2016 – you were a great year!

2016 – you were a great year!

I keep hearing that 2016 was an awful year, and yes there were some terrible things that happened, for sure. But there were also a lot of GOOD things. For us, 2016 was nothing short of amazing. Why? I’ll give you a few highlights:

1. VISITORS. We had a slew of wonderful friends and family stay with us at Casa Seymour in Costa Rica, they were all so much fun to have.  Debi & Pam (along with Lynette & Mark who visited that day), Yeison & Samantha (My Tan Feet), Linda (and son Ben, not pictured), and her friend Mona from Sweden, Greg’s mom Shirley and her friend Kay, and our friend Christina (also our landlord!):
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2. BOOKS. Greg published his 2nd book Costa Rica Curious, and I published my 3rd & 4th books Life Outside the Cubicle and Grecia, Costa Rica:
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3. THE AT. We made the (huge) decision to attempt to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail (2017), and started planning our life accordingly.
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4. INTERNATIONAL LIVING. Greg had a great year writing and working for International Living Costa Rica, and gave a talk in front of 350 people at the conference held in San Jose in September (see him on the stage? He was incredible!).
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5. COSTA RICA. We had TONS of amazing hikes and sunsets in Costa Rica:
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6. FRIENDS. We had several great visits with our friends Michael & Mike at their amazing property in Cachí AND we helped Mike with his first cheese party at Casa Seymour!
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7. ARM CANDY. It was a banner year for my arm candy business – Costa Rica Chica Arm Candy (this year introduced foot candy, majhong candy, HIKE/AT candy, book candy, eye glass holder candy & diffuser arm candy).
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8. NEW FRIENDS.  We made some awesome new friends, Mike & Martina. Here we are at our favorite Mexican place in Costa Rica, Jalapeño’s, with Norm in his kitchen. (PS – he makes the best margarta’s! If you are in Costa Rica and haven’t tried his place – try it pronto!)
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9. GRECIA. We left Grecia with full hearts and memories that will last us forever:
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10. FRIENDS. Our friends Irina & Jim, who lived just down the hill from us in Grecia, had a beautiful going away party for us:
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11. WISCONSIN. After arriving in Wisconsin in October, we did a fabulous “gear test hike trip” at Devil’s Lake State Park (blog post coming on this shortly!):
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12. THRU-HIKERS. We met some real thru-hikers! She is from my hometown of Wisconsin Rapids, believe it or not!  Was so cool to chat with them when they took a weekend off the trail.  Their trail names are Yardsale (her) and Cardinal (him).
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13. MOM. Hanging with my mom in Wisconsin has been the best. Thankful for her and happy to be spending time here with her until we start the AT in March.
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So – here’s to 2016!  And here’s to the new year of 2017, bring it on!  Happy New Year to all our friends and families.  Happy Trails! — Jen & Greg
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His and Her Appalachian Trail Fears

His and Her Appalachian Trail Fears

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear

~ Mark Twain

As we document our journey to and through the Appalachian Trail, I am cognizant that our thoughts, strategies, desires, and fears will change as we experience the different phases of thru-hiking. So, it is odd typing words that undoubtedly will change throughout and by the end of our journey.

That being said, it is important to acknowledge what we are fearing at the outset so we can master our fear, or at a minimum resist the fear and be courageous. (more…)

Sock it to ya!

Sock it to ya!

Socks. Why are socks important in thru-hiking, or any long distance hiking? If you don’t have the right type of socks, you could develop hot spots that will form into blisters, and you will be miserable. For me (each person is different), this is what I’ve found that works best, at least so far, and is what I plan to do on our AT thru-hike. This is after MUCH research and talking to fellow thru-hikers.  The best book I read in my research is called “Fixing Your Feet.”

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Hiker Trash in Training

Hiker Trash in Training

There is no exact definition of the term often used to describe certain characteristics of long-distance hikers, so I cobbled my own:

Hiker Trash – a term of endearment used to describe the necessary mental shift caused by living in the woods on a thru-hike for long periods of time.

Symptoms include a modification of socially acceptable behavior, especially in regards to frequency of showering and laundering; what constitutes nutrition; where and how you sleep; and what is meant by the word comfort.

It does not refer to those who disrespect the trail, nature, or others. No, those people are just plain trash.

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