Monthly Archives: April 2017

The mountains are calling…

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

To bring you up to speed, we have been traveling and living the full-time RV lifestyle for the last two and a half years.  I have been working various assignments around the country as a travel physical therapist.  And my hubs has taken on the role of stay-at-home dad, head chef, dish-washer, laundry-doer, dog-walker-feeder-caretaker, potty-trainer, swim instructor, and teacher of all things; to name a few.  Without either of us, this journey would not be possible; and certainly, a lot less entertaining.

Photo credit: personal photo edited in Canva app

Photo credit: personal photo edited in Canva app

So when your husband, who has played an integral role in the last two and a half years, mentions (on more than one occasion) he would like to attempt a long distance hike; you jump on board and support the h@&$ out of that goal.  Because, obviously I’ve had the easier job over the past couple years, since I get to leave our “tiny home on wheels” everyday and go to work.

THE GOAL: Attempt a 1,500 mile section-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in ~100 days

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

Our current transient lifestyle makes it easier to bring these “crazy” ideas to fruition.  Which also leads to greater flexibility when planning such a monumental feat.  Although preparation is a critical part of this goal, figuring out logistics and making concrete plans has been difficult, because…Mother Nature…she has been here long before us and will be here long after us.  Most of these uncertainties are due to the weather, snow pack, snow melt, miles walked per day, caloric intake/expenditure, unforeseen challenges, etc.

Photo credit: Pinterest

Author unknown Photo credit: Pinterest

I thought I would take a moment to answer a few of the most frequently asked questions and voiced concerns we get from various people we’ve told…

Is Tim going by himself?
Yes, his plan is to hike alone!  He is not afraid of the dark, creepy crawly things, or sleeping outside.  He has been preparing for this adventure for the last year and is looking forward to what the trail has in store for him…physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

What will myself and the kids do without Tim?
Our main purpose will be keeping Tim alive by supplying him with food.  We will be meeting up with him at various trail crossings every five days or so to make sure he has enough calories to make it to the next meet-up.  It should be a pretty adventurous summer and fall, for all of us!

How will Tim protect himself?
Having respect for the wilderness and being aware of his surroundings will certainly come in handy.  That and we’re pretty sure his smell after a few days will deter any predators from wanting him for lunch.  Various other backpacking tips of not cuddling your food at night or sleeping where you eat are also known ways to prevent creatures from visiting.  Oh, AND he will have a Delorme In-reach that can ping his location, provide him with gps maps, text his wife, and send an SOS…so no worries!

Many people, including us, enjoy life indoors with climate controlled environments and food easily attained from the local grocery store.  However, people have lived in and explored the wilderness for centuries.  And they definitely did not have any of our modern day conveniences to make their trek safer.

Dirt paths are usually the best kind of paths.  Photo credit: Pinterest

Dirt paths are usually the best kind of paths. Photo credit: Pinterest

While some people may think we’re crazy (which we may be), many have found our plans to be exciting.  And hopefully this journey will inspire just a few to occasionally live outside their comfort zones.

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

John Muir was a wise man!  Photo credit: Pinterest

John Muir was a wise man! Photo credit: PinterestWander

Serving Others

Our service group for the week...Alex, Tim, myself, and Autumn!  Photo credit: one of our amazing ISL staff members

Our service group for the week…Alex, Tim, myself, and Autumn! Photo credit: one of our amazing ISL staff members

It has been nearly six months since Tim and I (and a fellow colleague and new found friend) returned from our physical therapy service trip to Costa Rica.  It has taken me a while to truly process my experience while serving in such a beautiful country.  This process was certainly derailed by my reading of the book, Doing Good Is Simple by Chris Marlow (founder of Help One Now) shortly after returning home.  A book I highly recommend if you’re looking for ways to serve others!  And one that I wish I had read prior to my trip not after…

A simple side and look into service work.  Photo credit: myself

A simple side and look into service work. Photo credit: myself

Prior to leaving (with a vague itinerary), I felt ready for whatever situation we may be placed in while serving there…I was so wrong!  I was guilty of thinking I had the perspective I needed for this trip.  Reading articles, watching videos, talking with others, etc did nothing to prepare me for the emotions that would hit me hard throughout our service project.

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

Myself and a colleague had the bittersweet pleasure of getting to work at a place called Manos Abiertas.  What a special place this is, and one that will forever be etched on my heart!  This place is so full of life, even amidst an undertow of suffering.  The many stories of suffering were overshadowed by the amazing staff and volunteers, who are caring for some of the most vulnerable children and adults in Costa Rica.  At times, the joy on the residents’ and staffs’ faces were almost palpable, which was inspiring after hearing about the many struggles they endured.  This is the kind of place that can be hard on the heart, but so worth taking your heart to.  A place I truly hope to return to someday!

A place that helped shape my heart.  Photo credit: Manos Abiertas website

A place that helped shape my heart. Photo credit: Manos Abiertas website

Autumn and I with the best translators and ISL staff...Pouchi and Lau

Autumn and I with the best translators and ISL staff…Pouchi and Lau

Autumn and I with the amazing physical therapists at Manos Abiertas...Javier, Gustavo, and Esteban

Autumn and I with the amazing physical therapists at Manos Abiertas…Javier, Gustavo, and Esteban

My trip reflection
It may seem cliche, but hindsight truly is 20/20, especially after a trip like this.  My pre-trip, somewhat naive self learned so much more than bargained for throughout the many eye-opening and heartfelt experiences.  Following this retrospection I’ve discovered three repeating thoughts that will hopefully result in a greater impact during my future adventures, here in the States and abroad.

The first, WHO is the trip impacting?
Prior to the trip, I was looking forward to how I would be able to impact the people I came in contact with during my time there.  However, by the end, I was realizing just how much of an influence they were having on me.  Looking back, the ebb and flow of the relationships I made were very much one of mutual give and take.  And being more aware of this kind of connection and realizing how important this two-sided relationship benefits both, will only add to my future mission experiences.

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

The second is, HOW are you impacting the people and the community?
Pondering the ways in which your time and effort will impact the people you are there to serve is something I considered, but didn’t intentionally think about until I was in Costa Rica.  Since I had never traveled outside the US for something like this before, I really had no idea what to expect.  Finding ways to make your service impact more than just the people you directly work with is important.  Encouraging those you connected with to then go out into their community and inspire others is where success is found.

This is what I want to encourage in those I cross paths with.  Photo credit: Pinterest

This is what I want to encourage in those I cross paths with. Photo credit: Pinterest

And lastly, WHAT impact are you leaving behind?
This to me, is by far the most important thing to consider before signing up for a service or mission trip.  Knowing how the organization maintains relationships (long after you’ve come and gone) in the community you’re serving is crucial to the long term benefits of the people living there.  This is one thing I had never really considered until reading countless articles on the ways short-term mission trips and pop-up mission organizations can sometimes be a detriment to the communities visited and how much more an area can flourish with lasting support.  Which is why finding a company that had an established presence in the community was crucial for me.

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

I encourage you to take a trip and experience different cultures, hear other languages, and learn about the ways of life outside the safety of your community, it may just be the best thing you could do…at least it has been for me!

Love God, Love People, Serve Others ❤️