Back To The Real World

It took literally getting hit by a small boulder in my left leg to check back into the “real” world mentally. You know, the one where people live indoors and are accustomed to interacting in spaces with more than two other people in them. The amount of time I had spent on my own in the outdoors allowed me to nearly escape the pandemic entirely. The hiking buff that covered my face reverted to its intended summer use as a shield between my mouth and nature’s most annoying flying insects (sorry entomologists). However, a recent hike with a friend helped knocked me back to reality.

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Why I Kidnapped My Friends

I grew up in a predominantly white, rural town. Some people identified as Latino or Hispanic, but in every single class that I was in, whether it be dance, school, gymnastics, or karate, I was always the darkest one. There would be another Black person occasionally, and it wouldn’t be until I was able to explore more around town that I finally saw the rest of the community. The ones with darker skin like mine were, quite literally, segregated on the other side of town. None of the people I hung out with even knew about it. My classmates would even freak out when we got another Black boy in class.

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The Need For Mindfulness And Therapy

“Wait, you have anxiety?” One of the hikers from the group that I was socially distancing with turned to look at me.

“Yeah,” I said, readjusting the supplies in my bag to adjust for the camel pack’s shift in weight. “I actually have terrible anxiety.”

It was true, and if I weren’t so insanely stubborn, my anxiety would be debilitating. I suffered from constant panic attacks that hit full swing at the height of California’s stay at home order. I had been getting by with hiking and camping and doing all sorts of very random things (like that one time I tried Capoeira) for so long that I hadn’t dealt with my anxiety. That was until COVID-19.

The pandemic shook things up and made me face myself. There was literally nowhere else to go but inward to take up a journey of reflection. Stripped of everything else, I got to see who I truly was as a person. My personality isn’t 80 percent anxiety and 20 percent the outdoors. I never realized how much more than that I was.

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How I Lost My Mind In The Desert

Me at Badwater Basin in Death Valley, CA

I suppose there’s a component in my DNA that has programmed me to become obsessed with the desert. It was two generations before me when my bloodline found solace among like-minded people in the same situation out in the desert. I wrote before about how my grandmother felt a little closer to God while looking out into the sunrise over a clear Arizona sky. It was after that moment over the phone that I told her that I understood and felt the same way.

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Why Every Bachelorette Party Should Be Moved To The Woods

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Alcohol, phallic imagery, strippers, and cheap dollar-store tiaras and sashes; the infamous bachelorette party was upon me as I accepted the role of maid of honor for the second time at the second wedding that I would attend within this last year. Luckily, both brides opted out of a drunken weekend in Vegas and chose to move the festivities outdoors and into nature. Continue reading “Why Every Bachelorette Party Should Be Moved To The Woods”

Promoting Equality In Green Spaces

We Have A Dream: Women Come Together To Inspire Diversity Outdoors

As Published on Evergreen Girls

IMG_5079“Oh, YOU like hiking and camping? I didn’t think that you would be into that?”

The comment came from a friend after hearing about one of my latest camping trips. It was around the time that I had joined a club for adventure seekers in college. There were no other black people in the group, and there were fewer women in the club than there were men. The club was a reflection of what I commonly saw when I laced up my boots and went hiking. Unless I was in the mountains of the diverse multi-cultural melting pot that was Los Angeles, California, I was almost always the only black female hiking in a sea of paler faces out in the woods. Continue reading “Promoting Equality In Green Spaces”

The Week I Lived Without A Phone

Photo by Petras Gagilas via Flickr
Photo by Petras Gagilas via Flickr

I noticed a change in my behavior that weekend in the woods. I had noticed the crisp air and the clear pale blue sky that sat above the tops of the tall green treetops. I had seen every lizard that hid in the dark cool cracks on fallen logs where dead trees gave way for new life to live and find shelter, and I could truly appreciate the thousands of dazzling white lights that nestled themselves against the black abyss that was our camp’s ceiling. I would look at all that surrounded me, and when I glanced at my fellow campers to discuss nature’s wonder, I saw faces glued to iPhones, eyes looking at front facing cameras, and fingers tapping impatiently as their owners waited for Wi-Fi.

I noticed that I had missed out on so many Snap stories that weekend, and realized that I didn’t really mind as much. I was in the woods, and not having a phone with me kept my focus there. I realized that the best time to have your phone stolen was right before a camping trip in the woods. Continue reading “The Week I Lived Without A Phone”

What To Bring Camping As A Vegetarian

IG | jasminedlowe
IG | jasminedlowe

Camping while vegetarian or vegan is actually extremely easy. I recently packed way too much amazing food options with me on camping trip to Big Bear, California and had enough food for use as leftovers when I got back. So grab a cooler and your camp gear and take a look at some ideas to take with you on your next camping trip.

Here are some meal ideas.

BREAKFAST

Quick breakfast meals such as instant oatmeal, bagels with veggie-friendly spread, and fresh fruit and fruit salad are always great options. Continue reading “What To Bring Camping As A Vegetarian”

Going Into the Wild

Purple SunIt was early morning. I stuffed a few changes of clothes, some camping supplies and plenty of water into a backpack and rolled up sleeping bag that is said to help a person withstand temperatures below freezing. I laced up my hiking boots, left another reminder of where I would be for the next couple of days for my mother on the counter and headed off up north with some friends to the half burning trees of Yosemite. Continue reading “Going Into the Wild”

The Top Five Staycation Ideas

Looking for interesting ways to vacation without breaking the bank? Try these five staycation ideas to keep the summer fun going.

1. Go on a geocaching adventure.

GeocachingGeocaching was first coined by Matt Stum on the “GPS Stash Hunt” back in 2000. It is an outdoor treasure hunting game that uses GPS-enabled devices. Those willing to partake get to navigate a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (a container) hidden at that location. Geocaches can be found all over the world, so there are bound to be some hidden around your own town.

Just remember, if you take something from the geocache (or “cache”), the rule is that you leave something of equal or greater value in the same spot and then write about your find in the cache logbook by going to Geocaching.com. To learn more about Geocaching, visit the website.

2. Create a makeshift water park.

Forget heading down to an actual water park and spend way too much money on tickets and overpriced food and try turning your backyard into the ultimate summer paradise……Read More