Half-Dome Part 2: Talk with an Expert and Gear

Check out Part 1: Half Dome here

Talk with an Expert:

Mr. Half Dome, also known as Rick Deutsch is the president of Carpe Diem Experience LLC. He has written the how-to-guide for hiking Half-Dome called “One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome.” He frequently gives talks at REI about his book and hiking Half Dome.  His book has sold over 13,000 copies, and he has been called a modern-day Muir. Mr. Half Dome has completed the Half Dome hike over 42 times.

Around 1990 he moved from the East coast and did Half Dome without any preparation or training. “It knocked me over, and I said, I am going to do this once a year. I wrote a bucket list, and I kept it going every year.”

“For the first timer there are three things I say, 1) education, learn about this hike. Learn about the water. Shoes or boots, noncotton. You need to know how much food and electrolytes you need. Also, have head lights. 2) preparation- Start by hiking hills. These are different muscles. Get hiking poles; a water filter is mandatory. A Stairmaster is great but only does uphill muscles. You go downhill for 6 hours. 3) Motivation- Do it because you want to do it. Anybody can do this with those three things.” Mr. Half Dome goes on to note that most people focus on the cables, but the switchbacks of sub dome are much more challenging than the cables. He says he usually completes the hike in 11 hours and not to rush.

When it comes to training Mr. Half Dome says, “A lot of people underestimate the upper body strength going up the cables. Don’t grab both sides of the cables. Just grab one side.” He then advises the proper gear, “Use body glide on your feet then a thin liner sock. No cotton. I believe in a good hiking boot with tread. The problem with running shoes is that they are not as rigid (see my comments on this in the Things to Bring section) and there is no ankle protection, high top boots offer more protection.” He stresses the importance of NO SMOOTH SOLES. He and I cannot impress this upon the reader enough. The rock is often smooth and wet. Smooth soles shoes, in my opinion, would be the worst gear mistake you can make. He goes on to suggest a hat, sunscreen, and a fanny pack. He says, “backpacks get hot and cause lower back pain. In your pack, you want water bottles, food, power bars, lifesavers, flashlights or headlamps. It gets pitch black up there.”

Many first-timers find the permit system intimidating. “The best day to get a permit is June 21, you get the longest daylight, fewer crowds, less chance of lightning and best waterfalls,” he says. “August has more chances of lightning. About 5,000 people request for 250 daily permits.”

“If you have good boots, hydration and rubber sticky gloves you can do this. About 40,000 people a year do this. Anyone that is physically able can accomplish this. A guy with a prosthetic leg came up to me proudly exclaiming that he had just completed the hike the day before.”

Gear:

Permit: Hiking half dome starts with obtaining a permit. You can do most of the hike without a permit, but you need permits to ascend the cables. The way a permit works is one named person is the ‘applicant’ who can request for several other people to be included on the permit. Those people are unnamed. If an applicant reaches the permit checkpoint and has a permit allowing for example 5 people but only has a party of 4, then you can politely ask them to include you on their permit. The applicant must be present, and the entire party must be present to move forward. Another way is entering the lottery. Check out the parks and rec website for specific dates. The most straightforward option is with a tour group or a guide. They often obtain the permits for you in advance. Though this is a more costly option, it is easier.

Trail running shoes with Gortex- Regarding a person of average fitness, high top hiking boots might be overload. I liked the waterproof aspect of my shoes as they helped me stay warm throughout the hike.

Food- Endurance activities are not meant for weight loss. You need to fuel your body to ensure you have the energy needed to complete your hike. Bring protein bars, sandwiches and whatever else you need to sustain your body for the intense physical activity required.

Water

Layers- It is cold then hot, and if you aren’t dressed appropriately for each you will be very uncomfortable. I am a fan of synthetic fabrics.

Gloves-The cables will tear your hands up.

