Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Marriage of Cycle Touring & REI

What do you get when you marry a girl's passion for cycle touring with her love for everything REI?

Me -- a girl who loves cycle touring and REI.
(Photo: REI)

Need a hint? Do you recognize the girl on the right in the screenshot below?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Housesitting in Bellingham: A Photo Journal

I spend a majority of my time alternating between traveling and housesitting. While I greatly enjoy my travels, I look forward to my housesits as an opportunity to hunker down in one place, recharge my batteries, catch up on life logistics, and prepare for my next bout of travels.

I spent the months of April and May housesitting in Bellingham, about 90 miles north of Seattle. I watched over a large property in the country and took care of five kitties who lived on the property. I relished in the solitude, nature, and peace that country living proffers.

I settled into a nice daily routine -- yoga first thing in the morning, followed by a run, a bike ride, or a walk, an afternoon of being either entirely productive or productively leisurely, and a three-mile round-trip walk after dinner merely so I could smell the lilacs (and later the roses) at the end of a nearby road. I also spent a lot of time Bathing in the Forest, noticing the tiny details in nature (the tadpoles growing fatter and fatter each day) as well as the more macro ones (the snow melting on the nearby peaks as green filled in the trees). There were days that passed when I didn't talk to anyone except for myself and the kitties.

Exploring the Country

It was a 20-mile roundtrip bike ride to and from the grocery store.
I didn't mind the ride, especially since I got to see this
dreamy view of Mt Baker every time I approached the property.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Adventure Cycling thru the Black Hills

The Adventure Cycling season is about to kick off for me. I'm thrilled to be staffing three trips this summer. In honor of the season kick-off, I am sharing a post about my August 2016 Adventure Cycling trip through the Black Hills. This post is ten months belated; I had written this post last fall, but apparently neglected to publish it.

Anyone hungry for some pie?

Holly, awesome rider extraordinare,
is excited to dig into a bull pie.

In August 2016, I staffed a fully-supported event for Adventure Cycling through the Black Hills of South Dakota. I had never been to the Black Hills before, and so the territory was all new to me.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Boxes & Boundaries

Boxes and boundaries. We've all got 'em.

Our boxes contain our current capabilities, comfort zones, thoughts, and beliefs. As it is often just outside of our boxes that we grow physically, mentally, and spiritually, we are encouraged to "think outside of the box," "push beyond our comfort zones," or as my yoga teacher says, "play the edge."

Our boundaries, on the other hand, are limits we set for ourselves. They are established as a means of self-protection and should be reverently respected.

Boxes & boundaries.

I've spent a lot of my time focusing on my boxes -- growing them, and, in turn, growing me. It's only in the last few years I've turned my attention towards my boundaries.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Bathing in the Forest

How is your Japanese? Mine is pretty lousy. I only know two terms:

yama gāru (山ガール)
shinrin-yoku (森林浴)

The first term translates to "mountain girl." It refers to a trend in Japan in which it is fashionable for young women to dress in functional and colorful outdoorsy clothing. I was told I looked like a yama gāru when I traveled to Japan for work a few years back. I was sporting my I-work-for-a-Seattle-tech-company "uniform" -- jeans, trail shoes, a merino wool sweater, and my bright red Gore-Tex jacket. I was flattered; for the first time in my life, I was fashionable.

The second term describes something I love to do: "take a forest bath." This isn't the strip-down-to-your-bare-skin-and-bathe-in-a-forest-stream kind of bath. No siree. This term refers to the medicinal qualities of being amongst trees.

I love bathing in forests.
(Photo: Ferit Fındık)

As an avid reader, I'm often surprised how certain books seem to magically appear in my life at just the right times. For the last little while, I had been grappling with the take-aways from my Baja trip: I didn't enjoy being in the desert landscape, and I didn't enjoy mountain biking. But I like nature, and I like biking. So what gives?