It’s All Mental

I always knew and preached that you are in charge of your own happiness.  Nobody can go to that thing with you?  Then go by yourself, instead of sitting home and pouting about it.  Want to try something a little scary, but worried about all of the things that could go wrong?  Take a deep breath, say Screw it, I’m doing this and go.  Is there a dream that you want to chase, but your family and friends are doubting you, and that is making you doubt yourself?  Nobody can make you happy but yourself.  You have to decide if this thing is worth it, if it will help you reach your aspirations, your goals, your dreams.

This year specifically, I’m really learning that you can shut out those doubts in your head and you can do anything that you set your mind to.  A lot of it boils down to self-confidence for me, especially with more physical activities.  Traveling solo has really given me a boost in this area each time I take a trip, and after five weeks of traveling this past December and January, I am very aware of how much those weeks changed me, yet again, even more.

Self-confidence is a funny thing, though.  I feel like I have lots of it in some areas, and not nearly enough in others.  Leaving the country for weeks on end by myself doesn’t bother me or worry me hardly at all, but it took me way longer to learn how to snowboard than it should have, and I can 100% say that self-confidence (and a little bit of fear) was the issue there.

One thing that I have found to help is to actively work on changing my mindset – that’s where the Screw it, I’m doing this mindset comes in.  When I was boarding in Canada over New Year’s with a friend, I was still too scared to point my board straight down the mountain, which resulted in a lot of snow plowing down the runs very slowly instead.  I didn’t understand what my issue was, it looked so easy when I watched others board.  Then I went out to Colorado for a snowboarding trip in late January, and I said Screw it, I really need to suck it up and just give this a better shot.  I finally got over myself and those flashes of doubt in my mind, and I just did it.

IMG_0738_exported_79760652

Snowboarding at Copper Mountain, CO, USA

The same thing happened for me with indoor bouldering this winter, and mountain biking this spring.  The only thing holding me back is myself in these situations, and it’s because of the doubt that flashes in my mind milliseconds before I try something new.  Whether it is a turn down a steep mountain on a board, a new move ten feet up a bouldering wall or a jump down a mountain biking trail, I just have to walk myself through it in my mind and keep my confidence up.  It’s when I don’t actively push the doubts away that I stumble at what I’m doing and end up either bailing or falling.

 

It’s interesting how this self-confidence and Screw it, I’m doing this mentality has sort of inadvertently become a personal theme for me this year, and it’s exciting too.  My self confidence improves dramatically each time I conquer a new feat, whether that be with traveling somewhere new, camping by myself, or one of the more active examples above.  I like where I’m going with this whole mindset thing, and I’m excited to keep improving upon it each chance I get.

IMG952018021095122229

Keep climbing, guys!

Advertisements

2018 Bucket List

Every January, I make a bucket list of 12 items and make it my New Year’s resolution to check them all off by the end of the year.  This is something I have done since high school.  Some items are easier than others, and my past lists have included things like “Read at least six books”, “Pray more in depth once per week”, “Leave the country at least twice” and “Learn to like onions”.  My biggest item last year was to visit the last five US states I hadn’t been to yet, and I did! Not even kidding, that was probably my greatest personal accomplishment of 2017.  By mid-August, I visited my 50th state, which was Michigan.  Yeah, I don’t know how it ended up being my last state either.

20170818_114804

State #50 back in August 2017!!!!!

For being such a big “list person”, this bucket list always means a lot to me and I spend a decent amount of time putting it together each year, and I put in as much effort as I can to check each item off as well.

This year, I have a newfound freedom and a very new life situation that is low-key terrifying, yet it’s the biggest step towards having the lifestyle that I have been chasing for the past few years.  Not knowing where I’ll even be sleeping for half of the year made it a bit harder to make some concrete goals for myself, but I leaned on the things that are important to me right now and the areas that I want to push myself harder to grow in (spoiler alert: there’s a large travel and outdoors theme here).

20180120_093824.jpg

One month into the new year, I have tentative plans for quite a few of these list items already.  Some of them are ongoing throughout the year, so I’ll have to keep them in the front of my mind when planning my trips each month.  Tomorrow also starts the process for applying for this year’s hiking permits (Havasupai Falls, Mt Whitney, The Wave and some others are on my radar), so crossing my fingers that I can get a hold of something!  We shall see.

Hope this post and idea inspires somebody!  Cheers to a new year and new adventures, guys.

The Year of Semi-Homelessness

2017 was an interesting year with some pretty great highs and some really tough times as well.  The last half was tangled with a mix of changes for me, including a new career, a fading relationship and a move that made me leave my beloved mountains to go back east to Kentucky… where everything is below tree line.  I ended the final few weeks of December with a heck of a trip that helped me to sort through and reflect on some of the new changes in my life and to look forward to a new year with new adventures.

