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                           Our bravest and best lessons are not                             learned through success, but through misadventure

~Amos Bronson Alcott

Growing up in an old mining town in the Northern California mountains, my love for adventure started at a young age. I daily ventured out into the woods with my backpack full of books, a writing pad, my Golden Retriever Jackson, and my Siamese cat Prissy. Most of the time we didn’t take a trail, but forged our own path, not knowing where the journey would take us. But I was content to explore, wander, and write while taking in the scents of the fresh pine air and all the magical surprises the forest generously bestowed.

What I quickly learned though, was that character development and life’s best lessons learned were often found in misadventure. There was the day I got lost in the woods miles from home, wandering for hours before finally trusting my dog to safely lead me home. Or the time I accidentally found that enormous mossy oak tree boldly standing alone in a forest full of pines. She embraced me with her soft green boughs while I laid in her outstretched arms reading my favorite book. And the times I ventured deeper into the forest, stumbling across a patch of flaming orange tiger lilies or the forest floor carpeted with thousands of bright red lady bugs. Additionally, there  was the misadventure when my older brother and I snuck out on our bikes to the old sawmill where we ignored the no trespassing sign, ducked under the barbed-wire fence, and climbed the giant mound of dirt. It was a slow process of three-steps-forward and one-step-back, but once at the top we took a huge leap of faith, tumbling and sliding all the way down in fits of laughter and dusty disobedient delight.  And let me tell you! It was well worth the grounding we got for doing it! Each one of these serendipitous misadventures taught me life lessons on trust, boldly standing alone, appreciating simple beauty, and that with great risk comes great reward.

“Each of these serendipitous misadventures taught me life lessons on trust, standing boldly, appreciating simple beauty, and that with great risk comes great reward.”

By far though, the most difficult misadventure of my life came at age 21 when I came down with a mysterious illness that over the course of the next ten years left me so sick and exhausted that I often ended up in bed, sitting on the couch, or in a wheel chair.  It was during these dark years of illness that God taught me how to make faith, hope and courage the byproducts of loss, pain and heart-wrenching disappointment. Going against doctor’s orders, I stayed in college and with much perseverance, finished my degree in PR & Journalism. Over a decade later I was finally diagnosed and treated for Lyme Disease, eventually making a full recovery.

The long years of illness had taken their toll, however, and at 35 I was divorced, in a job that wasn’t the right fit, and in a relationship that wasn’t going anywhere. I needed peace and clarity so I rode “Rupert” (my Yamaha FZ800) to Yosemite where I planned to hike with friends and do some serious soul searching. What started as a fun adventure quickly turned south as I roasted in the 90 degree heat for one half of the trip and shivered in freezing temperatures for the other half. However, it was in the midst of this crazy misadventure that I met Travis, a free-spirited digital nomad, who later became my husband, business partner, and biggest cheerleader.

So here we both are—venturing into the unknown—not taking the well trodden trail, but instead forging our own, not knowing where the journey will take us. We’re making a huge leap of faith knowing we’ll fall from time-to-time, but also knowing we’ll get back up in fits of laughter, dust ourselves off with delight, and be content to explore, wander, and write while taking in the sights and smells of exotic places and all the magical surprises life generously bestows.

“He who never made a mistake never made a discovery”  

~Samuel Smiles