Books I loved sticking my nose in this year: Part III

 Rounding up the books I’m enjoying the most this year! I know, I know, it’s only September, but just the thought of making lists like these in December – which appears to be kind of mandatory for bloggers – makes me feel exhausted. I’m getting off to a head-start.

First, I rounded up 3 awesome true-story books about journeys and adventures.
Part I here
Then we moved on to the fiction books I found particularly original and exciting.
Part II here

This week, let’s look at… 

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…the ones that taught me to eat like a champ

In defense of food, Michael Pollan 1 //  In Defense of Food: An eater’s manifesto by Michael Pollan

Mandatory for anyone slightly interested in health, nutrition, and the catastrophe that is SAD (Standard American Diet). Pollan’s mantra goes a little something like this:

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” 

Should be simple enough, right?

But it’s NOT in today’s society, because so much of what’s on the shelves in supermarkets have been processed and fiddled with in laboratories to the point where it’s not even food anymore. It’s just an experiment of refining food to the unrecognizable and playing around with ‘nutritional’ lego bricks. The most interest part of the book for me was reading about the age of “nutritionism”: how everything basically went awry as soon as scientists where able to break down food into molecules vitamins, minerals, omega-this and fiber-that. Cue the inevitable…. politics got involved. There’s money to be made here, folks.

I don’t respond well to people pointing fingers and saying, “the reason your health isn’t optimal is because you’re not eating well enough. make better choices” – you being any one of us in modern Western society.

What I love, however, are these guys like Pollan who educate us in how we got f***ed, basically, by the Big Guys: The meat industry. The dairy industry. The GMO companies. And the politicians trying to protect their interests.

When someone says, “we know you’re trying your hardest, and it’s actually not your fault that you’re not eating nourishing enough food! and the choices you make from here on out DO matter! let’s educate ourselves on the subject and make a difference where we can”….. that’s when I listen 😉

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Nourishing wisdom, marc david2 // Nourishing Wisdom: A mind-body Approach to Nutrition and Well-being by Marc David 

Marc David is the guy who founded the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, and he has an immense amount of knowledge in nutrition and  nutritional psychology.

In this book he argues is that there really is no such thing as “good food” or “bad food”. In order to have a healthy relationship with food – and good health, of course – we need to get our heads out of the science behind nutrition and try to be more grounded in a mind-body approach to eating. Yes, yes and yes!

Total game-changer for me. I loved this book so much that I actually wrote a post about back in May which you can check out here.

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Clean, Alejandro Junger

3 // Clean by Alejandro Junger, M.D. 

This is one of the last books I read, and I only just finished it last week.

It’s a nutritional detox program, developed by Dr. Junger that is meant to restore the body’s natural ability to heal itself. It’s a very revealing book with lots of “inconvenient truths” about how our bodies are constantly bombarded with toxins through our food, our homes, our environment.

The thing is that our bodies are this incredible machines that have ability to get rid of all these toxins, but all the toxins we consume constantly in the 21st century blocks this ability. I like the metaphor with the band-aid: one of the basic things Mom teaches us when we’re kids is that if we scratch our knees, put a band-aid and don’t pick on it. The wound will heal by itself as long as you get out of the way. It’s basically no different when it comes to our illnesses.

Haven’t finished it yet, but it’s for sure one of the most interesting (and scary…!) reads of mine this year!

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 4// BONUS! The documentaries… 

 Some of these I’ve seen before, but they’ve all been revisited this year. Must-sees for those of you interested in health and diet.

Hungry For Change – true story: this was the  straw that broke the camel’s back. I watched this in March and started green-juicing the next day. Haven’t looked back since.

Food Inc. – Oldie, but goodie. A little bit more controversy-y and focuses a lot on the politics involved in farming and the big animal-based food industries in the US.

Forks over knives – argues the case of vegetarianism and benefits of getting protein from plant foods vs. animal foods, and that all the ‘Western diseases’ are linked to animal foods; heart disease, diabetes etc. One of the most memorable points made is that we could put an end to hunger today if we took all the grains used to feed cattle and give it to starving world citizens instead. Yup. And cattle is supposed to eat grass anyway, so we’re only messing with nature feeding them all these grains.

