Why I’ll miss Tahoe

My dear friends,

This marks my final week in Tahoe before I drive back to Seattle for a few months. This Saturday, I take the 14 hour drive at once, and then wake up early on Sunday morning to fly out to Tel Aviv for a 2 week-long adventure with two of my best friends. Keep an eye out for a recap post on that trip later! While I’m sure it will be an absolute blast, I can barely get my head around the fact that I am counting down my last few days in the town I’ve called home for nearly 3 months, let alone think about flying halfway around the world in less than a week.

My time here in Tahoe has had it’s fair share of downs. The lack of snow combined with my injury last month have actually resulted in one of the more low-key ski seasons I’ve had in years. I had a few trips fall through and gas is expensive. I miss Amazon delivery. I miss my friends and family back home. I miss having a bedroom with a door on it. Sometimes, I get lonely or overwhelmed by living by myself in a town where I’m an outsider.

But, for every disappointing, lonely, or frustrating moment, I’ve had 10 more beautiful ones. The lack of snow led to some picturesque beach days. My injury gave me a reason to focus on my art, my reading, and my mental clarity. The trips that fell through meant more time to spend in Tahoe. Expensive gas meant more walking. No Amazon delivery meant less spending. The friends that I made here feel like family. No bedroom door means the dogs that live here can walk in and out of my room as they please. Living by myself has led to a sense of personal freedom that I know I’ll never give up.

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I’ll miss Tahoe. I’ll miss the way you don’t lock your doors and the way icicles form outside my bedroom window. I’ll miss my favorite bartender, Domino, at my favorite bar, Whitecaps. I’ll miss the way the air feels fresh and sharp in the mornings before a big storm. I’ll miss the sound of waves lapping against the shore, as if I live next to the ocean rather than a large lake. I’ll miss the friendly hellos and good mornings from my roommates. I’ll miss the friends I made and the laughter we shared. I’ll miss the sunrise, the sunset, the stars and the moon. And probably, above all, I’ll miss Jackson and Tasha, the two dogs that live with me and stole my heart.

I’m thankful for the pain that comes with goodbyes, because it means my time here was worth it, and meaningful. I’m also beyond excited for what the future has in store for me- in two days I’ll be on a flight to experience some of the most beautiful scuba diving in the world with my best friend, and in two months I’ll be on the way to travel through Central and South America. Life is a magical, overwhelming whirlwind, and I’m loving every last minute of it.

Stay beautiful, friends.
Love,
emily

On Patience, Mental Grit, and Gratitude

Dear friends,

On Monday, I got back from a 5 day trip to Seattle and Whistler, where 20 of some of my best friends went up for an extended weekend of skiing and general debauchery.
Whistler Blackcomb is one of my favorite mountains, but conditions on our first day of skiing were less than ideal. About an inch of powder lay over sheets of ice, and more than once we found our skis skating over rocks and trees. It was a bit of a rough start.
Then, on one of our last runs of the day, I found myself whizzing down a groomer. Due to the icy conditions, I was going fast but 100% in control. Before me was a lip from a groomed cat track. “A fun little jump”, I thought to myself, so I hit it going fairly fast. WHOOPS, I noticed too late that below me was not a groomed line but a heavy mogul field. And that’s what I slammed, knee first, right into an icy mogul, ending my day (and weekend, and month) of skiing.
The good news is it’s not a fracture or full tear. My doctor suggested it was a partial tear or a sprain, and I agree (no MRI yet, I feel fairly confident that it’s just a bad sprain). The bad news is I was unable to finish my weekend skiing at Whistler. The even worse news is it’s starting to snow, hard, here in Tahoe. We’re looking at 7-9 feet over 7 days. It’s been a bit of a bummer.
But, as a good friend reminded me, this is a test of patience and gratitude. It’s easy to wake up to 2 feet of snow and get disappointed that I can’t go out and ski. It’s easy to want to ski on my knee anyways. But sometimes a positive mental attitude requires taking the harder route, and that’s what I’m focusing on. It takes mental grit, awareness, and deep breathing, but I’m 7 days into my cabin lockdown and maintaining a positive attitude. I may not be able to adventure and explore, but the beauty around me is captivating. When the entire lake is whitewashed, a certain magic is in the air. Even just stepping outside to take out the trash, you can feel it around you.
Life is about taking your experiences-the good and the bad- and creating a mental space and awareness in yourself to appreciate every moment. My knee may be hurt, but it will heal. Pain is temporary, but the memories I create here are forever. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to call this place home, if only for a little while longer, and some of the friendships I’ve created here will last a lifetime. That, in itself, makes everything else worth it.
Love and peace, humans,
emily

