Summer Adventure Series (Fourth Edition)

As August flies by, Amber wraps up her adventurous summer with some down-time and reflection.  Looking for inspiration to take a leap or follow your heart? She's got it. Keep reading. Three weeks was just enough time to jet-set across the East. Although I was sick of living out of a small suitcase, I was still ready for adventure. When I returned West, my travel high was sustained by a week in Holden Village in Washington.  Holden is a hard place to describe. Once a mining camp, it is now a wilderness retreat for liberally-inclined Lutheran families that come every year for pristine hiking trails, healthy community meals, talks given by expert teaching staff, creating crafts like woven baskets and wire mobiles, and the refreshing serenity of the place and people. My boyfriend’s family has been going for generations. It was quite a change of pace and scenery from my urban adventure.

Lodges at Holden Village.

After logging miles on city streets the weeks prior, the hikes in pristine wilderness were both familiar and foreign – no concrete, no cars, no Dunkin Donuts, no swarms of people. The people you did see on the path, or in the village, you would make eye contact and small-talk with as you passed, something unheard of on the bustling urban streets on Manhattan or Chicago. The skyscrapers were replaced with soaring mountains, some capped with snow or covered with lush green trees.

My time at Holden felt too short, just as it had in New York City. But instead of sites to see, I felt there were conversations yet to have.  Holden is a place about relationships as much as the setting. It’s a place to escape the very bustle I’d been seeking in the cities I’d just visited.  Holden was rejuvenating, refreshing, and is the place I’d come back to every summer. But I also realize that I couldn’t spend as much time there, unplugged and removed from the world, as I could spend immersed in city culture.

Amber and her man, before returning to life in SF

After descending the mountain back into civilization, I began the last phase in my vacation: Family time. I had two weeks before returning to California to hang out with my family, celebrate a birthday and a baby shower, and watch dozens of episodes of Cash Cab.  My momentum from traveling was channeled into nesting activities - sewing curtains my new house and baking bread and cookies. I have been operating outside of reality, responsibility and income for long enough that I’m ready for normalcy. I returned home, unpacked my closet and I start my new job Monday.

From this end of the journey, I reflect on my summer and am proud of myself. I navigated an expansive trip and I got very good at talking to strangers.  I strengthened friendships, saw the sites, and took myself out to dinners for one.  My biggest point of pride is that I did what I wanted to do.  I saved enough to float the summer, left a job that made me unhappy, and followed my aspirations.  I wrestled the common excuses that keep us tied down and took the leap.  My yearning was to travel and start over. Your yearning may be to start dating, change careers, or see the Alps.  Every day you can do something that gets you closer to that goal – save $5, find a web site, or pick up a travel guide. I can’t tell you how strong and whole that made me feel to finally take off on that journey, because you have to do it yourself to know.

Thanks for letting us follow your journey, Amber! It was a pleasure! Readers, are you inspired to tackle a goal? I know I am! What are you going to start working toward?