Fancy-Free... well that is just a way of life, being, a frame of mind. It is the idea that we are each responsible for fulfilling our dreams and desires. The knowledge that we can each do whatever we want, and recognizing the courage it takes to go after it- whatever It may be-

About Me

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A writer, a yoga enthusiast, a trail runner and real food junkie. I am constantly exploring new experiences, new challenges and new concepts.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Beauty of Contrast

I hear it all the time, as I'm sure most people do.... It always starts the same "I don't need much.... " followed by any number of open, vague endings like "I just want to be happy."  Or "I just want to be treated well."  Or "I just want enough money to get by".  But why do we always feel the need to settle for "just" anything.  Let's face it, most of us have a long life ahead of us, so why did we let go of the child-like belief that we could do anything?  When did we start negotiating with ourselves? When did we start accepting whatever we could get? It's like we were given a huge check as a child and every year as we struggle with what it is we really want out of life, are the options so over-whelming, that we willingly - perhaps begrudgingly - erase a zero?

This I believe goes hand and hand with the fact that we can no longer figure out what it is we want in life.  We seemingly have every opportunity in the world open to us and, not to sound spoiled, that is a daunting reality.  And true, we all know those people, the ones that picked a direction, made a decision and followed a passion from an extremely young age.  I have caught myself saying over and over again that I was jealous of those that knew what they wanted. All I could and sometimes... can...  still think about is how much easier it would be, to be one of those people. It is just a matter of making a decision, a choice that at some point sets you down a specific path. A choice and a commitment, through thick or thin of seeing it through.  Yeah, following that path may seem easier, most likely only when you are struggling with the other side, the side of limitless options. The grass is always greener.

Given an open book, what story do we each want to write? How do we start to figure it out, is narrowing down the possibilities really that poor of a choice? What is so wrong about taking the other road? The one where you let experience be your guide, you learn what you don't want through trial and yes, error. Error, the part that takes the most mental energy is not deciding what to do next, although the narrowing down process can take quite awhile. No the hardest part is learning to appreciate the mistakes. To take the opportunity to learn more about yourself. To begin to understand the beauty of contrast.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Building a base..

Building a base.... It may just be my positive spin, my jubilant outlook, on the fact that I have not felt like running, or running far that is, what I so loved last year, disappearing for hours "out". So rather, I am running fast, and frequently.  For a week at my last house-sitting home, I ran 3.6 miles 3 out of 4 days.  I was faster than I thought, finishing around 29 minutes each time, and yes that felt good. Day after day, just getting out. But that is the thing, just getting out didn't always feel like such a decision. And I know just around the corner, is another home, another place, another trail or person that will inspire and uplift, and I will be floating out the door. But until then, in my new home, my current house-sit, I will run a few miles on the roads, BLM or paved, to overlooks or stop signs. I even took my bike out today, a short ride of 7-10 miles, but the sunshine was just torturing me and beat the urge I have had to stay indoors, to finish off whatever this funk is that I am in. Besides, it is building a base from which to grow, and on cool barely spring days, Tom Robbins' is great company.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Go with the Flow

Meanwhile, back in Moab...

Before I knew it, it was after 1. I figured my plans might be changing, how many miles was I expecting to get in before I was done driving for the day, keep in mind I'm not the biggest fan of driving at night. Phoenix was looking farther and farther away (I was on my way to help out at the Pemperton 50K - So I decided Flagstaff was far enough, and I always wanted to check it out anyway. I took a scenic route Hwy 163 through southern Utah.. Wow. The canyonlands.

