Tag Archives: inspiration

“Have no fear These are nowhere near The best years of your life” -Brad Paisley

Dear 16-year-old Carra,

16          Your life will change in the next year and I know it will be hard. Just remember that there are people who love you and are here for you. You will be able to grow and learn so much because you will be getting out of your comfort zone. You’ll lose people you love, you’ll move twice in one year, and you’ll grow closer to Heavenly Father.
When given the opportunity to go see Mountain Grove High School, you’ll do it, you’ll meet the counselor and come out of the meeting ready to move. Actually ask questions this time, don’t be afraid. It’ll be exciting but sad. Leaving your friends will be hard, it is worth it.
See your mom before you move. It’ll eat at you if you don’t. She wanted to say 16 3goodbye but you left before she could. Also, spend more time packing and less time playing. You’ll have a week to pack all of your stuff. Make sure you put Whoonu in a safe spot so you don’t lose it because if you don’t you’ll find out it’s $60 when you’re looking into buying it again.
There will be many boys interested in you, say no to all of them. I mean it, all of them. Don’t even text Casey after Christmas, you’ll thank me later. Boys are no good and you deserve better than all of them. Having Dakota as a friend is enough, he’s a nice guy. But seriously, do not date any of them.
16 1          Don’t give your friend Megan money because you’ll never get it back. Also, don’t spend your first week not eating and hiding in the bathroom at lunchtime. Make friends.You will become really good friends with the girl who you have almost every class with, her name is Shelby. She’ll introduce you to people and you’ll become “popular” because everyone in your grade knows you.
When your English class gets into a discussion about Mormons, don’t be afraid to turn it into a teaching moment. Straightening out the lies will help them in the long run. Tell Derek that chocolate doesn’t destroy your soul, tell Rachel that we are Christian, stun everyone because they had no idea there was a Mormon in the class. You can do it, don’t be shy.
Another thing to consider is your career project in Personal Finance. You’re 16 2thinking about doing it on OB GYN. Don’t. That’s not really what you want to be, you want to be a teacher or a writer. Don’t pick OB GYN just because it makes more money and it goes with what your classmates are doing. Be yourself Carra, it’s ok.
Finally, don’t yell at your grandparents. You’re going to miss them one day and all of those times you screamed and fought will flood your mind for a time. Try to see it from their point of view. Also, learn all you can from grandma, make it a point to cook with her. Ask her about her life. If you don’t, you’ll regret it later in life.
You are a very smart, beautiful, and caring young woman. Don’t let anyone change that or tell you different. Stay close to your family, spend time with them. Garden with grandma, play pool with grandpa. You’ll miss out on all of that if you don’t. They love you and I love you. Stay strong.

Sincerely,
25-year-old Carra

“There are only two choices: keep it or chuck it. And if you’re going to keep it, make sure to take care of it.” ―Marie Kondō

tidy          I recently finished the book titled “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. It has truly inspired me. If you haven’t read it, you should! You can find the book here. It is an easy read and very detailed. I even began reading her second book “Spark Joy.” Which you can purchase here. I’ve also seen it at stores such as The Container Store, Michael’s, and Barnes & Noble. I checked the book out at my local library via Amazon so if you don’t want to purchase looking at your library would be a great option.

The thing that sticks out about these books is that we not only clean up and get rid of stuff but the whole thing is about WE KEEP WHAT MAKES US HAPPY. Let me repeat that, we only keep what “sparks Joy” in our lives. Sometimes that means that we have to get rid of something we were gifted many years ago and have held onto it for one reason or another even though we never use it and we barely even enjoy looking at tidy2it.

Another thing that sticks out in this process is to go at it by category rather than by room. This is contrary to most of what we’ve heard which is why it sticks out to me. Marie Kondo maps out 5 categories: clothing, books, paper, komono (miscellaneous), and sentimental. First you gather every clothing item and place them on the floor (or the bed, as I did) and physically touch each item one by one to see if it sparks joy. If it doesn’t, get rid of it. Then you do the same with the rest of the categories. There is a great printable here. Another blog to reference can also be found here.

