For the Love of Water

As a girl from the Pacific Northwest I never really thought all that much about water except that we have a lot of it! In the Seattle area, it rains ALL the time, we have oceans nearby and the mountains have snow which melts down into the rivers. Water is everywhere! Everything is green. Moss even grows on the rocks!

I love the water! My boyfriend and I are sailors so we spend lots of time on it. We have been sailing in the San Juan Islands throughout this last summer and we are now planning on taking professional sailing training so that we can be on the water full time!

Our training will be held in Gibraltar so we are traveling from the Pacific Northwest across the country to Florida so that we can fly out of Jacksonville. We are taking our time traveling across the country so that we can see the parts of it that interest us. So far, we have traveled from Washington state, down into Oregon and California. We like to take the back roads so we can see the lesser travelled areas.

Being water lovers, we are always looking for lakes to paddle or camp nearby. Imagine our surprise as we came upon the first lake where there was no water! Just a dry lake bed. And then we saw another and another.  The lakes that did have water were 50% or less of their normal size and most of the rivers were a mere trickle compared to their former robust glory. When we stopped for gas near the second dry lake, we asked the gentleman serving us “Where did all the water go?” He said that it went dry back in the 50’s when they started tapping into the water for irrigating nearby crops.

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(Washoe “Lake” This is a boat ramp into a grass field.)

Further south in the valley near Bishop, CA I was told stories about big cities coming over the mountains to buy land and water rights – only to funnel all of that precious water out of the valley into the Los Angeles area.

So here’s the thing….I’m no expert. I don’t have all the answers. I just know what I’ve seen. I don’t know if this is happening because of global warming, or overuse, or unfair redistribution but it sure looks to me like this problem is only getting worse.

So here is my challenge to you: Find out what you can do. Get real about how much water you use. There are water conservation districts in your area – find out what they suggest. Find out where your water comes from! This is a matter of public record. Don’t just take the easy answer – go at least 3 steps back to find the original source of water. Challenge your neighbors and friends to conserve water as well. BUY A REFILLABLE WATER BOTTLE. As far as I’m concerned, the single use bottles should be banned.  Find out what you can do and DO IT.

Water is our most precious resource. We must respect it. Without it we die.

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Boats in the Desert and Exploding Heads!

You should see the looks we get driving down the road! Double and triple takes are the norm. People can not figure out what we are towing behind our truck and there are also two paddle boards on top of the truck and bicycles on front! We are carrying our adventure with us and now we are definitely part of the Travel Tribe!

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(The Truck, with Paddle boards and Bikes, Pulling the Boat)

We left Anacortes early in the morning and travelled south through Seattle. A final rain shower baptized us as we headed south reminding us why we made this choice to go south. We made a short stop in Oregon to visit family and then out east on HWY 22 looking for a place to stop for the night. As it was getting dark earlier than we thought, we stopped at Suttle Lake just before Sisters, Oregon.

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(SERIOUSLY – the boat ramp to nowhere at Washoe Lake State Campground)

The question is, how do you use a camp ground when you are towing a 27 foot long Corsair Trimaran behind your vehicle? There aren’t any camp sites long enough for the whole shebang so do you separate the boat and truck and use two sites? Will the tree limbs be trimmed high enough for the boat to pass underneath? And who the hell brings a boat this far inland? Where are they going? Luckily, we were able to park in the boat trailer area next to the boat ramp. It was the perfect camp site!

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(The sunset view looking aft over the mast that has been dropped)

The Captain was amazed that I was willing and even happy to sleep inside the boat. I didn’t really want to attempt unloading the truck to find the tent, set it up in the dark, etc. The boat has everything we need! It has water in the tank, nice cushy bedding, lights and even a head so I don’t have to wander around outside at night worrying about bears!

Speaking of the head……We removed the original toilet and installed a porta potty. It’s lighter and simpler. Did you know that if you take a container which is filled with air from Sea level up over a 6000 foot pass that container builds pressure inside? LOL……..I used the potty, added a little water to make sure the paper would descend properly and leaned over the bowl to watch. As I pulled the lever to flush EVERYTHING exploded up into my face, hair and all over the head compartment! Luckily there were only liquids. All I have to say is that I survived. I was shocked to say the least but I had soap and water and towels so I was able to wash thoroughly before bed. What a learning experience!

