1000 miles in 24 hours

Ever wish you could have a friend run an errand for you in order for you to get other stuff done?

Ryan, from the post Tulsa, more than just the Drillers, decided it was more valuable (and helpful) to pay me for the task at hand, than to do it himself.

“Gee, let me think…. Umm sure!”
(That was for all of you Jim Carrey fans out there).

It was my mission to fly north to Bloomington Illinois to pick up his truck that had been serviced and drive it back down to Tulsa Oklahoma.

Besides the trip itself, there really wasn’t any extraordinary events that took place, so here’s my 24 hours in a nutshell.

Ryan dropped me off at the Tulsa international airport for my departure to the snowy city up North. The first flight was on an average sized commercial plane that had 32 rows with 3 seats on each side of the aisle.

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The second flight was a bit smaller, but far from the smallest I’ve ever flown on (for one of those death defying, chicken in the runway episodes, see the post: Sit back, relax and enjoy the flight). For those of you who haven’t flown, let me give you a sneak peak at why being vertically challenged is a benefit on these flights.

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Coming into land at my final destination, the snow covered grounds made for a pretty picture. What they didn’t make for, was a warm welcome.

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The airport was clean and brightly lit with an open layout.

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When I walked out of the front doors, a wall of “freezing” hit me square in the face, like an ice monster attacking with no mercy. I took a step outside and immidiently did an about-face and went right back into the airport to wait for my ride. Here’s a shot of the security picking off icicles so they wouldn’t drop on pedestrians.

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A quick trade of paperwork put me in Ryan’s truck ready for my 550 mile drive back to his house.

The weather had reported that I would be right in the trail of an “ice vortex”, sounds vicious, right? Luckily for me, the storm relaxed and detoured to the east, leaving me with safe roads and smooth ride.

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As the sun dropped behind what seemed to be a never ending highway, I stuck to my goal of getting a few hours on the road before snagging a hotel. Here’s a blurry night shot of St.Louis, home of the Rams and the popular arch. Can you see it on the right?

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Turns out on the open road, I completely decompress with the sound of a motor… like a baby after a warm bottle in a rocking chair. As I began to melt into the warm seats, I spotted a simple hotel that was perfect for some shut eye before finishing the route ahead. Not too shabby for a pitstop in the middle of Missouri.

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The sunrise was gorgeous but deceiving as it brought light but not much warmth. My solution? I took heating pads that are supposed to go in your shoes and stuck them to my legs and hands. Silly? Brilliant! I was toasty until the heater took action and now it’s time to roll.

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I wish I had some incredible snap shots to show you, but it is instead I captured some photos that I assume, some of you have never seen before.

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Yes, you can get pulled over for going to slow.

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So close!

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From the moment he dropped me off at the airport, it was 24 hours later that I pulled into his drive. Safe and sound (me and the truck) we had success! Here’s the vehicle that I had grown to love in my time behind the wheel.

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What mission accomplished would be complete without a celebration? We chose a casual walk that lead us to the Valkrie, seen in the post about Tulsa.

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Here’s a quick snap shot of me, Ryan and his beautiful girlfriend CJ.

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A walk home and a bright good night is how I’ll end this one.

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Handstand material for sure!

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Categories: Accommodations, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It went all over my shoes

In 3 years of traveling, I’ve only gotten what some would consider “sick” just a handful of times. No more than if I were at home living a day to day routine. With that said, here’s a short story that sent my happy trails on a little detour.

It was the beginning year of my backpacking and my first trip to Peru. I had met a sweet young Dutch couple while studying in Argentina that decided to link up with me for a Machu Picchu adventure.

If you’d like an entertaining read with several pictures check out the entire 3 day journey here.

Here are a few photos from that memorable experience.

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2015/01/img_3241.jpg We had completed out trek with an amazing day exploring the grounds of the ancient Incas. Making it back to the main city of Aguascalientes, I was beginning to feel a little uneasy. Nothing major, but just enough ache in my tummy to want to lay down as my friends left to grab dinner. Food was the last of my desires. The hostel we had slept at allowed me to bundle up in the employees room to recoup before our long train ride home to Cusco. Simon and Ashgan (the two kind smiles at the bottom of the page) said we had three hours before our train departed and they’d come wake me up when it was time to go.