Safety rope and clip- In the group, I was the only one that used the safety rope and clip. Almost everyone else decided to go without. Perhaps it was the stories of how people had died going up/down the cables that set my mind on the safety rope. It is not required. I will say this, by the halfway point, people were looking with envy at my safety rope. I was comfortably scaling the cables.

Half Dome Part 1

My story:

  

I heard about it; then I had to do it. Such goes the simple story of my life. Half-Dome was no different. The summer of 2015 I was talking to a man who told me hiking half-dome was on his bucket list. The following summer my church camping group was hosting a trip to Yosemite, complete with a Half-Dome hike. Done and Done. I wasn’t nervous about hiking Half-Dome because at this point I already had two full marathons under my belt. I hiked with a group of about 20 other people. Most were first-timers, and most were very nervous. Every single person made it.

Half-Dome is an exceptional hike not just due to the overwhelming beauty but also because the peak is only accessible by climbing up cable wires. Half-Dome peaks 4,737 feet from the floor of Yosemite Valley. The half-dome hike is 16.4 miles round trip. The last 400 feet of the hike are via cable wires. Once at the top, the views are spectacular.

What I find the most fascinating about Half-Dome is its rich history. In the 1800’s a geologist named Josiah Whitney proclaimed that no man would ever set foot on half dome. After hearing this George Anderson began drilling holes into Half-Dome, he put eye-bolts into the holes he drilled. He would stand on the eye-bolts and used this method until he reached the top. Anderson was the first man to stand on top of Half-Dome. We all have a moment in our history, a moment we thought (or were told) we couldn’t achieve something. For me, it was Death Ride. I had an old friend tell me that I just couldn’t do it. I loved the way his jaw dropped when I saw him on the final descent. For Anderson, it was hearing no man would stand on the top of this specular summit. We are all capable of so much more than we realize.

I knew I could hike half-dome from the moment I heard about it, but what floored me was hearing the negative self-talk from everyone in my group. The entire group of about 20 people permeated the trails with chatter regarding a lack of training, being out of shape, overweight, not very fast—excuse after excuse. Every single one of them made it. I have learned to stop telling myself I can’t do things. I know better now. There comes a time when you have to put away the negative self-talk and just do. Just go, just throw yourself in, and swim.

In my experience, the most profound part of the half-dome hike was the people. It inspired me how despite living their fears, they were still moving forward. At the top of the summit, everyone came together and basked in the awesomeness of the task they had accomplished. Get your permit, and hike.

Check out Part 2 here: Talk with an Expert and Gear

Whitewater Rafting Part 3

This is part 3 (My Experience).

For Part 1 (My Story) click here

For Part 2 (Interview with a Master and What to Bring) click here

My Experience:

I had only seen white water rafting on T.V. I wasn’t sure what it entailed or what it was all about. My first experience white water rafting was when I organized a girl’s trip at Cache Creek, in Northern California. I didn’t understand what I was looking for in a trip. I ended up booking more of a party trip. It was an overnight camping trip, my friends “bestie” and “CC” were the girls who joined me. We parked at one end of the river and left our bags to be loaded by the staff. We were put into a 4-person boat. It was not self-bailing (more on this later), we were not given helmets or a guide. Then the guides gave us a quick instructional that was difficult to hear over the clamor of everyone getting situated.

We put on our life vests, were handed paddles and attempted to figure out what we got ourselves into. The section of Cache Creek we rafted were class three with some parts class two. Though considered mild, I would like to note, I felt unsafe without a helmet or a guide. The trip was fun overall. Going down the rapids, there was lots of music and drinking. Everyone was very social. We had a blast.

