A Travellerspoint blog

Gray's Peak via Horseshoe Basin

An annual 14er outing with my old man.

sunny 65 °F

Morning Breaks

The Divide


Scouting the Trail

Hiking Up

Orienting the Target


Lane Lines

Little Gray's Lake

Gray's Lake

The Scramble

Peaking on the Ridge

The Final Push

Summit View Southwest

Summit Shot

Class II Chute

Argentine Pass

Heading Down

Wildflowers I

Wildflowers II

The Beautiful Road Home

White Stream

Horseshoe Mine


5th Summit of the Continental Divide

Posted by la vita bella 19:10 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Exploring the Philippines

Dumaguete, Manila, and La Union

Apo Island, Philippines

...After a few days in Palawan, and seeing some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen, it was time for a return flight to Manila before leaving the following morning for Dumaguete with Ryan and Alexa, our local Filipina friend from Manila. This trip has definitely gone by too quickly with us trying to see and do so much, but when you're so far away from home, you have to see as much as you can, and there's no time for rest... We awoke the following morning at the bright and much too early hour of 5AM to head to the airport, bags packed for another adventure. We were headed to Dumaguete, and area in the Visayas region of the Philippines (sort of central and south of Manila in the archipelago). When we arrived, we didn't have any formal plans, but that quickly changed as my sunscreen was confiscated at search. The Filipinos have no sympathy for us pale white folk in the sun, so the plan when we arrived was to find a market with some sunscreen and aloe to soothe my burns from Palawan. The tops of my feet got so badly burned I was nearly incapable of walking in shoes or sandals, but so it goes.

Islands from the sky

We spent some time in a few malls and shops attempting to find sunscreen, but if you can believe it, the people are so tan and used to the sun, most places don't even sell it. They do, however, sell whitening lotion, or the opposite of sunscreen, for the locals. Pretty crazy, right? So much for us pale skinned people. But, after some searching, we did finally secure some Aloe and sunscreen for the snorkeling trip the next day. This consumed the better part of the afternoon with walking around their boardwalk across from our hostel, and after the relaxing day we headed to a local Korean restaurant recommended by a friend of Alexa's in Dumaguete. When we arrived, I stared at the menu rather aimlessly, trying to find something I could make sense of. No luck. So, when in doubt, ask the server for the best sellers and what's in them, and give it a shot. I tried a dish called Jesook dup bap (or something like that) that was spicy pork with rice, and, wow... I might have burned off a few tastebuds that night. But, again, I'm all about making the most of world travels, and figured I wouldn't find authentic Korean food like that back home, much less in my little town of Steamboat, so I've tried all kinds of fun things on this trip.

Swimming with turtles

The next morning, we prepped our gear and sunscreen and headed out early for some snorkeling at Apo Island, which is about a half hour boat ride from town, and has a few marine sanctuaries set aside for snorkeling. They limit the number of people who can visit each day, so we were lucky to be able to go thanks again to local connections we had in town. This was our second time snorkeling on this trip to the Philippines, so we had a better idea of what to expect this time around. Needless to say, in a marine sanctuary in the Philippines, the marine life was fascinating. We swam with all sorts of fish, saw lots of colorful coral, and swam with the likes of Crush and Nemo at one point. It was amazing. Swimming with turtles that are about half the size of you is pretty cool, and at one point we were with 7 turtles surrounding us. I also made good use of my GoPro on this trip to get some underwater photos of the turtles, marine life, and friends swimming with the turtles.

