Category Archives: Adventure

A Look Back at 2013

A Look Back at 2013

Now that twenty-thirteen has officially come to a close, I can look back on it. I ended last year’s review post by saying, “I am so excited to see what 2013 holds and I plan to live it to its fullest!” I am thrilled to say that I have truly fulfilled these words! By far, 2013 was my most adventurous year yet. The year contained way too much awesomeness to cover in one post, but here are the biggest highlights…

I graduated from university! After spending a lovely three years living in the southern state of Tennessee, I received my degree in psychology. The mountains, forests, and people there will always hold a place in my heart.

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Graduation day

I backpacked in Costa Rica! On a whim, a friend and I took our one-way tickets and met in Central America. Seventeen days were definitely not enough in the country and I look forward to returning. The diversity of the landscapes is beautiful – it was great to be somewhere with beaches, forests, and mountains!

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Nosara, Costa Rica

Playa Pelada, Costa Rica

Playa Pelada, Costa Rica

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Sunset & horseback rides in Costa Rica

I moved to Europe! At the end of August, I packed my possessions, printed yet another one-way ticket, and headed off to Europe. I spent three months living in the countryside and then in the city of Lausanne, Switzerland. My goal was to immerse myself in the country and I did just that. I formulated amazing friendships, discovered my favorite cafés, and truly felt at home in the city. I miss it dearly and have every intention of continuing my European romance.

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Bern, Switzerland

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La Sarraz, Switzerland

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Lausanne, Switzerland

I abruptly paused my Eurotrip – When I headed off across the pond, I didn’t have any date of return. Though I had no specific trip-length, I assumed it would be somewhere between one and three years. I had my flight booked to go do exchange work on the lovely island of Cyprus, when I made a big decision… I had gotten news that my uncle was about to pass away. I then started thinking more about the fragility of life and how not all my family members would be around at this time next year. After finding an incredibly cheap flight from Switzerland to NYC, where my immediate family was spending Thanksgiving, I made the decision to forgo my Cyprus plans and surprise them there.  Genuinely, my ego fought me hard on this decision. I had thoughts pop in like, “Wow, I was supposed to be here way longer than this. I wonder what people will think of my early return…” But then I centered myself and realized the only thing that matters is following my authentic truth. Though my trip is now on pause for a little while, it was completely worth it to spend the holidays with my family and be here with them during times of loss.

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Lake Geneva, Switzerland

I surprised my family in New York City - My parents and my little sister, who lives in California, were convening in NYC for Thanksgiving. Without knowing where I would stay for the week before their arrival, I purchased the ticket. I then started reaching out to friends in the city and was amazed how the Universe provided for me. A friend who I had not seen in years so kindly offered me a place to stay. Though we didn’t get to hang out much, due to his busy work schedule, I had an amazing place to stay right near Central Park! I was there for a week before my family arrived – I’ll be uploading the videos of the surprises here soon. After their arrival, I stayed in the city for another week and met some amazing individuals. Through Instagram, I got connected with Ksenia from Breakfast Criminals and Harry from A NewYorker Travels. I spent time with a nomadic Irishman, who reached out to me through CouchSurfing, and a lovely yoga teacher, who I was introduced to by a friend I made in Switzerland! I was also thrilled to finally meet Laura of Traveling Jersey Girl. We explored Central Park together and had so much fun getting to hang out in person. She is seriously such an angel and I highly recommend checking out her travel blog. Following my pattern of one-way tickets, I bought one to NYC and was totally open to staying there for a while. However, the Universe had a different plan and when I found out I had an immediate job offer in Ohio, I found my way back to my hometown. Currently, I’m working and saving up the money I spent during my impromptu trip back to the US.

Central Park, NYC, NY

Central Park, NYC, NY (Photo Credit: A NewYorker Travels)

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Grand Central Station, NYC

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After surprising my little sister!

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Wonderful friendships forged in NYC

I concluded my 2013 by spending a fantastic evening with a girlfriend in Columbus, Ohio! We decided to go all out and do the whole shebang at the Renaissance hotel downtown. It was a such fun and I’ve adored really getting to know her these past few months. I’m all for promoting my friends, so be sure to check out her studio, L-Yoga Flow, if you’re ever the Columbus area.

