BIG NEWS

HELLOOO friends!

 

Boy oh boy do I have an announcement for YOU today!

If you know me personally, I’ve already shared my news…but I realized I have yet to share it with the blogosphere!! (aka the 5 people who read this…;) )

 

Allow me to remind you that the catchphrase (slogan?) of my blog is “adventure begins where comfort ends”. Well let me tell ya…I’ve been extremely UNcomfortable that past several months…

 

Car troubles, which have turned into looking for a new [used] adventure vehicle; ending my steady, but not completely fulfilling job and moving to another temporarily (working two jobs at the same time is no joke- kudos to all who do that regularly); cleaning and downsizing as much as possible to potentially move out of state (at least for a while) to chase an amazing opportunity (which I’m still waiting on. Sigh.); keeping up with my dietetic CEU’s – gotta love that continuing education to stay relevant – and other online courses; scheduling my immunizations/vaccinations, getting a travel visa, buying my plane ticket and try to prepare the best I can because I’m going to Africa.

 

Did I throw you off there? YES, AFRICA!!!

Not quite like this though…     photo courtesy of ravoof.com 

Not a joke! I am absolutely elated to tell you all that I will be volunteering abroad in Uganda, Africa!! I have felt the call to serve in Africa for a few years now, and I stumbled upon The Real Uganda! (Check out their website- it has loads of information! www.volunteertherealuganda.com)

Run by Canadian Leslie Weighill, who has been living in Uganda for nearly 14 years, The Real Uganda (TRU) is a community-based, locally led organization that is “about solidarity, team building, and shared leadership”. How awesome is that? I love the fact that TRU is very much against #povertyporn (her phrasing, but it’s the perfect term!). I’m not going there to give to “the poor children” or “save Africa”. I’m going to experience a beautiful new culture, simultaneously share and receive new knowledge and skills, and hopefully serve a community that could use some extra hands!

 

I’m doing everything I can to prepare, all the while knowing I won’t be prepared at all.

 

No expectations. No preconceived notions. No real plans. This is going to be hard. Powerful, life-changing, incredible…but undeniably hard. #realtalk

 

 

I will share more details soon, but I wanted to update everyone! If you feel moved to help me out (because serving in a foreign country is not exactly cheap…ha!), please visit my Fundly page: https://fundly.com/volunteer-the-real-uganda?fbclid=IwAR3joc1g4zjaUSx5JhxkJgyKKMBw_Bo2oj2gDlLirb-TzsAnt-Vb_f-XJ1E

 

Every dollar helps, and if you donate between now and November 30th, you’re automatically entered in a giveaway to win a $50 gift certificate to thecampingcommunity.com!! Tis the season of Thanksgiving!

Thank you in advance for your financial support- I will be forever thankful! 🙂

 

Don’t have a dollar to spare? Totally ok too! I gratefully accept prayers, well-wishes, and good thoughts! Leave a comment below if you have questions, advice, or just want to say hi! 🙂 

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Unplanned Adventures

It all started with a detour.

An unplanned change of direction.

An unexpected opportunity that looked interesting enough to follow.

Don’t they always?😉

Back to the story…so on this lovely Saturday; the first day of autumn AND National Public Lands Day, how could I not be outside? It’s overcast here in Northeast Ohio, but unlike yesterday when it was 87°, sunny, and humid, today actually feels like September- around 60°, cool, and breezy!

Since I’m currently #hustling and working 2 jobs, Saturdays are my only day off, so I’m doing my best to enjoy them. And maybe do some good. ☺ This afternoon I decided to take a bag of worn clothes and shoes (too worn to sell or donate) to my local Planet Aid drop box! *If you’re unfamiliar with Planet Aid, check out the link! They do really awesome work in sustainability and promoting economic development in foreign countries. You can drop of clothing, shoes, and even cloth items (like worn towels) and they will find ways to reuse and recycle them- at no cost to you!! I don’t think they’re out west yet, but I’m sure there are similar organizations. And I’m not affiliated with them in any way, I just think they do amazing work!*

BUT I didn’t just drop off my bag…I decided to love the earth a little extra for #publiclandsday and I chose to walk down to the drop box to save on carbon emissions and enjoy some fresh, fall air! Exercise, green therapy, giving to others, and kindness to the earth- what could be better?!

