lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

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…)

 

Well… That Happened (Or A Night at Casa Bonita) September 13, 2016

 

I’ve had the amazing opportunity, along with camping this summer, to go and visit my mother in her new western home. It was a great trip.

We saw huge and beautiful mountains.

img_3479

Found some great animals

img_3567

img_3524

Drank tea, saw flowers, and… went to Casa Bonita.

Yep, that’s right, the Casa Bonita of South Park fame and home of “eatertainment.” It was an experience. (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

 

Long-tails in the Night February 8, 2016

I feel like with all the blogs I’ve posted about the great Thailand adventure so far, you’re all going to get the impression that Thailand is just one big city. It’s not, not even a little bit. In fact, my favorite parts of the trip were far outside of Bangkok.

The husband and I were lucky enough to stay on a private beach in Ko Phangan for a few days.

IMG_1267

The views were absolutely breathtaking, and I spent a fair amount of time reading and plotting out new stories while lying in this hammock.

IMG_2438

The days were long, the naps epic, and the shower freezing. If I were ever to be lucky enough to be the sort of full time writer that had publishers breathing down her neck to complete the next bestseller, I would run away to Bottle Beach and write in a ridiculously inexpensive paradise. Seriously, breakfast was less than two bucks, and the room was $17 a night.

But getting to paradise was not quite so easy. (more…)

 

Excruciating Extravagance February 3, 2016

Last post was about the strangeness of being in a store in the Beijing Airport where they didn’t seem to be afraid of people stealing things.

But then I got to Bangkok, and it was very, very different.

Please don’t think I’m saying that Bangkok is filled with thieves or anything. In fact, most of the people I met were lovely. Apart from one person masquerading as Tourism Police — the people who are supposed to protect tourists from scams, not arrest the tourists — and some cab drivers who like to price the fares exorbitantly for tourists, everyone was really lovely.

And Bangkok was beautiful.

IMG_8745

At least the historic district. When you took the train out of the city or even went a little off the beaten path, you could see people living in shacks without windows. Some by the train tracks, some literally on stilts over the river. Now, I’m not deluded enough to think that poverty isn’t a problem in America. It most certainly is. But seeing people living with piles of trash outside their doors in homes that were falling down…. It was startling. And very, very sad. (more…)

 

The Adventurer Returns January 29, 2016

I’m back!

I know it’s been forever, and I have literally been on the other side of the world. But I am back, and boy do I have some stories to tell!

First of all, Thailand was amazing!

IMG_8703

 

I wouldn’t call it much of a vacation. Except for the two days I spent in this hammock binging on the entire Maze Runner series.

IMG_1269

 

More like an expedition. Where you lost most of your supplies and got heat stroke. Sort of like your ox dying and getting dysentery, but with this as a view.

IMG_9148

 

Seeing another culture so vastly different from the one I have lived with my whole life was amazing.

IMG_8955

And I can’t wait to share all my stories with you.

I’m road tripping down to Florida with my husband to start rehearsals for a show I am thoroughly excited about, but I will be posting regularly from now on. And to make up for my absence, I leave you with this video of my husband being dragged up onstage by a Thai drag queen. And yes, they are dancing to Hava Nagila.

Enjoy!

 

From Ballet to Books December 8, 2015

It’s happened! It’s finally happened! All those years of ballet classes finally paid off!

My Christmas novella has finally arrived!

cropped-12342301_525133747654106_2230374583980614200_n

The plan was simple. Get to Portland, dance The Nutcracker, and don’t murder your dance partner. And most definitely, do not, under any circumstances, fall in love with him.

A snowy road trip strands Elle Grant in a tiny cabin better suited for serial killings than rehearsals for two professional ballet dancers. With no one but the incredibly talented, excruciatingly handsome, and notoriously terrible Zachary Benson and a few taxidermy woodland creatures for company, Elle’s Christmas plans are officially ruined. Can she and Zach learn to like each other enough to dance together? And can Elle get home without losing her heart to the Christmas Cavalier?

 

When I was just a wee little thing who thought that ballet was the best thing ever and hadn’t yet realized the my turnout and bust size would negate me from ever being a ballerina, I harassed my mother until she put me in dance lessons.

MeganDancer

And now look! That awkward, little, turned-in child is a musical theatre actor and writes about ballet dancers, which hurts a lot less than actually putting on pointe shoes! Winning!

Please check out Nuttycracker Sweet this holiday season! Make the dreams of the little girl with the giant bangs come true!

Nuttycracker Sweet on Amazon
Nuttycracker Sweet on Barnes and Noble.com