I’m back

20 March 2018

It is lunchtime on a Tuesday and as I sit here at Starbucks sipping a coffee with almond milk (because I took up coffee – particularly espresso – last year and haven’t been able to turn back), I can’t help but laugh a little. I thought it’d be wise to reflect a bit and put down some of my thoughts onto paper. Why? Well, my birthday is Thursday. Thursday, I will be 28 years old. It’s kind of a weird age I think because there is such a dichotomy in where people are in their lives at 28 years old. I’ve got friends from high school who are married, who have a child… or multiples, who have jobs they call their career. All of these things are great, but I also have friends who are still finding themselves, following their passions, and figuring out where they want to be. I think I somewhat fall into the gray area of this whole realm.

I have lived so many lives already; seen so many sunrises and sunsets from so many points on the globe. I’ve climbed mountains, swam oceans and rivers, done volunteer work in slums at the equator line in Africa, and splashed with penguin and dolphin near the Antarctic. Life has given me love – with family, with friends, and in the very few relationships I’ve opened myself to fully, it has given me love as well as heartbreak. It has taught me strength, perseverance, and acceptance. I am grateful, very grateful. Though I did not imagine I’d be sitting at Starbucks two days before my 28th birthday thinking about what to do next.

Let me preface, I finally started a job in November that I thought was THE job. I love the industry, I love the connections I was making, I love every aspect of what the job entailed. Despite the enormous good, it was not the right situation… I’ll leave it at that. Anywho, I follow a good amount of social media accounts that got me thinking. For years as I traveled (you’ll see old posts from when I initially started this blog site) people suggested I become a blogger – my passion for writing, for travel, and for adventure would be able to share middle ground. I never thought possible but now I think why not. Granted, I’m going to have to learn how to focus in more on specific topics or themes because I can have a tendency to cover too many bases.

To save you from my rambles any longer (for now), here it is. This is where I’m going get back to me; where I am going to share my travels in hopes they offer you insights, my adventures and swimming endeavors in hopes they offer you inspiration, and maybe some healthful posts including food or exercise as therein lies one of my other biggest passions. I hope you can appreciate that in revamping and recreating this site, I’m rediscovering myself. I know that each experience leads us to the next and there will always be more good to come. So I continue to take on the world, know that your follow is appreciated and welcomed. Also while you’re at it, follow me on IG: @dseacliff for more of the adventures.

Now don’t mind me, I’ll just be sitting here day dreaming of my next trip back to Hawaii…

Maui • March 2018

Iceland Day Five; We Meant To Do That

31 March 2015

“That” being sleep an hour and a half past our alarm then drive an additional eight hours than intended (kind of) today. 

Let’s start with how last night ended – frozen hair in the hot tub and discussing the Northen Lights with our new friends from London. We saw one while we were all getting to know each other, though it’s probably debatable as it also may have just been a cloud. It was another beautiful night regardless. The man at the desk told us all he would give us a wake up call if the lights danced in the sky through the night but we never got that call. 

So as I mentioned we got moving a little late, we hit the road by 7:45. Our planned direction this morning initially was supposed to bring us back up a bit North of Reykavik but multiple people told us that making that extra stretch east along the southern coast toward Jökulsarlon to see the Glaciers was worth it sk that’s what we did. The driving was insane at points along the road – super strong winds and covered in ice. Alex maneuvered the speaker system and set up our iPhones with Bluetooth so we could jam out…to Christmas music. Ha. Anywho, check out this drive – we saw some glaciers along the way too: 

   

 

Baby volcano.

   

Glaciers we are going to be climbing Saturday.         

My new friend with four legs. 

This view from our guesthouse tonight is beautiful. Like everything else. Even if we did drive past the street three times. 

           

Iceland Day Four; Not Lost in Iceland

30 March 2015

The alarm went off and we hit snooze. 6:30 felt too early, so we decided 7:30 would feel better. It did. After breakfast we said goodbye to Ingi, our Igdlo host who was beyond hospitable. The car rental facility picked us up and we got our wheels for the week.

