Our Yurt to Yurt Skiing Adventure

‘Cause there’s still plenty of snow during Spring Break in MN!

After several years of talking about heading ‘Up North’ to the Boundary Waters to go Cross Country Skiing Yurt to Yurt, Fatima, Maud & I packed up our gear, hopped in the car and began an epic three night adventure!

We hadn’t had much snow in the Twin Cities area, so all three of us were just itching to get our skis on and enjoy a bit of the great outdoors!

The drive is about 6.5 hours total, so halfway there we stopped for a quick three mile hike to stretch our legs and get some fresh air in our lungs. It was pretty icy that day so we did plenty of bum -sliding down the hill for safety’s sake.

We arrived at the darling Poplar Creek Bed & Breakfast just before dusk and were heartily greeted by owners, Barbara and Ted. After getting settled into our spacious and super comfy rooms, they sent us on our way for a yummy ‘last supper’ at the Trail Center – didn’t look like much from the outside, but it was just delightful & delicious from the inside.

After a great night’s sleep and hand-brewed coffee, ‘Chef’ Barbara prepared a traditional Norwegian breakfast and Ted mapped out the next 21 miles of ‘fun’ for us.

Off we go for our first day of fun! Nine miles didn’t seem too daunting, even with 20 mph winds greeting every stride.  We were thrilled with the sounds of nothing but the swoosh of our skis amidst the beauty of the great northern Minnesota woods.

We made it to our ‘home’ for the night in just under 3 hours and after warming up our feet/hands we began to learn the intricacies of the wood stove and gas lighting from our camp guide, Jim.  After he snowmobiled away with a ‘be on the look out for moose’ last call, we settled in to a night of laughter, popping blisters, card playing  & a delicious spread of our favorite things.

And don’t forget, being out in the woods means the outhouse is your friend. At 3am in the morning, who cares about fashion: just give me a headlamp, some TP and off you go into the great unknown! Hahaha

While none of us got much sleep that night, the early morning brought about warmer temps and the desire to ‘get up and go’ as we had 12 miles to ski to the next Yurt and get back a little closer to civilization.

Day 2 proved to be quite the challenging one. We started off strong then faced a massive down hill slope that I chose to walk down vs. potentially crash. Fatima ever-so-gracefully came flying around the bend and landed at the base…just shy of the freezing cold water! As the day progressed, westarted to notice that our skis were all becoming sluggish and accumulating ice on them with every stride.  We were having to stop every 10 min or so and in essence ‘de-ice’ our skis with the pole tips or a knife. It was very frustrating to say the least and we were getting more tired and a bit nervous with every minute that passed us by. Did we have enough food if it got late, did we have matches to build a fire and stay warm, did we have headlamps to guide us through the dark, how could we call for help if needed?  And sure enough, an hour later, 2 ski poles were now broken from the constant banging of the ice and Maud was down with a sprained ankle. What should have have taken us four hours to complete ended up taking over seven. Thank goodness, Ted came looking for us as he knew something was wrong when we hadn’t arrived hours after our estimated time.  With Maud loaded up on the snowmobile, Fatima & I skied the rest of the way, she with only one pole and both collapsing with exhaustion when we finally made it ‘home.’

Warming up our homemade soup brought us great relief and I enjoyed a nice hot toddy to finish off the night…shut eye was 7:50pm!

The next morning we were up and at ’em, heading for the last ski of the day all the way back to our cars. We made it and were grateful to be back connected with the world and a hot cup of coffee for the long drive home.

Moral of the story: Be a bit more prepared when you are three gals alone in the great wilderness up north.

But would we do it again? Yeah, you ‘betcha!

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New Year, New You

This New Year’s Eve I had an epiphany whilst on the dance floor at the Minneapolis Black and White Ball. In between navigating pools of spilled beer, over-zealous revelers in 3” heels and a ballgown I had a sudden realisation. The reason I am so determined and focused with my New Year’s resolutions is that whilst most people are waking up with a sore head on the first day of the year I wake up the day after that a whole year older as my birthday is on January 2nd.

I’ve never been a fan of giving anything up for New Year. I find setting an intention to take something up is far more proactive, fun and achievable. I took up yoga seventeen years ago and still practice to this day. I remember having to take up Facebook when it eclipsed MySpace as the social media platform to be seen on. I find it exciting to step into a new year as a new version of myself and defining who I want to be. This year has been particularly special as on Saturday 21st January I had been in Minneapolis a year to the day. 365 days earlier I had stepped off a plane with just two bags and didn’t know a soul in the State of Minnesota outside of the Evine family.

