The Mandalorian, a new Buck Rogers film, Captain Moxley, Institute for Singular Antiquities. These works herald a bright new day for pulp adventure fiction. The genre has seen a resurgence in the past few years and continues to develop a fan base of rabid consumers, myself included. I remember the excitement in the theater as the silhouette of Indiana Jones, wearing the now iconic fedora, stood before mountains somewhere in South America. His face remains obscured for several scenes until his whip disarms the treacherous gunman poised to shoot him in the back. Jones steps from the shadows and we see his rugged face for the first time... https://youtu.be/mUWYmTpYdP4 TBC
When I was younger, I would wake up before the rest of my family and run down the dirt road that winded in front of my family farm to a lavender field. I walked, I sat, and I walked back. Dawn broke early halfway across the world. I woke to a bright pre-summer sky at 6 o'clock in the morning. Looking back, it was a sun that was harsher than New York's — hotter and less forgiving. It was freer in the Chinese countryside, no midday traffic droning down concrete streets or towering skyscrapers stopping me from hopping towards an endless sky. The meadow was one and a half miles away. On the very last morning before I had to leave for America, my legs ran me to my cousin's room instead of out the door at the break of dawn. I made a beeline for her window and threw her curtains apart, the light attacking every last inch of her room with an intense morning glow. “Jin-Yi! Get up! Let's go somewhere!” I shouted, jumping onto her bed. Her eyes flew open, about to burst with curiosity. “Where?” “Let's go!” was all the information I gave up before pulling her out of bed and pushing her towards the doorway. I had her chasing me down the stairs and out the door in less than ten minutes. And if she had not been fully awake before, the blinding hello of the endless wheat fields and eccentric sky forced her into full consciousness. A slight draft sneaked past us and I breathed in the fresh air as it pressed against my skin. Jin-Yi gaped at the sunkissed tint of the morning. Her eyes bulged as she stepped past the security of the house, as if soaking in the scene of a world she had never before seen. I broke into a sprint and a moment later, she followed. The road under us clapped to the beat of our clumsy race, a round of applause encouraging us as we ran. By the time we were doubled over, panting, we ran into our family cows. We watched them while trying to catch our breath. They were slowly gnawing at the grass, eating early breakfasts without a care in the world. I made eye contact with one, and she held my stare while finishing a mouthful of grass. She eventually grew bored of me and started strolling in the direction of the lavender field. Jin-Yi and I walked alongside her. “Let's call her Olivia,” Jin-Yi suggested. “Olivia?” It was a foreign name for a Chinese cow. “Yes,” she responded. “An American name for an American girl.” She smiled at me before launching into another short sprint. As the three of us traveled, we tried to stick together. Olivia helped herself as we went along, munching on the edible blanket of grass at her feet. Twice, there were irresistibly tasty patches and she would stop to revel in the taste. Although she had invaded our party of two, we couldn't find it in our hearts to leave her behind so we waited for her to finish, even though we knew she would be fine. Calm flatness was all that surrounded us. No man-made structures disturbed the crisp horizon-like border between the ground and the sky. Time trickled by like water leaking out of a broken faucet unnoticed. After we had walked far enough, the grass grew wilder, taller and darker. Having journeyed the path more times than I could remember, I charged into the grass in front of Olivia and threw my arms out to my side, drawing a cross with my body to protect the visible sea of lavender behind me. “You can't walk into the lavender field, Olivia. Go back.” Olivia stared me down with blank eyes, chewing slowly. She turned and walked away, her tail swaying side-to-side behind her, as if mocking me. I turned to my cousin, “You can't let her in the field. She'll eat the lavenders. Remember that.” She nodded her understanding. With an elated smile, I shouted “Then let's go!” before barreling towards the meadow. I buried myself in the middle of the lavenders, collapsing onto the ground and letting the flowers tickle my face as I lay on my back. A laugh bubbled in my throat and escaped to the same effect as a bird song in a serene forest. My cousin danced around me, throwing flowers in the air. Clouds had begun to form, blocking out the sun so that all I saw as I stared up were fluffy white clusters being strung across the sky. Bathing in the warm breeze, I let out a sigh and let the scent of fresh petals hug me. That same day, I packed my bags, and got into my parents' car, squishing my face against the window and trying to melt into the disappearing countryside on our way to the airport — a journey West. There was a simple freedom in those excursions that I took while the world was still sleeping, prancing down a blank road, seemingly leading nowhere. I never forgot about that lavender field, or any of the walks there. That purple heaven and the path lying before it belongs to Jin-Yi now. She wakes up at 6, she walks with Olivia where I walked alone. She sits, and she walks back.
Sarah was a young beautiful lady. She was ambitious and very social. All her life she spent alone writing and reading novels. One afternoon, her dad came and told her that they were moving to another country. She was very excited about this news because it was her first time moving out of her birth land. Her parents and siblings were excited too because they were moving to their ancestral land. What an adventure it would be! Finally, she's going to meet up with her relative from her father's side. The long-awaited day arrived and they all went to the airport excited. Sarah took a deep breath as the plane departed, she said goodbye to her country. A new life awaited Sarah and her family. They didn't know what was in store for them.