Food matters – from the people behind Hungry for Change.

Fat, sick, and nearly dead – a documentary film following an Australian guy who goes on a month long juice cleanse to save his life, and travels through the US to gain awareness about it. Funny, uplifting, inspiring, and will teach you a lot.

May I be Frank? – the guys working at Café Gratitude in San Francisco take on a project: sick, depressed and overweight Frank who wants to fall in love one more time before he dies. And you guessed it… he has to change his diet and lifestyle and learn to love himself first. Awww… this movie is hilarious and very touching at the same time.

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I hope you’re feeling inspired to learn a little bit more about nutrition and diet!  

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Good Vibes and Liebster Awards

The sweet Marisa from The Green Sunshine was kind enough to tag me for a Liebster Award, and I had so much fun doing this!

Liebster Award Symbol

Marisa blogs about travel, health and living life to the fullest – exactly my kind of blog, in other words 😀  She’s currently in training to become a certified health coach, and shares some amazing recipes… Not to mention, she wrote a whole post about why sweet potatoes are awesome from a nutritionist’s standpoint. Seeing as I eat sweet potatoes by the bulk practically every week, I’m sold.

The Liebster Award works like a chain letter, and it’s a way for bloggers to spread some love, support and encouragement, and to discover new blogs. The rules are as follows:

  • Thank the awesome blogger who nominated you.
  • Post the award badge on your blog.
  • Answer the questions your nominator has left for you.
  • Nominate some other awesome bloggers.
  • Make up 10 questions for them to answer.

First up – here are my answers to Marisa’s questions for me!

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1) If your life was a movie, which title would it be?

This was hard….! My head’s spinning after trying to come up with something good for this one.

I’m gonna have to go with the tagline instead:

I decided to live it

via

2) What smell do you love?

The smell of Christmas!

I’m obsessed with Christmas, and it happens to be my birthday month as well, so I live and breathe for December. The smell of snow, pine trees, clementines, cinnemon, a lit fire…

… in Norway, tradition says to bake 7 kinds of Christmas cookies to have on hand for the whole holiday season. The smell of “julebakst” throughout the house is one of my favorite smells in the whole world. (I promised myself I wouldn’t go there to torture myself now that I’m a vegan-ish, but the smell of “pinnekjøtt”…. oh God. If you’re Norwegian, you get it.)

Bonus: the smell of coffee and aquevit doesn’t hurt either.

Christmas Cookies

3) Which season do you adore?

(I hate to be this person, but) I love all of them!

I really can’t choose. I come from a country with what I would say is an extreme diversity in its seasons, and there’s just no way I could choose one that I love more than the others.

That’s the whole point, isn’t it? To appreciate and adore the changing seasons and what makes them each so special to you 🙂

Changing seasons in Norway

4) What is your wildest dream?

a) Be a rockstar.
b) Marry Sweden’s Prince Carl Philip and become the Kate Middleton of Scandinavia.

I’m kidding. (No, I’m not. Kind of.)

If I can’t have that, my wildest dream is to travel the world and go on adventures for a living. To write, play music, meet like-minded people, go to far and distant corners of this planet, and just be… me. To work for myself and be my own boss, and write a fantastic memoir one day about all the mind-blowing adventures I’ve been on. To inspire people to follow the feeling of joy and happiness wherever it may take them.

I want all that – and then a private helicopter so that I can fly home at moment’s notice to be there for all my friends’ birthdays and wedding, all the big moments in my family members’ lives, and whenever I need a hug from the people who knows me best.

Look where your mind goes when it wanders

via

5) What is your best childhood memory?

I have to say all the memories I have of playing outside with my sister.

People always commented on how “good” my sister and I were at playing together. Whether it was at our family cabin, in the woods behind Dad’s apartment building, or in the backyard of Mom’s house, we had a very vivid imagination and always made the most of our surroundings.

I cherish those memories so, so much, and I want that so badly for my future children.

Creek in the woods via

6) What is your favorite book?

