Being lost in nature and exploring exhilarates my being and stirs my soul. The euphoric feeling of stillness and pure bliss that encompasses me when I’m in the wild is a feeling unique to exploring.

Photo by: Heather Matley
Photo by: Heather Matley

When I think of travel, I think about getting out of my comfort zone, engaging in diverse cultures, meeting new people, not showering for days, and experiencing things in an entirely new light.

As Pico Iyer once said, “We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, in essence, to become young fools again.”

The thrill I get is simply incomparable to any other experience. You get to learn, grow and experience all types of things you wouldn’t otherwise.

In Anza Borrego, when I saw mysterious creations the earth had formed, I found a deep appreciation for beauty so surreal and unthinkable. It was a true blessing to have the ability to look at this abounding world and be enlightened by the small things, like rare succulents that bloom with passion, through crevices in rocks.

In Bali I fell in love with the art of yoga and learned how all we need is held within the knowledge of our bodies. Freedom and consciousness encompassed me as I began to see things in an entirely new light.

In India I discovered the true meaning of contrast – feeling astonishment, frustration, inspiration, joy and fear all at once. The colorful country was foreign to me. All I knew were the clichés of gurus, snake charmers, meditation, curry, and devastating poverty.

But it was so much more than that. It was a humanity of extremes: the good and the bad, the obscure and magnificent, the rich and the poor. Children begging and tourists shopping; men pulling rickshaws and men driving the latest Mercedes; children carrying infants and kids walking to school wearing their uniforms; monkeys stealing and elephants working; vehicles honking and monks chanting; worshipers idolizing and thieves pillaging; the marigold flowers and sewer stench. Yet this country of overwhelming contradiction, taught me things that warmed my heart and made me laugh. Cows have the right of way and ear cleaning is actually a profession!

In Voss, Norway I learned to appreciate the beauty our world provides us. Exploring the fjords, mountains, glaciers, and climbing up to Trolltunga, a scenic cliff a car ride and overnight hike and climb away from one of the largest cities in Norway.

Looking down while climbing up was astounding. Earth’s every hue filled me with joy. After hours of endless vertical steps and hand grabs, we made it to the top, 2,300 feet above sea level. I laid down for a moment feeling grateful to have made it safely. I will never forget how it felt to lay on the earth’s surface in the most beautiful place I had dreamt of, appreciating the view before me and reminiscing upon the views we had seen on our journey.

In Big Sur I discovered the importance of getting lost in nature and how much magic is revealed when you’re simply present. Tracing constellations with our eyes, listening to the owls wake up, yoga overlooking the beautiful blanket of blue, bathing in waterfalls, cliff jumping, and eating canned Amy’s Thai soup was one of the happiest times I have ever experienced.

Photo by: Nikelle Lovaas. Sean Stahl backpacks through the desert of Anza Borrego after camping for days nearside waterfalls and unreal nature.
Photo by: Nikelle Lovaas.
Sean Stahl backpacks through the desert of Anza Borrego after camping for days nearside waterfalls and unreal nature.

In Costa Rica I learned the culture of living pure – while getting a glimpse of what it feels like to live a peaceful, uncluttered, and simple way of life.

In Tahiti I learned the importance of disconnecting – and the only thing that matters is that we remain present. And from that, a lot can be experienced and healing and imagination transpires.

In the Grand Canyon I was privileged with time to contemplate my space and time on this earth – and meaningful things in life. It gave me a space to reflect upon what truly matters and focus on today. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, not next week.


In Death Valley I experienced silence that had a mysterious calming feelings within me and allowed my soul to be at peace. Soft hues of coral, peach, blue, tan, and cream covered the horizon. Watching the world wake up brought me to a state of such indescribable bliss.

I travel to lose myself, and I travel to find myself.

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