For the One

I had stayed up way too late for a work night, scrolling through pictures and stories that tugged at my heart. I read through reports of orphaned newborn babies receiving a safe place to stay and women presented with hope in the midst of suffering. All of this started to shift my perspective on the concept of travel. It began to adjust the way I viewed my own wanderlust.

The 47 Parks trip I took last year was very me-focused, and, despite my love for personal adventures, I realized that it was time to direct my attention and resources towards others.

(Enter Iris Global Ministries)

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Village of Joy in Mozambique where I’ll be staying for most of my trip.

Located in northeastern Mozambique exists a missions base entitled Village of Joy. This remarkable place hosts a variety of ministries that serve the local community, and it happens to be the location of my next big trip. This time, I will choose to make any natural outdoorsy explorations my second priority – the beautiful Mozambican people will be the sole focal point of my stay.

So what will I be doing, exactly?

  • Supporting the Children’s Home (playing with, teaching, and loving kiddos)
  • Working in the Baby House
  • Volunteering in the Clinic
  • Assisting with any work projects
  • Joining established prison/hospital ministries
  • Helping in the Sewing School
Look at all these fun goodies I get to give away! (Much appreciated, friends)

A big thank-you to everyone who has supported this trip financially or donated useful items that I’ll take over with me. I eagerly anticipate reaching out in love and continuing my quest to explore the world.

Africa, here I come!

My crazy itinerary: The stars indicate places of significance where I’ll be spending a good chunk of time.

Backyard Magic (and a “Comfortable Runabout”)

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February is the month of introspection and restlessness. Typically winter lolls about like a tantrumming toddler, beating its fists and creating headaches all around.

This year feels different. Perhaps it’s the mild weather (78° anyone???), or maybe it’s due to the plethora of random activities in which I’ve been dabbling.* In any case, I’ve been venturing outdoors more than usual, exploring nearby places with a renewed sense of vigor.

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Calm and (relatively) clean.

A metaphorical stone’s throw from my abode, The Cross County Trail cuts 40 miles through the entire county of Fairfax. This fascinating path crosses around and under surburbia, including well-populated areas and interstates. What a feat!

My walk/hike was muddy, sunshine-y, and friendly. People smiled at me in passing. I felt protected by a little envelope of trees, grass, running water, logs, and rocks. It was amazing to discover natural wonders so close to my own backyard.

And when it’s time to journey further, I’ve got a new set of wheels.

Honda CR V (Comfortable Runabout Vehicle). His name is Sherwin… it means “swift like wind”.

Unfortunately, my dear Honda Civic hydroplaned, spun-out, and then became a total loss. It’s been a rough year for him (see Accident of the Deer #1), I mourn his passing.

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Cray-zee, right?

In the meantime, near or far, I am confident that I will continue engaging with all things beautiful in our natural world!

* Axe-throwing, roller skating, etc.


Bye Bye, Clarence

I gathered the paper work and removed the key from my ring. I knew this day would come, and was prepared both logistically and emotionally. A mere week after posting Clarence’s adorable picture on Craigslist, I had found a buyer.

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One last moment together

A little over a year ago, I purchased this teardrop trailer (affectionately named Clarence) in hopes of having a cozy haven during my national parks tour. Clarence and I have had some incredible adventures together, traveling cross-country and tallying up the miles.

Throwback pic: Love at first site at the RV dealership (May 2016)

I’ll sure miss the lil’ stinker, but I’m relieved that he’ll be going to an excellent home. Clarence’s new owner, Nancy, is ready to tote him along on various excursions; she is thrilled to have such a well-traveled teardrop to call her home away from home.

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Passing the baton (aka keys)

So long Clarence. Good luck in your next phase of life.

Thanks for all the good times and for being the best teardrop trailer a girl could ask for. #NeverForget

My (Literal) Run-In with Bambi

If you recall, I almost hit a bear in North Cascades.

In Wisconsin, I wasn’t as lucky with my wildlife avoidance.

