Life is not designed to make things easy for us, but present challenges that help us grow- Terry Laughlin
I did a lot of growing 2017, thanks life! This year was an incredible journey for me, trekking up the Continental Divide, maintaining a social media presence, and deciding how best to share (or not share) my experiences with others. It was great hiking the CDT seriously, it challenged me and gave me new (trail/life)skills. So grab a beverage and let’s reflect on the last year of hiking adventures and forward to the new year of possibilities.
Website and Social Media
Wandering Chardonnay website and social media sites continue to grow by the numbers:
12,195 page views (1,066 followers)
169 Facebook Likes
578 Instagram followers
37 Twitter followers
Thanks for checking it out. These numbers are not outstanding by comparison. But who should I compare with; I’m one of a kind! Like hiking growth takes time, patience and perseverance. I’m learning and putting myself out there more every day! I just hope my story continues to inspire people to get out on their own adventures. But navigating the www is like hiking off trail, you know where you want to go but can you get there, from here. Not without some surprises and lessons.
I’m learning about self-hosting my own site, making trail videos and oh the hashtags (which will always be a pound sign to me, old school).
One lovely surprise for me was becoming a Hike Like A Woman Ambassador! If you haven’t yet checked out the HLAW website, what ya waiting for, hop to it! I’ve learned tons from these motivated ladies. There are some great podcasts (find mine here), tips, great articles and more.
Trail and Life Lessons
The trans-formative nature of thru hiking has always been a type of therapy for me. The trail is a metaphor for life and it reminded me of many lessons in 2017:
- Just because someone comes into your life doesn’t mean they have to stay. Walking the trail and life with difficult people sucks. Don’t let other people tell you how to feel, act, or that something is impossible. Walk away, trust me on this. Be bold, show up as yourself.
- Surround yourself with people who uplift you and believe in your crazy dreams. If someone is taking jabs at you (even tiny ones) those jabs only add up to knocking you down.
- Life changes aren’t easy, especially when evolving into the best version of you; it’s exciting and scary all at once. But with every challenge or struggle you grow stronger and more confident in your abilities. However, it turns out my strength and change is uncomfortable for some, so I’ve had people closest to me disappear or just not show up, that hurts.
- But then there are other people that I barely know that have completely shown up, thank you. See there are really kind people in the world (no matter what the news says) wanting to see you succeed. Go seek them out, find them, they are waiting for you…so am I.
- Fear is part instinct, part learned, part taught. Fears are created by imagination, when you face them you realize that reality isn’t nearly as bad as your imagination. Like that grizzly bear I heard probably wasn’t nearly as big as I imagined, right?! Be courageous.
- We need nature, whether or not we ever set foot in it. It’s where we come from, it’s our history (good and bad) and our future. We need to now it is there, a possible
escape from the madness. My experience is proof that nature will and can be a refuge for all, no matter your skin color.
- There is a whole lot of talk about POC (people of color) in the wilderness. Let’s stop blaming the lack of money or that we don’t see ourselves or fear of past atrocities. We ARE out there! The outdoor industry and past stories may not have included us,
but a new chapter is being written. Stop using the past as an excuse. Be the change, corny but true.
- Solo hiking is great, but it is always great to get to camp and see a friendly face that is glad you made it. Or at least someone to laugh WITH you because you got lost or scared. I thru hiked the CDT with some top notch, bad ass, ridiculously funny people. Thank you for accepting the bare bones me. Cherish every moment, treasure every mile.
- Experiences, get you some. Experiences become a part of our identity. We are an accumulation of everything we’ve seen, the things we’ve done and the places we’ve been. What’s your story gonna be this year?
Next Adventure and Opportunities
So people have asked “so are you done hiking yet”? Answer: NOPE. It’s a big world out there with a lot of paths to walk, people to meet and lessons to learn. I am looking forward to more adventures and experiences in 2018….Like completing the Appalachian Trail, hiking the Arizona Trail, providing some PCT trail magic. Basically spreading black girl magic all over the place! Locally I’ll be doing some group hikes (with wine tasting!), some Get Out Doors presentations, redesigning this site, and some other things (I don’t want to jinx it). oh I’m excited, stay tuned!
Happy New Year and Happy Trails…………..