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JOURNAL ON THE ROAD

The Home in Everywhere

This post is sponsored by Zappos.


I haven’t lived here– really lived here– since I was 17.

This is where I grew up. There have been weeks I’ve come back in my in-betweens in the past ten years. But not to stay. Since I left, I have carried the feeling of home with me wherever I go, and I think it makes every place hard to leave. This place taught me the meaning of home so thoroughly. I learned it well. And leaving anywhere is rarely easy as a result, because I see magic everywhere.

Home is the smell of the second floor of my parent’s house in the summertime. Home is the sideways light on the grass at sunset. It’s conversations with my grandpa at his kitchen table where I used to sit and eat boxed macaroni and cheese after school. He’s sharper than a tack without even trying.

Home. Where I don’t feel guilty for getting up late or just taking care of myself– something I have never been good at. Where the regulars at the old coffee shop remember me– and why on earth did I ever think I could get work done there, when I know I’d be happily stuck in an hour-long conversation– a recap of the past year of my life and theirs? Home is where I walk to the beach for a sunset, only this time I’ve got a camera in my hand and each time, more weathered skin, more wrinkles around my eyes, more freckles on my arms given to me by the same sun I know here.

Home is the same salad my mom makes every September when the tomatoes are ripe and red. Home doesn’t care when I leave and it doesn’t care when I come back. It’s a feeling anyway, like a memory, like nostalgia. And I take that with me everywhere.

Sometimes home is found at the bottom of my suitcase, the airport armchair I fell asleep on. Sometimes it’s journaling on the subway. Passport stamps and taxi rides and 40 cent fish soup on the side of the road next to a temple in Bagan. Sometimes home is restlessness in hotel sheets. Home is the endless hike down the mountain in the midnight sun. Sometimes it’s breakfast with someone I just met. And I’ll swear I knew them in a past life as we finish the blueberry pancakes.

Every place becomes a part of me, this one just carries more weight. It was the first place I knew, and for a lot of my life, it was the only place I knew. It taught me to know others– like your first best friend. Home is a deep exhale. I come here in the transitions now. I come here for a kind of grounding. A kind of reverence for the in-betweens and the closing of chapters and the starting of new ones.

I am wearing Teva Original Premier sandals, mom is wearing Teva Original Universal Rope sandals.

 

I knew the feeling of home here first so I could learn to feel it and hold it everywhere else. So I could find Home in every place I have ever been– in a park in London, in the blue and white tiles of old church walls, and under a waterfall of frigid snowmelt in New Zealand.

This was always home first. Sometimes I miss it. Sometimes I miss the shortcut to the house from the train. So I’ll take a few days out of the year to be here, and I’ll be home somewhere else the rest of the time.

I know this place by heart. But I know home is more than one place. After all, understanding that home had a feeling is what allowed me to leave it in the first place.


Our Teva sandals are from Zappos.com. Zappos’ free and fast next-day shipping and excellent return policy is perfect for my nonstop travel schedule. I am wearing the Teva Original Universal Premier Leather in Indigo– great for the beach or walking around London, wherever I happen to be. Mom is wearing the Teva Original Universal Rope in Cognac.

INSPIRATION JOURNAL

Love is Like That

I know so many people who are heartbroken right now. What’s the deal?! It’s my friends texting me about the ache. It’s the emails from readers I’ve never met. It’s the echo from a post I wrote about love on Instagram.

We are all hungry for feeling. For meaning.

Love is so damn complicated. Trust that I’m screaming this from my soul to my fingertips.

It’s messy. It’s clear and muddy at the same time. It’s the biggest paradox we’ll ever know. And it’s almost a guarantee that at some point in our lives, we’ll have a crazy run-in with love. A head-on collision. We’ll feel like we’ve had 4 strong margaritas and ran around in circles for an hour blindfolded.

Love is like that.

I am addicted to love, and to loving the moments that didn’t even feel good– because we don’t get to choose the ones that stick. I first realized this in a scene I’ve mentioned before– I was 21 and had moved to Porto, Portugal without knowing anyone. I would lay lonely on the roof of my apartment and stare at the sky, knowing that I would eventually miss that moment.

That feeling comes and goes in waves that take me over.

It was the feeling I had dancing to bad pop music with a tall freckled Australian guy in Budapest. It was a comical scene, but I knew I’d miss it as soon as it was over. Because you can love a moment, even a moment like that one. Especially a moment like that one. And maybe it doesn’t entirely make sense which ones our hearts choose, but those are the moments we remember.