 

(ps- the picture was taken by one of my friends who had the pleasure of enjoying a bluebird powder day at Whistler the day after I hurt my knee…lucky bastards)

(pps-I still had a blast at Whistler.)

Reflections after 27 years of life

My dear friends,

This past Wednesday I turned 27. If I’m being honest, it was a bittersweet day. If I’m being completely honest, it was mostly bitter.
On Monday I lost one of my closest friends unexpectedly. It was the kind of call you never want to receive, a sobbing friend on the line telling you that this girl with whom you spoke to not even 24 hours before, had passed. Life’s not fair sometimes.
I’m no stranger to death- unfortunately, I’ve experienced my fair share of loss in the last several years. But this particular death truly shook me to my core. It has caused me to reflect a lot on the question of free will, of pain, and of life’s meaning in general.
Looking back at this last year, I’ve experienced a lot of loss. 26 wasn’t an easy year for me, but growth rarely comes from complacency, so despite the pain and loss, I am grateful. And I am stronger than I’ve ever been. So without further ado, I’ll leave you with my top 5 life lessons from my 26th year of life:
1) I am the only person who can control my happiness. This one was a tough lesson to learn. It’s easy for me to fall into a pattern where I depend on others (a significant other, a friend, my family) to bring me happiness. While all of those relationships are wonderful to have, ultimately I’ve learned that my happiness is up to me, and me alone.
2) The most significant growth comes through hardships. Personal growth rarely comes from being stagnant. Experiencing the speed bumps in life are truly what causes us as humans to blossom.
3) With good friends, you can conquer the world. Remember what I said earlier about how only you can control your happiness? I stand by that, but remember, you’re nothing without the people you surround yourself with. Friends who support you, push you, and inspire you are invaluable, and I wouldn’t trade mine for all the money in the world.
4) Your dreams will never happen…if you don’t work hard to achieve them. I had spent most of my life dreaming of traveling the world, of living in a ski town, of working remote. But…I didn’t do anything about it. Finally, after having enough, I changed that. I went from the lowest point of my life to what has become some of the highest. But it took work.
5) It’s okay to be alone. Whether that’s going to a concert, eating dinner in your favorite restaurant, traveling to Texas, or moving to Tahoe, it’s okay to do it on your own. In fact, I would highly recommend it. Doing things by myself has made me fiercely independent, self-aware, and confident. Plus, I talk to myself all the time so it’s basically like I have company 😉

There you have it—all the wisdom I’ve acquired in the last year. Take it or leave it, and I hope you can grow from it.

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I spent the first few hours of my 27th year hiking up Eagle Rock in North Lake Tahoe with a pot of yellow tulips for Kalli. They were planted in the snow as the sun rose in front of me. I love ya, girl.

Love,
Emily

Things to do in Tahoe (besides skiing)

If I’m being honest, the winter here at Lake Tahoe has been monumentally disappointing so far. We’ve seen one storm since I arrived 5 weeks ago, and that snow has all but melted after a slew of balmy 50º days. Resorts are considering closing for the season, bars and restaurants are doing layoffs and cutting shifts, and the city itself feels a bit…empty.

I have a friend who calls it “unseasonable depression”, and he wouldn’t be wrong. There’s a certain gloominess that’s descended on the town, but only in a strictly literary sense. Literally, it’s blue skis every day.