Our boat, Maravilla is certainly getting to see things that her sisters on the water do not. Long windy roads, dark green forests, mountain passes, wildfire ravaged land and rivers and lakes that are a fraction of their former size. This trip is different from any we’ve been on before. We are still trying to absorb what this trip means to us and our lives. It’s not just a road trip – It’s a trip to a new life. We are making big changes this time. We want things to be different. More nomadic, more enjoyable, more adventurous – More US

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(Camping in our boat in Nevada)

So join us on our journey to take Maravilla across the country. We started in Anacortes, WA on September 13, 2015 and Plan to be in Brunswick, GA by October 27th. Check back often to see exactly where Maravilla will be meandering and in the meantime take some time to find a little adventure of your own!

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7 Little Lessons on Life

Did they hear me? Did I get my message across? Do they KNOW how wonderful and awesome they are? These are questions that have been running in circles in my head this last week. As I prepare to make big life changes and move away from my kids, students and friends for an unknown amount of time I find myself scurrying to put to paper all the things I want to share before I go!!!! There’s so much to say and so little time!!! So here are a few nuggets. Please take what is helpful and leave the rest.

Love Yourself – Everything else flows from this. You MUST learn to love yourself, make time for yourself, spend time with yourself and care about what happens to yourself! YOU have to be your own best advocate! You have to take care of your health – physical and mental – especially moms. I have been a mom who put herself last on the list. The list looked like this: kids, spouse, church, house, school activities, community activities, friends and then maybe me. Let me just tell you that being last on the list did not make for a healthy person. And also, what kind of example was I showing my daughter because I certainly don’t want her to grow up and feel that her place is last on the list. What I learned is that children hear your words but they copy what you DO. So, make time for you! Take care of yourself physically and mentally. Take time out. Take a class or go hiking. Do whatever it is that you miss doing B.C. (Before Children) It is not selfish to take care of yourself so that you then have energy to share with others.

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Remember Life is SHORT – Live it NOW – If there is something you’ve always wanted to do start making plans to do it NOW. Write it on the calendar, plan time off work, get a sitter and go DO that thing. You do not want to come to the end of your life with a bunch of regrets. I know you’ve heard this before and it may not seem like it right now while your baby won’t sleep through the night and your toddler still isn’t potty trained but PLEASE believe me – it goes by in a flash! MY kids are 18 and 20 and it seems like 5 years ago they were entering kindergarten. Go out and live a little! Don’t wait for “someday.” Make your life Epic!

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Live Simply – I used to have a big house, with three sets of silverware because you know, you must have the fancy stuff for holidays, the everyday stuff and also the camping bakelite too! At one point I event had 7 different Christmas trees – One for each room – some small, some big but HOLY Christmas! And you know what? All of that stuff I owned didn’t make me happier. It didn’t keep me from getting divorced and It didn’t define who I was a person. Have less stuff, spend more time with your kids, bake cookies, work on your relationship, go for walks instead of driving all the time, don’t use credit cards, only keep the clothes you actually wear. Donate or give away all the rest and watch how much more freedom you have! We spend WAY too much money and time buying and caring for THINGS. Keep life simple.

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Breathe Deeply – Get your butt off the couch! I don’t care what you do or how you do it – just move. Whatever it is that makes you feel groovy do THAT. I love yoga, riding my bicycle, roller skating, dancing, hiking and I even just started to learn how to long board. Get outside, increase your heart rate, breathe deeply. It’s magic. It will help you think clearer. It will keep you healthier. It will help you reconnect with mother nature and your own inner joy. 

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Travel Lightly – Where ever you go on this earth use only what you need. Pack it in and pack it out. Bring only a backpack. You really don’t need all that extra shit. You think you do, but you don’t. Get out and see the world! If you can’t travel around the world, travel around your country. If you can’t do that, travel around your state or city. Meet people, start conversations. Build a community. Travel will help you to learn that everyone wants LOVE and BELONGING. Everyone wants peace and happiness. Everyone longs for their children to have a better life that they had. We’re not all that much different. Travel will help you see that we all are one. 

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Be Brave – Step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Maybe that’s bungee jumping or sky diving? Maybe it’s just speaking your truth. Maybe it’s taking a risk to be vulnerable with someone. Maybe it’s saying those three little words “I Love You”. Maybe it’s kicking up into a handstand! There are lots of ways to be brave throughout life. Being brave is a choice and it’s something we can practice. Start small and then move up to the more difficult. The rewards in confidence and self-esteem are totally worth it, I promise!