I closed my eyes for what seemed like a minute before the door swung open to reveal both of my friends frantically picking up our bags. “We read the tickets wrong and we have to go now or we’ll miss the train!”

Imagine, you can barely move your head without the feeling of Mr.Nasuea knocking at your door and now it’s time to sprint through unevenly paved streets while lugging a 50lb backpack over your hunched shoulders that are protecting your cramping stomach. Oh joy.

I only made it a few steps before Simon (my Dutch Superhero of the day) clearly read my agony and lifted the bag from my back. I was now able to keep up with the two of them as we hustled down the steep hills and tight turns. You’d think that a sense of relief would come over me as I saw the station, but at this point I knew that poor Peru was going to see what I had for breakfast.

I hollered at them to keep going in order to check us in as I took a hard right into a lonely ally. Plug your ears as you read on to find that this type of vomit was far from what I would describe as danty or sickly. Words that come to mind are violent, uncontrollable and…. All over my shoes.

I gathered myself knowing that the train wouldn’t wait for the extra pale-faced chica to catch up. I spotted my buddies who now had our boarding passes, all of our bags and the look of two concerned parents. I actually felt better, so with high hopes I assumed it was a one-time kind of deal and that the train would be more restful than anything. I was wrong.

We snagged a table booth next to the window and got settled in.

Let’s pause for a moment and talk about this “train”. Please do not imagine a high speed European railway or the popular US Amtrak, oh no no no. This was an ancient line of connecting boxes that reminded me of a daunting Disney ride. Looking back, it was actually really neat, but at the moment it seemed like a legal form of torture. This tiny beast rocked back and forth as if to struggle finding balance between one side of the tracks to the other. Clickity clack, clickity clack, clickity clack…

So the “train”, now in full motion, did nothing to my body except create a movement that encouraged another round of losing whatever may have been left in my guts. I excused myself from the table to find the nearest toilet.

“Pardone, ¿dónde está el baño? Pronto por favor!”

The petite Peruvian woman, dressed in professional attire with a gentle smile pointed to an occupied closet. It was locked. I returned to meet eyes with her and clarified why I needed it… Now! Not understanding my broken sickly Spanish she just kept pointing to the door behind me.

Have you ever drawn a blank while trying to remember a certain word? Especially in another language? I could not think of “bag” or “bucket” or anything for that matter, so I proceeded to take the charades route and made motions of puking while gripping my stomach.

Seriously friends, visualize that one for a minute.

I continued to signal for any type of container and with sympathy, she just shrugged her shoulders. Swallowing (literally) with all of my strength to keep it down, I rushed back to my seat and dug through my backpack to find the stash of plastic bags I always keep on the road. Not wanting to provide a show for the fellow passengers, I swayed back and forth to the end of the car and kneeled down. I opened the bag and at that very moment, my body could no longer keep it in.

So there I was, curled in the corner for all the train to endure as this poor girl emptied her insides into a plastic bag with “Muchas Gracias” printed on the side.

I finally reached a point in which I felt settled enough to go back to my seat. I stood up slowly looking down at my bag full of, ummm substance…. What was I ever going to do with this? After unsuccessfully looking for an employee that could point me to a bin, I had nowhere else to turn except a cart that carried all of the snacks and drinks. That’s it! I saw a symbol that appeared to be for “trash” on top of what resembled a waste compartment. Weak and tired, I still had the right mind to look inside first to confirm that it wasn’t where they stored the complimentary cookies. It was empty. I placed my bag inside with an internal (guilt driven) apology to the poor person who had to find it.

I proceeded to drag myself back to the booth, plop down and fall asleep.

I’d love to finish this story in great detail, but the only thing next in my memory was slowly opening my eyes. Relieved to not feel my stomach at my throat, I looked around placing myself in the bottom bunk bed, in the room of our original Cusco hostel. Next to my bed was a box of saltine crackers, a ginger soda and a pack of gum. My dear friends had carried my belongings back, tucked me in and provided just what I needed upon awakening. I’m so grateful for Simon and Ashgan for their selfless act in nourishing me to health and safety. Much love to you my friends!

2015/01/img_3235.jpg Side note update: Since that journey, I’ve traveled to Holland and have been able to reconnect with these two and their families! What a grand, beautiful world we live in.

