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© 2019 by Kami Couch


At the Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by Micah Frazier



It's been a year since my last blog post! Being out of the habit has made the idea of a post really daunting. Life has so many facets it's hard to start with one post because there is so much to it.


I keep getting this image in my mind, that life is like a map. You have all of these roads that intersect. I think of those roads as stories and circumstances of your life, each are their own road with their own name... but then they all connect at some point, and in the end, it's like a web.


That web is your story.


Anyway, that is just a mental image I was trying to find a word for (like "facets"?) and then realized I should just explain the picture I had in my mind.





I can find it hard to share sometimes. I'm still figuring out where I came from and where I'm going. I don't mean in an eternal mindset. That's locked in, thank heavens. But what I mean is that life is continually changing, and new paths and choices are being forged. Some choices are small daily ones. They add up. Some are once in a lifetime. You're growing and stretching and changing, moving & climbing. You know? It's a lot!


You meet a new friend and they teach you new things.


You live in a new society and you learn new ways of living.


Or the Coronavirus hits. You see your life in new lights.


It would be nice to just package it all up as a finished novel, knowing the beginning and end, and THEN share it, but you can't really. I can only share this chapter.


There is vulnerability in that hanging space of unknown.


Of course, I can share past chapters, but sometimes I hesitate to, because the more life I experience the more I seem to be able to interpret my past. So let's just wait until I'm 80 for that. haha ;)



Back to my point about the road map. We don't know exactly where each road is leading, and so, it's hard to invite others on the road trip. We feel scared and vulnerable, I think, because WHAT IF we don't want to take them to where the road ends up going? There are a lot of uncertainties in life...


But I think if we're open to knowing that it's about this journey we are on, together, then it feels ok to share.


The destinations aren't the point as much as the ways we've journeyed, and hopefully journeyed together. No one has full certainty (except hopefully they do in Jesus) so everything here on earth can crash and burn at any point, and we are left with pieces.


Gah! Sorry to get dark and scary. But I say this because I think the exciting part is that we are given the chance to live again. Maybe your life won't go on as before, and that can be excruciating sometimes... loosing who you use to be... maybe through lost health, or someone you loved.


Life leaves you burned.


That's been a really interesting (maybe shocking is a better word) ;) part of growing older that I wasn't expecting.


Meeting new versions of yourself and life.


When you are a child looking forward, childhood is a lifetime to you. It is all you know. It is everything. You feel essentially the same... Time moves slowly. You don't really meet new versions of yourself or life.


But once you are grown, the same amount of years that were in your childhood can fly by in a moment, and suddenly, you have been stretched and morphed into this person you don't recognize. You are handed experiences you didn't ask for faster than you can breathe.


I think sometimes that can be hard to come to terms with.


Who am I now with this new condition? Car wreck? Relationship? Children? Body? That person who left me? Lost dreams? Maybe you even got famous over night.


We can wonder why we're not like who we use to be... Maybe life was simpler and you were kinder. I think we should take into account all of the new and extend a hand of grace to ourselves. Because truth is, who we use to be didn't live and experience what the current you has. You are dealing with more.


At some point in our lives our magical, childlike view of the world will get smashed in an instant.


I'm rambling now. But what I'm trying to say is that life changes us and sometimes the weight of change is fast and heavy. I think it can be easy to move forward hating the new and hating what it has done to us. Maybe we want to run from people, hide parts of us we don't like, be safe from their offenses... and sure as heck don't invite them on your journey with you!!!

I think life gets harder as you get older.


There is this tendency to back down from life because you are not strong enough to face it as it becomes more intense.

So, I started thinking that if life gets harder that means we have to get stronger. We can't expect to face it like we did before. It's new. Welcome to level 2! ;)


I guess what I'd like to say is don't back down. This struggle you feel is real and you are not alone. A lot of growth comes through acceptance. I am NOT saying to be apathetic in acceptance, more like, put on your boxing gloves!