Hanging out with Crush at Apo Island, Philippines

After a few hours of snorkeling, it was time to head back to town to meet up with local friends and do a little bar hopping. I guess Dumaguete is a college town in the Philippines, so the nightlife is pretty decent. We rested up in the afternoon before we went out to meet up with Alexa's friends and her friends. All I can say about the night is, they really showed us a great time. Drinks were super cheap, and we went to a few different places. We got home sometime in the middle of the morning, and crashed before packing our bags in the morning. The next day, we took a rather interesting vehicle to the airport called a trike, which is basically a dirtbike or moped with the side car attached and covered by a little piece of canvas or tarp. They're everywhere in the Philippines and apparently pretty common, although I can't say you'll feel particularly safe in one. They're also really slow, so cars are overtaking you constantly, which isn't the most comfortable feeling. But, an experience nonetheless. The flight was pretty smooth, although again delayed just like every other flight I've had on this trip (I'm 5 for 5 if you can believe it!). That night we arrived later than planned in Manila, but went over to one of our other Filipino friend's houses to spent the next couple nights there. I can't express enough how great they've been to us on this trip, hooking us up with locals, local spots, the best beaches, and letting us crash on their couches. I'm so blessed and thankful to have friends like this all over the world..

Beautiful Beach Resort

We spent some time catching up with Kevs before cleaning up to go out and meet up with some of our other Filipino friends for another night out. They brought along a few of their other friends, and just like that, we had a party ready to hit the town in Manila on a Saturday night. We went out to dinner with everyone first before heading to a few bars after for more drinks. I love these kids so much - we always have such a great time together. After the fun night out together and making some new friends, we went back to Kevs place to crash for a bit before spending Sunday as a lazy day and sightseeing in Manila. The only thing we really had on our list was to see Intramuros, which is a UNESCO world heritage site, and pretty cool to explore. Our friend Alexa had hooked us up with a recommended tour guide (and major history buff) for the tour on Sunday.

Manila and Intramuros

Church inside Intramuros

The tour that we received was both interesting and fascinating. Our guide was a fellow American who had moved to Manila in the 80s and fell in love with the place so he never left. He was a history buff who taught at a local college and owned and ran his own guesthouse for backpackers plus gave tours of Intramuros to travelers. Not a bad way to make a living if you ask me! He toured us around the Walled City, hitting certain highlights, sharing photos he brought with him, and giving us a great history of the Philippines and the general geography of the country. I went with my American travel buddy Ryan and one of our other Filipino friends RJ. Believe it or not, he had never been, nor had some of our other Filipino friends. It's one of those things that is right under your nose but you take it for granted because you just assume you'll do it eventually. My advice is to go to Intramuros if you're visiting Manila because it's really cool to see and massive so there's plenty to see and do in there. After exploring Intramuros and a lazy day in Manila, we went back to Kevs place to pack for our next trip. We were leaving Monday morning for a guys road trip up north to the province of La Union to try our hands at surfing! I was pretty excited, having never tried surfing before, and for a guys road trip with our Dijon JTA buddies to hang, catch up, and just have an all around great time.

Surfing and La Union

Sunset on the drive to La Union

Monday morning arrived, and we tossed our stuff in Rafa's car to head north to La Union. One of our other JTA friends also happens to be from the wealthiest family in the province, and his dad is vice governor, so we were pretty well cared for while in La Union. His dad is a pretty successful business man to go along with the political status, so they're pretty well off. The total drive time was about 7 hours including traffic getting out of Manila, and we got there pretty late Monday night. After a quick meal and saying hello to his mom, we went to their beach house with the maids and secretary to hang out. The house is *literally* right on the ocean, has it's own pool, entertaining area, and so on, and incredibly cool. That night we spent a good amount of time hanging out on the deck drinking (and using rocks as improv bottle openers as we couldn't find one, which becomes more and more interesting the more you drink...). I will forever have such good memories of this night.

Surf's up!