So I arrived in Flagstaff and bunked at another hostel, the Grand Canyon Hostel ( ). It was more than the $9.80 I paid the night before at the Lazy Lizard, but for an additional $8 it does include coffee and oatmeal and fruit in the morning. It was clean and nice, plus the freezing temperatures at night were keeping me indoors. That night, as I sat on my computer, mapquesting thrift stores, health food stores (New Frontiers Natural Market), a bike shop and my route further south, a man walks by. He stops in the doorway to the dining area where there was a few of us computing away and said "can you imagine there used to be a time before computers'?" and walks away. Honestly, the statement bothered me, but only because I got his point. Even I can remember staying at hostels, traveling around, openly - no plan in sight, no computer attached to my fingertips. Rather than living remotely, through my computer. I got it. I did. It didn't change anything. I finished my online stint and went to chat with my roommate, before heading to bed.
The view

The next morning was delightful. I even indulged in a cup of coffee, something I hadn't drank in awhile. Sitting around the table, chatting as others' came and went. I ended up having a great time, and sat there for hours. The man that had walked by the night before was an explorer himself. A German, he had spent many years wandering around the Canyonlands. We bonded over the difficulty of finding other's on a similar journey... and even us, noted that we had an agenda, I was on my way to volunteer at a trail race, he was headed back up to the Utah border, towards his home away from home at the doorway to Glan Canyon National Recreation Area. Everyone had a plan. But as stories were traded, and options were thrown out, rides offered and new friends made.. a few people changed their "plans" for the day. Including me, I was still heading south, still intending to spend the night in the park where the race was going to be held, but I was convinced to take the slower route. True, I am not a hard sell when it comes to traveling slower, especially when that winds me down, down, down from Flagstaff and to Sedona.. oh sweet Sedona. 
Bell Rock

Then I heard tale of the Bell Rock Trail (which is part Bell Rock trail and part Courthouse Butte loop), just south of Sedona, in the Coconino National Forest. A beautiful, 5 mile loop around this huge red rock. And it was pure niceness, wearing my five fingers and floating through the desert, I was hot in long tights and a talk top and loving the sun! Once finished, smile on my face, Yonder Mountain String Band playing on my radio as I stretched and danced in the parking lot, I realized 5 miles just wasn't long enough, I was feeding off the sun and had energy to spare. Luckily I was heading towards more trails and inspiring runners'.  And even though I still headed south, still spent the night near McDowell Mtn. Regional Park, I was glad I had listened, that I had took the advice of those that knew and spent the afternoon being sun-kissed at Bell Rock. Yeah, I am glad I was able to be flexible and to just go with the flow. And that isn't that hard, once you find it.
The trail

Breakfast Nook

After spending a night in Stella, tucked up right off Hwy 1 in the southern most boundary of Los Padres National Forest along the Big Sur coastline, I continued north.

Now, let me just take a minute to talk of my makeshift bedroom. Parked facing a beautiful redwood, I recognize quickly that it is the same place I slept in another car, on another trip over a year ago. This bedroom comes equipped with a nice, quieting distance from the road, trailheads as a hallway and as the extended wing about about 100 yards away.
The view

Anyway, as I roll out of bed, early, cold. I decide to post-pone my run for later in the day when I can not only stretch my legs but can also bask in the California sunshine. I drive north for about an hour, and find a nice pull-out along the ocean to stop and make breakfast. I heat up some water, make my tea and oatmeal and sit on the edge, staring out at my first love. After some time, already cleaning up my dishes and just doing what I do, not rush, I hear this noise from way out in the water, I look out trying to locate its source. Soon another one comes and I see the water spouting from a large body rolling under the water. And another, and another. The water keeps shooting up and I am trying to track the whales movement in the water, trying to get a better, clearer look. My first encounter, and I welcome the company!

This goes on for another hour or so, I just can't tear myself away from my breakfast company. In my beautiful home, dining, relaxing in my breakfast nook.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A New Frontier: the continual exploration of Lithia Park

There is something about the idea of coming home.  Something comforting, reassuring and the concept instills a sense of confidence in me. Now, home is a relative word when staying somewhere for more than a few weeks is rare. However, I do find myself continually inspired by Ashland.  I have spent the longest period of time since leaving my last home in Whitefish, MT. in and near Ashland. In my mind, after being away for awhile, I convince myself that I had glamorized it, placed this dear town on a pedestal and am just waiting for it to fall.  And today again, I am reminded why it is so great. Not only is there a magnificent food co-op, that I stop in at at least once day when I am here, nor is it just because I know right out of town, there are great places to sleep (for those of you who enjoy the nomadic lifestyle and live, like me, out of your car most of the time), and even a hostel in town ( It also carries the energy of an amazing running community, everywhere you look you can see the active lifestyle, and the running store Rogue Valley Runners is an easy quick stop for motivation just walking in (today I biked there, soaked up the easy running flow, and headed to Lithia), but there is also the fact that within minutes of downtown you can disappear into Lithia Park.

