I've always done quite a bit of traveling and outdoor activities but 2018 was off the charts. Early in the year I made a commitment to myself to spend more time doing the things I love, namely outdoor adventures with my friends, and wow did I go all in! So without further ado here are some of the highlights of my 2018.
I kicked off the year with a solo adventure to Panama and this trip really set the tone for the rest of my year. Looking back on the trip I still can't believe how amazing it all worked out, its funny how the universe sometimes aligns to put you on a certain path. I was looking for a surf/beach vacation and strongly considering Ecuador when a friend of mine recommended Cambutal, Panama, a small village in the Azuero Peninsula about 5 hours away from Panama City. She had done a surf trip there recently and mentioned Sansara Surf & Yoga Retreat, I checked it out and turned out they were having a Awaken the Feminine Divine retreat during the week I was planning to travel, the accommodations looked nice, so I decided to just go for it.
Once I got there I was absolutely blown away, sometimes taking a chance on the unknown pays off. I got to surf with nobody else on the waves, I practiced yoga every day, got to bond with an amazing and inspiring group of women, and took time to sit on an empty beautiful beach and reflect on where I am and where I want to be (and the food was to die for!) Seriously, this trip was probably in my top 5 trips of my life. I had been so busy at work for almost a year, never slowing and stressed. Once I got to Cambutal I put my phone away and just disconnected, I couldn't believe how freeing it felt. I took time to meditate and really dive deep into my higher self. On this trip Soul Rooted Adventures was born (although it didn't have name yet and was just a twinkle in my eye) where I finally started to learn how to listen to my intuition and realize that I could actually take action to do whatever I want.
Skyline to Sea TrailShortly after Panama, I went on a another solo adventure in the Santa Cruz Mountains on the Skyline to Sea Trail. I had always been wanting to do this trip but just never had anybody to go with me. So when was trying to decide what to do for memorial day weekend, I decided to just go for it, I figured I could probably enlist some people to come with me in the meantime, but when the weekend finally came around nobody was interested, so I decided to just go alone.
Again, things seemed to shape up quite serendipitously, I had the trip all planned to a T, but after waking up a little late and then going through a small Uber conundrum, I had to change up my route completely and man, am I so glad I did. This trip gave me the opportunity to not only push myself physical (I hit my first 20 mile day!) but also being so close to my Panama trip I got a lot of time to reflect and meditate on the revelations I made during that trip as well. Although the trip was not what I planned it was the trip I was meant to have. If your interested in hiking this out and back solo I improvised a pretty good route, check out my trip details here.
Oregon - Crater Lake and the North Umpqua Trail
Every year my friends from Seattle, Katie, Liz and I go on a weekend hiking trip, and it is always the highlight to my year. This year we decided to meet half way between Seattle and Monterey at Crater Lake. But again, the trip did not turn out quite as planned. Originally we were just going to hike the rim of Crater Lake, unfortunately they still had snow on the ground in June so we needed to find another alternative. I looked on a map and noticed the Umpqua National Forest, after doing a little googling I found out there is a 75-mile trail network that goes through hot springs, passes by numerous waterfalls, and you can even view Native American pictographs. It was definitely a gamble as I couldn't really find any information online of the trail, except a trail map, and couldn't get a hold of any rangers for the area. Learn more about our trip here.
You always need that group of girls up your sleeve that are down for any kind of adventure and game to just go with the flow, and Katie and Liz are those girls, so we took a chance on a true adventure and we not disappointed. But honestly its pretty hard to have a bad time with this group.
Sitting around at a game night on a whim (maybe a somewhat buzzed whim) my Monterey friends and I decided to go on a weekend trip to Santa Barbara. A quick search on my AirBnB app found a reasonable place and right there I booked the trip, I love spontaneous weekend adventures! This was my first trip to Santa Barbara and I thought it was a great spot for a girls weekend. We got in some much needed beach time, which was great because I felt like I didn't see the sun all summer long in Monterey, went shopping on State Street, drank margaritas, and went out dancing at a pretty cool club. Getting out of town every so often is so crucial, the combination of sun, exploration, and some good girl time is so rejuvenating. Grateful for amazing friends who are always up for an adventure.
