The Next Big Adventure(s)

I’ll be honest: when my yearlong van trip ended, I felt a bit of an adventure void. My epic climbing journey was over – so now what? For a while, I just recovered in the comforts of city life. I planned a two-week trip to Spain with my family, but other than that, my adventure agenda was wide open.

Somewhere over the last month, my adventure planning has taken a sharp turn – in a very positive direction. I got invited to backpack Conundrum Hot Springs, committed to road tripping out to Salt Lake City for OR Show, booked a ticket down to Miami, and then my old climbing friend Libbi called.

Libbi started saying things like: Puerto Rico, climbing, Spain, flights, Venice, trains, Australia let’s go.

And then I was all: YES.

When all was said, done, and booked, I realized that I’m only going to be home for 12 days from now until the end of September. My summer adventures quickly went from local playtime to hardcore exploration. I’m going to be climbing, hiking, surfing, road tripping, and writing all over the world for the next few months. My climbing + training is definitely going to kick up a notch in preparation. Let’s do this!

As you know, I’ve renewed my sponsorship with Teton Sports for another season, this time as part of their Mountain Adventurers project. I’m stoked to use their gear to haul my life around in a single pack while I travel abroad. You’ll also continue to see my photos and stories shared through Nature Valley’s social channels, and on the Sierra Trading Post blog!

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That time I was in a Backpackers Pantry commercial.

Oh my goodness. Remember that time I gave y’all a behind-the-scenes peek at my videoshoot with Backpackers Pantry at Three Sisters Park in Evergreen, CO? Well, the final video is finally up – and it’s hilariously wonderful. I had just a great experience filming this brand piece with Backpackers Pantry, give it a gander:

Let’s all just ignore that honker of a zit on my forehead. 

Too much. And those dance moves? Yeah, they told me to “be weird and outrageous and kind of tacky” – so I basically just danced exactly how I always do. No shame, folks. No shame.

The Art of Fresh Starts

freshdefinition The Art of Fresh Starts

I was always warned about the aftermath of my year of adventure: returning to the “real world” after extended travel is rumored to leave you with a nasty case of post-trip blues — but I never really admitted that it was happening to me. After my year of the van, life kind of started happening really fast. I spent a month back in Florida, abruptly packed up everything and moved to Colorado, settled into a new life, and fell into a funk. I’ve been in Denver for almost three months — and I’ve only climbed once (but it was awesome). I stopped writing, and fell out of love with my website and social media in general. It sucked, but I needed it.

It was difficult to cope with all of the change at first, and I felt like I was selling out in a way — after a year of being the adventurous girl who lives on the road, it didn’t feel okay to become someone who spends most of her time getting outdoors by way of rooftop patios, city parks, and my little second-story stoop. Would everyone think less of me? Wouldn’t it be shameful to admit that I wasn’t out hiking or camping every single weekend? I was pretty unsatisfied with it all initially, but I’ve come to realize that this is all just part of the process. This is just a new chapter of adventure in my life — and hopefully you still want to join me for it. 

Taking a hard, cold look at what I do and don’t love in life, what makes me happy, what I miss when it’s gone, and where I want to go ended up teaching me a lot. And after semi-accidentally deciding to change my blog’s entire look, I fell back in love with everything. I re-vamped my workspace, and dove into the task of bringing The Morning Fresh back to life in a way that I adore.

So much has changed since my life has gone from living in a van in the woods to waking up every morning in the heart of Denver. Adventure doesn’t always come quite as easily, and my priority list now includes things like keeping my tomato plants alive, cooking big Cuban meals for my housemates, and finding satisfaction through my work. Finding adventure will always be a huge driving force in my life, but I just have to work a little harder to find it now. And I’m up for the challenge! 

What do y’all think about The Morning Fresh’s new look?

PS: Seriously, go look at this site on a smart phone — it looks so good now. 

Behind The Scenes: Backpackers Pantry Video Shoot in Evergreen

When an email from Backpackers Pantry showed up in my inbox inquiring about casting me for a video shoot, all it took was the words “we’re shooting at Three Sisters Park” to instantly grab my attention. I was in.

