Skip to content

Learning from living in Alaska for 20 Years

  1. The relationship you build with a place can be as or even more powerful than any relationship you have with another human being

Despite the common saying that no matter where you go, there you are paints a picture that you can’t hide from yourself, I believe that the fact that you’re going or you’re exploring, even if the sole purpose is to hide, helps to make you a better person. The experiences you have with place change you, and sometimes, in a split second. For me, I’ve learned you can have a very powerful relationship with place just like you can have a relationship with people. Like all meaningful relationships, it takes work to love where you are, and more importantly, who you are in that environment; for me, I am no longer convinced that you are the same person regardless of where you are, just like you are not the same person with human relationships.

IMG_3251

Read more…

Finding my words

I’ve been struggling with pushing the publish button for a bit yet again, and to combat that, I’ve been looking for new motivation to hang on my bathroom mirror to replace the other ones that were once my daily mantras. I was on the phone with a close friend yesterday who told me that she loves my writing and I exhaled the compliment out with a full body reaction. I didn’t ask for the compliment or bring up writing; I didn’t mention my current struggle, and yet the compliment was there for me. My shoulders sagged as I couldn’t remember the last time I wrote something real. Her words reminded me that I’m a little lost when I’m not putting words together. Not in the grand sense, but I can feel it.

It’s not that I haven’t been writing; I’ve actually been writing a lot for work and it’s incredible because I will be a published writer soon and I won’t complain about that, but I think I put writing into categories or folders if you will, and right now, the therapeutic one is pretty empty. The truth is that it scares me to know that if I don’t do it here, I won’t do it, and if I don’t, then it just goes away, disappearing into the disposal with all of my other lost words.

I’m not a disciplined writer, or one who is writing as a career. I don’t do research to become a better writer; I just have this slightly nagging feeling that I’m suppose to be doing it. This might be why I get a little satisfaction out of one well written sentence, comment, or a bumper sticker thought. I don’t have to be on the mark, but then, sometimes, I do. I fall on my tongue every day to find entry points with others or simply try to be empathetic and I’m fine with making mistakes so why is it that I struggle with just rambling to ramble with my writing?

They say that you get better at writing by doing it. The message for myself this evening is that the little pieces mean something.

dd966d201cb4c1d5af4150a67430a0db

 

Finding my Skate Ski Legs

Sometimes, I loathe the journey, and appreciate the destination much more. This is particularly true with something like skate skiing. Every year, my skate ski season starts off the same: I watch these YouTube skate ski drill videos that my friend gave me years ago and then I go out for my first skate ski to attempt to master those drills because unlike a lot of skiers, I can’t just put my skate skis on, and go off into the wilderness with glory; my first skate ski is about getting my skate legs back, and typically, that involves me working to remember the techniques that make skate skiing fun. It doesn’t matter if I’ve done a bunch of other snow sports prior because there is nothing like skate skiing for my body.

Today’s drill was no different except Mother Earth threw in some wind, lumpy conditions, and quite a few falls that involved me thinking my skate skis could glide over pine cones. It wasn’t pretty; however, as long as I reach the destination, I’m ok with the fact that I don’t particularly enjoy doing the drills. I try to focus on the other things that I do enjoy such as being outside, and having the ability to be on my skis again. I think about how lucky I am to even be able to go skiing in the first place. Through each drill, I concentrate on the purpose of them which is to get to that feeling of head to toe skating motion-smooth, rhythmic, and graceful. And then I fall again.

By the end of it, I always gain my skate legs back and that is the goal. I repeat this journey every year, and every year, I am thankful because the next time I go out, maybe I won’t skate off into the wilderness in a blaze of glory, but I will certainly have my skate legs on, and then, I’ll be able to enjoy both the journey as well as the destination.

FullSizeRender

Lost in Navigation: Biking Scotland

P1000852

Start of the John Muir Way, Scotland

Here’s the first thing you should know about me: I don’t really know how to travel. I just go and figure it out, and most of the time, it’s in the moment. Second thing: I love biking. Even though I don’t, I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to spend most of my time biking because moving from one spot to another on two wheels makes sense to me than most things. We fit like gloves. There is no problem that can’t be solved by sweating, and for me, if I’m sweating on a bike, it is THE magic maker. Third thing: I have a very poor sense of direction. I don’t know who to blame for that, but I know I can’t blame my parents so even though I terribly want to give an excuse for why it hasn’t improved with age, I simply own that about myself. This third thing is what makes travel even more of an experiment for me. Now, people argue with me, suggesting that I should just use my smartphone. It’s what everyone is doing. While this seems like a simple solution, I prefer to remain unplugged during my travels, and if I am always on my phone trying to find my way around, I won’t feel unplugged at all. I try to go on a vacation from almost everything when I’m on vacation. Every now and then, I’ll roll up old-fashioned style to a desktop computer to see what’s happening on Facebook, but in general, I want to keep it simple. That’s how you make room for why you’re on vacation in the first place.

P1010144John Muir was a master at embracing being lost, and searching for more wild places so it seems fitting that Scotland’s route was full of challenges and surprises. When I set out to bike the John Muir Way (Scotland’s 135 mile, but add a lot more from being lost in navigation, coast to coast route from Helensburgh to Dunbar), I had no idea what to expect, but I knew for sure that I was going to get lost over and over and over looking for the very tiny purple signs posted along the route on stumps and posts high and low. Life. And when you are lost by yourself on a bike in the woods of a country you are not familiar with, somehow, you come out the other end a better person. This becomes a main objective in life-to get lost, to be bold, to make yourself slightly uncomfortable because most of the time, we rest in the meadow of safety and comfort.

Here are just a few shots from my trip.

Glasgow

Glasgow

P1000874

 

Sometimes, the signs were obvious

Sometimes, the signs were obvious

Blackness Castle

Blackness Castle

Sometimes, not so much

The route covered small dirt paths that weren’t always obvious

P1000923

Aqueduct

Aqueduct-the route also had a long stretch covering the canal

P1000900

This race slowed me down coming out of Edinburgh

This race slowed me down coming out of Edinburgh

Forth Bridge

Forth Bridge over Blackness Castle

The route covered old railway tracks

The route covered old railway tracks

P1000875

Castle on the Rock, Edinburgh

Castle on the Rock, Edinburgh

Scott's Monument

Scott’s Monument

The top!

The top!

P1010169

Becky's Strip

Becky’s Strip

 

Bass Rock

Bass Rock, North Berwick

Dunbar

Dunbar

Finish line at John Muir's Birthplace, Dunbar

Finish line at John Muir’s Birthplace, Dunbar

DREAM: For When Life Is Kicking Your Ass

       I found this short film from Films for Action to be good medicine this Monday morning. Cheers!

DREAM

http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/dream/

Image

Food for Thought

Carroll 2

Food for Thought

  

WOMEN'S MARCH ON ALASKA

The Alaskan Fight For Equal Rights

jianjiantracy

fishing, fishing gear, fishing tackle, lures & baits, amazon, amazon.com, fly fishing, trolling fishing, fishing worm, fishing grubs

Your Instructional Coach

Not about what's wrong, but what's next.

Strucknwords

Travel, Alaska, Words, Life, Love.......the mood I'm In

Gamintraveler

Travel Guides and Digital Nomad Lifestyle

Explore America with Kids

So much to see, so little time....

TravellersPlanet

Travel, Alaska, Words, Life, Love.......the mood I'm In

%d bloggers like this: