Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Snapshots: the good things as of late

I know my last post about things going on here sounded a bit whiny, but there are a LOT of great things going on with my work.

So here are some snapshots of the good things.

Baby Selfies

Sunglass Modeling

This nugget who grew up too quick. 

Bouncy House Slides

Giggling with my main little man

The view from the blanket fort 

Intense coloring projects

Feeding Ducks

Princess Weddings

Wishing we could be outside on the cold days

And getting outside on the days that aren't 

Balloons in the backyard

This baby's strong selfie game

Her smile (and whatever got her hiding under a coffee table)

Climbing at the adventure science center

Iceskating all afternoon

Play doh pizza

glow stick dancing

Digging in the yard

Baby giggles

and big girl giggles

and when all else fails, Back seat dance parties to pass the time in traffic

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Trekking in Annapurna: south of Mustang

Last time I talked about trekking in Nepal, I was in Mustang living in a Village, but then our group made our way down and we headed towards Tatopani.

Tukchee --- Tatopaani 

We took a bus for 2 hours from Tukchhe to another town, and then did a good 5 hours of trekking from there down to tatopaani. It was a nice trek on pretty trails, and we all had a good time. We stopped in the middle of no where for lunch, then continued on through. We didn't make it to tatopani until almost 5pm, so none of us went and explored the water. Instead we took advantage of having rooms to ourselves, and grocery stores with CHOCOLATE, and otherwise rested. Tatopani was nice, and a larger town with lots of shops but slightly too touristy. I just wasn't used to it after so much time in the small villages on Mustang.

Tatopaani--- Sikka

We broke up the trip from tatopaani to Ghorepaani into two days because it was a.lot. of uphill. Honestly I did not realize it would be as hard as it was. The first day was tatopani to sikka, and disliking eating while I trek so much I decided to just push through. After leaving about 8:30 in the morning I trekked through until around 2:00 in the afternoon. Then we sat down for Daal Bhatt and we SO ready to stuff our faces. we got served massive portions and all downed the after our long trek almost exclusively up hill. It was a tough uphill climb and I was extremely happy to be at the top finally. Well half way... Sikka was tiny. After eating lunch there was nothing to do. Not many shops or people so it was just a quiet day of hanging out and catching up on Nepali homework.

Sikka ---- Ghorepaani
This was another day of a LOT of uphill, and a lot of stairs and a lot of incredible scenery. It took just as long as the day before, if not longer to get to the top. Once we made it (5 hours ish straight through) it was so SO SO crowded with tourists. Since this is where you stay to go up to poonhill it was just completely overrun with tourists which I disliked. There were however a lot of shops, with tons of books, souvenirs and good trail snacks. Otherwise, too many tourists and not enough quiet and scenery.

Ghorepaani--- Hilne
After our early morning rise for poonhill I was also dreading this hike a bit since I knew I would be tired. It is all down hill, so all those stairs again going down. Downhill is hard in it's own way. But again pretty scenery, and lots of places to stop and eat, have a drink, and enjoy the journey down. You also pass a nice creek, a few waterfalls, and some other things while you walk. It is becoming warmer and you are reaching the climate most similar to Pokhara and Kathmandu. It took me about 4-5 hours. Hilne was small, but there was still a lot going on there.

Hilne--- Pokhara 
This was barely a trek. This was walking down a dirt road for 3 hours then riding a bus for 2 hours to get back to Pokhara, but was still a nice day none the less. I passed a lot of people going upwards towards the poonhill sunrise hike which is very popular with tourists just passing through who only have 5 days to dedicate to the himilayas.

Overall advice:
SPEND TIME ON THE HIMILAYAAS. Don't just do a 5 day trek to see the view and call it quits. The culture in Mustang and the upper parts of the Himalayas cannot be overlooked. It is incredible up there, clear and clean and the mountains are right next to you. If you are going to Nepal, do the whole circuit. Get up to Muktinath temple, explore the higher elevation, and slow down and meet the people and the culture as close to Tibet as you can get. It's a whole different world up there.