Get strong. Face the new life, the new you, the new battles. KNOW that it won't be magic-easy-land and that you are going to have to throw punches, take hits, draw closer to God, get back up again even harder than before...


Man, it's easy to wish for someone to bail you out.


I do think God always sends us an angel, a blessing, in some form. People do bail us out.


Light comes.


You know, and maybe through all of these hard changes, we just peeled back layers and found problems within ourselves that we have now faced and fought to end. That's a good thing. Maybe these hard things in life helped you to level up as a human.





I did not intend to say all of this. In fact, I was just going to share about my new life in Bend, Oregon! But as I thought over my year, how I've grown, and what is happening right now in the world, it all came to mind.



Just going to hit publish on this, so stayed tuned for the Bend Life Update next!





How to Get Cheap Airfare:


PRINTABLE PACKING LIST AT END OF POST

I always find cheap tickets through Google Flights ! If you open an incognito window (hit File and then New Incognito Window) they can't track what you're looking for and raise the rates on you as you search (they do that). Dublin was the cheapest country to fly into from Seattle out of the 5 countries I was looking into, so I booked round trip Seattle-Dublin for $450. (I have seen them as cheap as $350 Seattle-Dublin. Just keep an eye out!)

(Random Fact: overseas they say "$450 return" in stead of "roundtrip".)

If 2 of you are traveling and you find a good rate be sure to just up the number of passengers to 2 and book the tickets together. My friend and I booked separate and as soon as one was booked it bumped the next ticket up almost $200. So next time, we'll just have one person buy them both at the same time. 

Iceland Air is one of my favorite airlines (next to Alaska Air and Southwest). 

Iceland and Ryan Air allowed:-One personal item like a pursue (I used my leather & canvass camera backpack by Epiphanie) -One carry on under 22lbs (I used a Stormtech 35 liter dry backpack)

Everything I brought came to 26lbs- both backpacks and all camera gear combined! 

However, as simple as two backpacks sound (we wore the small on the front and big on the back) after hours of walking in airports and doing public transportation you start to envy every person with wheels and I always swear I'm doing wheels next time. 


We ran across these bags in the Dublin airport and we both agreed they were EXACTLY what we'd do in the future. You still get a backpack that's waterproof PLUS THE WHEELS. Do yourself and your back a favor (had to go to the chiropractor when I got home) and BUY ONE OF THESE!!!! or something with wheels on it. 


Here's everything I had in my bags:


***SEE ATTACHED PDF FOR PRINTABLE PACKING LIST 

-Spoon/Fork Combo I'm not joking putting this #1 on the list. Having a spoon/fork was something I used all the time and way underestimated how much I'd need this (especially since we made as many meals on the go as we could.)!!!  


-1 colapsable travel tupperware


-I put my clothes in packing cubes

That way it's SO organized and you're not digging through a bag with everything in a jumble. Plus, it keeps everything compact and your bag smaller. 

-One bigger cube for all shirts, leggings and jeans.

-One small cube for underwear, socks, hats- you know- the small stuff ;) 


-Sorrel Tall Leather Snow Boot  

I bought these off of Amazon 2 years ago when I worked at a ski resort and- NO JOKE- have worn them every day of the year since then (that's not summertime). They have lasted so well and the leather looks great as it ages. They are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. They dress up or down well. I wore them out to dinner or hiked a mountain in Norway in snow. They've been phenomenal EVERYWHERE. I brought tennis shoes thinking I'd use them but only wore them once. Next time I'd leave behind the tennis shoes and do the whole trip with JUST THESE!!  





-For outer wear I layered:-a waterproof, hooded coat with -THE BEST SWEATER I EVER OWNED! From "The Better Sweater" in Homer, AK. It's the ONLY piece of clothing I've ever worn that literally feels like a heater. It's sooo warm and cozy. It's lined with fleece and the outside is some kind of alpaca wool?? 


