Looking Up

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The Badlands: Storm’s a-brewin’ (Fall 2016)

Looking up.

Aggressive sunrises,

Dappled clouds.

Hypnotic blues, grays, and in-betweens.

Sunsets that steal the show,

A finale that receives accolades

and encores.

While stars creep in, a vast party that

Pulses with old light

Eyes search out for splendor,

Sky that grounds me.

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Grand Tetons: Wispy clouds (Fall 2016)

Throughout my travels, both national and abroad, I have always made a point to look up. Depending on weather patterns, the time of day, and other factors that I might pretend to understand, the sky can be pretty darn fascinating. It remains an adjusting constant that gently pulls my attention from the goings-on at ground-level. Whether city or country, mountains or beach, day or night, I have always enjoyed the limitlessness that the atmosphere has to offer, unhindered by grids or grounds.

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Great Sand Dunes: A delightful sunset (Summer 2016)

Lately, the winter weather has put a damper on my spirits, weighing me down with an in-between grogginess. A white blanket of snow would be fantastic! Or perhaps a warm, balmy day? Instead, it seems that the chilly rain and foggy haze is intent on putting a pause on outdoor adventures. Yet even on the “worst” of days, I can go outside, in the middle of suburbia, and spot a big, round, full moon that seems to smile back at me. I can spot a sunrise orb peeking out in between buildings, ready to warm up my earth for a little that day. I can watch cirrus clouds wisp through the air, waving as they cascade across my viewpoint.

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Antigua, Guatemala (Summer 2018)

Yes, the sky is quite phenomenal, a pleasant reminder of the beautiful and ever-changing world.

Looking up has its advantages.

You should try it more often.

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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
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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!

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

New Orleans and Bayou Recap

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Such ambiance!

Length of Stay:

  • 4 days, 4 nights

Highs:

  • Kayaking in the Bayou
  • Exploring the unusual cemeteries
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Above-ground stone crypts

Lows:

  • Spending more money than I had originally anticipated

Favorite Hike:

  • Bayou Coquille Trail and March Overlook (at Jean Lafitte NP)
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Just a lil’ gator

Favorite Treat(s): [so many!]

  • Beignets
  • Seafood gumbo
  • Aligator meat po’boy
  • Crawfish étouffée fries
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Crawfish étouflée fries

 

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.

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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.

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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

Teardrop Soapbox

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

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Glacier

 

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.