Weekly Adventures and Ponderings along the Way

Please join me on my weekly adventures as a busy mom, wife, adventurer, and business woman. My life is always on the go. It gets hectic, crazy but also filled with a lot of love, passion and excitement along the way. This is my life, and I want to share my adventures, experiences, thoughts with you as a way to connect. Please feel free to leave a comment. I love hearing from you and I’ll reach back out to you!

I’m sharing a weekly adventure big or small that I’ve had each week, to help keep you motivated on having your own adventures. Adventures also give lots of good insights and realizations so as inspiration I’ll be sharing those throughout the week.

If there’s anything you would like me to write about, please drop me a line. I’m happy to support you in your adventures!

Slowing Down On The Trail

I honestly had no idea what I was getting into when I decided to sign up for a trip to the Everest Base Camp. This had been a goal of mine for half my life. There was the elusiveness and beauty of the Himalayas that I couldn’t deny. I had trained, bought non-refundable tickets and obsessed over the packing. It was my time to go.

I wasn’t exactly sure what trekking in the Himalayas at such altitude was like. I was excited to have my first experience in high altitude and to be around the tallest mountains in the world. I was finally going to see first hand the mountains I spent so much of my life staring at in books and magazines. It seemed surreal that it was finally happening. There was nothing that could have prepared me for the richness of the experience.

#Trekking #Nepal #Himalayas #steepslope #snow #TheBrazenAdventuress #mountains #adventure

As our flight took off through Himalayan mountain passes on our way to Lukla, the “gateway to Everest”, I was first gripped by the reality of the situation I got myself into. Our guide told us we would be trekking much higher than the plane was flying. I quickly realized that modest mountains of the northeast were no comparison to the Himalayas. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but this certainly wasn’t it. I quickly wanted the plane to turn back around to Kathmandu, but this wasn’t an option. I was committed.

After our stop at a tea house to check over gear, we were on our way. The trail led through small local villages and small fields where families worked. Quickly the trail started to lead upward, passing over rushing water of the river below, way below.  Only slabs of wood, wire and rope, and of course, prayer flags kept us from peril. Looking up, the green, lush landscape slowly turned to coarse rock, snow and ice. Each stopping point gave us a greater view of how low we actually were and how much higher we had to go. The height we still had to climb, coupled with the lack of oxygen made base camp just seem like an improbable destination. Our group joked that there is no such thing as ‘down hill’ in Nepal. I’m sure this is true!

#Nepal #Himalaya #DudhKosiRiver #river #rushingwater #bridge #TheBrazenAdventuress

 

As the air became thinner, our walking (and talking of course!) became slower. Our pace slowed to what seemed a crawl. I had no idea I could actually walk this slow. On one of our many rest breaks, our guide had pointed upwards to where we were going to stop for lunch that day. It was about three hill traverses upward. The distance seemed like it would take us all day at best.

The doubt of my abilities started to creep in. I had no idea how it would be plausible to do this length of distance, upward and in altitude by lunch.  Our guide assured us that this wouldn’t be a problem and we would easily get there in time for our daal and tea. So on we went. One step, then another and then a few more, and then stop to catch our breath. The slow, rhythmic pace continued on for most of the morning. Then there were no more hill traverses, only the rhythm of our steps to our breath.

#Himalayas #clouds #blue sky #Nepal #TheBrazenAdventuress #Trekking #hiking #adventure #mountains #snow

Trekking Above The Clouds

Out of nowhere, tucked away on the mountain side, emerged a tea house and a small village. Our cups flowed with Darjeeling tea and our legs got a rest.  Sitting, basking in the sun at its height, it was incomprehensible to me that we were able to trek the distance we did, while going so slow. I felt that I accomplished something huge that day, but the biggest lesson I learned was about how slowing down actual help us to move ahead quicker.  Imagine if I hiked faster than my ability, I’d probably be hunched over a rock someplace lower down trying to catch my breath and feeling too exhausted to make it to the tea house.

#Himalayas #Trekking #Bluesky #Nepal #snow #TheBrazenAdventuress #Adventure #Mountains

Living in a world of rush, I couldn’t understand how slow actually got you somewhere. In our western world, fast equates to being first, getting somewhere, or doing something for optimal results Going slow on the other hand usually equates to not getting anywhere or getting anything done. It made me reexamine what slow really means. I could certainly think of more than a few times that I was late, and with my rushing, only slowed me down because I made mistakes or forgot something. There were times when I went too fast or did too much, only to burn myself out and feel frazzled at the end.

