Leap.

All this time I was finding myself, and I didn't know I was lost. - Avicii

 

 

So this is where it all started.  The wild wild west.  

I packed up my jeep and went to work on a farm.  For free. 

 

(WWOOFing it's called.  Or work trade.  It's actually a great way to travel, learn, connect and deepen a relationship to an area.  I think a way I would like to travel with more intention is to find farms that I want to learn stuff from, visit the surrounding city for a few days.  Instead of choosing the city and then choose something from there.  You can find work trade opportunities just about anywhere in the world*)

 

I worked in a vegetable garden with two Thai women, we hardly spoke.  4 years later, I'm writing this from Thailand.  

 

 

Then I went to a goat dairy in New Mexico.  I was there for a week and there was no running water.  

 

Finally ending up on a little spot in Arizona.  Man, the desert has a distinct vibe.  I feel like maybe I will be spending some more time in Arizona at some point.  And Flagstaff!  It's so neat there. Good hiking and coffee shops.  Ooh just writing this makes me want to go on a road trip.

 

This place was called Life Energy Awakenings.  I was drawn by the description including a VitaMix, dehydrator and food processor.  At this place, I learned how to build a house made from the earth:  clay, sand, straw and water.  Mixed with our hands and feet.  I actually didn't have a finger print for a long time after this.   

 

This is where I was introduced to hot springs, thrown right into a clothing optional one, which ruined me from ever wanting to wear something again in a natural pool.  Which made for an interesting time in Telluride, when I was the only one with this policy.  

This is also where I was first inspired to buy a camera, due to the infection energy of another photographer. 

 

Oh my gosh, just looking at all these photos makes me so nostalgic.  And realize just how much wandering I've done in my life.  

 


So after Arizona, I went on to work for a Conservation Corps, where I learned how to build trails, run a chainsaw (this was the most badass empowered feeling I have maybe ever had) and sleep in tents.  I had never been camping before.  I signed up for 6 months. And I stayed for two years in Salida Colorado and fell in love with mountain towns. 

 

Somewhere in-between, I got the chance to hike Havasu Falls and Zion.  Do these things in your lifetime.  Anyone want to plan a backpack together to Havasu?  10 miles into the canyon which is the closest I've ever been to Land Before Time.  I definitely have to go back to this place in my lifetime.  

 

 

  

 

 

Following the advise of a woman named Shanti who got left her materials behind and set out on foot with a backpack divine guidance, 

whom I met while doing a stone masonry project in the Sangre de Christo mountain range

I remembered I was a yogi. 

 

 

So I went to Asheville and took a RYT200 hour yoga teacher training course.  But not before taking a few classes at a studio called Shanti in my hometown, which I serendipitously was handed some classes there as a fresh yoga teacher.  Oh my god, I'm so grateful for this opportunity to teach and have as a skill and understanding to travel anywhere with.  I don't think I would have pursued teaching had it not fallen in my lap.  (Big Love to you, Katie Kelly!)

 

 

I went home for a coming of signature coming of age, which naturally starts with a bathroom bangs haircut. It's like the puberty becoming an artist.

 

I chopped a lot of vegetables at hip vegan cafe.  This really developed my adoration for working in kitchens.  The atmosphere is demanding and addictive.  I loved it.  

 

 

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WANDERKelsey Stratton