Consider Visiting a National Park, Part 2

Consider Visiting a National Park, Part 2

Just because summer is drawing to a close doesn’t mean all your outdoor activities have to also…

Are you ready for more fall foliage than your brain can handle? A crisp autumnal breeze blowing through your hair? The smell of campfires and hot apple cider in the air? Really cute woodland creatures frantically collecting nuts to hide while they hibernate?

Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes.

Don’t stash your canteen away just yet; we’ve got another roundup of some of the country’s best national parks to consider visiting in the next few months. Now get out there and breathe some fresh air!

If you like variety…visit Olympic National Park.

Just about as far northwest as you can get while still being in the continental United States, Washington’s Olympic National Park has a little (or a lotta) something for everyone. Dramatic Pacific coastlines, temperate rainforests, snow-capped alpine mountains, ancient trees and hot springs are all contained within the 922,000-acre park.

If you like history…visit Yellowstone.

Designated in 1872, Yellowstone was the first national park to ever exist and inspired the idea of a nationwide parks system (not to mention the fictional home of everyone’s favorite tie-wearing cartoon bear). It’s also where you’ll find Old Faithful, undoubtedly the most famous geyser ever and America’s largest hot spring. If water doesn’t impress you much, you can opt to climb El Capitan or Half Dome, two of the park’s most thrilling spots.

If you like ancient history…visit Mesa Verde National Park.

A UNESCO world heritage site, Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado was established to protect and preserve Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites that date back to 1200 BCE. The park has some nice hikes and beautiful scenery, but the real draw here is the awe-inspiring cliff dwellings.

If you like really ancient history…visit Glacier National Park.

Truth be told, every single national park in the U.S. is the result of ancient history, both tectonic and meteorological. But when the word “glacier” is in the name of the park, you know you’re in for a treat. True to the monicker, Montana’s Glacier National Park is home to mountains that were carved out of the earth by very giant, very old glaciers as they made their way across the country so all you have to do is look around to see rocks that are literally billions of years old. Don’t sleep on this one, though: only about 25 of the 150 glaciers that existed when the park was founded in 1850 remain.

If you want to feel the vast power of nature…visit Denali National Park and Preserve.

With six million acres of lakes, mountains, trails and wildlife, Alaska’s Denali National Park is truly powerful to behold. It also happens to be where Denali lives which, at 20,320 feet, is the tallest peak on the continent. You can hike, climb, camp, bus or fly through, but take your time. There is so much to see and explore in this vast northern land that it would be a shame not to take in as much as possible.

If you like to be stunned…visit Grand Canyon National Park.

Not that you need convincing on this one, but the Grand Canyon and its surrounding parkland is one of the most well-known spots in the entire world, and for good reason. Not only are the views from the top almost unbelievable (and slightly terrifying), but you can also hike 5,200 feet down into the canyon and raft along the Colorado River, both equally stunning experiences.

If you want to hear your own echo…visit Mammoth Cave National Park.

One of the most unique national parks in the country, Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave is the longest known cave system in the entire world. Over 400 miles have already been explored (and who knows how much more is down there), and visitors can tour the caverns and tunnels for a real out-of-this-world-while-being-under-it vibe. If you’re feeling brave, consider a “wild cave” tour which takes the bravest visitors through less-tourist-friendly caves.

+ A lust to wonder? Check out more National Park adventures here!  

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FP Escapes: To Sardinia & Corsica, With Love

FP Escapes: To Sardinia & Corsica, With Love

Our resident waterborne chef Sandy Ho recalls with magic and humility the emotion found on July’s sailing retreat…

Being a chef holds with it a good deal of responsibility — in essence, you’re looking out for those people who’ve chosen to sit at your table. Nourishing the bodies of seventeen beautiful souls on last month’s Escape through Sardinia and Corsica proved no less a challenge, but more so, an absolute dream.

We met on a hot day in the coastal town of Olbia, eager to immerse our spirits into the intentions set early in the week — To be present. To know your mind. With sails full of wind, water beside, behind and beneath us, I prepared lunch in the galley — clams in organic rose and marinated tomatoes with burrata and bottarga. Everyone was in the water, glistening under the sun. Time lost its rigidity.

Food never tasted better. We soaked up its last juices with fluffy quinoa and wiped up oozing burrata with fragrant leaves of basil picked from our boat garden. Forks and spoons were put aside, because we had our hands. We were full and joyful from this land, from this sea, and we ate like an Italian family.