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New Years Eve 2014

Twenty-thirteen is going to be a damn hard year to top, but with new adventures already in the works, I’m incredibly excited to see what 2014 will be like! What I know for sure is that I’m going to be surrounded by amazing people, travel to exquisite places, and continue on my path of spiritual expansion.

Sending you all so much love and light and wishing you a happy new year!

Highlights from Costa Rica

Highlights from Costa Rica

I’ve just returned from sixteen blissful days in Costa Rica. My friend and I met in San Jose and then took a journey to Manuel Antonio, Montezuma, Sámara, Nosara, and Arenal. I kept a record of the highlights of each day and now have added pictures!

Day 1: San Jose

- seeing the view of Pura Vida from the plane

- my little airport adventure 

- meeting an awesome couple who were raising their kids in the mountains

- relaxing in the pool

Pura Vida

My first glimpse of Pura Vida

Relaxing at Adventure Inn in San Jose and waiting for my friend to arrive.

Relaxing at Adventure Inn in San Jose and waiting for my friend to arrive.

Day 2: Manuel Antonio 

- being blown away by the awesomeness of the view from the  backpacker’s hostel

- listening to the warm, Costa Rican rain falling on the tin roof

- taking a midnight swim in the hostel’s pool (it was surrounded by jungle and the rain poured down on us)

Bakpacker's Manuel Antonio Hostel

Bakpacker’s Manuel Antonio Hostel

 

Day 3: Manuel Antonio/Montezuma 

- hiking through Manuel Antonio Parque

- playing in the ocean and collecting rocks

- drinking straight from a coconut en la playa!

- seeing an adorable monkey yawn

- taking another late night swim and looking up at the stars. I have never seen them look so near before.

 

The view from the hike in Manuel Antonio!

Playing on the beach we found during the hike!

Beach yoga sequence

Beach yoga sequence

 

Day 4: Montezuma

- doing yoga with a view of the ocean, the warmth of the sun, and the coolness of a breeze.

- taking a four wheeler across the peninsula

- driving through two herds of cattle and seeing horses roaming on the side of the road

- exploring the little beach town of Montezuma

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This is the result of flying through a huge mud puddle

Our adorable little place at Casitas Sollevante

Happy in a hammock

Happy in a hammock

Day 5: Montezuma/Sámara 

- meditating and relaxing by the pool all morning

- seeing the extreme back country of Costa Rica (we actually had to turn around because we couldn’t ford a river)

-seeing the breathtaking sunset and eating a candlelit dinner literally on the beach in Sámara

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Our amazing pool at Casitas Sollevante.

I spent at least 25% of the trip in hammocks!

I spent at least 25% of the trip in hammocks!

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Dinner time in Sámara – it was so amazing to eat with my toes in the sand!

Day 6: Sámara/Nosara 

-  stand up paddle boarding – it was really tough with the waves!

-  found a tarantula on my friend’s pants…after he’d put them on.

-  discovered an awesome raw restaurant on the way out of town

-  had a crazy driving experience and had to turn around because of a flooded river

-  arrived at the amazing Villa Mango

Our little friend...

Our little friend…

The view from our room at Villa Mango

The view from our room at Villa Mango

 

Day 7: Nosara 

- did morning yoga surrounded by jungle

- had delicious banana/chocolate-chip pancakes for breakfast…while watching monkeys play!

- went to Playa Pelada

Mono

Mono

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Playa Peladas

Sunset from the terrace at Villa Mango

Sunset from the terrace at Villa Mango

 

The played me a song!

The played me a song!

Lovely beach

Lovely beach

Day 8: Nosara 

- did yoga on the terrace of Villa Manga

- felt super amazing and then the universe gave me a big lesson in self-growth

Felt blissed out and made a video on Presence (click photo to be directed to YouTube)

Felt blissed out and made a video on Presence (click photo to be directed to YouTube)

I love getting in touch with my feminine energy!

I love getting in touch with my feminine energy!

During our yoga session, the monkeys were playing in the trees and a beautiful, gentle rain came.

During our yoga session, the monkeys were playing in the trees and a beautiful, gentle rain came.

