Where I’ve Been Lately

So it’s been a few months since I’ve posted last. It’s been an incredible adventure involving climbing actual mountains as well as mental ones.

dsc_6096-hdr-edit
In Iceland summiting my first mountain! I’ve done tons of hikes with scrambles, but this one involved some super intense and technical scrambling to get to the rocky and windy top. – http://www.PhotoKirk.net

 

In June it was Germany for my boyfriend’s family celebrations and then Italy where we had delicious Brunello di Montalcino wine, made with the lush Sangiovese grape, paired with freshly shaved truffles on everything. Simply divine!

 

europe-36
Freshly shaven truffles made their appearance at every meal.

After being back for a few weeks I found myself in Portland, Oregon. The waterfalls and mossy green surroundings are just beautiful! While I was there, I had a lot of time to think. Things were great, but something was off. I was juggling too many things at once and something had to give. Well, actually it turned out to be a few things.

 

You see, I believe in being fully present. I believe in giving 100% to whatever your current focus is. I also believe in course-corrections. Sometimes it’s harder to explain the change of direction to others than it is to actually make the change itself. And yet, being true to oneself is so very important. After all, it’s your life. Only you can decide what’s best for you.

 

So  I took Oprah’s advice and got “very still.” I asked myself what was it that I’d do if I wasn’t afraid? What opportunity had I thought of that always got shot down out of fear of failure? And then, just as I’ve encouraged you to do, I started. I took one baby step, then another, and then a giant leap! I can tell you I don’t regret it!

 

Shortly afterwards, I hopped on a plane to Iceland with my boyfriend, Kevin. We rented an RV and drove around the entire Island in 17 days. It was incredible! Iceland is a rugged and wild country, with friendly people, majestic waterfalls at every turn, and beautiful horses just waiting for you to stop and pet (read: feed) them. I’m in love! As soon as I got back I started planning our next Iceland adventure!

 

If you like hiking and nature, you absolutely have to go. You won’t be alone, though!  It’s hugely popular with Americans and Germans, but the further from the Golden Circle you get, the more remote and wild it is. If you’re a photographer, what the heck are you doing NOT going? It’s a photographer’s paradise!

 

iceland-3
About 1/3 into our 16k (~10 mile) hike in Thorsmurk. The best hike we’ve ever done. Super challenging as well.

 

I made sure to plan all our evening stops at the most beautiful place I could find for star/ Aurora Borealis photos. We went in September and every clear night we saw the northern lights! (Of course, it was only 5 out of 17 days…)

 

iceland-7
The Kirkjufell mountain. A truly iconic mountain in Iceland. We had to take a gravel road here that should have taken us about an hour but ended up taking is 3 hours because it was in such poor condition. We missed sunset here but we got the Aurora!

 

I will warn you, though, that they have changed their laws about camping recently. You can no longer just camp anywhere. However, we found there are a lot of campsites and frankly, if you’re in the middle of nowhere, no one cares, anyway. The closer to the Golden Circle you are, the more knocks you’ll get on the door at 10pm telling you to leave. Of course, midnight is when the stars are out so if you just explain you’re taking star photos and they see all your gear, they should leave you alone.

 

Let me know if you have any questions about driving around Iceland. I learned a lot on this trip and I’d be happy to help you avoid some of the struggles we had. And now, more pictures from Iceland courtesy of my incredibly talented boyfriend, Kevin. (You can find his page and and even order prints at http://www.PhotoKirk.net  All these pictures belong to him.)

 

dsc_2429-edit
Our tour guide put this hat and puffin on my head. What’s a girl to do but go with it and smile! Puffins are so cute!
dsc_2465-edit
I even got to hold a baby puffin! They’re so FLUFFY!
iceland-1-1
Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik. It’s right on the water and the lights change color over time. The blue is my favorite.
iceland-1
Iceland is known for it’s hotdogs. Their meat is totally free-range and so good. It’s a blend of lamb, beef, and pork. I love the crunchy onion topping
iceland-2
Puffins in the wild in the Westman Islands. (Yes, Iceland the island has other smaller islands) They are so clumsy and cute!
iceland-4
One of the thousands of waterfalls we saw. Seriously, THOUSANDS! This was one of the most impressive, though. It’s called Seljalandsfoss. I was still in the RV sleeping when he took this pic. LOL
iceland-5
This was off of a horrible gravel road that (non 4×4) rental vehicles are not allowed to go on. We had to park at a farmer’s house and ask for permission first and then walk 2 miles (both ways) to this. It was worth it though. The water is so impossibly blue and we had it all to ourselves! (A rarity now that Iceland is so popular)
iceland-6
I was driving the RV in the middle of nowhere and Kevin made me pull over when we saw this. Just beautiful!
iceland-8
This waterfall isn’t very tall but it’s super long. This is just a small impressive subsection of it. The water is super blue here too. It’s called the Hraunfossar.
iceland-9
Part of the Hraunfossar zoomed in. Fall was just beginning so we saw some beautiful colors towards the end of our trip.
iceland-10
This was our last evening and our last waterfall in Iceland. It was rainy and cloudy all day but it cleared up just enough for a nice, dramatic sunset picture. I can’t get over how blue the water was here. It looks fake but I assure you it truly looks that blue. It’s called Bruarfoss.
iceland-11
And because I love it, here’s the Bruarfoss again at a different angle. Truly majestic!

