Category Archives: Everyday Adventures

Ecuador Pure Life: Part One

16th November 2015

After eight days away and two spent sleeping to recover, P and I are home from Ecuador. We’re rested, thankful and still quite mesmerized by a remarkable week spent in South America.

FullSizeRender 16When we began planning this trip four months or so ago, I had two wishes: get out of my comfort zone and get outside.


When we stumbled upon a trip to Ecuador on the Clymb over the summer and the itinerary and price fit the bill, we booked it on a whim. It wasn’t until the night before heading out that I frantically looked up weather patterns in the cities we would be visiting, so to say we were going into this one blind was an understatement.

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While our packing may have been slightly sub-par (when the packing list calls for rain pants, pack rain pants), the trip in its entirety blew our expectations away at every turn.

We booked the trip with Ecuador Pure Life, which meant they took care of all of our reservations, activities and transportation. Phew. We traveled with a driver and tour guide for the entire trip, making our language barrier much more manageable (thank goodness for snippets from college rushing back), and I couldn’t have hand picked a better group of fifteen strangers as companions.


I’ll save all of our adventures for a few posts to come (seriously there were SO many activities), because, by far, the best part of the entire trip was the people. The people we traveled with. The people we met. The people who guided us.


Of all of the places I’ve been in the world (which is not an exhaustive list), the Ecuadorians are the most welcoming, humble and positive group of people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.


Ecuador Pure Life works to carefully select local guides, restaurants and partners across the country, leaving us with a balance of sketchy activities (like P’s bridge jump), to authentic Andean and Amazon home stays and to no shortage of gas station ice cream runs.

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While we’re happy to be home (and so are our animals), eight days away to a place unknown with people who became family was just the retreat we needed. Friday night, as we sat in the airport and watched the news from Paris unfold, we were comforted in knowing that while there are bad people in this world, they are far outnumbered by the good.


Thank you Ecuador for welcoming us to into your homes, for inspiring us to have deeper conversations with people unknown, for challenging us to be more curious (but maybe not so curious to eat live grubs) and for encouraging us to embrace every adventure that life throws our way, together. For the best eight days we can remember, thank you.


South America, we’ll be back, maybe not for the grubs, but as for the rest, count us in.

Friday Favorites: Edition Four

30th October 2015

Congratulations, not only did we make it to Friday, but we also made it to Halloween eve. I’ll be celebrating with the two bags of candy corn I have yet to eat (after already making it through three ?). Beyond mini candy bars, ghosts and ghouls, there was plenty to stop and be thankful for this week.

On baby animals

Uber ran a promo this week to request a basket of kittens instead of a car. Thanks to quite a bit of dedication, the Dragon Army team lucked out and four furry friends arrived at our office for a play date this week. Pure bliss. The promotion cost $30, with proceeds going to the Atlanta Humane Society. The kittens are also all up for adoption starting today, for $10 each. Happy take home a cat day.

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On the never ending Hocus Pocus

I hosted a Hocus Pocus party at my house earlier this week, because we all need another excuse to break out that DVD. Kate made these bloody cocktails, which really tasted like we belonged on a beach somewhere. A beachy drink + October = can we do this every night?

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On partying with the past

The Atlanta History Center hosted this month’s Party with the Past at Oglethorpe University. If you’ve never been, this event series is one of my favorites. Each month, they choose a new historic destination around town and while the beer is not free, the history is, so it more than makes up for itself in the long run. For this event, we heard about the Crypt of Civilization, a time capsule sealed in 1940 and scheduled to open in 8113 AD. You read that right, we have roughly 6,000 years to go.

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On the YouTube of the future

I had the pleasure of moderating a panel at this year’s Mobility Live conference on the future of mobile video. Speakers from CNN, Twitter, Akamai and NewsOn shared more than a few interesting discussion points, proving to us all that yes, someone is responsible for keeping the internet going and no, it isn’t run by little hamsters on wheels.


On what’s ahead for the weekend.

Halloween, duh. Can we have a mulligan on October? Let’s make it happen all over again.

Looking for more Friday Favorites? Check out the full series here.


26th October 2015

Damp grey Monday. After a weekend filled with more than a few fall excursions with my favorite person, we’re back to Monday, and a gross rain filled Monday at that. As the rain barrels down on our rooftop, I can’t help but set my thoughts back to our fall filled weekend and a word that’s lingering in my head as a result: expectations.

As running and I haven’t been on the prettiest of pages lately, I’ve been in search of podcasts to fill the miles I could normally, quite happily, fill with silence. A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a podcast released earlier this year called Invisibilia.

Brought to us by NPR, Invisibilia documents the invisible forces that control human behavior. It is so incredibly fascinating that in the last few weeks, I’ve found reasons to stay out on the road, just to finish episodes.

But back to expectations.

In episode three, Lulu and Alix explore how the expectations we set for both ourselves and others can quite literally transform the world around us. The pair begins by sharing a story from Robert Rosenthal, professor of psychology at the University of California.

In his experiment, Professor Rosenthal brings a group or ordinary lab rats and labels them either “dull minded” or “bright minded” before handing them over to a group of test subjects. While the rats did not possess any difference in intellectual value, when handled by people with these preconceived expectations, the “bright rats” were able to improve their maze learning by 65%, simply by the way they were held, spoken to and interacted with. In other words, expectations changed the outcome.

I found the entire episode fascinating and couldn’t help but gush to P about what could be possible if only we forced ourselves to think differently about our situations. Luckily, we were quickly able to put the thoughts into practice (unknowingly) this weekend as we set out on our first long-ish mountain bike ride in North Georgia.


A short break early on in our ride.

Last fall, we stumbled upon the Jake and Bull Mountain trail system and have been dying to get back up on our bikes. While we didn’t take the plunge on the full trail (see elevation estimates below), we did set out on a shorter loop that would take us ten miles and across some of the most rewarding trail we had seen in years.


We cruised through the first eight miles or so, passing horse after horse, fording two creeks (to which I made more than a few Oregon trail references) and settling into the silence that is listening to gear shifts and leaves crunching. If there is way to feel closer to having heaven on earth, I haven’t found it.

But, oh mile eight. We started up a steady climb, that while not terribly steep, went on. And on. And on. After not biking for a few months, it kicked out butts. Until at about mile nine, when P broke the silence and reset our expectations with a simple reminder, “don’t forget, when we finish this, we can go find boiled peanuts.”

The view of the pumpkin patch (and home of the boiled peanuts) we visited after our ride.

The view of the pumpkin patch (and home of the boiled peanuts) we visited after our ride.

It made all of the difference. If we had watches, we would have probably noticed clocking our fastest mile after that moment, but alas, no watches.

It was the perfect reminder that expectations don’t have to be world changing or even life changing, but they can be moment changing. So while it may be damp, grey and Monday, I’ll hold on to the idea that event the smallest of gestures can set your expectations off in an entirely new direction, and maybe daydream a bit about our next trail ride adventure.