As someone that loves Buddhist philosophy and ways of living, I read and studied importance of mindfulness and focusing on the present. I remembered watching a documentary about Thich Nhat Hanh demonstrating the effectiveness of walking meditation and how to do this in our everyday life, not just as a meditation practice. He demonstrated this walking to different destinations in a city and showed how it is possible to be mindful and present even in a city getting from point A to B.  I remember thinking how incredible this was and how it would be amazing to be able to apply this to my life. I never fully grasp this concept and ability to be so fully present in each step until this day. I I like to call it slowing down to speed up. By slowing down our speed in our mind or physically, we are able to speeding up productivity, creativity, but also or amplifying enjoyment out of our experiences in life. It’s about knowing how to not just get through those busy days but in a way that you know you handle.

#Mt.AmaDablam #Nepal #Himalaya #TheBrazenAdventuress #trekking #snow #bluesky #mountains #adventure

In the end, the trip was not about the destination at all. It was about my experience, a trail, and a lesson I needed to learn. The base camp came as an exciting experience, but the true experience was the one I had on the trail.

How To Adventure In the Extreme Cold

It has been a crazy couple weeks with weather in New England. First we went through a couple weeks of temps in the single digits only warming up from tim to time to the double digits. Then fourteen inches of snow followed the next few days by negative temperatures, two days dipping down to -15 F.

If you don’t know what -15 F feels like, imagine walking into a large restaurant freezers, or even your own freezer, and then subtracting another fifteen degrees off of that, then take a big fan and start blowing the cold air towards you and there you have -15 with windchill.

Welcome to New England!

You may be wondering what the hell do you do when it is that cold other than hibernate and pray the pipes don’t burst from the cold.

Here is how to STILL get adventure into your life, even when it’s freezing out.

If you are crazy enough to want to actually get outdoors to adventure when it’s -15 F out, make sure you are properly dressed. This means, no cotton. Cotton gets cold and wet and doesn’t dry easily causing an increase in possible hypothermia.  Wear wool, polypro, cool dri, wick away material instead. Dress in layers, even face covered, and outer layer including shoes should be waterproof. Bring extra clothes with you.

Bring extra people with you. Don’t go alone in this extreme cold in case of an emergency. Always know where you are at all times and DO NOT deviate from the trail. Know where there is shelter along the route and let others know your route and when to expect you back to your car or home. Always carry an extreme weather emergency kit with you. Bring hot liquids with you to keep your insides warm and hydrated.

For those less inclined for outdoor adventure in this extreme cold, here’s how to still get in your adventures……

Get to your local climbing, crossfit, boxing gym. If you haven’t tried one of these before, an adventure could be trying a new type of workout for the first time. You can also give yoga, pilates, or HIIT workout in your own home if you don’t feel like heading out to a class.

Experiment with a new activity. This could be trying a new recipe, artistic creation or figuring out how to reorganize/declutter a room in your house. It could be even more adventurous by changing the wall color or rearranging a room.

Plan your next adventurous trip you want to take when the temperatures warm up. This could be a new trail to try at your local hiking spot or coming up and planning your dream adventurous vacation.

Read or watch an adventure movie. Touching The Void and The Mountain In Between are both suspenseful!

For the kids....

You can bring them with you to the climbing gym, or try yoga out at home together. Have a pillow fight, or make a pretend campfire in the living room. Turn off the lights and tell scary stories. Of course marshmellows and chocolate should be included. Come up with your own imaginary adventure with your kids. Maybe it is a trip to the jungle, climbing a mountain  or playing pirates (my son’s personal favorite).

Adventures don’t have to be just for the outdoors. There are many types of adventures and sometimes when it is hard to get outdoors, the most creative adventures can happen at home!

Keep Adventuring!

 

 

How To Adventure During Holidays

It is the time of year when a lot of us get busy with holiday and New Years plans.  When we get busy in life, this is the most important time to take care of ourselves and put aside time for adventure. It helps us clear our minds, become energized and have some reflection time. 

We can fit in adventure when things are so busy, when we are visiting or are visited by friends and family.

Here's how! 

Talk to your friends and family and see if they want to go out with you for a walk, hike, snowshoe. It's best to talk to them ahead of time to have the activity as something that you all want to do instead of suggesting it last minute when things are already really busy. Planning ahead can make the activity more of a priority.

Go early in the day. We all know that we may have the best of intentions to set out for that outdoor activity during the day, even when we have it planned into our day. BUT, then inevitably something comes up and it thwarts our plan and then before you know it, it's evening and your adventure never happened. When we get up and go, we will have more likelihood of getting in your outdoor activity. Even waking up 20 minutes early can help with this, and can make a huge difference in how your day goes! Then you're not having to worry about the crunch of trying to fit it in midday.