There were a few rapids that required attention but nothing extreme. Until we came upon the largest rapids on the trip. Our boat got stuck. As it was not self-bailing, it filled with water. The boat became wedged between two large rocks. We couldn’t get out by rocking the boat or pushing off with our paddles. None of us knew what to do, I got out of the boat and stood on the rock and kicked it out. That was stupid. I see that now. As the boat dislodged, I fell into the water. My friends in the boat were swept away from me, out of their control. I was being carried downstream, hitting each rock as I went. I was terrified I would hit my head. It hurt, it sucked. I was able to grab onto a tree branch as I was floating by (remember this is in rapids, I had no helmet, nor did I have what I felt was proper advice on what to do in this situation). So, there I was, water rushing past me, holding onto a tree branch. If I let go of the branch, I would be carried into a long stretch of jagged rocks (the shore was cliff-faced, I could not maneuver to the shore). Like a scene from a movie, a man and his friend saw me. One of the men jumped out of the boat, swam towards me and positioned his body under me. He took the hit of every rock on the way downstream, protecting me. He later told me he was in the army. I thanked him profusely as he caught up with his boat. I met up with my friends who were waiting for me at the end of that section of rapids.

Knowing then, what I know now, I would not have chosen this company. In my opinion, a helmet is necessary for beginners, and one was not made available to me. This trip was advertised as perfect for beginners, yet I felt the instruction beforehand left me grossly unprepared for the experience. Other than that incident though, we had a wonderful time.

The second time I went rafting was with a friend “Stanford.” He booked through a great company called “Whitewater Excitement.” This trip had a much more professional feel. The guide was in the boat with us the entire time. He gave us thoughtful instruction before and during the rafting trip. We wore proper equipment, and no one fell out of the boat. The rapids on this trip were more intense than the rapids at Cache Creek. This trip was along the South Fork of the American River.

 

At one point along the trip, I asked the guide if I could steer the boat through some rapids. The guide delightfully obliged. He told me I was the first person to kick him out of his chair. He instructed me on how to steer the boat. It was a blast.

When the rafting trip began, I was a bundle of nerves. I kept thinking, how I fell out of the boat my first trip. As the first few sets of rapids came up, I would cringe. As the trip progressed I realized, the guide had everything under control. I felt more and more comfortable which led to feeling full on excitement as we came across each set of rapids. I let go of my need to control the situation and trusted that I was in good hands. It worked. For me adventure is more than just something to do to have fun, it is therapeutic. It is a way to learn to let go and just enjoy life. If you have never been white water rafting, I encourage you to go out and find a reputable company with a knowledgeable guide. Then, just go and have fun.

 

Whitewater rafting Part 2

For Part 1 (My Story) Click Here

Talk with a master:

 

Erik Allen has been kayaking for 21 years and rafting for 19. He has been a professional guide for 19 years. Erik’s respect for the outdoors is his platform for showing love for the two most important things in his life, his religion and his family. He is often seen with his wife and children hiking, biking and rafting.

“One of the things I’ll think about is how beautiful and awesome it is to be on the river. Spiritually, I analyze how amazingly beautiful it is,” Erik said. “We are blessed to live in the Sierra’s, which has rivers, canyons, and lakes. We are privileged to live where we do. We have world class river systems. There is a bible verse talking about how the mountains flow down to the river. You can see it right here.”

Erik suggests researching and finding a reputable guide and to “just go.” He says, “Everyone has horror stories, and sure boats flip over, but everyone is fine. The biggest injury is usually just a scratched knee. There are two things I look for when booking a company, which one has the best lunch and I appreciate guides that are respectful. I like the guides that watch their language. But some companies are all about partying.  Investigate before you hire a company. But just go. Don’t go with the cheapest company; you get what you pay for.”

If you are a first timer, Erik suggests starting with the South Fork of the American River. “Do the gorge, that’s my personal favorite. It’s a slam dunk. As you advance, try Coloma down to Salmon Falls and explore other rivers.” He goes on to advise, “Stay on class three. It’s just fun. At that level, you need to be able to pull yourself into the boat on your own. Don’t do class four as a beginner. If you fall out, you have a higher potential for injury.”