It feels like we don’t choose the people we love either. But magic doesn’t happen on accident.

It’s loud, right? So loud sometimes it’s all we can hear. It brings us to our highest highs and our lowest lows, and it doesn’t really care what it does to us. It’ll teach us about the depths of our hearts if we allow it to. If instead of turning up the volume even more, we just got quiet, and listened.

You will read this and connect it to whatever your experience is with love, and whatever it means right now. It can be the way we love wild places, the way we love the way our coffee smells, the wonder of this whole life in general. It can be absolute heartbreak, heartache. It can just be heart, and that’s enough. It shifts and changes and it always will.

We know this: when it shows up, it refuses to be ignored. Love is like that.

JOURNAL

Deep Thoughts from 2016

When I started this blog two years ago, it was hard for me to imagine what it would become. I just set out to share– and as it turns out, that was worth something. Because I’m here, still writing, and still sharing it.

I’ve done these Deep Thoughts posts for the past two years (here’s 2014 and 2015), so in keeping with that tradition, here are my personal reflections from 2016.

1. SET FIRM, LOVING BOUNDARIES

This year, I thought a lot on what I really require– in jobs, in relationships, in what I really need in order to live comfortably. I saw that I often over-compromise. I want to be the best at everything: the best employee, the most supportive friend, the person who wakes up the earliest and stays up the latest to work on their passion project.

For me, a lot of that isn’t healthy. In order to bring out the best in myself, I actually have to set firm boundaries instead of being a pushover. I have to be a bit more thoughtful about what I say yes to and when I say yes to it.

Having boundaries does have to mean that you are closed off– it can mean that you know yourself well enough to identify what works for you, and to stand for those things.

2. IT’S ON YOU TO SHOW UP

My followthrough record in 2016 isn’t as good as it could have been. I said I’d do things that I simply did not have time or energy for. Showing up for me means being vulnerable– in being honest and humble to bring out the best in myself and in others. It also means asking myself if I could have done better, and committing to that goal.

I am proud of how I have showed up in some arenas. But there were failures, too, and they were on me. It’s on me how I show up in my friendships, it’s on me how I show up for my clients, it’s on me how I show up for myself. These are decisions I have the power to make, and that I must make, in order to be effective and bring 100%.

3. YOU CAN’T BE EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE

I tried to do a lot of things this year– and I still am doing a lot of different things. And I wish I had another lifetime to pursue all these passions I have found, but I can’t do everything and I can’t be everything for everyone. I also can’t please everyone with my writing, my beliefs, or the things that I create both on and off the internet.

In pursuing my greatest dreams, I know I will turn people off. I have to be fine with that. And in this pursuit, I also have to be fine with quitting jobs that I love. I have to be fine with saying no to coffee dates that I’d love to go on. Because I can’t be everything for everyone, and if I tried to do that, I’d be ineffective at the things that matter most.

4. FOLLOW YOUR OWN RULES & TAKE YOUR OWN ADVICE

I gave a lot of advice online this year. And I didn’t always listen to myself.

We are fucking wise, y’all. You are fucking wise! Listen to yourself. So often, we undervalue our own rules of life, and for some reason we think they only apply to others but could never fit into our own situation. Many things I dealt with this year could have been dealt with sooner and better had I listened to my own advice and given myself enough credit to do so.

5. BIG DREAMS ALSO REQUIRE DETAILS

I’m a big, big dreamer, and my head is in the clouds constantly. But I need to remember that while I’m enjoying the view up there, my feet are also on the ground. Big dreams require little details in order to thrive. They require steps, planning and logistics. If done right, none of those things take away the magic of the dream. But still, they must be done.

 


 

Thank you for being a part of my story. Feature photo by BC Serna.

INSPIRATION JOURNAL TRAVEL

The Places You Meet Yourself

As a result of seeking an adventurous life through travel, I have met many people.

Amazing people. People who have changed me and the maze of my life forever.

But the really interesting thing– perhaps a simple idea– is that I also met myself.

Being alone in the unknown is never comfortable, and discomfort does things to us that ease and routine cannot. It pushes our buttons, forces us to confront ugly things we’d rather ignore, and teaches us about beauty and truth.

When I replay the montage of all the random and hard and gorgeous fleeting moments of my life, I see all the ways in which I got to know myself. All the scenes where I looked into my heart, and proclaimed that I’d see it for what it was.

I see the loneliness standing on the roof of my apartment in Portugal, my anxiety loud as sirens. And I remember doubting very much, at 21, that I had any idea of who I was.

I see meeting one of the loves of my life at a campsite in Belgium, and knowing he was important. And I see us two years later in Christchurch, crying in our hotel room, not knowing if we would ever hold each other that way again.

I see myself in the eyes of every ex-lover, the ones I knew for a night in cities I did not know well. The ones I never even touched physically, but who shared a conversation through broken English or Spanish, and in doing that, shared a part of themselves.

I see myself under a beat up old red barn, covered in hay, shoveling bags of sheep shit.

I see myself walking through caves of glow worms and thinking they looked like the whole universe.

I see dusty motorcycle rides and boats that made me seasick. I see the faces of all the people who were and are all on their own grand adventure, and it’s beautiful to me to know that I shared a brief moment in time with them. Just knowing that is so powerful. And it’s naïve. But it’s enough.

I have never been able to afford nice hotels or nice restaurants, and sometimes I think it might be nice to travel that way, but for me it’s never been about the comfort, and it might never be.

It’s about the deep brown in the eyes of the woman you met on the streets of Budapest; the way her hair smelled like jasmine and dust.

It’s about the whiskey you did not need to drink, the moon bright on the jagged peaks and pine trees, the wobble in your steps on the walk back to your cabin on icy roads.

It’s about the loneliness, the beauty, the glow worms– all the places you meet yourself over and over again, deeply, profoundly.

The depth and variety within the flip book of your life is easy to forget about. We get sucked in to our daily mundane. We forget about all of these moments we have lived.

When you remember all the places you met yourself– the places you can put on a map and the places you could never even name– you remember that it is all so, so worth watching. And worth experiencing in the first place.

JOURNAL REAL SH!T

Love Only Wins If

I have been back in America for a few days now.

I watched this election happen from a hotel room alone in Bogotá, Colombia. I’m not surprised by the outcome, but that doesn’t make me less sad. It doesn’t make me less angry.

I cried a lot. A whole lot. But I am not writing to tell you about my tears. Who cares? They do nothing if they don’t motivate me to do more than just cry. My grief as a white woman is pretty damn shallow if it ends at grief.

My community assures me that we have to love harder. That love is the answer. That love conquers.

Love will get us absolutely nowhere without action.

I am tired. I am tired. Do you get why that is bad?

I am not an immigrant. I am not Muslim. I am not a person of color, Jewish, or LGBTQ-identifying. And if I am too tired to speak up, stand up or show up, what happens to those who cannot? What happens to our planet at large, our wild spaces, our environment?

If fear, anger and sadness have brought you to the ground, make absolutely certain that you do not stay there. Get off your knees. Motivate, mobilize.

I know that a lot of you reading this are travel-loving outdoorsy folk, like me. And we’re a funny bunch. We love making ourselves uncomfortable. We go out (voluntarily) to climb really tall, scary things. We sleep outside in freezing temperatures. How many natural objects have you wiped your ass with? I can count a few. We thrive on discomfort. But when things get this kind of uncomfortable, what, we peace out and say we’re moving to Canada? No.

I am uncomfortable beyond belief, but I won’t even joke about leaving this country because of it. I am not going to leave marginalized groups to fend for themselves right now, just because I can– just because the privilege I grew up in allows me to make that choice. I am not going to leave the issues of this planet, and its limited resources, to fend for themselves right now.

I will not tune out. I won’t make light of very real issues. I will not write “love wins” on this chapter and close the book.

Yes, I will take care of myself, I will spend time with my friends, and I will remember to laugh, but only because self-care is also vital in doing this work.

I feel wobbly, do you feel it too? I feel flattened, do you feel it too? I recognize that I am not where I want to be in this fight, but I am getting there, and I hope you will meet me somewhere along this road because it is long as hell and people have been asking many of us to get on it for a long, long time. It’s not their fault that we’re just seeing it now. Get. On. That. Road.

When you believe in the call that comes out, join in with the chorus demanding change. It must be a rallying cry that listens to one another and demands inclusion in the process.

The discomfort will not stop– neither will the work. It doesn’t go away just because we think about it, pray about it, or post about it. It doesn’t go away because we decided we were gonna love each other more– it’s uglier than that sometimes because it is disruptive, and that often is not pretty. What is happening is important. It is uncomfortable.