Let me start by saying that 2020 has been crazy year thus far. Before I knew how the year would unfold, I interviewed for a flight nursing position that would be the start of an amazing adventure. I submitted my resume for this job late 2019 when my provincial government announced they were planning to lay off registered nurses. Although healthcare in my province took, what i perceive to be, a foreboding shift, it was a great catalyst for personal change. You see, I've had this air ambulance company in mind for years. I heard about them from a nurse I worked with while in nursing school. I've kept this company in mind since then, periodically checking their website once every few months, debating whether I should apply. I submitted my application to a few places with the belief that this air ambulance company would be the least likely to respond but a few weeks later I received an email from my future manager about an interview. Once I got the interview. I was confident that I would get the position not because of my resume but because I rehearse for interviews like they're American Idol auditions. Although, I talk about this process rather platonically it was the complete opposite. You would expect, that once I got this position that I would be screaming for joy but then I started to think ‘what the heck?” My feelings ranged from self-doubt, to fear and confusion. Happiness, accomplishment, and excitement took less than 10% of my emotional space. Let me break this down for you. You've got a nurse who has been on the job for about three years and has spent most of that time on a nursing floor and away from critical care areas. I knew enough about the job to know that I would be handling patients potentially on the brink of death. I continued to feel that this position was out of my league but I think we've all been there and you can choose to break yourself out of this perpetual cycle of self-doubt or not. I chose the former. I told myself ‘so what?' If I make a mistake, I get back up again and learn. Failure has such a negative connotation but it really isn't because everyone stumbles; the trick is refusing to let your failures define you. You know how this ends, I got the job and was off to training. When people ask me how training went, I say 'imagine a ballot box being stuffed to the brink with papers and then a bomb exploding in it.' Yah, that ballot box was my brain. I think you get the sense that it was difficult but I completed training with this great sense of accomplishment. I felt exponentially more prepared to deal with a plethora of medical concerns. Although, I did feel mentally prepared, this did not erase my self-doubt, fear and uncertainty. I again headed to the internet and tried to equip myself with as much knowledge as possible, watched videos on electrocardiograms, looked up different sources of medical protocols for different conditions, watched videos on all the drugs that I have not yet encountered. I moseyed along these past few months in this new position with that curious, can-do attitude and most of the patients I've had the pleasure of caring for were relatively ‘alright.' When I say ‘alright', something was undeniably, medically wrong with them but they were at little risk of dying on the plane. Things were relatively tamed, for which I was thankful for. I had some time to get my feet planted on the ground before crazy things happened. Until earlier this month, when my colleague and I dealt with a situation in which my patient was, forgive me if I'm saying this too nonchalantly, actively trying to die. They were already on a standard medication called norepinephrine which is meant to squeeze blood vessels and essentially raise blood pressure. I just had to keep increasing the dose of this medication and giving intravenous fluids because her blood pressure just kept dropping, to the point where I worried about perfusion to her brain. To top it all off, we weren't even sure if we would be able to land because the weather was terrible. The most likely outcome being that I would probably be stuck with this patient for at least another two hours without the support of a hospital. This uncertainty lasted about 15 minutes until our pilots made another attempt to land and were successful in doing so. Tensions were high but she made it to the hospital alive. For that, I gave myself a pat on the back and then thought about ten things I could have done better. Although I think my job is super cool, I'm telling this story not to show-it off but to inspire. I'm as ordinary of a nurse as they come, riddled with personal and professional self-doubts and, honestly, nothing is wrong with that. Sometimes questioning your knowledge and seeking new answers serves to make patient care even safer. Personally, when faced with life-changing decisions and imagining to life the worst possible outcomes, you need to say to yourself “so what?”
What is this adventure you are all so desperately seeking? Is it to climb the highest peaks? Is it to live as if commitment was an ancient concept? Or is it to see how far you can go Away from anything that may keep you on this ground Is this the adventure you desire? Because there is another that is much sweeter One that doesn't leave you with groggy eyes And unsatisfied An adventure Dare I say.. To rest To not keep going But to stop Long enough to listen to your own minds chatter Long enough to feel that emptiness inside your soul You didn't know it was there, Did you? On all those grand adventures There is no time for silly matters of the heart It is about what is next The how do I do that? The how do I climb that? The how do I get to that? But on this adventure The greatest adventure It is all within you. Waiting to be tapped into. But you my friend, Are so fixed on what lies ahead. Persistently pushing on To see that something Because if you stop? You have failed And you will have to face the reality Of your heart That this adventure you desperately seek Is actually one for the weary and meek
How Would You Feel if: When you opened your eyes, the sunlight was beaming through the window. You suppose it is an early afternoon since the sun was pounding down. You took a glance at the ceiling; it was a cream color and there was a lamp shaped like a teardrop; the walls were an apricot color with some rural pictures hanging. Your look was fixed on them for a brief while, then, you simply opened your eyes completely; a lock of hair was in your eye; You gently scraped it out of the way with your finger. You felt something moist when you touched your face. When you glanced at your hand, it was drenched with blood. You sat up in bed, surprised, and you saw him alongside you— a young man with short hair, dull skin, eyes shut, his face and chest secured with blood. He had a stream of blood hanging out of his mouth, however, it was solid-dry by then. You didn't comprehend what was going on- thoughts and questions had started to fill your head- Why is there a wounded guy next to me and where has he come from. You nudged him with your finger to wake him up— he was cold. His skin was bone-tweaking cold. This is what happened to Camryn, though. To find out, Read part 1B.
