#OffTheGrid: Hiking Livingstonia, Malawi

Hey World,

I'm going to backtrack a little bit, and get back to my recent trip to Malawi -- and pick it up right where we left off. 

After writing about how I got to Chitimba/Livingstonia from the Tanzanian border, the next thing to be covered is my one main adventure while I was mountainside.

After arriving in the late afternoon to Mushroom Farm, I spent the rest of the evening on a hammock reading, eating a delicious dinner, and making a new friend whilst drinking shandies. 

I arranged for a guide to come and pick me up the following morning, and at the last minute, had my new friend decide to change my plan for the day, and hop along (the more the merrier!).

The game plan? Morning hike to Chombe Plateau, then continue from there to the mountain-top town of Livingstonia before heading back down to Mushroom Farm for dinner. Depending on the timing, I also wanted to stop by the waterfall en route home as I hadn't seen it yet (it's the tallest in Malawi!).

I'm going to let the pictures do the talking, but this ended up being a solid 6 hours of hiking, and we easily covered 20KM -- meaning that my legs were in a sore way that evening! 

But the sites were beautiful, we had a great time walking and chatting and soaking Malawi in, and I couldn't have asked for a more challenging, perfect day.


Chombe Plateau in the distance

Final push to the top!

The long road to Livingstonia

A panoramic view of where we started, Chombe, and the path we walked to get to the base of Livingstonia

Thank goodness for a lift home!

How to Be a Dream Chaser

Hey World,

I know I've been on hiatus for awhile. It was my intention to get back to travel blogging (remember that time I backpacked solo in Malawi?), but as you can probably tell from my last post I've had a bit of a tough time in my personal life, and my blog has suffered as a result.  

In the meantime I've joined #fireworkpeople. If you're not familiar with #fireworkpeople, it's a group of women that meet on Twitter every Tuesday night at 9pm EST and talk about positive things and uplift one another. I stumbled upon the group about a month and a half ago, and whenever I need a feel-good boost or to surround myself with likeminded dream chasers, #fireworkpeople is the first place I go (which recently, is like, all of the time). 

I convinced myself to join this month's #fireworkpeople blog tour, and write a post about something encouraging, something related to dreams...basically something that matters deeply. 

When I started this blog I said "This will record the ways in which I chase my dreams and live the life I desire. A life where I continue to educate my mind, lend my legs to walk the paths of the world, hold tight to my passion for East Africa, remain open to opportunity, and live with humility. 
A life where I smile every day, where I feel like what I do means something, and I don't set my toast on fire. A life where I'm thankful, make good choices, acknowledge (manage and pay back) my debts (to society, to Sallie Mae, to the world)" so really, I couldn't think of a more perfect way to get back on track. 


With that said, it's high time to talk about chasing dreams. I'm not talking about achieving goals or breaking down barriers (which are TOTALLY important for personal growth and development, and I think should be a huge influence on your life in a major way) -- but I'm talking about dreams

What are dreams? Dreams are what keep you up at night. They're what distract you from your workday. Dreams are the images of what your life could look like, or should look like, or will look like, but doesn't yet. Then, we must take the necessary steps to begin to live out the dream we've imagined for ourselves. 

But that right there my friend, is the problem with dreams. They can be achieved, they can be embodied, they can buried, but then, they must be reborn. In that sense, they can never be caught. Dreams can only be replaced or altered, only specified or blurred or made anew. 

Therefore, it's necessary to dedicate time in your everyday to think about what your future life looks like; what living the dream looks like. Then, you have to dedicate time to specifying that dream and outlining the steps to embody that dream, each and every day. 

From mid 2012 - early 2014, I did just that. I ranked my happiness daily, I thought about what inspiration is, I thought about the life I wanted to live. And then, I took some big steps and I took some missteps, but I ended up in the very place which I stand right now -- which is in the middle of a fuzzy fog, because I started to live the dream I landed on {loving living and working at a job where I serve others in East Africa while pushing myself to embrace new experiences both inside and outside of work}. 

It wasn't easy to get here. It cost me a lot of money (my student loan debt is unbelievable). I had to spend a lot of unhappy, lonely nights in New York City. But I cannot fault a single dollar or a single silent evening in my studio because I had a happiness breakthrough, moved to Tanzania in August, fell into a job that I truly enjoy, and started setting weekly goals to get out, do more, and push limits. 

Happiness is attained. I can honestly say that I am living my dream. 

Which means that for the most part, I maintain the dream. I keep the dream alive. I stoke it and poke it as I would a happy crackling bonfire, making sure that it has everything it needs to continue. 

But I also give some consideration to the future. I've started to ask myself: What does my dream life look like a year out from now? Three years? Five years? Ten years? How do I get myself there? 
From here on out, the details are a bit more fuzzy. I want bigger things: an opportunity to travel for months at a time, a life partner, a house I can make a home, a job that remains challenging and meaningful, strong friendships with my friends around the globe, continued personal growth. The variables are greater; it depends on so many variables that I can only partially control. But it's also so exciting. 

And that's what I encourage you to do: 
Pick a dream. 
Take necessary steps. 
Live the dream. Maintain the dream. 
Dream a new dream. Keep dreaming. 

And if you ever need the encouragement, shoot me an email, leave a comment below, or join


{i carry you in my heart}

Hey World,

Do you remember when I told you about the day my heart exploded

Well, there is something that I need to share with you all: It turns out that hearts can implode too. 

Hearts can be broken. They can stop beating. They can cease to exist. They can slow to zero beats per minute. They can be stunned into a shocked silence that leaves you feeling numb.

And love?

Love can be deep. It can be all-encompassing; it can swallow you whole and become you - you will feel it be reflected in every thought and every movement. Love can manifest in hugs and together-time, in shared glances and whispered secrets. Love can wake you up in the middle of the night to glance sideways and make sure your love is alive. Love can disrupt your being, and love can give you a reason to feel alive. 

But love can also be short. It can end abruptly, unwillingly, in a split second. It can end before you're ready, before you ever planned on letting go. 

Here's the secret that everyone knows but no one likes to remember: Love can leave you. 

It can make you feel broken and bitter; it can physically shatter you into a million tiny heart-shaped slivers or seep out of your pores so slowly that your body aches. It can make you wish you never loved. It can make you believe that a finite love isn't worth the heartbreak of a lost love. It can make you forget why you exist, and why love exists, while questioning the power of ceasing to exist.

But we mustn't think that way. We must be grateful for love, even, too-short, passionate love.  

So I promise to keep our love alive, to keep the story alive, to keep the memory alive, for as long as I can. 

I will not forget our love. 
And I will not forget you.