Hit a Hammock: the Benefits to Hanging Out

Once upon a time I slept and lived in a shed. For a moment, I also slept in a hammock for months.

Fast forward to June. My rad, amazing mother brought me a portable hammock. I traveled with it in my pack for MONTHS. It’s going to rain. I’s too hot. There are bugs. For months I found some bullshit excuse not to hang it up.

Finally last week I was determined. Dead set on hanging out for the day. I had a journal. I had a book. I was ready to rock and roll.

Now I will out myself and say I had a twinge of that fear of thinking of what others were thinking about me. I silenced it quickly and hung it up anyways. And I will rat myself out again, saying I was hesitant to climb in. I was initially waiting for the fall. Waiting to look like a jack ass, as I so gracefully rolled right back out. Thankfully that moment never came. It held up. I relaxed. I really let go. I really started to enjoy myself. I wrote the piece I posted the other day on Happiness. I read some of my book. I felt calm. Content. I listened to the rustling leaves. Beheld the water before me. Took note of the first hint of change among the leaves. Signs of the changes going on in my head and mind and life. I felt really comfortable.

11934990_10101065926766483_2083725934760726606_nThere is something to this hammock, hanging out life I thought. Why am I not doing this more often? A flashback memory to hammock tents I’ve seen. Hmm…..I got to get me one of those.

So I looked it up. Obviously there is the initial benefits I felt: peace, relaxation, comfort. But there is more to hammock life. Little did I know what I was doing five years ago when I rigged one up in my shed. Here are some of the benefits to hammocks and why maybe you should ditch the tent for a hammock that I found:

1. Faster sleep.
2. Zero-Pressure Points. Continue reading “Hit a Hammock: the Benefits to Hanging Out”

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Hit a Trail

“The day we stop exploring is the day we commit ourselves to live in a stagnant world, devoid of curiosity, empty of dreams.” ~Neil deGrasse Tyson

To fully appreciate this piece you may check out my post from Monday about my torrid love affair with walking (I’ve walked to work everyday this week). I would like to progress further on the piece. Because walking and movement is great, but one of my greatest passions in life (besides connections, cooking, and writing) is HIKING. I crave it. I get restless. My body aches to be outside. I NEED, I HAVE to hike. Period. Ask anyone who knows me. For the happiest Brittany. For the creative Brittany. For the eternal optimist Brittany. For the inspired Brittany. For the clear-headed, serene Brittany. I MUST HIKE. It saves me, over and over again. The moment I step into the woods I feel peace. I feel calm. Gone are my worries, and left is the potential and possibilities I feel in Nature. As if the trees can somehow filter out the bullshit of everyday life.

Tomorrow morning I have my alarm set early so I can beat the sun and be on a trail to chase its rise. Why? Why should we hike? Why should you hike (besides being moved to awe by my words and photos and banter)? Here are some of the given reasons for hiking, but as I find in life I think it’s important to always find your own reasons. How do you feel when you hike? What are you passionate about? What drives you? What do you yearn for?