 

 I’m very purple today. Bye, Reykavik!

  

We hit the road toward PING PARK and got lost in the frozen tundra… but not really. It was breath taking – reminded me of a road trip I took out in the Western US with my grandfather and his older brother when I was in high school. Alex and I were warned about the winds on Golden Circle road but only realized just what everyone meant when we made our first stop. 

     

The map nearly flew out the window. We drove in a bit further and found a beautiful lake. Of course, my immediate reaction was how I wanted to jump in. Then I got out of the car. Brr!!!

   

         

 

As we continued down the road through the park to the town of Geysir to see one of the largest natural geysers in the world, we had the parking karma gods in our favor (this a very busy site), we rushed out of the car to catch a glimpse. Wow! How neat. Alex has seen geysers before and being that she is a earth science teacher, she taught me about the pressure build up under the very thin crust. A handy travel companion in a place like this 🙂 

   

      

I have some awesome photos on my camera of this, but since I’m doing this blog 100% from my phone you’ll have to know me to see those back home. You need to see this. All of you! You must see Iceland. 

We followed the one main road and a whole bunch of roundabouts to a small town called Hella where we are staying for the night – we splurged, $40 each for a hotel instead of a hostel. Man oh man was this worth it! Stracta Hotel is insanely fresh. That’s a good thing. It opened last summer so everything still feels new and smells of fresh wood (again, it’s a good thing). We ate a quick snack of cheese and crackers then headed in to their hot tub and sauna for the evening. 

   

        

Check out our view from this place, just a few volcanoes. One ready to erupt any day now. No big deal. 

   

  

Oh, and our room number matched my swim cap I packed. Meant to be. 

 

Alex had a yummy fish soup for dinner (her second fish of the day) made with fish caught across the street. I had a bar and a gerber sweet  potato squeeze. Well balanced meals, ha. The wonderful woman who works here gave us a little treat sampler. Wish we knew her name but when Alex asked she said its a typical Icelandic name that’s too hard to pronounce. 

 

Hot tub again now, then bed. Early up to explore the icebergs! 🙂 

Iceland Day Two

28 March 2015

I’m not really sure if this is a post about a new day or if I should consider it just a continuation of yesterday since we haven’t really slept at all yet. The flight was good but relatively short so we only slept about an hour maybe max. When we landed around 7 am local time, we scarfed down a plethora of cruciferous yummies… Anyone who knows me knows I love my veg, so I had packed a bag of lettuce, roasted asparagus & broccoli, and raw beets chopped and ready to nibble. Alex had a few apples with her. Usually you’re not allowed to bring produce in to a country but apparently Iceland isn’t too strict with their customs clearance. We didn’t want to waste the veg so we stood at baggage inside customs and ate all of it (breakfast…3 am NY time, ha). After finishing up, we proceeded to walk through customs which consisted of no line and not much of a check. Man, that would have been good later in the day. 

We hopped the bus from the airport to the Blue Lagoon, as the BL is sort of on the way or at least closer to the airport so we figured we’d knock out or first day there. Once we checked in and got our baggage we realized that was one of the greatest 35€ ever spent. The Blue Lagoon is incredible. It was so soothing and cleansing and relaxing – nothing could have been better after flying. There was a natural steam room and sauna, and the most magical silica mud to rub all over your face and body. We came out pruned all over but feeling like a million bucks! 

 

 

   

  

        

   

  

 Four hours later of well spent time in the sauna, steam room, showers, and lagoon baths we packed up and headed to Reykjavik. Alex and I both passed out of the bus in to the city. Very necessary. We checked in to our guesthouse room (hotel/hostel ish, very neat and super friendly), unpacked a little, made some plans for the next few days, then headed to the store to grab some groceries for dinner. I’m starting to get very vague in my descriptions now as our day came to an end because we are so tired. Can’t. Keep. Eyes. Open. Made an awesome dinner, chatted with the owner, booked a hostel for Monday night, and now we must sleep! Tomorrow is ice climbing and glacier hiking! Stoked. 

