By temperament, I am a traveler. I crave the freedom to roam, immersion into unfamiliar cultures, and spending my time working directly with people. In 2007 I started a one year adventure in Alaska that turned into five years in a blink of an eye. Alaska took me by surprise. I fell in love with the summers of hiking mountains, exploring the backcountry, and canoeing in open lakes. I equally fell for the winters of skate skiing across city trails, ice skating on frozen lakes, and camping at 10 degrees. Even work was exciting as I got to visit over 15 rural communities around the state. But after four years I had slowly settled into a life that was comfortable and routine. I felt my mind becoming still and unchallenged, my heart becoming numb, and my creativity suffocated and lackluster. I knew it was time to prepare for my next adventure: A year of traveling the lower 48 states and then New Zealand.

As I got ready to leave Alaska, I had so many friends, and coworkers say “you are so brave and adventurous. I wish I could do something like that!” The truth of the matter is that they can! And so can you, whether it be a month volunteering in a developing country, or a week exploring California's wine country, or even just a day hike to a waterfall in the mountains.

In essence, this is the purpose of my blog: to encourage, motivate and empower you to embrace the life of an explorer.

Now, my life is a new kind of adventure. And the one I feel to be the most important. My heart has been called to settle in these East Tennessee Mountains, to be grounded, and to invest in and create community. In the past two years, we have become committed bee keepers, yoga instructors, mountaineers, builders, rock climbers, and land owners. I hope to share these adventures with you in the months to come!

North America » United States » Tennessee » Knoxville February 4th 2017

Fear and consternation surged across my skin like a tingling rash. I stared forward, barely noticing the red light through the bug scarred windshield. I was frozen, like a deer in the headlights as I rode out the long silence with a self-lamenting panic. Frank and I had been together only a matter of weeks when he asked if I would be his mountaineering partner. For him, alpine climbing was a fantastic childhood dream that was now within reach. He grew up reading about Mallory and Irvine, fantasizing of scaling remote peaks, imagining what it would be like to stand where so few humans have dared to go. Hoping to one day have a partner to grow with, to explore with, and to share that intimate journey and process with. From the driver seat, I sensed ... read more
North Cascades
Fall at the Fire Tower
Mary Knoll

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Hanmer Springs July 28th 2016

Where does the time go? It feels like just two months ago I was driving from Invercargill to Dunedin, stopping in between to see wild, Yellow Eyed Penguins in their natural nesting grounds (which I did see by the way!). But it hasn't been two months. It has been nine months. NINE MONTHS since I was last in New Zealand; since I last sent a postcard; and shamefully since I have last written a blog. Where did the months go?! So that cat is out of the bag: I am not longer living in New Zealand. Life threw me on an entirely different path, one that brought me back to the United States and back to Tennessee of all places. The past year and a half have been one of coming full circle. It is a ... read more
Yoga Room View
Acro Star!

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch July 31st 2015

The skyline lingers with hundreds of cranes maneuvering, their necks through the clouds in a methodological fashion. The sidewalks downtown are in shambles, as pedestrian paths are barricaded, rerouted, and covered in construction zones by repurposed connex boxes. Buildings hunch over, innards exposed as theirs bricks pile on the ground below, as if the quake had shaken the city the day prior. Behind wooden fences, chain-linked fences, and green mesh barriers, cathedrals and churches stand devastated and forgotten as if the apocalypse had come and gone. "Don't waste your time on Christchurch," I overheard one traveler tell another on a boat in Kaikoura. In a cafe in Lake Tekapo, I heard a German traveler telling another not to bother stopping in Christchurch, "It is just a city demolished by the earthquake," He said. "It will be ... read more
Sheep: They're What's for Dinner.
Faces of Regret in the Botanical Gardens
Re:Start Mall

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Canterbury June 15th 2015

I was standing in the kitchen when I first laid eyes on her. She wore a vibrant blue jacket and an infectious smile. Her hair was a light brown and pronounced itself to the word in waves of fizzy curls to her shoulders. She carried a huge pack as if it were a sack of bread loaves. In one hand, she had a reusable grocery bag full of veggies and in the other a bottle of red wine. In the first few seconds of seeing her, I knew three things to be true: 1. If I cut my hair short, that is what would happen. 2. She's got a bit a crazy in her. 3. We are going to be friends. Linda is from the US and traveling for six weeks on her own before going ... read more
Travel Companion Besties!
I had too….
Onesie boat tours.