I have several favorite books, but I’m going to go with what is probably the most meaningful book to me; the first book I ever fell in love with and read over and over again.

Nobody’s Boy by Hector Malot.

Sans Famille Hector Malot

I was very young when I first read this book, and I kept going back to it over the course of a couple of years. It was the first time I can remember experiencing the power of books and stories – how they grab a hold of you and make hours disappear.

I was so emotionally involved in the story of Remi losing his parents and being all alone in the world, and eventually getting to the happy ending was  reassurance that all is well in the world (and that Mom and Dad would never leave me. A child’s brain will nearly always circle back to that).

This is the book that made me fall in love with reading, and therefore it’s my favorite! 🙂

7) Share one of your healthy tips.

Adding.

I really can’t stress this enough: if you want to make a bit of a healthy change, don’t immediatly take away something that you like. Don’t think, “I’m gonna quit sugar” or “I’m gonna quit coffee” or “I’m gonna quit eating meat”.

I believe you have a 100% better succes rate if you just focus on adding more of the “good” stuff.

Want to quit drinking soda? Just start slowly adding more glasses of water into your daily routine. Soon, you’ll find you can’t physically drink as much soda as you used to because the water is taking its place, so to speak. And the less soda you drink, the less you crave it.

Want to eat more veggies (cause we all know we should…)? Don’t think about cutting out meat or pasta or starchy carbs. Just add more veggies to your plate every single time, and in no time at all you’ll find that you’re eating twice as much veggies without even making a real effort.

These subtle changes really do add up! 😉

Small daily improvements key to staggering long-term results

8) What is your favorite quote?

I’m a huge collector of inspirational quotes, so this is a tough one!

But at the moment, I think my friend Roal Dahl is the winner of this one… It’s a simple quote that always makes me smile and reminds me that as long as I’m kind and grateful and think good thoughts, all is well.

If you have good thoughts... Roald Dahl quote

via

I’ve had this quote stuck on my bathroom mirror for months to make sure it’s one of the first things I see in the morning 🙂

9) List one thing on your bucket list!

Just one?!

Better pick a good one… Let’s see…

Unsurprisingly, a lot of the items on my bucket list deal with travel – I would say most of them are travel related. So to share something other than that:

Be present at a major sporting event, like the Super Bowl, winter olympics, or World Cup finals in football.

World Cup Final Spain 2010

10) What makes you shine?

Lots of things make me shine because lots of things make me happy!

But looking through pictures, I definitely think I shine the most and the brightest when I’m having a laugh with my girlfriends. And I have the best friends.

I feel exactly the same away as Raves & Revelations when she writes, ‘I have the best friends. No, really. My group of friends is better than yours.’ 😛

But, seriously. My friends are better than yours.

And they bring out the very best in me ♥

Friendship collage ————————————-

For the next round, I nominate these wonderful ladies…

Zauni from The Kind Side.

Lisa from Love To-Go.

Laura from inspiration.sparks

… and my questions for them are as follows: 

  1. What is one skill or talent that you desperately wish you had?
  2. If you could time-travel and go back in history to experience one thing only… which moment would you travel back to?
  3. Do you have any completely irrational fears or phobias?
  4. Do you have a daily or weekly ritual that you cannot forego no matter what?
  5. Name one of the people who have inspired you the most in your life!
  6. If you could speak one other language fluently, which would you choose, and why?
  7. Do you own an item that you cherish more than anything? That you would practically run into a burning house to save?
  8. What makes your family unique from others?
  9. What is the nicest thing someone has ever done for you?
  10. Tell us about your best childhood friend, and one of your fondest memories with them.

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Books I loved sticking my nose in this year: Part II

 Rounding up the books I’m enjoying the most this year! I know, I know, it’s only September , but just the thought of making lists like these in December – which appears to be kind of mandatory for bloggers – makes me feel exhausted. I’m getting off to a head-start.

A couple of weeks ago I rounded up 3 awesome true-story books about journeys and adventures that I have read so far this year.
Part I here

This week, let’s look at… 

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…the ones that brought something new to the table

1 // ROOM by Emma Donoghue 'Room' by Emma Donoghue

Original. That’s the main thing you need to know about this book.