Because you have to get up early to surf to get the best waves and before the sand really heats up, Tuesday morning came sooner than we wanted after such a long night. We were driven down the road a ways to a beautiful beach on a resort where we met with our surfing guides. Each of us was given our own personal teacher to teach us how to surf, at no cost to us! Our friend Rocky was really hooking us up on this trip. We surfed for a few hours, and I did manage to get up a few times as did the other guys despite being a skier and the idea of a board being totally foreign to me. After the surfing lessons and some photos and videos having been taken, we were taken to a local seafood restaurant on the water known for catching the food right before being cooked and served. The meal was interesting to say the least, and as I'll get to later, possibly where I got sick... After eating lunch there, we were given a proper tour of the town of San Fernando and toured around by his dads secretary. We finally tried Halo-Halo (Filipino for "shake-shake"), which is a drink that has all kinds of goodness in it, ice cream, milk, shaved ice, fruits, syrups, etc. Paradise in a glass basically. After the Halo Halo we went to check out a local resort called Thunderbird, which is absolutely gorgeous with pools, beachfront, wedding spots, casino, restaurants, and is modeled after Santorini in Greece. We took some photos here before heading back into town to a Chinese restaurant owned by one of his friends in the area (again, at no cost to us!).

Wedding Spot, Thunderbird Resort

We enjoyed a Chinese feast at the local restaurant owned by one of Rocky's friends and made some more memories over good food and drink. However, the adventure of the night was still to come. After dinner, we walked around the corner to the street market where we were to try a local "delicacy" (I use that phrase very lightly) for dessert. It's called Balut and is an unfertilized egg with a duckling in it that they eat. Adventurous and borderline crazy to say the least. But, when in the Philippines (and armed with Cipro...), why not give it a shot. So Ryan and I each bought an egg and we went back to the beach house with our friends to try this delicacy. I have some hilarious video on my phone of me eating said duckling which is rather entertaining to watch, but I'll save you all the trouble of having to view photos or videos of the baby duck. It was kind of rubbery, chewy, and feathery... Ok, I'll stop. After trying this dessert, we hung out briefly before crashing for the night since we had to hit the road early in the morning for Manila. The road trip the next day was challenging to say the least since I was pretty well sick at this point, and being stuck in a Honda CRV for 7 hours with 5 people and travelers diarrhea is no fun. But, that's all I'll say on that, and god bless Cipro for saving me. I'm finally starting to feel better after about 48 hours of that bug, and hoping it passes before we get to Hong Kong tonight.

Thunderbird Resort, La Union

Once we arrived back in Manila, it was our final night in the Philippines. Such a sad, bittersweet moment for me. I'm excited to visit Hong Kong over the next few days, but I'll miss these JTA friends dearly. We spent last night out with all of our JTA friends for dinner and drinks, and had a big reunion before all parting ways today. I love these kids so much, and they really, really went all out for us during our trip. Couch crashing, recommending places to go, guides, local friends, and paying for some of our activities. Amazing. There aren't enough words for me to say thank you enough to all of them. All I know is if any of them visit in the States, anywhere in the States for that matter, whether it's in Colorado or elsewhere, I'm rolling out the red carpet and showing them the best time I can. They deserve it. It's sad that friends this good live so far away, but I know we'll see them again in the future at some point, and we'll have to Skype in the meantime until then. That said, Ryan and I are passing time in the airport waiting for our flight to Hong Kong this afternoon. We don't have any definite plans when we arrive, save for Victoria Peak tonight (woohoo!) and meeting another Dijon JTA friend tomorrow from Hong Kong for a local's tour of the town. I only have two days there before heading back home to the States to reality and work (sigh...), so the next two days are sure to be packed with everything we can find to do in Hong Kong. Until the last post of the trip, enjoy the photos here and stay tuned for updates on Hong Kong! I'll be posting on twitter as I find wifi, and I'm hoping to capture some great photos of the skyline and possibly try some more exotic foods. Stay tuned!




Posted by la vita bella 23:18 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

Finding Paradise

Palawan and Uson Islands

After the brief delay at Manila airport, our flight to Palawan Island finally boarded. Palawan Island is in the southwestern part of the Philippines and famous for some of its beautiful beaches, some of which we were lucky enough to experience. It's been a while since I've boarded a flight from the runway, which is always a cool experience. We flew on a small prop plane, maybe 50 people or so, powered by propellers instead of the engines you see on larger flights, and the flying time was only about an hour or so. After the short flight, we touched down on Palawan Island at an airport that was, at best, tiny. It was in the middle of a field, and although the landing strip was paved, there wasn't much room for error. The terminal wasn't much more than a small building, hot, humid, no A/C, and very basic.