Categories: Not-so-happy trails, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Getting shot in Peru

This story will forever be embedded in my book of memories. It was my buddy Hayden’s first time backpacking and I say this because he put full faith in me and all of my experiences. I had planned the trip, reserved and booked all of our transfers and even sent him a “must bring” and “leave at home” list. With that said, picture this…

After hiking Machu Picchu and spending a week exploring the beautiful city of Cusco, we arrived at the airport to make our way North to Costa Rica. Walking with confidence and speaking in my advanced (broken) spanish we approached the ticket counter to check in. Passports, yep. Tickets, yep. Yellow fever card? Hmm….
“I choose not to get shots, but thanks for asking”. I said politely.
“Lo siento señorita, su necesaria para viajar” (sorry miss, it’s necessary to travel).
“No sir, I’ve been to Costa Rica before and I didn’t need a yellow fever card then, why now?”
Turns out coming from the north you don’t need it, but coming from the south you’re at a higher risk, so the shot is required before entering Costa Rica.
At this point, I’m still relaxed regardless of Hayden’s face expressing the “we’re doomed” look. “Where is the nearest doctor? We’ll go get the shot right now and return for the flight”.

Fun but not helpful fact: the shot must be in your system for 10 days prior to travel. This was unacceptable due to the fact that Hayden had his flight back to the states out of Costa Rica in just 8.

The man at the desk replied with a “best we can do” scenario and puts us on a flight to Lima which is the capital of Peru. He suggested that we might have more options there. So here we go, boarding a plane with no guarantee that we can connect to our final destination.

While sitting on this little transfer, my mind is searching all options. We could ditch the final flight and just take a bus over the border to try and sneak our non-yellow fever card carrying selves to Ecuador. Maybe we could hitch hike north until another opportunity presented itself or why not just jump to Mexico? They have beautiful beaches!

Landing in Lima, we gathered our backpacks and decided to approach the ticket counter as if there was nothing was to be concerned of. As the story goes, the same conversation began with the employee confirming that we will not be flying out of the country without our yellow fever card.
Turing to walk away with several thoughts running through my mind, we were casually signaled over by a woman who appeared to be a apart of the airport security. “You need your yellow fever card?” She asked.
Eagerly I responded with a guilty nod, “Ci!”. She gazed away ever so slightly as to avoid eye contact as she suggested we find a man in a red vest and tell him we’re in need of “Air Sanity”.

No time for questions, we’re now on a hunt through the Lima airport desperately looking for a red vested jolly man with, what I imagine, having a stash of yellow cards we can buy off him and be merry on our way. Wrong.

In our search for this “hombre de rojo”, Hayden spots a symbol resembling a Red Cross. We had nothing to lose as we approached a counter that was clearly a medical center. “Hola, necesitamos que nuestros… uhhh… amarillo uhh…”. She cuts me off, “You need your yellow fever card?”
“Yes please!”
She asks us to wait before returning with an elderly woman that had to of been at least 85 years old or 110 and looking great for her age. We followed her into a small room with a tiny business desk covered in several binders and random knick-nacks.
She proceeded to ask if we had a doctor from the United States that could confirm we have received the shots. The entire conversation went something like this:
“You have note with shots?”
“No señora, we don’t have the shots or a note.”
“Some Americans have doctor send paper in machine with card. Do you have a doctor?”
“No señora, I don’t. I’m sorry.”
By this time she is giving me the look of “I know you’re young, but come on lady, get my drift!”
“…but you can have a doctor with note?” She implied.
“Ohhh, ci señora… I do have a doctor with a note!”
“Good then, go with her” she said while pointing to a kind looking woman wearing an outfit that was nothing resembling a nurses outfit.
As Hayden and I made eye contact, I giggled with a shoulder shrug and scooted along behind her with relief knowing we’ll make our flight. Expected to be given a yellow fever card with a wink, I had another thing coming.

We ended our short walk in a room containing a deep freezer, a desk and blank walls decorated with graphs and a few disturbing posters with images of tropical diseases. She rolled out a dusty chair and proceeded.
“Please sit down. Who’s first?”
“I’m sorry, excuse me… what?”
All things became clear as she started to lay out two needles with a substance that, to this day, I have no idea what it really was.

“I’ll go!” I took a seat, and looked at Hayden as she whipped out the syringe. With no hesitation, I was being punctured in the upper arm and injected
with the mystery liquid. Now it’s Hayden’s turn!

