lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

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!

 

Stuck Between a Bear and Some Sharp Teeth August 20, 2015

So… Megan and I (yeah, she’s letting me write this one. She’s afraid it’ll get blown even more out of proportion by her than it was by the fact that it actually freakin’ happened!) took a hike in the park yesterday. We went early, which is why we’re posting today as opposed to the regularly scheduled Wednesday post. Anyway, we decided that we wanted to hike Cathedral Mountain again. Do you remember that one? That’s where I half-ran after the retreating caribou last year, trying to capture the perfect shot, which eluded me despite my attempts. Have we not told you that story? We’ll save that for another time.

Well, this time, the creek that you have to cross before you get to the actual social trail around the mountain was too high to cross without submerging our hiking boots in freezing cold water (keep in mind that most rivers and streams in Denali are glacially fed, so I mean freezing). We tried for about an hour to find a way to cross, but it was to no avail. So, dejected, we decided to head up to Park Road and decide what to do from there. We had heard that hiking along the actual Park Road was supposed to be lovely, so we chose to hike back towards the park entrance along the narrow dirt road.

We were actually having a lovely time for a while. Seeing the park from that perspective was fascinating. We heard the rumbling of a bus far behind us and turned to see it, stopped with its flashers on, in the spot we had been not five minutes ago.

“What are they looking at?” Megan asked.

We both searched for a few seconds before she spotted this:

IMG_0120

You may have to click on the image and zoom in to see what we were seeing.

I took that photo and zoomed in to see a four-legged canine-looking creature. We were certain that a wolf had just wandered onto the road, and it was walking toward us. We decided it was time to keep heading east toward the park entrance.

We walked along for another ten minutes or so, looking behind frequently to see where the wolf had gone, and then we saw more buses stopped, this time ahead of us.

“What now?” I asked, feeling more than a little apprehensive.

And then we saw it. Less than 200 yards away from us, a grizzly was foraging for berries on the mountain that we had just tried to circumnavigate.

IMG_0146

We didn’t know what to do. There was a wolf behind and a bear in front. We walked back the way we had come, hoping that the bear hadn’t spotted us and hoping that the wolf wasn’t too close. We anxiously awaited a green bus to pull up. We didn’t care which direction it was going, we just needed to get out of the open.

A driver going into the park pulled up, and I flagged him down, telling him that I knew it wasn’t the practice of the park buses to pick up people going into the park but that there was a wolf behind us and a bear in front and we needed on now!

We got on, and not ten seconds later, this came gallivanting around the corner:

IMG_0131

So, it wasn’t a wolf. It was a coyote. Of course we should have known that, because, as one of the incredibly astute passengers next to Megan said, “Wolves never travel alone.” *insert facepalm here* I didn’t care what the hell it was, to be frank. I’m just glad we got on the bus in time to avoid contact with it.

We took the bus up just a little bit and then hitched a ride back to the park entrance on an outbound bus. Upon our exit of the park, we discovered that had we somehow made it past the first bear, there would have been a second grizzly awaiting us just a half-a-mile down the road, so I guess our predicament could have been much worse.

Here’s to the next hike being a bit less eventful. Cheers!

 

Fjords for Me August 15, 2015

My husband is the best! My amazing surprise birthday trip was actually amazing! He took me to Seward, Alaska to see the Kenai Fjords! I didn’t even know what a fjord actually was. I had to Google it! Then we went on an all day cruise to see glaciers up close and saw wonderful wildlife to boot!

But since I seem incapable of staying away from exclamation points and I don’t want to write a 20,000 word blog post to tell you have fantastic the day was, I’ll just leave these pictures here.

IMG_9501                                                     IMG_9560

IMG_9442                                                     IMG_9638

IMG_9585                                                    IMG_9805

It was just breathtaking and perfect.

Best Birthday Ever!

 

Solstice Hike June 23, 2014

Filed under: Myths and Legends — meganorussell @ 8:30 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

This fine Monday, I want to share with you my gorgeous solstice hike in the land of the midnight sun!

This picture was taken just before midnight. (more…)

 

The Baby Book November 18, 2013

Filed under: Tales of Humanity's Imperfections — meganorussell @ 8:05 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

My older sister is having a baby! I’m going to be an Aunt for the first time. My mother and my sister came to visit me, and my mother brought our baby books. I was so excited to see all of my cuteness! (more…)