you haven't used in a long while. This action may
help you feel unburdened.
All material things are in flux,
and feeling possessive is a kind of suffering.
This post follows part 1 of our Oregon trip. :) Hope you don't mind.
Day 5 :: We started the day on the beach + then set out toward our next camping spot...a little ways up the coast in South Beach State Park. We stopped for lunch in Newport + happened upon the best spot to eat under the trees (Cafe Mundo). The beach was a mile-long walk away from our campsite + the afternoon was spent reading + beach combing. After dinner, we searched for shooting + fell asleep to sea lion barks.
Day 6 :: We went to Devil's Punchbowl, a fantastic place to spot whales. We saw multiple whales that just hung out near the shore spouting + flipping. We also went to Depoe Bay + watched whales in the bay there. We parked the van at Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint in the afternoon + just hung out on the bluffs, made dinner in the van + watched the sunset over the ocean.
Day 7 :: We drove a little bit further up the coast to Cape Lookout State Park. Again we went to the beach + Julia found her long searched for sand dollar...lots of them. I'm not sure what it was about this beach, but it was full of sand dollars. We also saw a big crab scuttle back under the sand. Like on the other beaches, there were jelly fish too. We laughed so much our last night on the beach...running from biting bugs + scuttling creatures up + down the beach. The sunset was spectacular...and we felt lucky + content.
Day 8 :: We got up early, tidied up the van + drove back into Portland. We ate brunch (at Back to Eden), visited a few independent shops + a thrift shop...returned the van + caught a ride to the airport.
A few of the things we love about Oregon:
-all of the varied landscapes...so much to see...places to hike + camp
-a culture of care for the environment
-it's easy to find gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, zero-waste, organic options
-lots of independent shops, bookshops, thrift shops, coffee shops + places to eat
-no sales tax
Hope your summer travels have fed your soul...whether they were across the living room, across town, or across the globe. Every one of those has good things to offer. We just have to notice.
If you live in Oregon or visit often, we are jealous...and you know so much more about it than we do. :) Here are just a few of my impressions...mainly...I love Oregon. so. much.
We saw big cities, small towns, miles of forests, lava fields, deserts, canyons, waterfalls, mighty rivers, rushing streams + the endless ocean. And we only drove 700 miles total. There was another surprise around every bend in the road + we were amazed multiple times per day. No exaggeration. In case anyone cares to follow along...here's what we did.
Day 1 :: We flew into Portland, took the train downtown + walked to our hotel near the legendary Powell's bookstore. We ate some amazing Thai food (at Thai Peacock), took in some inspiring street style, browsed some independent shops, thrifted + spent plenty of time book browsing. We had some incredible shave ice for dinner + bought some groceries for the next few days at Whole Foods.
Day 2 :: We took a Lyft to Roamerica, where we picked up our van + were on our way along the Columbia River Gorge. We stopped at Multnomah Falls + picked up some farm-fresh blueberries + peaches in Hood River. Mount Hood came into view + a number of other peaks line the drive down to Trillium Lake. We hiked around the lake + then continued on into the desert where we saw wild horses rolling in a stream. Deep in the river filled canyon at Cove Palisades, we spent the night. Huge boulders speckled our campsite + the girls climbed up onto them + right up into the trees. The sunset against the canyon walls was spectacular. The stars that night made me teary for all that we normally miss. Truly amazing.
Day 3 :: We set out for Bend. On the way, we stopped at a another scenic canyon that just drops out of the desert + also the spectacular Smith Rock. Next time, I would definitely spend some time hiking around at Smith Rock. Instead the girls scaled this climbing rock. :) We stopped for tasty tacos (at Spork) + headed into town to browse the shops + bookstores. A big rain + hail storm told us it was time to head to our campsite in Sisters for dinner.