Here are a few comments from others I spoke with who have done this method:

“It has been great for my mental health. Less anxiety triggering crap. Something I’d mention is that KM is very much a middle class privilege. To be able to throw out perfectly good clothes just because they’d don’t spark joy is something I am very grateful for.” -Nicholas

life’s too short to be surrounded by items you don’t love.” -Robin

“Drastically reduces your interest in shopping when you only buy things you really like and know you need a place to store it.” -Blair

“Definitely brought a sense of calm and tranquillity to my home.
Feels so peaceful in the bedroom especially” -Victoria

“Getting rid of books was/is the hardest part for me until I realized that this was a metaphor for my life. Holding on to stories that in many ways defined me felt safe. Making space for new books also meant making space for new ideas, new line of work, new friends. I see now that not only do you need to make time for new things to come into your life, you also need to make space.” -Maria

“I found the ‘wasted money’ hard to get over. At first I wanted to sell everything as I spent good money on items. I bagged up 8 bags in my first clothes KM but don’t have time to photograph and list items. I took the plunge and donated and chucked them and the relief of things being gone was instant and made me feel lighter. 28 bin bags later and I’ve not regretted not selling anything. I’m always interested to read how people overcome the ‘wasted money’ thoughts.” -Kerrie

I encourage everyone to give Marie Kondo’s method a shot. It may just change your life. If you have done this before, comment below with how it has helped you. I love hearing personal stories. I just started the method so I’m not done yet but it has really helped me enjoy living in our little studio.

As always, thank you for stopping to read my blog. I hope to hear from you in the comments. I enjoy your feedback. If there’s something specific you want to hear about, let me know.

“Do you know what this is? This is a dinosaur egg. The dinosaurs are breeding.” -Jurassic Park

Since I wasn’t able to write anything on Tuesday, I had to push my Mexico trip post to yesterday and the post I was going to write yesterday was cast away. That post is important, though.

Since it is already April, I needed to write about Universal Studios in March. Sadly, I was not able to go Universal very much throughout the month but I made sure to go a couple times and keep up with all of the events going on.

Overall, the crowds were still light though one of the times that we went to CityWalk, there were a lot of students from local high schools everywhere. The weather was nice, also, so that’s always a plus. They were also still working on the globe so visitors were unable to get good pictures with the iconic piece.

The only event, either through Universal or from a third-party, is the following:

Sadly I was unable to keep up with the Universal Studios calendar but I hope to do better this month.
17838524_1660824457559279_806213365_o          I also wanted to include a review from a restaurant each month (hopefully). For the month of March, we ate at Krusty Burger. If you didn’t know, there is a section in the park devoted to The Simpsons. This is includes a ride, areas for meet and greets with The Simpsons characters, a couple of restaurants, and a fair games. The Krusty Burger had televisions that played parts of episodes and kept you entertained while waiting in line. Thankfully the line wasn’t long, though. The menu was easy to read and had a great selection. We both chose the Legendary Krusty Burger, shown in the picture. This meal included the burger (with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and pickle), fries, cole slaw (that I didn’t particularly enjoy) and a drink. The only issue I have seen is with the cups. There is a sensor on the bottom and the machine knows if you’ve already had soda and while we were there it didn’t work for one of the customers at all. She had paid before us and they had to give her a new cup.

The rides that we went on were Jurassic Park and The Mummy. It is said that the Jurassic Park ride is a whole foot taller (for the big drop) in Orlando but I can’t tell the difference. Both were fun and we really enjoyed our time. The lines weren’t terrible for either ride, though we did ride The Mummy shortly before the park was due to close.

I hope that you found this helpful. Please feel free to comment with your March experiences for Universal Hollywood. What did you do? Where did you eat? If you’d like to see more content, please subscribe. As always, thank you for reading!

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“Make voyages. Attempt them. There’s nothing else.” ―Tennessee Williams

Hello everyone. I know there have been many new subscribers here and I want to thank you. I am doing today’s post so late (it’s about 10pm) is because I attended my third REI class earlier this evening and I wanted to report on both of my classes from this week. One of which pertains to only women, and will be at the bottom to spare your eyes if you don’t want to see it.

For those who are new here, I am planning a trip to go backpacking and I’m currently taking as many REI classes as possible. Thankfully they offer so many for free but I hope to attend a couple that aren’t free, simply because I need the info. I will, once again, be sharing my notes with you because I want to share what I am learning for those who may not have access to a nearby REI.

First off, on Tuesday evening, I attended the “Overnight Backpacking Basics” class. The instructor had set out materials so he could point them out to us, which is something the previous class did not have. Some of the slides in the Powerpoint were the same so I simply put “same as before” and moved on.