Weeeeell. After dropping my bag off, I started my walk back…but stumbled across a semi-hidden path that led into the forest behind some houses. Needless to say, if you know me, read this blog, or follow me on Instagram  (@wandering.nutritionist), you know I love travel and adventuring…so OF COURSE I took the path!! I had no idea where it would lead, or what I would find, but I wouldn’t know unless I tried, right? Well, as it does oftentimes in life, my decision to follow the unknown path led to a fun adventure! Surprise, surprise, there is an entire trails system throughout this neighborhood, that I wouldn’t have known about if I hadn’t taken that crazy little side route!

I suppose there’s a life lesson in this (you didn’t actually think I could pass up an opportunity for some deep thoughts and introspection, did you?). Sometimes in life, you have to not only take “the road less traveled”, but go beyond even that road. Even if the path you’re on is an adventure, you never know what you might stumble upon if you push just a little further. Take that side road. Peek around that boulder you thought was in your way. Explore the unknown. You might just discover something magical.😊

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You know it’s fall when you see MUMS!

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“the road less traveled”

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A walk in the woods:)

 

Keep wandering,

Mitch

Honey, I’m NOME!

It was everything I wanted (NEEDED) and more. As close to perfection as you can get. The happiest and most at peace I’ve felt in months, if not years.

Alaska, you have my soul.

Made even better by the company I was with #findyourtribe.

I’ve made it pretty clear…but the short reprise of my Nome adventures refreshed my soul in a way that is difficult to put into words. Yes, that sounds extremely cliche, but how can you properly use the English language for soul-speak? For feelings that stem from your gut? The connections of not only minds, but hearts?

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Taken from about 3/4 of the way up Newton Mountain

To others, Nome may not seem like an amazing place. The mountains are of average height, the weather is typically chilly, there is exactly 1 tiny movie theater, and next to no nightlife.

I love it.

Would I want to stay here for decades? No. As I’ve discussed before, I embrace change, progression, growth, and a certain level of instability, so I would likely not want to stay ANY one place for decades:) However, the relaxed pace of life, the small-town feel, the opportunities to be out in nature, and the pure freedom you can only find in Alaska draws me in. And doesn’t let go.

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A sample of Nome in all it’s glory

Unfortunately, all the love only makes it harder to leave. Not only did I have to leave behind this physical, healing, and free place…but I had to leave the tribe I became a part of. I suppose that is the downside to staying with a dear friend. I can only speak wonders about her, her roommate, and their friends. Never have I walked into a home, and felt so incredibly welcomed and comfortable, especially with so many people I did not previously know! I honestly cannot say enough good things about my six days here. I’m also not *extremely* extroverted, but in the short period of time I stayed on 3rd street- these people became family. My gratitude to all of them is eternal, and I only hope one day I’ll be able to return the love, invite them to wherever I am, and let them feel the same love I did.

To all of you beautiful souls- thank you.

 

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The view down the street- on the only sunny day I experienced! 🙂

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Hiking and happy!

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When in Alaska, you conquer mountains

 

Welcome Nome.

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xo,

Mitch

(fun fact- the title comes from the text I sent my best friend as my plane landed on the airstrip! I was so happy, and possibly delirious, but she wouldn’t expect anything less.)

 

BACK TO AK!!

Guys.

(And gals. And aliens. And dogs. And if you’re a dog, congrats on being able to read this blog post. You are an anomaly.) #rambling

If the title in all caps didn’t tip you off- I’m SO excited to be headed back to Alaska! I get to wake up nice and early tomorrow (groan) and spend almost 14 hours traveling- wahoo! (You can practically taste the sarcasm through the screen, can’t you?) Even if only for a short time, I cannot wait to smell the Bering Sea, hike through the treeless tundra, light things on fire on the beach, visit my favorite little coffee shop, and eat reindeer sausage…all with one of my favorite gals!! It’s amazing to think that 3 years ago, when I sat on the beach with my new best friends, I was fairly certain I would NEVER have the chance to visit Nome again. Boy was I wrong! Life changes, sometimes for the better, and sometimes not so much…but I can confidently say this is finally the “better”:)

Sometimes in life, it feels like you’re at the bottom of a mountain. You start climbing, you feel pretty good, and suddenly there’s an earthquake, and you get knocked back to the bottom. You’re a little bruised, inside and out, but you take a few steps forward again…only to have a dumb deer run in front of you, kicking gravel in your face, forcing you to stop. You pause, take a few deep breaths, gather your determination, and before you can even lift your foot, an entire avalanche lets loose. You not only get thrown to the bottom YET again, but now you’re buried in cold, wet, heavy snow. You’re stuck there for a while, idle, just waiting for enough of the snow to melt so you can free your arms and work on pulling yourself free. And then you start again.