Airport in Palawan

Ryan and I grabbed our bags, since we were the only ones making this trip, and headed for the shuttle van that was taking us to our "resort". I use the term lightly because it was fairly simple and cheap. Electricity only runs from 5pm - 9am, so nothing during the day. Minimal A/C in the rooms, wifi was incredibly slow, and facilities were minimal. But, after the hour long flight, a 30 minute shuttle ride, and a 10 minute boat ride, we were at our hotel. This was a first for me, traveling by boat to get to a hotel. Pretty cool, actually. The shuttle ride was an adventure too, traveling through farms, fields, jungle, and roads that were half paved half dirt, and median lines merely a suggestion for how and where to drive.

The boat to our hotel

When we arrived at the resort, we were greeted by a host with some welcome drinks (also a first for me!), given some info on the resort, and shown to our room. We dropped our stuff, and the first mission was to find me some clothes to wear for the island hopping tour we wanted to do the next day. We took the boat back into town where one of our guides showed us where a shop was located that we could buy board shorts. I found some knockoff Billabong shorts, Nike flip flops, and Nike quick dry shirt all for about 600 PHP (about $15), and was pretty happy with everything. No longer stuck in my cotton clothes and hiking shoes, I felt ready for an island tour the next day. I am still stuck in those same clothes, but am hoping to see my suitcase when we return to Manila this afternoon. When we got back to the resort, we talked with the guide about what would be fun to see the next day and on a budget. The places that we made it to the next day were, to say the least, possibly the most beautiful places I've ever seen. So, after a Filipino dinner and some drinks, we headed to bed.

Clothes from the market

The next morning we got up with a small bag packed, and were ready to see the sights. We ended up using a plastic bag that my knockoff shorts came in to carry our stuff because we had no day packs to use and figured it would do well enough. We left the resort at 9am (perfectly timed after the A/C and wifi turned off) and went out for the tour. I'll go through each place one by one because, well, they were gorgeous, and, simply unbelievable. The first place we visited was Kayangan Lake. You head right towards these mountains, and sort of weave in between them before docking at a small beach. There's a small sign where you sign in, and you hike up some rock steps through the foliage. At the top there's a spot with a world class view, before you descend some steps down the other side to the lake. The lake is 70/30 fresh water and salt water, and great for snorkeling and very picturesque. We spent an hour here with our entrance fee before snapping photos at the overlook on the way back and heading to our next spot.

Kayangan Lake

The second spot was Twin Lagoons, where you again wrap around a few hug rocks and find the first lagoon. It would seem that's all there is, but in the corner there's a hole underwater, just below the surface, where you're able to swim underneath and find the second lagoon. Gorgeous. We snorkeled here for a little while and took some photos before diving back under the water and returning to the boat. About this time we were getting hungry and ready for lunch, so we headed to the third spot.

Lunch spot, literally on the water

The third spot was Banal Beach, a white sand beach that was maybe 100 metres across with plenty of shacks for lunch. This was where we decided to eat lunch. The food that was served felt a bit exotic to say the least, but food is food when you're traveling, and if you don't eat you go hungry, so, there you go. We also had a cooler full of drinks, courtesy of the resort, so Ryan and I had a beer or two with lunch on our white sand beach. Such a great moment is all I can really say, but wow. This was the life. We hung out here for quite a while, snorkeling along the beach, swimming with schools of fish, and viewing the starfish. It was great. After a while here, we headed out to the shipwreck which was our last stop of the day for snorkeling.

