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But I’m finally done. I just pressed “Send”, my Texas4000 application is complete…to the best of my abilities anyway. I’m nervous, I’m anxious, is it October already, I must be insane.

For those who do not know what Texas4000 is, to sum it up: it’s a 4,500-mile bike ride from Austin, TX to Anchorage, AK. It is done to raise awareness and money for cancer research. This is not the first ride, I am applying for Team 2014, and I must be insane.

I applied for a number of reasons. Whimsy is definitely a reason and a great reason at that. (Have you read Love Does? You should.) If I didn’t apply this year, I wouldn’t be eligible for the following year. If I didn’t apply, I wouldn’t know and it would always be a “no”. Apparently, if you have an “inkling to apply, you should do it”- so I did. I applied because Tommy never got to. He’s a huge inspiration to me (I’m devoting a whole post about this for later). I applied because in one way or another, I have been affected by cancer. Still, I must be insane.

Whatever the result may be, I’m really glad I sent my application in. At least I tried. Whatever happens, it’s for a reason (this is so cliche, but you guys know it’s true). I always tell other people to put themselves out there, it’s about time I do it myself. Texas 4000. It’s a huge commitment, but one step at a time.

Step 1: Application 
Step 2: The Waiting Process

It’s kind of fun to do the impossible. -Walt Disney

 

 

Sitting here next to my phone and watching Spongebob on my computer makes me wonder what college students did before cell phones, laptops, instant video, and the like. Even with some of these things, 20 years ago, one student would not have all of these outlets available to them- everything cost too much. But here we are, here I am, with all of them less than 10 feet away from me. I wonder if they studied all of the time to occupy that space. Or did they go to each other’s houses and do acid? Honestly, I didn’t really think about it until now. You can’t text your friend about who did what and go over to their house and creep on someone’s Facebook profile- none of those things existed until recent.

And it seems that now we can’t unplug. If you want to talk to someone, you must contact them through some sort of device. You can’t just waddle over to their apartment because it’s uncalled for and unheard of. Did they read books with each other? Did they dream with each other? Did they try to create something like a TV? I want to know and part of me wishes that I could emulate whatever they did 20 years ago. Instead of being confined to my device(s), to have to seek pleasure in other ways and in other people.

What an odd world we live in now. There must be another world where this exists. (I use the word “world” loosely and up to interpretation) I miss fresh air.

First I want to say thank you for sticking around for Part 2- this is where it gets interesting.

On our way to South Mineral Campgrounds, we went into this sweet town called Silverton. “What a way to live,” I thought to myself, “it’s like, oh hey, look at those humongous mountains from my backyard.” I’m from the Texas suburbs and in our backyard, we see our neighbor’s yard, not the Rocky Mountains. And when we get to our campsite and finish setting up, we go for a hike…to go find waterfalls. It was a bizarre experience. The gradual change in altitude, crossing of creeks, ascending into the mountains until you hear that familiar sound of rushing water. But it’s not coming from your bathtub or sink or pool; it’s flowing out and crashing into the bottom of the creek naturally, not man-made. Something you’d see while you’re flipping through your options for Desktop Wallpapers.

I was here a week ago. And yes, I thought of TLC’s “Waterfalls” during my time here. You know what was so delicious after we hiked? Ramen noodles. The hot broth soothed my soul and so did the chai tea my brother made. We slept under the stars, between mountains, and possibly among bears (it was bear country after all…). Oh, and in 45 degree weather (Did I mention that it’s August?). This campground is beautiful and it is actually well known for being right next to the trail head that leads to the Ice Lake Basin (Google it, you’ll want to come). The next day we woke up early again, stuffed in another hike to more waterfalls, and then headed on our way to our next destination: Estes Park, CO & Boulder, CO.

My only picture of the cabin with my web cam..

Estes Park and the cabin we stayed in (hosted by my wonderful friend) was pretty special. Clear skies meant a guarantee sea of stars. Many people that I admire have made their way to that cabin and I was pretty honored that I was able to spend some time there too. From there, it was only 45 mins to Boulder, CO which was our day-trip the next day.

Pearl St

And this is finally where Austin comes in. The city, not a person. I live in Austin, TX and I love this place to pieces. The food, the culture, the possibilities, the food- I love Austin. When we entered Boulder slowly but surely that place captured my heart too. I heard that this place was like our great city but I didn’t know in what way. Infinite bike lanes, beautiful Pearl St, constant cyclists passing through, tons of coffee shops, multiple bike shops, beautiful parks, a pretty great Whole Foods- at times, I’d have to remind myself I wasn’t in Austin but the similarities were almost uncanny. Boulder, I love you but when we were driving our way home and I saw that iconic Austin skyline, tears almost streamed down my face. It wasn’t just the exhaustion and delirium that came from 17 hour continuous driving from Colorado to Texas either, I think it was genuine love.

I didn’t know what to expect out of this road trip so I tried to prepare for everything. I’m that kind of girl, but even then, I felt like I encountered things I didn’t know would come. You can’t prepare for a road trip like you prepare for a test. I realized that as we drove along. I end this post with my last little spurts of thoughts and tips:

  1. Know you can’t do everything so embrace wherever you are at that moment. I reflect and I realize there were times I didn’t do this. It’s difficult but at least know that.
  2. Songs from Flight of the Conchords are like secret, mental energy bars. They kept us awake and entertained us while driving through the mountains.
  3. Try to journal at least 1 sentence at the end of your day or whenever you’re free and think of something. You don’t need a journal, write it on a post-it if you want, just write it down!
  4. Don’t watch videos about how to respond to bear attacks at midnight- it doesn’t relieve your stress, it just makes you more paranoid. Watch them during the daytime.
  5. Be thankful if you get to go on a road trip.
  6. Don’t be afraid, just go.

newAnthony.jpg

 

So I know it’s been awhile but I’m going for quality posts and not a large quantity of posts. Also, brainstorming consistent ideas to follow this theme for my blog is more difficult than I thought it would be. Also…most of my ideas come when I’m in the shower and I forget to write them down. Note to self: write down everything.

