Friday, August 31, 2012

a rant everyone should read

My apologies, 
but, this post had to be done.
I can't sit back and keep quiet any longer,
and while the truth may be a little upsetting,

you may be wondering what i'm babbling about, 
so i'll just get to it.

actually, not just sharks-
all sea life.
and the shocking truth that the oceans are literally disappearing,
and, at this very moment, being emptied of all that lives.
I've had very strong feelings about this topic for a while now,
but, the other day, while checking out a local asian market,
I came across these:

the fiance and I could not leave the market fast enough.
and still, days later, I am MAD.

Here are some facts:

-More than 100 million sharks are killed each year for their fins, and ONLY their fins.  Fishermen slice off theirs fins, and throw them back in the water still alive, to die.  Death can take hours, or even days (via)
-"Bluefin tuna is at the brink of extinction with a population which makes their recovery practically irreversible..." (via)
- "As the biggest predators diminish, the population of smaller fish such as sardines, pollack, mackerel, squid and anchovies escalates, that is, the food which the larger fish have always lived off.  Currently, tones of these small fish are being captured and supplied to fish farms and about 7 out of the 10 biggest fisheries of the world, are barely leaving 20% of these species as food for their predators." (via)
- "Excessive fishing has caused a 90% decline in shark populations across the world's oceans and up to 99% along the US east coast, which are some of the best-managed waters in the world..." (via)


- "The annual total global catch of fish (124 millions metric tons) is equal in weight to 378 Empire State Buildings." (via)
-  "The Organisation for the Food and Agriculture of the United Nations, FAO, pointed out that 25 percent of the world captured fish (around 29 million tonnes) end up thrown overboard and its usually those caught unintentionally, illegal market species, those with inferior quality or under the permitted size.  95 percent of the fish caught unintentionally are thrown away amongst which include endangered species and those which are over exploited." (via)



Bottom Trawling:


Long-line fishing:

"Longlines are the most significant factor in the rapid diminishment of shark populations in the oceans. Longlines ranging in length from one mile to over one hundred miles are baited with fish (often illegally killed dolphins or seals), and are meant to target shark, swordfish, and tuna. The sharks targeted are caught mostly for their fins (which account for only 4% of their body weight) and also for their cartilage, liver oil and teeth."


I could go on-and-on about this subject.
the corruption,
the lies,
the consequence to our seas.
but, i'm going to stop.
Hopefully, if you didn't know about this before,
you know a little bit now.

Next time you go to eat your tuna sandwich,
that prized piece of swordfish,
or, my favorite, sushi-
ask yourself if it is worth it.
The truth is that if we don't do something now,
our children will grow up with empty oceans.
no sharks, 
no turtles,
no whales,
no fish.

However, if you need fish in your diet,
make sure you get it from a trusted, sustainable, retailer.
ask questions.
do some research.
stop being selfish.
yes I said it, SELFISH.


If you want more information,
google it.
or, watch these documentaries:

End of the Line (here)- this documentary changed my life.
Sharkwater (here)
The Cove (here)
Pirate for the Sea (here)

Sometimes, I hate being human.
after all, we are the most selfish species out there.
we are destroying the most precious gift we have- the ocean.

excellent article: here

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

after the high: coping with post-travel depression

ahhh, the world.
it's a pretty amazing place we call home.
and why, over the past several years, my appetite to see and experience more,
continues getting bigger and bigger.
nothing beats planning a trip,
and booking plane tickets to some long sought after location you've been dreaming about night after night.

traveling, for many, is an addiction.
one country down, hundreds to go.
always want to see, and always want to do,
more more more.

unfortunately, unless you're one of the lucky few with loads of cash to blow,
traveling forever,
or, whenever you feel up to it,
isn't reality.
traveling takes time, money and energy
(at least, in most cases)

so, if you're anything like me,
the high leading up to a trip,
may be one of the best feelings you've ever experienced.
while the anticipation, at the very same moment, nearly unbearable.

now, fast forward a bit.
you've made it through the anticipation,
the days of travel bliss,
and now, you find yourself facing what all travelers dread-
the end.

