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Adventure

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Woman Embarks on 8700-Mile Solo Cross-Country Road Trip and Nothing Bad Happens

Woman Embarks on 8700-Mile Solo Cross-Country Road Trip and Nothing Bad Happens

"You're what?! Why would you do that?"

"So, you're going with your husband, right?"

"How scary! Wait—aren't you scared?"

"What if something bad happens?"

"Did you hear about that one girl who did something similar and was stalked and raped halfway through her trip?"

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We live in an interesting world, my friends. When I first started telling people about my plans for the CYOP Road Trip, I was somewhat shocked at the response. Both men and women, alike, bombarded me with questions that really got me thinking. 

Now, when a friend, coworker or family member is concerned for your safety, you hug them and reassure them and let them know how you plan to stay safe. However, I had strangers, journalists (Yes, I received a reply—from a female journalist—to a press release linking to this article as a "heads up" about traveling alone and using social media to share. Hence the cheeky title of this piece.) and acquaintances sharing horrific stories and general discomfort about a woman embarking on a trip like mine.

Conclusions were jumped to, assumptions were made and, unfortunately, fear-based stereotypes were perpetuated. So, to the questions above, I'd answer:

"You're what?! Why would you do that?"

Option 1: Because I can. Option 2: Why would I not take a trip like this?

"So, you're going with your husband, right?"

Nope. He's holding down the fort here at home!

"How scary! Wait—aren't you scared?"

Not really. Anxious for the journey (and huge work load) ahead of me? Yes. Scared? No.

"What if something bad happens?"

Something bad could happen to me at home. If something bad happens on the road I'll deal with it in the same way I'd deal with it at home.

"Did you hear about that one girl who did something similar and was stalked and raped halfway through her trip?"

I've heard countless stories like this, but plenty of people take trips like mine without incident—we simply don't hear about it (Hello, mainstream media. Can we do something about this, please?). Also: I'm smart, cautious and come from a family of law enforcement officers. I'm the most optimistic, yet paranoid person you know. Trust me.

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Now I've returned from the trip and guess what? 

I didn't get into any car accidents, avoided getting tickets by driving safely, didn't find myself in any scary situations, kept my head on a swivel while driving to watch for wildlife at dawn and dusk (I did have a few close calls with a very active herd of elk), skipped hiking trails that looked a bit dicey and came with a long list of warnings (I'm looking at you, Grand Canyon), crossed the street if I felt at all unsafe about what I saw in front of me, didn't use social media to broadcast my current location (and shared in a smart way, instead), packed a paper atlas just in case I didn't have cell coverage, reminded myself of everything I've ever learned about self defense and kept loved ones apprised of my whereabouts pretty much every day.

Basically, I spent six weeks on the road driving 8700+ miles through 27 states to interview people I met on the internet and nothing bad happened

But you know what did happen?

  • I learned more about our amazing country in six weeks than I ever gleaned from history books.
  • I met incredible people, many of whom will likely become life-long colleagues and friends. 
  • I reconnected with old friends over wine and food and life stories (and, in Nashville, live music). 
  • I talked to people about all of the amazing work they're doing and how they've chosen to build their lives and careers. 
  • I learned a great deal about business, life, creativity and community from everyone I met along the way.
  • I became comfortable with working odd hours and creating from the road.
  • I took notes about what I might do differently for my next road trip (blog post to come!).
  • I saw parts of this country that have been on my very long to-see list for years and years.
  • I also realized that I cannot wait to get back to all of those places over and over again. This giant slice of earth is so vast, fascinating and diverse. I fully intend to continue soaking it all up.

So, you see: traveling alone as a woman (or, to be fair, as a man) isn't a terrifying concept. I only wish I hadn't heard so much negativity associated with it as I prepared for my journey. I'm fairly confident in my ability to stay safe, handle tough situations and avoid trouble, but it saddens me to think that the same questions and overall shock I endured might dissuade someone else from setting out on a trip like mine.

I'm still overwhelmed with the trip and have to pinch myself to remember that it wasn't all a dream. I'm sorting through photos and scrolling through my Instagram feed to revel in the fact that I did it—I friggin' DID IT. Can I tell you a secret? If you set your mind to it and do the work, you can do it too.

Please, friends: for the love of all things sacred, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.



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Photo Essay: A Day Trip to Tahoe National Forest

Day trip to explore Tahoe National Forest.

Things have been humming right along here in the valley. It's felt more like spring than winter and it's been tough to continually find myself in front of my computer more days than not. So, I was incredibly grateful when my husband recently suggested we take a day trip up to Tahoe National Forest with the pups. 

We've had snowshoeing on the brain, but the weather hasn't cooperated on that front. Instead, we just threw on some light layers and hiking boots and headed for the Yuba Gap/Emigrant Gap area.

