I feel like at least some of these challenges are the result of this wild modern life we lead. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty I love about 2016, like the fact that we just bought our first time ever brand new car: a Chevy Volt. I can plug it in for local driving and commuting and when the charge runs out after 50 miles or so it switches over to gas for road trips and such. Seriously, so cool. And I love that I don’t have to own a TV or pay a huge cable bill to be able to watch movies or shows I love. I can just stream them on my computer when I feel like I need a little entertainment fix. One thing I’m not so in love with about my modern life is that my extended family, once tight nit and all in one place, is now strewn throughout the country, even the world, as we all pursue our dreams, also known as our ordinary lives. We Skype, we Facebook, and we even talk on the phone like people used to do in the old days, but its not the same as having your tribe of loved ones within a short driving distance as you raise the next generation.
There are a few things I miss pretty consistently: family dinners with sisters and kiddos and dogs all around, chatting with my mom while we hang around and do nothing or everything, and hikes with my dad. I have my dad to thank for the beginning of an interest in hiking and the great outdoors. In Silicon Valley where I grew up, it didn’t take long to find nature 10 minutes up Magdalena Ave, in the golden hills of Los Altos and Cupertino. My mom always called them “marches” as I think she much preferred to take an easy stroll, but my dad usually had a mission: burn some calories, sweat a bit, and take in a view at the top. In high school, I think he had to drag me up there as I still hadn’t quite embraced a love for nature. I was too busy being cool or at least thinking that’s what I was up to. But college in Boulder, Colorado just cracked the roof off the sucker and I couldn’t get enough of the great outdoors: hiking, camping, skiing, biking. The Rocky Mountains blew my mind and before long it was me dragging Dad up to the top of a trail. It was up on top of a mountain that I stopped trying to be cool and started to wake up, quiet down, and notice all of the amazing things going on around me in nature. Ultimately nature has become a mirror for me to understand myself more and more with every experience.