almost there

T minus 3 days until launch.

Most everything seems to be good to go and in order. Just the last minute assemblage of putting our material life into our summer home on wheels remains.

Falling asleep last night, my thoughts were on the timeline of how the rest of the year should ideally play out.

Only three and a half months of guiding in New Mexico. A seemingly short amount of time compared to the five to six months I am used to from the two seasons of working in Skagway, AK. Then again, three months is a solid little chunk of time! A quarter of a year. By the end of it, the time will seem to have flown by, I am sure.

What I am more nervous about is the after summer plans. I have more feelings toward that part of my plan because I want it to work so badly. Vagabonding around is easy. Finding temporary jobs that do or do not mean much. Sleeping wherever, on friends couches, parked in a campground, sharing a room with other ladies. Hanging out with whatever people and friends you happen to run into along the way…

Putting roots down though, that is where the nerves get fidgety. Finding a nice home to live in, a steady and enjoyable job with decent pay and room to grow, a supportive community, there is more risk. There is more risk because it is a long term goal, and long term goals require commitment and focus, and you are investing your self more deeply. So if your long term plan does not work out, does that mean you have just wasted all that time and energy put in to it?

On the other hand, hard work and commitment are where the deepest growth and self discovery come from. And if a mind is set to follow your intuition and heart along the journey, than going down a committed path is a tad less scary. With an ear set listening to how you really fell,  altercations can be made along the way to fit your path to true happiness and security.

And the scariest things are the most exciting right?

Happy Easter. Cheers to the birth and re-birth of new cycles.

prayers of yesterday

Packing.

I am packing up my room. All the stuff that I have always left behind in my closet and dresser drawers on every other adventure.

This time is different. This time seems serious; significant.

I am packing up and doing away with all of these belongings in this house of my childhood.

It is cleansing. It is a little painful. I guess now is as good as time as any to finally stop using this house as my main storage garage. All this stuff sitting around ‘just in case’, it is useless if there is no one using it.

Yoga mats. Dress up clothes. Unpainted canvases and bags of sea shells. Camping equipment, games and tarps.

Packing, cleaning, moving – it always feels like being a lizard shedding a layer of skin. Making room for new growth. Growing more and more into yourself. Each time getting closer to the ideal of your dream self you wish to become.

But what about all those dreams and prayers that have been sought after and prayed about that are real right now? I recently read, “Remember the days when you prayed for the things you have now.” (@gypsyon_)

It made me stop to think about all these big things that have come into my life because it was my focus to work towards them. And some things came to be of their own kind of accord.

I work as a guide. I go on great adventures of radical action in beautiful places with awesome people. I am an outdoors woman.

I drive a sweet little that I sometimes sleep in and live out of.

I am moving to the desert of my hearts calling.

My dreamy man babe is coming with me.

Soon, a couple dogs will be added to our little pack.

But maybe even more important than these material parts are the things I have prayed/striven for within myself that have manifested. Developing a clear sense of what I desire for myself and my life, how I want to live, being more at peace in my own skin, practicing honesty and integrity even when no one else is looking, taking time to sit and meditate and do yoga and just breath in the stillness.

We have to mindfully set our intentions of who we want to be, the lifestyle we want to live, the kinds of people we want to be around. If we do not choose all these things, other people will end up choosing for us.

Someone said to me yesterday that they were jealous of my life. I thought, “Why? I have so much hurt right now, you don’t even know. I am struggling just like you but in my own way.”

Then I thought how much I love my own life, even with the hurts. I love being me because I am actively carving my own way. This life I have right now, it is made up of my dreams, desires and prayers. Of course, I did not become who I am alone. I have had much help along the way. But the constant remains the same: I am always working towards being the person of my dreams and living a life I am totally in love with.

Today is a day to say thank you for all the beautiful things that are here right now.

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How I Got My Summer Job In Alaska: It’s easier than you think

 

How did this beach-going Southern Californian girl wind up working as a guide in a small and mountainous Alaskan town? The simple answer is this: I told the company I wanted to work for them.

kayak homer

Now here is the slightly longer version:
During one of my college courses, a previous student came to talk to my class about the line of work she had gotten into after graduation and the company she was working for. She was working as an international river and mountain guide for AMG. Sounds awesome, right?!