It’s about a girl who was kidnapped at 21 and has been locked in a Old Nick’s shed for the past 6 or 7 years. In captivity, she gives birth to a son who she names Jack. We get to know what their life is like in Room, follow their dramatic escape, and take part their struggle to adjust to freedom and a normal life – which is terrifying for Jack, since he’s never known anything other than life in Room.

The twist is that whole story is told through Jack, which makes it an unforgettable read. I’ve never read anything like it – definitely haunting (but also a celebration of courage and resilience, so it’s wasn’t all horrible, thank God).

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2 // The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky'Perks of being a wallflower' book

A coming-of-age story with lots of heart and lots of wisdom!

Taking place in high school, it’s about a socially awkward and shy freshman – a wallflower – named Charlie who becomes friends with a quirky and exciting group of people. He basically falls in love with all of them (one girl in particular) and with the person he is when he’s with them, and the books is a little bit like an ode to being on the fringes of life and adulthood.

The story is a lot of more layered and thought-out than I first expected, so I was really pleasantly surprised by this book. It deals with some  serious issues and some very emotional and sensitive subjects. You’ve probably heard or seen this quote from the book:

“We accept the love we think we deserve.”

Sigh… Ain’t that the truth!

(No, I haven’t watched the movie, because as much as I try to like her and find endearing qualities,  I just cannot stand Emma Watson…)

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3 // Aleph + the Valkyries + the Pilgrimage + Manual of the Warrior of Light by Paulo Coelho

paulo coelho books collage

Soooo… I’ve been on a bit of a Paulo Coelho roll.

I adore Paulo Coelho, but  it’s almost like I adore everything that he stands for more than I can claim to adore all of his books – because I’m way behind…! Over the past few years, I’d only read The Alchemist, Eleven Minutes and Veronika Decides to Die. My true fascination and love for him actually comes from reading and watching interviews with him. To me, he represents magic and possibilities. The belief that you can become anything you set your mind to become, and that dreams and wishes are powerful things which should never be suppressed.

Well, I finally got around to it and tackled the stack of Coelho books I had sitting in my bookcase.

Aleph ⋙ a journey of self-discovery and a very personal novel. This one really struck a chord with me because it deals with Coelho’s own real-life crisis of faith. I find it immensely comforting to know that even spiritual leaders have times when they feel frustrated and angry and at a stand-still and questions the freakin’ point of it all. A very interesting insight into Coelho’s life.

the Valkyries ⋙ I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this to people who think that Paulo Coelho is “a little bit out there” as it is. I mean, the book is about a journey through the Mojave desert that Coelho and his wife undertook to try to meet his guardian angel – in the most literal sense. It contains lots of accounts of magic, rituals and angels; that kinda thing. But for me who – let’s face it – is “a little bit out there” myself, it was a wonderful read! It’s a fascinating story, and like ‘Aleph’, it focuses on the human being behind the spiritual, untouchable wise author/”magus” version of Coeolho.

the Pilgrimage ⋙ A must-read, plain and simple. The story of Coelho’s pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela back in the 80s. It’s one of the first books he published, some 20 years ago. This book was especially interesting to read because my cousin, on his gap year after graduating high school, embarked on this pilgrimage by himself in March. I think he’s by far one the coolest people I know for doing that. How many 19-year-old guys do you know who went on a pilgrimage by themselves instead of boozing it up in Thailand with their friends for 3 months? He is downright awesome, and my hat’s off to him. I hope he knows that.

Manual of the Warrior of Light ⋙ what a beautiful little gem! A summary of Coelho’s teachings, it can be described as a compilation of short philosophical passages. A heart-warming read!

“In order to have faith in his own path, he does not need to prove that someone else’s path is wrong.”

“Warriors of light are not perfect.Their beauty lies in accepting this fact and still desiring to grow and to learn.”

“The only trap I must beware not to fall into, is to think that each day is the same as the next. In fact, each morning brings with it a hidden miracle, and we must pay attention to this miracle.”

“To travel is the experience of ceasing to be the person you are trying to be, and becoming the person you really are.”

