How to Get to the Wave in Arizona

After receiving a handful of Instagram messages asking how to get to the Wave, I decided to it would be helpful to write a blog post on it. Going to the Wave requires a permit from the Arizona BLM.  There are 20 persons allowed to visit the Wave per day. There are three ways to get a permit:

  1. Apply for the lottery online four months in advance. 10 permits are available through the online lottery.  The online lottery is the least risky way to try to get a permit for the Wave.  The lottery is done on a monthly basis and is open four months before your desired trip month.  For example, right now (October), the lottery is open for February permits.  The lottery has been open all  month and will close at the end of the month.  Then the lottery will happen and permits will be issued.  You can only submit one application per month and the lottery fee is $5 USD.  It is non-refundable; you don’t get it back if you lose the lottery.  You can select up to three date choices.  Use the this link and the following path to apply for the lottery: Coyote Buttes Permits – Apply for a Coyote Buttes Hiking Permit – Apply for Lottery Here
  2. Check for cancellations. Your chances aren’t good with this option, but on the rare occasion there are cancellations or open dates, you can check the Coyote Buttes North calendar four months in advance.  I’ve never seen a cancelled permit available online, but it’s worth checking.  Check hereCoyote Buttes Permits – Apply for a Coyote Buttes Hiking Permit – Check Calendar
  3. Apply in person the day before your desired trip date.  10 permits are available in person the day before your desired trip.  To apply for a walk-in permit, go to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Kanab, Utah (745 E. Highway 89 in Kanab Utah across from Walkers gas station and Wendy’s restaurant) from 8:30-9 a.m. Mountain Standard Time -Utah- (9am Daylight Savings Time in summer) to submit your application.

Read more about how to get permits at the BLM website here.

Tips for Traveling as a Vegan

As a vegan who travels often, I have found myself seated with a plate of food I can’t eat more often than I would like. Attempting to communicate dietary restrictions when abroad can be frustrating and at times ineffective. Here are a few pieces of advice based on what has worked for me:

  • Learn the word for “vegan” in the local language.
  • Also learn the words “no,” meat,” dairy,” and “eggs”. Some people won’t understand what vegan means, even in their local language, so knowing how to explain it can be very helpful.
  • www.happycow.net is a great resource and will allow you to find vegan, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly restaurants in many places around the world.
  • Googling can also be helpful.
  • Chain restaurants can be nice. I’d much rather eat local, but if I have a choice between Starbucks and who-knows-what from a local restaurant, I’ll take the Starbucks, where I know what is vegan. 
  • Stick to meals that are difficult to hide potentially problematic ingredients in – for example, while rice won’t contain any animal byproducts, bread and noodles can have eggs, dairy, problematic flour, etc. 
  • Bring bars just in case. Pro Bars and Clif Bars are my favorite. 
  • Don’t forget to special order your airplane meals! Make sure you do this in advance, as airlines often won’t bring vegan meals on a flight unless one has been ordered.
  • If you’re going on a guided trip, communicate with your guide in advance. Explain exactly what you can and cannot eat.

 

10 Photos that Prove Glacier National Park Should Be at the Top of Your Bucketlist

People often ask me where my favorite place to travel is. I can’t answer that question – there are just too many beautiful places I’ve been! Another question  I am frequently asked is what my favorite national park is.  Now that I have an answer for…in the US at least.  Glacier National Park has teal blue lakes, hiking trails for every ability level, plenty of mountains to climb or ski, and beautiful wildlife.  Below are 10 photos that prove that you should put Glacier at the top of your bucketlist (if you haven’t already):

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The Great American Southwest

I received a complimentary stay from The Inn at Entranada and complimentary tour from ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours in exchange for writing a review.

We spent six nights in southern Utah and I still feel like we haven’t even scratched the surface on seeing this beautiful area, but here is what we did:


ATV Tour with ATV &a Jeep Adventure Tours

We started our trip riding ATVs around the desert. The views were gorgeous and our guide was knowledgeable. It was a great introduction to the area. 



Zion

Most people think of Zion when Southern Utah comes up – and for good reason. Zion is one of the most beautiful national parks I’ve been to. It’s filled with red rocks, crazy drop offs, and beautiful water. The downside to Zion is that everyone knows how great it is, so it can get really busy. To avoid the crowds, we got permits for a technical canyon. Talk about an amazing adventure! It was a tough 15 miles filled with rappels, downclimbs, and sliding into pools. If you have the technical skills, getting permits for a canyon is a great way to avoid the crowds at Zion. We didn’t see another group all day!

