A little more personal

#MondayMotivation - Going Forward

I’ve been on a quest to improve my overall health.  I’m eating less crap, moving more, and exploring my thoughts more thoroughly.  It’s been a great move, as I am feeling better and more motivated than ever in all aspects of life.  I’m using my newfound motivation to strengthen my financial health now too. I have been terrible about money management and have tried and failed with budgets and living within my means.  I’ve overextended myself and that stresses me out, which leads to overeating and laziness. So, since I’m trying to be more active and trying to be better, I’m going to work on managing my money in better ways.  I’m going to start with a simple budget and move on to more complicated things like actual long-term saving, home ownership, and investing. Financial health will mean I’m going to have to get creative with my travel and really prioritize places and people for the year.

Disclaimer: 1) I prefer car travel any day of the week. Flying can be the worst if you’re not frequent enough to have all the perks, so let me just say that my Outback is my number one. I’m not here to shit on flying, because most of the time it is fine, but… the scenic route and stuff. 2) I love camping more than hotels, but again, when flying to a destination camping is sometimes out of the question with time and planning. 3) I already utilize my Texas State Parks pass monthly, but I want to explore those trails I’ve not hiked and parks that have been on my list for a while. I’m also going to use the hell out of my Annual Pass and visit those NPS sites in Texas this year that I’ve been casually learning about too.

What are some things you’re changing on the fly this year? What is motivating those changes?

#MondayMotivation - Authentic Outdoors

I’m motivated by people who love the outdoors and love to spread the joy and knowledge associated with the outdoors. People who share their stories in a real way and don’t just sugar coat everything are my favorite people. Life isn’t like an edited photo, it’s a little grainy and sometimes the colors are out of balance.

A week ago I met with my people on a Skype call for a mastermind group centralized around being real, outdoorsy people who want their social media presence to reflect real life. I’m so lucky to be a part of a group of like-minded folks who love the outdoors in their own ways but love themselves enough to realize that maybe we haven’t always told the whole story or even the real story because we’ve been conditioned to present life in a polished, tidy way. Prime example is the previous sentence - this is how I speak in real life and run-ons are my life. I could clean it up but I don’t care to as it doesn’t REALLY change make it any better overall.

Thanks to the people who run the blogs/websites listed below for motivating me and speaking so freely over Skype on a random Sunday in January. You have improved my life and I look forward to becoming regular chatters about all topics outdoors. I’m no digital media expert, nor would I consider myself an influential person, but I do appreciate anyone who reads/enjoys my content. I make it for me, in some narcissistic weird way, but hope it’s received and can offer some form of inspiration or entertainment for YOU.

Christina: http://www.christinaskis.com/

Jen: https://jennythetrailhead.com/

Kristi: https://indoorsycamper.com/

Sara Beth: https://innercompassblog.com/

I wish you all a wonderful week ahead and I hope you find motivation out there, if not from this. Hike your own hike and live your reality.

Year in Review - 2018 was a little weird.

I found this prompt, maybe from Cait Flanders, maybe from somewhere else? I have no idea at this point because I saved it so long ago. Either way, 2018 was not exactly what I had hoped. It started strong, and had a lot of highlights, but ultimately I’m glad to usher in 2019. I’m ready for a new Outdoor Society calendar and ready for the “clean slate” that is a new year.

1. What makes this year unforgettable?

  • Visiting Mount Rainier National Park and seeing the mountain from many different angles and times of day

  • Getting a new job

  • Losing a grandparent. It was a weird whirlwind, all over again. Never gets any easier.

  • Visiting Alaska for Christmas into the new year

  • Visiting Washington’s Olympic Peninsula twice and getting to experience the difference in seasons

  • Meeting a few outdoor people I admire and respect so much

2. What did you enjoy doing this year?

  • The 31/52 hikes I did get done

  • Visiting Tahquamenon Falls

  • Being able to travel around the country and see the natural beauty

  • Our annual trek to New Mexico for camping and hiking in the Santa Fe natural forest

  • My annual BFF trip to Utah

  • Spending downtime at home with my other half, our Texas friends and family, and our pets

  • Family moments that were calm

3. What/who is the one thing/person you’re grateful for?

  • I’m grateful for travel. Travel is the one thing I can do with my other half, family, friends, and all of the outdoor people I am thankful for.

