You’re never to old to play upside down!

On my first return to Barbados back in 2012 my friend Ryan introduced me to Shane De Freitas and the local adult gymnastics class. For the full flash back of those days see the post called Calories… love to consume them, love to burn them! Year after year I’d return to the family of gymnasts (who probably laughed at the fact that I just referred to us as “gymnasts”) for more fun and fitness. Last year we caught several action shots seen in A flippin good time. Thank you Mark Harris for the photo session! 

And now it’s 2017 and we play again! Photo credit to Matt Stone @ http://www.StoneSharpImagesPhotography.com

At any point in time during the session, there’s a large chance you’ll find our irreplaceable Andy perched on top of the mushroom (aka- meditating, relaxing, shrooming, cheating, sleeping, sitting or chilling).

Clearly we have no fun at all.

To wrap up another amazing day full of flips, twist, jumps, splits and laughs, we nailed a group photo on the first take (after a 20 minute discussion on where and how we’d do it).

Coach Shane, I hope you fully grasp the gratitude we all share for your willingness to coach our almost uncoachable personalites and laugh along with it. Beyond the smarty comments and occasional groaning (no names mentioned) we actually enjoy the quality conditioning that we claim to be torture. I’m confident to speak for the class that your absence leaves our Tuesday and Thursday evenings feeling a bit incomplete and rather… well, normal. We’re looking forward to your return while sending you all the luck and love you deserve! 

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You may be becoming a local Barbadian if…

  • You naturally read the title of this post as “yuh know ya iz a Bajan if”.
  • You run on casual island time… until you’re in your car. 
  • “Cheese on bread” no longer refers to an edible snack commonly requested by European children. It is now an expressive phrase appropriately placed in certain situations. (If you want a good laugh, check out the blog Cheese on Bread, they did such a great job with describing Ya know ya is is A Bajan when).
  • You involuntary stuepse (a sound made by sucking of the teeth) a person, situation or random action. It just comes out of nowhere! This should of been included in the post 5 not-so well known facts of Barbados.
  • You head to the beach in the pouring rain knowing it’ll be blue skies by the time you get there. Unless you’re a true local that’s afraid of water. Then you’re not going anywhere near the sea or out in the rain! “Bajans run to fire and away from water”.

And the most current realization that Iz-uh (an adopted) Bajan… Christmas takes second place to Boxing Day celebrations. All of a sudden Decemebr 25th feels like Christmas Eve to what’s ahead on the 26th!  

Boxing Day.

If you have boat, bring it. If you don’t arrive by water, bring some sort of creative floatation device. If you’ve left your raft at home, bring a blanket or a towel. If all else fails, just show up! It’s a cooler party which means you provide your own snacks and drinks as there’s none provided for purchase. To get the history and witness last years shenanigans, check out  Boxing Day, no gloves needed.

This year was yet another successful bundles of memories made at Reeds Bay Barbados. Big boats, rafts, jet skies, barge cruises, tents, umbrellas, the list goes on! Instead of my typical photo gallery, I’m going to post a video put together by Matt Stone. You’ve seen some of his work at Stone Sharp Images!

A special thanks to Brendon McKenzie (and probably a dozen others) for the organization and promotion of this event! 

Wishing you all a bright new year of beautiful adventures and love within!

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Handstanding to donate!

It’s that time of year again! I did a handstand with the intention of having you to take a shot for how long I held it. The person with the closest guess will then choose where herhappytrails donates this years $50 cash! 

Last year was 33 seconds and a split win! A special thanks to my buddy Cruz Gaskins who donated right back to herhappytrails (sneaky gift that was) and to Jessica Rendon for choosing the Rainforest Affiliation! 

Click here to watch the handstand from 2015

The year prior was 41 seconds and the charity that Mark Philipps decided on was Make a Wish Foundation!

Click here to watch the handstand from 2014

After 5 years and hundreds of handstands I still love to be upspide down, preferably in a place that I don’t speak the language and where several locals question my mental stability. Until that next brilliant opportunity, here’s a few examples of the toe points seen in the Handstanding around the world page.

Not that it will help your guess in any way, shape or form…. but below is a cute little collage of the first two years with the current handstand on the right. Good luck!

Now you ask, “But Erika, how do we ever join in this glorious fun?!” 