The Wave

The Wave is probably one of the most insta-famous and iconic locations in the world, and we were lucky enough to be one of the 20 people to score a permit one day! For those of you wondering, there are two ways to get a permit for the Wave. The first is to apply online at the BLM website four months in advance. https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/permits-and-passes/lotteries-and-permit-systems/arizona/coyote-buttes. The second is to show up to the BLM visitor center in Kanab and enter the drawing for a next-day permit. Either way, your chances of getting a permit are very slim. There are about 2,000 applicants a day for 20 permits. If you do happen to be lucky enough, it’s a fairly easy hike – about 3 miles each way, however the trail is not well marked. Please be careful and study a map beforehand. And don’t forget to bring enough water!



The Inn at Entranada

Last but certainly not least, our beautiful accommodation. We stayed in a casita at the Inn at Entranada in St. George. I cannot recommend this place enough! It’s conveniently located about an hour from Zion and right next to Snow Canyon State Park. The Inn in stunning. The staff are friendly. Every last detail is looked after meticulously. The property blends right in with its surroundings, and you enjoy nature even when you’re inside. If you’re ever in St. George, you know where to stay! 

coloRADo

As you probably know, I have done my fair share of traveling.  I’ve been fortunate enough to see many places.  And Colorado is on the short list of places I want to live.  In fact, I think I’ll be moving there in the not-so-distant future.  Anyway, here are a few of my favorite places in my favorite state:

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park


Boulder


Garden of the Gods


Mountains


Rocky Mountain National Park


Who wants to move to Colorado now?!
 

How I manage to travel while maintaining a demanding job

One of the most frequent questions I am asked by people I’m friends with on social media but am not close with is: Do you work? Ha. Well, yes, in fact, I do work. Actually, I work at large corporate law firm. And to put it lightly, biglaw isn’t really known for its flexibility. Despite the fact that I’m not gone as often as I seem to be and I work pretty crazy hours when I am home, I do think I manage to pull off having a bit more flexibility than the average biglaw associate.

Once people realize that I have a demanding job, they typically ask how I balance my job with travel. First let me put out a disclaimer: I know I saw this all the time, but really – I post a lot of old pictures. I usually take short trips (I just take a ton of pictures and continue to post them for long after I have gotten home). And when I’m home, I often work weekends and late nights. Having gotten that out of the way, although there is no one correct strategy to living life while maintaining a demanding job, here are a few pointers I have:

  • If you want your job to be flexible with you, be flexible with your job. The partners I work for give me a larger degree of flexibility because they know how hard I work. When we have had deadlines approaching, I have spent entire weeks working past midnight, sometimes until as late as 4am…and then showing up by 10am for the next workday. Because of this, when I ask for some time off, my partners are more flexible with me.
  • Get comfortable with last minute planning…and last minute canceling. Most demanding jobs are unpredictable, which makes planning a vacation 5 months in advance a little bit difficult. For long vacations like South America and Asia, I generally do plan months in advance and communicate my plans as soon as I make them so my bosses have plenty of time to prepare for me to be out. However, by far the vast majority of my travel is made up of shorter (generally weekend or weekend plus a day) trips. I need to be available on weekends when client work demands it, so sometimes I end up doing work from my hotel room and my vacation turns into less of a vacation. Oh well. I have gotten on a flight on a Friday, landed for a layover, read an email that I needed to be at work Saturday morning, and gotten on the next flight back home, without ever having made it to my destination. And guess what – I didn’t say a single word about it to my bosses. No matter how safe I try to be in my planning, inevitably things will come up and I will need to cancel trips. It’s unfortunate and I lose money every time, but I’ve decided that it’s worth it.
  • Shorter trips are the way to go. Do I enjoy spending 10 hours on a plane to spend 2 days on the west coast? Not really. I would much rather spend 4 or 5 days in a place that I’m flying across the country to be in. But I can’t have it all my way. I try to pack as many things as possible into very short trips. Usually I do pretty well 🙂

Life Lessons from Traveling Alone for 6 Weeks

Six weeks ago, I boarded a plane to Iceland without a return ticket.  The preceding year had been a difficult one in terms of career-related stress.  It was my last year of law school.  I took 19 credits my last semester, the maximum allowed by the American Bar Association.  I also worked full time at a large law firm.  It was the first time my law school had allowed this.  Previously, full time students (12 or more credits) were not permitted to work more than 20 hours a week.  I often worked more than 40.  On top of that, I was studying for the Virginia Bar Exam.  During this whole time, I was not as financially comfortable as I was accustomed to being.  Prior to attending law school, I had a career as a consultant.  I had to sacrifice my salary for a much lower paycheck…and the same mortgage, car payment and other bills.  So what did I do?  Rather than adjust my lifestyle, I chose to work more.  I turned to Instagram advertising and beer/liquor promotions.  Which brought even more stress.  I’m good at suppressing stress and just pushing through it, so I don’t think I even realized how stressed I was at the time.  However, in hindsight, it had been affecting my health, my relationships, my work ethic, and my personality.  I just wasn’t myself.

