Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Peace, now.


Journal Entry: Whakapapa, New Zealand while sitting in the Chateau, the day after we finished our final climb. (A perfect reflection of how I feel about my time in New Zealand, and life in general following the experience...) 

April 8, 2013 -

Don’t close your eyes.

Not for an instant.

If you do, Dayna won’t be to your right. Karl won’t be to your left. Catie Pai, Phred, Chris, Aneika, Karen, Eddie, Dan, Jane, and George will all be distant, fond memories.

The fire that burns in front of you will die.

The music he plays – unknowingly inspiring – will fade…

Stay here. Right here.

Be here.

Listen. Look. Feel.

The volcanoes behind you; the earth that simmers below, the steam that rises from the ground in proof…

This is life.

Eight weeks with five strangers who would be your greatest friends. New Advocates. Family.

They know more about you than anyone else, and they know nothing about you.

I have answers.

I realize now what has happened. Within it all, the cancer, the love lost, the mountains climbed, the trails behind me and the trails before me… a million things flying through my head and around me – amongst it all – and with it all – I feel peace.

Hallelujah… Peace.

Of course, so many things need to change. I need to lose weight. I need a job. I need a home. I need to spend more time with my family. I need to be a better friend. I need to run more. I need to visit my mountain…


Thank you – New Zealand.

The gift of your grace and the lessons learned are immeasurable. So much more than you would have been, and so much more than I could have expected without the past to prepare me and the future to anticipate - you would have been merely another stop on a world tour.

It wouldn’t be. It’s couldn’t be.

Thank you, Dayna for teaching me what it means to be silly and fun and confident and professional at the same time.

Thank you, Karl for being an instant little brother. Thank you for chasing us up and down mountains with your camera; for your patience, ease, and humor. Thank you for loving this journey as much as we did, even though we know it was work for you.

Thank you, Toshi for teaching me what it means to really love people, nature and most importantly – life.

Thank you, Rich for making me think; for challenging me. For running with me and singing with me and making me laugh on the trails. Thank you for being my partner on the most memorable day of this journey.

Thank you Joel for not knowing when to stop. Thank you for talking our ears off and thank you for being unaware of how much you affect us all with your innocence and your light. Thank you most of all for inspiring me with your music, for bringing me to tears each time you play. Thank you for loving me despite my cynicism.

Thank you all for making me laugh till I cried. Thank you for laughing at me, and for making me laugh at myself. Thank you for showing me the beauty of this place through your eyes. Thank you for seeing the beauty of this place through my eyes.

I laugh now when I say the words, “my cup runneth over,” cause it’s literal, and so true. It feels like too much love, too much beauty, laughter, and life… I worry constantly that a full cup equates to death. As though feeling so happy and so full and so peaceful means that I’ve fulfilled my purpose here and that the cancer will return and take me at last. Part of the journey, I guess.

It scares me and gives me more peace at the same time. I know that the feeling in my core – the peaceful fire that burns – is what people strive for. If it kills me, fine. But it won’t. If it goes away, fine. I’ll search again, I’m just so happy to know what I’m searching for.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Up Next...


I'll be speaking/emceeing at the Women's Adventure and Leadership Conference in Denver this summer - showcasing my findings from project "Operation: Inspiration" (I sure do hope I come up with some results!) So excited about this!!! 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013



Last week was huge for me... We finished our 9th walk, I had my one year Cancerversary, and celebrated my 35th birthday. To commemorate all of this goodness, I made myself a "year in review" video... It's narcissistic, but was also really cathartic to make.

So, if you've got ten minutes and you're really bored, or if you're having trouble sleeping, check it out!

More to come on Tongariro, finishing the walks, and what it feels like to be home...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tongariro Bound!



We did Lake Waikaremoana last week, drove (in the worlds windiest, ickiest drive EVER – I didn’t barf, but it was sooooo close!) to Rotorua, spent a couple of days in Rotorua, and then drove from Rotorua (stopping in Taupo for lunch) to Whakapapa Village – in the Tongariro National Park. Every time I’m introduced to a new DOC guide or media person they ask me, “How are you holding up? You look tired!” – which isn’t a compliment, but I don’t have a ton of pride left as far as looks go. And the reality is, I am tired!  

I left home two months ago today. I think the fact that I’m just now longing to be alone, or with my friends and family at home (not that I haven’t missed you guys!!!) says a lot about the great dynamics of our group. I love them so much, but none of us have spent this much time with anyone – let alone perfect strangers. Of course, now they’ll be dear friends for life… (No, there haven't been any blow-ups or arguments - nada.) 

I don't really have an excuse for not writing a proper post about Waikaremoana. I loved her! I've spent the last four days letting myself just be with myself. Feels good, actually! And then I realize I'm kinda proud of myself for wanting to be with myself and going with the flow and decide I don't need an excuse for not writing a proper blog post on Waikaremoana. (Welcome to the Ferris Wheel inside my head...) 

We start Tongariro in a few hours - our last track. I've started to recognize that the little habits I've gotten into as we've prepared for the next track will be missed. This is the last time I'll pack my pack, worry about whether I have enough, or too much, or wonder how my legs will hold up. I went for a trail run on the Northern Circuit trail yesterday - just to check out the scenery and burn off some energy. I ran with music and sang and danced and cried because I felt so alive. 

Of course, gratitude abounds. Happiness prevails. 

Surely, in the next few days I'll have some kind of comprehensive list of things I've learned and things I've loved from this 9 week journey. For now, I'm off to climb my first active volcano!!! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Monday, April 1, 2013