Sound familiar?

I’m pretty sure I’ve been buried under the metaphorical snow for a while. If you’ve felt the same way, have hope. You might just have to wait a little bit longer for the snow to melt low enough that you can step out, and move on. You might have to use that weird-looking stick to your right, and actively dig yourself out. You might even have to warm those vocal chords, and holler for someone to help to get you out- no shame. I can’t promise speedy rescue, but I can tell you to keep the faith, stay determined, and keep your gaze forward. Eventually, you will get where you want to be.

Thankfully, this trip to the Land of the Midnight Sun just might be the tipping (melting?) point I’ve been [im]patiently waiting for. Not only will I get to enjoy a physical removal from my usual surroundings (aka VACATION), but I will get a mental break, and a huge soul refresher. I think it’s just what the doctor ordered. 🙂 Do you need the same? I’m not saying you necessarily need to book a trip to Alaska (even though it’s amazing), but maybe take a weekend trip. Book a massage. Take hike with a friend. Schedule a day off of work. Whatever you need to do to make it up that mountain.

I need to try and catch some Z’s (and, ahem, finish packing…), so that’s all for now folks. I have a lot of new posts coming up, as well as some more BIG NEWS! Stay tuned, and keep climbing!!

 

xo

Mitch

comfortable is uncomfortable

Sounds rather paradoxical, eh? How do these two opposing words equate each other in any way? Let me clarify…

 

I’ve been doing a great deal of self-reflection lately, seeing as I am a 20-something, with a degree I’m hardly utilizing, trying my damnedest to save money (I’m naturally quite frugal, and don’t care for excessive “stuff”, but still), who yearns to experience the world, and who’s searching for exactly what I am meant to be doing in this little blip on earth we call life.

I thought back to when I’ve been the happiest these last few years, and I came to a few conclusions. (No, unfortunately I still don’t have deep clarity on my life direction, but one step at a time here.)

 

  • I’ve developed a deep appreciation and love for the great outdoors. If you had told me back in high school that I would have a great time living out of a tent for weeks on end, with no makeup, no showers, and oftentimes, no running water, I would have laughed in your face. After composing myself, I’d probably give you “a look” (which you know well if you know me), and ask if you were serious- perhaps you meant the person next to me… Now, I can’t get enough of being outside- hiking, long walks, even just sitting on my porch all evening with a cup of coffee and a podcast! (comment below if your love of java runs deep- we’ll be instant friends 😉 ) I’ve learned to embrace the dirt, fresh air, and even to tolerate most bugs!
  • I love living minimalistically. I’ve really grown out of the quest for “more”, and no longer desire acquiring stuff. In general, shopping is an absolute last resort- I will continue to shuffle around the same few clothing items for work, use things until they’re threadbare/full of holes/disintegrated, and find new ways to reuse and upcycle anything! Experiences > things.
  • I actually enjoy the challenge of instability. Now, to be clear, do not mistake “instability” for “stupidity”. I would never run my savings to nil, risk being thrown on the street, or negatively affect another person with my decisions.

HOWEVER.

I am not afraid to forgo the “traditional” life path of long term career-spouse-house-dog-babies-maternity leave-back to job-work to retirement. I am single #noshame, have no dependents, am not doing the 9-5 for the next 20 years, and look forward to moving around, experiencing life as I go. I love the challenge of “how am I going to make this work?” (My parents might not be as fond of it, but hey, they’re good people who just want the best for their kid, so I don’t blame them. It’s in the parent guidebook to worry a tad 😉 )

Now, absolutely NOTHING against those who have/want the conventional life!! It is a highly respectable way to live! I think it’s awesome if you are living your dream by marrying the love of your life, having children, buying a home, finally getting your dream car, etc. Everyone deserves to live their best life. But please note- their best life. My best life might not match yours, yours might not match your best friends’, and theirs might not match their neighbor’s…and THAT’S OK. I encourage anyone and everyone out there, to work towards what makes you happy and fulfilled. It may be difficult at times, but don’t let others dictate the trajectory of your life. It’s YOURS. Very few people have a nice, straight line from point A to point B. Most of our lines include loops, zig zags, backpedaling, and sometimes they aren’t even solid! Sometimes they include points C and D, or point B ½.