Fast forward to January 2017 and my Saturday couldn’t be more different. My day began bright and early at my Miracle mornings discussion group in a local coffee shop where we watch a short YouTube video on a topic and then discuss it. This week was the philosophy of Stoicism. After the group, I drove to brunch with a writer friend whom I met when I volunteered at the Minneapolis Saint Paul International Film Festival last Spring. I just read the lead in her play and now wants me to resume the role in a short film she’s writing.

Afterwards I burned off my brunch at salsa class. My friend and fellow Evine host, Fatima, has given me the bug for salsa but she is one of, if not THE best dancer in the Twin Cities. I, however, am still stepping on people’s toes and turning the wrong way, which is incredibly frustrating as I’ve always loved to dance but that’s a whole different experience to learning to dance!

Next, I went to Uptown Minneapolis for a Soul night with a friend. It was a strange coincidence as we’d both found out about it months before from totally different people but just as I was about to ask her if she wanted to go, she mentioned it to me. Soul night was not about the musical genre but a gathering of people wanting to connect on a spiritual level. There were hugs, crystals, sageing (an ancient practice where people burn sage to clear energy) and some positive live hip hop. Lastly, my friend and I grabbed dinner before I headed home.

The reason I want to share this with you is to show what’s possible in just one year. Even as I write this I just went to an outdoor Shanty art festival on my way home from buying groceries.

As a life coach, a common question I ask is, ‘What’s stopping you?’ So often the answer is ourselves. It’s not that we consciously hold ourselves back but more that we don’t give ourselves permission to ‘colour outside the lines’ so as we get older our worlds get gradually smaller.

Something I’ve done differently this year for myself and my clients is to mind map my 2017 goals. It’s really simple. Print out a photo of yourself that you like (or photos, if you’re doing a family one). Get a big board – the foldable science fair ones work well and they’re about $5.

Paste your face into the centre of the board and then just get busy with the Sharpies and BIG ideas. Draw lines coming from you and begin to create categories like, ‘Family’, ‘Creativity’, ‘Fun’, ’Fitness,’ Community’, ‘Vampires’. OK, so not vampires, I was just checking you were still reading but, YES – vampires! Think outside the box, nothing is off limits and have fun.

Then put it somewhere where you can see it every day and keep adding as ideas pop up.

Putting your face next to, ‘Win Nobel Peace Prize’ is literally aligning yourself with it in front of your very eyes.

An even faster way that takes up zero space and you can do when you’re half-watching TV is to create Pinterest boards for your goals. I have one called Fashion Goals 2017 to achieve the perfect capsule closet (Prince Harry’s new girlfriend Meghan Markle is my current style crush!).

I can’t guarantee it will stop me from buying random things like neon pink PVC boots (but to be fair the mileage I got out of my Mum howling with laughter when I couldn’t get them off in the shop far outweighed the cost and the fact I never wore them) but it does give me a structure for when I go shopping.

I also want to travel across America this year and I’ve created a board called Bucketlist USA.

 

When I travelled back to the UK a few weeks ago, I sat next to a guy called Mike from Minnesota who is stationed in the Air Force in London. He was telling me I must visit the Boundary Waters – I’ve Googled it and it’s on the list. I have friends in San Diego, Portland, Hawaii so they’re all must-sees and the Grand Canyon has been on my bucket list forever. 2017 is the year!

 

With technology as sophisticated as it is now we’re all visual people even if we don’t consider ourselves creative. Pinterest makes everything look pretty for you but having a visual image – especially if you can put yourself next to that beach in Costa Rica – is sending your brain a powerful message of possibility! In 2006 I went on holiday to the island of Ibiza with some friends and when I came home I made my screen saver the view of the sunset from the very popular Cafe Mambo. Two years later I moved to the island, got a job at Cafe Mambo and on my first night looked out and had an emotional moment as I realised that what had become background – something I didn’t even notice on my laptop – was now not only my reality but my ‘office’ view every night when I went to work. In January 2015 whilst on a coaching course I spent 3 days being coached around the topic of moving to the US. Six months later without having done anything else, I got an email from Evine offering me a job. Don’t question the ‘how?’ just trust this stuff works!

I would love to hear your goals, plans and dreams for 2017. What do you want to be looking back on this time next year? And if like Minnesota Mike you have somewhere you think should be on my Bucketlist USA, let me know and I’ll add it to the board.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

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