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! (On Dec 31st)

Much gratitude for taking the energy to read, contribute and continue spreading the joy of giving!
Many cheers and one love,
Erika Mae Young
RESULTS 18 seconds!  This year I had a little fun with the shot and went with a shorter time and more entertainment! Thanks for all the votes and major vote and the winner is sweet Erin Sanders! Her charity of choice will be announced soon. ​

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Love in the shape of music, art and traveling sand

Ok, catch up time! I’m currently sitting on the floor of the Fort Lauderdale airport. Why the floor? Ever have the time and space for stretching, flexing or relaxing? Use it! Check out my favorite airport session in the post Workout and rest up in Asian airports

Ok, why am I in route and where am I going… I’ll get back to that after I do a quick round up of the last few weeks. Here’s a few events that I probably should of done entirely separate posts for, but I didn’t, so here we go.

Music, art and beach time!

I’ll give you one guess on the talent that mom and I chose to spend time with? After the  several posts I’ve published on here, you’d have every right to assume it was the band Heritage. How lucky we were that my talented friends Dannica and her brother Ben were starting it off! Schatzti and the String Boffin opened in this backwoods feeling venue with grass as the dance floor, fire pits for warmth and a wooden built stage. Look familiar? This was the original venue in which I was first introduced to their happy and healing tunes. Welcome back to the Backyard Boogie



Art comes into play with a birthday! Matt celebrated his back on October 26th by hosting his first art reveal! From creative paint to photography and light painting, there was a variety of eye and mind stimulation. Go ahead, take a look around! 

Like what you see? Check out the real deal on his website by clicking Here!

We created a little bit of food art to compliment the drinks for the guests attending.

What goes well with food, drinks and art? Music of course! He brought in a few of his instruments for a proper set up and led with an open invite for whom ever wanted to participate.

What a stunning sunset to close out a successful birthday event!

The beach visit of this post has a warm undertone as there was great purpose for mom and I to wander to the shore with an empty container and camera. My sweet Grams back in Oklahoma has never seen the white sand of Florida and often questions the texture and shells that lay within. With this knowledge, mom had a brilliant idea of collecting some and bringing it back to her home in middle America. Good call mom!

Side note, I really did bring it back to her and it’s now the hot topic of her visitors (who are all used to the red dirt and rocks of Oklahoma).
So that wraps up a few pages to the last chapter, and yes, there’s a new one about to begin!  Thanks for supporting and being such a grand part of this incredible journey. I now invite you to love yourself and those around you with the pure kindness. Cheers to all of you beautiful souls! 

I’m being asked to stand as they just announced, “Now boarding, flight 385 direct to Bridgetown, Barbados.”

Next stop… Sandy toes and sun kissed salty hair!

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Ready for the hike! Where’s my blindfold?

Matt and I decided to hit the road and camp for two nights. No, not glamping as seen in the most recent post but good ol’ tent and dirty toes camping! 

Day one brought us to Pine Log State Forest in Northwest Florida. The drive alone was enchanting!

Step one, set up camp. Step two, sage the site. Step three, go for a hike! 

This trek started like none other as Matt suggested we approach it blindfolded! He read about a method in which you trust your instincts while embracing the other sensations around you. The sounds, the ground beneath your feet, the wind against your skin, the tree branch piercing your hip… I’m in!

Once the bandannas were removed we kept walking and I did find myself more appreciative of the glorious sights around us. Not only the ability to actually see where I was going, but the visual stimulation that came from such beautiful scenery.

We were “almost there” Matt confirmed a half dozen times (when clearly we weren’t) as we reached a sign that informed us that we were just barely a little over half way. Honestly it was so refreshing out there, neither one of us minded the extra walk as we laughed it off and kept going. The final stretch was well worth the long way back!

Dinner was veggies and chicken. Those who know me well, have the right to assume that I stuck with the veggies and let Matt battle the bird. With our powers combined (for all you Captain Planet fans) we had a delicious dinner! 

The sun peaking up was warm enough to draw you out of the tent while the chill factor had you reaching for a beanie. Camping weather at its finest!

So turns out we forgot all utensils, but remembered the French press. Go figure. Best backyard barista ever!

Breakfast? Matt thoroughly enjoyed his blueberry muffins as I awkwardly stared deeply into my yogurt. 

Me: “I think there’s raw chicken water in my yogurt.” 

Matt: “What? You still going to eat it!?”

Me: “Yep.”

I had opened it the night before and carelessly put it back in the cooler as if the ice wasn’t going to melt and allow most items to be completely submerged. Don’t worry mom, I scraped off the top layer first (to be said with love in a sarcastic backpacker tone). After consuming the twice blessed breakfast with fingers crossed, we packed up and hit the road to the next adventure! Miles up the highway brought us to Ecofina Creek and the popular Springs.

