Sensational headline much? OK, yes, but it’s not really hyperbole. I’ll explain.

Smiling at the camera along with Buddy Bison in San Francisco the day before visiting Yosemite National Park and learning to embrace and live for adventure
The last selfie I took on the day before I visited Yosemite National Park for the first time. A trip that would change my life and teach me to love adventure.

This was the day before I visited Yosemite (or any national park for that matter) for the first time. A trip that would literally change my life forever. A trip that led us to a year long national parks road trip. And a trip that led me to living and working in Yosemite Valley this summer. I had no idea, when taking this picture, that we’d be moving to California less than two years later. Did I look any different the next day? Well, on that first day in Yosemite maybe, since I couldn’t keep my jaw off the ground while admiring its beauty, but otherwise probably not. But the inside was so, so different after that trip.

This is the last picture of me as a novice hiker, before my first solo camping trip, before I knew that I could survive from only what I could carry on my back. In many ways, this was a much less confident version of me. And as I head into a completely new chapter of life in a new year all I can think is…

Life is weird. And unexpected. And wonderful. Click To Tweet

Of course there are complications and frustrations and sacrifice in life, especially when living “unconventionally”, but you get to choose how you react to and deal with those things. One of my mantras over the last 18 months or so has been: “ADVENTURE!” Any time something goes horribly wrong, or I’m faced with a tough time, I return to that mantra and realize that with branching out of my comfort zone, experiencing new things, meeting new people and taking on a certain amount of uncertainty and risk comes…”issues”. And when I return to that mantra of “ADVENTURE” it helps me realize: life is a balance of good and bad. And without the bad there is no good.

I’ve been thinking a lot about mantras and intentions lately as we head into 2018. I’ll be sharing some other words I use to keep myself grounded and sane soon, but in the meantime I’d love to hear the words and phrases you use to guide your thoughts. Please share in the comments!

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