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Day 9: Nosara

- saw the black beaches at Ostienal

- drew in the sands

 

the black sand of Ostional

the black sand of Ostional

fly on black

 

Day 10: Nosara 

- ate breakfast with a birdy on my head

- spent most of the day in the hammock

- went to Playa Guinnes and saw amazing sunset

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Soon after, he migrated to a more comfortable spot…on top of my head!

Sunset on the beach

Sunset on the beach

Freedom

Freedom

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Day 11: Nosara/Arenal 

- had a long drive to Arenal…but with gorgeous views!

- stopped at amazing restaurant, Macadamia

- saw the lake views

Flutterby.

Flutterby.

The view on the drive from Nosara to Arenal

The view on the drive from Nosara to Arenal

Windmills...do you see them?

Windmills…do you see them?

Lake Arenal

Lake Arenal

 

Day 12: Arenal

-  went to hanging bridges

-  got stuck in a thunderstorm

Sunset at Nepenthe, our hotel for the first couple nights in Arenal.

Sunset at Nepenthe, our hotel for the first couple nights in Arenal.

I like leaves!

I like leaves!

The view from the hanging bridges!

The view from the hanging bridges!

Hanging Bridge

Hanging Bridge

Day 13: Arenal

- hiked up Volcán Arenal

- met a honey badger

Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano

Volcan Arenal

Volcan Arenal

Honey Badger don't care

Honey Badger don’t care

Flower at Nepenthe

Flower at Nepenthe

 

Day 14: Arenal 

- got rained out of our hot springs plans

- relaxed at Hotel Linda Vista

Typical breakfast

Typical breakfast

Hotel Linda Vista - if I were to return to Arenal, I'd definitely spend more time here.

Hotel Linda Vista – if I were to return to Arenal, I’d definitely spend more time here.

View from Hotel Linda Vista

View from Hotel Linda Vista

Day 15: Arenal

- spent the day in bliss at Ecothermal Hot Springs

Heavenly hot springs

Heavenly hot springs

So relaxing

So relaxing

Pure bliss

Pure bliss

Day 16: San Jose

- parted ways in San Jose

Although our foot prints have now been washed away, Costa Rica and the experiences I had there left a lasting impression on my heart.

Although our foot prints have now been washed away, Costa Rica and the experiences I had there left a lasting impression on my heart.

 - To see more photos of the trip, check out my Facebook album by clicking HERE. -

The Costa Rica adventure commences

The Costa Rica adventure commences
The Costa Rica adventure commences

Early yesterday morning, I sleepily pulled myself out of bed and boarded a plane for a sporadic trip to Costa Rica.  After the layover in Toronto, the flight lasted about five hours – not bad, considering that’s how long it took me to get to California! Despite having little sleep, my excitement didn’t allow me to rest at all on the plane.

My friend and I arranged stay at Adventure Inn and, wonderfully, they had a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel. This was especially helpful, because it meant I didn’t have to spend seven hours waiting in the airport for my friend’s later flight to arrive. The night before last, I realized the time the shuttle was set to arrive wouldn’t allow me enough time to get through customs and collect my backpack from baggage (Side Note: I am very impressed with all of you who can manage to make your packs carry ons). I quickly emailed the company and hoped to hear back in the morning. Although I hadn’t gotten a reply when I checked my email during my layover in Canada, I figured I would once I got wifi at San Jose Airport.
I hopped off the plane in Costa Rica, excited to see the hotel, and went to check my email….but there was no wifi and I hadn’t bought a SIM card yet to use my phone. As synchronicity would have it, I had struck up a conversation with a young Canadian a few minutes prior. He flew into the airport so often, that he happened to be friends with the man who arranges the shuttles. With our combination of broken Spanish and broken English, we discovered that the last shuttle from Adventure Inn was “randomly” (nothing is really random)  at the airport! He whisked me to the bus and explained that, although I was not technically on the list to be picked up, I was actually staying at the hotel.

Anyway, although there were a few confusing moments, things aligned perfectly.  Besides, that’s what adds the spice to life and keeps us in the moment! Today holds new adventures and I look forward to sharing them with you!

The view of Pura Vida from the plane!

The view of Pura Vida from the plane!

 

Written: June 1, 2013

Highlights from California

Highlights from California

I have recently returned from my trip to California! I completely fell in love with the city and its people. The weather was perfect, the energy positive, and the experiences life-changing.

