throwback travel: chile, 2008

in 2008, i had been enamored by latin america for 3 years.  we had been to costa rica twice.  we wanted to go deeper and further so we went chile.  chile is in south america; it's the long skinny country on the pacific coast.  in the north is the atacama desert, supposedly one of the best places in the world to view the night sky with no light pollution.  in the middle is santiago and valparaiso.  i thought of santiago as the mama: the nuevo york of chile, and valpo as the baby: artsy, carefree, bustling with my kind of people and balanced up on the cliffs right on the rocky pacific.  i was sure i would instantly love both cities.  i did.  then, in the south, there is patagonia. pure blue waters.  the snowy, towering andes.  glorious glaciers. penguins. beauty.  you know, patagonia.  i bought a beautiful scarf specifically for patagonia. 

i'm laying out the land like this tell you how we traveled in 2008: we bought a guidebook, took 2 weeks off work, and i bought that scarf and overpacked for multiple climates, determined that we would make the entire span from northern desert to the very very southernmost tip of the americas.  in two weeks.  


i think by the second leg of our flight i had conceded i would not see the north.  by the time we landed in 85 degree santiago, i literally was shedding clothing and leaving it in a trail at the airport.  (my scarf may have actually made it to patagonia on someone else.)

we spanned this beautiful country only from santiago/valpo south to the islands of chiloe, tragically close to- yet still so far from- patagonia. i think about it often, and it's travel journal holds some my favorite memories.

when we realized there was not enough time on our stay or money in our pockets to reach patagonia, we found villarrica volcano, this beautiful, perfectly coned peak in the lakes region.  though active, you could hike under guided tour to the crater.  we used most of our funds to sign up for this day hike.  it wasn't terribly technical, but it was long and steep and our group got a late start for i don't remember what reason, so we were told we had to haul ass or we would not make it as if the wind changed direction across the crater as it does in the afternoons, we would have to retreat back down to stay below the sulfuric gas.

i made it somewhere between halfway and three-quarters of the way, then on one of our quick rest breaks, the guide started talking about how the last leg is actually a little technical and tricky, that falling rock was the reason we were wearing these crazy space helmets the whole time, and that the pace had to pick up yet again if there was any hope of making it up.

i called it quits.  sean said no way, at least one of us was making it to the top, so i could go back down with the group quitting, he was going to go on and i could see the crater through his photos.  i didn't have much in the way of drive or willpower back then (hey- wink wink, yoga will help you with that...this was two years before i had ever been in a studio!) so i had no problem not going with him.  

until he continued on, and i was left alone with a group of strangers. the only girl in a group of twenty-something israeli boys who wanted mostly to just talk about how the girls from columbia had better boobs than any of the chilean girls they had seen so far.  i was so completely miserable, i hated strangers, i didn't want to hear boob talk.

i sat mute through the rest of the break, then we started back down.  as much as i love hiking, my knees hate a descent, so i was much slower than the rest of the group.  one guy, i refer to him fondly as pothead jonathan in my mind and journals, lagged back to keep me company so i wouldn't have to walk down alone.  he fought through my resistance as i argued that i was fine, that i actually wanted solo time.  i don't even remember what we talked about, but we took our time and he basically forced me into having the kind of solo 'well, here i go, hope i find someone cool to talk to' adventure trip everyone should have in their lives, even if mine was only for an afternoon.  because of pothead jonathan, i have zero regrets that i didn't finish the hike that day.  sean and the hikers who made the last leg obviously had a more physically challenging day, but for me personally that day, i needed to trust a stranger and make a connection more than i needed to peer into the crater of a volcano.

i'm sharing this story today for a few reasons: first, because i get SO MUCH out of travel.  when i need inspiration, i know i can find it if i leave town.  i built version 1.0 of the b&b website in costa rica last august (and, also on that trip, peered into the crater of a volcano with a stranger!), and since the start of b&b, i've known i wanted to flashback blog to this story, as i think of it often when i make or witness connections being made through the community that b&b has created.  

second, villarrica had a large eruption today.  for a split second or, like, twenty, i did have a regret that i did not get to see it with my own eyes before it's landscape likely changed drastically after this morning.  but i still spent time on it.  i still had my own experience on it.  i still feel connected to it today.  and i still feel lucky that i got to hike up it's rocky trails, slide down it's snowy chutes, and that my 'going off on my own' moment way back then was likely just a tiny little building block to something i didn't even know i would work to build seven years later.

so.  go talk to a stranger next chance you get.  fight the resistance to fight change, or at the very least, put yourself in scenarios to find someone to fight it for you.  and, if you can at all swing it, put your feet on a volcano.  put your feet on as many damn volcanoes as you can.  



be it.

i didn't set any new year's resolutions this year.  

i was too busy thinking 'oh, holy WHOA,' at what was accomplished in just 1/3 of the year last year.  i wanted to just stay on that track, on that momentum.

i rang in the new year at home, with sean and some of our best local friends.  there was a brief pre-midnight run down the block to our small-town downtown strip of bars, where we thought we could ring in the new year a little more socially.  but mostly, we just felt really old because we didn't know all the lyrics to the katy perry songs and the same baller $14 bottle of champagne we had chilled at home was on the menu at this joint for $34.

so we walked back home.  mixed more really really good beer with more so-so champagne.  listened to led zepplin.  grateful dead.  a cuban playlist from spotify.  stayed up late, slept in long.  brunch was pizza, second sleep was glorious.