I arrived in Evergreen a few minutes before 7:00 AM, and loitered around the dirt parking lot until the rest of the crew arrived. I instantly knew it was going to be a fantastic day as three bearded fellas hopped out of Subarus, and two spirited ladies pulled up with pups in the backseat. We shot a bit of footage out in the parking lot to establish the scene, then quickly hit the trail. photo53 e1401730606745 819x1024 Behind The Scenes: Backpackers Pantry Video Shoot in Evergreen photo51 1024x385 Behind The Scenes: Backpackers Pantry Video Shoot in Evergreen

The first scenes were shot in the parking lot, establishing the dichotomy between the two characters. My persona was the “expert hiker” – a know-it-all, done-it-all gal who knows every trail in Colorado like the back of her hand. My counterpart was played by Patrick, who did an incredible job portraying a novice hiker. Throughout the day I was constantly impressed with his dedication to his character. He smeared sunscreen all over his beard, sprayed himself straight in the face with bug spray, snapped tent poles, threw himself into a river – you name it, he was down to try it.

The shot below is a little peek at one of my favorite scenes for Patrick. It opens with him looking like he is dangling off a cliff – but you quickly realize he’s just trying to summit a small boulder.

photo54 1024x682 Behind The Scenes: Backpackers Pantry Video Shoot in Evergreen

As for my character, the crew kept encouraging me to channel my inner Patrick Swayze (in Point Break, to be specific). I ran around the trails doing push-ups on logs, karate-chopping dead tree limbs, and high-stepping like a hotshot. I frankly made a total fool of myself – all while rocking’ the most ridiculous neon green headband – and I can’t wait to share the footage.

One of my favorite parts to shoot was the “camp” scene. I happened to have my favorite Teton Sports tent in my car, and it ended up creating the perfect contrast between the experienced hiker and the novice.  I set up my tent in less than 10 seconds, while Patrick’s character spent minutes fumbling with fabric and snapping tent poles – and everyone on the crew is now dying to get their hands on a Teton Sports tent like mine. photoa3 e1401730617798 819x1024 Behind The Scenes: Backpackers Pantry Video Shoot in Evergreen

It’ll be a few weeks before the footage is all edited and goes public, but I’ll be sure to share it with everyone as soon as it goes live. Big thank you to Backpackers Pantry for casting me and to the film crew for keeping me on my toes all day. (And thank you to Elaine, who took those photos of me!)

The Best Part of Spring? It’s Almost Summer!

I’ve been struggling with a case of seasonal blurring lately. A few months ago, the clear lines separating winter and spring began to run together. Weeks of sunshine were littered with days of spontaneous snowstorms that dwindled in frequency until there was nothing left but warmth and wildflowers. It’s easy to distinguish between winter and spring – but where do we draw the lines between spring and summer?

According to the calendar, summer doesn’t start until June 21st this year, but I don’t necessarily agree with that deadline. In my world, a transition period exists between the two defined seasons – and it’s the best part of the entire year. The weekends are full of cookout invitations and outdoor adventures; I got my first sunburn at the Five Points Jazz festival; rooftop patios are the place to be; and farmers markets are coming into season. It’s warm enough to spend a day sunning on a blanket at a park, but not hot to the point where you can’t stop thinking about air conditioning. It’s just perfect.

Need further convincing? Here’s why is the best time of the year:

Everything is in bloom.

Up in the mountains, the wildflower blooms won’t be in full force until much later in the summer – but down here in the city, blossoms are pushing up from from every garden patch and crack in the sidewalk to bask in the sun. I never knew so many varieties of tulips existed until I took a stroll to my neighborhood coffee shop last week. Bulbs planted long ago have sprung to life, and every sunny morning beckons neighbors to roll up their sleeves and dig into a little urban gardening. I even have my first tomato growing on my little patio plants!photo11 e1401207475286 768x1024 The Best Part of Spring? Its Almost Summer! photo12 1024x768 The Best Part of Spring? Its Almost Summer!

Afternoon rain – ’nuff said.

As a southern gal, there is nothing I love more than a good afternoon storm. In Florida, they come like clockwork during the warm seasons. A cloud appears, thunder rolls, lightning strikes, and rain pounds like the pavement – and then an hour later, the sun is shining again. It’s one of the things I miss the most about the south, but Denver has been delivering all sorts of stormy satisfaction lately.

I mean, I could have done without the tornado sirens and quarter-sized hail – but beggars can’t be choosers. (No, seriously, I was taking a very long, relaxing shower last week when my housemate started pounding on my door saying “Uh, I think we need to GO” – trying to plan out your this-is-the-end strategy while running around in a towel is not very relaxing y’all.) Bring it on, Colorado! photo2 e1401207391315 1024x682 The Best Part of Spring? Its Almost Summer!

Cookouts and Farmers Markets

Here’s a little secret: there is nothing I love on this planet more than food. If my physical being reflected my inner foodie, I would triple in weight immediately – and probably get diabetes. I adore eating, cooking, growing vegetables, and buying fresh produce. As spring collides with summer, the season for outdoor cookouts, spending weekend mornings at farmers markets, and eating lunch out on the stoop is officially upon us.

