Posted in Adventure, Hiking

Chasing Waterfalls

What a refreshing difference. With this being the toughest winter in years, it was a welcomed change to escape the feet-high snow pack’s of the Sierra to head for a warmer, greener destination.

I managed my highest step goal yet, since Germany and got to walk barefoot in the sand on the banks of the Yuba River.

Ahh – Bliss

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Posted in Adventure, Inspiration, Life

Geisterklamm – Gorge

We must take adventures in order to know where we truly belong. This picture was taken near Mittenwald last year. I have visited this gorge on previous visits, but from the other direction, and never fully walked the entire thing.

2018 held a few adventures, but far, far too few.

2019 will be a year of transition and in making of dreams come true. I know life often has a funny way of unfolding differently as planned, but I will do my best to roll with the punches and never lose sight of what makes my heart beat faster.

2020 let’s see where the wind will take me.

Posted in Adventure, Blogging, Inspiration, Writing

Dreaming big – inspired by Kyle and Amanda

I was daydreaming today and it was my soul sister Amanda who reminded me of a passion and a dream that began long ago. It began some three years ago as this blog got started. The first year was rocky and I left it unattended. I could never figure out how to start, and would rewrite to the point of insanity. So I left for a year, but the past two years have been solid, and I don’t think about it all that much anymore. I just write what comes to mind and what feels relevant at the time. I do the best I can with English being my second language and it doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect, as long as it comes from the heart and has passion. I know that sometimes it’s a bit all over the place, and one might struggle to see what my blog is all about. Well, turns out that I am woman of many passions and can’t narrow it down to one single thing. I guess in a way there is a certain surprise factor since you never know what might hit you on any given day. It could be about my journey with Mom and Germany has been a huge contributor as to why the blog is jumping around a bit. It could be about the highlights and challenges of life, a bit of wisdom and life experiences, or inspiration. It could also be something about Mother Nature, the moon, my love for hiking and photography, or the ways of an empath and a soul that feels just a little too much sometimes. I could go on and probably name a few more such as my motorcycle, crafting, books or my love for travel and animals, but that by far wouldn’t encompass it all.

Amanda resurfaced my dream about writing a book today. I have come to know quite a few people by now who want to write a book or have, and it is truly amazing how many people share the same dream. We are recognizing that we have a voice, we’re taking a stand and want to be heard. We have something to share and something to say to the world. Perhaps a tough field to make your mark after so many people pursue it. I was told once that it all comes down to marketing. You can have a bestseller at your hands, but if nobody knows, you will share your treasure with family and friends and it will remain in small circles. Perhaps that’s ok, and it really depends on how big you want to go, how you envision the end result.

Amanda’s mentioning was the second this week that led back to my dream of a storyteller. A sign I take it, and a nudge to consider turning this dream into reality. Anything and everything is possible, perhaps the time is now. It’s all we ever have…the NOW. Except at this moment I am unsure of what I want to write about and perhaps some input would be appreciated. Having too many points of interest can be a hinderance as well, but the right path will reveal itself when the time comes. I’m still waiting for my clue.

I also got a message from my friend Kyle last week. We never met and some of the people closest to me with the most significant meaning are those that I have never met. Not all, but most. I came across Kyle through his dog Katana, a Shiba Inu with the nickname of Catfox. I would follow the adventures of Catfox who went hiking with her favorite human, Kyle on Instagram. I took solace in the pictures and the stories as they reminded me so much of my dog Nikki, a Shiba Inu mix who had recently passed away. It was a strange mixture of painful reminders, but also beautiful memories to see and read the stories. It was much in relation with my own experiences with Nikki and I felt more comfort then pain following the adventure. I needed something to hold on to at that time as I was heartbroken over my loss. To this day I never gotten over Nikki and I know that although nothing will ever fill the empty hole that was left behind, it will take another Shiba Inu to fill the void and the loneliness.