There I was, cruising down the highway, looking forward to crawling into my camper for a good night’s sleep. According to my GPS, I was 5 minutes from my stopping point. I was alert, searching for my upcoming turn.

Quick as can be, a deer ran out in front of my car.

I was going 60 miles per hour.

I have no idea how fast he was running.

Once again, I slammed on the brakes, causing everything in my back seat to come flying forward.

I hit the deer smack dab in the middle of my car. He stumbled, got up, and limped off, giving me a nasty look along the way. I was somewhat shaken, but also relieved. I wasn’t hurt and the airbags didn’t deploy.

Then I noticed my engine was smoking.

Turns out there was quite a bit more damage than I initially thought.

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Poor Honda.

Darn it. I didn’t have cell reception, was in the middle of nowhere, and the closest town was about 35 miles back the way I came. I decided that I needed to get to civilization, cell service, and people who could offer assistance.

My engine had stopped smoking, so I began to drive slowly back the way I came. I made it only 2 miles before the fumes started up again, this time coming through the vents and making my nose wrinkle with the smell.

I pulled over, still in the middle of nowhere. I stood on the side of the road for about 10 minutes, my mind blank. Then I walked. There was a house nearby. I knocked on the door and waited.

A lovely family let me use their phone, their WiFi, and even offered me a beer. I had to call 4 tow trucks before someone would come and pick me up.

“You’re too small, we only tow big rigs.”

“You’re too long, we can’t tow your car and your trailer.”

“You’re too far from town.”

Finally, success!

“Ok. Be there in 30 minutes.”

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The following morning at the shop.

The next day, the damage was assessed and the insurance info worked out. My little Honda Civic is currently sitting in an auto shop, and will be there for one week. This definitely derailed my travel plans, but I’m rolling with the punches.

Luckily Clarence was unscathed.

Luckily I could be in much worse places than Superior, WI.


Teardrop Soapbox

like having a teardrop trailer. Clarence, my MyPod, is absolutely adorable.

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That being said, I’m not a big fan of paying big-rig prices for full hookups when all I need is a little heat at night. Most campsites have a flat rate regardless of the type of camper you have. It seems silly for me to pay the same amount as an energy-guzzling RV that could swallow 10 Clarences whole.

I understand that owning an RV park is a complicated business. I also think that people should start becoming more teardrop-aware of this growing minimalist trend of just needing a little electricity to stay warm (or cool) at night.

have run into places that offered cheaper prices for just electric, or who charged based on the amount of electricity used. Kudos to you.

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North Cascades

In the meantime, Clarence and I will continue spreading the word that bigger is not always better. In fact, smaller should mean cheaper.

Responding First

It’s been quite a week.

I was ice-climbing in Vermont and fell on my ice-pick, resulting in a pneumothorax.

I was mountain biking in Utah, acquired a head injury when I crashed, and then fractured my wrist.

I was horseback-riding in West Virginia when my loyal steed, Mr. Bojangles bucked me off, leaving a nasty bruise below my sternum and a twisted ankle.

JUST KIDDING… sort of.*

This is not real!

Back in October, I decided to sign up for a Wilderness First Responder course. For the past 10 days, I have spent countless hours learning how to provide medical care in the backcountry. It’s involved an inordinate amount of book-learning and countless real-world scenarios. I can confidently reduce an anterior shoulder dislocation, splint a wrist using a jacket, and treat high altitude cerebral edema. I brushed up on my CPR skills, learned about handling snake bites, and acquired a ton of other medical knowledge/skills.

The course was intense, but invaluable. Who knows when I’ll need to help out a fellow outdoor enthusiast during the second part of my trip? Who knows when I’ll need to provide skilled assistance to someone in an urban setting? Who knows when I’ll have to practice on myself?

Snapping a quick selfie with my CPR buddy, Actar

* I am, in fact, completely kidding. In the scenarios we acted out during the course, however, I played the patient who had all of these crazy, and unlucky, experiences.