I'm that person who plans the next trip before the current one is over. Not the most budget-friendly habit. Or the healthiest. I started asking, “Is that kind of wanderlust sustainable? Can it really make me happy?” I started looking for another way to treat my travel bug, another way to travel, another way to find what I've been looking for. Wanderlust is never satisfied. New places are like new clothes, one more never makes the collection complete. So I haven't stopped traveling, I've just decided to travel more ...at home. I've had the adventure of making my home in several “touristy” places like New York City, Miami Beach, and Anchorage, Alaska – places that shout “I'm supposed to be explored!” But I've also lived in some quite non-touristy places, like Jundiai, Brazil and Tallahassee, Florida, and found that those places were inviting me to explore too. One habit I've adapted is taking pictures of my own city. Documenting my home and gathering stories makes me feel like I'm on a treasure hunt. Gathering stories can mean journaling a conversation overheard at a coffee shop, snapping street art, adding my neighbors to my novel, or vowing to never forget the inspiring art lady who gave me a free painting at the farmers market. I don't need another continent to do this. Once I get the pictures (and the occasional free painting) from my current home city, I like framing them on the wall next to waterfalls in Iceland or hot air balloons in Myanmar. It's a way of saying “this experience is just as cool, just as formative, just as special.” Exploring at home doesn't make my world smaller, but bigger. Exploring requires a kind of mindset, not a kind of destination. Destinations can sometimes limit what you find, which reminds me of an important part of traveling at home – getting lost. When I lived in New York City and needed “an escape,” my favorite thing to do was let my phone die. Then I was forced to really wander. I found some of my favorite coffee shops that way. Sometimes I charged my phone there, sometimes I didn't. Sometimes I just pretended my phone was dead. I wouldn't listen to a podcast if I was taking the tube in London for the first time, so why not take out my earbuds on my daily commute now and then? Earbuds out turned into conversations with other fellow travelers on their way to work. I love asking questions about why people live in my home cities. “What brought you to New York?” is a classic with some surprisingly un-cliché answers. And I also liked, “Is it different than you expected?” “How are you and New York getting along?” One time my friend answered, “Living in New York is like being in a relationship – you're either in an argument or you're at peace.” These questions led to stories of disenchantment, reconciliation, falling in and out of love with the place we called home. Breaking up or making it work. A few years later I was replacing New York with Miami and found the answers just as interesting, answers like: “It's the rawest place I've ever lived.” “It feels like another country to me.” “People always told me I'd stop getting excited about seeing the ocean but it hasn't happened.” “It's breaking my heart.” These were more fulfilling conversations than talking about all the places I hadn't been because I resonated with something shared. Part of the reason I love traveling is coming back with stories. There's something so human about telling stories. It's a way of saying we are alive, we are making a presence on this earth and this is how. I love bringing stories home, and I also love when they bring me closer to home. Stories can come from locals or tourists. As a mostly-pedestrian in New York and South Beach, I found this energizing joy in engaging with tourists. Some of my favorite stories are from helping tourists find their way. It reminds me of how sometimes I still get lost. I imagined I was a link between them and their bucket lists, their high hopes. “Which way is the beach?” just reminded me that we're all just looking for the beach. I reoriented their sense of direction, but they did the same for me. I'll never forget a boy who was about eight emerging from the 34th street subway station and shouting “Look, it's the Empire State Building! We're in New YORK!” It was about 30 degrees and I was carrying about 31 pounds of Trader Joe's, but I stopped being grumpy. Yeah, we were in New York. I want to challenge the idea that adventure is “out there.” Home doesn't have to mean standing still. Home doesn't have to be an interim between adventures. Home can be the biggest trip you'll ever take. And one you can always go back to. Adventure is right here. I'm still almost always planning (or at least dreaming about) the next time I will hop in a plane with my passport. But what I've realized is that traveling and exploring can be a lifestyle, not a series of events. It can be a way of thinking. Home can be a place where wanderlust and contentment meet.
"Aw come on, don't look at me like that..." Dammit. Those enormous eyes were staring at me like I'd just ordered its execution. How could I just leave t there? I had no idea how to explain this to my wife. In my days of adventuring and travel, I'd brought home all kinds of strange things. It was my job, after all; people paid good gold for retrieving artifacts or rare ingredients, heirlooms, whatever they needed. I was their man. Enchanted swords, disembodied eyes that still blinked, satyr hair, even a haunted mirror had all come home with me at some point. My dear Evelina had made peace with it long ago, provided I got rid of my findings in a reasonable amount of time. But the dog-sized baby dragon currently trying to follow me home? I may have finally pushed my luck too far. It made a little warbly noise in its throat, almost like a muted cry. It peered up at me, seemingly seeing right into my soul with its massive green eyes. Its white body shimmered in the light, scattering beams of sun into the mouth of the cave I'd found it in. As far as I could tell, it had been abandoned. Remnants of two other shells, long dried out and disintegrating into the sandy floor, indicated its red and yellow siblings had hatched long ago. The white shell, however, had been still damp from its occupant. The poor thing was mewling pathetically, probably from loneliness, when I found it. Dragons were social creatures, after all. Oh, hell. I let out a long sigh. How could I leave it here, knowing its parents weren't coming back for it? I looked at it. It looked at me. I tried to shut out my traitorous compassion and be logical. It purred and gently pawed at my leg. I lost the battle. "Alright, fine," I growled, not truly angry at it but frustrated by my weakness. The little dragon gave a happy chirp and fluttered its winglets excitedly. A little puff of smoke shot out of its nose. I shouldered my bag and set off down the road. The dragon puttered ain't beside me, green eyes practically glowing with happiness. Tiny claws made a small clattering noise on the uneven cobblestones of the road. I reached down and stroked its wings, eliciting a delighted purr. Maybe Evelina would be swayed by this thing's cuteness. I hoped. Otherwise, I wouldn't be sleeping on the couch, I'd be single.