Highlights (in no particular order):

- Attending a service at Agape Spiritual Center
- Spending a day lounging on the beach
- Paddle boarding (& attempting to do yoga on said paddle boards)
- Having an absolute blast in a flight simulator
- Attending a recording session of an awesome jazz artist, Bianca Morales
- Taking my sister to her first comedy show
- Getting a behind the scenes tour of Warner Brothers
- Picking fresh avocados and oranges off my friend’s tree
- Watching the production of the music for Family Guy
- Hearing an awesome street musician with so much emotion in his voice (see video)
- Eating at Cafe Gratitude & other amazing raw/vegan restaurants!
- Hiking El Moro Canyon and eating raw food and meditating at the top
- Doing acro yoga in the park
- Hearing Yakov Smirnoff and Jack Canfield unable to control their laughter over Kyle Cease’s jokes!
- Harmonizing while sitting on the beach in Santa Monica
- Drinking so much delicious juice (Yes, this is a highlight…)
- Nearly missing my flight home!

Lost in Zurich

Lost in Zurich

ImageIn May of 2011, I boarded a plane for my first European adventure. Despite not sleeping a wink on the plane, I was full of energy when I stepped foot into Zurich, Switzerland. It was still daytime there and I had a full day day of me! After getting settled into the hotel, we all changed clothes and prepared to explore the city. The group I was there studying psychology with ended up separating. The two groups of energetic American co-eds split ways to experience our respective guided tours. My friend Michelle and I stuck close together and chattered continuously. This is where my ease with being in foreign environments came into play…

ImageAll of a sudden, Michelle and I realized that we were with the wrong group! We laughed about how distracted we had become and looked behind us to see our original group crossing a bridge. We quickened our steps to try and catch up to them and hurriedly crossed the bridge. The group walked around a corner, but we were gaining headway and it didn’t really concern us. When we rounded the corner, they were gone! We spent the next 15 minutes fruitlessly searching for the gaggle of students. It was as if they’d vanished into thin air. Image

I decided the next best option would be to find the hotel we were staying in. We figured it had to be within a couple miles of us, so we started asking locals for directions. Every Swiss person I’ve encountered since then speaks multiple languages, but for whatever reason, no one we approached could understand our plight!  Well, they may have just been laughing at the silly American girls…

It was when Michelle started to get concerned that I had a beautiful realization. I thought to myself, “We are in Europe! Specifically, Zurich, one of the safest places to be. It is 23 °C outside and there’s no rain!” I wondered why the heck we were spending our time being flustered, instead of enjoying this experience. I convinced Michelle to enjoy a drink with me, at a little outdoor cafe by the Limmat River. We sat there for awhile, chatting and people watching, before continuing to search for a group.

 Amazingly, we saw our trip guide across the street. We flagged him down and were able to reunite with our group. While our professor was quite displeased with us, I still look back at the time I was lost in Zurich with great fondness. We were able to see many historical sites, explore the city, and even watch a game of chess!

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Cafe in Zurich, Switzerland.

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Outdoor chess game

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Zurich, Switzerland.

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Lovely garden!

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Exploring the city.

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Don’t think, Just Jump!

Don’t think, Just Jump!

“I bet you wouldn’t…” Some of my experiences that could be deemed risky stem from that single line. Does cliff jumping into freezing, winter water sound appealing? Definitely not (unless you’re the RawBrahs). But someone insinuated that I wouldn’t be brave enough to do it.  In that instance, the appeal became centered on the accomplishment and not the activity. There are other experiences, though, that I am solely intrinsically motivated to engage in. One of my favorites, up to this point, was the exhilarating activity of bridge swinging. Of course, I’d heard of bridge jumping, but I tended to keep my jumps off of natural surfaces. The practice of bridge swinging was quite foreign to me and when a friend mentioned it, I became very intrigued.