Food is one of my favorite elements of city adventures. You can tailor an entire day around edible explorations. My favorite food-centric weekend adventure goes a little something like this: wake up, cook a homemade breakfast with all the windows open, stock up on veggies at the local farmers market, invite a herd of cohorts over, spend the afternoon grilling in the backyard. Wham-bam, baby.photo14 1024x682 The Best Part of Spring? Its Almost Summer!

Everything is Outside

No, really – everything. This perfectly in-between season is the best time of the year to do everything outside. I don’t work in an office, and turning your kitchen into a cubicle every morning gets pretty monotonous – so when the weather strikes that delicate balance between breezy and warm with sunshine, I like to move my office outdoors.

I am actually sitting outside on my third-story stoop right now – I’ve been doing this for weeks. My yellow snapdragons are exploding with petals, Sylvan Esso and songbirds are making music, and my creative energy is way more inspired than when I was sitting inside. Why would anyone work inside when they could do this instead?

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Work isn’t the only typically indoor activity you can move outside on sunny days – everything from dinner and boardgames to afternoon naps are better enjoyed out in the fresh air. The key is to make your outdoor space functional, comfortable and inviting. I recently transformed the small, cluttered stoop on my third-story house into a wonderful little nook, and now I am constantly outside. (I’ll be posting a how-to later this week!)

If you aren’t outside at least once a day to soak up this mid-season glory, you’re seriously missing out. Take it outside! It won’t be long until summer settles in, and just the idea of being outside all day makes you start sweating. Take advantage of every opportunity to put a little dash of the outdoors into your day.

* This post is part of my annual series celebrating nature with Nature Valley. Compensation for this content was provided by Nature Valley. Opinions expressed here are strictly my own.  

A Summertime Comeback – and The Morning Fresh’s 4 Year Anniversary!

Whoa – hey, hi, hello!

Has it really been a month since my last blog post? It appears that I took a little blogging (and social media) hiatus in May – without directly intending to. It’s important for writers to step back every once in a while, let the creative juices recharge, focus on other pursuits, and explore what really matters. So that’s exactly what I did.

For the past month, my life has been traveling down a slightly different path than usual. I haven’t been getting outdoors as much, I haven’t climbed, and I haven’t been focused on The Morning Fresh. Instead, I spent my afternoons cuddling with Amble, my mornings drinking coffee on the patio, and my evenings binging on True Blood (there, I admitted it). I’ve walked down to Sweet Action Ice Cream on a shamefully frequent basis, and even dabbled in online dating. And for those of you who missed it – Amble went back to Florida to spend the summer with Niko. I know, it’s heartbreaking.

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It felt great to take a break from it all and just go with the flow – but when I realized that this month marks the four year anniversary of starting my blog (how crazy is that – here’s my first total-amateur-hour post), I was overcome with a reinvigorated creative energy. Let’s do this, folks!

During my monthlong break, a few big things happened: first, I changed my social media usernames. My primary accounts are now all @katieboue. Why did I make the switch? Well, I realized that my ‘brand’ is even bigger than my blog, and I’m working on a ton of non-blog projects that I want to share. So now @themorningfresh on Twitter is strictly blog-related, and @katieboue is everything. Make sure you’re following both!

I also have a heaping pile of kick-ass adventure coming up – and I don’t just mean the kind of adventure that involves dirty boots and muddy trails. I have been diving into a few projects that are really challenging and inspiring me professionally, but you’ll have to wait to hear more about that.

Since my life would be incomplete without outdoor explorations, next week I’ll be heading to Three Sisters Park in Evergreen to shoot a little video with Backpacker’s Pantry! They cast me as the “expert hiker” for a playful promotional project that I can’t wait to share with everyone. And in case you missed it, I rejoined Sierra Trading Post’s Team Sierra for another season of adventure.

There is so much to catch up on, so many trip reports and gear reviews to be written, piles of photos that need to be edited, and a whole lot of adventure to fill my plate with. I have a book to write, a 45-minute presentation to perfect for my speaking session at Peaks Foundation’s Women’s Leadership and Adventure Summit in July (ladies, go apply for it!), plane tickets to buy – this summer is going to be incredible!

Bring it on, summer! Are y’all as stoked as I am?

It’s Official: I’m a Speaker at the Peak’s Foundation Women’s Leadership and Adventure Summit

Throughout my personal journey as female adventurer, there have been many moments of both empowerment and doubt. Am I really putting myself out there? Is my story something people really want to hear? Does this one-woman trek through life and the outdoors truly matter? Sometimes, the questioning is relentless – but every once in a while, there comes a moment that confirms to me that yes, it’s all worth it.