After hearing what she was doing, I decided I wanted to be an international mountain guide too. I started researching into the company. I found that to guide internationally for them, they required you start off guiding day, and some multi-day, trips based out of their headquarters in Alaska.

I sent them an e-mail. It read something like, “Hello. I am very interested in working for your company this upcoming season. I have just graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in Outdoor Recreation, I have valid Wilderness First Aid and CPR certifications, and I would really love to be a guide for you. I look forward to hearing back from you soon.”

Turns out, they were already all hired up for the summer and asked me to contact them again next hiring season. But before I could even get back to them, they contacted me that winter!

They asked if I was still interested (yes). We went through the application and interview process. A few months later I was headed northbound to Skagway, Alaska.

So what is the take away for you?

Don’t wait for something to just fall into your lap. Go out and make it happen.

Here is a breakdown of 6 simple steps to help you make it happen.

Step 1: IDEA PHASE

What do you want to do? Where do you want to go? What are your short-term goals right now? What are your long-term goals for later (if you have any, and if you don’t that is totally fine too)?
Think about it.
Get an idea of where you want to go, who you want to work for, &/or what kind of work you want to do.

Step 2: RESEARCH

Talk to people you think might have some good information or tips for you (friends, peers, relatives, strangers on the internet who write about the things you want to do.)
Get on the computer and start researching.
Find a company, or better yet, three or five or ten, that are offering the kinds of programs you want to be involved in.
Look into what their programs are specifically offering, the clientele they are offering it to, and where they do their work.
Feel out your options.

Step 3: CONTACT

Start reaching out to companies you think you might be interested in working for.
Send them an e-mail, give them a phone call, or better yet show up to their office (if you can.) You do not need to wait for a ‘Now Hiring’ ad to ask about employment with a company.
In fact, you reaching out to them before having to be prompted by a hiring ad gives you a couple of advantages.
Advantage one – It makes the company feel good because you sought them out and are interested in them, and if you make someone feel good they already like you a least a little.
Advantage two – You start the foundation of building a positive relationship, plus it shows you can take initiative and have some confidence in yourself.
Advantage three – The hiring manager has a real person to attach to your application versus a blind resume of someone they have never spoken to, and people like to hire people they know.

Step 4: ASK QUESTIONS

Have a few questions ready before you contact the company.
First question that is always good: Are you hiring for any new guides for the upcoming season?
Other good questions: Do you train new guides?
Ask about the living situation they offer, pay, the length of the season, what they are looking for in a guide, what tasks the guides perform, does this position require any special certifications and if so do they offer the class for it.

Step 5: FOLLOW THROUGH

If they say yes, they are hiring and send your resume over, do it as soon as you can. Do it as soon as you get off the phone. Do it while you are fresh in their mind and before you forget. Prompt and timely responses are a valuable characteristic in a person/future employee.
Even if the company is slow to respond, you should still be timely and on top of your game.

Step 6: DON’T STOP

Keep searching and contacting companies until someone says yes; until someone you want to work for says yes.
It is likely you will hear a lot of no’s or that you are not yet qualified for certain positions. I guarantee you though, with a positive attitude and willingness to learn and be great, there is a company out there that will be willing to teach you. And once you get your first guiding gig it will be much easier to get others.

OTHER HELPFUL TIPS

  • Get basic medical training and certifications.
    All guiding companies are going to require medical certifications: Basic First Aid and CPR are the minimum. I highly recommend putting the time and effort into getting your Wilderness First Responder training and certification.
  • Practice positive and professional communication.
    If you are nervous or feel you are not good at cold contacting companies via e-mail or phone, do a practice call on your friends and family first. Ask someone who’s judgement you trust how your e-mail looks and sounds. Plus, the more you just do it the better you will get and the more comfortable you will feel. Being able to portray yourself as having good communication skills is huge because a large component of guiding will be communicating with your clients and fellow guides.
  • Be prepared.
    Have a resume, three references, and an easy to adapt cover letter template ready to go. That way you can send it out upon request easy.
  • You can do these jobs even if you hardly have a clue about what you’re doing.
    You do not need a degree in some faucet of recreation. You do not need to have taken a NOLS course. You do not have to be a professional outdoors person before applying for your first guiding position. Those things help, undoubtedly. What you really need is a love of being in the outdoors and a willingness to share and shape positive experiences for other poeple. Having some level of basic fitness really helps too.

 

I still follow this process today and not even a month ago put these steps into action.