-and this black running jacket from Target that covers your hands and snaps criss-cross in the front so it covers your neck like a scarf. Brilliant. I wore this everyday, and as my base layer that I always zipped my wallet into. I'm wearing it in the pic below but you can't really tell. LOVE THIS JACKET! 

-Organic Lavender Hand Sanitizer This weighed almost nothing and smelled SO good so it's almost like perfume as well. I only brought one and it lasted well! You can also find them at the health food store for $3. 


-3 long sleeved shirts (I think all mine were thermal, Costco sells two packs that are great).


-3 pairs of NZ Merino Wool Ice Breaker Underwear These aren't what you think- The wool is soft and they are made for travel and keep smell and sweat away, they hand wash well on the go and dry SO FAST! Buy some.


-1 Pair Black Icebreaker NZ Merino Wool Leggings 260


-Kuhl Flight Vest in Stone


-Microfiber shower towel This came with a large and small. The large is so huge I'd only bring one next time to save space.


-Small Portable Charger for Phone This was lightweight and had three different adapters for three different types on phones- android and apple!! Amazing!!


-Universal Travel Adapter


-1 down jacket that compacts very small 


-1 checkered flannel shirt


-1 loose fitted cotton shirt (also worn for pjs)


-1 floral non-wrinkle short dress (paired with the black leggings. My outfit for nicer outings)


-1 black t-shirt


-1 knee high socks (LOVED THESE, esp with the tall boots!!)


-2 black ankle socks


-1 pair wool socks-2 jeans (1 blue, 1 black.)


-1 belt


-1 sweats


-1 sweater or comfy hoodie for around the house


-1 pair work-out leggings (also worn as pjs)


-1 pair of flip flops (for showers in hostels)


-swim suit 


-1 lightweight water bottle (my brand was "BUILT", found at Ross for $7)


-1 wallet (which I always kept in the pocket of the closest layer next to my body, usually three layers in. That way I always knew where it was and it wasn't easy for people to find.)-1 small purse which I wouldn't bring again. You don't need it if you have a backpack and wallet. 


-1 warm hat-Gloves ($7 at Ross) 


-1 pack hand warmers 


-vitamins


-Dr Bronner's 2oz liquid lavender soap (found for cheap in health food store, used for washing clothes and as shampoo.)


-3 oz travel container of conditioner 


-dry shampoo, travel size


-Protein Powder for smoothies on the go.


-Small Nalgene bottle for smoothies. 


-1 small makeup bag with mini toothpaste, floss, lotion, toothbrush, mascara, lipstick, and foundation.  Just some beauty basics, ya'll.


-Curling wand.  Curling my hair would last a couple days and made me feel pretty put together. haha! 


-1 debit card


-1 credit card


-Cash (I took $600 but only used it in the US, I think, so you don't need that much.)-Small pack of cleaning wipes.


-Canon 6D ii (has wifi so I can send photos I take directly to my phone, so I didn't bring a laptop)


-Canon 35mm f/2.0-Canon 50mm f/1.4-128 gig card-1 battery and charger


-1 small travel journal 


-pen-Passport & drivers license


-1 phone charger and wall cube-mini first aid kit from travel section in store


-copies of drivers license and passport


-gallon ziplocks (use these all the time, esp for meal prep) ***SEE ATTACHED PDF FOR PRINTABLE PACKING LIST 







When we took of for Alaska we threw a few food staples in our bags that makes eating on the go healthy, easy & inexpensive! Of course, a bag of quinoa was one, which you will see showing up in a lot of what we eat... But for this recipe we brought the 3 main ingredients with us and then bought fresh apples once we got to AK. This is what we will be making every morning for this trip!


Easy Travel Breakfast

1 apple, diced

6T PB Fit powder (Add water until desired consistency)

15 almonds, chopped

1 Kirkland Peanut Butter Chunk Protein Bar, chopped


Mix it all up and go! :) Easy as that and no cooking necessary! Top with cinnamon and stevia if you have some!