Stay Free,
xx Lexie

Friday, February 6, 2015

(Travel) Flashback Friday: Intro

This series will cover travel I did 2+ years ago that I haven't had the chance to write about yet. While I am still recapping my most recent travels in Nepal, there are things that I haven't shared yet that I want to get out there! I also don't want to foget all of these kick ass incredible experiences I got to have.

Here are some topics that will be coming up on the Flashback Friday posts:
1. Trip to Hawaii - Maui and the Big Island
2. Bareboating in the Bahamas
3. Gautemala
4. Cinque Terre Italy
5. Itinerary of my first Euro-trip
6. Edinburgh, Scotland
7. Sound of Music Tour Austria
8. Hiking in Kitzbuhel, Austria
9. Couchsurfing through Europe
10. Dublin, Ireland
11. Nice, France
and More!

I did preemptively post some old flashback friday travel posts so check those out.

This is one about WOOFing in the south of france, and I wrote another about my very first travel experience! 

Here is to digging into more of my travel history...and hopefully sooner rather than later!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Money on Monday: Sacrificing now for later

This post should have gone up yesterday. But alas- life.

I am really having a tough go of it lately. Not like a pity me, my life is hard, feel bad for me kind of way. Just a tough go in which I question a lot of the decisions I am making, because who doesn't do that for from time to time in their early 20s?

My travel philosophy, and life philosophy has grown from the idea that society trying to convince me I need a steady job, a stable life, and to work now for fun later is complete B.S. Therefore I believe in doing what you want when you want, and that should have nothing to do with what is expected of you. Just cast off and take the chances you dream of. Live for the moment. Enjoy things. Why dwindle away at work forever just to save up for something later. It doesn't have to be later. It CAN be now. (read more about my philosophy here)

So I was reading an article the other day about happy people. And this was in it:

" The real trick is that these individuals know better than to wait to live the lives they want to live. You live life whether you accept or ignore the fact, how you live it in the moment determines how happy you are."

And I figured out that, at the moment, I'm not particularly happy.  And that fact made me even more unhappy.

I live for adventure, I live for travel, and I never wanted to find myself wasting away trying to make money to eventually live the life I want. So how did I find myself in that situation?

First of all, it is partially because I cannot be traveling at the moment. But I do love my uni and my friends here, so I have gone through this before and been happy while doing it, enjoying the occasional spontaneity of hanging out with friends, going out, and adventuring in my town.

This time it is just so.much.harder.
Here I am, working 46 hours a week (yes I worked 46 hours last week ON TOP OF BEING A FULL-TIME STUDENT?!?!?). Work is all I do. It's all I have time for. And it's all I think about. And every day I go onto my spreadsheet of savings, and tell my it's for travel, it's for travel, everyday gets you closer.

Today- I was supposed to be nannying for my typical 11 hour Tuesday shift. And last night the mom called saying she was sick, not going to work, and would be staying home with the kids. I had a whole day free. A whole day free? I haven't had that in over 3 weeks. Hell I worked 46 hours last week I should be thrilled about the free time. But after I hung up the phone I burst into tears. Here I had an entire day to myself, to catch up on sleep, to watch TV, to do school work, to see my friends, to go out and do something fun and new. And I just cried. I cried and cried. I was losing $130. And I had no desire to do any of those things I used to enjoy on my day of freedom. I just wanted to be working because that was my purpose right now. Since when did this become my life?

 I feel like a complete sell-out to everything I have said I would never do. Live a life I don't want now for a life I DO want later. That's not the recipe to happiness.

So why am I doing it? Well I am also aware of using your opportunities correctly. And here I am with a lighter course load, jobs that I really do mostly enjoy (even though they are exhausting!) that pay really well, and no living expenses. I felt like I'd be an idiot NOT to use this time to save up for my future travel.

I don't really know what the point of this rant is. And I didn't write this to detail some plan to get me to feel better now, to cut back now, to be happier now, because honestly I don't know what would make that happen. But I wrote it because it's how I feel.

I guess the test will be to see if in 3 months when I leave for a few years of continuous travel and discover how long my money lasts and how much it gives me in life experiences I will be able to determine whether this was worth it. Whether these 4 months were worth it. But I do know, that even if I decide it was worth it this time, I never want to find myself sacrificing the now for the later ever, ever, again.