Add a tradition to your family or friend get together. Perhaps they would also like a New Years day hike, but never really thought about it. By you suggesting it, you have become the catalyst for getting more people out for adventures. It's something new that you can all share together that brings you closer. It may also become more than a new years tradition. It maybe is something you all do on a more regular basis. 

Make it time limited. When things are so busy, and then you bring up about going out for a hike, the initial answer may be "no" because it feels like there's no time. If you say, let's go for a hike for a half hour then this may seem more plausible and realistic when things are busy. 

Switch out an activity and replace it with an outdoor activity. If the idea is to go to the mall, or a movie, try suggesting a hike instead with hot chocolate after. Sometimes it is easy to get into routines, but when suggesting something new to do, it can prompt change. The change may be more enjoyable than the original plan. 

Give some of these a try to get more adventure into your holiday season or even during a busy time. 

Keep Adventuring!

Kristin

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Fears Keeping You Down? Here's How To Dream Big!


As we near the end of the year, most of us start taking inventory of how the year went and what we would like to do better with in the next year. Today I want to talk all about how to finally, once and for all, get over the fears you may have and start embarking on some of your dreams for your life. 

It is important to remember that fear acts as the overprotective friend that wants to keep us safe. Fear doesn't want anything bad or dangerous to happen to us. That is all very nice, BUT when we listen and follow what fear is saying to us, we will never move forward in our lives. If we can think about fear as this overprotective friend, it will help to take some of the power out of the fear and see it for what it is. It will also help take away some of the stigma around fear.

What would you say to an overprotective friend?? Would you listen to that friend all the time? Would you tell that friend to F@#$ off? Or, would you say thank you for trying to help me stay safe, but I also need to listen to what is right for myself? I think most friends would probably respond well to the third option. 

Once you've been able to acknowledge that fear is coming up around something you want to do, it is much easier to get on with the process of starting to make some positive changes for yourself. Often the acknowledging can be the scariest and hardest part of this whole thing. 

Look at your dream in terms of manageable steps. It would be too scary for most of us to go from one reality in our lives to another immediately. We would never make the changes we would want if it happened this way. Look at what you want and come up with a plan on how to start breaking down this goal into parts that you can manage. They may be a little out of your comfort zone, and maybe a little scary, but that's ok. This is how we grow as people! It's all about taking one small perhaps uncomfortable step out of your comfort zone to get to where you want to go. Even if you take three steps back, it is never failure. It's always learning. Sometimes our big dream is all about the learning that goes into making it happen! Keep learning and dreaming!

What's your dream? How are you planning to work through the fears to make it happen? I'd love to hear from you!



Prioritize Yourself and Your Adventures

 

With the holiday season starting next week, this is the perfect time to be talking about how we can still get out for adventures, do some of the things we love, and best of all, not feel guilty about it. It is so easy for most of us to get caught up in all there is to do around holiday season. I know I'm guilty!

This is why the time the new year roles around, we are exhausted. We've overeaten, especially on so many goodies. Yum! We've run from store to store, stayed up late and slept little. We are left feeling depleted. 

You deserve to be a priority in your life, no matter what! 

Even in the most busy times of the year it the most important time to prioritize ourselves and get outside. You are probably thinking, this is nearly impossible. Well, I'm here to tell you that it isn't impossible.

Here's why! 

When you prioritize yourself, even in the most busy times, you are setting yourself up for a successful day. When we get outdoors, we are more energized, we have more clarity and are more decisive in our decision making. This helps our day's to go by smoother, less stress filled, and enjoying the important moments instead of running around like a crazy lady. 

Here's how to make it happen! 

Create a game plan. Plan out your week. Then decide on how to prioritize yourself getting into the outdoors. When we look at the week as a whole, it can be easier to figure out how each of our days will look. This is when we can commit to the number of times you will get outdoors.

The night before, look at your next day, and find twenty minutes in your day, even if you have to block it out. Decide ahead of time what activity you are going to do and how you are going to make it happen. Does it mean you wake up a half-hour earlier, or take your workout clothes to work with you. Is there a place you can stop to, from or enroute to one of your many destinations? Make a plan and stick to it! 

Decide on priorities. Does EVERYTHING on your to do list NEED to get done? What is one thing that you could set aside so you can get in some outdoor activity? 