4. What’s your biggest win this year?

  • Getting a new job that is seemingly better for me as a whole. A job where I work on a team of people my own age and do work I enjoy. A job that is setting me up for the future in ways beyond money, setting up a career, and pushing me forward. I don't mind getting up for work these days.

5. What did you read/watch/listen to that made the most impact this year?

  • The Year of Less by Cait Flanders was one of the most inspirational pieces of literature I’d had in my hands in a while. This book goes beyond financial advice and offers so much varied life advice. If you're looking for something uplifting and real, look no further.

  • Love Simon - I know it may seem cheesy, but the movie made me feel like a teenager all over again and feel all those misguided feelings of being closeted and hiding. It reminded me that those feelings don’t just go away. It was a cute movie that made me feel powerful things.

  • Said the Whale released an album in 2017, but it carried on with me in 2018 along with their new singles this year. This band makes music that makes me feel things to my core. I get emotional while listening, but not in an annoying way. I sing along, I bop along, but almost always feeling SOMETHING when I listen. Great band.

6. What did you worry about most and how did it turn out?

  • I always worry about money. I've worried about money since I was a kid, but still don't know how to manage it well. I got a new job and I have a budget, but I still spent more than I brought in and that's the ongoing battle. December was a better month, and January should continue the trend as I've adjusted the daily and monthly goals to help.

7. What was your biggest regret and why?

  • Not completing my 52 Hike Challenge 2018. I feel like an absolute failure in some regards, yet part of me is says “better luck in 2019.” I hiked as much as I wanted to, or could, and that is something. I could have tried harder, could have battled the heat, could have found trails unaffected by the Texas rain, but I didn’t. I had 31 GOOD hikes and that’s what I need to focus on. I will complete 2019, mark my words.

8. What’s one thing that you changed about yourself?

  • My outlook on life has changed. My motives for doing things has changed. I’m focused on experiences and memories. I want to see everything, do as much as possible, and live life as much as I can before my end. More action, less contemplating.

9. What surprised you the most this year?

  • How much I loved solo trips. I knew I would like them, but hot damn do I love them. I love traveling and sharing memories, but solo trips are AHHHHHMAZING.

  • How terrible I am at making real life outdoor friends. My fear of rejection and my own self doubt really held me back in 2018.

10. If you could go back to last January 1, what suggestions would you give your past self?

  • FINISH your hikes.

  • Don’t get dragged into your darkness.

  • Don’t give up on those fitness and food goals by March!

  • Eat more balanced

  • Be nicer to people

  • Stop whining about doing things

  • Plan ahead and get annoying chores and tasks done during the week

  • Go out and meet people. I'm good enough and people will not just reject me…

#MondayMotivation - December is here!

December is easily my favorite month. From my birthday, to winter, to the various holidays, and the best weather here in Texas. I’ve been a slacker, been really struggling to get out and stay motivated. Here are some December goals: 

  • get a good walk with the dog every day 
  • hike at least 5 times
  • eat out less and at home more
  • do a winter cleaning on the apartment before heading to Alaska for the holidays
  • read 5 books
  • listen to NPR more often
  • get into weekly routines that help keep me motivated and happy (hiking, walking the dog longer, cleaning, cooking) 

What are your goals this month!? Any fun travel plans? Let me know in the comments or start a conversation! Happy December! 


Tuesday Thoughts

I’ve been in a funk. Not a “hide in a dark room” kind of funk, but in one nonetheless. I’ve been buying useless shit to feel joy instead of doing things to bring me joy. I’ve been avoiding the outdoors and finding any excuse to stay in bed all morning instead of soaking up the good weather. I recently suffered from a stomach bug, which brought all of this up to the surface.