It’s easy to feel myself sliding into unseasonal depression. I came to here ski, damnit! But, as another friend reminded me, we live in the midst of unparalleled beauty. Lake Tahoe is a wonderfully magical place, full of hidden gems with unlimited options for exploration.

So, without further ado, I present to you my continuously evolving list of things to do in Lake Tahoe (besides skiing):

  1. Catch the sunset on East Lake. 26869451_553443905012828_6398979325139353600_n(1)Recommended spots include:
    • Secret Cove: also a nude beach during the summer. A nice trail runs along the slope above the cove and connects several beaches.
    • Hidden Beach: Located just near the mouth of the Truckee River, Hidden Beach is a beautiful, long stretch of sandy shore.
    • Chimney Beach: Tucked behind a steep slope, the large and flat boulders on this beach make it perfect for sunset gazing.
  2. Catch the sunrise on West Lake. sunrise Admittedly, I’ve only made it over to West Lake on two occasions so far to watch the sunrise, but I would argue the sunrise in Lake Tahoe is even more lovely than the sunset. The locations I’ve traveled to are:
    • Skylandia Beach: Once a dog-friendly beach, this stretch of sandy shore has some pretty outstanding views of the lake and west shore. You’ll find it hidden in the back of Lake Forest in Tahoe City.
    • Hurricane Bay Beach: Hurricane Bay Beach extends across a half mile of shoreline with great North Lake Tahoe views and amazing crystal clear water. Plus, it’s dog-friendly!
  3. Grab a beer (or glass of wine!) There’s plenty of bars and pubs around town, but some of my favorite North Lake watering holes are:
    • Whitecaps: Known for its pizza, Whitecaps also boasts some of the best beer in town, in my professional opinion. Located in Kings Beach.
    • Alibi Ale Works: Craft brewery in Incline Village, NV. Dog-friendly and all their beers are brewed from Lake Tahoe water!
    • Spindleshanks: Good food, even better happy hour. Located in Kings Beach.
    • Pete and Peters:  $3 wine for ladies night on Wednesdays. Need I say more? Plus, I can almost guarantee that no matter how many $3 glasses of wine you have, you will NOT be the drunkest skunk in the room.
  4. Go on a hike. hiking.jpgTahoe is known for endless hiking or walking trails, many of which are going to be covered in snow this time of year, but I’ve been doing my best to follow the lower-elevation trails on the Tahoe Rim Trail. 
  5. Rock climb. The gym I joined, High Altitude Fitness in Incline Village, has an indoor rock climbing wall that’s pretty sweet.
  6. Go check out some live music. 26384382_739229242938913_2345438342780289024_nGranted, coming from Seattle, the music scene in Tahoe doesn’t exactly stack up. That being said, there is still good music to be found:
    • South Lake Tahoe often will play live music at the Hard Rock (Murs is coming to town next week!) or Whiskey Dicks (yes-you read that right. I saw Deltron 3030 there last month!)
    • Truckee often has live bands playing at The Bar of America or Moody’s. I was at Moody’s on Friday and the crowd was, well, older, but the vibes were still great!
    • Crystal Bay Casino in Incline Village will occasionally have fun acts come through. Anderson East is coming in March.

So there you have it, folks! Despite the disappointing ski season, there’s still plenty of entertainment to be had in this beautiful city I call home. Time to make the best of it 🙂

stay lovely humans,

emily

What fills your soul?

I was speaking with a dear friend today about her future. She was talking about how she will be up for a promotion soon at her job, and she’d be making nearly double what she makes now. But she isn’t sure if she wants to take it.

So I asked her, “does it fill your soul? When you’re doing your job, do you think, this is it. This is what I was put on this planet to do.”

Because I have a piece of advice for her, and for you, and for everyone who asks- if your life doesn’t fill your soul, you need to find a new life.