I watched my fellow sailors practice yoga from atop an ancient fortress we found along the way. A place we would call home for the night. And now with the sun setting over these warriors, I prepared vegetables for dinner feeling the full presence of my purpose for the week. Every day, as our guests studied yoga and meditation, I practised my own meditation through cooking — not knowing what dish would come next, but intuitively healing and understanding what our bodies were craving through conversation.

Some nights we stayed up like children, giggling and dancing out all of our energy. Then we would swim under the stars. floating on our backs. I’m present again with those memories forged, and so thankful to have shared my meditation with new family.

+ Looking to travel? Learn more about our FP Escapes here

Photos by Stefan Wigand.

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FP Escapes: Montana in Review

FP Escapes: Montana in Review

A look inside our last FP Escape of the summer…

This post comes from retreat guide and yogi, Maria Margolies

Every retreat we take opens up a whole new world of opportunity. The opportunity to step out of our comfort zones. The opportunity to be adventurous and bold. To experience something fresh. Meet new people and learn from them. Connect with Mother Nature in ways we normally wouldn’t. Most importantly, it gives us the opportunity to slow down so we can pay more attention to what’s around us and inside us. To listen and feel, so we can drop deeper and become more intimate not only with ourselves but with one another. Ultimately, isn’t this what we are all searching for?

Glacier National Park blew me away in every way imaginable. From the striking contours of the landscape with its soaring mountain peaks and sharp edges to the never-ending stretches of evergreens and golden fields carpeting its valleys.  Even the colors and texture of the earth and its stones commanded my attention and touch every step of the way. And of course the water… It was everywhere: frozen in time in the ancient but powerful glaciers, cascading powerfully in creeks and streams, floating above us silently in massive clouds or falling rhythmically as rain on the meadows and forests.

This Escape managed to combine all elements of awakening mind and spirit in a breathtaking setting to create a uniquely incredible and inspiring experience. A seamless immersion with nature incorporating beautifully prepared and delicious plant-based foods to nourish us, yoga to start our days, meditation to end them, hiking to discover hidden lakes, horseback riding to take in the scenery, DIY beauty by crystal blue water and paddleboarding to test our balance.  All of this filled with many laughs and truly wonderful connections at every turn.

Thank you to the beautiful tribe of women that came.  I feel so grateful and honored to have held space for you to grow, open up, and plant a little seed of change. There will be many more journeys to come! Stay tuned.

A big thank-you to Maria, Under Canvas Glacier, The Cyclists Menu and Sorel for making this trip happen, we can’t wait for the next!

+ Want to learn more about our FP Escapes? Click here! 

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Tips for the Plant-Eating Traveler

Tips for the Plant-Eating Traveler

Traveling while maintaining a plant-based diet requires a little organisation, a touch of research, and a desire to be a bit adventurous…with the best local produce always serving as your reward.

Without fail, my parents frequent their local farmers’ market every week. Rain or shine, Saturday mornings are spent in the town square, inspecting seasonal produce from organic local farmers who they know on a first-name basis. Jean, for example, sells olives he’s carefully selected from France and parts of Spain. His ‘secret mix’ is one of almonds, green olives and whole cloves of garlic, as well as a mysterious blend of spices. He enjoys a good laugh and will make you sample the contents of his entire stall upon each visit.

Their love and pursuit of whole foods was easily passed onto me, who has embraced an omnivorous diet for years. And after over a year of practicing vegetarianism, I decided to take it a step further and go vegan. There is a certain art to applying this diet to an on-the-go lifestyle…but I believe I’ve become quite good at acquiring great produce no matter where I find myself.

Prior to my trip, I always conduct a little research to find out where the local markets are, on what days they’re open, where the local health food shops are, and what supermarkets are in the area. That way, when I arrive, I can pick up a few essentials straight away.

Markets are a wonderful way to meet the locals, experience the region, and buy fresh (and sometimes unique) seasonal fruits and vegetables. My trick is to walk once around the market to eye up the best deals and best-looking produce, then decide from which stalls to buy. This saves considerable disappointment when you discover that two stalls down the old man with his beret is selling the ripest juiciest peaches for half the price you just bought yours (I learned the hard way!)