Somewhere along the lines, I learned that Kyle was a thru hiker which is a long distance hiker. Spending months on trail, with nothing more then your backpack, braving the elements with barely nothing and coming back a richer person then before, I was immediately inspired. Some people collect things and others collect moments and memories. Somehow he had managed to jump off the hamster wheel, and get away from the daily grind. He escaped the competition but entered a territory of camaraderie and friendship. He became his own boss, setting his own working hours. He didn’t report to anyone but himself, and it was a concept that appealed a great deal to me. I was so tired of the routine and of living but barely feeling alive. A passion was born and once I learned that we had so much more in common then Katana only, I friend requested Kyle’s personal page and “holy shit”, he accepted. I felt so grateful, and it was as if a celebrity had just taken time to notice little me. I kept starring at the screen almost in disbelief that he had accepted my friend request. I’m not even sure how I managed to send off the request the begin with. In all honesty I had little confidence that he would accept and notice, and I actually forgot about it, until that day when the confirmation popped up on the screen read that “You and Kyle are friends now”, or something like that. Kyle and Katana have been an inspiration ever since, but it wouldn’t stop there. A third member got added, but that didn’t come until later in the story.

Kyle was planning on hiking the Appalachian Trail, a 2200 mile long distance trek that starts at Springer Mountain in Georgia and ends at Mount Katahdin in Maine. He conditioned himself and Catfox who would come along for the entire trail. Finally the journey began and vicariously he took his fans and friends along by writing a blog that he created specifically for the adventure. Those blog entries later turned into the book called “Lost on the Appalachian Trail” by Kyle Rohrig. You can get it on Amazon and all proceeds support his adventures, and allows him to live the life style he sees fit for himself, while encouraging us to take the leap and follow our dreams. Sometimes it takes getting lost in order to find ourselves and this is such a story.

That book not only reinforced my dream of becoming a writer, but it also instilled the desire of becoming a thru hiker. I had a new bucket list goal and I was so Gung Ho, planning on how I could escape the hamster wheel, how I could make it all happen financially. Kyle stayed in touch throughout, still to this day, checking in ever so often and inspiring me to take he leap sooner then later. I’m sure I would have actually done it had the RA not forced me to my knees. I never had the heart to succumb to it or to tell him because I just don’t think that this is how my story ends and it definitely is no excuse. It’s not over yet, although I have never recovered completely since that last bout, and I know that my current condition is not to the point of knowing if I could physically manage. What hasn’t died is the dream of actually setting out some day in the near future and just seeing how far I can manage. It was also when a new dream was born and I modified the existing one just a little. Plans of converting a school bus and traveling the lands in a way that would better accommodate my chronic illness came to mind. A tiny home on wheels and that dream is very much alive these days. Hike as much as I can while still enjoying the same feeling of freedom and a unconventional life. I don’t want to work for luxuries and a home that keeps me away all day so I can afford it. I don’t want convention to suck the life right out of me. I want to live vs. just being alive. I want to collect moments that touch my heart and don’t impress status. I have no one to impress these days and I can honestly say “Been there done that, not my future”. I don’t care about acceptance or understanding. I’m living my life for myself and not for anyone else. It doesn’t have to fit you, but it has to fit me. I don’t think I ever really cared about it, but like so many I fell into the American dream of what society deemed as successful. I thought that’s just how it was until I realized I was living someone else’s dream. I missed so much but I have been awake, and I’m dreaming in whole new ways, and in part thanks to Kyle.

I don’t think Kyle ever anticipated the success of the book and that it would take off the way it did. He merely wanted to record his journey and it just so happened that he wrote his journal entries into a book. It was told in a language as if he was talking to me or you. Funny and witty, encouraging and inspiring, there were plenty of moments when suspense mounted, while others would leave you literally laughing out loud. He has many gifts and all he touches and meets, I’m sure will never forget what a wonderful person he is. Kyle learned what a huge demand the world had for authenticity, for something real, no bullshit, just plain good fun and language that would speak to all. Kyle woke a desire in his readers to dare to dream, to find the courage to make a difference and reconsider the things that truly matter.

The book became a best seller and his fan base has grown in huge numbers, by no surprise. He leaves me in awe, and with the desire to write and convey my journey as a storyteller. To bring something to the table that people find relatable, something that brightens their day and something that inspires to hold on, whatever challenges they might face. To live your days to the fullest and to follow your dreams, whatever they are. I want to make a difference in someone’s day and if I can do so with one person, then it is one person that is in better shape as they were before hand. Kyle has achieved what I am still day-dreaming about, and if I touch people in only a fraction of the way then he has reached people, then I could never ask for anything more. Maybe one day it will all come to play.

In other news Kyle has also finished the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) another long distance trek this year and has written two more books since the Appalachian. If you can and care to support him while treating yourself to an exceptional read, you can find Kyle on Facebook, Amazon or at Boundlessroamad.com.

I am sorry this is late and you may have missed a personal inscribed and paw printed copy of the book, but perhaps there will be another chance if that is the way you choose to go. Thank you for all and any support.