I decided I wanted another seasonal job for the summer, somewhere warm where I could go swimming a lot. River guide in Arizona it is, I thought. (The international mountain guiding thing did not work out because I found that I do not like mountaineering. At all.)

Then came the research, looking into a ton of different companies that guide in the Grand Canyon. I made phone calls and wrote e-mails. Eventually, I found that with my complete lack of river guiding experience I am far from being qualified to guide on such a popular and regulated river as the Grand.

That did not stop me. I just re-routed my plan. I searched for companies running other rivers until I found a guiding company in New Mexico willing to train new guides.

So I called the owner. I asked him questions and learned about the company. He asked me questions and learned a bit about myself. Sent an application and some references. A few days later it was settled that I am heading to New Mexico this spring to be a river guide for the season. Simple as that.

If you want it, make it happen.

 

Captain Blue Falcon & New Mexico.

 

But what about New Mexico, Captain Blue?

Ah, yes. Excellent question my young fledgling. What about New Mexico…There is a great story to this. But because it really is not that great of a story and I just wanted to start this post out with some cool movie-like-dialogue, plus I’m not quite sure where to go with the script from here, let’s just get to the point.
I’m moving there!

Moving where?

                   Moving to New Mexico, you silly buns.

 

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OK, so this is in AZ, not NM. You get the idea.

 

‘Tis that time again. Summer guiding season is almost upon us. The great migration of unsettled, transient, adventure seeking, dirt-baging, seasonal workers is close to commencing.

My own unsettled feet will soon land me close to the town of Taos. Upon the Rio Grande and Rio Chama, you may soon address me as ‘Captain Falcon.’ Or maybe ‘Captain Blue?’ They both sound kind of alright. But probably not ‘Captain Blue Falcon.’ Too much of a mouth full. (Also, I think it is almost time I write the short story of how that name came to be. You, my intelligently curious reader, deserve at least that much.)

Yes, that’s right. River guide in almost-training here; rafting, kayaking, SUPing. A few hours on the rapids to three day river floats. It’s gonna be some good ol’ fashion desert fun. And hard work. But lots of fun. Plus I think I will be getting to practice my big bus driving skills again. It is a silly thing to be a little girl driving a big ol’ bus. I like it.

The seasonal life is pretty dang cool. I do not have a lot of money (though I could be better about that), and even so the guiding profession is not one to do based on the income amount anyways. You really aren’t paid all that much. But aside from gear, beer and food, you really do not need to spend that much either.

This particular company I am going to work for lets their guides camp on their property all season for no charge. So by truck camping for the season, I will not have to pay a penny of rent. Just need to pitch in on chores. Good deal.

Commuting to work? Not really a thing here. Gas money only needed for grocery store runs and adventures away from base camp.

Working outside all day most days means less media time, which means more time actively engaging with people and life. (Don’t worry, I will still be writing though so you can keep reading about my adventures.) And for me less media time also means less time online shopping. It is an easy black hole to get sucked into when you love cute stretchy yoga clothes.

Plus I will be getting all that warm sunshine on my skin while learning about rivers, making friendships with other rad people who love being outside and camping, and helping to facilitate experiences for people that I hope will inspire them to love/help protect our wild places.

Big bonus: A special someone is coming with me! It is looking like he’s going to work for the same company, doing odds and ends support staff kind of work. We will sleep in a bed made in the back of my truck. Most of our gear will be stashed in his car. I have high hopes for a grand time with ample opportunities for learning/growth, and I am super excited.

If the idea of living out of a truck for a summer sounds irresponsible, totally uncomfortable and way outside your safety zone, then I hear you and you are not alone in your feelings. But on that same thought train, I am totally not alone in thinking that it is pretty alright, completely acceptable and very common for people like me. In fact, it can be an incredibly awesome experience. With less house means less to clean and more time to just be. It is much like sleeping in your own big kid fort every night. Waking up means strolling immediately out into the sunshine and fresh air. Plus, it is not forever (because I really do love living rooms and heaters.)

Of course, doing things like this there can be a lot to be nervous about. How will my little Ranger do on the journey all the way from California to New Mexico? What if something goes seriously wrong on a trip I am guiding? What if I get hurt and can’t guide or drive my stick shift truck? OK, actually those are the three scariest things that come up in my head. In all three situations I have a lot of control about decisions I can make towards the best possible outcome if something were to go awry. I am also feeling very grateful and blessed that I will have the support of a loving partner there with me.