Paso Robles & Hearst Castle
Wine, sunsets, and castles, what else can you ask for? This was another last minute, spontaneous adventure, and actually it was so last minute on a busy three day weekend that we almost didn't get to go because all the accommodations in the area were booked. I had driven by all the wineries in Paso Robles for years and always wanted to stop but never had the time, so when my friend Melissa asked me if I wanted to go with her I couldn't pass up the opportunity, even though I had been doing a lot of traveling already this year (I was actually in Arizona visiting my Dad when she texted me). We had so much fun exploring the East side of Paso Robles, I definitely want to go back to check out the West side next time.
Instead of driving straight back we took a detour to Hearst Castle, another stop that I had always wanted to make but just never had time or funds. And this stop ended up being the icing on the cake, I was completely awe struck by how beautiful Hearst Castle is, we also had time to check out San Simeon and the elephant seals.
Wilderness First Responder in Big Sur
This was my last big trip of 2018, actually it was less of a relaxing vacation and more of an intense course, but it was set in beautiful Big Sur, and we had one class while sitting in a hot springs, so I decided to add it tot he list of 2018 adventures. One of my goals for 2019 is to grow Soul Rooted Adventures beyond just a blog and create more of a hiking community for women. But I didn't feel comfortable potentially leading women into the backcountry without the proper training. So I saved up for a couple of months, took a week off work, and made another huge investment in Soul Rooted Adventures. A friend of mine had recommended Backcountry Medicine and once I learned there class was held at Big Creek Reserve in Big Sur I was automatically sold. Big Creek is a UC Reserve, 800 acres of pristine Big Sur forest, set aside for research only. I have been dying to check out the Reserve for years, but never had a scientific permit to get on, and now I finally had my chance.
One I got there the I was a little overwhelmed by all the information that was thrown at me. I learned how to assess a medical emergency, check vital signs, wound management, treat trauma such as head, spinal and chest injuries, treat medical emergencies such as stroke, seizures, heart attacks, allergies, how to extricate a patient, I mean the list goes on. I also learned how to handle special situations that may happen in the backcountry, such as snake or spider bites, hypothermia, heat stroke, altitude sickness, drowning, lightning strikes, there are even more to list here as well. Although it was a little exhausting and a lot of information I am so glad I got this certificate, actually I am a little taken back by the fact I was hiking solo in the backcountry without this certificate. But now I am certified for the next two years as a Wilderness First Responder, and definitely intend to get my refresher with Backcountry Medicine, their teachers were so knowledgeable and did such a good job of making sure that everybody in the class understood how to treat each medical emergency before moving onto the next. Stay tuned, I plan on writing a full post on my top take-away and what I learned.
Added bonus, I got to hike every day with some amazing people. Everybody in my class was so cool, we I like to think my group and I turned into a little medical team by the end of our trip. The reserve has some amazing hot spring and a beautiful waterfall that I had never been to before. Plus there was nobody on the trails except for us!
I really got into trail running this year and wanted to add it to this post because it kind of is my everyday adventure. I have really found an everyday get-away in trail running, giving myself the time to get outside, push myself physically, and clear my mind has been such an amazing experience. I plan on developing my trail running even more in 2019 and sure you will see a lot more posts about it, maybe even a half marathon in 2019?
What I Learned On My 2018 Adventures
1. Be Spontaneous - Say yes to last minute adventures, just go for it!
2. Don't Be Afraid to Travel Solo - Traveling solo can open so many doors, not only do you get the opportunity to sit back and spend some time with yourself and think. But, it also forces you out of your comfort zone, reminding you that you are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for. Challenge yourself, put yourself out into the world, I guarantee the world will reward you with awesome experiences, beautiful views, and great friends,
3. Go With The Flow - Travel is always unknown no matter how much you plan. Don't be scared or get stressed out if things don't go as planned. It may not be the trip you expected but it was the trip you were meant to have. So sit back, see where the road takes you, and enjoy the ride.
4. Never Stop Exploring - I already have some 2019 trips on the books, Iceland, Sonoma, Moab....wanna come?