Erik gives a basic description of each class. He describes class one as still water. Class two he says if you fall in you can maybe get hurt, but it is unlikely. Class three has an increased possibility of injury if you fall out of the boat, but he still considers this a safer place to start. Class four, you could get really hurt if you fall out. Class five you risk serious injury or death if you fall out of the boat. “It’s all about an injury related element,” he says. “I’ve been on big exciting class two rapids, even more exciting than class 4.”

 

What to bring:

Attire: You can raft year-round with the appropriate attire.

Sunscreen: Always, year-round.

Shoes: Wear a sandal with straps. You cannot go barefoot or wear flip-flops. At a minimum, you need shoes or sandals with a heel strap.

The company should provide:

Lunch: Erik suggests researching what is provided for lunch in advance. He notes a correlation between reputable companies offering a good lunch.

Helmet: When you the read My Experience portion of my segment on Whitewater rafting. I illustrate why I will never again choose a company that tells me, “I don’t need a helmet.”

Lifevest

Self-bailing boat: The first time I went rafting the boat was not self-bailing. I am an optimist, I find joy in most situations. It takes a lot to make me grumpy. But having to continually pull the heavy boat off to the shore to lift it and tip the water out, just plain sucked. The second time I went the boat was self-bailing. It was a totally different experience.

For Part 3 (My Experience) Click Here

White Water Rafting part 1

My story:

People often confuse my love of adventure with a love of adrenaline. The two are not linked. I consider myself an endurance athlete. I enjoy the slow, steady and thoughtful pace of a 100-mile bike ride. I feel a calmness when exerting my mental stamina on a 5-hour run.  During these activities, I keep control of my movements. Adrenaline is a different monster. It is releasing control. White Water Rafting tested my ability to let go and have fun.

When I go on trips, I am the one who makes the itinerary. I like to ensure before my spontaneous adventures; every variable is accounted for (yes, I hear the conundrum in that statement). I have often described myself as stable, yet free-spirited. White Water Rafting was a fun way to let go and have the adrenaline rush I often deny myself.

My discomfort with the unknown often stems from my unstable upbringing. After kindergarten, I never started or finished an academic year in the same school until my freshman year of high school. Every year, during the middle of the school year, my parents (divorced) would shuffle me between them or move. It has given me a profound need for stability. I struggle to accept things out of my control. Whitewater rafting, travel, surfing all of these adventures have helped me let go of the past hurt and embrace that which is beyond my control.

Through my adventures I am learning even when I am not in control, everything still turns out fine. I encourage those of you who are like I was, those who like to hold on to things they should let go—to do just that—let go. Put yourself out there and have an adventure. Whitewater rafting was an exhilarating way to relinquish that control. At the start of my trip down the American River, I was a ball of nerves. I was terrified I would fall out of the boat. The first few rapids I closed my eyes tightly and just wanted it to be over, then it was. And I was disappointed. I wanted more. Soon when I came upon a large rapid, all I could do was paddle and hope the guide knew what he was doing, and he did. As each rapid passed, I became calmer and more relaxed. I started enjoying the thrill of feeling the boat go up and over the water. I couldn’t control the boat; I just had to let go and trust the process.

After many years I have come to that conclusion in life. Sometimes you just have to relax and trust the normal process.

For Part 2 (Talk with a Master and What to Bring) Click Here

For Part 3 (My Experience) Click Here

Surfing part 2

Part 2 of 2: Surfing. Click here for part 1 

My experience:

The first time I touched a surfboard, I was on vacation in Phuket, Thailand. I found an instructor on the beach named, Jimmy. A handsome import with an Australian accent. For $30 I was able to get a one-hour private lesson and gear rental (insanely low price. Thank you Thailand). It was the dry season, so the waves were infrequent and very small. Jimmy kept apologizing for the lack of waves. Personally, I thought it was perfect for a beginner. I was able to stand up several times on the board. The water was warm like bathwater. The waves were gentle and far apart. I only needed a rash guard. I was in Thailand during the dry season. I have heard, but not seen, during the wet season the waves are much more aggressive.