With the new year comes a newfound freedom for me and a very new life situation that is mildly terrifying, yet my biggest step so far towards having that nomadic lifestyle that I have been chasing for the past few years.

Screen Shot 2018-01-20 at 6.09.53 PM

I just started a new job based in Kentucky that is going to let me go fully remote by the end of the year.  To work up to that point, I get to take a trip each month and work remotely from wherever I want.  The company’s plan has me spending about 50% of the year in the office and 50% of the year wherever I choose.  I’m house-sitting through April in town, and then after that point in the year, signing a lease would be a waste of money.

So here we go.

This is where the “semi-homeless” part comes in.  Come April, I’ll pack my outdoor gear, cooler and laptop into my Jeep and set out on a semi-nomadic, semi-homeless journey for the rest of the year between Kentucky and some “to be determined” locations (Spoiler: Probably heading back to the Rocky Mountains and also leaving the country a few times).  I’ll be Airbnb-ing, hostelling, Couchsurfing, crashing at friends’ and family’s, camping and Jeep-sleeping in who knows where as I go in between Kentucky for work and where I want to be each week.

20171112_073717

Waking up in my Jeep to a below freezing morning this past November.  This might happen a few times this year…

All of these unknowns make 2018 look pretty daunting.  I have been focusing on taking it one day at a time to avoid feeling super overwhelmed.  It will be an interesting year for sure, but I’m excited and ready for the challenge.  I’m sure there will be some posts to come about this adventure, so stay tuned!

Pre-Trip Nerves

I love to travel, I really do.  Nothing excites me more than planning my next trip and buying a plane ticket.  But I am currently waiting for my connecting flight from New York to Doha, Qatar, and I’ll admit that I am second-guessing my trip.  Seeing all of the families and couples traveling together is really making me wish that I was traveling with my loved ones, too, and not solo.  But I know that I do this every time.  When I left for Costa Rica last year, and when I left for New Zealand the year before that, I called my boyfriend in tears from the airport and apologized for leaving and told him I wish that he could come or that I had stayed with him.

Once I get to my first destination though, I snap back to normal.  So I guess you could say I have pre-trip nerves, as this happens every time.  I am excited, but nervous about getting to my destination, so I am longing for the comfort of something, mostly someone that I know and love.  For me, these pre-trip nerves always come at the airport as I am going through security.  And I’m not quite sure how to deal with them yet, other than push through them.

For this trip, I have to fly CVG —> JFK, then JFK —> DOH, then DOH —> BKK.  Then I have to go immediately to a bus terminal and take a 10-hour bus ride from Bangkok to Siem Reap, Cambodia.  But once I reach the bus that will take me directly to Siem Reap, the big travel unknowns around getting to my first destination are over with and I can relax and focus on meeting new people and seeing new things.  But right now, there is a flight to my parents’ boarding at a nearby gate, and I wonder how much I would regret taking it…

One Week in Costa Rica – Packing List

As a follow-up to my previous post for my Asia-Pacific packing list, I also wanted to document what I brought with me for a week in Costa Rica during August 2016.  I flew in and out of San José and traveled to Monteverde for zip lining and Santa Teresa for a yoga retreat.

monteverde-zipline

Clearly I was not a big fashion statement on my trip…

All of my gear fit in my Osprey Kyte 36 backpack.  I was flying to San José on a budget airline called Spirit Airlines, who charges for any bag larger than a wallet (okay, that’s an exaggeration…), so I was very set on packing as light as I could for this trip, and have some final thoughts at the bottom about my choices.

Gear

  • 55L backpack
  • Lifestraw water bottle (be careful drinking the water when you’re near the beach, it’s supposedly worse there than inland and I did have a small bout of sickness when in Santa Teresa… I can only assume this was why and bought bottled water the rest of my time at the beach)
  • Sea to Summit day pack (again, one of my favorite things)
  • Headlamp
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Packing cubes for organization of clothes/undergarments

Clothes

  • 3 t-shirts/tank tops
  • 1 moisture-wicking long-sleeved shirt
  • 2 pairs of athletic shorts
  • Knee-length leggings
  • Trekking pants
  • Sweatshirt
  • Rain jacket
  • Bathing suit
  • 3 pairs of athletic socks
  • 2 pairs of hiking socks
  • 1 bra
  • 2 sports bras
  • 7 underwear

Shoes

  • Hiking shoes
  • Chacos
  • Cheap flip flops for hostel showers

Toiletries

  • Ibuprofen
  • Pepto Bismol tablets
  • Small first aid kit
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Body soap
  • Razor
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Comb
  • Deodorant
  • Lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Baby powder
  • Hair ties
  • Purell

Miscellaneous

  • Kindle and charger
  • Phone and charger
  • GoPro and charger
  • Wallet and passport
  • Silk undercover bra stash
  • Sunglasses
  • 2 plastic shopping bags
  • 2 Ziploc bags
  • Combo lock for hostels
  • Small notebook and pen
  • Protein bars and snacks
  • Watch

Final thoughts…

Costa Rica is HOT and HUMID.  Needless to say, I would have fared a little better with more shirts to change through.  One girl that I met on the trip made the observation that it’s pointless to wash your clothes in the bathroom for free (like I usually do), because nothing ever line dries here.  Some hostels have a laundry service where you can send out your stinky, sweaty clothes for a wash and dry, and that seems like the best alternative.