  

   

Oh, by the way we saw a little bit of the Northern Lights on our flight. It was incredible! We happened to be sitting next to an air pollution / ecosystem scientist for Cornell who was a really neat person with whom to share the experience. Okay, bed time! 

When A Normal Person Travels To Miami…

27 March 2015

I travel to Iceland! My friend Alex and I are off on an adventure to the chilly island of glaciers, Northern Lights, and hot springs. After a terribly cold and slightly U enjoyable winter in New York most would not set their sights on a trip somewhere else cold in March. The little Nordic island in the North Atlantic was an easy choice for Alex and I to set our sights on though, being that we both love adventure and exploration. This trip came to be exponentially fast, as we literally were talking about places that neither of us had been and decided spur of the moment to just book it and go (over English drinks with correctional officers…you know, your typical good decisions kind of night). Kidding, kind of.

 

 

Anywho, here we are. I had such a sense of nostalgia upon walking in to the airport this evening. The colorful signs, beeping sounds of intercom announcements, even the smells brought me back to my happy place. It hasn’t been that long – okay – but it’s my sense of home. Does that make sense? I have always been an in-betweener from Florida to New York, and as I’ve gotten older (another year last Sunday to be exact!) I find that travel is my stability in life. I know that probably sounds strange to most of you, though if you know me I think you’ll understand. 

   

 

Our flight was delayed an hour in departure due to inclement weather, yadah yadah. We made friends with an older woman, a retired teacher, who shared stories of her numerous adventures she’s found her self in with her best friend; off roading in backcountry on one of the smaller Hawai’ian islands was my favorite. Then made friends with a little girl wearing a bumble bee backpack. Ah, the places you go and the people you meet. On the flight, we both snagged exit row seats (long leg problems solved!!) and cozied in making new friends with the people around us. 

 

   

This trip came at a good time for me, a time when I feel I really needed to reground myself through a lack of confinement. I am looking forward to the next week of doing my favorite thing with one of my favorite people. 

  

Off we go!! 🙂  

   

An Unfortunate Goodbye

Saturday, 15 November 2014

I think I’ve always had this sort of semi-acceptance of death. I don’t tend to be the crier in the room, as long as I can see each situation as a passing after a well lived life. Mind you, I’ve only ever been to three funerals/wakes in my life that I can remember.

The first was when a childhood friend’s father passed away when I was maybe seven years old. I vaguely recollect walking in to the room and seeing the casket, but I don’t believe I knew or fully comprehended death at that time. Now growing up I had many pets which equates to many pet funerals – those I remember, so I must have had at least a basic understanding.

My grandfather passed away when I was nine, but he lived in NY and I was in Florida. This death I understood and was surely impactful, yet still I believe I rode the fine line of not fully understanding/not fully knowing to what extent sadness should exist or longer.

Then my grandmother passed away when I was twenty-two years old. Between those years, I only experienced animal passings. This loss was greater to me because I saw and experienced and felt the process of death. As I sat by my grandmothers bedside with my dad and many aunts and uncles, I accepted that it was her time to move on. I saw in that very room the beauty she had created and the blessings she was leaving behind. It was time for her to join Rafa because like he said, “finally, it is a matter of love.” I loved my grandmother and wouldn’t have wished for an end, yet I found my acceptance in knowing that her life was incredibly well lived.

One month later, my great grandmother (on the other side of the family) passed away. Vovo was something else, at 102 years old she would have me bring my laptop over to show her photos of what I’ve been up to. She knew more about what was going on with everyone than anyone else in the family – and I say this with emphasis on the everyone because she created an empire. I cherish the fond memories I have in Vovo’s apartment growing up with all my many aunts and uncles and cousins and second cousins and all those other distant lineage paths that I can’t quite definite yet I know I’m related to. Though I unfortunately was unable to attend this funeral, this loss too was something I felt more able to accept because I knew her life was incredible; I knew she lived.