Living one of those lives where you can never seem to catch a break- where raw deals keep flying at you like dodge balls in P.E. class, the days where I got to sit back and let my worries vanish were the best. And those days just happened to be whenever I hung out with my best friend, Davey. We always had the greatest yet, more often than not, peculiar adventures together, and inside jokes to last a light year. National Best Friends Day was no exception. The day was already strange to begin with, Davey was half recovering from being sick with a nasty cold, and we hadn't really begun our day until 1pm. We walked to meet up with each other at a school in the middle of both our houses. Deciding what to do, our consensus was the beach, however, after sprinting to the bus stop we only then realized a three hour bus ride was maybe not something we wanted to do on a stuffy hot June afternoon. “Well why don't we go to that cool park we've always wanted to go to?” I suggested. Bad idea. “Sure!” Davey agreed and so we were off. This was the first bus ride of the day, but certainly not the last. Foreshadowing to an event that would occur later that day, Davey had seen an advertisement for fathers day as we passed by a Dairy Queen shop, and bluntly suggested that Father's Day was the most irrelevant and unnecessary holiday. I quite agreed. “Are you sure you know where this bus goes and where we're supposed to get off?” I nodded hoping I was right. That's when a random man turned around and felt the need to comment, ‘you girls are lost.' Was he offering to help? No. He was simply wasting breath on a completely useless unhelpful sentence. After finally reaching our desired location, it was quickly evident that maybe this wasn't the safest area to be hanging around in. Doing our best to avoid being mugged, and after having to look at three street maps, we found our way to the bus station where we would attempt to turn this glorious day around with a trip to a small beach much closer to us. We made it to the bus just in time, and without any wait we were off. The only occupants on this small bus were the bus driver, Davey, and I. Everything was smooth sailing until a man whom we will call, Chummy, gets on. Now, Chummy was not looking too good, nonetheless I was never one to judge, so I sat quietly but I could tell Davey wasn't too comfortable with our new guest. Firstly, as Chummy hopped aboard, he communicated that he did not have any money to pay for the bus as he was going to get money from his ex-girlfriend right now. Okay, fair enough, I'm sure we've all forgot or ran out of bus money one time or another. He took a seat right behind the bus driver, with Davey and I only being across the isle and one seat behind him, otherwise known as very close proximity, one could argue perhaps too close. Right away Chummy dove into a one-sided conversation about the perfect way to clean open flesh wounds, with a little bit of future plans on how Chummy might obtain some money. The bus driver responded accordingly as Davey and I sat in fear. Yet, we were determined to get to the beach so we looked out the window and pretended everything was fine. But that perhaps wasn't the best idea as the bus driver pulled over and low and behold, another creepy man hopped aboard. Now this man sat even closer to us than Chummy- he sat right in front of us. How wonderful. This guy was clearly intoxicated, and there was a white residue covering both his left and right hands. That's not all though, turns out he and Chummy were friends. They soon struck up another uncomfortable conversation together. Davey being more paranoid than I about situations such as these, was not having it. She looked out the window and put on headphones with no music playing just to make herself blend in and look casual. However, I wasn't as lucky as Davey for I was sitting in the isle, kitty corner to Chummy and directly behind residue hands. The terror we felt was growing, but I paid for this bus ride and money was not something I could afford to waste especially because of a bunch of uncivilized men. Notice how no women made unnecessary comments or made me feel uncomfortable that day… just a simple observation. Anyhow, it wasn't until Chummy turned to face me, and asked, “Want to see my open flesh wounds?” Without waiting for a response, and then proceeding to in fact show me his disgusting flesh wounds that I cracked. Davey turned her head, but I wasn't so lucky. I got the absolute joy of seeing this man's nasty drug abuse wounds. So fun. I quickly pulled the bus stopper and we stepped past the two lovely men and exited through the only door on the bus in the middle of country roads at a sketchy bus stop. After regaining our sanity, we still refused to let men ruin our day, so we started on our confusing post-traumatic hour and a half walking journey in the hot sun to the beach. To make a long story short, it wasn't worth it.