Day 4 :: We woke up to rain + two fawns + a doe running past our campsite. We'd planned to hike to a waterfall + swimming hole, but the rain told us to move on. We grabbed a bite at a gluten-free bakery (Angelina's) (gotta catch those when you can) + walked around Sisters during a break in the rain. Then we headed for the ocean. The scenic route took us up McKenzie Pass, past lava fields + Dee Wright Observatory. There were miles + miles of dense, mossy forest. We stopped for lunch alongside a river + found wild blackberries growing outside the van door.
We continued on to Eugene, where we stopped to do a little thrifting, eat a little ice-cream + do a little grocery shopping. Then we pushed on + caught our first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean. We pulled into Beachside State Recreation Site (probably my favorite camping spot) + spent the evening on the beach...taking in our first sunset over the ocean.
I'm going to break this post into two parts...so a little more tomorrow. :)
I imagine that most of us have heard that an alarmingly large portion of the Amazon rainforest is on fire. We know that the rainforest provides a significant portion of the planet's oxygen, carbon sequestration, water cycle maintenance + climate stabilization. It is a source of food + medicine. The rainforest provides a unique habitat for varied plant + animal species and is home to indigenous peoples. We all depend on the health of the Amazon rainforest.
As the American president loosens environmental protections one after another, Brazil's president has been about the same business. Both leaders are willing to lay down precious natural resources in the pursuit of for-profit resource exploitation. Farmers + ranchers in the Amazon started most of the currently burning fires in order to clear land for cattle grazing. Brazil is now the world's leading exporter of beef.
Discussion over who should have to pay the price of rainforest conservation has been in play for many years. If all people benefit from rainforests, why should only those countries that contain this resource pay the price of decreased land use + productivity? Today, the leaders at the G7 agreed to send $20 million to help put out the fires raging in the Amazon + to aid in reforestation. The Brazilian president views this aid as colonialism...powerful nations dictating preservation. How do we help preserve the environment, if those in power do not wish to protect it? These questions deserve attention.
A little over a decade ago, it was the realization that the rainforest was being clearcut in order to make way for cattle grazing that pushed me over the hump in deciding to stop eating meat. The rainforests are vital to our survival, and I would rather have oxygen than beef.
A few ways we can participate in stopping the fires + deforestation:
-give up beef or decrease consumption
-share this connection with others
-donate to these organizations already at work
Last week I pulled all of my summer clothes out + reevaluated what got worn, what works + what might work better for someone else. My focus on "enough" has made this a welcome process, rather than one that I dread. It probably sounds a bit silly, but I do enjoy learning from this process.
Some preferences shift + change...and some stay the same. A couple of summer preferences that I really do need to trust + embrace:
-I like sleeveless tops, dresses + jumpsuits in the hot months. My daily circumstances are rarely such that I will be comfortable even in short sleeves all day. I love the look of breezy blouses, but they are too hot most days...for me. I don't work in an air-conditioned environment right now + try to keep our AC running as little as possible. Sleeveless pieces are easiest to layer. Plus...sun-kissed shoulders are nice. ;)
-I really like soft fabrics. Stiff fabrics really don't see much use in my wardrobe. If I dressed the way that is most attractive to me, I would wear soft, pale jeans + a soft white tee every day. In reality I wear soft tanks, soft shorts/pants + jumpsuits/overalls most. Might as well embrace it.
So...I let go of a few lovely pieces that really do feel like me. This can feel a bit sad, but I know they will be more useful in someone else's wardrobe. I don't have to own every lovely thing. It can also make me feel guilt over the money spent. This is where it is good to sell something before it loses more of its value (I'll recover most of the money spent)...and...where it's important to make note of + learn from the mistake. I really try to focus in on the reasons that a particular piece doesn't work for me + I try to make notes for next warm/hot season.
-I like white tops.
-Swingy, lightweight, elastic waisted shorts are great. Esprit pattern or maybe Pietra.