With a basket filled with golden apricots, a couple of warm baguettes, lettuces, fresh basil (for pesto!), the ripest tomatoes you’ll ever find, and a whole tray of nectarines, I declared myself happy and sat down in the dappled light under a big leafy tree for a well-earned espresso at the local café, watching the locals go by with their own overflowing baskets.

When in France, always pick up a bunch of purple garlic, and ask around for the best bakery in town. Bread is a religion around here — never settle for a baguette that makes you feel less than the happiest person in the world. Also, a little trick I’ve learned this year — if you ask for a ‘croissant patissier’ or a ‘croissant ordinaire‘ you’ll be served a vegan croissant made with margarine instead of butter! You’re more than welcome.

* Research before you leave. Locate markets, health food shops, supermarkets and restaurants with vegan options (the HappyCow app is a great tool!)

* Pack an easy-to-transport meal and snacks for your travel day. Remember — no liquids if you’re flying! Hummus and carrots, granola bars, dried fruit and nuts, grain salads or simple sandwiches are my go-to picks. Nothing worse than being hangry and stuck on a plane.

* Be adventurous. Go out of your way to find new places to eat, wake up early to go to the market, chat to locals, try new ingredients. You will experience your destination in a whole new way, I promise!

 

Photos and words by Tania Gault.

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Travel Light for Labor Day: 5 Tips For Your Weekend Packing

Travel Light for Labor Day: 5 Tips For Your Weekend Packing

No need to go overboard, and your beauty routine should reflect that…

As someone who revels in everything autumn stands for, I can’t say I’m terribly sad that Labor Day is upon us. But if you are a normal human being who enjoys not freezing or getting slapped in the face by blustering, icy winds on the daily, this week may be one of mourning for you. Summer is officially coming to a close, signaling the end of summer Fridays (if you’re lucky), languid days on the beach, lobster rolls, perfect mermaid hair, and the chance to reenact any dreams you had of frolicking through the waves while a cute lifeguard flirt-whistles in your direction.

But rejoice! You’ve still got one glorious weekend left before the reality of September sets in, so take advantage of it. If you don’t already have travel plans, make some. It’s a rare opportunity to get three (or four) days straight of vacation time when it’s likely everyone else is also off the grid. Hit up a nearby national park, convince a long-distance friend to meet you in the middle, book a cheap flight to somewhere you’ve never been…whatever you land on, make it count and bid summer adieu in proper fashion. Once you’ve made your plans, don’t skimp on the packing. Even if it’s only a day trip, you’ll want to be sure to arm yourself with the stuff that keeps you fresh and glowing to ease the transition your skin will face when temperatures start to drop. Keeping your skin and hair healthy during the waning days of summer will set you up beautifully for weather to come, so pay attention to that travel toiletries kit.

No need to go overboard, though; this should be an easy, breezy vacation and your beauty routine should reflect that. A few stellar products will work wonders if you pick correctly. And lucky you, I’ve rounded up the stuff you shouldn’t leave home without this Labor Day, and the best part is they’re all travel-size, so you have that much more space in your bag for the extra bathing suit you definitely need.

Don’t Leave Home Without It #1: The Skincare Kit

This one is cheating a bit since the kit is made up of eight products, but with Living Libation’s Sensitive Skin Essential Kit in your travel bag, you will not want anything skincare-related the entire weekend. You won’t need to run through your AM and PM skincare routine step-by-step in your head to make sure you’ve packed everything because this handy thing has it all: hand cream (gotta keep those paws hydrated!), eye cream, face cream (layer that moisture!), sea buckthorn oil (the best face oil for all skin types), lip balm, blush balm (one less thing to throw in your makeup kit and and added hit of hydration), serum (to reduce the harmful effects of environmental elements on the skin and keep it healthy) and a bonus moisturizing liquid.

Everything is packaged in plane-friendly vessels so you don’t have to worry about being asked to toss something that’s too big to make it through security, and you also get a cleansing cloth so you’re not relying on your digs for the weekend to supply an oil cleanse-friendly towel.

Don’t Leave Home Without It #2: The Cleansing Cloth

Speaking of cleansing, I hope that at several points over the course of this weekend you are just having too much fun to stop what you’re doing and embark on a full cleansing ritual. (Yes, still do this before you go to bed but a quickie every once in awhile in the name of a good time won’t kill you.) Which is why Kaia Naturals’ Juicy Bamboo Natural Facial Cleansing Cloths are a vacationer’s best friend.