To the best of my memory, I believe his words were something along the lines of “Erika, I knew your travels were crazy… but this is insane!”

A needle poke and a few bandaids later, we were sent back to the ancient woman’s room where she had two yellow cards. I watched as she turned back the dial on the date stamp confirming that indeed, we were in the USA 15 days prior and yes, our doctor sent a fax to her. On the way out, our unofficially-official nurse suggested we remove the bandaids before landing in Costa Rica to ensure they wouldn’t be suspicious of a recent shot.

Forty American dollars later, we had cards, tender arms and a half hour till our flight departed. Hoping for a different person at the ticket counter to avoid any awkward moment, we were not so lucky as we approached the same man who had previously turned us away. I walked up as if we had never been there before and plopped up our Passports, tickets and 2 brand new shiny yellow cards.
He looked everything over and glanced up at us, then stamped a few papers and concluded with a “Have a nice flight”.
With sweaty palms and the heart rate of a race horse, I walked away in relief that I had not completely let my pal down. If anything, just given him another story to share back home. Sweet victory!

Here’s the only photo from that day.

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Categories: Not-so-happy trails, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My favorite Cambodian dish!

Once upon a time while volunteering in Cambodia, I took a walk in a local market to see what my tummy could find (shocking, right?). I rounded a corner and spotted out what appeared to be one of my favorite vegetables with some sort of goodness in the middle. Here are the actual photos from the quaint little market outside of Phnom Phen.

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I looked around for a seat, quickly realizing that the pint-size stool at my feet was the prime location to experience the meal I was about to order. Squatting low with knees in my chest, I pointed eagerly at the dish and singled for one slice, followed by my palms together in gratitide. Considering I was the tallest, whitest lady at the miniature table, I was being observed by several locals for my reaction to the first bite.

With the toddler spoon that matched my shoebox chair, I scooped up a bite and gave it a go.

How to make best friends in a foreign market:
Step1. Order something they don’t expect you to get.
Step2. Try it in front of them.
Step 3. React sincerely.

It didn’t take but a second for me to realize I had found my new favorite treat. Needless to say it became a daily routine to greet my new friends, squeeze into my usual seat (visualize Will Ferrel sitting in the classroom in the movie Elf) and indulging. Was this lunch… dessert? A meal or a snack? I have no idea but it was delicious!

When arriving back into the states I started research to find something that would closely resemble the magical taste of pumpkin custard or Lapov Songkya (ល្ពៅសង្ខ្យា).

To be honest, I have yet to find a recipe but I’ve had fun trying! Here was my most recent attempt (attempt: an act of trying to achieve something, typically one that is unsuccessful or not certain to succeed.)

Ingredients:
A buttercup squash (Pumpkin, Kombucha, Delicata, etc.)
4-5 Eggs (I used whole and some whites)
3/4 cup Coconut milk (it suggests cream or full fat, I used lite)
1/3 cup Sugar (I used coconut palm sugar)
1/2 tsp Salt
A dash of Cinnamon if you’re feelin spicy
Optional: In Cambodia they will often put shave ice and coconut over the top and drizzle with condensed sweetened milk. (See photos above)

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Cut open the top of your pumpkin the same way you would for a Halloween carving. Take a spoon and gut your squash. For the sake of my sanity, please save your seeds and eat those too… They do not belong in the trash! Thank you.

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Mix all of the ingredients saving the eggs for last.

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Grab a double boiler and fill with an adequate amount of water. Crank the heat until it’s boiling. Place your squash in the over sized steamer, cut side up. Poor the liquid into the hollowed out pumpkin and close the lid.

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Lower the heat and let the baby cook until the custard is cooked thoroughly and the pumpkin is tender. Remove and let cool.

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This is the part in which you eagerly slice into as you contain the water in your mouth before giving this amazing dish a try…

Or in my case, you slice into it and have all the undercooked insides come pouring out into the table as your heart breaks into tiny little hungry pieces. I’m not sure if this failure was the specific recipe, the substitutions I made or in fact, that I actually didn’t follow the recipe.

I have you know, I ate the pumpkin separately with dinner and enjoyed every bite! I took the insides (what should of been custard) added oats and ground flax seed, then poured it into a baking dish and made scrumptious bars out of it. Problem solved.

So, if you want to try this Cambodian delight, I highly suggest you google it yourself and find a recipe that you think will be golden. When you find it, let me know!