I am beyond proud to announce that I was asked by the Peaks Foundation to be a speaker at their annual Women’s Leadership and Adventure Summit conference in Golden, CO on July 10-13th!

The WLAS ’14 event is an incredible weekend designed to bring 50 women together for three days of personally challenging adventure activities, engaging speaking sessions from 9 successful outdoor women, and building inspired connections with fellow females who seek adventures beyond four walls. There will be yoga in the mornings, cocktails in the evenings, and a jam-packed schedule that offers women a chance to experience their choice of climbing, trekking, fly-fishing, paddle-boarding, slacklining, and more. WLAS 1 663x1024 Its Official: Im a Speaker at the Peaks Foundation Womens Leadership and Adventure Summit

My 45-minute speaking session has been dubbed The Year of The Van: Roadside Lessons on Personal Empowerment & Building a One-Woman Brand. I have so much work ahead to transform my presentation into a tool to motivate women to find their own adventure (both on the road and through social media), but here’s a quick overview: “Spending 365 days living in a van and traveling across the country on a climbing trip offers more than just insights on adventure – it gives us the experiences and tools necessary to inspire ourselves and others to reach higher towards success in all aspects of life.

Applications have officially opened for WLAS ’14, and I would love to see some of my readers at the event. Women are invited to apply now through June 1st, but only 50 women will be accepted to the summit – so APPLY NOW!

Miami to Denver in 4 Days: Thoughts on Solo Adventure and New Beginnings

If living in a van for a year taught me anything, it’s how to adapt to change. Since the beginning of March, I’ve been rolling with life’s punches (a few of which were way more painful than I’d like to admit), and it’s brought me here: to my new life in Colorado.

But I digress.

First, there was Florida. Perhaps the most uncomfortable part of my transition from journeying with a partner for four years to adventuring as a single woman was the process of packing. Folks, it was just plain awkward at times – and incredibly stressful. The moment all my belongings and gear were stuffed into boxes, I jetted south (again, I had literally just returned to Tallahassee from Miami when sh*t hit the fan) for some spiritual rest in Miami. I soaked up one final week of empanada feasting, dog beach romping, and family festivities before making my final departure from the sunshine state.photo22 e1395436534509 1024x768 Miami to Denver in 4 Days: Thoughts on Solo Adventure and New Beginningsphoto 14 1024x682 Miami to Denver in 4 Days: Thoughts on Solo Adventure and New Beginnings

I made the 2,106 mile road trip from Miami to Denver in four short days – but during those 96 hours, I learned a lifetime of lessons. I spent a lot of time making sacrifices – small ones, like not listening to the (admittedly terrible) music I love to jam to while driving; and big ones, like being with someone who doesn’t ever want to get married. When Niko ended things, he was really just setting me free. And I’m really grateful for that.

Suddenly, I found myself with an abundance of time and choices. Buy two new pairs of boots, just because? Sure. Sushi for dinner three nights in a row? Why not. I had this epiphany moment one morning when I was sitting in my parent’s kitchen and had this nagging feeling like I was supposed to be doing something or checking in with someone – and then it hit me: It’s just me now. Every choice, feeling, and action is my own decision to make. I can do whatever and be whoever I want.

I feel liberated. As Amble and I crossed over one of my favorite American landmarks, the Mississippi River, on our drive out to Colorado, I rolled down the windows and let out a little victory whoop. I was exactly where I wanted to be in that very moment. photo21 1024x768 Miami to Denver in 4 Days: Thoughts on Solo Adventure and New Beginnings

My friend Mike said something to me this week that really resonated with me. He told me, “You said you were going to move to Colorado and you went out and did it. You wanted to live in a van, you did that too.” I think I put out a perception that I truly just do what I want and make my all of ambitions a reality – which wasn’t always true, but now it will be.

This year, I’m going to focus on myself. I’m going to become a better adventurer, a healthier woman, and a doer. And what I do won’t be for anyone but myself.

But before I get all me, me, me – I owe an enormous amount of gratitude to everyone who lent me their ears, hearts, and storage space these past few weeks. I wouldn’t be having this empowered personal moment without all of the support and love I’ve recieved. Even when you’re excited about being alone, it’s nice to know you never have to feel lonely.

PS: Consider this the official end of my little social media/writing hiatus. It was wonderful to take a break and reconnect with myself and really do some deep soul-searching – but I’m ready to hop back on the wagon and get these wheels turning.

Fresh Morning Monday: Florida Farewells, Adventures in Oil Pulling, and San Diego with Honda!