Second of the Twin Lagoons

The shipwreck was pretty neat, although all you could really see was the bow of the ship covered in sea life. We spent a good amount of time here swimming with schools of fish, snorkeling along the reef, and exploring. I even found a baby Nemo in an anemone! It was an experience that was new to me, snorkeling like that, and one that I'll never forget. This vacation, if you can call it that, is off to a great start despite missing all of my luggage. I'm learning to live with what I have, make do with what I can, and letting go of the small stuff and simply enjoying the here and now and the great experiences in front of me.

Banal Beach, Uson Island

So, after the day of adventuring around Uson Island, we headed back to the resort for food, showers, and wifi. I think we both got sunburned during the day, although me worse than Ryan, but no matter, we cooled off with some cold drinks on the deck of the resort. What's that rule about don't get sunburned on the first day at the beach? Anyways, I passed out pretty early for another 12 hours of sleep (hell yeah vacation!) before getting up this morning. After breakfast, Ryan went down to the pool to hang out for a little bit while I stayed in the room writing starting this post, mostly to stay out of the sun for a little bit.

Snorkeling in Kayangan Lake

After a relaxing morning, we got our stuff ready to go and enjoyed lunch at the resort. Ryan went with some grilled chicken while I decided to try something a bit more exotic on the menu, squid barbecue. All I can say is, it's pretty chewy and, different, but worth the shot. I figured I have a few Clif Bars in my carry on pack in the event things go horribly wrong, and it only costs about $5, so why not. When in the Philippines... After lunch, we checked out, and took our boat to the main island to catch our shuttle to the airport. While waiting for the shuttle, we ran into a couple of girls from Scotland who were just out traveling the world. It's one of the joys of traveling the world to me - you meet others doing the same on a similar path. Most people in this world are good people, but it's the few who aren't that ruin it for everyone. A simple smile and "hey how's it going" goes a long way sometimes in making new friends. After spending some time with them we hopped on our shuttle and headed for the airport. We're hanging out at the airport now with another flight delay, this time due to heavy rain. Another bump in the road, another frustrating delay in traveling the world, but it's all just part of the fun and adventure. Tonight we'll be spending the night in Manila before heading back to the airport tomorrow for a flight to Dumaguete with our friend Alexa who is from Manila to do some more snorkeling and diving. Until the next update, enjoy the photos of paradise!



Posted by la vita bella 07:30 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

Part I: Travel Day

90 °F

With mud season fully underway in Steamboat, or, as the locals call it, multisport season, it was time to get away from the skiing life for al little while to head to the beach and travel the world. And, after 60 days on the hill, my feet weren't really in the mood for anymore this year anyways. My friend Ryan and I had been planning this trip for months, since October to be exact. Finally, a study abroad reunion with our friends in the Philippines. We'd been looking forward to this trip for months. With Ryan having already arrived, I was eager to get on the road.

The travel day began in Denver, with my first flight leaving at around noon or so, and miraculously, I flew through security. I swear I have the worst luck with them. Electronic devices all charged, I was ready for 22 hours of plane travel and adventures to places I'd never been. The first flight was relatively short, just a few hours to Seattle. The airlines booked me first class on this flight, which was a first for me. Those seats are huge, and you really can feel the difference in service. The only interesting thing about first class is the people who fly it regularly, but I'll save those comments for another time... After a few hours, it was time to transition to the biggest flight of the day, Seattle to Tokyo. I'm thankful at this point for the attendant who told me how to get there. I only had a 60 minute layover, and had to take 3 trams to get there, which means I likely would've been lost without directions and advice.


After the tram rides, I had arrived at the gate and was ready for the 10 hour flight. Time to settle in... Having been 18 months since I traveled last (a flight from France, coming home from study abroad!), it had been a while since I had traveled so I wasn't sure what I was going to do with myself in a metal tube for 10 hours. But, electronic devices charged, it went by faster than I expected. I was able to catch up on a few movies, sleep a little, and relax. We'll find out in a few days if trying to adjust my body's clock in flight pays off or not (more on that later). After the 10 hour flight, I felt like it was time for the adventure to really begin. New country, another foreign language, unfamiliar airport and culture, etc. This is my favorite part of traveling. Exploring new cultures and new places, and learning something new with every turn. Things that sometimes make you uncomfortable, but expand you as a person too. So, without delay, off into the Tokyo airport I went. Pretty straightforward really, but exciting nonetheless.

