The Road Just Ended

And then the road just ended. No fanfare. No signs. No warning. She just stopped. On the arctic circle at the edge of the world, pushing every last geographical and spiritual boundary available, the road fades out.

Finding My Edges In Iceland

I board a plane tomorrow, bound for Iceland.

In my backpack I've stuffed a tent + tent footprint, sleeping pad, sleeping bag + liner, and a blow-up pillow. To camp. In a snowy arctic winter. In the wilderness (campgrounds don't open for another 6-8 weeks). And I'll be there for a month. And I'm doing all of it solo. Oh yeah, and I've only camped four times in my life. All four times in my parent's backyard. 

As I'm counting the hours before I leave...it's only now occurring to me that this is all sort of crazy. 

On Loving Strangers

Velta, the teeny tiny tough-as-nails Latvian grandma I've shacked up with for three months, has taught me profound lessons on resourcefulness and survival. I'm now realizing she's also taught me the beauty of sharing your life with strangers.

I don't mean blogging about my adventures, splashing them on Facebook for whomever to see. I mean intimately sharing your weird day to day life. With someone you barely know and cannot actually speak to. For months. And loving it. And loving them. And being open to all of the randomness that ensues.

On Bathing as Luxury

Here's the thing: Sitting naked on a stone cold floor in a primitive cabin on the other side of the world - bathing admittedly like a Victorian whore - puts your life into perspective pretty quickly. It was a microcosmic moment that perfectly summed up my feelings about Latvia. 

On the Power of Food

My whole attitude for my three months Latvia was set to the speed of I Can Figure This Out. 

No plumbing? Okay, I can figure this out. Fire for heat? Alright, I can figure this out. Water from a well to bathe in a small metal basin? I'm in, let's figure this out. So there I was, waking up groggy and peering into an empty fridge. It was my first nudge from The Universe. I also get to figure out how to feed myself in the simplest of ways. I certainly got what I asked for. 

On Arriving

I will never forget my first view of Latvia.

Peering out the window of my airplane, a tidal wave of excitement and panic washed over me: Somewhere deep in those woods is my little off-grid homestead. What am I doing with my life? Oh man, Imma needta figure ma shit out real quick.

On Leaving

No one has perfected the art of leaving like travelers. We live our lives in a constant state of leaving somewhere, leaving someone. I've learned to never say goodbye, just "I'll see you later." I sat with thoughts of leaving for many hours on my flights around the world. I realized something.

Leaving feels like firsts and it feels like fear. 

Finding my edges in Latvia.

Last year I radically purged my life and chose to travel indefinitely because I want to find my edges. I want to question them and challenge them. Then I want to push past them. 

My solo trip around the world is motivated by an obsession to redefine what I think is possible, what I think I’m capable of. So I've decided to go full Hemingway. I'm spending three frozen months in the isolated Latvian countryside in an off-grid house. Seems like that’ll do the trick. 

Gratitude: An Ode To The Weirdest Thanksgiving Ever.

It’s 6:07 pm and 91 degrees outside. Beads of sweat bubble up at every pore, as they’ve been doing since the moment I landed in Montezuma, Costa Rica. 

My knee caps are sweating. I’m standing barefoot and braless in the grungy bathroom of a grungy hostel, attempting to wash all seven of my underwear in a tiny bucket set inside the grungy sink. I’m using the dwindling bar of lavender castile soap I’ve hauled around since I left for Indonesia more than three months ago. 

Happy Thanksgiving. 

A Love Letter to Bali

Both metaphorically and literally, I came to Bali to be stripped. Intentionally, delicately, fiercely stripped. I came to Bali to challenge every drop of ego and pretense I held dear. I came to Bali to heal.

My time on The Island of the Gods has been a firestorm of transformation. Just over five weeks later, I don’t recognize myself. My love letter to Bali is one of gratitude for the lessons she taught me, or reinforced, or drilled into my stubborn brain. Either way, the lessons are the thing. 

A trek into Bali's iconic rice paddies

"Just a small trek," my private guide for the day Pak Putu said.

"Small trek..." I asked, somewhat suspiciously. "Small trek, to see rice paddies like the birds," he said matter of factly. We climbed up up up the side of the mountain, navigated delicately along the canal system perched along the ridge line. 

At one point an 8-year old Balinese girl went flying past us, giggling, running up the mountain as she likely does many times a day. I felt pretty lame as I stopped to take a photo and catch my breath.