Does it seem like it’s going to be a lot of work? It is and it will be.

I will speak for myself: I know that I cannot be silent. Don’t tell me that love can conquer. I know that love has won many battles. I fucking know. But I believe that love will only win if we partner it, thoroughly and intimately, with action.

Our love is only as strong as the impact it drives. What side of history will you be on?

 


JOURNAL

Reflections on Roaming

This post is sponsored by Zappos & Blundstone.

What happens when you set out on a trip with the intention of finding yourself? What happens when you don’t have any intention at all?

I never stopped roaming, but the way I did it changed.

I am writing this from my living room in Boulder, Colorado. I’m working in my pajamas, drinking coffee on an overcast day. The wind is gusty outside my window.

I have called this apartment home for two years. It’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere since being in school. I stayed here because I got tired of living out of a backpack, tired of wandering, tired of always having to plan the next thing. Because I felt like when I was planning the next thing, I lost sight of the moment I was in.

So I found somewhere I liked, and I called it home base. But it’s been two years and this is on my mind. Maybe I will move on, but I like having somewhere to come home to.

When you have a home base, you acquire things. Furniture. Kitchen appliances. Art in nice frames. Candles. Plants. Things that didn’t really belong in my backpack.

I have learned just as much living in one place as I have on the road. I explore my backyard, I develop new hobbies, I continue to find community, I invest in friendships without an expiration date. I go out on solo day hikes and long mountain drives.

I think the point here is that I didn’t stop roaming, I just changed the way I did it and what it meant to me. And I know I talk about the way social media portrays things a lot– but it’s important. You don’t need a vintage van or the best gear to roam anywhere, because you define what that means.

How I roam is however I want to. We all define our own exploration.

 


 

Thank you to my friends at Zappos for sponsoring this post! Zappos shipping & return policies and customer service is awesome– I got free next-day shipping on the Blundstone boots in the photos above. I wore Blundstones working in the Australian outback and on farms in New Zealand– now they are just my everyday boot. Here’s a link to the pair I have.

INSPIRATION JOURNAL

You Don’t Know What Will Stick

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I have never really known exactly what I wanted. It has always been a combination of best guesses, trial and error, and face-down-in-the-mud failure followed by a shower beer and picking myself up off the metaphorical floor.

As you may know,* a little over a year ago I got fired, went on a big solo road trip, came back to Colorado and figured my shit out. Not nearly all of it, just enough.

I’ve been riding that wave of having figured out just enough for a while now.

This past summer for me was an absolute whirlwind– one that didn’t stop or slow down. But when it did, it came to a screeching halt. My life asked me what I was going to do next, and I really didn’t know. I have been struggling to know what to write about, what new projects to initiate. There have been times that I felt like a fraud.

But I think that the worst thing you can do is nothing. So slowly, I started playing with my ideas. And I’m reminded, very clearly and loudly, that I am making all of this up as I go along. The projects I take on, this blog, the video channel, the stuff I write here or anywhere else.

NOW MORE THAN EVER, I FEEL LIKE I AM THROWING SPAGHETTI AT THE WALL AND SEEING WHAT STICKS.

I am throwing a fuck ton of spaghetti. Buckets of it. Some of it is honestly, way overcooked, and some of it isn’t even cooked at all, but even some of the uncooked stuff is sticking. Weird.

I’ve been throwing jello. Bread. Frying pans. Bouncy balls, just ‘cuz. Tennis shoes. Shampoo. Beer.

As it turns out, the ideas that you think are the best… won’t always be the ones that stick. Sometimes, the ideas that you think aren’t that great or innovative or special will be like superglue to someone else.

A lot of my ideas aren’t fully cooked. Some of them, I think, are straight-up bad. But I have made an agreement with my bad ideas, that if they stick, I will give them a chance. So that’s what I am doing.

Try everything, knowing that not everything you do will be the best thing you do. Not everything you write will be the best thing you write. Not everything you make will be the best thing you make. But you are doing and making, and that’s what matters.

Put pen to paper. Pick up the camera. Send the email. Write that thing that has been in your head, or that thing that hasn’t been in your head at all– just write something.

Engage with your own growth. You don’t know what will stick until you throw it.

Start throwing.

 


 

*and if you didn’t know, now you do. Did we just become best friends?