unpacking is messy.

Five days and four nights of Patagonian trekking and camping in Torres del Paine started a week ago today – and flew by in the blink of an eye, as I knew it would. I’m certainly different now from the girl who stepped into that adventure one week ago, and really, that’s one of many takeaways I love about time in nature. Disconnecting from what has become the hustle and bustle of life allows for infinite genuine connections with ourselves, the people around us and some of the most important parts of this planet we’re so lucky to call home – and Torres del Paine is one special place.

I carried so much on the trail with me throughout those five days. Some anticipated. Some unanticipated. It’s been an emotional adventure, to say the least, and I am grateful in the depths of my soul for every step of the journey. Quite literally. It was amazing to see the expanse of the park on Monday as we drove back to Puerto Natales. The postcard view was something we hadn’t yet seen, and as we drove further from the mountains, we could more or less see all the ground we’d traversed as each mountainous benchmark became visible. Every day. Every kilometer. Every memory. It’s crazy how time flies and, really, how the world can feel so small and ginormous all at once.

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spending the night on Table Mountain in Overseers Cottage

Our Overseers Cottage adventure on Table Mountain is by far one of my favorite moments from my month in Cape Town, and as is the case with most adventures, this story doesn’t start with the trek itself. It starts roughly three days before — when I knew nothing of Overseers Cottage.

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the value of four distinct seasons

Winter has arrived in the south of South America, and I am loving every second of it. Honestly, it is glorious. It’s been nearly four years since I’ve had a winter, and it’s true what they say: you don’t miss something until it’s gone. It also doesn’t hurt that I’m at the foot of the Andes in Bariloche; mountains covered in snow make winter a little more magical.

For better or worse, Michigan, my home state, has four distinct seasons. I didn’t realize exactly what those seasons meant to me and how much I actually liked them — or at least appreciate them for what they are and what they mean to me — until I’d moved to and lived in Berkeley, California.

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sleeping outside, waking up in nature

I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. There’s just something to waking up out in nature that nourishes my soul. That tickles my toes.

I’ve woken up in a sleeping bag in a tent on South Manitou Island in Lake Michigan; tucked somewhere behind the Tetons in Grand Teton National Park; in camping spots in Big Sur, on Mt. Tam and overlooking the Pacific near Jenner, California – sometimes with LBK, my lovable deaf cat; among thousands of other campers in Yellowstone and Yosemite; in a cave in the Sierra de la Ventana in Argentina; and – perhaps my favorite – in a sleeping bag and nothing more in between two towering walls of rock alongside the Colorado River in the mighty, beautiful, breathtaking Grand Canyon.

This morning I find myself snuggled beneath three fleece blankets in a hammock on the second-floor porch of a cabaña in the Andes Mountains near Jardín, Colombia. From where I rest my head, I can see the top of a mountain. A few clouds are creeping over it, hanging out. No one is in a hurry here. Not even the clouds.

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