Monday, May 16, 2016

4 Steps to a Life of Excitement!

Life is busy, your town is boring, 
and you feel like there is never time to get out. 

Let's fix that.

4.) Train yourself to notice the little things.
It's easy to get caught up in the mundane daily tasks of life, I get it. But that doesn't mean that the world around you is dull. Notice the quirks and the unique, interesting appearances of people; step outside in the day and watch the cloud formations or go find a place at night to see the stars; stop by the park on your way home and spread out a blanket in the grass - you'd be amazed how much there is to see if you got down on eye level with the lawn. Consider taking your lunch breaks outside when the weather is nice or read an inspiring book over your daily break times to learn how other people take in the world around them.

3.) Prioritize.
What do you do when you aren't at work or bogged down with school? A lot of people hop onto Netflix, social media, or play video games. No hate to those who do- they are great ways to relax and even socialize to some degree. But have you ever considered that the reason you don't get out more isn't your busy life, but how you choose to use your downtime? I spend my fair share of time online, but making a goal to enjoy the outdoors at lease a couple times a week- even for a little while- really helps me feel better. Sometimes I'll take a long walk in the park or around the neighborhood, sometimes sketch or read a book outside, sometimes I'll just find a nice grassy spot and take a 15 minute power nap in the sun. Even in the midst of an absolutely crazy week (I'll be honest, my schedule tends to overwhelm many who see it), getting out more is doable if you really set your mind to it.

2.) Pretend You're a Tourist.
I know this sounds a little lame at first glance, but hear me out. I live in the little Lewis-Clark Valley; I often hear remarks from the locals that they get bored (even from some who enjoy being outside!). But here's the thing: there is actually a lot to do here, if you take the time to research a little. We have many miles of biking paths and hiking trails, tons of historical exhibits, a bunch of sporting goods stores that will rent out all sorts of fun gear (my favorite thing to borrow is the hobie cat kayaks), and if you are have a little extra money to part with, there are the summertime hot air balloon tours and Hell's Canyon jet boat excursions. Then there are all of the unique local restaurants that I still have yet to try, the ice rink, the roller skating rink, and all sorts of other fun. Boring? I think not. Check out your local Chamber of Commerce and find out what things there are in your area that you haven't yet tried!

1.) Take Day Trips.
I make it a goal to go on a hike once a month; sometimes it is a day hike at the nearby Hell's Gate State Park, but often times I drive out of town for a change of scenery. Even if you are not a hiker, I encourage you to try and take a monthly day trip! It doesn't need to be far or expensive; some of my trips are only 30 to 45 minutes away, but just picking one day a month to take in some different sights is extremely refreshing. Research places online and find out about interesting local shops, restaurants, parks, hiking trails, and more! Even my longer day trips (up to 3 hours away) often do not cost much more than a tank of gas and a meal or two out (sometimes not even that, if I pack a sandwich). Taking frequent day (or weekend) trips all year rather than one extended vacation gives a much greater sense of accomplishment.

You don't have to be bored!

Sarah Iddings is pretty much never bored,
and if she thinks she is about to be, she always 
has her writing and social media to keep her occupied-
Follow her on Twitter & Instagram @Adventureofsair,
and check out her photography blog, Captured Yet Fleeting.
She can be contacted at
Happy trails!

Friday, May 6, 2016

My Top 4 Off Trail Excursions

Trails are fantastic- it's nice to have a clear cut path that winds along scenic overlooks and around many inconvenient obstacles. Let's face it, though: some of the most amazing memories come from the times when you deviate from the path, whether intentionally or not. Here are my favorite four off-trail moments:

4.) The Seattle Public Library.
Fourth place on my list was an epic adventure through an urban jungle. My friend Stephanie and I couldn't find the lot we left our car in, and thus went "off trail" all over downtown Seattle. We wandered up hills that could rival many hiking trails, under and atop overpasses, and past many exciting artistic structures. While it was a tad frustrating and extremely tiring in the moment, this accident lead us to what turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the trip: getting to explore the biggest library I've ever had the pleasure of walking into.

3.) From the River to the Plateau.
My boyfriend wanted us to go on a hike for his birthday. We began at the Nisqually John Canyon trail head along the Snake River, but quickly learned that the trail vanishes after less than a mile. We stared at the plethora of hills before us and decided on the fly that we should climb all the way to the top- who cares if there isn't a trail? It turned out to be a much tougher trip up and back than it looked like, but seeing that view and all of those wildflowers was so worth it! We stopped to rest our ankles for a moment on the way down and I commented, "It seems like something out of a cute romance flick; sitting in a field of flowers with your dream guy." to which he replied, "Well, that definitely sounds nicer than 'me and my girlfriend went on a 5 mile death march up a mountain'."

If you want to check this area out for yourself, Backpacker gives some nice tips, stats and directions.

2.) The Abandoned House.
A few friends and I were taking a nice walk along the Trail of the Coeur d' Alenes in Idaho and saw the top of an old house sticking up from the foliage on the other side of a small swamp. We couldn't resist- a closer look was necessary. Not wanting to trek through a swamp, we scaled a hill covered in rocks and small cacti, walked along a rural road, and battled our way through a gully full of wild roses. Not the most pleasant of conditions, but exploring my first abandoned house was an extremely exciting and surreal experience. I would gladly do it all over again!

1.) The Creek.
We were following a trail near Heyburn State Park. The trail was named for a creek that we could not see... So what do we do? Find the creek, of course! We whacked our way through a lot of bushes and tall grass in order to access the dry creek bed. After following it for a ways, it began showing more signs of water. Eventually we even found our own little oasis: a secluded pool surrounded in trees, dragonflies, and summertime wildflowers. Going farther yet, we hiked with our shoes off and relied on trekking poles and large sticks to keep our balance on the slippery rocks. Along the way, we discovered a stone throne and one of the biggest fallen-tree bridges I've seen in person. The entire outing was truly breathtaking! Also, the first time I ever spent half of a hike barefoot. 

What are your best off-trail memories? Share them in the comments below or send me an email at and I might feature your story in a later post!

Sarah Iddings is always ready to explore new territory; 
just don't blame her if you get hurt hiking off trail. 
You do that at your own risk, just like she does.
She also enjoys writing and social media-
Follow her on Twitter & Instagram @Adventureofsair,
and check out her photography blog, Captured Yet Fleeting.
She can be contacted at
Happy trails!