I had to spend 3-4 days in bed and resting to realize things aren’t great in my head.  I’ve had no urge to do anything, haven’t felt good about my body, and certainly haven’t felt productive. My weekly blogs have suffered, but I’ve lacked creativity anyway. I feel this year has been a series of these bad spells, worse than many of the years before. Thinking back, it’s pronab much like 2005 which was easily one of the worst years on memory. When I think about, 2014 wasn’t great either because years like 2006 and 2015 exist where I look back and seem like I was living out of body and out of sorts. It was kind of a depression hangover fueled by selfishness and crazy decisions about life. So many parallels between those years. I am much more level headed these days, so hopefully the rebound is more level also. I’m hopeful I’ll rebound into nature and good choices again.

I am working on a plan to “get to my happy place” over the next few days. I need to exercise, for both physical and mental health. I need to eat a little better, so my clothes fit again. I need to stop spending and work out a strict budget. I need to figure out 2019 and what we have to save and prioritize for thought the year. I have a lot to figure out, but I know building a routine will help my brain and I look forward to regular, thoughtful posts. 


#MondayMotivation - From puffy body to wearing that puffy vest

Disclaimer: This is a little more personal and a little less outdoorsy.  If that's not your thing, just check back for another post celebrating the outdoors later this week.

April 2012 - Bloated and puffy, motivational poster against drinking too much and eating whatever you want

This photo, from April of 2012, is one of my most motivating photos.  This photo showcases my puffiest time - the first time I was truly uncomfortable with my appearance and weight.  My weight has fluctuated so much in the past seven years, it's crazy.  Since moving to Texas seven years ago, I've consumed more calories per day than I ever have before.  From lazy days drinking on the water to just having more access to eating out, I know I have an unhealthy relationship with food.  Knowing this, it doesn't really mean I can manage the problem without a level discipline I often lack and can easily excuse.  In the past seven years, my weight has fluctuated 70 pounds which proves one thing: with discipline, I can make it happen even if it has been only temporary.

My favorite excuses:

  • I commuted, worked, commuted, and now I'm tired
  • We can't walk to the park
  • The trails are gross around here
  • I'm tired
  • It's just easier to go get food instead of making it
  • Portion control and good foods are boring
  • You only live once

Damn, I'm good at excuses.  I often use other people to get out of exercise or eating well, and I am really good at justifying anything bad because it tastes good.

What I know I need to do:

  • Cook at home, regardless of time or what my other half wants
  • Stop relying on other people to motivate me
  • Stop saying I'm tired - I can easily go walk a few miles after work
  • Stop drinking as much alcohol
  • Hike more and plan for it to be more adventurous
  • Really do the couch to 5K instead of just pretending

I always KNOW what I need to do - it's just a matter of doing it.  There's always an event, an outing, a celebration, SOMETHING.

This post is supposed to be motivational, or inspire change so I'm going to try.  I know what I have to do, and I know it can be done because I've done it.  I know health is an even more important factor than looking puffy, so there's that too.  Here's to trying new things, staying motivated, and knowing it's all about balance.  Here's to the 50th time I've tried this whole balance thing, and here's to hoping I've set up my plans and tools for success.

Sources of inspiration:

  • Fellow outdoorsy people - doing all the outdoorsy things I want to do
  • Mountains - I wanna climb your pretty rocks
  • All these damn babies my friends/family are having - I'd like to be the cool "uncle" who takes them on adventures and shit...can't do that from the grave or being out of shape
  • My puffy vest in my closet that is just a little too tight (and several other things, but mostly the vest)
  • Just the hope that I'll feel better about participating in group outdoorsy activities
  • My dog and his need to sniff and exercise too
  • My 2013 body, it was my favorite.  I wasn't my lowest weight, but I felt the best.

I have a lot of anxiety around hiking with people.  I always open my hikes to anyone interested in going, but I'm secretly terrified someone will judge my speed or ability.  I definitely hike my own hike - I sweat a lot, drink a ton of water, and am still mastering elevation changes.  I don't give up on my hikes, so why should I give up so easily on my everyday life?