It was a much-needed break from the routine we've found ourselves in over the last few months and it's always nice to know this beauty is just a short drive from home.

Day trip to explore Tahoe National Forest.
Day trip to explore Tahoe National Forest.
Day trip to explore Tahoe National Forest.
Day trip to explore Tahoe National Forest.
Day trip to explore Tahoe National Forest.
Day trip to explore Tahoe National Forest.
Day trip to explore Tahoe National Forest.
Day trip to explore Tahoe National Forest.
Day trip to explore Tahoe National Forest.
Day trip to explore Tahoe National Forest.
Day trip to explore Tahoe National Forest.
Day trip to explore Tahoe National Forest.

So tell me, friends: what are some of your favorite ways to step out of your day-to-day schedule and gain a bit of perspective?


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Guest Post: Life Change Can Be an Adventure. Really.

Author  Janna Marlies Maron . // Photo courtesy of  Marita Madeloni

Author Janna Marlies Maron. // Photo courtesy of Marita Madeloni

Janna Marlies Maron is currently on a virtual book tour to share the story behind her recent book, "How to Manage Depression Without Drugs" and she's been kind enough to stop by the blog today! She's a wonderful writer whose goal in life is to tell stories without shame. Her book comes out later this month and will—without a doubt—help a lot of people who can relate to her struggles. 

A self-proclaimed “woman in progress,” Janna is most passionate about creativity and the power of the written word. She currently runs a coworking space in Midtown Sacramento with her husband; publishes a quarterly literary arts journal; takes on select editing projects; teaches college writing and pursues her own writing.


Life Change Can Be an Adventure. Really.
By Janna Marlies Maron

If we think about embarking on any adventure—camping for the first time, mountain climbing, even a road trip—we get excited, we investigate options, we stock up on supplies. We’re eager for a new experience, and we look forward to it. We can approach life-change with the same eagerness and excitement, and it really can turn something we dread into something manageable and, eventually, enjoyable.

My life was pretty intense with drastic change for about three years. Imagine this: In the short span of three years, from early 2010 to the summer of 2012 I filed for bankruptcy, I got laid off from my job, my church shuttered, I got engaged, I had a falling out with my family because of the engagement, I had an episode of optic neuritis which led to a string of MRIs to monitor for Multiple Sclerosis, I got married, and, ultimately, in June 2012 I was diagnosed with MS.

Talk about change. This was not your ordinary get-a-new-job or move-to-the-other-side-of-town change. This was life-altering-mind-boggling-and-sometimes-debilitating change.

The MS diagnosis was only the beginning. During those three years I had been struggling with depression (“It’s no wonder,” my therapist said.) and attempting to get it under control without drugs (which is what my new ebook is all about). So when my neurologist gave me the choice between two immune suppressing drugs—one a weekly injection, the other daily—my husband and I went home, talked about it for like a second before we both agreed that I would not be undergoing drug therapy.

That meant, if we were going to pursue a natural course of treatment, we’d be taking on a complete overhaul of our lifestyle: from food and eating habits to work and sleeping habits.

How do I do it? How do I maintain a sugar-, dairy-, yeast-, soy-, gluten-free diet? How do I get enough rest and keep up with all of my projects—ThinkHouse Collective, Under the Gum Tree, TrueStory, teaching college writing, freelancing?

There’s no easy answer to those questions. But one thing that has helped me is to think about drastic life-change as an adventure. Here’s how that approach has helped me adjust and embrace the change.

Perspective Flipped

Often change happens and we feel like it’s out of our control, right? We feel like now we have to do things that we don’t want to, and we don’t have a choice.

But looking at life-change as an adventure helped me to flip that perspective. Instead of having to change my diet, I get to try all these new fun foods. Instead of having to start exercising on a regular basis, now I get to make yoga a priority.  I treat it like an adventure and I get to investigate options; I get to stock up on supplies and, yes, I even get excited.

Prompted Experiments

Experiment means to try something out and see how it goes, and adventure is all about trying new things. We can treat life-change the same way.

I’ve been experimenting with new recipes like homemade crackers and new self-care practices like skin brushing. At first I didn’t think crackers were something I could make, and I didn’t know what this skin brushing was all about. But I gave them a try—along with a host of other odd stuff that I’ve never done before—with no expectation, just to see what would happen. And so far the results have been stellar.

Promoted Openness

We often resist change, don’t we? It causes our reflexive no to kick in. A sugar-free diet? I can’t do that! Regular MRIs? No! A GI test? No! Going to bed early? I’ll never be able to! Asking for a laundry list of exceptions with a restaurant order? I don’t want to be that person!

