Monthly Archives: April 2012

Raft guide training

Being that today marks one month since I start my raft guide training with Quest Expeditions, I found that this quote pertained to my real life situation at the moment.

“Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.”

– Marilyn vos Savant

Our training started on March 31, 2012. I pulled up to the outpost with Robert (a guide for 7 years and good friend of mine). Myself and the other trainees sat there under the pavilion quite, like the first day of school. No one really knowing what to say or how to act. That awkward moment when everyone is silently observing their new environment, assessing it, feeling it out, thinking of how to behave. Quickly, the energy changed. Soon, everyone relaxed and started talking. Now, one month later we are a pretty tight bunch. A little brother/sisterhood of sorts. I will be depending on these people in certain situations to save my life and those that are in my boat and in return, I will gladly exchange the favor.

We started with 8 trainee’s. We are currently down to 6. I am the only one with no white water experience. Being that I am from Florida – this should not surprise anyone. Yes, I have taken the occasional white water rafting trip with my family and friends, but I knew nothing when it came to reading water, guiding a raft, steering a rafting loaded down with “the clumps,” and certainly nothing about what to do in life or death situations out there. However, I have received positive feedback. They say I’m a “fighter” and a “natural.” Their remarks give me confidence, but I have to remain humble and respectful on the water and in all of mother nature for that fact, for you never know when the elements may change. Staying aware of your surroundings is a great start.

I’ve had my share of swims in the frigid Ocoee water. Some serious, other not so much. Each time I mess up, lose my line in a swift current, or can’t seem to muster up the strength to hold my angle the a rapid I lose a little bit of confidence. Yes, a time or two the thought has entered my mind. “Maybe this just isn’t for me,” or “that scared that crap out of me and I’m really not ready to die.” I try to push those negative thoughts out of my head, encouraging more positive ones to flow back in. The water has defeated me a time or two, but I have also defeated it. Things are bound to happen out there, I just accept it and move on, not fixate on it. I will not give up, I will keep my defeats temporary and not permanent.

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Deep Survival

I recently finished a great book written by Laurence Gonzales call Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies and Why (2003). The beginning started off a little slow, but picked up, as most books do and took me through several amazing stories of life, death and the physical and physiological reasons your body reacts the way it does in risky situations. Gonzales covers some of the ways you can attempt to gain control over those biological elements and save yourself in a situation you think you’ll never get out of. Keeping what he calls a Positive Mental Attitude is key. I would recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in gaining a new perspective of your own self. Being aware of it may save your life someday!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

When confronted with a life-threatening situation, 90% of people freeze or panic, says Gonzales in this exploration of what makes the remaining 10% stay cool, focused and alive. Gonzales (The Hero’s Apprentice; The Still Point), who has covered survival stories for National Geographic Explorer, Outside and Men’s Journal, uncovers the biological and psychological reasons people risk their lives and why some are better at it than others. In the first part of the book, the author talks to dozens of thrill-seekers-mountain climbers, sailors, jet pilots-and they all say the same thing: danger is a great rush. “Fear can be fun,” Gonzales writes. “It can make you feel more alive, because it is an integral part of saving your own life.” Pinpointing why and how those 10% survive is another story. “They are the ones who can perceive their situation clearly; they can plan and take correct action,” Gonzales explains. Survivors, whether they’re jet pilots landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier or boatbuilders adrift on a raft in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, share certain traits: training, experience, stoicism and a capacity for their logical neocortex (the brain’s thinking part) to override the primitive amygdala portion of their brains. Although there’s no surefire way to become a survivor, Gonzales does share some rules for adventure gleaned from the survivors themselves: stay calm, be decisive and don’t give up. Remembering these rules when crisis strikes may be tough, but Gonzales’s vivid descriptions of life in the balance will stay with readers.

Good read


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Long term

I’ve been thinking about my future quite a lot lately and have come to the conclusion that this statement rings a lot of truth for me.

“The best gift I could ever receive is  a lifetime of adventure.”

 – Unknown

This may be obvious to most people; but it’s important that everyone chose a life partner based on certain shared characteristics and personality traits. One thing I have noticed over the years with my significant other is that he is pretty much game for whatever I think up and recommend. There are times, of course, when he has to talk me back down to reality, but either way he is supportive and caring about it. We share a lot of the same desires and dreams and I know that I will always have a partner with whom I will share challenges with both mentally, emotionally and physically. I couldn’t ask for a better friend to share this life with.

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Road Trip!

This past summer, my boyfriend and I took a month long (not long enough) road trip out west, living out of his truck and sleeping in the bed where we built a custom platform for a mattress and purchased a topper. I kept a detailed blog of our day to day adventures and took a lot of great photographs along the way. If you’re interested in checking it out, click here. Hopefully some of my photographs will entice you…enjoy!

Loaded down..heading west.

Sunset driving in to Wyoming

Driving in to Many Glacier at Glacier National Park, Montana

Cannon Beach, Oregon



Take a little risk

It is true that in most cases in our life, we need to be well aware of what we are and are not capable of. However, with that being said:

“Every now and then, bite off more than you can chew.”
 – Kobi Yamada

Get out there. Be vulnerable. Take risks. Challenge yourself.