I loved surfing the moment I put my board in the water. I wasn’t just sitting on the beach and sticking my toes in the sand. I was finally an active participant in connecting to the ocean.

My second time taking lessons was in Pacifica, with Adventure Out. This time, I took group lessons. Though the instructors were knowledgeable, Pacifica was unrelenting and determined to show me waves aren’t always so gentle. I spent more time paddling to the instructor than surfing. I wore a wetsuit and surf shoes. It helped in the frigid water. The ocean only had to tell me once, do not put your board to the side (i.e., you do not want your board parallel to the waves. You want it perpendicular). I went in like a perfect amateur, board to the side. The waves pushed the board back into me hard.

I enjoyed my surf experience in Pacifica. It is close to where I call home. I will go back, but I need to regroup before I feel ready to brave the unrelenting waves of the northern California coast.

Most recently, I took a lesson in Tel-Aviv. An adorable teenage girl, who had been surfing since she could stand, fought through the language barrier to help me try to stand up. Early in the lesson, I felt a slight pain in my calf. I assumed when I fell off my board, and I had gotten a bit of road rash from scraping against the sand. I shrugged it off and continued surfing. After about an hour of falling on my face, a man in a red rash guard came up to me and said, “I am going to give you lessons until you stand up consistently.” I gratefully accepted. (Side note: I have said my greatest weakness is my own hubris. I pray to God to grace me with grace and a bit of humility. God answered my prayers. There are few things more humbling than falling over and over while next to a class of seven-year-old kids standing up like Kelly Slater.)

As the man in the red shirt helped me consistently stand on the board, we started talking. He told me to stop looking at my feet and start looking at a focal point. Instantly, I saw a vast improvement. He smiled at me and flirtatiously asked, “How old are you?”

“I’m 36, I’m too old for you,” I replied.

He looked at me proudly and said, “I am 22, I am old enough to be your husband.”

I laughed and asked, “So, how long have you been teaching surf lessons.”

He looked at me sheepishly and said, “Oh, I’m not an instructor.”

Thus, ended my surf lesson in Tel-Aviv.

Walking back to the beach I saw a woman crying hysterically as everyone crowded around her, she had a mark on her leg with a distinctive ring, saying a jellyfish had stung her. I looked down at my leg, which had not stopped aching from early in my lesson. I had the same ring. Excited I pointed my sting, and sounding both stupid and excited I said, “Hey I got stung too!!!” The ocean had finally initiated me.  The woman looked at me like I was an idiot and I sheepishly walked off.

One of the hardest things for me, living in NorCal is how people born and raised here, take it for granted. I despised Kansas before I entered into Kindergarten (once again, many people love the changes in seasons and the Midwestern charm. I didn’t). I couldn’t find a stretch of nice weather long enough for me to enjoy the outdoors. I didn’t have access to the ocean or mountains. Now, I live in the most beautiful place in the world. I love the pines of Tahoe; I love the splendor of Napa and the salt smell that rises from the ocean. When I meet people, California born and raised, they often tell me they have forgotten how lucky they are to live in such an awe-inspiring landscape.

I have been on a surfboard in Pacifica. There is nothing between the water and me but a piece of foam. I lay on the board in a paddle position, looking at the shore from a different vantage point. I love the taste of the salt water and the feel of waves.  In that moment on the board, waiting for the wave to come up behind me, I look at the people on the beach. I feel as if I am granted access to some special moment in life. A moment, too special and pure to articulate.  If you are not coastal, I suggest taking a few lessons on vacation. If for no other reason than to try something new. If you are coastal, born and raised, I suggest you go out on your surfboard. If it is for the first time or for the 100th time, look out at the horizon, look out at the beach and inhale. Breathe in your good fortune in living in the most beautiful place in the world.

