"The more you read, the more things you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you will go." Dr Seuss
I’ve read 6 books in the past 3 weeks, feels great to finally get back into the things which I’m sincerely passionate about, self-education, reading, and traveling. I’ve just returned from Juneau Alaska, where I managed to read nearly 5 of those books, while I listen to the rain fall outside. On my first hike in AK I fell on a steep muddy slope and put my shoulder out of place, with the mindset "everything happens for a reason" I decided to take my 2 weeks a bit easier than planned to ensure a quick recovery. I still managed to hike over 50 miles and climb 3 mountain peaks, but I did rest, eat a lot of awesome food, and read to pass the time. When you are in tune with your body and feed it nutritious food it truly is amazing how fast it can recover from injury. I was able to paddle a mile upstream on the paddle board in the Yellowstone river last night to do some fishing, so the extra rest paid off! I am still working on the Juneau adventure piece for the blog, most of my pictures were shared on Instagram and fbook. In the meantime here are a few thoughts generated from these books.
Thrive by Arianna Huffington; Is work-life balance really a thing, this author and creator of the Huffington Post says No you can’t balance work and life. In the race to power and making money, most humans forget to live. When having a life is actually the most important part, Arianna gives 5 important pieces that should be focused on to create a good life: Well-being, wisdom, wonder, giving, and happiness. I had originally bought this book during my frustration to have a work-life balance, but finally got around to reading after I made the life over work choice. Now I couldn’t be happier, it feels great to get out of the power struggle to climb the ladder and make money, life is about so much more than that!
Lentil Underground by Liz Carlisle; Good food comes from great communities. It will take a revolution to undermine conventional GMO ridden farming techniques and replace them with organic methods that produce food that is not only better for us but for the environment too. Set in NW Montana, the author describes the efforts taken initially by one man trying to change the system. Realizing that certain crops, here it was lentils, can be used a fertilizer and weed suppressant instead of using nasty chemicals that were introduced by Monsato and are now subsidized by the government. His journey involves many struggles, it takes a lot of effort to fight the norm, but he eventually pulls through and creates a community around organic and sustainable farming. During my recent travels to NW Montana, I was super impressed by the farmers market and caliber of organic foods available!
The Third Plate by Dan Barber; In our quest to answer how the world will be fed in the coming century, Dan Barber researches ancient ways of cultivating optimal nutrition and thinking outside the traditional box to grow food that nurtures both humans and the environment. The author is a cook at his own organic and locally derived restaurant. His journey helps him and the readers understand how highly nutritious food is grown with the presence of an optimal environment absent of chemicals and wastes. There is hope for the future!
The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant; This was a great story set in southern AK and Vancouver Island highlighting our never ending environmental fight, between making money and preserving the earth. A born faller (someone who cuts down trees) works his way up through the timber industry only to realize that the practice is defacing the earth of trees that have been here for centuries and will not grow back within our lifetimes. But yet humans continue to clear cut for money and goods, without the future in mind. A sacred spruce tree with golden needles grows on the Queen Charlotte islands and is the center of attention for the natives and protected from more recent logging. The author explains the history behind the golden spruce and native life prior to white man taking over.
Travels in Alaska by John Muir; Alaska is beautiful and no one captures that better with words than John Muir. Muir travels southern AK during the late 1800’s to visit glaciers, and vast islands filled with trees from Vancouver Island up through Prince Rupert, to Fort Wrangle, Juneau and eventually over to Glacier Bay where he named a glacier after himself. It’s amazing how natives and early adventures like Muir handled the elements of mother nature throughout the seasons while exploring the great outdoors. Most of Muir's water crossings were done in canoe, hiking 10-20 miles a day foraging for food and trading with natives in the area.
Natural Born Heroes by Christopher Mcdougall. “Being fit isn’t about being able to lift a steel bar or finish and ironman..It’s about rediscovering our biological nature and releasing the wild human animal inside.” Another stellar book by Chris McDougall, his previous was “Born to run” which is still one of my favorite books, mainly for the message and this book continues on that same path. Humans have been around for a few million years, we have survived on the uniqueness of our bodies and a brain that can problem solve. If you erase the last 100 years, and start training physically and mentally like humans evolved to be, you will be able to tap into optimum performance and useful fitness. Activities such as parkour, crossfit, obstacle races, and endurance feats are much more effective in producing an effective physically fit, than going to the gym to be stationary and lift weights or bike/run in place. Humans can pull off amazing feats, the author uses ancient Greek mythology and teachings as wells as the hero mentality to tell a fascinating story of Nazi Germany’s epic battle against the outnumbered soldiers and natives on the Island of Crete who fought with no leaders, limited weapons, trickery, and a lot of heart!
Happy Reading :)