Like the title says, I went on a road trip! It feels like I left a month ago but I just got back a couple of days ago. Before I have panic-attack about school and forget to write this post, there are a couple (or a lot because this is Part 1, oops) of things I want to share about my trip. And I have pictures! Everyone loves pictures.

So as far as road trips go, I think this was pretty “spontaneous”. We had planted this idea about a month ago but the actual planning didn’t come until the week before. I had never planned a road trip in my life so naturally Google became my best friend those couple of days. Road trip tip: try and ask people you know who have been to the places you are planning to go to, it might be faster than shuffling through countless Google posts.

Sand for miles.

One of my “bucket-list destinations” was White Sands National Monument in Alamogordo, NM. Inspired by Invisible Children‘s Spring 2010 Legacy tour video of “jumping first, and fearing later” that was set to the soundtrack of my life (“Cosmic Love” by Florence + The Machine)- I knew we had to stop there. And I have never seen anything like it. Where did this white sand come from? Why does it feel like I’m the only person on what feels like another planet? Why didn’t I bring a sled? Probably the #1 tip I’d give to you if you come here: bring a sled, cardboard box, something to slide in- it will be worth it…from what I saw from the smiling children anyways. Kids – 1; Me – 0.

White Sands, NM

So that’s our tent in the monument. You can camp inside if you hike to your camping spot. There are only 10 camping sites and on the usual, they fill up quickly. That day? None. We were the lone backcountry hikers that glorious day. Night 1- done. I’m betting that there was a mountain lion circling our tent at the top of the dune at night but that is something I’ll never know…except for the PAW PRINTS! It could easily be a dog too but I’m pretty sure it’s the mountain lion. We woke up early to drive to our next destination: Colorful Colorado**

**To be continued in Part 2!

A suggestion for camping food/road food: breakfast tacos. Make them ahead of time, wrap them in foil, put them in the freezer. On the road and you’re hungry? Take one out and let it defrost. They are good cold or you can throw them in your campfire to warm them up. Breakfast tacos are a beautiful thing.

It’s worth a lot more than that but I can’t figure out a good title.
Here are some that I came up with…
Fact: This same time a year ago were the best days of 2011/my life?
Fact: I was embraced by people I had never met with such loving arms and hearts?
Fact: My mind was blown every single hour of those four days listening to incredible speakers and peers?
Fact: I met one of my favorite people in real person for the first time? (I’m saving this for a special post)
Fact: I got closer to people who I already knew that I didn’t think was possible?
Fact: I was in beautiful, sunny, 70-something degree San Diego, California and I never wanted to leave?
Fact: I was surrounded by some of the most talented, inspirational, wonderful, and kind people ever?
Fact: I learned a lot about myself and about an organization that I’ve admired for more than 5 years?
Fact: I got to reunite with a roadie who I never thought I’d see again? (Yes, Lindy, you!)
Fact: I’ve never taken such frantic notes while trying to savor it all?
Fact: My mentor was/is the best and continues to inspire me?
Fact: I could do it all over again?

Fact: All of the above. 

There are too many words I could say about my time at the Fourth Estate conference in San Diego, CA. (I already feel like I’ve word-vomitted too much on this post) There are still many emotions that run in my veins when I hear “tenacious hope” or “don’t sit on your ‘but'” or “bastille” or “puddle of tears”. I was so blessed to be apart of such a monumental movement and it happened right before my eyes. I have so much love and respect for everyone at the Fourth Estate. As I look at my name-badge, I can see flashes of moments going through my head. First, lost and confusion after getting dropped off then sudden welcome. Oh, here’s a tote bag with really awesome books. My roommate and floor-mates are awesome? Okay. My group rocks? Thank you. So many moments and all of them filled with such joy.

Thank you again to family, friends, and strangers alike who have supported me over the years and continue to do so.
I love you.

Chills on chills on chills

Yesterday I got an email saying that someone nominated me to become apart of the Yelp Elite Squad.
If you don’t know what that means…honestly, I’m not so sure myself. Something about having more credibility when people read your reviews, getting invited to parties, and helping people find great food. And that’s what I’m all about…or at least a portion of me because I love food. I love it. I love going to great places in great spots that no one ever knows about and eating beautifully prepared dishes and then I like to write about it (to the best of my ability). And I’m not afraid to go to the hyped places either! Sure, some might call me a foodie, sometimes I call myself a foodie but bottom line is: I like to appreciate food. And I won’t discriminate either. For the record, I will and have tried vegan but I love my share of meat and cheese.
That’s not the point of this post. To be apart of the Elite Squad you must be at least 21 years old. Surprise, surprise, I’m not 21 yet. (I will be soon!) But I accidentally pressed the “Join” button thinking there would be some confirmation process I’d have to go through– NOPE. It just told me “Congratulations” and then I got that little icon you see next to my picture there that says “’12 elite”. While I’m thrilled [for those 5 short hours and had to share it with you], I want to be legit when I actually be 21 so I can legitimately say, “MY REVIEWS ARE CREDIBLE”… or something like that.

My blog is supposed to be about life lessons (or something) so here it is: Don’t click things immediately, thinking there would be a confirmation process.
But really, don’t be afraid to put your words out there. I didn’t expect to be nominated at all and I am so excited for whatever comes with that honor (when the time actually comes).