-Favorite summer fabrics: lightweight rayon, cotton, linen + voile
-Sandals that don't flip or flop + have a little arch support are most comfortable
What I'm left with for the summer months:
-short rayon jumpsuit (that I wear as shorts with a tank over top)
I always feel lighter + happier at the end of this process. I know that I have what I need + that I'm not holding things from others. One planet...limited resources...gratitude... generosity...compassion...love.
We started back to school this week, and it's always an adjustment to schedules + expectations. The first book Julia is reading for school is the one I couldn't resist picking up in Bend...The Wildlands by Abby Geni. There was a review on the cover that read, "Think Silent Spring by way of Celest Ng"...and I was sold. (Next up...Crime + Punishment. There are similarities.)
The rainforest is burning. How we can help.
Migrant families to face indefinite detainment. "It all comes together like a beautiful puzzle."
Seeking asylum is not a crime.
Plastic water bottle ban. Why would anyone need one?
Fair-trade certified jeans at Target...including plus sizes.
Hope you enjoy a beautiful weekend on this planet we share.
We are busy people, so time plays a major role in what we consider to be self-care. Depending on our life circumstances...student living with roommates, mama of little ones, newcomer to a new town, or whatever unique circumstances we find ourselves in...we might view time spent in self-care differently. Sometimes time spent alone is what we crave most + at others, time spent with friends is what feeds our souls.
Supportive friendship as well as time + space for ourselves are both important elements of our thriving, healing, rejuvenation + wellness. And yet, I believe that self-care is not truly self-care, if it ultimately leaves us feeling more stressed about our health, time or money. Again our circumstances + preferences can vary widely in this area...and even over an individual lifetime.
Social media tells us that people are enjoying fabulous times together sitting on exotic beaches, eating colorful meals out on the town, attending lovely parties, dancing wildly at concerts + sipping drinks on picturesque rooftops...laughing all the while. The same social media tells us that time spent alone in self-care involves pedicures + facials + massages + shopping bags. And while lots of those things sound like a lot of fun, I can't honestly afford to do even one of them every week. We can get into real trouble with our budgets, if we let ourselves get carried along by every whim, invitation or expectation (whether our own or other's). Our fear of missing out may leave us without ample time to truly slow down + tune into our own souls.
If time spent with friends is to be true self-care, it might need to look a bit more like this (at least a majority of the time) ::
-instead of meeting at a coffee shop :: tea + store-bought cookies together at home (a favorite custom from our time in London)
-instead of a weekly zumba class :: morning walks together...or decide on a challenge to do together- to hike all the parks in your city or visit all the landmarks
-instead of a night at the theater :: movie night at home with popcorn (find an air popper on craigslist)- switch off who picks the movie + assigns the next category- fave 80s movie, fave Matt Damon movie, high school fave...
-instead of a day out shopping :: a clothing swap, a tour de thrift shops, a trip to the flea market
-instead of eating out ::
-taco night- everyone bring a topping or two
-every one bring their own dinner to a park
-club sandwich- everyone bring a sandwich + cut them to share
-instead of a night out on the town :: um...most nights out on the town don't leave one feeling better in the morning ;)
-instead of sporadic texting :: make a phone call...facetime
If time spent alone is to be true self-care, it might look more like this (at least most of the time) ::
-instead of a manicure :: paint nails at home for the cost of the nail polish or grow out the damaged nails + enjoy those healthy, naked nails (!)