 

 

 

Burning Man Part 2

This is Part 2 of Burning Man for the first timer. If you would like to read Part 1 follow this link: Burning Man for the first timer: Part 1

The experience:

“What is Burning Man?” The generic answer is an art and music festival in the desert. This answer will get shut down by any veteran burner. The truth is, describing burning man is like trying to communicate the color green to someone who has never had sight—but I love a challenge. Therefore  I will try. Every year, 70,000 people commune in the desert to just be who they want to be. Everyone from CEO’s to drifter’s meld together in this mecca for self-expression.

During my first burn (2015), I spent a lot of time alone. I didn’t drink or do drugs. I wasn’t pressured to partake in drugs either. I didn’t engage in promiscuous behavior. I say this only because, burning man has a reputation for being a sex and drug-fueled party. One of the reasons I enjoy talking about Burning Man is because I want to remove the stigma it is just some party in the desert. To some people, it is just that. To most burners, it is so much more.

There are a few key concepts to understand if you want to go to burning man. The first is you need to be self-reliant. The goal is to attend burning man with everything you need. All your food, all your water. You can buy (with cash) coffee, tea, and ice at Center Camp. Other than that, expect to be on your own. If you forget your sunscreen, there is no Wal-Mart. If you are not staying in an RV (services are provided for a fee for water and sewage), then think about how you are going to go to the bathroom. Though there are porta-potties, few people find this ideal when they have to wake up in the middle of the night to pee. I suggest bringing a camping toilet. Solar showers are also surprisingly inexpensive and efficient for staying clean. Gray water, is the water that accumulates when you shower, brush teeth, dishes, etc. it is discouraged to allow this to accumulate. I like to bring a small inflatable baby pool to catch the shower water. There are no outlets or places for electricity. Take this into account when considering charging cell phones.  Last year, my setup was a large Coleman cabin tent, with a camping toilet. My burning companion, EDH (from part one of this series) rigged an umbrella pole from a patio set to hold up a solar shower. We put a baby pool at the base of the shower to catch the gray water. I brought a folding table and mirror for a vanity. That was our bathroom. It worked well.

If you have been camping, then food will be a simple concept. If you are not a seasoned camper look up quick and easy camping recipes. Bring as much food premade as possible. I have a camping recipe I like in my blog, Camping with Kids. I also get my favorites from restaurants and freeze them. Last year I got Pad Thai, put it in a ziplock bag, froze it, then reheated it on my camping stove. It worked out great! Another easy option, buy a whole pizza, put it in zip lock bags and have pizza to snack on.

Another fundamental concept is gifting. If nothing else, BM is a community. Do not be a drain on the community. Don’t go hoping to live off the gifting culture. The expectations of gifting for a first timer are small. Gifting can be intimidating. Do not overthink it. Some people go to thrift stores and find 10-20 pieces of wild clothing and hand them out. It is common to see people passing out a plate of homemade snacks or setting up a small lemonade stand. If you do not gift, that’s fine. No one is keeping track. But still, plan on attending self-reliant.

My favorite concept is radical inclusion. Bring your open mind or stay home. Burning Man is not a place for judgment. You will see self-expression in a whole new way. People will wear outrageous outfits; they will do marvelous things and all unapologetically. This is not a place for judgment.

My first year, I wanted to ‘costume right.’ I went online and looked at pictures of the various outfits. I attempted to recreate my favorites. I now see that is not how to do it. When costuming ask yourself, ‘if I could wear ANYTHING I wanted, what would I wear?’ Would you wear that Halloween costume that makes you feel sexy? Would you wear your old football jersey from high school? Perhaps nothing at all? The key is to wear what YOU want to wear. From my pictures, it is evident; I love wearing corsets and tutus. Shoes, do not play by the same rules. You want to be comfortable; I suggest boots.