Asia-Pacific Packing List

I thought I’d share something more useful than just my thoughts this time… my packing list from when I backpacked Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii over the course of two months (the end of October until the end of December).  I had boiling hot and humid climates (hi, Koh Phangan) all the way down to snow and frosty mornings on New Zealand’s south island.

All of my gear fit in my 55L pack (I also had a small cooler bag that I carried my food in).  I am generally a very light packer, and I was extremely pleased with what I brought on my trip.  Without further ado, here is my packing list from fall 2015:

Gear

  • 55L backpack
  • Lifestraw water bottle (I was able to drink the water in Thailand with no issue)
  • Sea to Summit day pack (this is one of my FAVORITE things!!!)
  • Headlamp
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Sleeping bag
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Packing cubes for organization of clothes/undergarments
  • Small carabiner (for hanging things, they’re actually really great)
  • Blow up neck pillow (a lifesaver for long flights and bus rides)

Clothes

  • 1 pair of athletic shorts
  • Knee-length leggings
  • Full-length leggings
  • Hiking pants
  • Jeans
  • 2 pairs of hiking socks
  • 4 pairs of athletic socks
  • 8 pairs of underwear
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 3 t-shirts
  • 1 long-sleeved shirt
  • Patagonia better sweater (I legitimately wore this like 85% of my days in New Zealand)
  • Down jacket (super warm, super light and they pack down very small)
  • Rain jacket
  • Baseball hat
  • Beanie
  • Gloves
  • Ear band
  • Buff/bandana

Shoes

  • Birkenstocks (My favorite shoes in the worlddd, don’t get me started)
  • Sneakers
  • Hiking boots
  • Cheap flip flops for hostel showers

Toiletries

  • Ibuprofen
  • Pepto Bismol tablets
  • Small first aid kit
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Body soap
  • Razor
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Come
  • Deodorant
  • Lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray

Miscellaneous

  • Kindle and charger
  • Phone and charger
  • Outlet adapter
  • Headphones
  • Wallet and passport
  • Silk undercover bra stash (way better than a money belt… I still use this all the time, it is a travel necessity for me!)
  • Sunglasses
  • 2 plastic shopping bags (these are always so clutch when you need them!)
  • 5 Ziploc bags
  • Combo lock for hostels

 

What I brought that I shouldn’t have:

  • Thermarest (it took up a lot of space and I didn’t use it nearly enough)

 

Final thoughts…

You will DEFINITELY not need as much stuff as you think.  And you will also accumulate more stuff along the way for sure.  Also, find hostel friends to split a washing machine with when it’s time to do laundry, that was a big money saver, since I barely had enough clothes for a full load anyways.  Happy traveling guys!

Why I Travel

I just booked my flights for my next trip in December.  Hooray!!!  I will be going back to Thailand and visiting Cambodia for the first time (soooo excited for Angkor Wat), as well as a 24-hour stopover in Qatar before flying back home for the holidays.

As I was explaining my trip to somebody the other day, they asked, “So are you doing all of this because you actually like to travel?  Or do you just like being able to say that you’ve been to all of these places?”

Something to know about me is I’m not a good arguer, I can’t think on the spot or debate on a topic very well.  So I said nothing, I was too dumbfounded anyways, and frankly hurt.  I’m still wondering where they got that idea from, if I had said something that made them think that…  Anyways, I wish that I had a good response ready to their question.  And now I do, so here it is:

Travel is what makes me feel alive and energized more than anything else.  I am trying to see and experience as much of the world as I can during my life, because, to me, that is what it is all about.  It’s not about your career, it’s not about buying a new purse or binge-watching that new popular series.  Real life is about meeting new people and experiencing new things.  And I am trying my hardest to keep proving that to myself and anybody who I cross paths with.  I want to inspire others to travel and break down those barriers and stereotypes so many people in society build up, because nothing enriches the soul like seeing the world, and that is worth more to me than anything.

This is just my opinion at least.  If you don’t agree, then that’s fine, but don’t try to down my travels because of that.

*I’m sure I will revisit this topic in the future, but this is the start of it.