 

I guess my point here (if there is a singular point…), is don’t worry if you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing. Many of us don’t. Don’t feel like you need to fulfill someone else’s dreams, wishes, plans…because they aren’t you. To me, “comfort”, in the traditional sense, isn’t really comfortable at all. I don’t particularly care to climb the corporate ladder, make a ton of money, or live in a big house on a green lawn with my future significant other. What I really care about is leaving this world a little better/cleaner/healthier than when I came, positively impacting the lives of others, fully exploring all this incredible planet has to offer, and continuing to grow my relationship with our Creator.

I would apologize for this lengthy post, but I’m working on not apologizing for being myself. And myself was rather long-winded today. 🙂 Hopefully you were able to relate to something, get reassurance, or perhaps minimize some self-doubt? If nothing else, maybe you are amused at my eccentric and dry personality. In any case, thanks for stopping by, and always feel free to reach out with questions, concerns, or just to talk if you need a friend!

 

And remember…adventure begins where comfort ends. Get out there and do yo’ thang!!

 

xo,

Mitch

I’m baaaack

HELLO FRIENDS!!

Long time no…write? Sure, we’ll go with it.

It’s been almost exactly three years since I last wrote on this blog- I’ve since worked in a school, been volunteering with my church, and I spent October 2016-July 2017 bouncing around the country with AmeriCorps NCCC (feel free to message me with any questions regarding this amazing program and/or follow the link below)! Needless to say, my desire for minimalism, travel, and exploration has only been heightened. However, I suppose it’s high time to dust this baby off, and jump back on! Why, you may ask? Glad you (hypothetically) inquired…

I’M GOING BACK!! 🙂 My 2015 10-week internship in Nome may be long done, but I’m far from done with Nome! My dear friend Bailey (also an intern from 2015), has been living in Nome for a while, we’ve gotten back into talking…and long story short, she’s given me many good reasons to return to the Land of the Midnight Sun! In just a few short weeks, I will once again be boarding a [few] planes, to fly from Cleveland, OH, to Nome, AK! You might guess I’m rather excited. More fun to come!

Stay tuned- and please comment and say hello! I love meeting new people, and if you have a blog of your own, I’d be happy to check it out!

xo, Mitch

 

Links of interest: https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps-nccc

https://www.nortonsoundhealth.org

 

A bittersweet goodbye

It was July 30th. We had shared tearful goodbyes (and a surprise little homemade scrapbook!) with our truly amazing supervisor Megan. Our house was thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned out. The living room was filled with everyone’s suitcases, backpacks, and totes, packed and ready to go. It was time to leave the place we had called home for the last 10 weeks.

Selfie stick!

Selfie stick!

I cannot fully explain how I felt that Thursday as we prepared to head out to the airport. On one hand, I was super excited to go back home to see the family and friends I had missed dearly over the past 2 months…however, I also didn’t want to leave the crazy, unpredictable, hilarious, and lovable life we created in Nome! Somehow, despite working, living, socializing, and really just being around virtually the same people 24/7, I can honestly say I really enjoyed the wonderful group of interns I spent my summer with. These people can’t be replaced y’all 😉 They each hold a different, unique, and yet special place in my heart. (How’s that for some serious cheese?!) Shout out to the Summercise interns of 2015- I love you all, and will never forget our experience together!

The girls!

The girls!

On the plane to Anchorage! So sad :(

On the plane to Anchorage! So sad 😦

I mean, I look pretty great in those waders...

I mean, I look pretty great in those waders…

The view from the Anchorage airport...even on the way out, Alaska never ceases to amaze me!

The view from the Anchorage airport…even on the way out, Alaska never ceases to amaze me!

Flying home!

Flying home!

Lastly...my first cup of Starbucks in 10 weeks! Yes, it had to be celebrated:)

Lastly…my first cup of Starbucks in 10 weeks! Yes, it had to be celebrated:)

Thanks to all who’ve been keeping up with me through this journey! It was truly amazing…I miss it every day, but have no fear, I diligently keep the memories alive…social media helps 😉

au revoir! xoxo

Michelle ❤