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The third funeral/wake I attended was for the friend of my high school best friend’s mother. I went to support those I cared deeply for, and I watched people around me with tear filled eyes.

It’s a funny emotion that most experience after a loss – that empty sadness that really does not ultimately do anything physically to make a situation better. Tears offer comfort but they cannot change the outcome. I don’t know how or why I developed a slightly detached perspective on death… Maybe it is because I have experienced so few in my life, and because those few were substantially lived lives. Who knows.

One thing I do know is that never in my life have I felt so devastated as to the loss I experienced today. Today one of my best friends passed away. She was a friend, a sister, a mentor, a source of encouragement, a role model, an absolutely all around amazing person both inside and out. Heidi left a mark on me, among many others, that will remain forever. Twenty nine years old with dreams and ambitions and dedication and heart and passion and drive. She was incredible.

I remember the first time I met Heidi. I was new to rock climbing and had seen her the few times I’d gone. She was hard to miss as her passion for everything was so blatant and her grace on the walls was something to admire. I’m not sure if she offered pointers as she saw me struggle on a climb, or if we simply exchanged hellos as we climbed near one another but it was her genuine personality that I instantly clung to and we became friends instantly. Heidi was a phenomenal climber and had been for years and years beginning in her hometown of Patagonia. Despite my new basic level abilities, she would always offer to climb together – granted she would do tough routes I still am unable to complete, she never made me feel insecure she would just give me tips or cheer me on.

Looking back on these past few short years of knowing Heidi, I will forever cherish our memories because each moment spent with her was valuable, productive, and truly unforgettable. I could go on and on with my stories and memories, and for that I am grateful. I am so grateful to have had her in my life and so lucky to have been a part of hers.

To leave this world at such a young age and with such incredible potential for a long, successful life is an honest tragedy. In my few experiences, I can’t say that I’ve ever been as emotional over death as I am in this moment. But Heidi lived. She loved travel and education and family and friends and laughing and helping people and exploring and daring. She accomplished great things and strived to do so much more.

Tears to me seem silly sometimes. I am only seldom a crier, yet for Heidi I can’t seem to stop. I know I share this emotion with an amazing amount of people because I know she touched a lot of lives beyond my own. Today was a breathtakingly beautiful late fall day and Heidi went climbing like she does nearly every single weekend, but today Heidi didn’t come home. She left us all doing what she loved most.

Heidi, a part of me is gone with you. I will forever cherish the bond we shared, the stories we told, the unproductive climb time gabbing we did, the photos we exchanged, and the friendship and sisterhood you gave to me with that big smile on your face. I love you and miss you tons already, but I know you’ll always be smiling down. RIP Heidi ❤

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Here Again, There Again

22 June 2014

It’s 10:45 pm and I am exhausted. The past week has been super packed with highs and lows. The highest high was quitting my terrible job! Glad to be moving on to greater things. It couldn’t have worked out more perfectly timing wise either.

I got to go help out for Stage 3 of the 8 Bridges swim (one of my all time favorites and run by the greatest people) and spend the day on the water in multiple forms – boat, paddle, and swimming – with some of the most kind and fun-loving people I know! Ed finished his 4 stages strong, Andrew began the first half of his endeavor impressively, and John set a record! Just to name a few neat details.

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Yes, that is his swim suit that Ed is holding above his head. And Ed, since I know you’re reading this… You’re welcome. Told you I was spreading the fun 🙂

I got to spend lots of time this weekend with my friends from Ireland now that their back for the summer!

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Claire, Andrew, Kevin, and I went out with all the others as well. What a great night! Many more to come.

Well, with all that now just a memory off I go again tomorrow on the next adventure. I am flying to Honduras tomorrow to visit my friend Andrew. He is down there for a bit to get dive master scuba certified so I figured I’d join him for a week to get myself certified. Following that I am off to Mississippi to see my friend Stephanie, then Charleston for a few days with my mom. Lots of updates to come!

Sweet dreams, world. x