Categories: Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

3 challenges for 365 days

Starting off the new year always seems to be an appropriate time to set goals. Large, short term, serious or funny…. Why not? I chose 3 different resolutions to suggest to you. Take ‘em or leave ‘em, but check it out!

#1- FITNESS
We all know working out can be a struggle. If it be making time for it, finding the drive for it or simply getting it done. The reason I’m sharing this next idea is because it’s easy (woohoo!) and it involves music which generally stimulates the body anyway.

The challenge: do a non-stop workout for an entire song. There’s several different ways you can approach this. Maybe choose just one movement and do it until the song is over, for example push ups. Move your hands close then far, elbows in then out… Just keep pushing until the song ends. Another option would be a variety of movements in sequence. Example 20 push ups, 30 squats, 50 crunches, etc.

Care not to create your own routine? You can always search my fitness page for ideas, a great example would be the workout in El Salvador. Need more? Allow Google to help out. Simply search “3 minute workouts” and I’m sure you’ll get plenty of creative burners!

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#2- FINANCES
This is a popular program that has been pinned all over the place and there’s a good reason why! What will you do with $1,378.00?
A. Find a jar, bucket, box, can, bag, bottle… Pretty much anything that can hold your currency.
B. Decorate it! Or not…. But if you have the time, I say grab a friend, a beverage of choice and get lost in glitter glue and markers.
C. Drop the funds! Instead of putting a random amount of your change in, make a purposeful donation to yourself and watch the balance grow! It’s suggested to start with $1 and add to the amount weekly.

Did you get a chunk of funds from the holiday season? Reverse it then! Do you often get caught with your hand in the cookie jar? Skip the jar and go to the bank instead! Check out this site for the pro’s and con’s of both options.

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#3 FUN
Take a picture a day, that’s it! No, not a selfie with your bestie every morning. Find animals, traffic, strangers, buildings, landscape, signs… Then at the end of the year, recap 365 days of random photos. Here are a few of my favorites from the years!

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Happy: feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.
New: not existing before; made, introduced, or now for the first time.
Year: the time taken by a planet to make one revolution around the sun – 365 days.

Categories: Art, Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A taste of memories

First off, I’d like to deliver my love to everyone during this holiday season. If you’re on a tropical island somewhere or shoveling snow, I wrap my thoughts around you and send a huge, happy hug!

Now if you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed the quantity of posts slowly decreasing to few and far between. Naturally, going from a volunteer based backpacking lifestyle to an extended visit to the states, my daily routine has relaxed into an enjoyable job and reuniting with old friends.

Confession time: I miss blogging!

So here’s the deal, since I’m choosing to stay in the states for a bit longer (I still can’t convince the airlines to let me volunteer for free flights) I figure I’d post about the random events, products and people that are surrounding my daily environment.

To kick off this new chapter of herhappytrails, I’m going to show you an international market that we have right here in our own backyard!

Located at: 10971 Olson Dr – Rancho Cordova, CA 95670

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I’d like to think it was developed for quirky people like me that truly enjoy getting lost abroad discovering new items in local markets. (See collage below)

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However, after walking through this 80,000 square foot building, I realized it’s home away from home for many international residents. It’s a perfect place to gather traditional ingredients for tasty recipes that you generally can’t find at regular shopping stores.

Let’s take a walk!

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I’m grateful to have traveled enough in which several of these items were familiar to me. So familiar that I actually got choked up with flash backs of the journeys in which many of these treats were a part of.

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Would you like your seafood packaged, fresh, or extremely fresh?

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After you check out, you’re conveniently located in the new food court. I say “food court” lightly as this doesn’t have Kentucky Fried Chicken or a Pizza Hut, but an assortment of baked international goodies and a few restaurants offering unique menus.

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I have yet to mention that my partner in crime for the day is my dear friend Varee. If you’ve been following since September of 2012, you’ll recognize her smile from our adventure in Switzerland together!

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Our choice of lunch? I went with a popular Korean dish called Bibimbap (which was delicious!) and she chose a warm Vietnamese Pho noodle soup. For dessert we bit into a red bean stuffed mochi ball. Oh sweet memories of Japan!

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I leave this post with an adorable holiday house made from Pocky packages.

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Merry days to you all!

Categories: Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Make-A-Wish donation!