Acro-yoga is a physical practice which blends elements of yoga, acrobatics, and healing arts in to multiple sets of beautiful flowing series. This practice cultivates trust, connections and playfulness between partners which ranges from beginners to advanced practitioners.

I was drawn to this in the same way Slackline Yoga intrigued me. Watch this awesome video to see for yourself. I was sold..but two potential problems stood in my way. 1.) I needed a partner, but I had a chance to recruit my boyfriend. I Showed him a few videos and asked if he was interested, to which he  replied, “yes!” 2.) Find a workshop nearby. This took a bit more time but last week I walked in to the yoga studio where I practice and there sat a stack of flyers for an AcroYoga workshop being held in June. Done and done! I’m excited to attend this class but I think I am going to need to get Andrew on the mat a few times between now and then.

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Peace Love Car (PLC)

This eye-catching vehicle has quite the story. It has served as a home for Sam Salwei  for the past 4 years.

Make: Ford

Model: Festiva

Year: 1988

Milage: 362,000 March 2012

Color: Sticker

Top Speed: 92.5mph

MPG: 27 (need carb tuned and timing set, should get 38mpg)








Modifications: Mazda 323 1.6L engine(bottom half is a 92 top hald is an 88), 3.75 inch custom lift, Ford Aspire shocks(add 250 lbs of carring capacity), Aspire Master cyl and brake booster(stops better), duel Battery( allows for charging with the key off), Trailer hitch, 3 headlights, roof rack, Hatch back rack(allows me to hang the bikes off the back for lower profile), 13″ tires(cheaper then 12″),

Check out the website link here and the facebook page about the history and on going “saga” of the PLC. It’s quite entertaining.

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Slackline Yoga

Slackline Yoga is a new, unique form a yoga which you just have to see to understand. I first became aware of this style of yoga after a friend posted on Facebook that the “YogaSlackers” would in the Chattanooga area. The term alone intrigued me, I follow the links and was completely absorbed in YouTube videos within minutes. I checked out their website and became a little envious of their lifestyle and jobs. I am working towards something similar and am hopeful it will all work out of the years and my life unfolds further.

It didn’t take long for me to decide that I was going to give it a shot. On March 17, I drove to the St. Elmo area of Chattanooga and pulled in to the parking lot of  Tennessee Bouldering Authority where the workshop would be held. Sam Salwei was the main instructor and pretty awesome guy from what I gathered.

Sam Salwei, a modern day Nomad, traveling coast to coast living a lifestyle that is uniquely his own.  Initially driven by his passion for Eco-Adventure, life on the road began in 2004, quickly leading into a diverse career encompassing adventure-racing, rock climbing and slacklining. In 2005 Sam co-created the company “Yoga Slackers”, specializing in combining Yoga poses on a Slackline as well as integrating other body awareness practices such as partner acrobatics. Despite the misleading nature of the name, the “slackers” are quite accomplished athletes gaining the support of over 20 different sponsors, who share in the desire to promote ecologically sustainable living.” –

Sam Salwei Slacklining

The workshop lasted a few hours on both Saturday and Sunday. I left with some sore spots on my body, new friends and a new hobby. I bought my own slackline a few days ago and plan to go play outside very soon!

The gang at TBA

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No fear

Seriously, take some time and think on this. Then do it with the attitude that you will succeed and you are very likely to do just that.

“What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?”

– Dr. Robert H. Schuller

Whitewater SUP

This is a concept I have only recently discovered. In the March issue of Get Out Chattanooga, I read an article that touched on this rule bending sport. According to  research, the sport (SUP in general) seems to be growing fast; nearly doubling every year. The whitewater version, which uses a shorter board with elbow and knee pads is still only attempted by a small bunch of whitewater junkies.

Like all sports, there is a wide range of gear. Boards range from 9-foot whitewater boards to 14-foot racers. Most start with a 12-foot. Some are inflatable, while others are roto-molded plastic like kayaks. Comparing paddlers to cyclists – you’ve got your mountain bike and then you get your carbon fiber bike.

“It’s not as dangerous as it looks.  Building your skill up with whitewater really isn’t that hard,” Tavares says. “As long as you play it safe and you don’t paddle out of your ability it’s really pretty safe.” Mike Tavares and his girlfriend Haley Mills have been enjoying the sport for 2 and 3 years, Mills trying it first. So far, with helmets and pads on their elbows and knees, the couple has made it through the rapids uninjured. (Johns 2012)

The board has a respectable amount of surface area, so it’s actually quite sturdy in the water. Being from Florida, I imagine a surf board, but the angles on the boards are entirely different.

Pros: burning legs & core, time in the sunshine and water

Cons: start up costs are well over $1,500 for the decent set up.











References:  Johns, A 2012, ‘Standing Ovation’, Get Out Chattanooga,  March, pp. 60-65.

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