One of the ways I am practicing to settle my nerves and strengthen my resolve is to stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being excited about what could go right. So I plan for the worst and hope for the best. When my mind takes a sour turn with dark what ifs, I do my best to remember and counteract with “Yes, but what if this other wonderful thing happens?!”

I do not want to miss all the beautiful surprises life unfolds because I stayed scared and hidden away.

So here’s to venturing into the unknown in hopes of finding, being found by, and sharing the experience of,  life’s wonderful beauty.

 

 

 

Scary

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” So said American horror fiction author H. P. Lovecraft.

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Lately I have been so scared of everything. I wake up scared. Driving is scary. Making plans to leave home, take a new seasonal river guide job somewhere I’ve never been with no one I have met before is terrifying. Knowing I will have to leave the man I am with and go on my next steps alone is sad and scary.

Fear feels like such a huge, almost overwhelming emotion to work with.

I’m scared of losing more of the people that I love in weird, instant accidents. I am scared of myself being in a serious accident. I am scared of being alive a lot of the time lately.

But I wake up every morning, practice a few breathing exercises, meditate, and talk positively to myself. I wake up and face all these fears and do my best to move through them gracefully with care for myself and others.

I face all these terrifying fears because the alternative is worse.

The alternative is to hide, to stay at home behind the security of walls and doors, warm and cozy in my bed with Netflix showing an endless stream of shows – hiding away to avoid all that is scary. Eventually, however, that life turns into a lonely and boring one with no meaning and no purpose. Living in the grey, numb, monotony of all that perceived security turns into its’ own prison.

I hope these feelings of fear fade.

I hope it is just residual resonating energy from the shock of losing my Dad, and that these vibrating energies within me will settle.

When people die, that is permanent.

Emotions, feelings, they are temporary and ever changing.

While what has happened can never change, I know the way I feel can. There is fear in the unknown, but there is also hope. Hope for happiness, love and fulfillment.

My greatest joys have come from my greatest unknowns. Friendships, lovers, adventures… I needed the space of the unknown to have room for those new experiences. From those experiences where I set off into something unknown and uncertain, I have learned more and grown more than I ever could have lying in my bed at home watching Netflix.

A comfort zone is  a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.

So here’s a cheers to the unknown and all the possibilities of beauty we can cultivate and grow there.

 

 

5 Games to Play Anywhere

Sitting on a long car ride, walking some miles on a trail,  or hanging around camp for the evening, these games are great.

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Me, Jamie and Zarske playing before snow pack assessment lessons. 2013. 

All the greatest outdoor leaders I have met in my life always have a game or two up their sleeve to keep the time spent on trips engaging and fun. If you are an aspiring outdoor leader, or already are one and need some extra shizam to bring to your trips, I highly recommend introducing some fun games.

I have listed a  few of my favorites here, though there are so many more out there to find. You can even start making up your own games if that is your thing.

An easy way to remember these games and always have an activity to fall back on is to write them down in your guide notebook. Instead of having to think really hard of what to do next when you’re exhausted at the end of the day, you can just choose from a list you’ve already prepared. Easy peezy.

So here are a few game ideas to get your started:

1. The Naming of Things

One of my favorites! Also, a great warm up for any other games, especially of the improv variety.

Have everyone mill around the room (if you have a room or space to mill around in. If not no biggie, you can still play sitting down in a car.)

Everyone points at something and calls it something it is not.
For example: points at tree and calls out “Potato!”
Points at a person and shouts out “Shoe!”

Do this for a few minutes or until you start to see people’s interest fade away.

It’s harder than you might think.

2. Finish The Phrase

This one needs a leader, someone to call out the beginning of a phrase. People chime in to finish it. You can use the beginnings of famous quotes, song lyrics, or just make it up as you go!

You can choose, or let it be free flowing, that the responses have to finish the quote as it was originally stated or create their own ending.  *I’m a personal fan of the improv ending because it lends way for more silliness and increased laughter.

A few good ones to get you going:
“Any place worth going….”
“I go to nature to be….”
“One time my grandma found….”

3. The Question Game 

Best if done in pairs.

One person starts with a question.
The challenger replies with a question.
The goal: try to keep a somewhat coherent conversation in only questions.
First person to make a statement loses.
Next person up plays winner, or start the round over.