After being on the road since I left here in December, moving along, staying for a few days in most places and a couple weeks in others', I find myself back up in southern Oregon for a month of housesitting. In between gigs, I have made a point to come in from the beautiful isolation of rural Oregon, to the bustling metropolis of Ashland. Even with a population under 30k, it seems busy to someone who spends most of her time alone, traveling in my car Stella. And the idea of coming back to a place where I know a few people and I know how to get around is appealing, comforting even. But, the idea of coming back to a place where I know the trails.... well that is just pure excitement.

So, yesterday, my first full day here in Ashland, I bust out my shiny Lithia Park trail map and decide to really try to connect some of the dots. I know sections, I know specific trails and how they meet up with FS RD 2060, which is the road the bulk of the Lithia Loop Trail Marathon  ( is ran on. My first marathon, so I will always be sentimental about it. Yesterday, I decide to find a trailhead located on the map and see how you can jump on the trails White Rabbit and all the connections you can make from there to other trails. These other trails have such great names like Cheshire Cat, Queen of Hearts, Caterpillar, ToothPick, etc.. The names are not deceiving, you possibly have jumped through a looking glass, and after mile after mile of uphill, when you finally get loose, and you feel light, and the core muscles start carrying you gracefully over the rolling hills, and let you open up and fly on the descents... you know you are somewhere else.

And the last two days have been fantastic. I connected quite a few dots, I have found new trails, long runnable trails where you forget everything and are just there, reacting to the earth as you dance over it.  I am not sure how far I have ran. It is slightly irrelevant in my world right now. Knowing the distances can be gratifying it's true, and can serve as motivation if you are lacking it. But I have finally over the last month, fell back -  head over heels in love with running, the shear joy of moving, when you get to that space beyond the heaviness, beyond all the why not's, when your body and mind blend and your primal instincts kick in and your senses heightened. I love rushing through the trees, the Manzanitas and the Madrones, hearing Lithia Creek rushing way down below, and knowing that I will be able to find my way back out.  Because, like I said, I did connect those dots, and the dots will allow me to explore further, farther the next time, confidently. Exploring... there will always be a new frontier.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The why's: and an intro to Utah's red lustre

To start off this blog... I want to touch upon some of the past couple of years on the road. My goal is to share the sweet spots, and since I have encountered quite a few on my continuous road trip, I am going to take a trip down memory lane, reliving great places and times and share a bit about them. The trails, the health food stores, the communities, that make nomadic living great. 

In no sensical order I am going to start with a current trip from Colorado to Moab. Seems right.

The day of February 10th began with a run of 4.2 miles in Arches National Park, just ouside of Moab, amazingly beautiful slickrock, snow and ice to the double O arches. Gliding over the red rock, carefully placing one foot in front of the other, ecstatic I didn't let the cold wind deter my decision to run.  I slightly slip a few times, luckily getting my footing back before the impending fall. Arches National Park is a network of relatively short trails that will explore an area like no other. Enough climbing available to provide you with some sweet views of the La Sal peaks in the distance, and the massive amounts of space, canyons, and mounds of beautiful red earth surrounding you. 

I had spent the day before traveling from the deep winter of the high rockies in Colorado to Moab. Right as I am entering town, dark by then, I instantly look to my left at an intersection and spot the health food store of Moab. I stop, and have 30 minutes to shop around for delicious snacks at Moonflower Market before searching for the hostel.  After driving around a bit in the dark, I stop to call for directions and with some assistance from the the nice hostel employees, I get there relatively quickly. Spending a night in the Lazy Lizard Hostel ( ), utilizing their kitchen, and having a great random encounter with a tarot reading stranger, rested, I packed up, headed out, ran around that beautiful park and start moving south!