Mainly, the BM experience is what you want it to be. There is a saying at BM, “Fuck yer burn.” This term isn’t meant as an offensive term. It means, “I am going to burn how I want to burn.” My first year I wanted to be alone a lot. I desired time to reflect on my recent divorce and my new-found independence. When people wanted to tag along, I had to stand up for myself and tell them no. My second year, I inadvertently really pissed off a camp. I had made plans to camp with them, but when I arrived the vibe didn’t feel right. They are all wonderful people, but I wanted more autonomy than being in a camp allowed. That didn’t hit me until after I had set up and been welcomed in. I could have stayed though it wasn’t how I wanted to burn. I chose to say, “Fuck yer burn.” I packed up and headed to the outer edges of the playa where it is quieter. When heading off to burning man, decide, what do you want to get out of this experience, because the answer to that is different for everyone. Stand by your choice and Fuck yer burn.

What you need to ask:

-Why are you burning? Are you on a spiritual journey? Are you there to party? To see the art and listen to music? No matter why you are going to burning man, you need to go on the burning man website and read the survival guide. These are not instructions from IKEA you can just toss, and Hail Mary you get it right. Burning Man is no joke, and sure as heck isn’t a backyard camping trip. If you run out of food or forget something— You might ruin your burn. Read the survival guide before you even consider buying a ticket.

-If you are headed to Black Rock City (AKA the location of Burning Man), first things first, where are you going to stay? The easiest answer is a tent. Unless you are already a hardcore, seasoned camper, I do not suggest this. The dust will consume everything in your tent, the wind is relentless, the nights can be near freezing and the days are scorching. A lot of people go to burning man, and they camp in tents just fine.  I consider myself pretty tough, and I wouldn’t even consider BM in a tent. Your best option is an RV or pop-up camper. Please know, many places have a clause stating you cannot take a rental to Burning Man. If you try, they will know. My car engine has playa dust in it from 2 years ago.

If you want to learn more about Burning

Step 1: Go to the Burning Man website and read the survival guide. If you read it and still want to burn then DO IT!!!!

Step 2: GET A TICKET. There are a lot of scams. The best way to get a ticket is through the main sale. If you cannot secure a ticket directly through Burning Man, then make sure you do not pay with cash. There are a lot of fake tickets circulating on the market.

Step 3: Accommodations.  If you have an RV or pop-up camper, you are ready to go. Otherwise, consider joining a Facebook group and getting hooked up with an established camp. Often for a fee or in exchange for work, you can find a place to crash.

After this, the rest is just details. Bring more food and water than you think you will need. I will not include a list of what you need as the survival guide provided on the site is fully inclusive.

 

Just go, burn. Once you are there, remember, there is no place like home.

Ask yourself, when was the last time you did something for the first time?         

Step one for trying new things: Get off your ass. Stop self-deprecating and tap into the awesome that is already within you. All the greats had to take a first step. Michael Jordan may play basketball like he came out of the womb doing lay-ups but never let it escape your brain that he had to pick up a basketball for the first time just like everyone else. Stephen King put pen to paper to write his first book Carrie, which was rejected 33 times. Marilyn Monroe was told by a modeling agency she was more suited to be a secretary and Elvis was infamously told he should go home and drive trucks. The point is everyone had to start somewhere, and getting started is the hardest part. There is something raw about putting yourself out there to try something new. Entering into a world in which everyone around you is already steady and well-versed, then there is you just learning to walk, and talk is difficult for almost everyone.

As humans, we resist change. The idea of new beginnings brings out our most paralyzing insecurities and reveals our greatest deficits. Once over that hurdle, we break the mold we have created for ourselves and find that we are capable of more than we ever thought possible. I love trying new things and have learned that mastering a new skill is not the challenge so much as getting started is the hardest part. But once the first steps are put into motion something beautiful happens, a momentum takes over and you realize that it wasn’t that a particular hobby got easier, it was that you got better.

I often find myself encouraging my friends to put themselves out there and try new things. I am writing this blog to tell my story about the various things I have tried in my life with the hopes that I can help you on your journey to try something new. If it is just to check something off a bucket list or if you have a desire to begin and lifelong passion, I just want to encourage you to get off your ass and get started. If you know of something you are interested in pursuing but you do not know how please message me. I am always up for trying new things.