The problem with the reflexive no, the automatic resistance, is that it closes us off to adventure. Seeking adventure requires the ability to say yes (perspective) and to try new things (experiment). Once I had my perspective flipped and experiments prompted, I found myself becoming generally more open to new ideas, such as supplementing my health with essential oils—something I previously would have dismissed off hand with little to no consideration. (I write more about using essential oils in the ebook.)

Life-change isn’t easy and it definitely isn’t always fun. But treating it like an adventure can make the journey much more manageable and even enjoyable. We seek adventure and try things that we’ve never done before in hope of discovering something new about the world—about people or history or religion or culture. Life-change can do the same thing and, really, what we end up discovering is a new part of our self.


Interested in following along with the rest of Janna's virtual book tour or ordering the book? I've got you covered!

VIRTUAL TOUR DATES:


Many thanks to Janna for sharing her story. I've read the book cover-to-cover and have already implemented some of her tips to help in my own quest for health. Though her story is different than mine, I think her practical advice, non-nonsense tools and honest account of her journey can help anyone striving to be the best human being they can be—no matter what life throws your way.

Happy reading, friends. I hope you enjoy learning from Janna as much as I have!


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A Few Favorite TED Talks

FavoriteTEDTalks.jpg

While I'm always looking for ways to learn and be inspired, it seems as though we've hit a saturation point of sorts. There is such an incredible level of content availability thanks to the web and I'll be the first to admit, it can be tough to sift through. We all have favorite buckets of content that keep us thinking and moving forward—from books, magazines and television to websites, radio and apps—but none of it matters unless we do something with that information, right?

So, I've compiled a few TED Talks that have made me stop, think and take action in my everyday life:


Temple Grandin: The world needs all kinds of minds (Watch on TED.com)

This brilliant talk about the way people learn and see the world is fascinating. If you want to expand your own mind a bit, watch this video. It's made me really appreciate the way others learn, conduct themselves in business and view everyday circumstances. Bottom line? Our differences are a GOOD THING.


Drew Dudley: Everyday leadership (Watch on TED.com)

I absolutely love the ideas discussed in this TED talk. The concept that we all lead and make a difference every single day is incredibly refreshing. It certainly has me adjusting my thoughts about leadership and the ways in which I can be an agent for change.


Ben Saunders: Why bother leaving the house? (Watch on TED.com)

While Ben Saunders has taken the term "adventure" to the extreme (he walked alone—and unsupported—across the Arctic Ocean in 2004), you can't miss the message in this video: whether your adventure brings you to the edge or just outside your front door, why wouldn't you step out and experience life?


Curating a list of inspirational finds is easy, my friends. Doing something with the information you've gleaned and lessons you've learned is another. Even if the action is small, I figure it's a step in the right direction. Don't you think? 

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So tell me: what inspires you to take action of even the smallest kind? 


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13 Ways to Get In the Holiday Spirit

13 Ways to Get Into the Holiday Spirit

There's just something special about this time of year. The rain finally started to fall early this morning (we've had a pretty dry autumn around here) and I can't help but cross my fingers for more. The chill to the air makes time spent inside so cozy and the promise of a little snow in the mountains (I'm serious. Cross those fingers for us, okay?) has me dreaming of winter adventures. 

13 Ways to Get Into the Holiday Spirit

Here are a 13 ways I'm enjoying life as 2013 starts winding down:

  1. Gathering the necessary ingredients to make my home smell delicious.
  2. Brewing lavender tea, thanks to goodies I've stashed away from the Lamm Farm.
  3. Making the holiday rum balls early so they have time to "rest" in the fridge. Yum.
  4. Learning just how easy it is to make your own brown sugar. I mean... come on.
  5. Taking walks in the early evening with my husband and our pup Hank -- even though it's dark outside.
  6. Using eucalyptus and steam to help ward off the sniffles.
  7. Pinning holiday inspiration like a mad woman.
  8. Making comfort food with an autumn-inspired twist.
  9. Creating and buying handmade gifts for family and friends.
  10. Gearing up for another snowshoeing adventure and promising my husband that I will take more snowboarding lessons this winter.
  11. Wishing we could find a friend for Hank the way we found one for our beloved Zen a few years back. Puppies at Christmastime are the best.
  12. Actively looking for friends who are up for hot chocolate dates at my favorite spot in town. Three words: European Sipping Chocolate. 
  13. Decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving. While I despise how the holiday shopping season continues to creep toward Thanksgiving, I don't see anything wrong with putting up a few early twinkle lights. Do you?

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So what has you loving the season? Any fun adventures planned as the temperatures start to drop or are you content to cozy up by a warm fire? Either way, I vote for closing down 2013 with equal parts inspiration, love and adventure. Who's with me?


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