How can you make some of the tasks less time consuming? Can you go to only one store instead of three? Can you order online? Don't forget to ask for help! This is a big one. We often think we need to take it all on. We don't! No matter what is coming up for you around why you HAVE to, it doesn't need to be. Decide on who can help and ask!

Say "NO"! Pick carefully to who and what you will say "YES" to. If you don't have time or even don't want to take more on, maybe they can figure out a way to get it done, or someone else less busy can help. Just because someone asks, doesn't mean that you have to take it on. It is ok to say "no", so if you're going to jeopardize your twenty minutes you put aside for yourself, make sure it's a necessity!

Giving yourself the extra twenty minutes in your day to get outdoors will help to make your whole day, and holiday season go by more joyously. Keep adventuring!

Happy Thanksgiving!


 

 

 

Finding Myself Through Racing

Competition for me started at an early age of two. Yes, I “ran” my first road race at the age of two. I grew up in a household where my father was a professional marathoner, and I wanted to take after my father in this way.  The challenge for me was that I was not a natural runner. I was nowhere near having the natural running ability as my father.  I loved running, but wasn’t great at it.

There was pressure I put on myself to be faster. This pressure lead to many self-doubts to the point that I started making excuses for why I couldn’t race on a Saturday after a great week of training runs.  I was horrified by what people would think about my place, times, speed. I didn’t want to be judged or laughed at.  This battle of not wanting to race, but wanting to run stayed with me throughout high school.

In the middle of my running debacle, I actually became injured.  I legitimately could not run. I wanted to stay in shape, so I started rowing. An unlikely sport for someone that is only five feet, but one that to this day I love. I love everything about the early morning stillness of the water, the gliding motion, the strength of the body to move the boat. This was MY sport.  And surprisingly, I became quite good at it. I was a much better rower than runner. I began consistently coming in the top three at at regattas. I rowed for a division one school, varsity as a freshman. All the old fears fell away and I felt on top of my game. I felt like I could take on any competition and was excited to do so.

It wasn’t until one race that all the fear started flooding back. It was an endurance, half-marathon regatta. I was on top of this race. I was again the third in line after two Olympians, consistently throughout the race, until mile 11. I hit the wall. I bonked. There was nothing left in the tank. I quickly slowed, barely able to push my legs back, barely picking up any water with the oars. The water became too heavy to move. I rowed feebly getting the strokes in as best I could, but one by one people started to pass. As I sat there in my scull, all the old feelings of failure, not being enough, being judged rushed back to me. Embarrassment swept over me as I reached the shore. I quietly shuffled away but continued to be caught in my own web of self-doubt. I was able to push down all these old feelings after a couple more successful regattas. I thought I was over my internal hangups about competing.

Fast forward a number of years later when I signed up to go to the Everest Base Camp.  This would be my biggest challenge to date. I was excited, but also not sure what to expect due to the length and altitude of this trip. I was pleasantly surprised by the laid back attitude of everyone on the trip. Up until this point, I was only used to competitive environments. It wasn’t used to doing something physically demanding all while talking and joking along the way. I loved it!

It was on one in day in particular that was tough for me, that I was able to let go of my proverbial backpack in the himalayas.  I couldn’t seem to get in enough oxygen and was falling behind the group. The difference was that this time, I felt totally supported. I didn’t feel like anyone was judging me. In fact, I didn’t think anyone really cared about my performance. They just cared about me, as a person. This experience was a complete game changer for me. I was able to see what getting out of your comfort zone and pushing yourself was really about. It wasn’t about my place, or time. It was about me performing at my best, to my potential. It was about looking at what I am made of, and breaking through barriers I didn’t think I could. It was about getting gutsy, empowered and determined to reach to my personal best, even breaking through potential and raising the bar on what I am truly capable of doing. I felt a freedom I never experienced in any of my racing, and yet, I was doing something even more challenging than any of my races. I realized that it really has always been about and is about how to grow as a person and what I learn about myself through the challenge. I found this part of me in the himalayas.

I returned home with a complete change in how I view my performance, and how I view myself in performance. I now no longer go into a race looking at my time or being stressed about my time. Instead, I focus on what why I’m racing and what I want to get out of the race that is going to lead me to heighten and challenge my capabilities as a person. It is about the takeaway from a challenge that counts. It’s about continually growing and improving on who I am as a person, for myself and everyone around me. It’s about changing for the better and creating positive change in the world around us.

Deepening into the Up

 

When I decided to sign up for the Everest Base Camp trek, I had no idea what I was getting into. I loved hiking, backpacking, being out in the woods for days, and this had it all, including the elusive visit to base camp. This trip was an obvious choice.