If you are hanging out in camp and make it a group showdown! Two people at a time in front of the audience, they question battle, the next person in line gets to play the winner, and so on.

4. Party Quirks 

A party host invites three quests, not knowing who they are. They enter one at a time, making their quirks demonstrably known (they cannot specifically say what their quirk is.)

Identities, or ‘quirks’, are decided beforehand while the host is away . For example: Man made out of bed springs, person afraid of anything blue, a gogo dancer who loves getting down to opera music.

Party guests should be interacting with each other and the host to give clues.

As the party host guesses each character correctly, the character can then sit down.

5. A Day in the Life of

Best done with a group.

Someone writes out a memorable day in their life. Gives it to someone else, or a few people depending.

The person or group acts out what is written on the  paper in interpretive modern dance.

The audience tries to guess parts of the story out loud.

 

**If you like these games and want more of these kinds of posts, let me know!

 

 

ABunDance

No one cares what you wear. What matters is that you’re there.

 

ABunDance. Yes, a witty play on the word ‘abundance.’ The name of a little/big gathering at the Globe Theatre in downtown LA last weekend.

This past Saturday was a kick-off to festival season for many festi-goers around the Los Angeles area.

For me, it was the kick-off to my first taste of how good a festival could be.

And I liked it.

A lot.

For the first three hours I was helping out with the box office, trading my volunteer services for a ticket into the show. Standing by the front door, practicing my grand, left handed, sweeping arm gesture that wordlessly said, “Welcome, enter this door. The party is waiting for you.”

Some people look down, avoiding eye contact, and enter shyly. Some people give you great eye contact and an honest thank you (because sometimes I would even hold the door open for groups.) Some people wanted to shower you with loving words, complimenting smiles and eyes and such.

If the crowd was a crayon box, every color in the 120 color set was in attendance. Plus the extra kit of glitter crayons.

Casually dressed, jeans and t-shirts.

Full zip, hooded, tye-dye onesies.

Glittery costumes trailing sparkles as they pass.

A man wearing stilettos better than most women.

Face tattoos and piercings.

And a few elegantly dressed, as if they were seeing an opera. Those one’s stood out to me for the reason that they did not seem ready to dance for fear of breaking a heel or disturbing their perfectly placed hair.

But you know what? It didn’t matter. Because ultimately, people are there for one reason. For the love of it.

For the love of music, the love of dance, the love of freedom of expression, the love of the connection to everyone else. Be yourself, be someone else, as long as you’re kind and respectful, you can even be a giraffe if you fancy.

1 am – my volunteer shift was over. Anjeique, my good friend from our ballet days, the reason I was even there, swooped me from the front. She still had half an hour of her volunteer shift assisting the main stage manager. So I followed her around back stage and all over, being granted access to the passage ways and secret rooms reserved for artists and work crews.

There was so much to see!

Main stage up top. Most of the crowd was there.  Gogo dancers on high, side stages twirling fans with long fabric or prancing around in their poofy fox tails. Elevated boxes on the middle-sides of the dance floor for any brave flow artist to twirl around their LED hoops. Visuals on the stage screen that would make you question if you really were sober or if you just got secretly dosed a few hits of acid in your drink.

Live artists filled the outer edges surrounding the main dance floor. Euphoric painting of people and nature. Beautifully blended colors and heart provoking imagery.

Second stage was underground. Black lights and trippy paintings. Couches in the corners. A low ceiling and support beams, dressed up in artsy tree moss. A smaller crowd and lots of happy dancing people.

Upstairs balcony room. Tables of local crafters, selling their trade. Beaded jewelry. Sage wraps. Sequin pants.

There was the secret room behind the basement stage. A special wrist band to get you in there. Dancers in costume stretching and posing for the photographer. Musicians talking and laughing, taking a break. Those two kind people serving the drinks next to the small red couch.

Then, there was the dance floors. Everyone, swaying small or throwing big. Just dancing.

The most beautiful aspect of it all is the unification of many people through music, through this event, through dancing together to the same beat. It does create community. And any kind of dancing is a celebration of life. When you celebrate with others you honor the shared love between you. It strengthens bonds and evokes something deep and primal and fulfilling.

When I danced I felt like I was honoring my body and it’s ability to dance. By dancing I was showing my appreciation of all the artists and all the people who worked so hard to put this event together.

