New Year, More Nourishment
We are nearing the end of 2016, which means the upswing of countdowns, 'Best Of' and 'Top 10' lists is inevitable. While preparing for my upcoming year of adventure, I've been reflecting on my most meaningful travel experiences of 2016. I decided to hop on the bandwagon and create my own list of my top 10 most fulfilling, nourishing adventures of 2016. Remember, nourishment is about more than the food you put in your mouth. Travel feeds my soul. What feeds yours? Do more of that in 2017.
Here we goooooo.
1. January 2016: AVANTO ('hole in the ice'). It is a Finnish winter tradition to heat up in an outdoor sauna and then immediately plunge into an ice cold lake, repeating as many cycles as you choose. I was lucky to ring in my New Year with the Lahdesmaki family in Helsinki and Tampere, Finland, where we made a trip to the lake in the video below (video by Markku Lahdesmaki, music by Julian (Jones) Lahdesmaki) on two separate occasions. The nighttime sauna/polar plunge cycle may just be the most invigorating experience I have had yet. The Finn's are on to something!
2. May 2016: Boise, Idaho 25 mile "Cycle for Independence". I run. A lot. However, I've spent very little time on a road bike. This was a charity ride to raise money for the blind of Idaho and it also happened to be the farthest I've ever cycled and the first time I've taken part in a cycling event. To new challenges!
3. July, 2016: White Water Rafting with my family down Clear Creek in Colorado. My brother moved to Denver 8/2015 and this was our first trip to visit him as a family. We had such a fun raft trip and also spent lots of time hiking in the Rockies.
4. July, 2016: Rio Grande Gorge trail running in New Mexico. I took a solo trip to New Mexico, a state I had been wanting to visit since I did my state project on it in 4th grade! The view of the Rio Grande Gorge in Taos, NM is absolutely breath taking. I drove by it one day on the way to the Earthship I stayed in and decided I had to go back the following day for some trail running. I fell and busted my knee, but it was worth it for the view and the herd of deer I ran into!
5. July, 2016: Solo Hike to Wheeler Peak in Taos, New Mexico. I hiked Wheeler Peak at Taos Ski Valley, which is the highest point in New Mexico, in the peak of wildflower season. Up to that point was the highest elevation I had been to so far at over 13,000 ft. I hiked alone but met some great people along the way and at the culmination of the 14 mile hike, I grabbed a refreshing german bier at The Bavarian Lodge. This was one of my all-time favorite hikes.
6. July, 2016: Hiking and Swimming at Acadia National Park in Maine. Cliffs, sweeping water views and glacier-scoured granite peaks on a perfect summer day. It was nice being reconnected to my New England roots.
7. August/September, 2016: Summiting Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. I prepared a lot and read a lot before my summit attempt, but nothing could have fully prepared me for this climb. This is by far the most rugged and psychologically challenging thing I have ever done- pooping behind rocks, not showering for 6 days and the final 7 hour summit in the freezing cold and dead of night with mild symptoms of altitude sickness (others suffered much worse from the altitude- I was lucky!). Ugh. During that last summit push, I questioned my sanity, but in retrospect it was an absolutely amazing experience and I am so proud of this accomplishment!
8. October, 2016: American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference in Naples, Florida. I have been to many medical conferences, most of which I find uninspiring and frustrating. They all focus on band-aid solutions to medical problems without ever addressing the underlying cause and they serve you a steady diet of deli meat sandwhiches, soda and cookies. "Healthcare". The ACLM conference was such a rejuvenating experience and reminded me of why I am actually in the healthcare field. The focus of the conference was "Healthy People, Healthy Planet" and the lectures described the impact of the standard american diet (SAD) on the health of our nation and the health of our planet (which are things I convey in my coaching sessions!). We were served delicious, nutritionally dense plant-based meals and everyone in attendance looked active and healthy. I was with my people!
9. November, 2016: Guiding the New York City Marathon. I have been volunteering with Achilles International, an amazing, supportive, tight knit community for athletes with disabilities, since I first moved to New York. This was the second year I had the pleasure of guiding an athlete during the marathon. The marathon is an amazing experience in itself, but running it as a guide makes it that much more special. Kathleen, lost her vision only a few years ago, but was determined not to let that end her running addiction. She worked really hard to get to that finish line and it was a honor to help her achieve her goal.
10. November, 2016: Sound Bath in the Integratron. The sound bath consists of laying in a comfortable position on a floor mat while a 'musician' play a series of quartz crystal singing bowls keyed to the energy centers of the body. Due to the acoustics in the structure and because sound travels faster through water than air (and our bodies are mostly water), the sound vibrations flow through your body. It felt as if the sound waves were gently tapping on my ear drums and dancing through my veins. The experience sounds (no pun intended) trippy, but was meditative, deeply relaxing and rejuvenating. It was like a massage for all of your senses; incredibly unique and worth the 25 bucks. Read more about it here.
Nourishment comes in many different forms. What will you do to nourish yourself in 2017? I'd love to hear your plans in the comment section below!
I'm planning a whole lot more travel nourishment in 2017. I depart for my Remote Year adventure on January 30th and will be spending a year living in 12 cities and 11 different countries. Ah! You can sign up for monthly blog newsletters here to get travel updates, wellness tips and recipes from around the world.