Due to a half hour delay on my flight to Manila, I had some time to explore, which was great. I found some neat gift shops, duty free places, etc, and picked out a few gifts for family and friends. I also stumbled upon a shop with some awesome origami diaramas of different scenes. Really cool piece of Japanese culture. I also walked by a McDonald's (is there anywhere in the world that DOESN'T have one?!) and it was cool to see the adapted menu. (Sidenote: I've traveled all over the world and eaten at the famous Golden Arches in Morocco, Suisse, Italia, France, and Germany, and the States and I always find it cool the way they adapt their menus to the local culture. However, not today for me - I'll pass). After some wandering and meandering around the terminal, it was time to board the last flight of the day - a four hour flight to Manila. I was able to catch a brief bit of wifi in Tokyo Narita, which was convenient so I could let me friends in the Philippines know I was on the way and of course message the mother so she (hopefully) worries less. The four hour flight ended up being pretty simple with no issues. After the flight, having safely arrived in Manila, words can't begin to describe the excitement I felt. Reaching your final destination after traveling for that long, and finally in the Philippines to see my friends. However, the day was not over just yet.


After landing in Manila and sailing through customs and immigration, I went to go grab my suitcase. My good friend Alexa had given me the instructions for the cab driver to her flat, and it was all smiles from there. Not to be, however. As I was standing, waiting for me suitcase, I hear my name over the loudspeaker... "Paging passenger Mr. Scott Larson...Larson, Scot.....Mr. Scott Larson..." Fearing the worst, I head over to the Delta counter. Sure enough, my suitcase has not made the flight. I guess they didn't lose my suitcase, but it's sitting at JFK airport in New York City. I did my best to be polite at the counter, but after 23 hours of traveling and having sent my luggage in the opposite direction of the country, 15000 miles away, you can only imagine my thoughts. They claim it will be here tonight, the day after arrival. So, it looks like I'll be living out of my backpack for a few days with just the essentials, but I'm trying to look at it positively as a challenge and as an experienced world traveler. I did eventually arrive last night at my friend's flat overlooking Manila where she had welcome drinks and a party for my arrival. Filipino hospitality is fantastic, and after countless shots of Jack, it was time to hit the sack.


Currently, I'm hanging out at the Manila airport as our flight to Palawan Island has been delayed two hours, where we'll be traveling for the next two days. It looks like we'll be staying at a hotel on the beach for a few nights while snorkeling, island hopping, checking out local markets, and of course having a few necessary drinks in between. And after about ten days in the Philippines of beach hopping, we'll be heading to Hong Kong for a few days of adventuring and exploring with no real reservations for anything. Stay tuned for photos and videos, and if you haven't seen it yet, be sure to check out my album from study abroad here. I've got a GoPro Hero 3 with me on this trip too, so I'm hoping to catch some cool videos of snorkeling, scuba diving, shark diving, and whatever other kind of shenanigans we can come up with while traveling.

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to the next two weeks of the beach, exploring new cultures, and catching up with old friends. It's long overdue that I got out and traveled the world again. Be sure to follow me on twitter for my latest photos and updates on the adventure!

Safe travels!


Posted by la vita bella 18:48 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)


Why it always helps.

sunny 35 °F


Yesterday while I was skiing at Keystone Mountain in Colorado, I had the great fortune of skiing 6 inches of white fluffy Colorado powder under crisp and clear bluebird skies. I also had the great misfortune of being skiing with my good friend who speared a bamboo obstacle marker with his lower lip, piercing his lip and lacerating part of his gum line. In this process, I noticed a few things. Most importantly, I'm beginning to realize the significance of humor and smiling in life. It seemed simple, but I wanted to take a quick few minutes to write down my thoughts on the topic of humor, and why I think it could save your life someday, too.