They say love can make you do strange and peculiar things. Others say it's exhilarating. But my husband, Will, and I think of ourselves as much too practical when it comes to life's important matters, such as love. And then we took a vacation to Belize. We read, researched, and planned. But only a few hours into our itinerary, we had to abandon it. As darkness snuck up on us, rain poured, and a windshield wiper on our tiny rental car didn't work. We dodged dogs and people moseying along the highway. The highway had no lights. Will suggested a place to spend the night but I countered, remembering reading about Hopkins Village. Little did we know, it would take us a white-knuckling, breath-holding 45-minutes to maneuver the four miles of unpaved, crater-filled so-called road. “Are you sure there is a village at the end of this?” Will asked. No, I wasn't. I panicked silently, wondering what I had gotten us into and hoping I hadn't made the entire situation worse. This situation being our vacation. I thought about shouting “We should've gone to Costa Rico!” but refrained. When the village's twinkling lights emerged ahead, I managed to breath. As we approached, the rain began to let up. The sea was straight ahead, and we arrived just in time to watch the full moon rising over the Caribbean. It was magical. So magical, it didn't seem real but more like an Elvis Presley movie set. The restaurant had thatch roofs, waves softly lapping, and this amazing moon emerging from the sea. And that was our very first night! Listening to the faint drumming sounds over a meal of fresh fish, the rain turned to a slow mist, melting the stress we had brought with us. And then we did something strange, peculiar, and exhilarating. We vowed to move to this little fishing village in Central America. In reality, there would be several more trips, extensive planning, and a five-year plan. But really, it was that first night, with the tropical breeze, delicious food, rum-drinks, and rain-soaked hair, that we fell in love with a place. We gazed at that moon and each other until our eyes succumbed to sleep. We wanted salt air, tropical moonrises, and authentic living. We wanted to fall asleep to the waves of the Caribbean Sea rather than the planes of Love Field. We wanted to ride on beach cruisers instead of sitting in traffic. We wanted beach walks not side walks. We wanted slow and relaxed instead of frantic and frazzled. We wanted Belize. Belize is a small little country about the size of New Hampshire with an abundance of nature—both sea and mountains. The rural country boasts of no fast-food or big box stores and it probably has more chickens than people. This developing country has much the romance of the wild west, complete with chaos, dangers, and take matters into your own hands' kind of place. And what an adventure it was! We decided to “go west,” buying and building. We planned to live in a little wooden cabana--Belize's version of a mobile home-- while building our dream beach house. We were so full of optimism. We embraced our setbacks and challenges with unabashed enthusiasm. No bed? We will sleep in a hammock. Can't find parts for the bathroom door? No problem. We will hang a hammock up for privacy like some hippies from the sixties. It could be months before any of furniture is ready? We'll reminisce our younger days—crates for nightstands…concrete blocks and boards for dressers. Four months later, we took delivery of bespoke tropical hardwood furniture. We took our time, we went slow, and soaked it all in. If we weren't blessed enough, it turned out the oldest bed and breakfast, our favorite vacation spot, with Lucy, our favorite beach dog, may be for sale. We'd known Lucy, the Irish wolfhound mixed with something much smaller, over the years and enjoyed our walks together to our favorite beach hang out. She trotted the two blocks to our place frequently. Some mornings we'd open our front door only to discover Lucy laid across it like a welcome mat. Lucy reminded us of our first dog—smart and funny. Will and I day-dreamed of Lucy and the inn being ours. We talked of importing expensive mattresses and soaps…of expanding the verandas and having romantic double showers. We drank dark rum. We strolled along the beach. We made love without worrying about rushing off to work. We were happy in this magical, quirky, little village. And, I could say “the end.” But it may not be fair to finish the story like that without also including that it may have been a rash decision to purchase a bed and breakfast to get a puppy dog. I could also add that we didn't do things the way they've always been done, upset the status quo, and made a whole bunch of people angry. No doubt, there were twists, turns, and stumbling blocks on our adventure. But even so, our goal of adventure-seeking was reached in record time.
I had decided that I wanted to head to Target and pick up some things that I needed. I took off in Petunia and drove to wonderful Target. I had gotten everything that I needed and I was in the direction to head home. There were two options here: I could take the exit and go back to my house, or I could take the exit that headed towards Boston. Of course, I took the exit that went in the direction towards Boston. Again, I had two options here: I could either go into Boston, or I could go around Boston. I chose to go around Boston. The drive was really peaceful. It felt serine to be by myself, listening to music and driving God knows where. I kept driving and ended up in New Hampshire. I was originally going to go to Concord, New Hampshire, but the line of traffic to get into Concord turned me off. So I kept going and I eventually hit Epping, New Hampshire. I had never been to Epping, but I thought it was gorgeous along the road I was taking. Of course, I had to pee. I pulled into a Starbucks and was going to use their bathroom, but I had completely forgotten that they were doing bias training that day. I saw a Walgreens across the way and used their bathroom and bought a snack. I get back into my car and call my mom. I tell her that I'm in New Hampshire. She askes me what the hell am I doing in New Hampshire. Mind you, I wasn't planning on going to New Hampshire at all. It was a spur of the moment thing. I hate GPS and refuse to use it unless I absolutely have to. I'm asking my mom for directions on how to get out of Epping. She's trying to help me, and I'm trying to download Google Maps, but it's taking too long. She suggests that I go into Walgreens and ask someone for directions. So that's exactly what I do. I ask an employee for directions. She's giving me directions and I'm trying to remember everything she's telling me at this point. Anyways, there's a customer behind me who also helps me with directions. It's funny because I got two different sets of directions from both of them. I went with the set of directions that sounded the easiest. I chose the first set. Lucky enough, the directions she gave me, were straight forward and easy to follow along. Anyways, I get out of New Hampshire and I remember my mom telling me to take the exit towards Boston. So I take the exit and low and behold, I'm in Boston! At first, I was doing okay. I felt confident and I thought I had this. Then all hell broke loose and I realized I don't have this. I was driving through this tunnel in Boston; (I forget the name of the tunnel), and my stupid ass took the direction that leads you to the airport... At this point, I had no idea where I was, I was alone, I wasn't using any GPS to help me navigate my way out of the city. I had never wanted to be home so badly in my life. I didn't want to get out and ask for directions. I'm driving around Boston trying to figure out where I am. I end up getting myself even more lost. I find myself in a sketch neighborhood of Boston that I wasn't familiar with. Trying to navigate through a city using your own sense of direction and no GPS, is hard, but it's definitely doable. Anywho.... I'm pretty sure it took me two hours to finally find my way out! Praise the Lord! At one point, I got paranoid and thought someone was following me. Once I hit that same tunnel again, I didn't take the turn to head to the airport, I kept driving. There was a sign that took you to the turnpike or something, I thought I was supposed to take that exit. I kept going. Thank God I didn't. Otherwise, I would have eventually ended up in New York. I make my way out of Boston and I thought I was going in the wrong direction for some reason. I realized I was going in the direction I needed to. I did hit traffic when I was outside the city. Which was frustrating at the time because I was just done with this day and wanted to be home already! If I remember correctly, it was straight sailing all the way home after I got out of traffic. I had finally made it to my destination. Thank you, Jesus! Do I regret that crazy adventure I went on? No. It was an experience and I'm glad I had it. Do I regret not using GPS as my navigator? No. I still hate that shit. Would I do this type of adventure again? Yes. I've driven through other parts of Massachusetts trying to find my way out and have an adventure along the way. Sometimes you have to take chances and risks to experience something new in life. Obviously, this type of adventure isn't for everyone, and that's okay. If you're up for the challenge, why the hell not. Give it a go and try navigating your way out of an unfamiliar place, using your own sense of directions and see how you do. That's my crazy adventure story and I love telling this story. This story just gets better every time you tell it. Hopefully, you got a kick out of it and found it amusing. Be adventurous people!