  • What is backpacking? Going out for more than a few days
  • Trip Plan
    • The 4 W’s and How
      • Who will be going? Who will be the leader? Who has more knowledge?
      • What are you doing? What is your objective?
      • Where will you be going?
      • When will you be heading out and coming back? This has to do a lot with weather and the season you go
      • How will you get there? How will you supply yourself? How will you do it?
  • General Guidelines17670609_1656635491311509_1305134530_o
    • Rules and regulations of public lands, wilderness areas
    • Backcountry travel considerations
    • Pass on your knowledge, respect, and passion (which is what I am doing)
  • Outdoor Ethics
    • Leave No Trace
    • Plan ahead and prepare
    • Travel and camp on durable surfaces
    • Dispose of waste properly
    • Leave what you find
    • Minimize camp impacts
    • respect wildlife
    • Be considerate of other visitors
  • 10 Essentials Plus
    • Same as before
  • Dressing
    • Same as before
    • Mid weight would be best (for your base layer)
    • Zip off pants are highly recommended
    • Long sleeve summer shirts are good
    • Synthetic vs. down jackets
    • Fleece dries faster than most synthetic
    • How does your outer layer fit?
    • Picking your shell is important
    • 2 pairs of gloves: base layer and outer layer
    • Having ankle support boots is important
    • SmartWool socks or Darn Tough
    • Liner socks help with blisters
    • Take your shoes off each time you take a break
    • Gaiters are for protection
    • Take care of your feet
    • Look into inserts if you can
    • Have a good sleeping socks and leave them in your sleeping bag
    • Keep your feet dry, warm, and happy
    • Some hikers put Gold Bond in their socks and claim that helps
  • Shelter
    • Same as before
    • Average 2 person tent is about 2 pounds
    • Backpacking tent peak height is 2-4 feet, typically
  • Sleep system
    • Comfort, lower limit, extreme limit
    • R value: thickness and heating of insulation (sleeping pad)
    • sleeping bag liners (usually about $40-$80)
    • Yoga mats DO NOT work for sleeping pads
    • Try out a pad at REI before you buy one (you don’t have to buy it there but do try it out)
  • Camp kitchen
  • Pack types
    • Internal vs. external
    • Mesh helps with sweat
    • There is no one backpack to rule them all

The class went by pretty fast and, as you can see, there was new information on some of the same topics. I highly suggest this class because you can learn so much of the basic stuff. I loved it and the teachers are always so upbeat and lively.

Now, the next part of this post pertains to women so if you don’t want to read on, I understand. But women, I highly suggest you at least skim this part. This class is called “Women’s Backpacking Basics” and you can look for it using the same link above.

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  • Guidelines
    • Leave no Trace
    • Backcountry Knowledge
  • Getting Started
    • Same as before
  • Trip plan
    • Same as before
    • Trip plan should always be left with someone at home
  • Websites to visit and other resources
    • recreation.gov (you can find permit information)
    • nps.gov (you can get park information
    • summitpost.org (personal reviews from other hikers/backpackers)
    • REI Hiking Project App
    • Call the nearest ranger station
  • Rethinking the 10 essentials
    • Same as before
  • Dress
    • Same as before
    • Keep clean clothes back at your car if you are returning to the same spot after backpacking
  • Choosing your gear
    • Women’s specific gear (THERE IS A DIFFERENCE)
      • Packs
      • Sleeping bags
      • Trekking poles
    • other gear
      • Tents
      • Stoves
      • Filters
    • Sleeping with a bottle of warm water will help when you are cold
    • Trekking poles can help take some pressure off of your knees and back
    • Know the food before you go, try it before hand because you don’t want to take food hate.
    • Try to get water from the middle of a stream not on th edges
  • Carrying the load
    • Adjust weight to account for women’s center of gravity
    • Gage the water you are using, have a bladder as well as water bottles on each side of your pack (make sure it is even)
  • Women in the woods: Hygiene
    • Try using a Diva Cup, practice with it at home first.
      • Clean it with wipes every day (multiple times a day)
      • You can boil them (in its own pot, not the one used for food)
    • Using a GoGirl is so helpful!
    • Take a bathroom bag
    • Keep your feet out of the way when you pee
  • Safety
    • Recognize the sounds of nature
    • Know about wildlife in your area and how to react in an encounter
    • Engage the hiker community
  • Women in the woods: Preparation
    • Exercise and nutrition
      • Muscular strength and endurance
      • Flexibility and stretching
      • Training hikes
    • Hydrate before you get to higher elevation
  • Extra
    • Try to stay below 30 pounds in your pack
    • You can’t light fires at 10,000 feet
    • Don’t be afraid to go to an REI and ask questions, even if you don’t buy your equipment there.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope my notes prove helpful to y’all! I am including a couple links below if you would like to help Redheaded Owl and I prepare for our long hike in 2019. Feel free to look at them! As always, thank you for visiting my blog and I hope you enter the weekend on a high note!