Things I aim to do this summer that would be easier with a little less weight/a little better breathing:

  • Canoeing when I'm up in Michigan!
  • Hiking from Upper to Lower Tahquamenon Falls
  • Bike rides
  • Morning park walks w/ the dog
  • Evening hikes

I secretly love running.  Back in 2012/2013 I kind of got into it when I was living mostly alone and had a lot of time on my hands since my roommate worked away for weeks at a time and my other half was 40 miles away and in school full-time.  I used to incorporate running into my routine walks, especially up the hills and I always felt so damn alive.  I think I'd like to trail run or run a 5K or 10K, but I know it will require full dedication and a lot less bullshit than I allow right now.

I used to publicize these feelings and goals, then I stopped because I was such a failure and I'd essentially be lying about progress or motivation.  I'm trying again, to be vocal and public about this for my own reference and so people close to me can point it out and give me shit if they notice I'm a little too off course.

A few little goals:

  • In a healthy way, lose 34 pounds and maintain that loss before turning 34 in December
  • Before going to Michigan in June, drop some weight and at least be exercising daily until then
  • Start using the VERY NICE gym at our new apartment complex - baby steps, though
  • PLAN AHEAD to avoid most excuses... grocery shop like a normal person, check the weather for the week, and set aside time in advance

I had a real wake up call when I wen up the trail to Mt. Storm King... I am way the hell out of shape.  I don't want to feel that inadequate again - especially when exploring beautiful places.

Being chubby/fat/out of shape doesn't mean I'm incapable of doing things, it just means it takes a lot more work.  I'd like to work harder now so I can get even more out of my adventures, hikes, camping trips, etc.

I hope you all find your motivation, continue to enjoy life the best you can, and maybe even find some motivation in my endless post about excuses and bullshit.  Happy trails!

Here are some photos highlighting my general shape and face for each year beginning in 2012.

December 2012 - One of my lowest weights, wearing a size or two smaller shirt even!

May 2013 - Pants were several sizes smaller, shirt the same but fit better, and I looked good.  Up a little from 2012, but still good. GOALS...

August 2014 - We took a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park and I'm puffy again.

March 2015 - Puffy AF at Zion NP and not even trying at this point in life

June 2016 - I had been trying, but soon gave up (again)

February 2017 - I had been working on losing weight and getting healthy before a trip to Minnesota, less puffy but it didn't last.  Puffy again by summer.

March 2018 - puffy again, but still capable

#SurveySunday - Not quite too much info.

It's fun to share a few random things with y'all... Here are some things about me you may or may not care about learning.

• Favorite smell(s) - Evergreens, that loamy smell after the rain in a forest

• Last cry - I am not ashamed to cry, but it's actually been a while

• Favorite Pizza- Pepperoni and jalapeño

• Favorite Flower- Lilac or Tulips

• Favorite dog - Mutts

• Favorite foot attire- I’d rather be barefoot, but I really like my Chacos or Flip Flops

• Roller coaster - I used to, haven't been on one in a decade

• Hair color - Mine is a dirty blonde

• Favorite ice cream - chocolate alone or + anything (nuts, mint, caramel, etc)

• Pet Peeve - people who don't pick up after their dogs in highly trafficked areas

• Shorts or jeans - shorts...jeans are the WORST feeling clothing ever

• What are you listening to right now - people talking

• Color of your vehicle - black

• Color of eyes - blue

• Favorite holiday - Christmas (but just the commercial version, I'm not really a religious person...so maybe more just Yuletide?)

• Night owl or day person - morning person...my 21 year old self wouldn't even believe it

• Favorite day of the week - Saturday because it's usually hike day

• Tattoos- Maybe someday, but none yet... haven't found the right design for eternity

• Do you like to cook - I really do

• Beer or wine? Both, but please be dark &/or red

• Can you drive a manual shift - yes and I feel everyone should learn even though it's a dying thing

• Favorite color - Green in various shades

• Do you like vegetables- VEGETABLES ARE LIFE (I could almost be a vegetarian, almost)

• Do you work out - I mean, not really, no...but I should be

• Do you wear glasses - Yuppers, just got some nice new ones too

• Favorite season(s)- Fall & Winter (because summer is HELL in Texas)