Golden Bay is a little piece of heaven tucked away in the northwest corner of the South Island. To get there, you have to drive through the Nelson Region, past Motueka and the Abel Tasman National Park. You huff and puff over the Takaka Hill elevation 790 Meters (almost 2,600 ft). Just when you think your old goat can't make it anymore, you feel a lightness overcome you. Whether it be exhaustion from the climb or the view spread out before you, you force yourself to pull over and get out of the car. You've made it to the top. Beams of raw sunlight spread out in parallel lines before you. Cumulous clouds shift and swell slightly as if dangling from the strings of a mobile in the sky, almost close enough to touch, yet so ... read more
Farewell Spit and Golden Bay
Foraging Pukeko
My Humble Abode

"Oughhhhhh." I exhaled in unrelenting disgust. "It smells like a dead body..." I plopped my pack down on the nearby picnic table and vigorously scanned my surroundings. The open area was the length and shape of a skating rink. A brush line of palms, rata trees, and ferns rimmed a grassy lawn so immaculate any suburban homeowner would kill for. The Heaphy Hut stood on the far side of this manmade carpet like an image from a realty poster. "It probably is," Agathe responded in her French accent, thoroughly engrossed in the wooden informational board overlooking the mouth of the Heaphy River. After a pause, she peered into the heavy brush to her right as if expecting to find the rotting corpse of a fellow tramper. Determined to find the source of the smell, my eyes ... read more
Bridge Crossing
Start of the Heaphy
Scott's Beach

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » West Coast » Karamea May 12th 2015

The sensation of a bath getting hotter by the second rather than cooler is psychologically invigorating. The scolding water trickles from a board under my bum and up the sides of the tub. Like a frog slowly coming to a boil, I acclimate to the increasing of temperature. How much more can I stand it? I think to myself. I smile at the challenge, but I know I am not capable of boiling alive. Just in case, the cool tap water waits in the hose fixed above the bath. I close my eyes and feel a few more bubbles of heat swim across my sides as they rise. Thanks to a massive cyclone that came through the area a year ago, I can see the stars rise through the brush. Three huge Nikau palm trees tower ... read more
View from the Paddock
The Beach

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Motueka April 30th 2015

#1 Be part of the family For four weeks, I lived and worked at Mountian Apple Farm as a WWOOFer. WOOFing or World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms, is a network where individuals volunteer 4-6 hours a day in exchange for learning about organic farming while being provided room and board). My hosts, Barbara and Rob, were so welcoming. They opened their lives to me and made feel at home. I became fully immersed in their lifestyle: helping make dinner and cleaning up afterward. After working in the gardens and orchards, we spent the nights watching Kiwi movies in the living room and went to their Tuesday night yoga class. On Thursday, Rob took me to an open mic night at the Park Cafe and we both performed and danced, and other nights we played music ... read more
Rob, Barbara and Felix
Brooklyn Valley
Helga's daydreaming

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Picton April 10th 2015

While spending four months living the life of a city dweller in Wellington, I constantly felt the draw of the South Island. Subconsciously I put it off. I told myself it was inconvenient, and it was too much money to visit for just a weekend or a week. I had plenty of time. Besides, I knew that I couldn't just visit the South Island. I had to live it. Living in Wellington, snuggled up to the dining room table with a coffee in hand, I spent endless hours filling out job applications. For each application, I spent an average of five hours perfecting a cover letter. I would reorganize my CV for each one, highlighting appropriate skills and deleting others where necessary. The jobs I chose to apply to were ones that I craved to fill. ... read more
Shameless Selfie on the Ferry.
The Road
Emerald water

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Wellington » Carterton January 17th 2015

You may be surprised to know that there is a Stonehenge Aotearoa constructed to mirror the celestial sphere of the southern hemisphere. I was, and I had to go see it for myself. On our final weekend of vineyard sitting in Martinborough, my two friends James and Katharina came to visit. The four of us set out on an adventure: we went wine tasting, exploring the Stonehenge, and to a pick your own (PYO) lavender farm. We started our adventure on a drive in the wrong direction. The small bumble bee of a car took us over steep hills that looked over valleys for kilometers. We dipped into trenches of heavy growth and rock faces, only to come out and see fields with white cotton balls littering the surface. Then we turned around and did the ... read more
Framed Views

Tot: 0.141s; Tpl: 0.014s; cc: 26; qc: 135; dbt: 0.0231s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.7mb