I can recall my trip to Spain with my fiance,
it was three days before we were due to leave,
and the thought of leaving broke my heart.
I literally spent hours crying.
how could I leave such a beautiful place?
(in my defense, it was my first time in Europe and on a much needed vaca from work)

I've been fortunate enough to travel to several other places since Spain,
and while each time I go through the same cycle,
I've learned a few tricks about making the transition back home a little easier...

Annapurna, Nepal

plan something fun to do when you get home- 
before you even leave for your trip.
for example, a dinner date with a friend,
movie plans with the hubs,
or little day trip to that place you've been meaning to visit the past 5 years of your life.
give yourself another something to look forward to.

start talking about your next trip.
honestly, i already have plans in the works for several future dream trips,
and, if you knew me, you would know that i talk non-stop about all the places I want to go.
yes, sometimes it gets annoying,
but, it helps get me through.
it helps me see that the trip that just ended,
isn't really the end of my travel experiences,
it's only just the beginning.

take a deep breath, 
and accept that it's time to go home.
unless, of course, you have the option to quit your job,
and just travel the world.
if not, look on the bright side-
with every incoming paycheck,
and a little spending discipline,
you are one step closer to your next adventure.

take a step back,
and stuff away all the memories of your trip, 
so that you never forget any of it.
also, remember how fortunate you have been to travel at all.

Bavaria, Germany

Komodo National Park, Indonesia
Venice, Italy
the Subway, Zion National Park

I just returned from 4 months in Germany,
and while this homecoming was a little more welcome than the others,
I do miss it.
every single day.
i am back to the job search,
and back to planning far too many future trips.
to make things a little easier,
plans are in the works for a little backpacking trip next week in the Sierras.
It may not be Patagonia (dream), 
but, it satisfies the itch.
...for now.

Happy Travels!

And, THANK YOU, Halley for asking me to be a part of your travel series, Conquer YOUR world.
If you haven't met Halley yet,
head over to her blog,
life of something new!

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

polka dots

image via
anyone know the non-tumblr source?

lately, I have fallen in love with polka-dots.
polka-dot pants, tights, sweaters, swimwear,
I thank pinterest for this new obsession,
since more and more polka-dot pins are popping up every day.

Like stripes,
polka-dots add a bit of fun to an otherwise boring outfit.
currently, I have zero polka-dot items in my closet,
(except a j.crew bikini i bought over 10 years ago)
however, i'm hoping to incorporate some dots this Fall.

if not, i'll just continue to add more polka-dot pieces to my dream closet,
aka pinterest.

1 // 2 // 3

4 // 5 // 6

Do you like polka-dots?
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Monday, August 27, 2012

Annapurna Circuit, day 12, getting to the pass II

Getting to the pass-
well, it wasn't easy.
it required pain, sweat and many many tears shed from yours truly.
i cry a lot, remember

ultimately, however, I needed a little help.
from my friend-
the mountain pony.

technically, we cheated a little, 
since we didn't make it up and over the pass using only our own two legs.
Deciding to ride a horse to the top was a hard decision-
i'm stubborn, and wanted to do it own my own.
however, my head still felt like a battered drum,
and I was not in a position to hike back to a lower elevation,
wait a couple days,
and try again.
I was ready to move on.

