Sunburnt, Barefoot, and Cradling a Six-pack

Only in New Zealand do I ever end up fitting the description in this title. Yes, this is how we found ourselves at the end of my latest travel excursion: a stumbling tomato-red UV-destroyed lump just hoping to clutch together the disintegrating cardboard holding a 6 pack of Coronas for one more block back to the hostel. NZ, you turn me into a such a millenial vagabond.

Okay, let’s rewind: this slow descent into greasy hippie disaster began with my hiking trip into the Abel Tasman region three days yon. (Can I say that? I want to say it.) Three days ago. After two days’ preparation, because hiking by yourself is a total bummer when it comes to time spent planning, I attached a small porpoise to my back, took a squinty pre-departure selfie, and headed off down the Abel Tasman coast track on the South Island of New Zealand.

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Mountains, Squirrels, and PIKAS

The travel bug really is a disease and you can only stave it off so long, before you run off to the mountains due to literal cabin fever. (See what I did there? Oh me.) After my travels in New Zealand I found myself prohibitively broke and only recently accrued enough funds to responsibly wander off again. My wanderings lead me to the mountain town of Canmore, currently home to squirreler, mountaineer, wilderness intern, University of California wunderkind, and all-around classy lady Naomi Louchouarn. We first met as field technicians learning how to read the hearts and minds of squirrels in the Yukon, and whenever we meet again it is just the best thing. People who you can freak out at nature with are keepers, my friends.

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Naomi at the top of Mt Lady Macdonald

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