https://www.gofundme.com/pctwomanhikers

https://www.amazon.com/wedding/share/wishlistforPCT

“Don’t stop when you are tired, stop when you are done.” -Unknown

17499696_10209138932970650_586903153_oHello readers! Today I want to report on what it was like for my husband and I to run in the Bubble Run 5K this17521607_10209138935770720_1927390249_o year. Or shall I say walk? We walked pretty much the entire thing and still finished in less than an hour.

If you don’t know, a 5k is about 3.1 miles. A bubble run 5K is 3.1 miles and every so often you run through a fountain of bubbles, all colored differently.

We attended the Bubble Run 5K in Anaheim, California and it was the best experience ever. There was a great turn out, including many children and babies. The price was only $20 plus a $6 service fee and you get your participant number with safety pins, a sweat headband, a temporary tattoo, 17548751_10209138935610716_53652363_o.jpgand a t-shirt. There are also more things that you can spend extra money on, like socks, tutus, sunglasses, towels, rubber duckies, and more t-shirts but we didn’t do that.

The location of the Bubble Run was the Angel Stadium. It was great because part of the course was on the field and another part was up in the bleachers area.

We do have some videos but unfortunately I am unable to upload any at this time. When I am able to, I hope to come back and add a few. But until then, I will include a slideshow of our photos of this wonderful adventure. I know this will not be the only 5K I ever do and if you are on the fence about doing a 5K, I say do it. It’s fun and you really don’t have to run at all!

As always, thank you for visiting my blog. Your comments are always welcome. Let me know if you were there and maybe even share some pictures! If you want more content from me, subscribe via email to get updated right away.

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“You want, as an artist, to be pushing yourself to do what you haven’t done before.” -T. C. Boyle

17407585_1653152884993103_355375473_o          On Thursday evening I was given the opportunity to meet one of my favorite authors. T.C. Boyle came to Reedley College and I jumped at the chance to see him. I didn’t always name him as one of my favorite authors, I was actually just introduced to his work last summer when I had to purchase Tortilla Curtain for a class I was enrolled in but had to drop. I then had to buy the T.C. Boyle Stories II for my current fictional writing class.

T.C. Boyle’s visit was the last of a whole set of speakers at Reedley College but he was the only one I was able to go see. I17430962_1653152811659777_1552946766_o had known about his spot shortly after the
semester began so it’s been on the calendar for about two months. Going to see him in person and listen to him read “Chicxulub” made me have an even deeper appreciation for him and his writing.

Many may not have ever heard of T.C. Boyle but I encourage you to read any of his amazing stories or novels. If you ever have the chance to go and listen to him live, I would hope you would take that opportunity just as I did. I will post a few notes I took so you can get a feeling for what he said.17474292_1653152838326441_1942343247_o

  • Went to public school in New York
  • Middle Class family
  • He wrote Tortilla Curtain to sort out all of his feelings
  • Everything he writes is a kind of dream
  • He says he’s not retired, he’s “pre-dead”
  • Art takes you out of yourself
  • Advice on how to become a writer: come from a wealthy family (LOL)
  • If it doesn’t work after 2 pages, throw it away
  • Water Music was is first novel and it is his favorite
  • If you want to write, you need to read

Again, it was such an honor to meet T.C. Boyle and I encourage everyone to go out and get familiar with his work because you won’t be sorry.

17474100_1653152724993119_1124326754_o          If you have read his work or have had the opportunity to meet with him, please tell me what your favorite story or novel is that his has written. One that really sticks with me is his short story “The Underground Gardens” because it takes a historical place in Fresno and turns it into a story that is so raw, and so beautiful. I almost wish that it was longer so that I could read more.