A few weeks ago I finished one of the best books I've ever read, and probably my favorite too, called Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales. If your like me and enjoy the riskier adventures in life, you know, Colorado 14ers, 3 week backpacking trips, skiing chutes and cliffs, and generally accepting flying by the seat of your pants sometimes, this book is for you. You'll learn from reading it why some people live in survival situations, and why some people die in them. One of the important things I learned from that book is the importance of humor, which I think also carries over into the simple notion of smiling. He talks about how humor can at times help you survive because it forces you to look at your situation and laugh. It keeps the nerves from focusing on the rough situation that you're in or the tough road out that lies ahead in a survival situation. You're less likely to realize the dire situation that's around you, although that is important, and more likely to think normally and find a way out. It also has the effect of restoring confidence, because it puts your mind on other things. Having learned this from the book, I've noticed this in a number of things I've seen since finishing the book.

First, I read an article in one of my international studies classes on feminism, which knowing that topic can be rough at times, but it was on the use of terminology with missiles in the military and their so often used phallic object titles. While the purpose of the article was to point out masculinity in the military for a feminist, I couldn't help but notice the other parts of the article which hinted at the use of humor. The use of these titles often lightens the subject of missiles when working on an object designed to kill thousands of people. It takes engineers' minds off the idea that their creation may someday massacre thousands of people. By turning these objects into essentially sex jokes, the subject is lightened.

I also had the pleasure of going to a private screening of the new movie Act of Valor last week which comes out in a couple weeks. (Aside: Go see that movie. It's phenomenal, real, and one of the best films I've seen in a long time.) During the scene before the first mission, the seals are all in a plane getting ready to sky dive into the enemy's area. Obviously, stress levels are high. You're the world's elite fighters, sworn to never speak of the tasks you accomplish, and you're about to go to battle with the world's most wanted men, risking your life. Before jumping, one of the seals gives another guy a hard time about his ugly haircut he needs to fix when he gets home. Everyone laughs, and smiles. They shoot jokes at each other about training back home and previous missions. Everyone laughs. Humor.

And lastly, yesterday I was skiing when my friend speared a bamboo pole with his lower lip, causing him to spit blood everywhere. By the time I hiked 20 feet back up the hill and go to him, there was blood all over the snow in front of him - not a pretty sight. I took care of him until ski patrol arrived with the first aid skills I have, and then let patrol take over from there. We got him bandaged up, and as ski patrol was putting him in the sled, he gave me a high five. I laughed and said, "You're obviously gonna be alright". We both kind of laughed at it, and after that I told him, who hates GoPros and ContourCams because he thinks they're dumb, if only you had one of those on we could watch this over and over again tonight over beers. He laughed and looked up at me and said, "Hey, you shut up now!". We both laughed again and then I skied down with patrol to the clinic to get him all taken care of. Again, humor, laughing, and smiling. Yeah, there was blood all over the snow, and he was obviously in pain, but humor always seems to help.

The lesson I've learned from all of this is that humor helps to alleviate the pressure of high stress or emergency situations. So, whether you're the next Navy Seal dropping into a high profile mission, or you're in a survival situation, or you're in some other emergency high stress situation, try to laugh and smile. Focus on the situation and what's at hand, sure, but don't forget to save room for humor. It lightens the mood, helps you stay calm, and relieves a little bit of stress. I've heard people say you should smile because it's good for you, and the more and more I think about it and pay attention to it, the more I think it's true. So the next time you're stressed, try to bring in some humor, laugh, and smile for a little bit - things are going to be alright. And speaking of the use of phallic objects, I have a photo from study abroad that I keep with me at all times because it always makes me laugh no matter what I'm going through. I would encourage everyone else out there to do the same, because it works. That's all I've got for now, and hopefully you've picked up or thing or two. As always, praise and criticism are equally welcome!




Posted by la vita bella 15:14 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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