By being there, meeting who I did, roaming around with Angelique, and allowing myself to let my guard down and have fun, opened my heart up. At least, just a little. Just a taste.

This might sound too gushy to some and I won’t deny that it probably sounds extremely ‘hippie’ to say,  but I can feel the change in the way I am able to hug people.

Like I am able to give more love because I am opening up to receive more love. Instead of deflecting away deep emotion with a steel wall because I am scared to touch it, or have it touch me, I am softening that wall because I want to connect more deeply with others and with myself.

It is amazing to be witness to a shift within ones self.

It was amazing to be there, at this concert.

I am looking forward for more amazing, heart opening, life celebrating, times to come.

There is so much more I could tell you about this night- the details of walking around and the people I met. Or the one person in particular I met that made a huge impact on me, and they probably do not even know. There is more I could write just about that kind of a special connection you can have with someone you have just met.

Though for now, this is enough.

And I hope someone gives you a loving and heartfelt hug today. Or that maybe, you will be the one to give that hug…

 

 

 

 

Skies Out, Thighs Out

 

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Summer on the Trinity River, 2012. Photo by: Lauren Zarske 

I hear you, winter rains,

conspiring with the Earth,

getting ready to bloom mountain sides full of spring flowers.

Winter snow, I hear you too,

whispering your frozen secrets,

waiting patiently to sing them

 out into our favorite swimming spots.

Mountains, you have been so parched

and local swim spots, you’ve been so empty,

stagnant and still,

these past few years.

All this water and snow, what a blessing

totally worthy beers cheers.

 

Skis out, thighs out.

Suns out, buns out.

Long hair, don’t care.

Eat well, be active, stay thankful.

Bare Necessities: Car Camping – 3 things

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Truck camping along the Taiya River. Dyea, Alaska. Photo: Nicole Kovaks

  1. Sleeping bag
  2. Sleeping pad
  3. Water 

If you wanted to to get a quick escape for a night, these three things are all you really need.

(OK, technically all you really need to go car camping is a car. Though having a few extra things tending to your comfort makes the experience much more enjoyable.)

I do not mention pillow because you can bunch up a jacket or any clothes to use under your head. There are many different sleeping pads to choose from. My favorite is the Therm-a-Lite Z pad because it’s closed cell foam so you don’t having to worry about it deflating while you sleep. And I usually grab a gallon water jug, maybe two, somewhere on my way out.

There are a few more basics you can bring to add a bit more luxury/convenience/entertainment. But if you start with the first three things mentioned above, you’re practically already camping.

Here are a few more items to consider grabbing as you’re scurrying out the door (or that you can leave in your car so you’re always prepared.)

  • Trash bag
    • It is just always a good idea to bring one. Never ditch your trash.
  • Baby wipes 
    • Or toilet paper. I am, personally, always a fan of wipes because they are more efficient.
  • Head lamp
    • Pictured below is my new favorite because I have the option of super bright, to not so bright, to red light mode.
    •  028b0b97-b5b4-4156-b599-c91184b8c0b2Petzl Actik Headlamp $45
  • A cooking stove of some sort
    • Primus or Jet Boil stoves are great if you’re just going to boil water or make pasta/oatmeal/add-hot-water-to-your-meal-in-a-bag sort of thing.
    • primus_p_356083_eta_lite_compact_all_in_one_1437577527000_1151194Primus Eta Light $60
  • Coffee and a way to brew it
    • When all else fails, cowboy coffee. You can brew the grounds with hot water in a pot or bowl or cup, let it sit for 10/15 minutes, and find away around the grounds best you can.
    • Better option: there are so many ways to make camping coffee now a days. My favorite as of late is this…
    • 45fee7c9-96c8-44fe-9bdf-cc9650ad7094.jpegYou can brew it hot and strong. Only $7 at REI. Remember filters!
  • Beer
    • or wine, or champagne, or whatever else you might enjoy sipping on.
  • Snacks/food
    • So many different options for food.
  • Fire wood and a lighter 
    • That is, if no fire ban is posted.
    • Depending where you are, you can also just go collect wood when you get to your spot.
  • Book &/0r Jounal
    • These are my special gems of choice for a quiet/mellow night of camping. Through, if I plan on getting rowdy with friends I do not bother with these items.
    • Red light mode on your headlamp: Comes in super handy when you are camping with just one other person and you want to read at night after they have decided to sleep.

