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location > destination


i'm currently preparing for a hiking trip that i've been dreaming about since i was a very young kid. my dad and i both have, and he's actually most of the reason why it's been a dream of ours for this long.

i grew up looking at this photograph of him stuck in the corner of my mom's dresser mirror. my dad and i are extremely similar, and this snapshot reflects the fact perfectly: his messy hair tied back in a bandana and another is looped around his waist. his face is tan and swathed in stubble, and his sparkling blue eyes squint into the scorching rays of arizona sunlight. he stands with his hands on the hips of his ripped jeans; the vast expanse of the rusty red grand canyon sprawling behind him like a panoramic work of art.

i grew up listening to dinnertime stories of dad's hike down into the canyon and out again with a group of friends. rim to rim. 

my dad's hiking stories are extensive and badass, and they quickly became benchmarks of things i not only wanted to do, but needed to do; experiences I longed for - ones I knew would would help me to grow, challenge myself, learn, and greater relish the natural beauty of the world we live in. my dad and i share this innate love for getting way out into the wild, exploring earth, climbing mountains, and doing big hikes. my thirst for adventure and willingness to try new, "crazy" things can more often than not, be traced back to my father, who raised me on long treks in the woods, walks in the rain, and hikes up the local cliffs to toss styrofoam planes into the sunset. 

it was ages ago we decided that we were going to hike grand canyon together. it was going to happen. it was a dream, a goal, something we talked about for a long time but also something that we just never seemed to get around to. until now.

we've made the decision that this will be the summer that we do it: we're hiking down into the grand canyon, spending the night at the bottom, getting up before dawn the next day, having breakfast, and hiking out. we both applied for a highly sought-after backcountry permit to do this, and i received mine only a few weeks ago - granting my dad and i full access to hike down the south kaibab trail, camp at the bottom, and hike back up bright angel the following morning. 

yes, i freaked out a little when i saw that email pop into my inbox: congratulations - you've got your backcountry permit! 

in light of all this, my mom was kind enough to track down and gift me a one best hike book breaking down every aspect of journeying through grand canyon: how to plan your descent and ascent, what to bring, what to wear, and everything in between, which includes a very zen-infused section of chapter one, that really, really made me stop and think.

the author, elizabeth wenk, takes the opportunity early on to break down the difference between a "destination hike" and a "location hike." what she had to say really impacted my thinking - and not just on the topic of hiking:

"...on a destination hike the sights along the way are overshadowed by those at the end point...on a location hike, there is something new and spectacular to see every few steps down the trail, yet no single location that is universally judged: "most beautiful."

prefacing this, she adds that she's often "disappointed" when she passes hikers who are clearly so fixated on getting to the end of the trail that they rarely look beyond the length of their hiking poles, and thus miss the best part of the hike: the actual hike itself

as i read this, i couldn't help but sit back for a moment, amazed at how much this applies to every aspect of life - but perhaps most especially to creatives and entrepreneurs.


i asked myself this question: as a writer...am i on a destination hike? racing to get another book published, then another, or hustling to have a more established readership, always looking forward, forward, forward to the illusive animal known as our often-muddled idea of "success"?

or...am i on a location hike? writing, and living fully while i do that, waking up each morning excited to write the next chapter of my story, both metaphorically and literally - enjoying each, little, wonderous step of the journey? 

am i looking only to the end game, or am i living in the present? am i "hustling" to get "somewhere"? or am i fully here, enjoying the astounding beauty of getting to be alive today, writing a book and doing what i love? 

your dream, your project, career, book, album, collection, show - what does it feel like to you: a destination hike, or a location hike?

i think in today's world it can be easy to get caught up in the frantic rush of trying to get "somewhere"...but i think more often than not, we discover in the end that we actually already were where we wanted to be in the beginning and just didn't realize what we had, or that we lost something precious along the way, in this frenzy to get ahead.

there's absolutely nothing wrong with having a dream and a goal. it's healthy and good to have one, and i know i certainly have a lot of them. but to have a focus only for the end goal can tunnel our vision and blind us to the astounding beauty all around us, right here in the present moment.

with every step we take, every page we write, song we sing, photograph we capture, artwork we create, there is something new and beautiful waiting for us to just stop...look up...and open our eyes. we are location hiking...success isn't waiting for us at the end of the trail, it's right here in front of us.

success isn't something that's always jumping just out of reach, waiting for us beyond some unseen finish line in the distance. true success is waking up every morning and living the life you were meant to live...and making the world a more bright, beautiful place because of it.

i'll wrap this up now, this blog post is already getting too long, but if i could encourage you in one thing, it would be to...stop. 

take a deep breath. and just literally look around you.

seriously, lean back in your chair and just...look.

look at the room around you.
look down at yourself, your sacred, precious body, so capable and full of potential to do anything you can dream of.
take another deep, deep breath...feel your lungs fill with air. that's life.
that's a gift. 

true success lies in that you are here, now. and you have a purpose. and you can be aware of that purpose, and live that purpose, and enjoy that purpose, every single day in a million ways.

we are location hikers. 
stop and soak in the view.



stay stoked, my friend.
kate


there's a reason


remember.

when the days get long, and ragged, and it feels like you've done it all before, remember. remember that you are not the first to ascend. that there are many who have gone before you. you are not alone on this pioneer trail. you are climbing alongside not the few but the many dreamers, reaching for the sun.

there will be days when nothing seems to make sense. when everything seems stale and mundane - pointless even. but on these days remember: it is not for nothing. your dream, your goal, whatever it is you want to do - that thing you feel burning inside of you...it is there for a reason. a big, important, relevant, beautiful reason.

on the days when it gets tough, remember the reason.