I nibble on a cookie, my eyes transfixed on the puffs of smoke emerging from the peak of the volcano. My lips catch my breath before it can escape into the cool air. An ominous rumble echoes from within the shadows, and we watch in awestruck wonder as glowing orange chunks spew into the sky, racing past one another and grasping at the stars. Just out of reach, the embers relinquish their dream and streak back to earth, tumbling down the steep embankment until the shadows devour their brilliance. I wish I could watch this forever. It's early, but I say goodnight and duck into the tent, pulling another sweater over my head before burrowing into my sleeping bag. The rumbling lulls my eyelids to a close and I drift into sleep. I first notice the cold tickling my nose, and then the ache that clamps down on my shoulder as I roll over and dig for the watch inside my backpack pocket. 3:00 a.m. My fingers fumble for the zipper and I wiggle out of my sleeping bag, stuffing it into its sack and then sitting on it until the last hiss has escaped. I cram my feet into my hiking boots as I stumble to the door, shuffling along the edge of the path as the sand threatens to pull me down the precarious slope. Grabbing an outstretched hand, I pull myself safely into the light of the crackling fire. My backpack sends up a cloud of dust as it hits the ground and I puff hot air into my hands before bending down to tie my laces. I grab a bowl of oatmeal and a spoon, squishing between two others on a rickety bench. As the bowl begins to thaw my stiff fingers, the oatmeal glides down my throat with ease and smolders in my stomach like the embers in the fire. I've only just scraped the last remnants of breakfast onto my spoon when the guide calls for our attention. “Time to get moving if we want to make that sunrise!” He gestures up the volcano, our path cloaked by a blanket of shadows. With my backpack snugly fitted against my shoulders, I slip into the line and I run my fingers over my headlamp, fumbling for the button. For a brief moment the light shines and I can see how caked with dust my boots are, but then it fades and dies. Quickening my pace, I follow closely at the heels of the person in front of me, scrounging for what leftover light I can put my feet in. As we walk, my boots slowly begin to materialize out of the darkness, and I turn and pause for a moment. A warm orange glow is beginning to stretch across the purple clouds that cascade like ocean waves, and the glistening lights strewn across the hillsides are growing dim. Running out of time. My breath and feet fall into a rhythm for the next hour or so as we trudge up the winding path. As I emerge from a cluster of trees, the wind strikes my cheeks with sharp lashes. The burning only intensifies as we continue to scramble up higher, finally catching a glimpse of the other side of the volcano. I try to scrunch my face, but my numb cheeks hang lifelessly. Clenching my hands around my poles sends pain shooting through my fingers, but I grimace and wiggle them more. “Let's wait here for the others to catch up,” the guide announces as we duck behind a large boulder. I struggle to unclip the strap from my waist and tug open the zipper with my mittens on, but taking them off isn't an option since they're the only thing keeping my fingers from falling off. I yank another sweater from my pack and pull it over my head. I suck in a breath but the icy texture makes me shudder and regret it. By the time the last person has snuck behind the rock, I am eager to get going again. “This is the last stretch,” the guide comments, motioning up the formidable, steep hill. The sand collapses beneath my feet and I plunge my poles in ahead of me, pulling myself on top of them. I pause for a moment until I feel steady again. Two steps forward, one step back. Repeat. My eyes track the person stumbling upwards in front of me. Just make it to where they are. Good, that's good. Now up a little farther. I coax my shaking body from one checkpoint to the next, and my feet cry out in relief when they hit solid dirt rather than sand. I did it...I can't believe I did it! As I try to take in the view, I meet my friend's eyes and my lips explode into a grin as we throw ourselves into each other's arms. I shuffle closer to the edge of the volcano and sit down on a boulder to watch the sky. At last, the sun finally peeks over the horizon and warmth begins to stretch across the sea of clouds, casting sparkles across the hills. I can't help but wonder if the sun waited for me to get to the top before unveiling itself. The bottom of the clouds are bathed in warm yellow, while the tops are drenched in a deep violet that bleeds into the sky like a waterlogged painting. This is more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. The frigid air now feels exhilarating in my lungs. As I sit and gaze at the glowing horizon, I realize—I didn't conquer the volcano, I conquered myself.
