The Call

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Green Lake in Washington

832 miles after I left Seattle, Washington, I find myself in Salt Lake City, Utah. Excitement was rising within me before I had even made it to Idaho. I was driving towards the mountains, the sunshine, and the city that ignited my spirit less than a year ago. I was flooded with intense, vibrant emotions after I explored the memories that I held from creating a life for myself in an unknown part of the country. I was going home.

The last few months have fueled my soul with inspiration and awe. The wild hearts of the people I have met have shown me the path to wonder and have reminded me of the curiosity the natural world deserves. From learning about the differences in Prickly Ponderosas and Gentle Jeffreys in Yosemite to identifying Angel Wing and Coral mushrooms in Washington, I have been relearning to see the world through the eyes of a child. I always vowed to myself that I’d never grow up and by that I meant that I never wanted to lose my sense of wonder and imagination. I didn’t want blinders covering my eyes, forcing me to witness a single path in front of me. Despite my valiant efforts, I began to feel complacent, anxious, confused, and unmotivated when I had unoccupied time. My hair began to fall out in copious amounts but it remained unknown to the naked eye. Only when I ran my fingers through the strands, de-tangling it as I went, did I end up with a hairball intertwined amongst my fingers. I caught myself mindlessly eating ice cream and cookies. I was binge eating relentlessly. I was unable to climb confidently and I saw that same dwindling confidence exert itself into indecision in my daily decisions. Everything I knew about myself told me that I was stressed and my body was having a physiological reaction to it. But why? I could not figure out why I was struggling. I was traveling the country, making lifelong friends, experiencing adventure, and had a support network of people believing in me even when I didn’t. So what was wrong??

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Boise, Idaho

My revelations came to me on my journey back Utah. I was listening to a podcast by The Life Coach School and it said it plain and simply. ” A single thought leads to a feeling which then leads to an action.” The manner that I had been thinking about myself with was not nurturing, kind, or patient. I had fallen back into my pattern of judging myself harshly and living without understanding. I forgot to be gentle with my soul. In Utah, I felt happier and nourished but why? Why did my thoughts change and therefore my feelings and actions? I believe that when I first moved to Utah, I began to create the person I wanted to be in an environment that nourished my values. Utah was a blank slate for me and I developed my identity. Now the question is, “How do I stay true to me when my environment changes?”

Open Hearts

20161013_173657The pressure behind my eyes has caused a constant headache. The phlegm in my throat has negated my ability to speak. The overall ache in my body has left me lethargic. I have been sick and that is a very poor thing to be when traveling alone. The thought itself makes me tremble: seemingly wasting away without the comforting presence of another and knowing that if I don’t keep fighting no one will do it for me. As circumstances would have it, I escaped that fate. My friend from Yosemite, Chris, and his family generously welcomed me into their home and have taken me in as one of their own. I don’t think I can properly find the words to express my gratitude to his family and him but this is my attempt.

Thank you. Thank you for the physical warmth and the shelter but also for the warmth that radiates from care and love. Thank you for the food and nourishment even when I don’t ask for it. I appreciate it greatly however, I am still learning how to receive such incredible hospitality.Thank you for having vibrant spirits. Learning about your life stories inspire me and further fuel my belief in human kind. Thank you.
UPDATE: My preparation for the American Discovery Trail is going nicely! I am slowly acquiring all the appropriate gear and then with a little over two months away I will begin walking across the United States!

 

Celebration of Life

My time in Yosemite has come to an end but with every end comes a new beginning, a new understanding, and a new opportunity for growth. My time now will be spent traveling north to visit family and friends.

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Alex, the impact your life had on those around you will not be forgotten.

Before I left Yosemite I received the news that a previous coworker and friend had died in a hiking accident. I was caught off guard, unprepared¬†for a young and passionate soul to be taken so early. I tried to process the news but fear and sadness overcame me. I didn’t know Alex well yet anyone could see she had a beautiful soul. The impact her life had on mine was unknown to me until now. Her presence in a room brought acceptance and an invitation to be oneself. She lived her life daringly following her passion and that is a beautiful way to live one’s life.

I returned to my Camp 4 family with the solemn news swirling around in my head, and I zoned out with tears swelling in my eyes. The tears began to involuntarily roll down my cheeks and my ability to speak disappeared. My friends gathered around me, hugged me, and sat with me in my grief. They were comforting me but I could see in all their faces a friend they too had lost. We all began to grieve together. I came to realize that death was not something unknown to the world around me. The wilderness is beautiful but it is also merciless. The danger of adventuring alone was suddenly on the forefront of my mind and I was slowly becoming paralyzed with fear. I was planning on leaving Yosemite in an hour but could I now? I forced myself to remember why I had to leave: feelings of complacency and being too comfortable. I choose to celebrate Alex’s life by continuing to adventure on. No one makes it out alive but what type of life you live is up to you. Celebrate life every day and share your love and appreciation with the ones you surround yourself with.