if you're unfamiliar with what your reason is, or maybe you've just never really slowed down enough to think about it, turn your attention to the things that seem to light a fire inside of you...the things you would like to change about the world; there's plenty worth standing up for - worth fighting for.

peace. love. freedom. grace. the ability to reach one's full potential - and to inadvertently help change the world by doing so.

there's a reason. 

inspire one person - just one.

there's a reason.

every single one of us has a reason, and, i believe, a gift that has been given to us, something that we are, in turn, meant to give to the world. whether it's a book or a song, a performance, a word, a creation - you have something inside of you that's beating its wings against your ribcage like a bird longing to be set free. only you can set it free.

it's there for a reason.

so on the days when it can so often be easy to ask ourselves what it's all for: remember. you are not alone. and specifically, this time of year, memorial day, take a moment to consider the many, many souls - fellow dreamers, fellow climbers of this life-mountain, who found and believed in a reason so deeply that they gave their all to it. they gave everything to what they believed in - their reason.

peace. love. freedom. grace. the ability to reach one's full potential - and to inadvertently help change the world by doing so.

you know what? we cannot afford to waste our time living lukewarm and aimless. respect yourself, respect that gift inside of you, and frickin turn that spark into a flame - a wildfire. make this world a better place. there's someone out there right now who needs to hear what you have to say - who needs what you have to offer the world. maybe that person is me.

maybe i'm one of the reasons. maybe she is. maybe he is. maybe your neighbor is.

so many people have sacrificed immeasurably...more than i can imagine, for something so much bigger than themselves: for a reason. and i refuse to live a life that doesn't continuously honor their sacrifice.

i will wake up every morning. i will breath deep, straighten my shoulders, and i will remember:

there's a reason. we have a purpose. we aren't here to just mess around, we're here to change the world. every single one of our words matter. we matter. 

remember.


stay stoked, live on purpose,
kate

a release date


well, here I sit (with great espresso), wrapping up my very last edit notes on book three of The Blood Race series, Resurgence, before it's off to my proofreader on the 29th. to say that i'm stoked would be an understatement.

i am ecstatic about this book.

this one's been a very different journey and it's extremely personal. in so many ways i feel that i bled into this book. i grew with this book and its shaped me over the past year and a half-ish i've been working on it. if i had to use one word to describe resurgence it would be: relevant. i don't want to expound on what that means, because my greatest hope is that everyone will take resurgence and make it their own; find themselves in between the lines. no book has ever felt so real and urgent to me as i've written it as this one.

it's funny because i feel like i've been talking about this book forever, and there's a good reason for that - resurgence is the longest and the most multi-dimensional in the series. i see something in a new way every time i read through the book, i think there's really something for everyone in this one, and that's why whenever i think of this book, the word journey comes to mind. that's really what it feels like. it's not static and i don't think it can really be read the same way twice. maybe it sounds funny to hear an author saying something like that about their own book, but in so many ways i feel like i'm just a recipient of resurgence, like it was given to me as a gift, and i still have so much to find within its pages and learn from so many of the beautiful, restless, longing, wandering, searching characters. it feels strange to even call them characters really: they are friends. mentors. people. they've supported me, they've carried me, and i cannot imagine life without them. no, character is far too weak a word to describe who they are and what they mean to me - what they've given me.

and now...now i finally get to share them with you - again. one more time.

and that will be on september 1st of this year, 2019.

that's all i have to say, really.

that, and i cannot wait.

i love you guys!!!!
stay stoked
kate

nomads


what is it to be a writer but to live in a constant state of overwhelm? an ebbing, flowing wave of it; a relentless burdening of the senses; an inability to gaze out through a rain streaked window without noticing the torrents of story blurring across the asphalt below; the incapacity to look at trees without hearing even the subtlest tones of a voice it seems only you can grant it. 

the storyteller is a stranger in an even dazzlingly stranger world. we are nomads, at home nowhere; we are restless and churning and ever changing course, like tides and stars. 

we stand outside looking in, holding the space time continuum in our two hands like a glittering, balled up veil, wondering - whispering. we turn the world round and it spins us in equal measure, but we can't make sense of it; we understand nothing, but we feel so much sometimes we can barely move beneath the weight of it all. 

we tread lightly - silently, and yet behind our eyes all is ablaze. everything is hot, and cold, heavy and light, and pulling us apart at the seams to shake out the stardust inside of us. that's what's happening when our eyes appear hollow - when you ask if we heard what you just said from across the table. 

we pause, we close our eyes and take a deep breath - we stumble through all the rooms of our minds so filled to bursting with everything - everything we've yet to find words to flesh out. 

"just lost in thought" we say. 

we really want to say: "just lost."

we watch where we step, aware of the underground springs seemingly always beneath us, from where all sensations and breath and story flow, lifting us, carrying us, pulling us under and tossing us until our senses have been mislaid. until we are numb; intoxicated by a world we try to articulate with all the passion and urgency one tries to describe a lover; as if all the world is missing out on the wildfire we can feel inside us - as if we alone can redeem humankind from the absence of these consuming flames - this revelry.

and yet, so often all we can speak is an ecstatic language native only to us. no one else can see the icebergs beneath the turbulence - an entire world wrapped away in the depths of us. 

only us. 

the ground erupts with our every step, gushing with words; soaking us with a mystery few can understand - few can see. we don't understand it either, but we know that it's there. 

we feel it on the wind; we dance in its arms. 

___________

i'm back from my trip off grid!! i'm so so happy to be back in vermont making new things to share with you guys - my sweet, gifted friends. i'm not really sure what the piece above is, but i wrote it on the very rainy drive home. it felt great to let the words just pour out of my skull without knowing where they came from or where they were going.

anyway, enough about me - tell me how you're doing! how's your life and projects and dreams doing? i would love to hear all about it. 

stay stoked,
kate