Short hair, cuba, and dirt bagging – it’s going to be a good 2015!

Greetings Friends and Family,

History has a lovely way of repeating itself. During my short 25 years I’m already seeing patterns. In January I chopped and donated my hair for a new look, only to realize I was copying my spunky five-year old style.

And last week I once again gave my one-month notice to work, sparking the beginning of a new adventure. “We knew this day would come,” said our HR lady sadly, upon hearing the news.

This time, however, Miss Independent will not be traveling solo. My sweet, sexy, and adventurous partner Tyler will also be at the helm.

Left to Right_ little V, chopped, hot springs, bike tour, SF

Left to Right_ little V, chopped, hot springs, bike tour, SF

We start our trip in late April with two weeks in Cuba. Fifty percent of my blood hails from this rhythmic land of salsa music, yet it remains an enigma. Now that Tyler and I are enrolled in a latin dance class and because tensions are easing with the U.S., it’s the perfect time to experience the culture before it starts to change.

From there we’ll spend three weeks traveling through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala, an encore to the reverse route that my cousin and I followed in 2011. I have very important lingering questions about these regions. Were the tacos really as drippy and delicious as my tastebuds remember? Do the nurse sharks still linger by the fishing docks on Caye Caulker, Belize? Does the “Quieres pan?” lady still shuffle the Guatemalan shores of Lake Atitlan selling her daily bread?

We will return to Lake Tahoe with bellies full of fresh fruit just in time to load up Tyler’s truck with the newly purchased camper shell and head north. We’ll be spending June camping, climbing and eating cliff-bars through Oregon to Whidbey Island, Washington.

During July and August we plan to bike along Highway 1 from Seattle to San Diego, taking way too many pictures in brightly colored spandex and helmets which will be available on our blog (coming soon).

Then we meander back to Washington and live out of the truck from September through January. We’ll start in Canada’s National Parks like Jasper and Banff, and then follow the warmer weather south to take advantage of some good ol’ Ahmer’can treasures like Glacier, Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Zion and Bryce National Parks. Our google map has become so overrun with place markers that only bits of terrain leak around them, depending on the zoom.

In early 2016 we will take advantage of being under 30 and able to get year-long work visas in New Zealand. To plan beyond 2016 would be out of character, and likely useless as Plan A typically evolves into plan W by the time it rolls around.

The promise of a big(ger) adventure has not slowed the quality or quantity of our weekend warrior-ing. Winter skipped Lake Tahoe altogether this year, making it easy to leave the snow-less mountains when not biking or climbing.

On Valentine’s Day weekend we teamed up with a couple friends to do a three-day bike tour around the hot-spring riddled Eastern Sierra. Every day we followed a simple mantra: Bike. Soak. Camp. Rinse. Repeat. Turns out, this easy recipe yields unlimited servings of gorgeous views, relaxing soaks, well-earned meals, and good odds of a shooting star sighting.

Tyler takes the “other duties as required” section of the boyfriend description to the next level and surprised me last weekend with a San Francisco weekend getaway and concert tickets. We frolicked in golden gate park, squirmed under the gaze of an anaconda in the California Academy of Science, and split a meal with my best friend and her beau.

A backpacking trip to the Lost Coast in northern California is on the docket mid-month, and we’re hoping to do a big-wall climb in Yosemite before we take off.

Sending you lots of love,

V
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Thank You to my Dream Team!

Backpacking in Desolation Wilderness

Backpacking in Desolation Wilderness

For anyone who knows me, I have never been a procrastinator. Yet here I am with the final hours until my final piece of content is due to Tourism Australia and working on one last blog until the clock strikes 6pm in Australia. This dire message, the song that rings from my slightly off key voice to your ears is a very appreciative THANK YOU!

Post-work runs with friends

Post-work runs with friends

Thanks, gracias, obrigada, to everyone near and far who has not only provided beautiful words of encouragement since the beginning, but also shared my wonderful opportunity with others. I was interviewed on NPR: Capital Public Radio, featured on Channel 2 News in Reno (CBS) and on Loaded TV in Reno, in addition to numerous press releases and mentions on various facebook and websites. This competition has challenged my ability to function well with less sleep while also working a full time plus job, but also provided a reason to share a snippet of my life with some folks who usually only hear it in the quarterly email updates.

News Release

News Release

I’ve been reconnected with some incredible people, and made new friends with many more. The best part of this two-week challenge has been that I haven’t stopped doing the things I love; in fact I promote them. I truly believe that the source of adventure is within us, and if I can harness my energy and enthusiasm to inspire people to create their own journey then I will be an even happier lady.

Stand Up Paddleboarding Lake Tahoe

Stand Up Paddleboarding Lake Tahoe

So here’s to the people that encouraged me to pursue this dream job, you are the reason that I keep on smiling. I should hear back from Tourism Australia by May 15th and will certainly keep you all posted.

Musings of an Over-Achieving Weekend Warrior

Strike a pose on top of Cave Rock at sunset

Strike a pose on top of Cave Rock at sunset

I started with a relatively simple premise: An adventure a day. After 24 hours I realized that this campaign would be impossible for me. How can I limit my adventures to JUST one a day?

I’ve been told that I’m always on the move. As one friend told me, “V, you aggressively carpe diem.” The last couple days may be his case in point.

Thursday I slept three hours due to a million vibrating molecules of excitement at the prospect of being a park ranger in Queensland. Waking up was not quite as exhilarating. I love my job as the Communications Liaison for the CA Tahoe Conservancy, an environmental state agency, but computer screen glare doesn’t fill my vitamin D daily dosage.

I biked home to host a quick happy hour on my patio below the vanilla scented Jeffrey Pine. By 6:30pm my friend Tim and I were heading towards Cave Rock, a previous cultural site for the Washoe Tribe to catch a sunset over Lake Tahoe. At 8:30, after a quick refuel of overly greasy burritos, the California standard, we drove to Fallen Leaf Lake. The moon was so full it seemed to drip into the aspens and light the trail. No headlamps necessary as we joined the coyotes in their eerie howls. Salsa verde finger licks and reflection of snow-covered Mt. Tallac made the minutes pull the moon further overhead.

IMG_2232The next day, after another full day in the office, my coworker and I changed into shorts and sandals and pushed off into the blue silk of Lake Tahoe on a windless afternoon. Every time I paddleboard through its crystalline water I find myself in awe. The sand lines wiggle beneath the liquid line that is so clear you have to remind yourself it exists. A vertigo of phases as the eyes move through liquid into air without a visible transition. I can’t describe the feeling of seeing Tahoe inside out, separated from the cold water by two inches of fiberglass looking out towards 8,000 foot white peaks. Moments like these, available in my very backyard, remind me why I live here.

Then again, absence makes the heart grow fonder and I am on the move as I type. This time Matt Robertson and I are rolling down the California coast towards the wooded coastal wonderland of Big Sur. I’ll be surprising my Dad, who is currently camping in San Simeon with my stepmom (the co-surprise coordinator, her official title). We should be pulling in about 1AM since both Matt and I spent all day manning booths at the South Tahoe Earth Day and weren’t able to leave until 6pm.

IMG_2235Even weekend warriors can manage to push the limits on the number of laughs and wows packed into a day. The moments of gratitude for living such an awesome adventurous life are reflections of the joy within.