I decided to participate in something called El Grande Fondo, a ride up to the summit of Mt. Wilson near Los Angeles. I may have been slow, but I made it. I want sure I'd be able to do it, and it was easily the most physically difficult thing I've ever done, but now I can say I did it. http://www.strava.com/activities/208863481
The waves got big, so I disappeared from school for a while to go surfing. After a few days of missing class, this water spout passed by in the distance, followed by a gigantic storm. I think it was a message from above telling me to get back to work.
I rocked up in Brazil after a really tough few years plugging away at a degree in the UK. Mentally exhausted I was able to relax my first few weeks but after a while I got restless. I found that trying to do the standard backpacker thing wasn't really for me and figured it might be pretty cool to go and get some work experience to save me the effort when I got back to foggy London town, while also going on adventures. I had no idea where this would leave me.
6 months on, with 7 internships in the bag across North and South America I can say this. I had no idea how much of a valuable experience this would be. People have not only opened their arms up to help me in all sort of places, including Peru, Canada and Bolivia. But, I have also learnt so much. I know from talking with all of these new friends of mine that this experience is unique and has to be shared with people. The bottom line is, a year ago I never thought you could go hike a mountain in Patagonia and then a week later be sat in a startup somewhere in the Andes genuinly helping develop a local tech scene. This juxtaposition has been happening week in and week out and I just want to take an opportunity to not only say thanks to everyone who has helped on my journey but to also encourage others to do the same. Reach out, be weird and go exploring. Stay tuned to www.tradeforxp.com for more updates.
I went for an 11-mile technical trail ride in the Santa Monica Mountains this Sunday. I was so inspired by being able to ride with Nina Bomar, who is headed next month to my dream ride, the Tevis Cup (a 100-mile endurance ride that is only completed by the best-prepared, toughest riders and horses in the world), as well as with Rebecca Florio, DVM, who has completed the Tevis Cup twice on two different horses. And incredibly grateful to Cynthia Binder, DVM, who lent me her incredible horse, Orion, for the ride! He has the biggest equine fan club in SoCal, thanks to Dr. Binder's willingness to let him teach new endurance riders about the sport.
I'm definitely hooked on this particular kind of adventure, and although I think I was probably slowing the rest of the group down quite a bit with my lack of experience (I've been riding for 18 years this month and I'm still the newbie... you NEVER stop learning in this hobby) I think we all had a good time. 11 miles is nothing to people who compete at 50 75, and 100 mile distances, but it was my longest ride since childhood and probably the most technical trail ride I've ever done (lots of hills, rocky ledges, etc). Now to get my own horse in shape to do this sort of thing and get out competing.
I'm excited to head out for an adventure this weekend! I'm borrowing an experienced horse to do an 8-10 mile ride in the San Fernando Valley that involves stopping for lunch along the trail with the horses -- need to pack my lunch in saddlebags, and two water bottles also! I'll make sure to take photos. I'm so grateful to a friend who is letting me ride her extra horse, Orion. My horses aren't fit enough for that distance on a technical, hilly trail just yet, but the practice is great for me.
Meant to take a week long course with Outward Bound in 2004. Skipped the course, went straight to becoming an instructor. Since then, joined ski patrol, signed up to train as a tall ship captain, ski patrol, kayak guide.
My weekend adventure: Hiking in the San Gabriel mountains! The waterfall we were heading for was a bit sad because of the drought (but inspired me to think hard about what I can do to save water) however, the hike overall was an amazing experience and left both me and my pup happy and tired! We saw a baby garter snake swimming in a spring, and a large rattlesnake minding his own business crossing the trail.
I'm back from Australia. It was a week of exploring alone. I think that's necessary sometimes. Finding yourself in situations that you have to solve yourself. The biggest example was climbing up the highest peak of Morialto Falls when I really meant to go to the base of it instead. But realizing that going higher meant letting my heart beat faster and my muscles ache more. It also let me see the city of Adelaide from a bird's eye view, and when I came back down, I found my way into a cave. I haven't been in a cave since third grade. And, when I meditated in that cave, I let my breath slow down. That's what I've needed to do for a while now. I shouldn't have let a 8,741 mile trip be the reason to relax, but it was a catalyst for changing my frame of mind about how to move forward with my day to day.
I'm now urban exploring daily on walks. It has been my favorite form of stimulation since I've been back. Walking through Adelaide, going on buses and trains, made me see how possible it was to move in any city, even when the transportation is spotty.
I visited Nicaragua in March with WaterAid America to see their work on the ground. I was in awe of the level of poverty and sheer lack of clean water and sanitation, but the people I met were kind and welcoming. I saw women building and maintaining wells for their communities. Moms, like me, who simply wanted to have enough to provide for their children. I met a teenager, who was basically a trained general contractor and supervised men older than her. She was building a bathroom with a toilet and shower, quite the luxury, for a client. I stayed overnight in an indigenous community and ate by the light of my head lamp. It was amazing and showed me how lucky I am to have simple things like running water that I can drink, electricity, and well maintained roads to drive on.
I’ve traveled a lot in my life, but never with a kid to another country. It honestly freaked me out. Before we spent two months on sabbatical in the Philippines with our two-year-old daughter Hattie, I’d have visions of her fainting from bug bites, falling off boats, and worse, getting kidnapped.
I was anxious to say the least.
When we arrived on Panglao Island and later, Siquijor, my fear dissipated. The locals adored Hattie, and beach life was serene. The three of us spent our time eating purple ice cream and pork in all its forms, swimming with the fish and giggling in waterfalls, badly singing karaoke, and being entranced by the surreal sunset every night. It was quiet and relaxing, just what I hoped my sabbatical would be.
But were there times when I wished I was at the bar, swapping raucous stories with other travelers, or taking long boat rides through remote coves to swim with sharks? You bet.
As time went on, I realized that I had to let go of what visions I had of my past traveling adventures and understand it was now Hattie who made our trip magical. It was Hattie who introduced us to the fishermen and sea urchin shuckers nearby our home. It was Hattie who won the hearts of the wait staff at local restaurants, so much so they felt like an extended family. It was Hattie who encouraged us to dance with abandon at the Sinulog festival.
The adventure of the Philippines was being with a two-year-old, and seeing this new country through her eyes.
I’m now pregnant with our second daughter, who was conceived in the Philippines. She’s named after the woman who made the best chicken adobo we’ve ever had, and we’ll be sure to take her back there someday.