I’m proud to announce the winner of the post- guess, win, give… I love birthdays to be Mr. Mark Philipps. By guessing to the nearest second of a handstand I held , he got to pick the charity of his choice for Herhappytrails to donate $100. Drum roll please… Northern California Make-A-Wish foundation!

This wonderful program is world-wide and extremely active. In fact, right here in the United States, volunteers grant a wish every 38 minutes!

Here are a few stories from our local Northern California area.

Miles, a 5-year-old who is in remission from leukemia, got to save the city of San Francisco with his Make-A-Wish identity of the new Batkid. More than 10,000 volunteers and supporters made his wish possible by playing a role in this real life dream come true. For more of his story and the actual video of this memorable day, please visit I want to be Batkid.

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The following story and photo came from http://necannv.wish.org, thank you for sharing!

When Andrew was originally approached by Make-A-Wish to have a life-changing experience, he decided that his one true wish was to go to Ecuador on a mission trip. Due to medical restrictions, he was unable to take the trip to Ecuador at the time and it was to be postponed until he was medically able to go. Unfortunately, that time never came.

His condition worsened and he was told that he wouldn’t be able to go to Ecuador. Make-A-Wish then gave him the chance to choose a different wish, something that he could enjoy from a place much closer to home. Andrew, whose motto was “love God and serve others,” chose to donate the cash value of his wish-$5,000-to help purchase a refrigerated food truck for the local food bank at Mosaic Christian Church where he volunteer

Andrew was remembered by Make-A-Wish during the national conference Evening of Excellence, where his family received, in his honor, the Lori Schultz-Betancourt Indomitable Spirit Award. This award is intended to honor the individual who embodies the essence of an “indomitable spirit” and possesses the qualities of persistence, bravery, compassion, integrity and dedication.


“I really just enjoy helping others and the feeling you get from giving back. So many people have given to me over the last two years as I’ve been battling cancer. I really enjoy doing what I can for others.”
Andrew

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A simple but sweet example is about a darling 12-year-old named Claire. She has been battling Cystic Fibrosis and enduring treatments that were described as “grueling”. Like several young girls, she had dreamt of owning her own horse after taking lessons between hospital visits. So when Make-A-Wish volunteers asked about her wish, Claire was granted her very own horse, Zio!

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Mark, due to your participation of my silly handstand game, I was encouraged to research a charity that I’ve always heard about but never involved myself with. Now, because of your suggestion, I have a new chapter in future volunteering. Thank you!

If you would like to volunteer for Make-A-Wish Foundation, please visit wish.org/ways to help.

Categories: Polls, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

32 candles on 32 peddles

For my birthday this year, my only request was laughter. Comedy, friends, music… Anything was acceptable as long as smiles were included! Solution? A 15 person bicycle!

Sac Brew Bike is a company located in Sacramento that provides a man powered bike that seats 15 plus a driver. The faster you peddle, the quicker you go. A professional driver (not me) takes your group to designated locations for each pit stop. Saddle up, buckle in and peddle away!

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Side note: The mustaches seen on most of us were grown within seconds using adhesive and slight pressure. More about that later.

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Leave it to me to underestimate the amount of super-friends that would show up rain or shine. With a bike that seats 15 and 18 amazing friends, I was fortunate that three of them had brought their own bikes to meet up with us. Thus, we now have a crew following the beast. I’m secretly thankful this happened as we took turns on the single bike which was just as much fun!

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Back to the staches… We were debating on superhero capes or party hats when my dear friend Liz simply helped the decision and suggested mustaches. Brilliant! You really can’t take yourself serious when rockin the fur below your nose.

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Here are some random photos taken at a few of the pubs. No captions needed…

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Dear birthday-cycle crew, you absolutely made this event most memorable and entertaining… Couldn’t have done it without you (literally, the bike wouldn’t of moved). The laughter and jokes with open minded, mustache wearing friends was exactly what I wished for. Thank you so much for trekking out in the rain and bringing your positive energy in addition. I love you all!

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Categories: Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Run to feed the hungry 2014

Last year for this glorious holiday, I was in Japan eating sushi by myself watching the movie Elf with subtitles. It was perfect! This year, I’m thankful to have a new experience that went something like this:

Run to feed the hungry is a 10K Run & 5K Run (or walk) to support the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services. This is the 21st annual event and it hit records with nearly 28,000 participants, making it the largest Thanksgiving run in California!