Sitting on my nightstand, I have ‘By The River Piedra I sat Down And Wept‘ and ‘Manuscript found in Accra‘. Let the marathon continue!

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Have you read any fiction books this year that brought some new ideas; that you found original and exciting? 

 

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The good things in life

It’s that time of the week again!

Erika hosts the Gratitude 101 linkup, and I get to put up a post celebrating some of the highlights of the past week 🙂

GRAD-ITUDE 101: A Linkup By Chimerikal

 

There have been plenty of blissful moments, but it’s also been a week of testing my ability to be thankful for even the things that don’t exactly go the way I want them to.

I’ve been sick, but not sick enough to go to the doctor or stay in bed, which I think we can all agree is the worst kind of sick. It means doing all your chores, going to school/work, being social when you’re expected to… but no exercise, no good night’s sleep, no yoga, no energy. I don’t like feeling unproductive and I go stir-crazy without my morning runs, so I’m not feeling my best right at the moment.

You know that voice in your head, that little gremlin, that tends to be really annoyed in times like that? This is when it’s crucial for me that I transform that voice into my best friend and remember to be kind to myself, above all else.

I focus on the simple things I can do to make a difference: prepare nourishing meals for myself, lots of herbal tea and vitamin C, morning meditations, sleep in even though it’s a Tuesday. These are all little joys too.

Being grateful isn’t something you save only for the good days. It’s a practice that you need to bring into every living moment.

This week reminded me that no matter what state – sick or healthy – I wake up in…

…begin each day with a grateful heart.

Here are some happy moments of the week:

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Surprise birthday decorations

+ Putting a smile on someone’s face

This Sunday was my roommate’s birthday. While he had lots of plans with his friends and things going on that day, I’m a firm believer that you can never get too much attention on your birthday. So surprise decorations were in order, and seeing his face when he came out of his room on Sunday morning was priceless. It’s the little things that count!

Warning: Hypothetically speaking; if you’ve gone to the liquor store and asked for the “cheapest vodka you have” earlier in the day, and then had a vodka-drinking party with your friends until the wee hours of the morning… it’s a really stupid idea to start blowing up 40 balloons by yourself when you get home.

Don’t do it. Just don’t. But rest assured, if you do pass out, you’ve got 40 balloons to break the fall.

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Hearty salad and white wine, Mooloolaba

+ The little moments that make you feel like today is special

Everyday life is to be celebrated, and the simple pleasure of a chilled glass of wine to go with our lunch on the Mooloolaba esplanade made it feel like we were on vacation all of a sudden. Brainstorming actual plans for an upcoming vacation made it all even more perfect. Good food, great company, the coast bathed in sunshine… What more could a girl ask for?

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New Girl 'BOOM!' GIF

+ Skipping winter

I can’t believe I actually pulled it off, but I’m officially skipping winter this year.

I left Norway in the middle of summer and arrived in Australian winter in July. Here in Queensland, winters aren’t too bad at all, but this one flew by so fast I barely noticed it. Sure, there were some rainy days for the first few weeks, but August has just been glorious…! This week you could really tell that the weather was warming up as well, and I’m just gonna go ahead and say it: Spring. You’re here. We welcome you.

Looking forward to lots and lots of days like these in the near future….

Mooloolaba Beach, Sunshine Coast, Australia

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roasted chickpea and broccoli burrito

+ Thug Kitchen

*if you have a problem with the f-word, best not click on the link 

An amazing thing happened: I just recently discovered Thug Kitchen, which is probably best described as a gangsta vegan food blog.

This blog is hilarious…. and the recipes look amazing! Some of my favorites: this, this and this. A book deal has been signed, so by fall next year you can buy the Thug Kitchen cookbook. I definitely plan to! 😉

The first recipe I’ve tasted is this little guy in the picture above, and it was AWESOME. In fact, I’m eating leftovers of this for lunch today once I’ve finished writing this post.

(Recipe found here).

— also, who am I kidding: food in general. I made my favorite healthy blueberry muffins this week and a crapload of vegan burritos that totally blew my mind… might share the recipe for those in the near future 😉

Healthy blueberry muffins; Vegan burritos

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That’s it for this week’s spotlight on gratitude!