Who me? Back in Miami, again? After rolling with the punches during a very quick period of life changes, I’ve found myself tanning on the patio at my childhood home in Miami during my last week in Florida for the foreseeable future. As eager as I am to get out of this flat state and dive into the world of mountains and boulder fields, it has been great to relax and rejuvenate down here.

What makes Miami so wonderful? Here’s a peek:

photo4 e1394475835146 1024x682 Fresh Morning Monday: Florida Farewells, Adventures in Oil Pulling, and San Diego with Honda! photo3 1024x768 Fresh Morning Monday: Florida Farewells, Adventures in Oil Pulling, and San Diego with Honda! photo1 e1394473222303 1024x682 Fresh Morning Monday: Florida Farewells, Adventures in Oil Pulling, and San Diego with Honda!

In a nutshell, my week is going to be full of playing in my backyard with Amble and Rusty, feasting on my mama’s outrageous homemade meals (crab legs, what!), exploring by the sea, and refreshing my spirit before my road trip from Florida to Colorado begins. Life is good, folks.

While I’ve been down here, I finally went to Costco and bought a giant tub of organic, cold-pressed coconut oil – and totally got lured into trying the whole oil pulling thing. What is oil pulling? It’s basically an old-school method of detoxifying and promoting oral health by swishing some coconut oil in your mouth for 2o minutes every day. I know a few ladies and gentlemen who are big fans of it, but I’m waiting at least two weeks before I decide if I think it’s worth it or not. I’d love to hear feedback from anyone else who has tried it!

Continuing with my new quest to be healthier and spend more time focusing on my body and wellbeing (because hey, single life has some perks – like all the time in the world to proritize you), I was stoked to arrive in Miami to a package from Skinourishment waiting on my bed. There were were a few great new products in the box that I can’t wait to review for y’all – starting with a big head-to-head-to-head climbing salve review I’ve been putting together for a few months. Stay tuned for more from Joshua Tree Organics, Giddy, and ClimbOn!

photo2 e1394473194578 1024x682 Fresh Morning Monday: Florida Farewells, Adventures in Oil Pulling, and San Diego with Honda!
From Miami to Tallahassee and all the way to Denver, March is bringing a lot of travel and adventure my way – but the journey won’t stop once I arrive in Colorado. I’m really excited to share with y’all that at the end of March, Honda is flying me out to San Diego to test drive the new 2015 Fit! As someone who has experienced long cross-country road trips driving everything from Honda Pilots and Scion tCs to last year’s epic Dodge Sprinter, I know that it takes a special car to be an adventure-worthy vehicle. Can’t wait to share my thoughts on the 2015 Honda Fit, and put it to the road warrior test down in Southern California!

Do you have any big adventures on your March agenda?
Has anyone else ever tried oil-pulling?
And most importantly: Who wants to play with me in Miami?!

A Little Twist in Life’s Plot: I’m Moving to Denver (Like, Now!)

I’ve been teetering on the fence of whether or not this is something I really wanted to write publicly about – but after being bombarded with questions and messages and phone calls (y’all are the best!), I figured I really just needed to clear the air and let the cat out of the bag for good. Folks, I’m moving to Denver – like, within a few weeks.

phonto 1 1024x682 A Little Twist in Lifes Plot: Im Moving to Denver (Like, Now!)
We can all agree that relocating to Colorado is probably the best decision I’ve made all year, and it’s going to open up a whole new world of adventure. I’m already planning coffee shop writing mornings at Cafe Europa, hiking my first 14-er in the summer, napping on the grass at Wash Park with Amble, and spending every weekend playing in the mountains. This new chapter in life surely won’t disappoint - and my sister is moving to Denver in August!

Here’s the band-aid that needs to get ripped off: all this joyful anticipation and excitement comes with a dash of sadness. After a year of traveling together, living in a van, and sharing a life of adventure, Niko and I have ended our four-year journey together. It was unexpected (and not my idea), but it is ultimately going to be really positive for both of us. He is such a wonderful person, and the best adventure companion I could have ever asked for – but it’s time for us to trek forth onto our own separate paths.

So there it is. There’s the reason I totally failed us all with the relaunch of the blog, why I’ve been kind of absent from the social media scene, and why I’ll continue to be a little off for the next few weeks. I considered taking a formal hiatus from the blog until I settle into life in Denver – but instead, I’m trusting y’all to forgive me if I just don’t post for a week or so. I’ll keep you posted, and can’t wait to share my new life in Colorado with everyone!

PS: Can I get a collective “UGH!” at the idea of packing everything I own and moving again after I just finished moving into our house in Tallahassee! So not fun.