It was October of 2016 when I and three other friends decided to go on a round Annapurna trek without much knowledge about the route. The hot blood of youth made all of us think we could easily complete the trek in 8 days. We started our journey from Kathmandu early in the morning via bus and ended that day in Chame, Headquater of Manang District from where we started our trekking from the next day. I love anything and everything about mountains, clear blue skies, vast green meadows and dense forests. I don't remember what kick started this love but it's there now for a while and one thing that I am sure of is that it will last till my legs give away. I often venture out to high altitude terrains to move away from the dust and pollution of city life, sometimes to take a break from repetitive and boring life and mostly to have some private exclusive time with the mountains. Believe me walking above 3000m in the steep path was really difficult with heavy trekking bag. As I saw mountain life is tedious and difficult. Hill people live in wooden houses with basic amenities and in areas that are always prone to natural calamities, bear tremendous cold weather, walk for miles to fetch water or woods from the forests. Kids with cracked red cheeks that hurt all the time, often walk for hours to attend school yet you will always find the locals hospitable with whatever little they have, ever smiling at you when met enroute. Sometimes they lend a helping hand or just pass a good luck smile and move on. One the 4th day of our trek we reached 4950m height to see the beauty of world highest lake, Tilicho. The pain of body all vanished once I see that mesmerizing blue lake situated just on the base of Annapurna Mountain. The temperature was freezing cold and the wind was icy cold. But who leaves the chance to take photos with that beauty on the background after that difficult climb so we took few photographs and slowly started our way back to base camp. Trekking is not always only amazing landscapes and verdant spaces with gushing rivers and glaciers, it is also about moving out of your comfort zones, pushing yourself hard, beyond your normal limits. It's almost like half a battle full of wounds. Yet these wounds are a sign of growth. They indicate that you have pushed yourself and are capable of trying to achieve something. Our next destination was Thorong La Pass which is situated in 5416m which is above Everest Base Camp 5380m. We stayed at Thorong base camp at night. On the big day of our trek we had to start early. We woke up at around 4 O'clock had some breakfast and started our climb wearing all the clothes we had because of cold. As soon as I stepped out from the door, I could see the White Mountains against the barely moon-lit sky. The moon rays had really brightened up the mountains. The best part was – the sky was clear, very clear. No clouds to be seen anywhere. As we moved on, the sun started coming out. It was amazing to see the sun peeping out from behind the mountains. Playing with the snow and battling the cold, slipping in the icy rocks, we finally reached there. We were there. We had reached the Pass and the view of the mountains everywhere and knee-height snow made us feel like we had conquered Everest. It was an Everest for us. Even though you are walking on snow or can view glacial mountain peaks all around you, while on trek your bottle of water becomes the most important possession for survival. It is true we always learn to value things in their absence.
A choppy four-hour boat ride from the southeast of Taiwan leads to a secret island. Its terrain is rugged and, at first, the island feels dark and mysterious. To visit, you must be brave enough to give up English, scale through steep mountainside jungles, and zip past radioactive terrain. It is Lanyu- one of the last displays of Tao aboriginal life amidst our ever-modernizing world. Lanyu is best-enjoyed side by side with locals- they know the island intimately and are weary at first of showing you around but, if you stay at least a few days, they may open up their lives to you. Lodge with locals at a homestay to be invited to traditional aboriginal meals and tour secret sights, unseen by non-locals. We spent our first night on the island watching the men gamble before they went night fishing. They offered us fish from the morning catch, and they read our palms. My hand outstretched, they studied the lines of my hand, looked at each other, and silently rolled away my fate- apparently, mine was better left unspoken. The next morning they made up for the mystery of my future with an incredible display of the clash between the past and the present. We explored ancient coral reefs that had crawled onto the shore over thousands of years. Towering ten and twenty feet above our heads, the jagged caverns would have been impossible to navigate alone. Our wordless guide knew each turn past various bright blue swimming coves and reassured us that the swimming blue snake we saw wasn't poisonous, but that he liked to bite. Transportation on Lanyu is only by scooters with which you explore roads framed by a buzzing tropical jungle. Trace the island's perimeter of jagged volcanic, steep, and ancient coral shorelines. In the southwest, drive by quickly- there is radioactive waste forcefully stored here. You won't forget- the locals remind you daily. You need a few days to enjoy the lush forests and vivid crystal-blue ocean waves and your scooter will get you everywhere. Try fly fish- the islanders traditional food and source of income. Each night the men go out to the ocean in their traditional Tao boats, with large painted eyes and colorful designs on either side, to return in the morning with a fresh catch. For less traditional recipes, order from the all-Chinese menus and use the pictures to help you order. This island is a treasure map. As if mother nature made the island to feed the imagination, you'll see enormous volcanic rocks like the elephant head, twin lions, lovers arch, and the open-mouthed dragon. Their outlines are so clear that it isn't difficult to see how all of these towering rock formations got their names. The stops are clearly labeled and each one is an adventure of its own. Get a 360 view of the entire island from the silent top of the mountain, 550 meters above sea level. There is a weather station that you can explore there. If you are lucky, the sky will be clear for you to catch the mysteriously elusive sunrise. One morning we woke up well before daybreak to ride up to the station and despite waiting for hours, the sunrise never came. You may not believe it and at the time, neither did we. Discover the hidden bodies of water at the top of Lanyu's mountains. Ride up a steep and winding road from the northwest of the island to a small pond and towering ivory white lighthouse. Avoid going just after rainfall as many trails meander through muddy and tangled tree roots. There is a moment on this trail where you may choose left or right. Turning left leads to a sudden drop off where a waterfall used to roar over the edge. Needless to say, turn right. Hike through the thick jungle to find a wide mountaintop lake. Locals swim here in the mornings. A few other tourists may arrive by the afternoon. Small monkeys play at the water's edge. The Tao aboriginal group can only be found on Lanyu. While the Tao traditions remain pure, the neighboring Green Island, Luda, has lost its aboriginal culture to the grasps of heavy tourism. On behalf of the Tao, this travel guide must remind you that this is not a vacation destination- it is a secret of humanity that has prevailed despite the modernization of the rest of the world. Ask the locals before taking pictures of boats, homes, and other locals. It is not recommended to stray from roads and well-worn paths as private graves are often unmarked throughout the jungle. Furthermore, the island is rich with the aforementioned dry waterfalls and sudden sheer drops that would be an unfortunate find for the careless wanderer. The Tao will remind you that they are fighting to defend their sacred traditions and the health of their land whether it is from encroaching tourism or from nuclear disposal. If we respect the breathtaking landscape and this unique culture, the island will receive us with open arms. Experience life as a local on the last Tao island. In this way, the Tao and their traditions may be preserved for many generations to come.