Just get in!  Sounds easy right? This is until your big toe scrapes the surface of this ice box! For most, this would be a lengthily process of creeping your way inch by brutal freezing inch. For me, it was all or nothing. Head first with no room for hesitation. And for Matt, I’m convinced he’s part marine life.

Deeper into the springs provided more quality shots and the occasional curious substance between your toes. Feel a little nibble? It’s just the fish providing a complimentary pedicure.

Last stop before finding our new sleeping location is called Devils hole. A hidden gem in the shape of a circle with depths only divers can tell you about. Last time Matt was here, he said it was dark and with fairly foggy waters. Today, it’s clear blue! 

The second site was set up quickly as we decided to ditch the tent and go rugged in the open sky. Hammock… check. Sage… Check. Hanging light… check. Good night!

How could I leave this place without a handstand photo?! We returned in the morning to the ice box Springs for a well worth shot, great capture Matt!

Several of the marvelous photos above were from Matt and his quality (aka- fancy or big boy) camera. For more of his work please visit the Stone Sharp Images webite. Care to see his version of our trip? Click here for his blog post!

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Excuse me glamper, did you say S’moreberry?

Some girls go to Vegas, others hit up Mexico (I’m guilty of both) and a few hit the sticks! Mom and I joined our dear friend Gloria for a ladies only camping weekend! Or maybe we should classify it under Glamping, defined as – a style of camping with amenities and in some cases, resort-style services not usually associated with “traditional” camping. Of glamour.

Meet the girls!

Now welcome to our weekend view! This beauty is located at St.Andrews park in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Sun-up is our alarm for a walk into the hmm, can’t really call it the wilderness and it’s not a town so we’ll just go with, a walk in the outdoors! 

Things you may see on a stroll through the paved wilderness. Birds, berries, butterflies, Bambie, bikers and the random tree huger.

As you trek the great pavement, you get to see how others have set up their site as well as where these campers have ventured from. I originally took photos of all the different license plates to show you, but then I realized that may or may not be crossing personal information boundaries. So, for what it’s worth there were over a dozen different states in just a short 1/4 mile stretch.

A bit up the way we explored an old Mill. I felt like kids on a field trip!

Other things we saw along the way.

This woman was collecting trash throughout the property. Thank you ma’am! 

What’s this? An adorable set up that appears to provide a stage and seating for special events. To me… a handstand podium!

Arriving back to the site brought on dinner followed by a friendly round of games complemented with a proper girls toast. These are those moments that, through laughter and genuine conversation you try to appreciate every beautiful second. 

Confession: the main reason I go camping is for the fire at night

How many girls does it take to open a folding chair? We don’t know.


On this evening, we brought out the ingredients for traditional s’mores (a delicate sandwich-like treat composing of chocolate and toasted marshmallow being held together by graham crackers). As we’re roasting, or in my case igniting, the marshmellows, mom gasps with excitement. “I’ve got it! What would this taste like with a warm strawberry inside?” Of course the next step was to try this campfire creation. Thus, the new dessert she appropriately named S’moreberry.

A special thanks to Gloria for sharing her space, energy and time. Our conversations are still present in my mind and I’m so grateful for the love and support. Cheers to the gypsies at heart!

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Pumpkins and parties!

Halloween. The dictionary says it’s the evening before the Christian holy days of All Hallows’ Day on 1 November and All Souls’ Day on 2 November, thus giving the holiday on 31 October the full name of All Hallows’ Eve. To most of us, it’s a family friendly holiday full of costumes, candy and spooky decorations. To others it’s the perfect excuse for adult parties in which grown-ups act out of character (or fully in) as they strut around in costume.

Since I’ve been on the road, my Halloween celebrations have ranged from completely non existent like in donating blood at the Angkor Children’s Hospital in Cambodia to the skull and bones of the Oakland Raiders game. Last year I decided to sport the 80’s while painting up my buddy Hayden before a night out in the capital city of Sacramento, California. 

Best costumes of my backpacking journey most definitely go to the Sevens Tournament in New Zealand!

Halloween 2016 took me covered in pumpkin guts to pool side costume parties. Let’s begin!

First up, let me reintroduce you to Cole, creator and director of Enlightened Studios. You may recognize him from the post Music for the soul and friends for the spirit. All of us feeling like children, we gathered some pumpkins and snacks before clearing an area for the mess to unfold. Picking your pumpkin and design seems like it should be an easy task, but I feel like most of our time (meaning my moms) was spent on this process.

Luckily there’s extra thinking time as you hollow out each canvas. Sensitive to slimy seedy textures? This wouldn’t be a task for you then.

