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Back in August, 2014 I was bored. My husband, Luke, was gone on another long Army training trip and I had spent six weeks doing every blessed thing on my to-do list. I had even cleaned out almost all of my Outlook work email account, created rules for incoming email and organized everything into email files. (If you know anything about Microsoft Outlook you know that this was tedious, stab-me-in-the-eye work). I had trained for triathlons, cleaned out closets, written freelance articles, bleached my teeth …
But most of all I missed my outside buddy. I missed having someone to camp with, the presence of someone who magically always knows how to get the fire started (how DOES he do that and why can’t !?). I missed kayaking — I’m about three inches too short to get the kayaks on top of our SUV alone, and since he is about four inches taller than I am, well, the whole thing just works.
So I decided to start a blog — this blog — where I can think about living the outdoor life, where we can be humans who go outside and then come back inside and write about it. I registered the URL. I started the party.
Over the next several months I wrote blog posts and got ready for the day that I was ready to launch … but that day never came.
And I realized that really, what was going on, was that I was waiting for this site to be perfect, not just done.
Because I was afraid.
I was afraid that you would come here, read this and think that I’m silly. I was afraid you’d come and judge me for not being outdoorsy enough to start a blog about being a human who goes outside. I was afraid that you would hate the colors, or the logo, or the project, or the idea or, or, or …
And so I found a lot of things to do to keep me from putting the finishing touches on the posts I needed done to launch this site. Some of them were truly ridiculous. Some of them were noble. All of them were born of procrastination.
And so, for your entertainment, here are 26 example of …
The ridiculous ways I’ve found to procrastinate in the last 53 days.
It started as a quirky, crazy sounding experiment popping up here and there on my Facebook newsfeed in 2012. “What the crap is Whole30?” I asked my friends. Answer: a very strict way of eating that could produce awesome results. Sub-answer: you have to give up Diet Coke.
So that made it a definite “no” for me.
But I was still intrigued. I was exercising and dieting like a crazy person, hungry all the time, or caving and then stuffing my face with junk food because I just couldn’t take it anymore. A giant soy latte for breakfast, Shakeology with soy milk for lunch, dinners packed with low-fat options and artificial sweeteners. I wasn’t obese by any means, but the pudgy baby weight from my second son just wouldn’t go away no matter how many hours I spent in the gym. It was extremely discouraging.
Plus, I’m really grouchy when I’m hungry, and that wasn’t fun for anyone.
And always there, in the back of my mind, was my sick relationship with food and dieting. Since my teenage years, I had carefully taught myself that the quantity of food on my plate was the gateway to all body image happiness. Feeling hungry was a GOOD thing, I thought, because it meant I was exercising portion control. It meant that my body was having to burn all that ugly fat … didn’t it? And dieting meant you would loose weight. Dieting was the be all, end all.
Still, it wasn’t working.
I like a challenge, and Whole30 certainly sounded like a big one. Plus, I clearly needed a change. Could I, for 30 days, give up all grains, legumes, dairy, soy, preservatives, flavor enhancers, most cooking oils, sugar, artificial sweetener and, most importantly, Diet Coke? Could I just eat real food? WAS IT EVEN POSSIBLE FOR A HUMAN TO DO?
And so in early 2013 we started the Whole30. Thirty days of just eating real food — veggies, proteins, healthy fats with every meal and fruit now and then. Quitting cold turkey the stuff that had been getting me through my days (soy and artificial sweeteners, for the most part), and trying to see if our health got any better as a result.
And it did — dramatically. But not just in pounds lost. That’s not the only reason Whole30 changed my life.
What do you do if you’re camping, preparing for incoming heavy rain and suddenly
tear discover there’s a hole in the rainfly?
Panic? Pack-up and go home? Wish really hard it hadn’t ripped while you were tightening it over your tent?
When this happened to us in October, 2014 we were on day zero of a camping trip at Cades Cove campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was a gorgeous fall day. But the wind was picking up and the weather forecast told us that there was a major storm system incoming. We were planning to spend five nights inside the park. All of them included some rain predictions.
So we set about making camp for a rain storm. REI Kingdom 8 tent set-up on top of the footprint? Check. Garage attachment installed and staked to provide a shelter for gear, dog crate and food? Check. Rain fly attached, staked and cinched so no rain can come flying into the tent’s mesh (a common problem with this tent as far as we’re concerned) in the wind? ….
One morning I woke-up and thought “You know what we should do today? Go spelunking for six hours on the Mammoth Cave wild cave tour.”
OK, it didn’t go down quite like that. But six hours of spelunking through Mammoth Cave National Park is what ended up happening.
Mammoth Cave National Park is the closest National Park to our current home, so of course we have been there several times. It’s also where I bought my cancelation stamp book and got my first stamps. (You want to be obsessed with this, too. Go here to learn about it.)
The park, which has no entry fee, spans over 52,000 acres. Above ground that means some really pretty central Kentucky hiking. Below ground that means more than 82 square miles of pitch black winding cave passages filled with bats, cave crickets and other critters of darkness. The National Park makes up on a small portion of what is generally considered to be the longest cave system in the world. And thanks to the park you can go in there.
Sounds fun, huh?