As always, I am very grateful for you coming to my blog. Feel free to comment below with any questions about seeing T.C. Boyle.

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“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ―Lao Tzu

A couple weeks ago, I wrote that some friends and I were planning to go on a small 17455121_1653116321663426_492670397_obackpacking trip along the Pacific Crest Trail. If you missed that post, click here. Today I want to talk about a class that I took through REI that will prepare me for this hike. The class I took was called Backpacking in Southern California. I decided to take this free class because I feel that I should gain as much information as I can before setting off into the unknown.

If you have never looked into an REI class, I highly recommend it. I know that some people don’t have an REI near them. My friend at RedheadedOwl lives almost an hour from the nearest REI but since she will be going on this hike with me she did decide to sign up for one class. I am very fortunate to live near so many REIs but, again, I know that some people aren’t.

As I mentioned before, the class I took was completely free. I was not a member when I started 17455020_1653120948329630_1881051706_osigning up for these classes but I am a member now. For members and nonmembers alike, there is no charge. Yes, some classes do cost money but there are usually enough free classes to tide you over. And if there are some classes you want to take that cost money, I suggest getting a membership. It’s a $20 one time fee and has many great things included. I might talk about that another time.

Going back to the class I took on Backpacking  in Southern California, I want to share the notes I took. So, I will write them down below in note format. I hope they make sense to you.

  • Why do you want to go backpacking?
  • Bear canisters are a necessary item
  • Look into the permits you need for the area you will be backpacking through
  • Pack it out (meaning toilet paper or ANY TRASH)
  • Check the weather conditions before you go
  • Know what kind of wildlife is in the area
  • Backpacking can change your life
  • Plan ahead and prepare
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  • Dispose of waste properly (cat holes)
  • Leave what you find (wildlife, plants, rocks, etc.)
  • Minimize campfire impacts
  • Respect Wildlife
  • Be considerate of other visitors
  • Ziplock backs are your friend
  • People at campsites probably aren’t going to bed early
  • Look into your area’s national park or forest website for more guidelines
  • You need to train in order to really be prepared for backpacking
  • Look into backpacking trips with REI and other groups (REI can become costly, though)
  • 4 liters of water per day in the desert
  • 1 liter = 2 pounds of water
  • Always, always, always filter your water
  • 30-40 pounds in your backpack
  • Who is in your group?
  • Where are you going?
  • What will you be doing?
  • 17430889_1653120954996296_1403105930_oWhen will you be back
  • GET IN SHAPE
  • Build up to it
  • 10 essentials:
    • Navigation
    • sun protection
    • Insulation
    • Illumination
    • First Aid supplies
    • Fire
    • Repair kit/ tools
    • nutrition (make sure you have extra snacks)
    • Emergency shelter
  • Take moleskine for your blisters!
  • Cotton balls soaked in vaseline is good for a fire starter
  • Duct tape solves everything
  • Emergency shelter can save your life
  • What to wear
    • Base layer “wicking”
    • Middle layer “warmth”
    • Shell/outer layer “Weather”
    • Don’t forget the head and hands
  • Wool or fleece is what you want
  • COTTON KILLS
  • Boots!!!! There are hiking and backpacking boots
  • Wool/synthetic socks
  • Gaiters
  • Liner socks
  • 55-80 liters backpack
  • Consume 1-2 pounds of food each day
  • Your bear canister will be the heaviest item
  • Find a lightweight tent
  • Don’t stick your head into your down sleeping bag because the moisture from your breath will ruin it
  • There is a difference in men’s and women’s sleeping bags
  • Filtration and purification for water treatment
  • Download any maps onto your phone.

I will be taking more class and I will talk about those when they happen so stay tuned for more notes from my REI class adventures. As always, thank you for coming to my blog. If you want to get more information about this and other posts, please subscribe!

“Some family trees have beautiful leaves, and some have just a bunch of nuts. Remember, it is the nuts that make the tree worth shaking.” –Unknown

Learning about where we come from is something that many people are interested Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 1.19.10 PMin today. My grandma was greatly involved in family history and found links to trace our lineage pretty far back. I’ve always wanted to do the same but I get lost as to where to go from here. There is one person, in particular, who is even more lost than I am. That person is my wonderful father-in-law.

