Monthly Archives: September 2012

Hungry Planet

Photographer Peter Menzel’s book, Hungry Planet, features families photographed with a week’s worth of food.

The United States, $341.98/week

Egypt, $68.00/week

Ecuador, $31.55/week

Chad, $1.23/week

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Namaste

This week, after much hot yoga, much meditation, and quite a few gigantic meals to neutralize all calories burned in said hot yoga, I have been thinking about how much I really need. While gearing up for this trip, almost every girl I encounter has something along the lines of “you’re going to live out of a backpack!? For a year?!” The answer, of course, is yes. Hence the term, “backpacking”. Will it be freeing? Of course. Is it terrifying right now? Hell yes. 

I have a pile of clothes of my floor that I wash, throw back on the floor, and wear in rotation. These items of clothing would not even come close to fitting into any backpack. I simply have too much. I sleep too much, eat too much, work too little, and save nothing. It is the blessing and the curse of my American generation that we have a world of opportunity and a gigantic sense of entitlement for that opportunity. We research nothing in depth- if we read it on the internet- it must be true. Everyone with a blog (myself included) or a Facebook page feels they have all the answers to the political, economical, and social problems of the world. The truth is- we know nothing (Jon Snow) <–I hope someone just got that reference. 

We know nothing. And yet we do nothing to change ourselves. Adventure and experience truly are the best way to learn. Through a lot of yoga and a lot of open mindedness, I have started to look into healing my chakras, balancing energy, etc. I get laughed at. And I think it’s sad. Because my friends- my generation- is so stressed and constantly on highs and lows- whether it’s with their diets, their workload, their relationships. It seems everyone I know is constantly complaining about being tired, being miserable, being depressed. But they choose not to open their minds. After I stopped eating like crap, I felt a million times better physically. Add yoga on to that and I am amazed at what my body can do. I choose to be happy- and in my relationships I live by these three words: don’t. engage. crazy. When my family, my friends, the random person in the same aisle as me at CVS start acting a bit off kilter- making irrational decisions, getting angry at me when I try to help, making excuses, I just ignore it. I go off on my own, collect my thoughts- read for an hour, hit up a yoga class, just don’t engage them in their craziness- and it seriously works. I am so much calmer. I have found all I really need is a good hug once in a while, the love of my family and a handful of good friends, a creative outlet, and an open mind to really enjoy my life. Truly enjoy it. Not eat a whole pizza then hate myself for it while I watch the Kardashians. That is not how we were meant to live. 

 

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a cause before i go


I think we can all agree that part of traveling is experiencing other cultures. Whether you are diving head first into regional cuisines and living with the locals or just donning a sundress and an umbrella drink on a cruise ship, in some way, we all try to get a little more native in the places we visit.

But the most important part of the cultural experience, the part I think is most overlooked and forgotten is actually seeing how people live- economically, socially- and being aware of the fact that it’s not always perfect. Which brings me to my next point:

Before I leave for my travels, a good chunk of which will take places in Africa, I am running the Tallahassee half marathon for One Girl, an Australian organization that aims to fight for women and girls in Sierra Leone, West Africa to be educated, and therefore, better their lives. The fact is- girls in Sierra Leone are more likely to be raped than to go to school. That alone should inspire those of us who take our education and our relative safety for granted to help One Girl with their mission. Through community outreach and education, One Girl hopes to change the lives and better the situations of the women and girls in Sierra Leone, and one of the ways they reach out for the help of others is through Do It In A Dress, a project in which individuals raise money doing, well, just about anything, in a school girl’s dress.

It’s really amazing. People have played rock shows, skateboarded, gone to work for a week or more, sailed around Turkey for two weeks, thrown dinner parties- all in a school girl’s dress. Men and women, kids and adults, from all over the world, joining together to help educate and invest in the futures of young women. And now, I’m doing it too!

The half marathon isn’t until February, but obviously I want to raise all the awareness I can-

you can donate to my cause here and help me send six girls back to school with money leftover for community outreach for women in Sierra Leone who need healthcare in its most basic form- just a simple sanitary pad, which most women in the western world take for granted everyday- is a lifesaving, life changing element in the betterment of the lives of the women of West Africa.

So check out my page, check out the cause and DONATE.

Then spread the word to your family and friends. Invest in these women, you’ll never regret it. Image

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Adventure is a path…

Real adventure- self-determined, self-motivated, often risky- forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind- and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black and white.

-Mark Jenkins

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You’re probably asking yourself…

Wait, isn’t Erin supposed to be frolicking near the Dead Sea, skinny dipping in the Sea of Galilee like that Senator from Kansas, and checking out the bazaars in Bethlehem? Well, you’re right…I am supposed to be on my way (about to leave for the airport) to the Holy Land with my Mom where she was to take a religious Pilgrimage, and I was tagging along for the history and the free hummus I was promised at our hotel in Israel. Alas, y’all, life has dealt us its cards for September and it is not what we had expected. 

I am currently playing 24 hour nurse to my mom, who fell (into the pool!) and broke her ankle last week bringing in lawn furniture before Hurricane Isaac swept its feeder bands up the east coast of Florida. She fell, she broke her ankle, she had surgery, and now after many teary phone calls to her pilgrimage buddies and too many flower deliveries to count, she is laid up in bed on plenty of Vicodin. And here I sit, awaiting her next need. My “me time” has been sliced exponentially and now the only time I feel calm is turning my phone off and hitting the mat for yoga once a day. 4:30 can’t come soon enough!

Taking care of my Mom is hard because I am one of four daughters making meals, changing ice, taking phone calls, going to doctor’s appointments, and dealing with incessant lectures on how I “can’t understand the pain”. Here’s to hoping I never have to! We’ve had lots of help from great friends coming to walk the dog, sit and chat, etc. and my little sister Colleen is my lifesaver, but I can’t lie- I’m pretty disappointed about the lack of Middle East I’ll be experiencing this month. The culture there is ancient and amazing, and I’m disappointed I won’t be able to take it in. But at least it’s only three weeks til I’m hiking the red rocks of Sedona- my little sister has even joined Dad, Stepmom and I on our quest for inner peace in the desert. 

Life comes at you hard and fast, and to be honest, what this ordeal has taught me is to watch my damn footing on hikes through the woods in Asia and the deserts in India- one wrong step in you’re laid up for months in pain and anguish missing all the things you thought you’d be doing. Lesson learned, be careful out there y’all! One wrong move and you’re kissing the Holy Land goodbye in favor of How I Met Your Mother reruns and Edible Arrangements from Aunt Beth Ann, which, while delicious, satisfy no hunger inside this disappointed non-traveler. 

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