A million little things happen during the week that deserves our appreciation, and don’t forget to acknowledge all those moments. Nothing is too big or too small to deserve some gratitude vibes  😉 

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Books I loved sticking my nose in this year

I read lots of different kinds of books (as well as blogs, magazines, online newspapers, celebrity gossip sites, and oh yeah – heaps of academic journals and textbooks… sometimes I don’t know how I have room for my own words in my head when it’s so filled with other people’s rants).

The only type of books I don’t read are crime novels. Booooooring. There’s a murder/disappearance, a detective/policeman/PI, and a villain (always the one the author means for you not to suspect). Ain’t nobody got time for that. 

I thought I’d start rounding up the books I’m enjoying the most this year. I know, I know, it’s not even September yet, but just the thought of making lists like these in December – which appears to be kind of mandatory for bloggers – makes me feel exhausted. I’m getting off to a head-start. I’m thinking I’ll probably divide this into categories, and I’ll start with… 

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…the ones who are on a journey

I find reading about other people’s adventures, travels and journeys incredibly uplifting. These are the three books about adventure that I enjoyed the most so far this year, and I would be so stoked if you had any tips or recommendations for me! Drop me a sentence in the comments 😉

1 // Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer 1997 book

I’ve been wanting to read this book since 2007, given that the Sean Penn-directed film adaptation is one of my all-time favorite movies. And that’s saying a lot, cause I’m a serious film buff and discussing movies is probably the only time that I don’t idly throw around terms like “greatest”, “best” and “favorite”. But you know, life happened, and it wasn’t until six years later that I found the time to read the book by Jon Krakauer.

It chronicles the true story of young Chris McCandless who came from a well-off family in West Virginia, but didn’t quite want to “give in” to society and its expectations of him. After graduating Emerson University in 1991, he gave away all his money and almost all his possessions and started traveling the country, basically running away from modern Western society. In the spring of 1992 he hitch-hiked to Alaska and walked into the wild by himself. He was found dead out there in the wilderness the following fall.

The book uses McCandless’ own journal to tell the story of his last months out in the Alaskan wilderness, and narratives from his family as well as all the people he met on his travels around the country, to try and make sense of the whole tragedy.

Loved it, loved it, loved it. This story is so dear to me, for some reason. This kid, and his life, really made an impression on me ever since the first time I saw the movie a long time ago. Whatever your interpretation of McCandless’ actions are and however you feel about it, Into the Wild will definitely make you think.

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2 // WildWild by Cheryl Strayed  by Cheryl Strayed 

This was one of the most successful books of last year, so there’s plenty of reviews and Oprah interviews floating around the web for you to look at. Basically it’s a memoir by a woman who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (from the Mexican border to the Canadian border) by herself in the 90s.

Yes, I realize I’m being a little bit self-involved as usual, but here’s how this book relates back to me:
Back in 2007 I watched Into the Wild (see above) for the first time. And in a montage of some of the places McCandless’ passed through on his journeys in North America, there is a short clip – probably 5 to 10 seconds total – of him on the Pacific Crest Trail. The moment I saw it, I jumped up in my seat and my mouth dropped. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I. Have. To. Go. There.

Since then, I’ve been fascinated with the PCT and have watched plenty of Youtube documentaries and read blogs online about people doing it. I just know somehow that I’m meant to go there – maybe not to do the hole 3-4 month trek, but at least a section of it and to see it with my own eyes. And last year, the lovely Cheryl Strayed published a book about hiking the PCT alone as a female, and I nearly lost my shit.
This is a sign, I thought.

Don’t read this, Mom, but truth be told, the PCT has been one of the top 5 on my bucket list for six years now and it is happening. Don’t know when, don’t know how, but  it’s happening.

Map of Pacific Crest Trail

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3 // the Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel FriedmanThe Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost

Another memoir! Whohoo!