then there was some action.  i set up a whole plan for 2015.  i mean, it's only the fourth day of the year but a few big key pieces have already fallen into place, and i'm feeling super feels.  

there will be a lot of work, a lot of play, and a lot of growth this year.  there will also be a lot of just being.  letting go of a need to explain, defend, define.  what is more 'authentic' and 'pioneer' than just BEING those things?  if you are, you are.  you don't have to use words for it.  you just do it.

this might mean this blog, which i intended to be really regular and really wordy, might become even less frequent than it already is.  because i and we will be just too busy doing to talk about it.  and you'll either be with us, or doing YOUR own thing, and that's just as awesome.          

cheers, namaste, and be.


oh, also, i guess if i had to set a resolution, let it be:  next nye, we're gonna mix the really really good beers with really, really good champagne.

your fear is boring. your doing is amazing.

'your fear is the most boring thing about you.' 

it's an elizabeth gilbert quote, but i surprisingly never heard it or it just never stuck with me until i was scrolling facebook earlier this week and came across a post from a friend who's on retreat in nicaragua.  she shared some words of wisdom from a friend of hers who relocated to the country and was celebrating her one year anniversary.  between the poetic homages to all things latin american (¡si, hermana!) were little bits of 'get your shit together and LIVE, already' tough love, including a one sentence paragraph that i haven't stopped thinking about for one single second: 

your fear is boring.

my fear IS boring.  so is yours.  

that sentence pushed me into a whole new place.  it got under my skin & kept me up at night & inspired me.  it made me instantaneously stronger by being okay with falling down and finding humility, because that's all temporary and part of the path.  

there is zero reason to not do what you want to do.  it's kind of a necessity, but you don't realize that until you figure it out.

 if you want to do something else, do it.  you need to do it. 

if you want to go somewhere else, go.  you need to go.

your fear is boring.  your doing is amazing. 

PHOTO: COSTA RICA | 8.14 | your fear is boring. taking a guided tour in costa rica as a solo girl and asking your new mexican friend for the day, who speaks zero english, to take your photo in a basically pant-less yoga balance while it's raining and slippery and a bunch of other people are around and pointing and also taking photos of you on the deck of a waterfall lookout- that is NOT boring.   

PHOTO: COSTA RICA | 8.14 | your fear is boring. taking a guided tour in costa rica as a solo girl and asking your new mexican friend for the day, who speaks zero english, to take your photo in a basically pant-less yoga balance while it's raining and slippery and a bunch of other people are around and pointing and also taking photos of you on the deck of a waterfall lookout- that is NOT boring.   


here's the importance of doing everything with intention- on your mat, wherever you lay it down, and off  your mat:  when your intentions are in the right place, things just happen.  things like finding the opportunity to partner with people water, a cause-based business committed to alleviating the global water crisis.  

people water is on tap for purchase at my home studio, harmony yoga studios, in willoughby, and balance & brews  just introduced it at our first event at market garden brewery this past week.  

our involvement is providing you with a bottle of people water at every b&b event.  your involvement is the #dropfordrop initiative:  for every drop you drink at a practice, you can know an equal amount of clean water is going to someone without access.


yoga is important to me because it allows you to slow down, to breathe, to let go, and to just be.  and once you're there, you connect.  and you get this deep urge to want to connect everywhere, to inspire everywhere, to go everywhere, to help everywhere.  

balance & brews expands yoga out of the studio, to reach further.  our partnership with people water reaches far off the mat and out of the brewery.  their results are tangible, and your support makes a difference.

join us next for yoga, beer, and your simple but powerful contribution to this cause at butcher and the brewer on december 6.

learn more about people water's mission with their video below.  

peace and release & drop for drop,




An authentic connection.

Our first event was this past Saturday at Butcher and the Brewer.  It was a large labor of love to get this off the ground, and I couldn't be happier that I ACTUALLY PULLED THIS OFF.  This has been years in the making; I've taught yoga & beer workshops in a studio in the past, but studios are a controlled setting, and I always wanted to push it further and do something really unconventional.  

I'm currently very attuned to the elements, and how we connect to our surroundings, and my teaching career has been giving me a chance to explore this:  I've had the opportunity to teach on a yoga deck in the midst of an angry thunderstorm in Costa Rica, inside a music venue, on the banks of a beautiful calm river, on the shores of the Pacific, and now, in the presence of the big beautiful shiny fermentation and holding tanks of a brewery.   

It keeps you on your toes to do something out of the ordinary.  It forces you to connect wherever you are.  To connect to yourself, to everyone around you, to everything around you.  To find your balance within any element.

First group, thank you for your authentic connection.  For your connected breath, audible even over music, the hum of equipment, and the background hustle of a restaurant prepping to open for the afternoon.  Thank you for sharing your mats and towels and stories and beers and smiles with people who were strangers before that day.  Thank you to my friends and family who gave support and came to support, thank you to those who experienced their first yoga pose ever at this event.  Thank you to the Butcher and the Brewer employee who quietly snagged a few minutes of flow with us before doors opened to the public.  Thank you Shannon for offering film & edit services so we can document this day.  Thank you Chris & Jenny & Nikki for your venue and help, and thank you Eric for passionately brewing crazy yum beers and taking time to share your knowledge with us.