All last night I couldn’t sleep. It was a good “can’t sleep” though. Scheduled for today was the first group hike for my local chapter of Mountain Chicks that I had planned a couple weeks ago. I am sitting here now, 13 long hours after my alarm has gone off for the day. Thinking about how happy I am and how incredible this morning and afternoon was. I stepped outside of my box and I think it was the best thing I could have ever done.
Being mostly an introvert; group outings can be daunting and overwhelming for me. However, this was a different kind of gathering. It wasn’t for something I didn’t want to do. It wasn’t an obligation. It was something I volunteered for; something that I chose to do to challenge my ever-changing-self. Meet up with a bunch of strangers (outside of the safety of my phone or computer) and hike around the forest.
Let me just tell you, after we left our late lunch and said our goodbyes this afternoon, I couldn’t wipe the dorky smile off of my face. There wasn’t one lady today that I didn’t connect with for a brief time. Each individual brought an element to the table that made for the perfect first group meeting. WE HAD SO MUCH FUN.
Aside from the very first moments when we nervously introduced ourselves and recognized faces, we all got comfortable fairly quickly and were joking and sharing stories in no time. After all, we all came here to do the same thing. To be outside and to meet other women who love and appreciate hiking on a hot Midwestern day, just the same.
I learned so much today! We talked openly about the struggles of trying to play it cool when really, you’re breathing as heavy as Fernando, Sara’s GIANT Mastiff-Lab mix, and trying to hide it.
We discussed future goals and our bucket list locations (JMT 2019!) We shared water purification and carrying preferences. Talked about gear with people who actually care and understand your obsession. Wireless headphones or wired headphones?! (Heather!!!) Excitement for our overnight backpacking trip in October. It was truly, just a wonderful experience for the first time I have ever hiked with more than one person besides myself or B. It was a relaxed day. There were no expectations and we just enjoyed our walk in the woods; in the company of each other. Pics or it didn’t happen: I have a feeling that great new friendships built on a passion for the outdoors will be born from this, distant adventure dreams will soon become realities, and seeing as how we can talk about bodily functions and fluids with nobody flinching…lots of camping trips and weekends well spent.
Stepping outside of my comfort zone has never been more satisfying. This month has by far contained the the most incredible and rewarding things. Everything is falling into place and I am so grateful to be given the opportunities that are in my hands right now. Being a representative for THREE (yes, you read that right – I have another announcement) great organizations, running my business at max capacity (and voted best salon in the county…unreal!), having a seamless and liveable schedule, and starting my new Monat business…I am thoroughly hashtag blessed. Thank you to every person that supports me in any way. By reading, by following, by being a client, by being a friend, or even by being just a quiet observer.
With that being said, here is my NEW news! I was accepted by Madera Outdoor to be a brand ambassador! This company is changing lives, people. For every hammock purchased, they plant TWO trees (#hammocksneedtrees). “With our support in developing garden forests, Madera provides farming families within the countries of Uganda, Senegal, Kenya, Tanzania, and Cameroon with sustainable sources of food, livestock fodder, fuel, and forest products to consume and sell at nearby markets.”
And my gift to you for supporting Madera when you purchase a hammock + straps (sold separately!) is 30% off of your order using the code JPTT30 at checkout! If you have been thinking of buying a hammock, now is your chance! Treat yourself, and help people at the same time.
Can you even handle all of the good things?! I cannot!
I am going to sleep well tonight, and look so forward to the events to come!