He has continuously expressed interest in family history and in finding his father, who ha had never met. My husband and I decided to start the process by purchasing Ancestry DNA kit. We were all very anxious to see what the results would be and if there would be any links to his father.

Several weeks after receiving the DNA sample, Ancestry emailed me to inform me that there had been a great number of samples sent in after the holidays and that they expected it to take more than the estimated 6-8 weeks.

Finally, I had an email waiting in my inbox stating that the results are ready for viewing. I tried very hard not to look at them because I wanted it to be a surprise for everyone. I shielded the results from my view, printed out the summary, then folded it and sealed it in an envelop.

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 1.17.52 PM

We were able to give my father-in-law the good news this past weekend and boy was it worth it. He was so ecstatic! He loved the results of where the DNA shows his lineage and he especially loved that there were so many DNA matches. The best part? His mom had taken a DNA test and we didn’t even know but she and his half-sister came up on his results. Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 1.19.59 PM

Some of you may be wondering, how do I do this? How much does it cost? Is it safe? To answer you, you order it online (there are many places), there is a price but each place is different, and yes, this particular place is safe.

Here is a list of the top four sites for DNA kits:

  1. Ancestry ($99, unless on sale)
  2. 23 and Me ($99-$199, depending on what package)
  3. My Heritage ($99, unless on sale)
  4. Family Tree DNA ($79-$199, depending on what package)

According to various sites and articles, every source for DNA testing has its advantages and disadvantages. We went with Ancestry because we know the site and we trust it. Others may hate the site. It all depends on personal preference and budget. If you don’t have a price point, you could the most expensive option but if you are on a tight budget, a cheaper route may be best.

I wish I had more background information on DNA kits but I don’t. I haven’t found anyone who has done one using anything other than Ancestry. When I do get more information, I’ll try to post again with more information.

As always, thank you for coming to my blog. I hope you enjoyed it! Don’t forget to follow so you can receive updates on my blog.

“Don’t worry about what you’re writing or whether it’s good or even whether it makes sense.” -Lauren Oliver

Do you know what time it is? It’s time to prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo. If you saw my nano.pngpost from November about NaNoWriMo then you might know a little bit about it. If not, it’s ok. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. You are challenged to write 50,000 words in the month of November. So what does that have to do with right now? Well, in the months of April and July there is this things called Camp NaNoWriMo. For these two months, you set your own goal for writing and you work to hit that goal. One really cool thing about Camp NaNoWriMo is that you get to be in a group called a cabin. It is a small group, there is a max of 11 people in each cabin. I am in a cabin with other writers who are also Bullet Journal enthusiast.

The reason I am writing about this now, at the beginning of March, is to let people know about this awesome thing going on. I just signed up yesterday and will be preparing for April. I made a goal of 22,000 words. You can make any goal you want, some people in my cabin have a goal of 12,000. It’s really up to you and what you feel comfortable writing. It was a little difficult to get in the 50,000 words back in November and I didn’t win NaNoWriMo but I plan on winning at Camp NaNoWriMo.

To get started, you must visit the Camp NaNoWriMo site. If you have done any type of NaNoWriMo before, then all you have to do is sign in with your username/email and password from your account. If you forgot your password, like me, then you can click “forgot password” and you are able to make a new password. You just need access to the email you signed up with. If you haven’t done it before, then you would click the “join now” button on the left side of the page.

If you are unsure about whether you want to sign up for this or not, visit the Camp NaNoWriMo about page. You don’t have to write a novel, you can write a bunch of poems or a script or even a few children’s books. You are in charge here. Make the goal, whether it be hours spent writing, words to be written, or pages, you make it and strive to hit it or even exceed that. If you still have questions or concerns after visiting the about page, I would suggest the Camp NaNoWriMo FAQ page.

So, you’ve signed up. Now what do yo do? You have to set up your profile, try to add a picture to your account as well. Your picture can be of whatever you want, it doesn’t have to be a selfie, it doesn’t even have to have a person in the picture. My picture is my husband and I. Once you have your profile set up, set up your project profile. You don’t have to include a title for your project, I’ve seen plenty of people who don’t have one yet. Just make your goal and you’re ready. There are multiple ways to be in a group. If you know people, have them invite you to their group. You could also go on the NaNoWriMo Forums to read the “Finding Cabin Mates” post. Another option you have is to make your own cabin, if you have friends you’d like to join you. Your last option is to be randomly sorted into a cabin. For many people, this option works out wonderfully. If I didn’t already have a cabin I wanted to join, I would have selected that option. If you want nothing to do with cabins, that is ok too. There’s an option for you as well.

