lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

Raki for My Friends August 10, 2018

Filed under: Tales of Travel — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

There are times in life when you have to push through in order to find something amazing.

The husband and I had a push through moment the night after our amazing hike of the Samaria Gorge.

We were hot. We were tired. We were in pain. We were dirty as hell. And we were hungry.

We got back to Chania, the nice little city where we were staying about an hour from the gorge.

It was like nine at night by then. As we limped our way back toward the hotel, we searched for food. Some restaurants were too nice for us to go in as filthy as we were. Some didn’t have any food allergy-ridden me could actually eat. The grocery store had no pre-made food to be found. It was rough.

I wanted to go to the old town, but it was a long walk away and we were so dirty.

We finally found a mom and pop place that didn’t have any food left, but they had some advice: just head toward old town and you’ll find something to eat.

It was one of those moments in travel when you have to choose between a Cliff Bar and Sleep or good food and fatigue.

We headed toward old town. That part of Chania is surrounded by an old stone wall, so we had to cut back to go over to loop down. It was a whole thing. We made it to old town, and the first thing we saw was a restaurant in the middle of the street.

Restaurant in Old Town

The owner came up to us with a menu (completely ignoring the massive amount of trail dust we were covered in). He told us there would be live music and that we should have some of his homemade raki.

—If you’ve never had raki, it’s like a less burning version of vodka—

We said we loved raki, so we’d have a look around and come back.

He blinked at us like we were crazy and said, “You like raki? Two shots of raki for my friends!” (more…)

 

Danger: Move Quickly! August 1, 2018

Filed under: Tales of Travel — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 

I am a pretty adventurous person and have a very low self-preservation instinct when it comes to hanging out in nature. Cliff edges don’t bother me, rushing water is totally fun. There are very few things that naturally occur on this earth that make me go “Nope!”

So the husband and I hiked the Samaria gorge this spring. It’s one of the longest gorges in Europe, and over the course of planning this trip the idea of doing the 10-ish mile hike became something of a pilgrimage. I’ve hiked so many beautiful places in the United States. If my goal is to be a citizen of the world, then I need to be a hiker of the world. It made a lot of sense in my head.

So, we ferried to Crete from Santorini specifically to do this hike.

US

The trail is all downhill (which is not actually as great as it sounds) and takes you past some truly breathtaking vistas. (more…)

 

Of Bus and Mud April 6, 2018

I was lucky enough to go on a walk on a sunny morning in London, Ontario. The walk was muddy, winding, and there was a moment about an hour in when we weren’t really sure if we knew where we were or if we would make it back to the tour bus in time.

That’s the thing about being on a national tour of a show. Your time is never your own. Everything you do is dictated by the next bus call. Getting up in the morning to get to the bus, using your two precious hours at the hotel before you have to get back on the bus, hurrying after the show to make it back to the bus to get back to the hotel to start the process all over again. You start considering time as only the length between you and your next bus call. There’s not room for much else.

There was a moment when the husband and I were sinking in the mud where I sincerely asked if we were going to make it back in time for pending bus call. His response, “I think so?” (more…)

 

Stones in the Mud August 5, 2017

Filed under: Tales of Travel — meganorussell @ 3:30 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

thumbnail_IMG_1050
I love hiking. I adore climbing around in the mountains; it’s one of my favorite things. There’s something about the effort required to get to the top that feels tremendous and utterly worth it. When we went to Ireland I knew I wanted to hike…something.

We hadn’t really planned what, exactly, we were going to hike. We just sort of figured we’d find something, and boy did we!

Driving around the Ring of Kerry, the views are absolutely breathtaking. Rocks and sea all tumbled together. Sweet little towns with pubs lined up to give you an amazing lunch.

thumbnail_IMG_1041

There is a huge Ring of Kerry hike that you can do. The husband and I had heard of it, but it just couldn’t happen within our timeframe. But Ireland is really great about signs—not so much addresses, but very much with the signs. Signs for historic sites, signs for epic views, even signs for hiking trails. We were driving the Ring and found a sign for part of the Kerry Way, one of the “longest signposted walking trails in Ireland.” (more…)

 

The Importance of Coordinates July 20, 2017

I spent three summers living in Alaska. I love the quirks of that beautiful place, and you sort of get that feeling that it’s preparing you for other adventures in life. Like how you start to feel super cocky about living in a place where an address is really just whatever mile marker you live closest to, and a prayer that your mail actually gets to you. And then we went to Ireland.

The first two days were fine. We were staying in a city. We’d bought the update so our Garmin worked in Ireland, which sort of felt like cheating, but whatever. But then Killarney happened.

Killarney is amazingly beautiful. We got there before dark and wanted to poke around the outside of the national park to see what sorts of things we wanted to do the next day. We found the park, found a way in, found a ruin.

IMG_0880

It was simply breathtaking.

I had naively been expecting Killarney National Park to be like an American national park—all rough trails and long forgotten woods. But it was more like an estate placed in national trust. Beautiful lawns, ruins, paddle boat rentals, a castle but we’ll get to that later.

We figured out what we wanted to do on our big park day and decided to head back to the hotel. Put the hotel in the Garmin…nothing. (more…)

 

Another One off the List August 31, 2016

I’ve knocked something off my ever-filling bucket list!

The husband and I summited Cadillac Mountain to watch the sunrise!

IMG_3344

We woke up at 1:30. Yes, the one with the a.m . after it. It was early, but honestly to me it was like Christmas morning! The alarm went off, and I wanted to climb!

And the climb was magnificent. We were alone on the trail with only the Milky Way for company. It was breathtaking. Hiking under the stars is like adventuring under a nice, familiar blanket.

And we made it to the summit well before dawn.

IMG_3346

Then the sky turned just a tiny bit pink in the east, and the stars started to blink away one by one.

IMG_0070

Cadillac Mountain is the first place in the contiguous U.S. to see the sunrise. And we were there, sitting on a cliff, watching the sun paint the sky.

And I know this I going to sound cheesy as hell, but the hike had a super important meaning for me. Not just because the last time I was in Acadia I could barely walk, but also because sunrise on Cadillac Mountain has a very important place in The Tethering Series.

In The Siren’s Realm, Jacob and Emilia venture up Cadillac Mountain for sunrise, and we followed their path, though our journey did end a little differently. It was one of those climbs that reminds you that magic is real in our world. If only you look deep enough to find it.

IMG_0102

 

Back on the Trail August 26, 2016

Filed under: What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 10:00 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Yesterday I hiked a trail; today I’m going to climb a mountain!

For those of you who have stopped by before – and thanks for coming back by the way – it won’t seem that weird at all. But right now I’m in Acadia, Maine. And last time I was here four years ago, I could barely walk.

I had just dislocated my knee dancing in a show and moving wasn’t really a thing I was very good at. I could walk for one mile max on flat surfaces only. Even that little bit of movement made my knee hurt like hell and swell like an evil monster. I had to stare at mountains and watch the little dots that were other hikers climbing with no hope of being able to join them. Acadia is beautiful, and my lovely husband helped me make the most of it. But it made my heart hurt. (more…)