are a million questions that people will ask you when they meet you traveling, strive to ask the off the cuff ones that no one sees coming.  dig a little deeper, attempt to not be surface.  choose to discard mediocrity and adopt change.  i promise you, if you choose this, you will never be left behind.  be the change.  be your truth.

do you have any travel tips that your experiences have given you?  share them with me in the comments below!

join the Indie Travel Challenge here.

#DoYouIndie Travel Challenge: people over pamphlet…

“tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going…” -paul theroux

D A Y 5 of this BootsNAll Indie Travel Challenge.  feeling good, inspired and also very productive this week.  bring on F R I Y A Y

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Local Vs. Received Information

QUESTION: have you had an experience based on information from a local and how did it work out?

my true passion in life is people.  i literally thrive off of the energy of just being AROUND other humans…we don’t have to speak or connect or even acknowledge one another, but to know that they are around me…breathing, thinking, surviving, living…that’s enough.  don’t get me wrong, i love my completely solo time as well, but being in the energy of the human race is bliss.

when it comes to our day to day shuffle, so often we move quickly and absent minded through the things we’re doing that we forget about the idea that it takes disconnection to form a connection.  in this millennial day and age that has us seeking information so quickly, there isn’t even time to blink while purchasing the next piece of technology before the media is alerting you of its latest model…obviously better than the one you just broke your piggy bank over.  we move too damn fast and we forget to slow down, look up and connect in real, human, face to face time.  i have shared my thoughts on this subject a few times here and here.

travel not only allows you the perfect platform in which to disconnect, but it actually requires it.  the only way to truly experience the destination you’ve chosen, is to be ALL there…wherever you are.  you have to just BE there.  having picked a mostly english speaking country to launch my first big international adventure in, it was relatively easy to communicate give or take a strong accent here or a bit of tough to bite through lingo there.  australia is literally one of the NICEST and most HELPFUL cultures i have been fortunate enough to experience and i can’t emphasize enough how safe you can feel there alone or in good company.  as a woman who chose to go it alone with a one way ticket in hand and a backpack as my only companion, i had several options when it came to navigating my way around my new geographical world as well as different methods in which to research what activities and sites i would/should be partaking in.  did i have a technology device to help me? yes.  did i use it? yes.  but despite the fact that i sought wifi refuge on the occasion and used the googles to solve problems, book travel and everything in between, my favorite method of getting from a lost point A to a found point B was looking up, smiling and talking to locals.

regardless of where you are in the world, i can guarantee you, there is someone incredible that will help you on your journey.  trust me.  test it out.  report back.

people are amazing.  i had many experiences getting my insights and information from locals who were not only stoked to have me in their country, but were ecstatic at the thought that i had no real direction or anything booked or planned.  they got to act as my personal tour guides and it was brilliant, i honestly believe, for both of us.  my favorite experience gaining my new life plan from a local was on melbourne cup day in melbourne, VI.  a ghost of a city on this day once a year when everyone goes off to the races {or to the local pub to get pissed out of their eyeballs, losing money on liquid courage AND betting on horses}.  it was at southern cross station that i happened upon a human who not only helped me connect to the wifi {so that i could iMessage my dad some cool street art photos i’d taken on my jaunt about the city no one seemed to exist in}, but helped me make a list of all the places i SHOULD and eventually {mostly} WOULD go in my time in AU.  i still have the list.  as we cut through introductions and shared some background information about ourselves, my travel guide was created.  looking up, smiling, laughing, pausing to share a relevant story, sharing in a memory, i meticulously wrote it in my phone “notes”, {backpackers don’t have room all the time for pen and paper} and i don’t think i’ll ever part with it.  an adventure list of epic proportions, noting places and spaces not only in and around the city i met this legend in, but ALL over the beautiful country he was so proud to be from and that i was so eager to explore.

speaking to locals is by far the BEST way to gain insights to the greatest places to put your toes in the sand, the safest places to scuba dive, the most delectable cuisine to enjoy, where they pour the drinks the cheapest {and strongest} and the massive places at the ends of the earth where you will feel the smallest.  it was a great success for me, despite a lot of the recommendations i received costing an amount of money that no backpacker could conjure, i locked into that list and used it as a constant reference.  checking weather at various times of the year for certain destinations he deemed as a “MUST SEE”, gathering a tribe who might be interested in experiencing one or more of these things with me, setting goals to get there if not this trip, on the next.

i truly believe it’s all about people in this life we live.  when you trust your instincts and you trust your fellow human, you’re more often than not, going to get the information you seek on your journey…and you may even make a lifelong friend…or at least a memory.

#DoYouIndie

share your experience of traveling on local information in the comments below!

join the challenge with me here.

#DoYouIndie Travel Challenge: running home…

“go the extra mile, it’s never crowded…” -unknown

D A Y 4 for this BootsNAll Indie Travel Challenge…november, you’re going quickly…

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HomeTown Travel

QUESTION : is there an awesome coffee shop, a local festival, or a place to get away that only locals know? tell us about a place in your town more visitors should experience.

this is a pretty easy one considering my hometown, where i chose to move back post travel, for this past up and down transition year, happens to be sitting at the gateway to the beautifully majestic north cascade mountain national park.

the methow valley is never in short supply of natures eye candy nor does it disappoint, regardless of season, to provide an abundance of outdoor and indoor activities to enjoy.  growing up in a tourist town was great in the sense that it’s small and intimate and whether you’re a local or a guest, you get that community feel straight away. there is always a community event on surrounding the arts and music.  talent abounds here in this little mountain town and the restaurants and shops are definitely worth indulging in. there are hundreds of local spots both secret and well known, my favorite these days happens to be close to my house and where i work.

the trail system all over this place is intricate and vast, whether you’re mountain biking, hiking, walking or nordic skiing, there is something for all skill levels and interests.  since the spring, my go-to trail has been the patterson lake trail situated above the water line of a man made lake.  this trail is not only scenic, but offers a range of inclines to keep my lungs and legs challenged, regardless of speed.  it’s also great for a post run cool down.  with the trail being uncrowded and the lake getting most of its visitors at the patterson lake cabins and boat launch, north of one of the trail heads, privacy is something that’s relatively easy to come by sans a few fisherman in boats here and there.  nothing better than a post sweat sesh skinny dip in the heat of the north central washington summer! by no means is this a place where only locals hang out, but it’s definitely become a special place for me to clear my mind, decompress and run it out.

there really is something for everyone here in this rural western themed town, roots grow deep here and i’m thankful mine were planted as a child…check it out for yourself and plan a visit!

how do you get in your zone and enjoy your hometown local hot spots?  share with me how #DoYouIndie in the comments!

join the Indie Travel Challenge with me here.