Pumpkins picked, scraped and cleaned… check! Now comes the carving tools to bring your ideas to life. Warning, these “carving knives” may appear stronger than they really are.

While waiting for everyone (mom) to finish, I lightly covered our seeds in coconut oil and a dash of sea salt for some home roasted treats, delicious! Cole went above and beyond and even painted his ninja turtle pumpkin green! I dig it.

After hours of snacks, pumpkin guts and laughing to tears we felt accomplished with our creations. Mom did the peace sign that sits to the left of Coles Ninja turtle and I went with the Om symbol.

Next up, dress up! I was lucky enough to be invited to a few separate parties to get good use of my costume. Fun fact, I owned most of my attire all ready, just added a few tattoos, gems and bedazzled jewels. 

The first gathering was a bundle of live music! With a gypsy sister (mom) as my hot date, we enjoyed our evening at the 30a singer and songwriter cafe. We were graced with the presence of Cole (Ace Ventura) from our pumpkin carving night and my angel of a friend Erica!

The following night was a larger party located in the same spot from the post Digital Graffiti at Alys Beach

My hot date for this evening? Enter Matt, remember him from Light attracts light? With a last minute decision, I through my same costume on and put a dash of eyeliner on him. A face tattoo and jacket created as close to a rocker as we could get him before we headed off!

A glossy swimming pool and clear sky made for the perfect outdoor party. Care to dance? A popular DJ played all night! Thirsty? Easy accessible bars surrounded the venue. Notice the photos projected on the wall? They were taken throughout the night and exposed for all to see, over and over… and over again. Photo from above curtesy of alysbeach.com, check it out for more events! 

Our friends arrived as Cruella Deville and a Dalmatian, classic. Amongst others was a variety of characters from movies, politics and of course your traditional zombies, princesses, ghosts and the wizard of oz crew.
That concludes my better late than never Halloween post. Next up, the great outdoors! Till then, just keep smiling…

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Hot with a 92% chance of muggy

I landed in Arkansas to visit an extraordinary girl that I’ve been able to grow up with and watch develop into a strong woman and nurturing mom. You’ve seen her before in several posts including Dear highway, will you ever end?  and Look Keka, I got a bullfrog! World, meet my cousin (more like a sister) Lana Lane. We didn’t have much time for quirky photos or big events, but we dig snag a picture of the road trip to Oklahoma- me, her and her family. 

Once arriving to Oklahoma we immediately started our giggles with her sister, which of course means my other sister(ish) cousin, Lacie Lane. Things that would never happen in her home: strangers– because everyone’s welcome with a smile, hunger– because she’d give you her last to make sure you’re fed, misbehaving children– momma bear means business! From left to right, Tennesee (Lacies daughter), Lacie, muah and Lana.

We all joined her son in his first soccer game of the season. You’ve seen sweet Dane in the post Time to work hard(ish).Once the cousins went back to their Monday routines I ventured to my family’s house for some sibling summer fun! Kind of strange to be writing after all these years as if you, the audience, knows these kids personally. I suppose if you’ve been following since the beginning you’ve seen them grow from little tykes in Till next time Oklahoma to the most recent in New found higher love.  Now they range from 6-18 years old! 

I was flattered when the boys invited me on a sunrise fishing trip. Just us, a few poles, bait and priceless time to catch up.

The walk home brought a bundle of fish and some growling tummies. I’ll give you one guess on what we ate for lunch…

Wondering what the temperature is in Oklahoma on a sunny September afternoon? 

Hot with a 92% chance of muggy. 

Our cure? Swim! Last year my carefree siblings were livin it up using a horse trough as a pool. Check out the turkey that joined them in the post You know you’re a country kid when… This summers swimming pool? Well from their mouths, “it’s a real one Keka!” (They call me Keh-kuh)

Have I a mentioned how lucky I am to be surrounded by such wonderful energy? These kids are irreplaceable.

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…5 years later

What makes her happy trails so happy? Let me just share a few reasons that have recently been amplified in this beautiful journey I call life. 
First off, we have this glorious planet offering a variety of stunning landscapes and wondrous elements. Then there’s the creatures that keep us intrigued from under the sea to the tops of the highest peaks. Let’s not forgot the loving, creative, crazy humans that enhance the entire magnificent experience.

My last post wrapped up a season in Barbados which sends me off on another trip back to the states to see family and friends. Before I get to that, let’s acknowledge another happy part of these trails. Connection! Simply one of my favorite things about traveling. You meet a stranger on a bus, in a hostel, the line at a market, no matter where the universe allows it, your paths are supposed to cross. Maybe just for that moment, or continuing through a week of friendship along the trail, or even for a lifetime. It’s magical when you recognize a purpose behind every smile you connect with. 