So this one’s by an American chick who was always the typical good-girl, and felt like she had to experience some sort of adventure before real life would set in after graduating college. She went to Ireland by herself for one summer where she met a free-spirited Australian girl who would become her friend and partner-in-crime in future travel adventures. The book is basically divided into 3 parts: Ireland, Australia, and South America – the three places these two girls backpacked together.

I read this on the plane on my way over to Oz and loved reading about Rachel’s travels in Australia, of course. But the most exciting part was by far reading about their travels in South America! Especially because they split up and actually spent the first weeks traveling by themselves, which is something I’ve always wished I had the balls to do. I’ve done my fair share of moving new places, taking little trips, and generally doing stuff on my own, but I’ve never undertaken a longer trip by myself.

I have so much respect and awe for the people who go backpacking on a different continent by themselves (especially women), and I not-so-secretly hope that I’ll have the courage to do it someday (soon!).

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What books, fiction or non-fiction, about journeys or adventure have you read lately that you loved? 

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Mornings are my favorite

I have friends and ex-roommates who are baffled by the amount of time I have to ”just hang out” in the morning. I have to remind myself sometimes that this is not necessarily normal – most young people who don’t have kids probably don’t get up as early as I do, and they definitely don’t use the early hours in the morning to catch up one some reading or an episode of SOA.

While it would be a flat-out lie to say that I’ve always been a so-called morning person, it’s quite accurate to state that I’ve always been very rigid about having time for my morning routine. For as long as I can remember I’ve always needed time in the morning. Time for what? Well, to do absolutely nothing, basically. To watch some morning shows on TV or read the newspaper. I’m absolutely dependent on having at least 30 minutes from the time I’m ready to leave the house to when I actually do leave the house.

Optimized-sunrise

A friend of mine had a fun theory on why I wound up this way:
My older sister and I were both very asthmatic kids. When we were little my mother would tuck us in on the couch every morning and put on Disney movies on VHS, and we had to sit there for 30 minutes with our nebulizer. I only have faint memories of this but I’d mentioned it to my friend before, and when we were vacationing together and talking about my intense need to not be rushed in the mornings, she said: ”Oh, well, that’s obviously because you got used to those non-negotiable 30 minutes of having to sit still and watch cartoons in the morning all those years.” Fascinating, right? Apparently I’ve never been able to shake the habit of having to sit down in peace and quiet every single morning. It never occurred to me before, but it did make sense when my friend made the connection.

I used to love staying up late and sleeping in on the weekends, but that’s all changed over the past 18 months. I’ve turned into one of those really annoying super-eager morning people and I’ve trained myself to naturally wake early.  I get up between 5.30-6.00 AM every single day and I swear you couldn’t pay me to go back to sleeping in all morning on the weekends. It’s not like I open my eyes up at 6.00AM every single morning without an alarm, but when that alarm goes off I feel completely rested and ready to get out of bed 98% of the time. I take my time getting ready, fixing my green smoothie for the day, making breakfast, drinking tea… and I have plenty of time left over to ”just hang out” and do what I feel like before I have to go to work.

Thanks, mom, for those daily 30 minutes of Disney movies in the morning when I was 3 years old! It’s ensured me stress-free mornings for 20 years and counting.

Why it’s awesome being a morning person:

+ Skipping the Monday blues. Being consistent with this has really made a huge different in my energy levels and it makes the transition from weekend to workweek 100% smoother.

+ Productivity. Those hours from 6-11 are GOLDEN for me; it’s like a magical time slot in which anything and everything can get done.

+ Kitchen prime time. It’s no secret that I love being behind the stove, and rising early gives me more time to prepare a good, hearty breakfast and to fix my lunchbox for the day. I love having time to actually cook things in the AM before work.

+ Quiet. There’s no one around to talk to and not many distractions at all. There’s only me and my thoughts, and I love having that time to myself to quiet my mind and make sure I’m calm and at ease when I actually do approach the day.

+ The playground is empty. What I love the most are those early Sunday morning hours… it sorta feels like you’re the only person in the world. It’s really nice to feel like I have the whole city to myself for once. Everything feels more spacious and airy and it’s pretty much the only time I have my regular running trail just out my doorstep all to myself. Bliss guaranteed!

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