I didn't write one of these posts for 2017, or 2016 for that matter. I broke my New Year's writing streat that started back when I was 14 years old. I had a good reason though. I was blissfully happy. Therefore, this year's reflection will be a recap on happiness, and what I actually think about the topic now.
After deciding to go small, the next step is to decide what kind of tiny living situation will fit best. Here I will share the options and the thought process I went through while deciding, along with some helpful resources.
2015 has been a year of realization for a lot of people in my life, myself included. It's like we've finally paid our dues, and it's time to see some dreams come true. It also might be that we are all approaching or passing 30.
I've always been fascinated by small living spaces and simple lifestyles. This fall I looked at my life trajectory and decided that the next step to integrating my values with my day to day lifestyle would be to go small. For me this meant moving into a tiny house.
And by tiny, I mean reeeeeal tiny.
I look forward to writing this post every year. The act of looking back at last year's post, thinking about what I've done over the course of the year and setting intentions for the year to come, is almost meditative. Being able to look back to when I was 15 and see how I've grown and change has given me a sense of place within myself - separate from wherever I happen to find myself at the first light of each new year.
Last year I predicted that 2014 would be epic. I think the word "epic" is overused (thanks Maddox), but the breadth of living I did over this past year would qualify as epic, even under the strictest definition. I'll call 2014 "The Year of the Fire."
The Moras site was stunning. Concentric circles terraced into a natural depression in the mountain, built with the intention of seeing what grew best at what temperature. I did an unsuccessful hand stand under the floating stairs.
I'm reluctant to write more because most of the good photos I have are on my camera, not my phone which. Is where I'm posting from.
The area we drove through was so green and beautiful. There were snow capped mountains in the distance - definitely a place I could live. We've been blessed with amazing weather, and Elle is an awesome travel partner. I've been noticing how my beliefs about myself influence how I act with others - not to get too in depth, but it's been fun to shed those a bit and experiment with a new way of being. After all, no one knows me here, so change isn't so hard. I am what they see, and that is whatever I want at the moment.
I haven't wanted to write much since meeting up with Elle. I think journaling was keeping me company while I was alone, but now I have someone to share my random thoughts with, so they aren't bottled up any more.
We met up at 7am in Cuzco at the Hostel Samanapaitca - a bit spendy but well reviewed - and now closed apparently. When we returned to Cuzco Martine (hostel manager with a crush on Elle) said there was some issue with the owner and the court. Anyway, at 7am we made plans to see some of the surrounding country. We met Lindsey from Toronto and caught a tour bus out of town, headed to the Moras Farming archeological site and the Salineras salt mine. I sat next to John from Miami/Venezuela and learned all about his home and when he had seen already. He gave us some good tips for our leg up to Machu Pichu.
I slept in until 10 am this morning, not for laziness, but because I couldn't make myself get out of bed. It was warm and there was so much... oxygen. Nothing special, except that the night before I was in a bivy somewhere around 14,000 ft.
Rough start today.
Rolled in to Arequipa at 8am after a weird sleeping bus ride, still dazed and groggy. Managed to find a cab to the hostel I'd decided to visit. Took a shower at La Reyna Hostel, and left my stuff there in order to find food.
Couldn't find food, at least food I was familiar with. Couldn't get any guide service to just drop me off at the El Misti trailhead. Kept saying it was dangerous and I would fall off a cliff. It was incredibly discouraging. Found an Internet cafe with kids playing video games. It was nice to say hi to Rick and Elle. Got super strong coffee down the street. Arequipa is called the white city because of the white stone used for most of the buildings. It's beautiful, way more pretty than Lima. The streets are cobble which makes the cars clap rather than zoom down the street.
Still no clue what I was going to do. Went back to La Reyna and made friends with the 18 yr old innkeeper. The owner came in, I was able to explain my situation. She called her brother, Jack, who promptly came in and said "it's easy, I'll take you."
Holy crap what a difference that made. I'm so glad I kept asking. The whole afternoon I then spent wandering the markets and streets with way less stress. I'm stoked, and everything is bonito. I can do this, even if I don't summit.
Last night on the bus I go up to use the bathroom and saw my reflection for the first time since leaving the US. I stood there for a while and tried to take in the fact that it was me. Messy Aleya is kind of cool.
Overall today gets a huge "fuck yeah!" rating on the awesomeness scale.
Note to self: a day wandering around isn't a day wasted. Super useful actually. I think I've walked 10 miles at least, but I've seen everything. Twice.
As I prep to take off on today, my pack is getting progressively heavier. I'm not sure I like this, not because I am a minimalist, but because I'm a wuss. I would much rather be uncomfortable than have to lug a bazillion things around that I never use. My goal has been to fit clothing, camping stuff and food in a single back pack that I can shoulder with relative ease.
Below I'm including my pack list, with some specific gear I'm stoked about using - Many thanks to the friends who helped me cut down on the unnecessary things!
As all good stories go, my decision to go to Peru started in a bar.
"Hold my beer, I'm gonna go to South America."
I've been dying to leave the country for quite some time now, but being in grad school put a hold on most of my adventure plans. Last year was particularly tough, with 30 hours of internship, 30 hours of work, and 4 classes to attend to each week. I had ambitious plans to open a practice immediately after graduation in December, but found myself needing space to explore what it meant to be out of grad school and on my own again, instead.
Bonus Monday morning pick me up!
Rock and Sky presents: The alternative fashions of the #OmniGames.
We may have worn Columbia gear, but we didn't let that define us...
Migrant Science Teacher
Rock Climbing Nerd