You now have your camper profile, your project all set up, and your cabin figured out. What’s next? Well, now is the time that you map out what your project will be about and how you want to get from 0 words to, in my case, 22,000 words. You don’t have to plan anything, some don’t. This whole thing is up to you.

If you’re doing Camp NaNoWriMo, please comment below with your username so we can all be friends! Remember: You can do it!! And, as always, thank you for reading. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.” -Wild (Cheryl Strayed)

Being in nature is something that everyone should have the opportunity to experience. I grew up going camping and I have always loved it. It was, more often than not, due to hunting season, but it was still a blast. My senior year in high school, my friend and I decided to do our senior pictures while camping. We brought along a couple of outfits, our makeup, and our hair stuff. The company that our school went through was very expensive me 1.jpgso we decided to do our own. It actually turned out nicely, considering the lack of photography skills we had. I, sadly, don’t have access to them right now but I did find one picture from that weekend (it’s not one of the Senior portraits, though). I had fallen and my friend decided to snap a picture of me. I’m sure you can see that I’ve changed quite a bit since then.

Another wonderful time I can remember being in a nature setting is our Summer 2008 Girl’s Trip. My grandma, aunt, cousin, and I went on an adventure. We were driving along when all of a sudden we see a bunch of elk on the side of bearthe road. Being from California, you don’t see that. We decided to stop and take pictures of them and, upon further inspection, we figured out that it was part of what is called Bear Country USA. We all agreed that it would be a nice little detour so we paid for admission and drove on in. There is a wide range of animals to see but one of my favorite parts was when we got to drive next to bears. There were so many of them and one was even walking along our van.

If your haven’t had a fun experience in nature, you need to get out there and just do it. That’s what my friends and I decided to do. On Monday, we decided to plan a backpacking trip. Yes, it’s insane but we’re really excited. Jewel is one who is fearful of the outdoors but wants to overcome that fear and Michaela wants to challenge herself. As for me, I want to get out and be in nature for a few days.

Michaela is actually the one who brought up the idea and Jewel and I agreed to do it. Ourpct.jpg plan is to backpack through a small section of the Pacific Crest Trail. If you have never heard of this trail, it’s a trail that spans about 3,000 miles over 3 states. It starts at the California/Mexico border and ends at the Washington/Canada border (or vice versa). We decided to backpack through part of the trail that goes through the Angeles National Forest.

We have never been to the area, we’ve never been backpacking, and we’re all untrained. So, is it really such a good idea to do this? Some will say yes while many will say no. We have, however, signed up for multiple REI classes specifically for backpacking and Jewel and I have multiple overnighters planned before our full 4 day trip (yes, only 4 days) in the area. We even already have plans for how we are going to obtain some of the necessary equipment for this journey.

One important thing we have done is talk to people who know what they are talking about. I spoke to my uncle for about two hours on safety and what we needed to know or do (or not do) while we are out there. Talking to people who know what they are talking about is always a good idea. Jewel has also been able to talk to her dad, who has been backpacking multiple times.

wild.jpgAnother thing we decided to do was to pick up a copy of Cheryl Strayed’s book “Wild.” Why did we do this? Because it is about her travels through the entire Pacific Crest Trail. What better way to learn about the trail than to read a first hand account?

Are we afraid? Of course we are! There are bears, mountain lions, rattle snakes and other various things that could potentially kill us out there. Why should fear stop us from pushing ourselves? We are strong and willing to let life teach us a lesson so we’re going to do this. Are we excited? Most definitely! It’s something new and new things are always exciting. We are doing something that will challenge us more than anything we’ve done in life this far.

Have you ever hiked a section of the Pacific Crest Trail? Maybe even the entire thing? Please comment below with a story from your experience. I will be keeping a journal while we are out and I plan to write all about it when we are done. Maybe I’ll even be able to backpack through the entire trail and write a book based on my experiences, just like Cheryl Strayed.

If you haven’t been to the Pacific Crest Trail, comment below with any memory you have about being in nature, good or bad. And as always, thank you for stopping by. Hit the follow button to get more updates on everything in my life.