And so I left on this adventure.  I wasn’t sure exactly what the next weeks would bring, how long I would be gone, or what I would do.  I had been so consumed with working and studying that I neglected to do any real planning.  I did had plans to meet up with friends in various places.  Well, things never go as planned, now do they?  I spent five days in Iceland with my friend, but ended up spending the remainder of my trip alone.


Despite this change in the only plans I had made, I ended up having the best six weeks of my entire life.  I’ve never learned so much about myself and the world we live in, reached such a high level of self-awareness, or felt so genuinely happy.  I could try to explain the experiences I had and the things I felt, by my writing could never do them justice.  No words could adequately describe the feeling of despair I felt as I was lost in Norwegian fjords in the middle of the night, followed by a great appreciation for the beauty of nature when I unexpectedly saw the northern lights as I was searching for my way, and finally a feeling of satisfaction and confidence after I spent all night hiking in the dark and finally found my way back to the parking lot.  Or the feeling of awe I felt as I wandered through the tundra in Greenland with no real destination and no other humans in sight.  Or the connection I had with Greenlandic sled dogs as I pet and played with them for hours every day (warning – these dogs can be vicious, and I wouldn’t recommend running up and petting them).  I can’t explain what happened.  I can’t adequately describe my experiences.  But maybe I can describe how I changed.

Accepting Things for What they Are, How They Are

I used to get really bothered when things weren’t the way I wanted them to be.  I’ve never been one to give up easily, and I took that to an extreme.  I would obsess over everything that wasn’t perfect or the way I wanted it to be.  I would expend endless amounts of energy trying to fix things.  At a certain point over the last six weeks, I stopped caring as much as I did before…in a good way.  I can accept things for what they are now.  Several things that had been really bothering me before I left are no longer the issues they were before.  I am either content or only slightly annoyed with them now.  I no longer obsessively try to fix them.  I’m so much happier like this.

Knowing Which Relationships Matter

I am so much more comfortable with who is in  my life now – and who is not.  I’ve realized that I now have some of the most genuine, good-hearted friends I could ask for.  I know that I have people who care about me and would be there no matter what.  I appreciate these people more than I did before.  Before I left, there were people I missed because they are no longer in my life.  Now, I see why they are gone, and I know it is for the best.  A couple of them have contacted me while I was away.  The interest I previously would have had in reconnected with them is gone now.  I had an ex reach out in the last week of my trip and say he wanted to see me and see how things went.  Before I left, I would have absolutely agreed to this.  Now, I know that he is nothing that I want.  I’ve realized that his interests in designer clothes and eating at the most expensive restaurants just don’t mesh with my far more laid back lifestyle.  He cares way too much about what other people think, and these days, I want nothing to do with that.

Understanding Myself

Spending so much time alone has led to a much deeper relationship with myself.  When there’s no one else around, you get to know yourself in a way you didn’t before.  You are your only company and while your good qualities shine, your flaws come out and stare you in the face like never before.  I felt this particularly in Greenland, where I had limited access to wifi, and therefore limited communication with my friends and family.  I was my only company, and this made it pretty difficult to ignore my flaws.  But self-awareness leads to self-improvement and this alone time has helped make me a better person.

Knowing What I Want

Part of getting to know myself better has been learning what I really want.  Sure, we all know generally what we want in life, but I now know what matters the most and what my priorities are.  I’ve thought about my career.  Although it is stressful at times, I love what I do and I need the mental challenge in my life.  However, I also love the mountains and being outdoors.  Although it is the idea location for my career, I’m not sure how much longer I can be in DC.  Life is all about balance, and I’m working on finding the balance between a satisfying career and being where I want to be.  I know what goals I have for myself.  I want a successful legal career.  I also want to climb mountains and travel the world.  I’m not sure how well the two fit together, but I’m going to do my best.

Finding Happiness

I think I’ve always been a relatively happy person.  I have a great life, and I certainly recognize that.  However, before I left, stress was consuming me.  I wasn’t relaxed enough to enjoy the great life I had.  All of that changed.  With every hike, my stress faded.  I saw new places, met new people, and learned more about the world.  I developed a new mindset and appreciation for life and the beauty of the world.  I feel extremely grateful for the amazing life I live and I’ve never been so happy.

I spent a lot of times on trains my last few days, slowly making my way back home.  I did a lot of reflecting on my time away.  I found myself smiling at the memories I made.  I found myself crying tears of sadness that this amazing adventure is over.  But I also found myself crying tears of joy that I’ve been so fortunate to experience life so well.

Six weeks may not seem like a long time, but everything feels different.  I left with a clear head, better relationship with myself, and greater awareness.  Most importantly, I discovered a deeper sense of true happiness.