Reasons to Hit a Trail

  • 1625603_10100900799447953_3973042893055115963_nHappier! A mood boost. Being outside boosts serotonin, those feel-good neurotransmitters. Plus you have the Japanese derived concept of forest bathing. Get in trees, let them swallow you up. Stand in awe of a mountain. Watch wildlife. Take off your shoes, get in there. Lay down, feel the good energy and vibes. Listen. Listen to the music of Nature. Breathe. Smell. Take in the smell of the trees. When someone told me I smelled like the outdoors, I resounded with an affirmative: thanks. This is also good then for depression. When I was going through one of the toughest times of my life, I was at least grateful and able to remain positive because I was in the mountains, for those mountains saved me.
  • Sensory stimulation. Watch wildlife. Take off your shoes, get in there. Lay down, feel the good energy and vibes. Listen. Listen to the music of Nature. Breathe. Smell. Take in the smell of the trees. When someone told me I smelled like the outdoors, I resounded with an affirmative: thanks. Touch. Touch that tree. Dip your toe in a stream. Get all those senses involved. Let them participate.
  • Concentration. Man I can’t tell you the level of focus I get on a hike. How acute my senses are. How connected I am. How crisp my thoughts are. The awareness of my body in time and space.
  • Creativity. Hiking fuels my creativity. I write blogs in my head as I walk. I envision photo shoots. I conceptualize recipes. Ideas flow one after another after another.
  • They say it can trigger our primal regions of the brain and psyche, which if you think about it, seems about right. We used to walk/run everywhere, of course that is going to connect us to where we came from.
  • Sleep. I am a total research dork, I do it for fun. I can not tell you how much I have read about sleep and light patterns. Basically we want to pick up on circadian rhythms. Rise and fall with the patterns of the suns/light and our neurotransmitters. The sun is rising, serotonin kicks in to wake us up. It’s dark, melotonin kicks in and we get sleepy. So if we spend time in the natural sunlight and less around artificial light, would that then not promote a circadian rhythm? To me this logic makes since. And here I will write a post: Hit a Pillow, about all the beautiful benefits of sleep.
  • An Experience. Whether you are taking a few days to camp and explore the backcountry, or a day to climb a small mountains, or you go out for an afternoon park visit with friends, there is always an experience to be had.
  • Change. I am a restless soul. Stagnancy and routine kind of scares the shit out of me. Life is changing. Our bodies our changing. In a decade, none of the cells in our body will exist. Nature is a constant state of change. I remember a view years ago I read that success was our ability to deal with uncertainty. Because as much ‘control’ as we think we have, we are never truly in control. And so I like hiking because it is always different, Even if I tread the same trail everyday. Just check out my pics from my favorite local park in different seasons. The gym is the same everyday. Get outside, embrace change.

Continue reading “Hit a Trail”

Why Walk?

11695771_10101015304159593_1006781885763692706_nIn Wildness is the preservation of the world.” Henry David Thoreau

I love walking. I walk everywhere. I feel like Where’s Waldo. Who can spot the purple-haired girl first? There she is!!!

I live in a community where commuting is, I feel, in it’s infancy. I am a novelty. What are you doing? Can I give you a ride? Is something wrong with your car? Are you sure I can’t give you a lift? Then when I explain that I have chosen to walk, you can imagine the looks. Gasp. Googly eyes. In those moments, I feel like an alien. Really? Why? Once upon walking with my pack in the country I stumbled across an older gentleman offering to give me a lift. When I explained I was practicing walking, he brushed it aside: You’ll grow out of that. Does this seem like a problem to anyone else?

For a walking, Nature lover like myself, you can imagine my excitement when I run across support for my lifestyle choices. I stood at the grocery store and Organic Life magazine stared me down in the aisle. On the side in beautiful white letters, it said: WAYS THAT WALKING CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE. It was in my hands before I actually had time to register what I was doing. My body, my intuition craved what that article had to say.

For years I have found solace in walking. Over time the relationship between my gait and I has blossomed into a full-blown love affair. Growing up, my father pushed an outdoor lifestyle, but as I have found, discovering (re-discovering) things on your own is the most fulfilling sensation. One summer in high school, I began walking the mining hills behind our home in western Indiana. There was something about it. I ached for more. More time in the woods. More connection. More trees. More air. More hills. More climbing. More views from the top. More of that feeling. That feeling of life. That stitch in my side. The increased heart rate. Feeling my lungs work harder, as I climbed and climbed. My legs burning. Sweat dripping. I had to keep going. For I never want this feeling to go. I live for this invigoration. Then I Continue reading “Why Walk?”

Fishing Adventures with the Fam

100_1503[1]Just looking at this first picture brings to mind a rush of gratitude. Gratitude for this rad family I’ve been raised with. Gratitude for my outdoor lust, the insatiable craving I have to be outside in the fresh air, surrounded by blue skies and towering green trees. All is right in my world when I am in the woods. Gratitude for my constant striving to capture the world and its beauty. My grandpa is a phenomenal photographer, who took these photos. Gratitude for potential. The potential that calm waters brings.Don-8Lbs.7oz.----10-18-11 The potential a crisp autumn morning in a tree stand brings. The potential adventure waiting to unravel and unfold, creating a dynamic/mindblowing story. The potential of the bond. Hunting and fishing with my dad, brother, grandpa, great-uncles, cousins, nephews, and my dad’s childhood friends is something that connects us. It brings us together. A unique experience, bonding us together. I go back to my interview with dad about fishing. How he reflected on the stages of fishing. First you fish with your dad. Then you fish with your friends. Then you go back to fishing with your dad. Thus is the circle of life. Continue reading “Fishing Adventures with the Fam”