-instead of a massage :: use a foam roller...trade massages with your partner...maybe even find a massage table on craigslist to up the luxury for both giver + receiver
-instead of a coffee shop drink :: figure out some tasty drinks to make at home...even a few little splurges at the grocery store go a lot further than the same money spent at a cafe
-instead of shopping :: wear what's already in the closet or make-up bag...take the fairdare...declutter your closet...embrace "less" + "enough"...take a no-buy challenge for a period of time...explore what it feels like...learn...grow
-instead of an all day netflix marathon :: declutter, learn something, visit the library, turn on music + dance
-instead of scrolling instagram :: journal, make moonlists, meditate, write out feelings in letter form (to God, a friend...send it or don't), stretch, move or get outside
Time spent alone becomes a luxury for moms of young children in particular, not because we want time away from our beloved babes...but because suddenly none of our time or even our own bodies belong to us. As a mama of small children, perhaps my best bit of self-care was protecting my little ones' naps + bedtimes. An overall (not militant) routine is important. Even as my girls grew out of naps, I tried to protect a quiet time when they would play on their own in their rooms for a period of time...so that we could each foster a little independence + alone time. As children grow older, trading playdates + sleepovers + having friends whose children love yours can provide time for self-care...both alone + with friends.
I think that one of the main rejuvenating aspects of time spent either alone or with friends is being intentional about slowing down enough to fully engage + be present in the moments we are spending in this type of self-care. We spend so much of our time trying to multitask or struggling to remember something else we need to get done or feeling stressed about what we have not done. Whether we take two minutes to meditate or sing out loud to that song we love...or four hours to lay on the couch + laugh with friends...we can just try to be fully there.
Be gentle with yourself, friend.
Also in this series on self-care :: roots + wellness
Lots of love,
I'm an avid student of simple, alternative lifestyles...tiny living, nomadic souls, living off the land, van life. And...I grew up camping in a pop-up camper with my family of six...campfires, long hikes, pit toilets + bathing in lakes. My little tribe has been tent camping for years, though rainy days + nights have dampened my enthusiasm. But nature's call is strong, and I still want to get out there (minus the rain soaked tent). A van vacation has been a dream for a looooong time.
After years of researching rental campers, VW vans + other vehicles (often covered with huge howling wolf advertisements)...and this year deciding to visit Oregon...I found the perfect rental for us. So the four of us lived in a van for a week!
Things we love about this van:
-the size...small enough to fit in parking spots...big enough for four full-sized people :)
-all the amenities...sink, stove, fridge, solar panel, pop-top with lots of screened windows, swivel front seats, lots of storage space, heater (didn't need), lights
-everything we needed was included (+ even some things that we didn't use)...we each packed a backpack + bought some groceries when we got there...and that's all we needed!
All that we used (for my notes):
-pan + lid, french press
-4 bowls, 1 plate, 4 spoons, 4 forks, 4 mugs
-1 pop-up storage container (could just use an emptied hummus container instead)
-lighter, scissors, can-opener, knife + cutting board
-kitchen towel, cleaning spray, dish soap, trash can, hand broom
-4 bath towels, 2 sets of sheets, 2 Rumpl blankets, 4 camp pillows (we put these on top of our rolled up towels to sleep)
-atlas (cell service is not always available), lantern, 1 camp chair
(the van came loaded with lots more)
Would add for us personally:
-wash cloth + hook to dry it
-I'd use an empty yogurt container to collect compost + keep it in the fridge until disposal, if a collection site was available
What we brought from home:
-bug spray, sunscreen
-book, notebook, pen, phone, charger, water bottle, 2 baggu bags
I loved the van for all the reasons that I thought I would. We could be sheltered from the blazing sun, heavy winds or hungry mosquitoes with the doors + windows open + the breeze blowing through. We were dry when it rained, raised off the ground + were left with no wet, muddy tent to put in the car with the rest of the stuff we were trying to keep clean + dry. The beds were comfortable + we were warm (though two grown girls sharing the top bunk was tight). We marveled at the stars...hung out next to the river or ocean some days...heard waves + seals from our beds...and slept in a new spot every night.
We're not really in the market for full-time van life at the moment, but I would definitely love to do it more long-term in the future...especially for just two of us. We had all that we needed right there in that pretty compact vehicle...with space left over! We could go with a bit smaller van, if there were only two of us. And just so you know that the opinions here are not just my own...here are some things (besides repeating much of what I've expressed) my companions had to say about van life:
Mr: Do it.
Jo: I could live in a van.
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time