I have a little story for you. I took a trip to Italy a while back that changed the projection of my life. Honestly, I wasn’t happy with my job. It was a fine job, don’t get me wrong, but I woke up every morning feeling empty, like something was missing. In a word, I wasn’t fulfilled. Then I went to Italy. And there was some point, maybe it was when we were taking a one person ski lift up the mountain in Capri, or maybe it was when we were hiking up to the summit of Mount Vesuvius, or maybe it was when we were eating Michelin star pizza in Naples, at some point I realized— this is it. My soul is filled. This is what I was put on this planet to do- I am here to travel and explore and see the world. I am here to experience new walks of life, to go outside of my comfort zone, to never sit still and to never be bored. To never spend a day wondering what I will do. To meet new people, to fall in love with their stories and ideas.

And that moment, that trip, is what catapulted me to where I am today. I became obsessed with finding a way to make my dream, my passion, a reality. I researched working on cruise ships, as an international sales executive, an au pair, a teacher. Anything to make my dream a reality. When this job at Zapier popped up, my life was changed forever.

Now, I’m two weeks into my adventures in Tahoe as a nomad. And I can officially say, my soul is full.

Is yours?

Love you all,
-emily

Week 1 of Nomading: Settling in, Colorado Trip

My first week of official digital nomad life has been a bit of a whirlwind. After 2 days and 15 hours of driving from Seattle to Tahoe, CA, I had three days to explore my new town before taking off to Denver, Colorado to ski Vail and Breckenridge and explore Denver.
After 6 days in Colorado, I’m officially back in Tahoe (for a few days at least…!) and working long hours before my next trip.
Tahoe life is, in a word, different. We don’t lock our front door (my roommates literally don’t have keys), we don’t have a mailbox, at any given point in time I live with between 2-5 dogs. There’s no snow, and believe me, that is the topic of conversation anywhere you go. I ended up not remembering to bring any hangers, but the nearest Target is 18.2 miles away, in another state. I need to get my nails done, but it’s an hour-long drive to the next nail salon. I asked my roommate if there’s live music in town, to which he emphatically said, yes of course! When I asked what kind of music, he explained that a local band played at the dive bar next door every Wednesday.
Despite all of these stark differences from my typical city life, I am loving Tahoe! Everyone here is kind and genuine. They’re friendly, they’re outgoing, and they are here to adventure. To quote one of my new friends, “everyone that lives in Tahoe is running away from something. And we’re having the best kind of fun doing it.” It truly does feel that way; Tahoe is in itself an escape from what many consider the drag of office life. And I truly mean that. You’ll meet a lot of people here. So far, I’ve met a couple who owns an art shop in town, 8 professional skiers, a guy who grows weed, and many construction workers. But no office workers. People here think differently; they live in the moment, they dance to the beat of their own drum. And they’re perfectly happy doing it. I fit right in.
Honestly, between all of the unpacking, working, and traveling, I haven’t had much time to fully and completely explore the city. Pictures and updates on where to eat, drink, explore to come in later posts.
Colorado itself was equally amazing. If you ski, Vail is a mountain you cannot miss. We were with a group of about 10 people skiing Vail, and we all equally agreed it was one of the best ski days we’d had at a resort. Breckenridge is also an amazing mountain. With 10 peaks and dozens of lifts, you’re sure to find some kind of terrain you love. We found Breckenridge almost too big for a group of people who had never (or at least rarely) skied the mountain. With 10 peaks to explore, you find yourself doing a lot of gondola riding or traversing from peak to peak. Nonetheless, it’s hard to complain about a bluebird day.
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The reason we chose those particular days to be in Breckenridge was that they had an annual festival, Ullr Festival, occurring during that time. Ullr festival is basically where everyone dresses up as Vikings and parties in the streets. It was a crazy, wild experience and I would highly recommend it. If you go, don’t miss the parade and the burning of the Christmas trees. For me, the Christmas tree burning was particularly symbolic and beautiful. The way the sparks flew in the air and the fire warming my skin felt magical. I can’t describe that moment of happiness.
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In short, my first week has been a breath of fresh air. From navigating the plains of Oregon to missing my flight in Denver to showing up at a bar alone in Tahoe, I’m constantly and consistently pushing my limits, and loving every second of it. Cheers to a new chapter, friends.
Love you all,
emily