There you have it, the bare bone basics. Obviously, you could pack your vehicle full of things you think you might need or want to use. Honestly, the simpler the better.

The less you have, the easier you keep it, the more time and space you have to enjoy the experience of where you are. Instead of spending time rummaging and searching through a vehicle packed with doodads and whatever-the-hecks, keep it clean,simple, organized and enjoy the calm, fresh air of camping.

Remember! Always, pick up and pack out your trash. Go a step further even, pick up more trash around you that you see! Respect the land, respect other campers, and have lots of fun.

Please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions/comments/feedback!

Thriving in Guide Housing – 10 tips

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So you want to be an outdoor seasonal guide, do you? ( Or maybe you don’t and you are just one of the handful of friends and family who follow my blog. Thank you for reading my posts!)

The experience of a lifetime is waiting for you there and you have so much to get out of it. But where are you going to live for the season?

Many seasonal jobs offer employee housing for their guides. More often than not, you are sharing that space with a few to many, many other guides. It can get crazy. It be wild. It can feel really stressful.

But it can be one of the best times of your life! A beautiful chaos, much like being caught in a backcountry storm. The thunder is loud, your gear is all wet, it gets a bit uncomfortable and you’re a long walk from home. But when the sun shines you realize you’re having the time of your life because the experience is raw and real and full of personal growth/friendship.

Here are my ten best tips to help you make the best of your living situation for the season.

  • Do your part – and your dishes!

This is the number one source of distress in any communal living situation. Not doing your one weekly chore or, especially, being the one to constantly leave your dirty dishes for days can cause the demise of a happy living situation. Respect the space and your fellow guides/house mates by making the time to clean up.

  • Be open to sharing

What goes around comes around! Be the one to bake some muffins for everyone or offer to share your snacks. Sharing shows you care about others and helps in building positive relationships. Plus, if you share some of your super yummy food most likely others will be happy to share theirs with you.

  • Hide the beer you don’t want to share under your bed

Mitigate the problem of your missing beer before it even happens. It is okay to have your own secret stash of things.

  • Buy some ear plugs!

Everyone is up having a good time but you just want to sleep? Don’t get angry. It won’t help. Just put it some ear plugs and ignore it best you can. Sometimes it is fair to ask people to quiet down, and sometimes it is close to impossible to get it to last for more than five minutes after asking.  If all else fails, you can always take a night to sleep peacefully under the stars.

  • Say “YES” to doing fun things with the group

Resist your inner hermit and get out there! The bonds you make over a season have the potential to last a lifetime. And even if the friends don’t, the memories you made will. So go have fun. Everyday.

  • Take care of you and be positive

Wash every couple of days and eat as well as you can. Make the time and space to do things for yourself that make you feel good. Burn out is practically inevitable by the end of month four. Everyone feels it, so why bring it up? Remember expedition behavior. It works in the front country too. Make jokes, laugh, smile. Be the person everyone wants to work with/be around because you bring such a positive and caring atmosphere along with you.

  • Take care of your fellow guides

They are your new made family. Reach out if you see some one having a rough time. The love will come back your way when you need it too.

  • Practice positive and effective communication

Bottling up your feelings and getting to blow up mode is never the best way to go. Living and working with the same people for months in a row, there is bound to be something somebody does that really rubs you the wrong way. This is a perfect learning opportunity to practice good communication skills. Not sure what that looks like? There are plenty of free online resources to help. Maybe you notice someone close to you who seems to have great communication skills. Ask them for some helpful tips!

  • Always do more than your fair share

Expedition behavior in the front country – people take notice. Doing extra for the group is a strong leadership skill and something you can go to bed feeling proud of at the end of the day.

  • Do not sweat the small things

If you come from a very tidy and quiet home, like me, transitioning to a house with many people and bigger messes can be really difficult. Go in with the mindset that it will probably be like that – loud and messy. If it is not, hooray for you! If it is, you went into the situation mentally prepared. If you do find yourself in a loud and messy house, remember that you cannot control everything or everyone and getting mad only makes things worse. Pick your battles and figure out what you’re better off just letting go of.

I hope this guide has given you some helpful insight and encouragement to try out the seasonal outdoor job lifestyle! Choose to live a happy life under the sun.