Once we made up our minds to hire horses,
we were then faced with the question of payment.
the details of this transaction are a little hazy,
and so, I will spare you from this part of the story.
all I remember is that it took well over one hour to reach a price we were all comfortable with.
these guys were just as set on a price as we were.

we quickly packed our bags,
brushed our teeth,
and got on our way.
Although the horses were hired to take us to the top,
they would not be taking us down to Muktinath.
that downward journey we had to do all on our own.

but, i've gotten ahead of myself...

so, we were in the saddle,
and on our way.
anyone that knows me, knows my love for all things horses.
you can imagine my delight when we were joined by little Micheal,
a two month old foal.
little one was the baby to the horse I was riding,
and so, was glued to my side the entire way up.
the heartiness of these animals,
literally, from birth,
is incredible.

unfortunately, the ride went by way too fast.
since we got a late start,
we were in quite a hurry to make it to the top,
insuring that we would have enough time to get down before the weather changed.

the most spectacular views I had even seen,
it was breathtaking.
and, over in an instant.

but, we made it.
5,416 meters

these mountains changed me.
this trek changed me.
I left a little piece of my heart behind,
forever with the mountains.

and, I started a new love affair with these rising giants-
not just these,
but all others,
all the mountains of this Earth.

we took 5 minutes to take it all in, 
snap a couple photos, 
and say goodbye to our new friends.

taking over 6 hours to reach the top,
we knew we had to be on our way,
back down again, to the other side.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

if you really knew me...

I've seen and read several of these if you really knew me posts all over the blogosphere,
and decided it would be fun to play along.
After all, I have had this blog for just shy of a year now,
and think it is time to share a bit more of me, 
with all of you.
Unfortunately, I do not remember where I saw it first,
so I can't give credit where credit is due.
(if you know of that person, let me know, and I will add a link)
Al from traffic jelly wrote her if you really knew me post back in June,
check out her inspirational blog!

if you really knew me...

you would know that I have a serious problem biting and picking at my nails and cuticles.
i've been a compulsive nail destroyer for as long as I can remember,
and still, at 26 years old, can't stop.
honestly, it's disgusting.

you would know that I have food stockage problems.
let me explain-
i get really anxious if I run out of something that I eat a lot of.
for example, right now, i'm making tons of smoothies.
because they have become such a staple of my diet,
our freezer has over 5 costco sized bags of frozen berries.
we are going to costco again today,
and I already plan on getting more.
I like to think i'll be prepared for the apocalypse.

you would know that past nicknames have included,
dolfina, fatty, poonut, noodle, and stinky.
dolphins are my favorite animal. this childhood obsession is embarrassing.
fatty because I was really chubby prior to puberty.
poonut, well, i'm not really sure how this came about. but thank you, Megan, it's still one of my favs.
noodle because I had a lot of fun freshman year of college, often making standing difficult (thank goodness those days are over)
and stinky because, in the past, my gym clothes would smell really bad even after washing. the fiance hated it, so he started calling me stinky.  Thankfully the new Tide Active Sport detergent makes it all smell good again.
(if you sweat a lot while you work out, you'll love this detergent. No I was not paid to say this)

if you really knew me, you would know that, despite my travel obsession, I am quite the homebody.
nothing compares to sleeping in my own bed, and cooking in my own kitchen.
what can I say, i'm a cancer, and I can't help myself.
I hate sleeping at other peoples' houses,
and would rather stay in and do nothing,
than have to sleep elsewhere.
hotels are an exception.

you would know that i have a very sensitive belly button.
basically, it's pretty painful to clean-
sticking my finger or a qtip in there is pretty unbearable.
it's like a single nerve connects my belly button to my urethra.
if I ever get insurance again, this is one thing I will be asking a doctor about.

you would know that my mother has suffered with alcoholism nearly my entire life.
my mom is the the most amazing woman I have ever known;
she is beautiful, smart, sensitive, nurturing, and pretty much the best mother out there.
unfortunately, a little thing called alcohol interferes sometimes.
despite the emotional toll on not only her, but me,
I will never, ever, love her any less.
she is my mom, and through her triumphs and struggles, I have learned so much.
she has helped make me a stronger person.

you would know that I am not a religious person.
like, at all.
i'm a science person, and find myself to be more spiritual than religious.
I do, however, respect every single religion out there.
we are all individuals, and have the right to believe what we wish.
who am I to judge you?