Individually packaged so they don’t dry out, you can toss a couple in your beach bag or hiking pack or purse to swipe over your face throughout the day. No need to find a sink or water, even, these bamboo fiber babies blend essential oils and vitamins to effectively remove makeup, sweat and grime from your skin without drying it out…all on the go.

Don’t Leave Home Without It #3: The All-Important Razor

It’s not for everyone — and that is totally ok—but many beach-goers and shorts-wearers may want to de-fuzz their legs throughout the weekend. And if there’s anything worse than arriving at your destination only to discover you left your good razor back home in the shower, which means having to shell out for a pack of crappy pink disposable razors or make due with whatever plastic thing the hotel front desk offers for free that will inevitably cut the heck out of your legs, I don’t know what is.

So having a dedicated travel razor like this little guy from SPHYNX means you will never have to deal with the aforementioned horrible situation. Since it’s so small and portable, storing it in your travel kit at all times means you’ll never leave home without a razor or shaving cream since it also comes with an interchangeable moisturizing pre-shave bar. Genius in tiny package!

Don’t Leave Home Without It #4: The Exfoliant

I know I said you didn’t have to stop having fun to cleanse your face throughout the day, but that doesn’t mean you can skip all your skincare. An important one to keep in the Labor Day rotation? Exfoliating. Remember: If you don’t remove dead skin cells, they build and can cause a ruckus.

So add O.R.G.’s Travel Size Mineral Peel Face to your kit to keep your face nice and happy. It’ll soften and smooth thanks to aloe, jojoba and enzymes — it only takes a few seconds to get to work, and because it’s a gommage, it’s incredibly satisfying to use.

Don’t Leave Home Without It #5: The Greens

Indulge to your heart’s content while on vacation, but don’t forget to eat — or drink — your greens. Counteract some of the glorious damage you’ll inevitably do to your system this weekend with a daily dose of goodness in the form of travel-sized vitamins, minerals, whole foods and fiber with The Super Elixir from WelleCo. Throw a few sachets into your bag, forget you have them, and then be pleasantly surprised when you remember they’re tucked away in your darkest moments of “maybe I should have just had a smoothie” thought.

+Travel much? Read more tips and tricks here

 

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No Matter Where/When…Consider a National Park

No Matter Where/When…Consider a National Park

Just because summer is drawing to a close doesn’t mean all your outdoor activities have to also…

Lace up your hiking boots, ladies! Just because summer is drawing to a close doesn’t mean all your outdoor activities have to, too. In fact, fall may just be the best time of year to get outside and explore the country’s national parks: they’re not as crowded since summer visitors have unlaced their hiking boots, it’s not as hot and sweaty, and you’ll get a chance to see some killer foliage if you time it right.

So if you’re in the market for an adventurous next trip, consider checking out one of the gorgeous national parks below: 

If you like the idea of sleeping under the stars…visit Bryce Canyon National Park.

Mostly known for the Hoodoos — pillars of red rock carved out by millennia of erosion — Utah’s Bryce Canyon actually has some of the best stargazing conditions in the country. Far from light pollution, Bryce is a sanctuary of natural darkness with a night sky that’s so dark, 7,500 stars are visible on a moonless night, including the Milky Way and even Venus and Jupiter.

If you’re looking for miles and miles of gorgeous hiking trails…visit Rocky Mountains National Park.

While the Rocky Mountains run for 3,000 miles from Canada down to New Mexico, Rocky Mountains National Park is a 415-square-mile section in Colorado that contains more than 350 hiking trails and over 60 climbable peaks.

If you’re looking for a rejuvenating experience…visit Hot Springs National Park.

Located in Arkansas (which just so happens to be nicknamed The Natural State), Hot Springs National park is true to its name: the park is full of natural hot springs that have been used for centuries as places of healing and rejuvenation. Though it’s a bit less “back to the land” than other parks on this list, due to the fact that many of the hot springs you can visit are housed in manmade bathhouses, it’s still worth a trip if you’ve been coveting your friends’ Insta posts of their time at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland.

If you want to stand under a waterfall…visit Smoky Mountains National Park.