Exactly 5 years ago, I was on one my first solo international trips. I say “solo”, but although I planned this alone, it was on a semi-guided tour with a company called Contiki.. The route took me and 2 dozen other travelers from Italy to France, down through Monaco and ended in Spain where I parted from the group. 

Along the way I met a dozen or so wonderful people that I’m still in touch with today. Here’s a few meeting to reunion photos!

The most recent reconnection was during my travels from Barbados to Oklahoma with an unexpected magical pit stop in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I had a 14 hour layover which meant I had a typical over night stay which entails a cold airport floor with the sounds of the custodians popping chewing gum over the humming of their vacuum. I invite you to check out the posts called Work out and rest up in Asian airports and Floor seats in the Lima airport, unforgettable nights for sure! I’m usually bundled up with every heavy piece of clothing item in my backpack in order to endure the below comfortable temperatures while using my backpack as a makeshift cot. The morning consists of me walking the terminals to get the blood flowing again while waiting for the cafes to open so I can get a cup of hot water for the one single tea bag I keep in my wallet. I take a wet wipe shower in the bathroom and although I brush my teeth with real paste and actual water (verses spit and shine in the back of a camper), it still feels like I have backpackers breath as I board my flight with one eye open and the fleeting thought, “I forgot deodorant”. 

Think 14 hours seems a bit much? Check out 51 hours to get 1/2 way around the world!

Well not this time folks! World meet Karyne (pronounced cuh-reen) She’s another one of the amazing friends I first met in Rome back in 2011. After parting ways in the streets of Spain, Karyne and I remained in contact through good ol Facebook. Now, she’s offered not only her home but a lift to and from the airport and an unexpected dinner out. I sat here for too long trying to think of a creative name for the award she should recieve for her hospitality. I felt so welcome and we spoke like it was just yesterday that we were sipping sangria on the famous Las Ramblas in Barcelona.

Here is our then and now pic (sorry for the blurry photo, it was a good night in France).

Her house was right up my alley with instruments, personal artwork and a beverage cart for all to share. 

What was completely foreign to me however, was her spare room aka her closet!

The morning after our catch up session we hustled back to the airport to say our farewells as I departed for my final stop. Such a better ride than the usual airport shuttle!
Bonus highlight! I met this adorable couple on the flight over. Amanda and Tyler share a passion towards biology, art and travel. I’m not sure if I’ll ever see them again, but I can only expect exceptional things in their future. Thanks for the stimulating conversation and supportive energy towards spreading the joy of travel! 

In the next post you’ll see what Oklahoma has to offer me but I’ll close this write up with a collage that shows 3 roads I traveled in 3 consecutive days. Gotta love the beauty in variety! Barbados-Florida-Oklahoma

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PCD (Post Cropover Depression) and the cure.

Kadooment has come to an end. I’ll pause for a moment of silence…

All of the bedazzled costumes have been retired and the closest thing to a mobile drink truck you’ll see is that of the icecream man making his way down the smoldering hot road. Sweet Soca music is now only played 80% of the time, instead of 99% and lastly, the constant nightly parties have dwindled down. This my friends is what some may refer to as the beginning of PCD – Post Cropover Depression. But there’s no need to fear… The beach is still here! (Hopefully some of you children from the 80’s chanted that last sentence in the tune of Wonder Dog). Here’s a few examples of what might bide your time till next carnival season. 

Find a cruise! Search this blog alone and you’ll see several years of celebrations out at sea. A few of the popular companies are Seaduced, Jammin, MC Buccaneer  and my personal favorite, Cool Runnings. This year I tried a new one just to broaden my experience around the island. Here’s the well known “pirate ship” called the Jolly Rogers!

The next boat may be smaller, but the the party doesn’t lack a bit! (enter your own joke here). A typical Sunday on the west coast usually involves several friends, a couple of boats, countless floating items and many memories! Here are just a bundle of shots to give you a glimpse of the fun to be had!

Prefer to be on a board instead of a boat? That’s an easy fix, just check out Ryans Instagram @whatsupbarbados!

Tired of the scene above the Caribbean Sea? Take a peak under, you’d be amazed at what you may find! Photo credit to Ryan Rodriguez and the close ups of these beautiful creatures!

Ooh handstand shot!

Keep yourself busy with evening beach parties! 

Foam fun!

…and sunset memories.

Till next season…

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