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My bridge swinging experience began at an undisclosed location (potentially outside of the US).  The two men calmly directed our little foursome, while the other girl and I giggled nervously as we followed along. She skittishly remarked that this was the type of thing she would do in her early twenties. I laughed in Imageunderstanding, but didn’t agree with her, as I couldn’t really identify.  When we reached the base of the bridge, the guys began to plan out our ascent. I concentrated on controlling my breathing, to quell my nerves. Inwardly, I contrasted my current feelings to the ones I’d experienced before skydiving. When skydiving, my fellow jumper (who I had coerced into going) was incredibly nervous. I was able to stifle my own nerves, in order to calm him. But in that moment under the bridge, I had no distractions. Instead of allowing myself to become agitated by my nervousness, I appreciated the full spectrum of emotions and bodily arousal that I was experiencing. I took in to account my quickened heart rate, sweaty palms, racing mind. I recognized how beautiful it was that I could feel so alive. I genuinely appreciated how easy it was to be fully Present in that moment.

After a few minutes of set up, it was time to begin the daunting, eighty foot climb up the unprotected ladder. Midway up, I quietly laughed aloud when I realized that I had probably never climbed a ladder more carefully in my life.

As I intentionally set my hands and feet on each bar, my memory was jogged. I was taken back to being five years old and climbing onto the roof with my father. Under his instruction, I remember my climbing being just as deliberate and slow. My mother despised me climbing onto that roof, but in my young mind, the thrill was second only to scaling the tree in our yard. With the chilly wind ruffling my hair and my fingers tightly grasping the rungs, I made my careful ascent and eventually stepped onto the platform.

Walking along the catwalk of the bridge was slightly unnerving, depending on where I let my focal point settle. If I looked through the holes, to the ground below, it was almost as if I was walking on air! I tried to focus on walking and not letting my mind ruminate on the knowledge that, within just a few minutes, I would be plummeting toward the dark waters below.  The bridge blocked the noisy wind, giving us a relief from the cold and allowing for easy communication.

Since the guys were handling all of the setup, we females did our best to make small talk. It was obvious, though, that we  weren’t fully engaged in the conversation.

I knew that I was going to jump first. When my friend suggested bridge swinging, he also strongly recommended that I was the first to go. He maintained that I’d be far better off not having seen someone jump before me. Without giving myself a chance to say no,I agreed and set my intention.

Image Before I knew it, the safety knots were all tied, my harness was on, and it was time for me to climb over the railing. I made a futile attempt to yank my harness even tighter and swung one leg over the bar. I stood there on my perch, which was only big enough for one foot to stand on. Reticent to let go, my white-knuckled hands clutched the railing. I knew that it was time to jump, but for a moment, I was paralyzed. My heart was pounding, my natural instincts kicked in, and the last thing I wanted to do was hurl myself into the darkness below. After what seemed like eternity, I managed to push past my instinctual need for self-preservation and stepped off the tiny platform. For just a moment, before the rope caught, there was nothing holding me. I was completely a victim of gravity, hurtling toward the dark waters. I felt weightless and free. Just like the free fall while skydiving, the moment seemed to be simultaneously infinite and instantaneous. When the rope finally caught, it gently pulled me to into an arc. Finally, I could breath…and scream! My scream was more a cry of abandon and quickly turned into gleeful laughter. I swung back and forth many more times,thoroughly enjoying the feel of brisk wind rushing around me. Once I abandoned my initial fears and let go, the experience was immensely pleasurable.

Of course, I couldn’t end this post without connecting my experience to life in general. People, don’t be afraid to jump! Take that risk. The universe will send you to you what you need the most, so don’t ignore it. Take advantage of the moments that take your breath away.

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Stay positive. Be Present. Set your intentions.

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Spirit Quest in Nature

Spirit Quest in Nature

This past spring, I saw a video of a beautiful woman, Megan, whom I had met a few times many years ago. To my delight, she was dancing around to African tribal music while juicing! In case you don’t know, I adore juicing, dancing, and tribal music…

After I realized we had so much in common, I invited her to come stay with me. Megan packed up her belongings, bought a bus ticket, and came to Tennessee! I had such a magical time exploring nature, eating raw foods, belly dancing, conversing, and doing yoga with this enlightened woman. I am so thankful that the universe guided us to each other.

The time she stayed with me was incredibly enlightening. Megan has one of the most positive, loving spirits I have ever encountered. Although we were practically strangers, there was no awkwardness whatsoever! I love her dearly and she is my soul sister.

Naturally, I was thrilled when she divulged to me that she was creating a Spirit Quest video detailing our experience! So now it’s here for you to enjoy….