Posted in Adventure, Health, Hiking

Movement for life – Part I

I struggled on Monday, and what started out as a nice break for myself, would quickly turn into a day filled with pain. The RA has become a constant, and reminds me of how it all started some 12 years ago when I was reduced to barely being able to move, as if I was crippled. It seems that I have arrived back at that point and everything takes effort. The lack of exercise, spending most days sitting at Moms bedside doesn’t help, and physically the only thing it has brought me is extra pounds. I’m at a point where you can’t get comfortable, you don’t sleep through the night, and you wake several times from the pain of turning. I haven’t had such a strong flare-up in years, and it is painful, debilitating. frustrating, as well as scary. Imagine yourself losing control, the nagging pain robs your sanity and everything becomes a major chore. You feel the inflammation in your body in the form of sore, tender, swollen joints, and certain parts of your body feel as if they were on fire. There is tightness and you can’t make a fist. There is a burning, a desire to give up and not walk another step, although your feet are not tired and feel fine. It’s hard to endure, but even harder to adjust to your new reality and become friends with it. There is so much left you are planning to do, so many dreams waiting to be executed vs. being dreamt, you have goals and plans, and your body is reminding you that it might not come to pass. Your saving grace is your spirit, who is not defeated yet, there still is hope and you fight on, day after day. You do what you can to keep your mood high and positive. Sometimes it works, and sometimes you are just soooo tired of it. That is pretty much how things have been lately, filled with an unwillingness to accept the new reality although I have completely surrendered to what is. It had happened before and went into remission before, it could happen again and that’s what I choose to believe. But is there something more life is trying to tell me? Already on my knees, was my body in the process of forcing me into a decision, because my mind couldn’t make that choice. I truly think that it is what happened the last time. My body broke down to remove me from a damaging circumstances. Things turned out for the better back then, was it happening again?

Monday was such a day, and it was mostly my upper body, arms, hands and shoulders that were sore. There was pressure in my chest and I didn’t know if it was caused from the RA, taking the steroids and daily pain meds, or because my heart just had enough of enduring the constant strain. I took a few extra aspirin on top of the daily regimen that I’m already on per doctor’s orders. I managed somehow, became very tired but also very restless by the end of the day. I hardly did anything but rest. Was it really what I needed, another day of minimum exercise, mostly sitting and laying around? Something had to give and I knew it.

Tuesday morning came and the wheels were turning. I needed movement, and declared that just sitting day after day at Mom’s wasn’t going to cut it anymore. The temperatures were getting cooler, perfect hiking weather for me and a plan was born. I needed to exercise my heart and decided to walk to Mom’s. I was doubtful and had no idea about what strain I was going to put myself under, but I had to. I thought about resting points along the way if I needed to, while shaking my head at my own self and my incapabilities. What happened, I had walked much further distances in the past, never thinking about places where I might rest, but this was my “NOW” and I didn’t like it. Actually, I had to admit that I was growing to not like a lot of things about my current “NOW”, but so it was. At least for the time being.

I decided to rake up the pears in front of the house before leaving, and it would be a good indicator of how the joints performed, before risking the final journey. Although the small stretch of property in front of the house is the towns property, somehow it was still everybody’s responsibility to clean up the mess, and “The village people” knew who did and who didn’t. It was obvious, but also fuel for future conversations and a few looks. The previous storm had shook the tree hard, and the bottom around it was covered with fallen pears. I raked up five large buckets full and had to leave another pile that didn’t fit into the waste container. The pain was tolerable and actually felt as if the movement was helping. It was decided, and I got my pack ready. With water, lunch sandwiches, Fruit roll ups, jacket, I pad and phones, cables, sunglasses, PAIN MEDS, and wallet in tow, I was soon to be on my way. If I could only combine walking to Mom with a hike, an adventure to explore and see things, things usually missed by driving by quickly, if I could enjoy my time being out, to slow it down a bit while getting my exercise and step goal in, perhaps it would be a win win situation in many ways. I would also take advantage of the milder temps before the weather turned completely and winter arrived. It seemed like a winning combination and I was hyped up and pumped. My mind had performed it’s own little motivation speech

