“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep rolling under the stars.”
– Jack Karoac
I honestly didn’t think I would like this place as much as I did. I ended up really enjoying my time in Lake Ozark, Missouri. I actually really would like to come back, but maybe just in less cold weather. It was like returning to winter, and the son refused to show his face. Which normally I would love, but I would have liked to see more greenery and the sun glimmering on the water. But all in all, it was a great trip. I enjoyed a couple of chilly walks to the docks, a brief (very brief) hike in the state park, and just staring at the lake (which is way bigger than I thought.)
The sun is shining, the birds are singing. Today seemed like a good day to go to the park, climb into a creek, pick up some trash, and get laughed at by an old man. All in the name of nature.
But honestly, everything is so beautiful. The flowers are coming up and the trees are blooming. Why wouldn’t I climb into a creek to pick up aluminum cans and Styrofoam cups? God gave us such a lovely world. I want to make sure we can actually enjoy it.
Am I tired of climbing under bridges to pick up other peoples’ garbage? Yes. Am I tired of getting weird looks from passersby as I shimmy between trees to get a rogue plastic bag? Yeah. Does it seem futile? Sometimes. But it is somehow worth it in the end, when I walk away with my cloth bag full of trash, knowing that I have done something to help the plants, animals, and people.
It would be easier if everyone stopped leaving their trash in nature, that is what the bins are for. Or even better, recycle! It’s actually so so easy.
Let’s keep everything as beautiful as possible.
Being where you are can be super difficult sometimes. Especially for international travellers like myself, who are often constantly sitting by our suitcases wringing our hands and plotting our next grand adventure. I’ve found it difficult to enjoy life as much when I’m not travelling. It affects my mental health, sends me spiraling. In fact, I am often discontent staying in one place for more than 5 months.
Which is obviously ridiculous, because I have nothing to be discontent about. I’m big on living in the moment, which I am very good at when I’m travelling, but when I’m not travelling my dis-contentedness gets in the way.
So I try to find little adventures to feed my soul and keep it satisfied until my next grand adventure, instead of sitting next to my suitcase going crazy.
As much as I hate the red dirt and wish I was seeing the mountains of Germany or the art of Vienna, I have to focus on what is happening now. As much as I wish I were in Europe buying a €1 baguette and speaking German, I have to learn to be content with where I’m at now.
Standing in nature gives me perspective. It is to hear the running water, to see the trees blossoming, and to inhale fresh air. It is to know that I am alive, that I am present, and that I am happy where I am.
“I AM NOT FREE WHILE ANY WOMAN IS UNFREE, EVEN WHEN HER SHACKLES ARE VERY DIFFERENT FROM MY OWN.”
If you live in the Oklahoma area, the Wichita Mountains are a great place to get out and explore. I was feeling slightly claustrophobic, stuck in my bubble and missing travel. It was so so great to see new views, and mountains again. There are plenty of hiking trails and mountains to pick from, but I went up Elk Mountain.
The climb wasn’t that bad. It started out really easy and then got a little more difficult toward the summit. But it is an Oklahoma mountain, not a Colorado or Germany mountain. Also, watch out for all the cacti. And rattlesnakes. (I kid you not, I was centimeters from stepping on a 5 ft long rattlesnake and it was very assertive in expressing it’s unhappiness towards me. I don’t want to say I almost died, but one could make a case for that.)
If you have no desire to hike, there’s still plenty of wildlife to see and enjoy. Tons of cute little groundhogs, huge longhorns and buffalo (bison?). Since it is a wildlife refuge, the animals are pretty much allowed to roam free. Longhorns and buffalo cross the road in front of cars. The thing I was the most exited about was seeing a buffalo. The whole time, I never saw one buffalo and I was leaving slightly disappointed about that. But then, as the exit fast approached, a buffalo (bison?) crossed the road right in front of me. I like to think it was a bonding moment between us.