What Makes You Happy?

 

Recognizing What Makes You Happy

You know it’s easy to say “do more of what makes you happy” and that’s not necessarily bad advice. The world would probably be a more peaceful place if we did that. But this means different things to different people.  For some, it means $83,000 a year in income, for others, it’s a sleeping kitten, or an amazing trip to an exotic location. Maybe for you, it’s all the above and then some. Most of us have long lists of things that make us happy.

Sleeping Kitten
Happiness 

But what if you don’t really know what makes you truly happy? What if you have a long list of things that bring you momentary joy, but you still feel like something is off or missing?  

Well, I can’t tell you what will make you happy, but I can tell you the best way I’ve found to determine that for myself is to be a great caretaker of myself, set healthy boundaries, and to identify and live in line with my values. Maybe that sounds complicated or too “new agey” but it’s really not. 

The key is to really start to listen to your inner voice. Understand that that having needs and desires is healthy, it’s how we respond to them (or don’t) that can be unhealthy. Take the time to get to know yourself and how certain things, situations, people make you feel. What gives you a feeling of lightness rather than a heavy feeling? What kinds of stories restore your faith in humanity? What makes you feel nurtured and cared for?

When you start to answer these questions, you’re on the path to discovering and living in-line with your values. See if that doesn’t make your attitude a little bit brighter. 

Thanks for reading! What are your top 3 items on your list of what makes you happy? Leave me a comment bellow!

 

 

 

How Long Have You Been Thinking and Not DOING?

dandelion in field

If you’re anything like me, you like to think about and plan things. A lot. Maybe too much, even. We could overthink until we’re in our graves if we’re not careful. It’s the curse of dreamers who long to be doers.

So let me ask you, how long have you been thinking about that thing and not doing it? You know what “that thing” is. It’s the thing you find yourself daydreaming about sometimes. The thing you maybe dismissed when you were still a child. Maybe it’s something you’ve only recently discovered but just can’t summon up the courage to start, or if you have started, you’ve reached a stopping point where something is holding you back.

Well, it’s just you and me here, and I won’t tell anyone. But I am going to challenge you like I challenged you in my first post. MOVE! It doesn’t have to be a big, grand courageous roar. It can be a whisper. But please, it’s for your own good. Just do one more thing that moves you closer to your goal.

Take all the self-criticism and doubt and shove it to the side for a moment -it’s not helping you- and then take one solid step forward. And tomorrow, take another. If you keep taking small steps, I promise you that you’ll get somewhere. It may not be where we intended to go, but that’s OK. This is about believing in yourself enough to try things and fail and learn, and then try again, and again, until you look back one day and say to yourself, “Wow! Look at how far I’ve come.”

So take a deep breath, close your eyes, make a wish, and with all the hope and passion you can muster in this moment, blow the dandelion seeds out into the world. You can do this.

Step One of the Journey

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

walker-1208261_640 - Small

Hello and welcome! This is the first post out of what I hope to be many, many more. I’ve had numerous transitions in my life so far, and this is one of them. A month ago, I quit my full-time job to pursue my two passions: coaching and coding. Now those my seem like very different things, but I’ve always been two things at once. I’ll tell you more about that later.

Right now, I just want give you a big, hearty welcome and tell you that this is a safe place with no judgment here. I’m not going to tell you what you should do or who you should be. I want to help you decide that on your own.

What changes have you been aching to make in your life? Maybe you aren’t even sure what they are yet, but you know something needs to happen. Maybe what you need is clarity. I’d like to help you find that. The first steps in finding clarity are to research, experiment, and repeat. So that’s my challenge to you today. Either research something or act on it.

I’m challenging you to take one small step today in the direction of a goal. Even a minuscule step will do, and it can be a tiny goal. It doesn’t have to be perfect and you can change your mind or goal later. Just take one little step forward on something you’ve been thinking about doing that will move you closer to a goal. Buy a book, look up the requirements, put on your tennis shoes, send a text, start a savings account with $5 a month, pick up the pen. Just do it!

So what’s it gonna be? Mine was to write this blog post. What’s yours? Tell me about it in the comments!

Yours Truly,

Heather