#Himalayas #Nepal #trekking #hiking #TheBrazenAdventuress #snow #clouds #Adventure

 

Living and mostly growing up in the northeast, I did a lot of hiking, but never in altitude. I had never been hiking out west in the bigger mountains. I had no idea what it felt like, or how my body would handle the high altitude. To top it off, it turns out that I am highly allergic to all high altitude medication, which all includes some form of Sulfa.  I was certainly concerned about this, but wasn’t going to let a little altitude stop me!

So, on I went to Nepal. The low lying, tropical area that Kathmandu sits, was a complete facade to what I was to expect in the himalayas. By the looks of Kathmandu, I was thinking, “Hey, this isn’t looking bad from here.” It wasn’t until we were up in the air on our way to Lukla, did I realize what I had actually gotten myself into. There was a lot of second guessing my decision for the trip, when I realized the mountains were higher than what we were flying, and we would be trekking higher than the plane was flying. It was too late to turn around. Onwards and upwards we went. Our group joked that there is no such thing as down hill in Nepal. I think this must be true!

#Nepal #Himalaya #DudhKosiRiver #river #rushingwater #bridge #TheBrazenAdventuress

As we started to hike, nerves and trepidation started to take over. I was scared. I didn’t know if I could actually do this. The modest mountains of the northeast couldn’t even come close to the height we were trekking. I thought I prepared physically, but I then thought, maybe I should have prepared more.

Trekking in the higher altitude came with less oxygen, slower pace, and more frequent stops.  Each stopping point gave us a greater view of how low we actually were and how much higher we had to go.

#Himalayas #clouds #blue sky #Nepal #TheBrazenAdventuress #Trekking #hiking #adventure #mountains #snow

Trekking Above The Clouds

 

As the air became thinner, our walking (and talking of course!) became slower. Our pace slowed to what seemed a crawl. I had no idea I could actually walk this slow. On one of our many rest breaks, our guide had pointed upwards to where we were going to stop for lunch. It was about three hill traverses upward. The distance seemed like it would take us all day at best.

As we started up the trail, the slow pace rhythmic pace, combined with my breathing created a quiet within me, one I had not known before.  There were no more hills to traverse. It was only my body, legs and breath all working as one. I was able to quiet my mind, and relax into the rhythm. Each step and breath turned into an invitation to go deeper within myself. The hills and the walking meditation turned into a parrabel for a new way of living my life. A new way of seeing myself and a new way of listening to myself.

#Mt.Everest #Bluesky #snow #mountain #mountaineering #himalayas #Nepal #Adventure #TheBrazenAdventuress

Snow blowing off Mt. Everest

The “backpack” I had been carrying through my life of expectations of being the first, best, fastest, had been let go of on the trail. I realized that I didn’t need to be any of these things to just be me, and being me was perfect. There was nothing that I need to be or prove to myself or to anyone else to feel free and happy. My view shifted inwards to wanting to experience more joy for myself. I realized life isn’t all about the hard run to the top, and I was actually loving my slow rhythmic pace. I laughed more, I saw more, I listened more, I was more me by going slower. My biggest mountain, bigger than the trek was realizing that the “mountains” in life are just a walk to deepen ourselves into the person we truly are.

 

 

 

 

As we got going, there was a lot of the usual huffing and puffing up steep trails, and then stops to admire the amazing views all around us, then more huffing and puffing. This ritual continued  for a couple days. At the point where we entered into true high altitude, high altitude pills were taken and confidences boosted. I wasn’t sure what this part of the trek meant for me.

Clarity In Silence

Yesterday my son and I took a hike in the woods near our house. I strapped him into his backpack carrier, and off we went. It was a beautiful day. Barely a cloud in the sky, and sunny! It was quiet in the woods, partly due to the Patriots play off game that would be starting in an hour. Yes, we did get home in time for the game.

As I walked with my son on my back, It was quiet and peaceful in the woods. The only sound was from the crunching of leaves, some snow underfoot, and the sound of some brave birds toughing out the winter. As we walked along, I came to a part of the trail that was glistening from the sun. It made me stop. I stood at the brink of the sun hitting the trail and then moved into the light. The power of the light, the quietness and having my life on my back overpowered me.

I was overcome by gratitude and love at the present moment. It is moments like these that make me really contemplate my life and makes every decision I need to make, every challenge, struggle seem so clear and precise as to what to do. I am clear in my focus and clear in my understanding of my life. This moment gives me direction, peace, and purpose as to how I want to direct my life.

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