you would know that I cry a lot.
like, a lot.
blame it on hormones, astrology, or just plain being emotional,
who really knows.
the fiance is learning, that when it pours,
it's best to just laugh and give me a hug. trying to prevent a downpour is nearly impossible.
*i'm a little frightened to be around myself when I get pregnant*

if you really knew me, you would know that I have strange eating habits.
first, I don't eat much until dinner.
sometimes i'll have a snack, or a smoothie, but I mostly only eat dinner and several 'desserts'.
the fiance likes to call me a night eater-
that i'll only eat when it's dark outside.
I think my unhealthy eating routine is the mess leftover from years of suffering with my own eating disorder.
something I have never shared on this space or with all of you,
and is a topic i'll save for another day.
I will say this- judgement is not welcome.
I am not ashamed of my past, and I will not hide from it.
my past does not define who I am today.

if you really knew me, you would know that I prefer my water ice cold.
i will refrain from going so far as saying that I need my water ice cold,
but, that's pretty much the case.
I carry around a klean kanteen water bottle stuffed full of ice-
even if it's cold and snowy outside.
Let's just say, living in Europe and traveling throughout Asia was a challenge for this very reason.

 you would know that I want at least 3 kids, horses, dogs, cats, cows, pigs...
and pretty much every other animal out there.
you would also know that I want to make my own cheese,
and sell it weekly at a farmer's market.

you would know that when I get nervous around new people,
I either shut down completely,
or talk non-stop.

you would know that I am competitive and extremely hard on myself-
but over the years,
my extreme self-criticism has calmed down a bit,
and now, i'm actually a bit lazy.

you would know that I am completely obsessed with traveling this world.
I often fantasize that, one day,
i will get paid to photograph and write about this beautiful Earth.
...oceans, mountains, cities.
Happiness, in my life, is getting lost in a new place, camera in hand.
(i have no babies yet, so i can say this. perhaps this ideal happiness will change)

that said, if you really knew me, would would know that I have a fear of flying...

So, there you have it.
If you have written a post like this,
please leave me a link, so I can learn a bit more about you!

Hope you all are having a great weekend!

(one day, in the future, perhaps I will write more about my eating disorder and my mother's alcoholism.  for now, it's not important. I don't want sympathy or criticism.  I am happy with my life, and that is all that matters.  If you have any personal questions or comments, please email me.  Thank you)
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Monday, August 20, 2012

It's official, i'm back

Despite my absence from blog land,
I have popped my head in here-and-there to keep up with your lives.
Getting internet up and running in our apartment has been an issue,
and for nearly two weeks, our only access to the world wide web was via the internet we were stealing from a neighbor- 

helpful tip
always password protect your internet.  You never know who comcast is screwing over.

Over the past few weeks,
I've given a lot of thought to this blog of mine-
the direction I want it to take.
after all, after I moved to Germany,
it transitioned into a travel log,
a space for me to share my adventures while living in a different country.

but, now i'm home.
and, while I still have many stories and pictures to share,
it will no longer be the basis for this blog.
honestly, this will not be easy for me.
 travel is my passion...
my obsession.
sharing my adventures with you was always a highlight of my day.

but, from this point on, 
my blog will be about a bunch of everything.
recipes, photos, inspiration, stories, fashion, and, of course, travel.
There will hopefully be a little something for everyone.

my apologies, again, for my absence the past few weeks.
although life without reliable internet has been a pain in my behind,
i'm also a little thankful.
It provided me with an opportunity to take a little break,
focus on other things, 
and, more than anything, close a chapter in my life that I will never forget.

Time to move on, and move forward.


finally, I would like to invite you all to head over to Halley's blog and read the first post kicking off a new blog travel series called, Conquer YOUR World.
Today, Sarah Von is writing about how to travel safe as a single female traveler.
Look for new posts in this series on Monday and Thursday for the next 5 weeks.
I will be posting next monday on life after traveling.

So, there you have it.
i'm back, and it feels great!
Hope all of you have a very happy Monday!

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

i'm alive

Hey Everyone!