and off I was, walking each step to get closer to Mom. This didn’t come with the occasional moments of disbelief that I was actually doing it. I didn’t feel the greatest and while the pain in my legs were manageable, I still felt the tightness in my chest like a warning that this might not be the smartest idea. I knew that I had to keep pushing and promised myself to take it easy if there was ever a need. To listen to my body, but also make changes that my body needed to adapt to. I had reached the end of town as the neighbor chased by me per car. She was driving into the same direction I was walking in, but I was invisible and small. There was no time for a waive hello, heaven forbid for a offer or a lift, perhaps I wasn’t even noticed or seen. For a moment I was reminded that I would be completely on my own. Wasn’t it what I wanted…to slow things down and take time to breath? Wasn’t the rushing car that symbolized hectic and stress exactly what I was trying to get away from? Of course it was, but did the neighbor knew? It was more the principle of it, and realizing how wrapped up everybody was that had me bothered. I was reminded of the rat race I myself had belonged to not too long ago, the madness I was caught up in, with days that passed me by leaving nothing more but meaningless memories behind. Phew another day was in the books, did I manage to complete all my chores was my theme song. It was confirmation that I didn’t want to return, that I wanted the time to notice and that a different path would have to be taken.

It was a beautiful day for walking. The temperatures were in the upper 50’s, partly cloudy with beautiful “Puffies” (clouds) and a light breeze. The next thing I noticed was a playful red squirrel, a first since my arrival. I smiled knowing that surely I would have missed it, had I just driven by. My second message for the day was to have more fun and to take life a little less serious. Thank you Mr. Squirrel, indeed I needed that reminder. My senses were keen and I was in tune with what messages Mother Nature had for me. Just a short while later, a fuzzy caterpillar was near the side of the path, nestled safely in between the grass. Immediately I thought of it’s transformation to become a butterfly and how it related to myself. This entire journey had been transformative, I was getting my answers as well as insights of where I had been and where I wanted to go. Mrs. Caterpillar was no exception and another confirmation and reminder that I was following the correct path.

“Caterpillar holds the grand dream of becoming all that it can be, with no limitations, it reaches out to become it’s greatest expression of self. Putting everything aside, it follows the drive to evolve. Caterpillar teaches us to do the same, to find our power to transform in deep meditation, to go into the cocoon and emerge as a greater aspect of self…believing in the possibilities that with faith all things great and small are possible, and to remember that the grand and beautiful things have very humble beginnings”.

~Presley Love

…to be continued

Posted in Adventure

Labyrinth – Irrgarten

It’s been an unusual hot and dry summer in Germany. I think 2018 will go down as the year of extremes in my book. Everything has been extreme and few things have been simple this year. I remember back to the extreme cold as I got here, dealing with frozen pipes and trying to sleep while seeing my own breath in front of me. I’m thinking of all the battles with Mom, her extreme condition in the beginning, when everybody thought we might not see her the next day, to her extreme and remarkable recovery so far.

Now it is that the extreme heat has arrived and it’s been an extreme summer, with extremely little rain. I think that it really heavy rained once in months now, and it happened while I was away in Mittenwald. The crops and harvests are extremely early this year and everyone tells me that summers in Germany are usually not like this. The year of extreme has set the pace for me right from the beginning, so why would this be any different?

There was a maze discovery, a Irrgarten how we would call it the other day. Funny enough, and extreme again, it started to rain just about as we couldn’t find our way back out and got lost in the maze. I was inviting of the rain as visions from the notebook crossed my mind, seeing myself get soaked with my hair sticking to my face. I started to walk faster with childlike abandon. A walk that might turn into a run with crazy laughter and carelessness. It sadly never came to be and it was just a little sprinkle tease. But hey, there is always a next time….right?

Posted in Adventure, Hiking

Exploration time

This picture is a few years old and was taken at Rainbow Falls in California. Although I wrote about the falls before, I never posted this picture and just recently came across it.

You probably already know that I love my exploration time, and the sense of adventure those moments bring. Over the years I have collected many “favorite” spots, but there is always something a little extra and special when seeing a place for the first time. You never quite know what’s around the bend and what views will greet you. Often the picture you might have seen, don’t do the place justice, and it is something entirely else to see it for yourself. It’s a sigh and an ahhhh, an oooh and a inhale that reconfirms that I have returned home. Home to nature, to Mother Earth and the sanctuary that offers bliss and peace to my entire being. I feel calm as I close my eyes. I am set free. Time stands still and the worries dissipate, there is an embrace that can’t be seen, but is felt with every inch of my being. My system is charging and fueling itself with new strengths for what lies ahead.