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Remember How Glorious You Are! – In yoga we have a salutation that is Namaste – which means (roughly) “The light in me bows to the light in you and recognizes that we come from the same source.” We all have a divine spark within us – a soul, a spirit, an energy that makes us WHO we are. WE are special! We are unique, broken, gifted, challenged, talented in our own wonderful combination of ways. I believe that we all are here for a reason. That we have a purpose that we are here to accomplish and that only YOU can accomplish it! YOU have a purpose, YOU are special, YOU are LOVED, YOU belong. You are ENOUGH just as you are – today, right now, in this moment.

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Well, that’s all I have for now. Thanks for taking the time to read. I am so blessed to be a mother to my beautiful children, to have found the path of yoga and to have students who come to my classes. I love this life. I am so happy to share it with all of you and I look forward to many more years of travel, growing, learning and practicing with y’all. Truly, Namaste

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The (Not So) Fun Part about Moving – A letter to my Friends & Family

Hey Ya’ll. It’s that time of year again. Fall brings with it a change in weather, the kids all go back to school and for the last few years September brings with it another move for me. Last year I bought an RV we lovingly call The Gypsy Love Bus and moved it to Anacortes, WA to be my home! The year before that I moved from Stanwood to Des Moines, WA to move in with my guy and the year before that I was going through all the transitions that divorce brings.

This year is nothing new. In just a few days – 10 to be exact, I will be moving out of the Bus and into our pickup truck for a journey across the U.S. and over to Europe. I know, It’s sounds exciting doesn’t it? Everyone I tell gets all envious and glows excitedly over my plans. And I AM excited too but It’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Moving and leaving a place and people that I love is difficult. I know it’s the right thing and I know I’m ready but it’s still not fun to leave all your friends and family and go somewhere new.

You think I’d be used to it by now. I was taught early to live a nomadic lifestyle. I attended 10 different schools K-12 and moved sometimes 3 times in one year. Moving that much taught me all kinds of great things. It taught me to value the present moment. It taught me to make friends quickly and to also let go quickly.

So as I prepare to launch on this new and exciting chapter in my life I do so with great Love for all of my friends and family here in the pacific northwest. I’m going to miss you greatly. I’m going to imagine that you are all riding along with me on this next journey, cheering me on and encouraging me to be Brave!

Much Love, Dawn

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Moving into my Backpack

I have a confession to make……I am a gear junky! I love anything that helps me organize my stuff especially if it has lots of pockets, zipper compartments & attachments. In fact the only thing I ever stole as a child was a wallet. I didn’t really need a wallet but I fell in love with all of its pockets and the way it promised to help me keep all my stuff together, organized and in order! Grandma caught me and made me return the wallet – good job grandma.

So as I begin to prepare for my next adventure. I am looking at my gear and trying to figure out the best way to pack. I am moving out of my RV and into our truck as I plan on at least 6 months on the road and traveling abroad.

I have seen articles lately about people traveling for a year with only a small backpack – or even a woman who only used ONE outfit for a whole year. I’m not there yet. I am totally struggling with what to take and what to leave behind. I have donated about half of my clothes but I still have a tote full of clothes and shoes, a duffel bag of foul weather gear for sailing and a large backpack. Not exactly traveling lightly huh?

What I’d like to focus on today is my backpack that I will be taking to Spain & Gibraltar in November for a four-month stay. I recently upsized to a bigger backpack as my small 26 Liter Marmot backpack was just not going to be big enough.

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I lucked across this gorgeous thing at a local thrift store! For only $20 I have a backpack that will hold everything I need! I packed it full of clothes and have been living out of it for the last week but then I noticed I wasn’t exactly enjoying the clothing I packed so I went back and packed only clothes that I LOVE. Things that make me feel sexy, happy, energetic and attractive!

So what’s inside? At the bottom I have three pair of shoes – one for hiking, one for on the boat and also a pair of flip-flops. I have four of my favorite yoga outfits (pants, shirt and bra), one pair of denim shorts and one pair of long pants and about 10 different shirts (short and long sleeve) 7 pair of socks & 7 pair of underpants. AND I still have room for my foul weather gear!

Packing ahead of time like this allows me to “live” out of my bag while I’m still at home and can make changes if necessary.

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The compartment at the very top of the backpack detaches and it houses my toiletries bag. This gem is worth its weight in gold! I used to carry only a mall quart sized zip lock baggie but there is no way that will be enough for 4 months. So I purchased this bag that opens up and can hang from a towel bar. Again – gear head (recovering perfectionist me) LOVES this thing!

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I am sure that as I go I will get rid of things that don’t work and purchase items on the road. Just as in Yoga – Life and traveling is a practice. We learn what works and make adjustments. I’m working on it and I encourage you to do your best to Travel Lightly too!

Only 13 more days till we launch!