Before college, my best friend, Elizabeth, invited me to go with her family Gatlinburg for vacation. Our first stop was the start of a wild trip. I don't remember the name of the restaurant we ate at; It was sketchy. The restaurant had a shop on the second level; The food was not the best. The house was too creepy and to top it off, as we left, there was a dead baby bird on the ground, that I almost stepped on. After that experience, my friend took us to go check in at the hotel while her parents found a local grocery store. Elizabeth realized she left her license back in Florida after asked to see an ID. Luckily, she had taken a photo of it previously, so we had less trouble with getting to our room. That night, we ordered pizza and planned out the next day of the vacation. When we finished eating, we decided to run around and play manhunt with Nerf guns. Elizabeth and I were a team while Sarah (Elizabeth's sister) and Taylor (Sarah's friend) were a team. The next day, I was sick to my stomach. I assumed it was from the pizza, but no one else was sick. Little did I know that every time I eat pizza now, I get extremely sick. I don't even know what aspect of it that made me sick. Half of the day, I was in bed, unable to move. I ended up throwing up to feel better and Elizabeth and I met up with Sarah and Taylor in Dollywood. All I had put in my stomach that day was a milkshake, but we walked all around Dollywood and went inside shops. My favorite part of the park was the area with all the cars. Sunday, we all went to Dollywood's Splash Country and stayed there most of the day. We rented out the last private resort, near the back of the park. My eye got sunscreen inside of it. It stung so much that I couldn't open my eye and we had to go to first aid to get it washed out. Sunscreen touched my eye about three more times throughout the vacation. All we really did was lay in the lazy river and went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner at Harpoon Harry's Crab Club. This marks the day I first tried crab meat. It was great, but I don't think I'll get it again because it was too messy for me. Elizabeth's dad took the four of us to Bristol, Tennessee on Monday. Sarah was getting fitted for her Jr. Dragster for a race two weeks later. When we got back to Gatlinburg, we walked downtown and went into a bath and body store. They mainly sold bath bombs, but I wouldn't really recommend going there, or at least don't buy the bath bomb with a ring inside of it. The ring was equivalent to a piece of foil with a cheap jewel that didn't fit any of our fingers. The coloring stained my fingers; I'm glad I didn't use the bath bomb. Elizabeth and I put ours in the sink because we wanted the rings and we thought it would be good quality, considering the price we paid. Taylor blew dried her hair, but she dropped the blow dryer into one of the sinks, which was filled with the bath bomb water. It started to smoke, so she unplugged it and then the plug fell into the water. Needless to say, no one used the dryer after that and we didn't drain the water until three days later. Our room was a huge mess. That night, we went to the Dixie Stampede and it was awesome. This was also the night when Elizabeth and I made friends with the security guard, but Sarah and Taylor thought we were getting in trouble. We had been trying to find a parking spot because people could not park their cars correctly and there was no room for Elizabeth's truck to fit; We ended up taking up two spaces and told the guard just in case he would give us a ticket. He told us we were fine and then we started a conversation about Gatlinburg. That night, Elizabeth and I stayed out until 3:00 A.M. and played life-size checkers. We all went back to the waterpark on Tuesday and rented a private resort next to the lazy river. The highlight of the day was seeing a man in a coconut bra. Back at the hotel, Sarah and I went to the heated indoor pool with some floats we bought prior. Two guys, Sarah met the previous night, were there as well. At night, we sat by the bonfire, played Cards Against Humanity, and ping pong. The security guard was doing his nightly rounds and got angry at everyone for playing ping pong so late, but when he saw Elizabeth and I, he came over and asked us how we were doing. The looks on everyone else's faces were priceless. Wednesday was adventurous. Sarah, Taylor, and I went to the pool while Elizabeth took a nap. Our newfound friends were there and asked us if we wanted to go walk the creek behind the hotel. Of course we said yes. The creek was beautiful and I'm glad I went. We jumped off the edge, too. I'd say it was similar to a waterfall. I lost my flip-flops in the mud; I should not have worn them. Sarah scraped her leg and I thought I brushed against poison ivy, but my leg was just red. Going down the creek was one of my best experiences thus far. Sadly, the fun had to eventually come to an end.
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