I am going on a little exploration trip over the next two days, so it might be a little quiet here if you stop by. But I promise you the wait will be worth it, and I can’t wait to share my little exploration time with you through my eyes. If I get lucky I might be able to share a few views along the way, but the words might be limited.

Posted in Adventure, Life

Mission: Missing Dog

What started like a peaceful evening on the patio with a little writing and yes, more ice cream,ended up in total Mayhem. All of a sudden there was panic and understandably so as it was noticed that the neighbors dog was missing. I was going to give the bicycle a rest today, but I guess the universe had other plans. Somehow the little garden door unlatched and escaped was one big black poodle named Pocco. The small pathway led to pastures and fields, but also a main high speed road not too far off. After swearing that the dog couldn’t have opened the latch, that he was sure he had closed it and that someone must have opened it, there was no time to waste. He decided to call nearby family and the police, thinking his dog got stolen, while I set out on the bike to look for Pocco. I never even padded the dog, this could get interesting as I didn’t know if he would so much as let me touch him. Further I had my phone with me but I was truly prepared and didn’t have the neighbors number to call if I found the dog. Perfect, way to go.

I searched the surrounding area and was paddling like crazy, nothing, no Pocco. I decided to check back to see if someone else had found him. Two cars later, one neighbor keeping watch at home and me on the bike, finally a tip came in that someone had just seen him in the middle of town. Everybody went into that direction and we split up from there. Of course it ended up being me who saw a black tail turn around the corner. I had found Pocco, but he wasn’t happy. Scared and barking he didn’t let me come close, despite the sweetest talk. He ran, tail between his legs and I jumped back on the bike hoping to corral him and chase him home. After all there was traffic but luckily not as much and fast as on the much busier high speed road behind the fields. I felt like the sheepherder with his sheep yesterday, except I was chasing a dog with the bicycle. And man, could that dog ever run. All I could do was follow him and after a few turns into the wrong direction I hoped someone would find us soon or later before I ran out of breath. Who was I going to call? Needless to say someone finally did reach us with the car and all ended well. The neighbor was relieved and had to call off the police, Pocco was thirsty like heck and I got the best workout yet. The happy ending…

Good thing I had that bike 😉

Posted in Adventure, Travel

The bus stops right here – Rothenburg o.d.T.

Check it out I even made a logo for “Fern” and this picture was taken on the city wall surrounding Rothenburg o.d.T. (ob der Tauber). I hope you like it.

It is finally here, the first installment of “The bus stops right here”. I knew a few of you have been excited about this, thank you very much for the support of my quirky ideas. You’re the best. I’m happy to say that the wait is finally over with more installments on the way. Meet “Fern” my little miniature hippie bus that travelled to Germany with me. Fern (meaning far in german) embodies what I hope to pursue in the future. A simpler lifestyle with a home on wheels, traveling to wherever the wind takes me to fuel my wild spirit, and pursue my values and core beliefs. To live by even simpler means, to get rid of the stuff and baggage, but be richer through memories and life experiences. Adventure makes my heart beat higher, as well as to be in my own time and without schedules.

On this first ever installment, you will travel to one of my favorite places. The bus stopped in Rothenburg, a quaint medieval city that is only a short distance away from my hometown, and always a must see. Rothenburg allows you to escape and makes you feel as if you are on vacation. It does get crowded though with tourists in the summer, but on this night it was perfect. We left towards the early evening hours, and it was a mild April day. Unusual warm for this time of season and unusually uncrowned once we got there. Guess nobody planned on taking vacation in April which is often unpredictable and rainy, but not this time. I think we skipped spring all together and headed straight for summer. I’m not complaining after nearly freezing to death during the first weeks of my arrival.

We parked just outside the city wall that was still paved solid. The inner city is made of cobblestone, preserved in its prior history, with market places, tiny medieval doors, fountains, and shops. Only a few short steps from the parking spot is one of the many accesses to the city wall. Steep, narrow steps, whisk you up above the rooftops and a view of the inner city. In the distance you see can churches, other watchtowers and the city life beneath your feet.

Outdoor cafes and Biergarten are a part of german history and are definitely all over the place in Rothenburg. People come together and sit in a relaxing atmosphere, throughout the day and in the evening when the sun settles it’s alpenglow last light on the steeples and romantic core of the city. German “Gemütlichkeit” reminds me much about a Post on the danish Hygge that I did awhile back and has the same concept.

Be forewarned of pictures from Rothenburg to crowd this feed.