I am alive,
just in case you were wondering.

An unexpected move into a new apartment last weekend,
and unreliable internet,
has kept me very busy 
(and frustrated in the case of the internet).

I am hoping to establish a routine of sorts in the upcoming week,
and hopefully get back to regular posting.
Plus, share some new apartment pics with all of you-
including my diy mason jar project!

moving aside,
life is good.
the fiance and I have our own place again for the first time in almost 18 months,
and we are once again reunited again with the kids.

I am still trying to figure out the job situation-
more school and MORE debt?
or settle for less, but refuse to sell my soul to loans?
One thing I have learned-
a degree in Biology means little these days,
unless I want to work in a windowless lab again.
and, I don't.
sometimes, life comes with hard decisions.

so, there you have it.
my life in a nutshell.
I will have much more interesting things to write about soon!
(i hope)

of all places, he managed to settle himself in my panty basket.
i love him

Hope you all have a great weekend!
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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Day 11, getting to the pass I

Day 11: Yak Karga to Thurong Phedi and back down to Letr

Since my feet were still a mess,
(I wore my Teva water shoes the entire trek)
the fiance and I decided to hire a porter to carry our bags the last few days of the trek.
We really only needed his help the day of the pass,
but we were unsure if any would be available from base camp.

Originally, we planned to trek from Yak Karga to Letr,
and stay one night in Letr.
but, Michelle was moving onto Thurong Phedi (base camp),
and planned to do the pass the following morning.
At the time of deliberation on what we would do, 
the ascent didn't seem too great-
in fact, compared to previous days, it looked easy.
we couldn't see any reason why we couldn't make it.

so, we made our decision:
go up, all the way to base camp, 
and tackle the pass the next morning.
and, to be honest, I was ready for a warm shower.
by this point, the temperature was so cold,
that the thought of removing my clothes was unbearable.

Bright and early we were up and out.
The three hour trek was easy,
after all, I had nothing to carry.
We arrived at Thurong Phedi feeling great-
at least as great as anyone could feel at an altitude of 15,000ft.
The fiance, Michelle and I ordered lunch, relaxed and settled in our room.
It was advised that we hike to high base camp,
and back down again that afternoon,
to help with the altitude.
Although I could feel my head start to ache,
I did not object to the idea.

The hike up towards high base camp was completely vertical.
The fiance got nearly half way up the nearly 1100 feet before deciding to turn back,
it was becoming too much for his head.
Although my head also hurt,
I was having too much fun stomping up, and through, the snow.
I hated the idea of turning back.
However, it didn't take too long for the pain in my head to worsen,
and so, I too turned back.

Here's the thing about high elevation-
the higher you get, the less oxygen your body receives.
this causes nausea, fatigue, and headaches.
One you return to lower elevations,
your body should receive more oxygen,
and these symptoms should dissipate.

In our case,
they did not.
Instead, our headaches got worse.

And so, we had to decide:
fight through the pain, 
or return to Letr (original plan).
After about an hour weighing our options,
talking with the porter,
and really assessing our symptoms,
we decided to turn back.
My head, in all honesty, felt like it was about to explode.

We packed up our things,
and were on our way again, back down to Letr for the night.
The entire hike down,
I waited and hoped that my head would start to feel better.
The fiance's headache had subsided,
but mine was there to stay, or, so it seemed.
Even after several hours, it remained.

As I look back on this night,
one thing sticks out in my mind-
laying on a dining room bench with my head in the fiance's lap crying.
I had never experienced such pain in my life.

at times, I thought I was going to die.

As I lay in his lap,
the fiance stroked my hair,
 massaged my head,
and constantly reassured me of his love.
he did anything and everything possible to make me feel better.

We discussed different scenarios for the following morning...
go on,
stay another night,
or turn back?

We pushed the little wooden twin beds in our room together,
curled up in our sleeping bags,
and said we would decide in the morning.
that night, we went to sleep with the sun still up and night still far off.

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