Friday, May 22, 2015

Kickstart This! Naked Nomadz

"Disbelief and fear settle into warm homes like unapologetic and unwanted visitors." Rebekah Isreal, Naked Nomad
You might wonder what it is I do when I'm not writing posts for this blog, or hanging out on social media. Well, until a year ago, I was also a full-time college student. When I turned 40, I quit my job and returned to college to finally get that bachelor's degree I'd been putting off for so long.

As a student at Sonoma State University (SSU) in the Environmental Studies and Planning (ENSP) department I finally completed my degree in Outdoor Leadership and Education, with lots of sociology and history classes thrown in for good measure.

I was thrilled beyond measure that I'd finally found a degree program that fit with my personal philosophy. And to make things even better were the wonderful students I got to know. Like these amazing young women below. The Outdoor Leadership and Education program is a wonderful set of classes that teach students how to share their love of the outdoors with the widest audience possible. As you might expect, students spend a significant portion of their class time outside, and sometimes even on some pretty exciting adventures. Naturally, this tends to lead to close bonds that last well after the class is over, and often involves even more extensive adventures.

The Naked Nomads (l to r): Laura, McKella, Sydney, Rebekah, Malina

I was fortunately enough to have several of these young women in the photo above in many of my classes, and was even a bit sad to leave them as I graduated. As it turns out, these hot shots are graduating this year, and to celebrate, they're going on a all-ladies bike tour! One they dreamed up themselves -- 5 women, 800 miles, 30 days. They've nicknamed themselves the Naked Nomads, and the name is so perfectly fitting. You would be hard pressed to find five more genuine and kind souls than these women right here.

This is where you come in. They're crowd-sourcing their trip, and need your help to meet their financial goal to make this trip happen. Here's their explanation from their GoFundMe campaign page:
We are the Naked Nomads.

Who are the Naked Nomads, you ask?

Naked (to us) means:
The stripping down of barriers that keep us from fully immersing ourselves into life, exposing our minds and bodies to the world.

We are five wonderful women from Sonoma County. Cyclists, outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and friends, we met through the outdoor program at Sonoma State University, where we have grown as individuals as well as companions. We are five passionate people about experiencing and seeing the world through the love for adventure. We strive to empower ourselves and others, which has led us to this epic bike tour.

Coming Summer 2015 we are going to push ourselves and our limits by CYCLING TO PORTLAND from June 25 to July 25. A month where the five of us will explore new horizons and discover the willingness to be intimate with nature and life. Living simply and fully, we hope to inspire other women to get out there and adventure.

As you can imagine, living simply can sometimes not be so simple. To be gone from our homes and jobs for a month, we need to save plenty of money that will get us through our journey. According to our estimates, we will need a total of $3,500 for all 5 us to accomplish this, so we ask to raise $2,000 through your support.

We have to plan for costs that include food, campsites/hostels, train fare (we will be taking the train back to Rohnert Park), gear & equipment, as well as an emergency fund in case anything comes up... for a whole month. We are asking you, our dear friends, family, and fellow adventurers, to please help us out and donate what you can. It would mean the world to us to be able to go through with this journey, and we would hate for the lack of funds to be the thing that keeps us from reaching this goal of ours. Anything truly helps!

Stay tuned for more updates, as we plan to start a blog and Instagram that we will be posting through on our expedition.

More importantly, stay golden.

Sydney, Laura, Rebekah, Malina, & McKella
A while ago now I chatted with these ladies to learn even more about their plans, and what they hope to learn on this thrilling adventure. They were kind enough to let me include some of their answers in this blog post.


SRPS: What inspired you to plan/join in on this trip?
Sydney: I started thinking about this trip about a year ago, partly because I really just wanted to go explore Portland, OR (and what better way to get to one of the most bike-friendly cities than via bike?) but also because I had been going through a bit of a rough patch and needed an adventure that would challenge me both physically and mentally, that could break me down so I could build myself back up stronger than before. A long distance bike tour seems to fit the bill perfectly. After McKella, Rebekah, Malina and I went to Portland for an AORE (Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education) conference this past fall, I mentioned my dream of biking to the city and we all just fell in love with the idea. We returned home, got our crew together (us four plus our beyond-stoked, fellow adventurer, Laura) and decided to make it happen.

SRPS: How inspiring! Who was in on the first planning stages?
NN: We’ve all been involved with the serious planning from the beginning. Our goal is to meet every other week to get the details of our trip solidified!

SRPS: What have you learned already in planning this kind of adventure?
NN: We’ve learned about how important it is to set up group expectations and goals. There have been some challenges with balancing jobs, school and internships, and planning this trip on top of our daily lives. We are learning to overcome these challenges and understanding that there will be many more on the trip. We’ve already gained perspective on how we face challenges individually and as a group. We all bring something unique and special to the ride, which will be important once we are on the road.

SRPS: What do you hope to learn on this trip?
NN: The trip is more about gaining life experiences and developing who we are through those experiences. It seems that, as a society, we've set people up to be successfully mundane. All of our hopes and expectations fit into a cozy little box because that's where we're safe and comfortable, but few people dare to go beyond that and reach for their full potential. In stepping outside of the life that is comfortable, we hope to inspire others to fulfill their own adventures.


How can you not be excited for these young adventurers, setting off in life, with the goal of being anything but "successfully mundane"?! Please take a moment to review their GoFundMe page and consider helping them make this trip a reality!


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