Life is a string of grand adventures. Well, at least that’s my goal. When things don’t go exactly as I’ve planned: adventure. When life seems so overwhelming it’s threatening to topple me: adventure. And when the day to day has become too routine: It’s time for some adventure-ing.

I also don’t believe that Adventure-ing should cost a lot of money, or any at all. There are tons of adventures we could all be having where extra cash or fancy sponsorships are completely unnecessary. I am so often inspired by the bravery, intelligence and innovation shown by the people in my life (internet and otherwise). Here, you can follow along with some of the adventures I’ve been on, and any currently ongoing, and maybe they’ll inspire you to shake things up a bit, jump into the deep end, or simply take a risk that’s been nagging at the back of your mind for way too long.

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Fulfilling Unanswered Childhood Dreams

  • In October of 2010 I finally bit the bullet and did something I’ve been wanting to do since I was 11. I took a two day surfing class. Day one was exhilarating and day two was terrifying. But the one thing this experience taught me? It’s so much easier than you think to do the things you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t. And the only thing stopping you? Yourself! I had imagined surfing lessons could only happen on the beaches of Hawaii… but really, they were 30 minutes down the highway. Bam.
  • Ever since I was 10 and saw the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Albuquerque I have wanted to ride in a hot air balloon. But, yet again, it was always something I thought was for other people. The only thing that was stopping me, though, was myself. In May of 2012 Kamel and I, and our friends Margaret and Jeff, took off in the wee hours of the morning to soar across Napa Valley in a hot air balloon named Tequila. It was the most epic day of my life so far. Kamel had a little bit of a different experience.

Appreciating The Great Outdoors

  • I’m not a big camping person. And what I mean when I say that is – I don’t do it. I really, really appreciate having my own bathroom and a hot shower. But what I do love is the beauty of un-fucked with nature. Ahh yes… pure outdoors. And the easiest (and most breath taking) way to achieve this is through national parks. Yosemite is one of Kamel and my all time favorite places. And I’ve been lucky enough to travel through the Redwood National Forest. I still have so many more natural wonders to see, so this is an ongoing adventure. (An adventure that really does cost very little if you love road trips and supporting conservation. For the win.)

Creating Unique Relationships With People I Will Never Know

  • One day, coming home from work in the East Bay, I decided to pay for the person’s toll behind me. That one act turned a blah Wednesday into an awesome afternoon. The sun was brighter, the music better, and the people behind me (in my rear view mirror) were handed a happy little surprise. I’ll never know who they were or see them again, but it started my 1,000 Random Acts of Kindness campaign. A campaign of one, just me. But so far I’m at 29. Which includes giving a gift of food to homeless on the street, giving to fab street performers, donating spontaneously to charities, donating my hair, and spreading happiness with hiding notes inside books.
  • I am a writer and I glean a lot of writerly inspiration from authors who rock my socks. Two of the most influential people in my work and my life are Margaret Atwood and Joan Didion. How do I cultivate relationships with these two women who will never know me? By reading their entire body of work. And so I do. One novel, poem, essay at a time. To know someone through their creative life has been a very intimate experience and continues to enrich me.

Travel, Because It’s Good For My Insides

  • When I was a kid my parents rocked the family vacations. We went to the beach every year (a 3 hour drive from my house), brought all of our own food, and hung out without phones or TVs for a solid week. We also went on the occasional grand adventure to places like New Mexico or Hawaii. The one thing we never got to do was go abroad. I hadn’t been out of North America until I was 23, when (because of a fluke) I set off for Paris all by myself. Since then, I have made it a goal in my adult life to travel. This is an ongoing adventure, because for this one you actually DO need money… and time. Two things that have been lacking in the last few years. But stay tuned.
  • For the week between Christmas and New Years in 2011 I took my first trip to Mexico City (somewhere I never thought I would ever go) to visit Kamel’s extended family. It was breath taking. The food, the architecture, the culture, everything sang to me, but the one thing that stood out the most was how great it was to build relationships with my new family. I feel incredibly blessed.
  • In March 2012 Kamel and I took our first European long weekend together and flew off to Barcelona for 3 full days. We rented an apartment from AirBnB, we bicycled through the city, we discovered nooks and crannies in the Barri Gottic, and ate a lot of patatas bravas. Oh, and we made a video. It was epic and we did it all for 3 grand. (You can too!)

Take Professional Risks And Dive In Head First

  • Way back in August of 2010 I started interning for Meg at A Practical Wedding, then in January of 2011 I became an employee while still working my day job, temping for a non-profit. Meg was generous enough to bring Alyssa and I to 2011 Alt Summit, a Design Blogging Conference. This experience pushed me to make a decision about my future career and where I needed to put my energies (hint: writing). I left A Practical Wedding in October of 2011 and that move is currently pushing me out of the career plateau I’ve been in. Jumping out of my comfort zone has been a huge Adventure, and I’m not 100% sure where it will take me.
  • Update! After much internal debate I realized that working from home wasn’t a good choice for me. And I landed a job as a content editor for Priceline. And took off on an 11 day business trip to start of 2012. I’m currently back in the 9-5 corporate grind, but this time working towards a career I love and feel excellent at. It’s good admitting you were wrong and taking the steps to turn it around. More to come.

Take Fashion Risks

  • I, like a lot of people, flip through the internet and magazines thinking about how awesome so many real life people are. And sometimes, how much more awesome they are than I am. But you know what? We all are pretty bad ass. And to keep myself remembering this, I push myself to take more fashion risks. Like digging in and working the tights angle, taking fashion opportunities that are handed to me, and chopping off my hair. I very easily fall into the jeans, shirt, jacket, hoodie, yoga pants rut. And seeking out fashion things that make me a bit uncomfortable, and in turn thrill me, makes me feel pretty fantastic.
  • I finally, finally, finally found my very first pair of boots, after many failed attempts. This deserved its own bullet because it’s been such a journey. Boots! That fit! Thank you DSW.

Do Things That Scare Me

  • I think a lot of what Adventure-ing is pushes me beyond my comfort zones, but I want something more. This section is devoted to activities that I would usually say no to and have worked up the guts to participate in regardless. I probably will not be jumping out of any planes … but I wouldn’t completely rule it out.
  • In February 2012 took a month long rock climbing class, even though I’ve been known to get stuck up on high objects before. Oh ropes course, you and me have some fond memories being coaxed down off the side of a tree trunk. The time, I was inspired by my initial reaction that, “No way, I would never do that. Rock climbing is just not for me.” Well why not? That sounds like something that I’m afraid of and I should probably do anyway. Three cheers? The first week was scary. The second week hurt like a mother fucker. And then there was week three and four. All in all, the human body is a fantastic thing. You would not believe the physical feats it is capable of.