I’m excited to continue to integrate the past couple of decades of my career experience in the field of neuroscience, mindset, and my extensive world travels and outdoor experiences into a way of contributing new perspectives and models for physical-mental-social-spiritual health.
Some favorite travel memories include:
- Hiking the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu (not the tourist way.. Completely in the dark with headlamps on a steep cliff at times, and tarps as tents!
- Climbing one of the highest peaks in Central America (Volcan Tajamulco) and being able to see Mexico
- A two-week kayaking trip in the pacific ocean to remote uninhabited islands
- Taking a fishing boat with a toothless fisherman (and having the roof of the boat fly off as we got overtaken by waves.. He then ripped a sleeve of his shirt to tie the roof back on and we all had to hold in place. We had to time our breathing in between waves. We then ended up at a remote island in columbia with no electricity or running water. Slept in a hammock for two weeks and had the best sleep! So many stories to tell- i’ll share some later!
- Living with kids in an orphanage in Ghana, west Africa and helping the local school with their reading program…loved playing soccer with the kids
- Volunteering to clean bathrooms in exchange for staying in a treehouse in the amazon rainforest. There were no walls, and it took a 3 hour canoe ride to access it (which meant bringing in supplies as well). A frog jumped around in our shower at night, the ‘house tarantula’ was named Annie and visitors would interact with her in the evenings, letting her climb on them.
- 4 to 6-week long camping trips with my family when I was a child and teenager to many different national parks in the US. We often used a tent (even my 70-year old grandma joined us in our tent!) but later brought in a van for some of us to sleep in.
that bridge collapsed shortly after we were on it.. had to climb over the stream on the way back lol, luckily it wasn't a big one
Most of all, I loved leading a cohort of young adults through Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica - on a spiritual and healing journey, where we integrated many amazing outdoor adventures including getting certified in scuba diving, hiking and mountain climbing, with personal discovery: 1-on-1 counseling, meditation, self-reflection exercises, yoga, community service projects. It was the intentionality of it that felt so rewarding… that we were traveling and adventuring not just for fun, but to discover deeper dimensions to ourselves and to heal and transform.
ruins in peru. didn't have smartphones to take pictures.. this was from a cheap travel camera I had.
These are just a few of the incredible experiences that had a memorable impact on me. No matter what else was going on in my life at the time, having these experiences brought me out of myself in a way - and helped me see life and the world differently. I think combining this with self-introspection, and understanding how our self-beliefs influence our perception and inner physiological reactions, and other aspects of neurophysiology would be impactful. These are things that i would love to continue to explore as ways of helping others regain a sense of inner strength and aliveness.
frog napping in our hammock
A big part of what I also want to continue looking into are the mechanisms of what gets people to actually join these types of experiences. What motivates them to type up an application and submit, or find a way to organize their expenses to try out a new learning experience? As always for me, i want to go into the concrete neuro-mechanisms of this because i believe this helps us study it in a concrete way, which can help us replicate and teach it. I want these ideas to be more explicit in the hopes that this can help schools, mental health programs and society in general know how to incorporate new ideas for improving overall functioning and wellbeing.
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
With Love From Me to You
view from Tajamulco
This year feels like a year of training and education. My clarity about wanting to offer some type of training in outdoor settings and desire to get back to my roots of adventures and exploration has brought me to a new path of learning. I have just applied to a 5-day experiential wilderness and nature-based intervention training in Colorado this August for therapists and educators working with trauma, attachment and nervous system regulation. I also know that in order to stay safe in my new adventures, I need more training in personal security - there is a course that I would like to attend in the spring. This year is for bringing down expenses as best i can, but I’m balancing that with still doing some of these trainings because they are an investment towards a new lifestyle and way of earning income and living a life that aligns with what I most want... so it's currently a balancing act to figure all that out financially.
I believe that moving away from four-walled structures and being more intentional in how we integrate technology into our lives is an important part of human development. I also feel that we need more education and awareness about root causes of anxiety, depression - and the void that people feel, which can lead to addictions, whether to substances, technology, or other behaviors that lead people away from their highest levels of health and wellbeing.
Great news I received yesterday is that the publishing company i signed with just go acquired by a larger company called DeGruyter based in Berlin, which means an even larger and more international distribution for my book! I got some lovely comments from my editor, who is enjoying reading it so far, which is always nice to hear 🙂 I will also possibly be speaking at the Veterans Outdoors Advocacy Group (VOAG) summit this summer - that dates for the event are still being confirmed.
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