I was up and out of the house by sunrise to meet up with friends.

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Due to parking and the lack there of, we chose to take a very entertaining bike ride that led us to the starting point of the 5k run (or race, or walk or crawl… you’re choice)

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Fun Fact:
Thanksgiving was meant to be a fast, not a feast. The settlers at Plymouth Rock mostly recognized “giving of thanks” in the form of prayer and abstaining from food. But the Indians who joined the pilgrims for their 3-day celebration, contributed their own harvest traditions called Nickommoh meaning “to give away” or “exchange”. A festival of dancing, games and feasting!

Here we waited for our group to gather so we could begin the race!

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A bit of a late start but I must admit, we weren’t racing this run… Simply enjoying the event with wonderful friends!

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Fun Fact:
In 1953, someone at Swanson overestimated (by 260 tons!) the amount of turkey Americans would consume that Thanksgiving. Gerry Thomas recovered this mistake by ordering 5,000 aluminum trays, recruiting an assembly line of women and began creating mini-feasts of turkey, corn-bread dressing, peas and sweet potatoes — creating the first-ever TV dinner!

Along this walk, you’ll spot all ages in bundles of families, friends, fitness groups, business partners and more. Even a few paw babies too!

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Fun Fact:
In 1982 Thanksgiving fell on November 25th and viola… I was born! (My mom may have a slightly different version).

I know a little lady who slept well this night. Who wouldn’t want to play in those leaves?!

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Handstand time… Looks like we started something!

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Fun Fact:
More Americans are trading in the original Butterballs for Turduckens. A what? Picture this: a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken. Genius or too much? No comment.

Almost done!

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We took our time to make sure there was proper clean up and to help guide the cop cars through the finish line. (In other words they were telling us to hurry up because the race was over).

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Fun Fact:
The woman who wrote the classic nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb” also played a role in making Thanksgiving a national holiday. After a 17-year letter-writing campaign, magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale finally convinced President Abraham Lincoln to recognize the historic tradition. Go Mary!

Success!

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A special thanks to JC, Kate, Hayden, Katie, Austin, sis and the EFP crew for the amazing kickstart to this magical holiday!

Categories: Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guess, win, give… I love Birthdays!

Last year for my birthday, I opened a donation page with the intentions of distributing funds in small doses throughout the world. Primarily within personal contact, small foundations and local families. Since that glorious event, Herhappytrails has been able to gift in so many ways! Clean water in Africa, local chefs in Thailand, rescue sex trafficking in Cambodia and Sacramento, local schools and yes, this includes the ice bucket challenge as well.

If you’re new to this little journey of mine, I’ve been handstanding around the world for almost three years now. This year I’m feeling a little quirky, so here’s the deal:

I recorded myself doing a handstand for the fun of… Well, for fun! I’m giving you until December 1, 2014 to estimate how long I had the sky at my feet! The person who guesses to the nearest time will get to choose from 5 foundations in which Herhappytrails will donate the next $100.

BONUS: If you guess the exact amount of time, we will give $50 to any person or charity of your choice! An incredible teacher, thoughtful nurse, amazing neighbor, a school, local business, a student in need of educational funds… It’s your call!

Easy as 1,2,3:
1. Make a guess.
2. Apply it in the comments below, email it to herhappytrails@yahoo.com or on Facebook.
3. Wait for the reveal!

Much gratitude for taking the energy to read, contribute and continue spreading the joy of giving!

Many cheers and one love,
Erika Mae Young

Fun fact about this photo: I was house sitting alone, so I set my camera to self timer and had no idea their little pup got in the shot. Adorable!

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Hint: I only attempted twice and took the longer of the two handstands. It was more than 4 seconds, less than 4 minutes… Ready, set and guess!

RESULTS: It was 41 seconds! Mark Phillips is the winner at 33 seconds. I’ll be posting the charity of his choice soon!

Click here to see the actual video!

Let me start by admitting that I was very flattered that most of you think I’m some sort of superhuman, especially with the 11 minute guess from Facebook (love you Jim)!
So really evaluate this… Find a second-hand clock and just put your arms in the air and hold it. If that’s a little to easy, go ahead and pick up a hundred pounds… And stand on one foot.
Fun fact: Elite gymnasts are required to do a 60 second hold during most tryouts. Just sayin.

Categories: Polls, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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