It’s been a hot minute since my last post, but that’s just because the past two months have been a whirlwind of activity. Here’s a lil’ glimpse into what my life was like in April and May. Let’s jump right in!
In April I had a slight paradigm shift as far as my diet is concerned. If you read one of my older posts then you probably know that I’ve been vegan for the past two years, but I never truly felt intentional about what I ate. When I initially made the decision to pursue a plant-based lifestyle it was largely because I connected with the ethical and environmental aspects, and the health component was just a bonus. Don’t get me wrong, being vegan has improved my health in so many ways, but at times I felt like I wasn’t eating certain foods just because vegans weren’t supposed to eat them.
I don’t like the idea of doing or not doing something because of the box that I’ve constructed for myself. I want to be more deliberate with my decisions instead of adhering to rules for what I can or cannot do.
Long story short, I had a little conversation with myself and came to the following conclusion: If I owned a cow I wouldn’t drink milk. If I owned a pig or a goat I wouldn’t eat meat. But if I owned chickens I would eat eggs.
So on one sunny April afternoon John and I went to the Tallahassee Farmers Market and came home with 12 grass-fed, cage-free, healthy and happy lil’ eggies. Because at the end of the day we should make conscious decisions about what we put into our bodies, and that’ll mean something different to each of us. I don’t eat meat, I don’t eat or drink dairy, I love honey, and every now and then I like a fried or scrambled egg.
But enough about that, April was full of more than just eggs. Somehow I was able to get two consecutive weekends off of work, and I was lucky enough to spend them at my favorite place in the world: Cherokee Rock Village in Alabama.
The first trip was just me and John, and it was so nice to not have to teach people how to lead climb or guide groups of FSU climbing club members around the crag. We were able to get up early, climb hard, and still have time for a nap in the afternoon followed by more climbing. Here are some pictures from my instagram.
The second weekend at Cherokee Rock Village was fun because I went with a big group of friends and climbed so many routes, including Six Toes and Somethingness. It was fun exploring new areas, and John and I got to watch our good friend William climb outside for the very first time.
Life certainly didn’t slow down in May.
My friend Julianne, owner of the Etsy shop Dirt Chalkbags, was kind enough to introduce me to the world of kombucha brewing. She taught me how to brew and even gave me everything I needed to get started, and I have fallen head over heels in love with making kombucha. So much so that I’m making more than I can drink!
After spring semester ended at FSU my boyfriend and I went up to Athens, Georgia for a concert. We stayed at the cutest Airbnb, ate heavenly vegan cinnamon rolls at Cinnaholic, and explored the University of Georgia campus.
The highlight of the trip was definitely watching Shakey Graves perform at the Georgia Theater. This was my second time watching Shakey play and he didn’t disappoint! If you ever get the chance to see him live, DO IT!
From Athens we drove up into Kentucky in order to climb at the Red River Gorge, or “the Red” as visitors lovingly call it. I had only been to the Red once before in the summer of 2017, but I have been dying to return ever since. This time John and I went without my dog Koda, and not having him around opened up a lot of opportunities for places that we couldn’t climb at otherwise. We also met up with some TRG climbers, which was an unexpected yet incredibly delightful surprise.
This trip to the Red was special in a number of ways. It was full of late nights playing board games, exhausted dinners at Miguel’s Pizza shop, and lots of laughs. It was also surprisingly empty; John and I went to several crags where we didn’t see another soul. I cherished those rare days of quiet, uninterrupted climbing.
For me this trip to the Red was especially good because I was able to meet a personal climbing goal and climb my hardest grade to date: a 5.11c. John wanted to climb a harder route on our second day as a way to test the strength of his slowly recovering finger, so he hopped on the Fury in Muir’s Valley. The Fury is only 70 feet tall, but the overhung wall makes it feel so much taller. As I watched him move up the wall I thought that I could do all of the moves that he was doing, and toyed with the idea of cleaning it after him. For the majority of my climbing career I have never pushed myself too far out of my comfort zone; I would rather down-climb than throw for a move that I don’t think I can get on lead, I hate taking falls, and I’ve never attempted anything harder than a 5.10d. So I was more surprised than anyone when I yelled up to John that I wanted to try the Fury.
As I worked my way up the grueling 70 foot route I felt like I was finally tapping into my potential as a climber. I narrowed my perception to the bolt immediately above me, and before I knew it the anchors were in front of my face. I’m not gonna lie, as I was lowered I felt a little like Margo Hayes when she descended La Ramba. I didn’t break any glass ceilings for every woman in the sport of climbing, but I did break one for myself.
The next day John and I woke up especially early so that we could climb a popular multipitch route. The easy 5.7 was a ton of fun and the perfect follow up to the intense climbs and hikes from the day before. At the top of the route John and I sat and enjoyed the view of the rolling hills and the winding road down below.
It was the perfect way to say goodbye to Kentucky.
In order to break up the 12 hour drive home from the Red River Gorge, John and I stayed overnight at his cousin’s house in Atlanta. We ate vegan tacos as we watched his younger cousins play with toy trains and stuffed animals.
The next day we wandered through the Atlanta farmers market and snacked on freshly baked bread and homemade jam. From there John and I drove to Boat Rock, a bouldering spot within the city limits of Atlanta, and hopped on a few routes. We weren’t able to stay for long, but I got enough of a taste of granite boulders and finger cracks to know that I’ll return to Boat Rock soon.
Coming home meant returning to classes at FSU, and as May came to a close I was able to fall into the rhythm of summer courses. That doesn’t mean I stopped having adventures though.
My parents came to visit the weekend before my 21st birthday, and my hometown friends came up the weekend after (read about my birthday beach bash with friends here). All of the celebrations made it feel like my birthday was a week long, and my heart is so full of love.
So now you’re all caught up. April and May have been busy months, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope your summer has been just as full of adventures and happiness.
Oh, and happy June. Let’s make it a good one.
How was your last April and May? Let me know in the comments, or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All photos in this post were taken by me unless otherwise specified in the caption. Header photo by John Miller.