True, the Great Smoky Mountains boasts more than just falling water — it’s the most visited park in the country, is certifiably huge and has over 1,660 different kinds of flowering plants to stop and sniff — but its real highlight is the dozen-plus waterfalls scattered throughout the park. If you only have time for a few, check out Laurel Falls, an 80-foot stunner, Mouse Creek Falls, which is smaller and less-visited but equally impressive, and Rainbow Falls where, you guessed it, a rainbow can be seen in the fall’s mist on sunny afternoons.

If you want to channel your inner archaeologist…visit Badlands National Park.

Mount Rushmore isn’t the only attraction in this South Dakota Park: the Badlands are also home to 37-million-year-old fossil deposits, making it one of the country’s most prominent archaeological sites. And if living animals are more your speed, the park is also full of wildlife like bison, prairie dogs and bighorn sheep that roam freely. The amazing rock formations don’t hurt either.

If you want to climb an active volcano…visit Haleakalã National Park.

Located in a somewhat remote part of Maui, a visit to Haleakalã will literally have you climbing an active, potentially-lava-spewing volcano. At 10,023 feet, it’s full of hiking trails that offer up to 115 miles of visibility from the summit. What’s more, the park is comprised of both barren volcanic landscape and sub-tropical rainforests, making for a gorgeous transition. It’s also home to more endangered species than any other park in the country, so it’s also an animal lover’s dream.

If you want an ant’s eye view of the world…visit Sequoia National Park.

This California park has several claims to fame, all of which are equally impressive and awe-inspiring. Not only is Sequoia the second-oldest national park in the country, it’s also home to the largest tree in the world. Named General Sherman, the 2,700-year-old sequoia is 275 feet tall and 25 feet in diameter. Not to overshadow General Sherman (as if anything could), but the park also has five of the 10 largest trees in the world, so there’s that!

If you’re ready to try real-life rock climbing…visit Joshua Tree National Park.

No carefully placed footholds on a straight vertical wall here: this California park is a rock climber’s paradise. With almost 800,000 acres to its name, Joshua Tree has 8,000 climbing routes, and 2,000 boulder formations through the park.

If you want to wake up with the sun…visit Acadia National Park.

Nestled in Maine’s Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park offers 50,000 acres of shoreline, coves, mountains, pine forests and meadows. And if you can stop hitting snooze for a day, you may just be the first person in the country to see the sun’s rays. The park’s Cadillac Mountain is far enough east that anyone up before the dawn gets to witness the first hints of a new day breaking over the Atlantic seaboard.

+Read more about National Park adventures here

Photo by Maria Margolies. 

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Tune In: Music For Travelers Playlist

Tune In: Music For Travelers Playlist

When your pick up and go is about to pick up and go…

For all of the wanderers out there…if you’re about ready to gas up the car, slug through customs, fill up the bike tires, get your pedal to the metal and get OUT…

Here’s a playlist to help carry you along. Weekend getaway, weeklong renewal, lifelong change, no matter. Enjoy. XO

 

 

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The As Yet Uncharted Territory of My Heart

The As Yet Uncharted Territory of My Heart

Bethany Toews‘ exquisite take on navigating through our parks, and how such treks mirror the unfolding roads of our relationships…

13 days. 3,977 miles. 8 states. Enough miles and minutes to see deeper, truer. Perspective gained. High highs and low lows. Elation and frustration. Elevation change. Voices raised and then lowered as the scenery morphs. Camp sights and smelly motels. Nice hotels. Lots and lots of Dairy Queen Blizzards melting in the summer sun.
Long. Awkward. Silence. . . Laughter. Communicating logistics and obstacles, hopes and fears, and the need for a bathroom break. Winding up and breaking down. Being witness to all the emotion that only motion can draw out.
Travel shows us who we are, what we value, and what we long for. Traveling with others can strip away the excess, the niceties, the added padding we put on so many of our proclamations. The open road and confined spaces have a special way of exposing still-tender wounds and forgotten scars. Old memories are remembered as new ones are being made. No adventure comes without its fair share of heartache. No journey is complete without surrendering what was for what is becoming.
When I set out on this epic adventure, I knew I was heading into unknown territory. Not geographically speaking. I had been to pretty much every place we had mapped out for our grand loop through the Western United States. I knew I was about to head into an as yet uncharted territory of my heart. I was going to venture into the mysterious terrain of shared space with a 39-year-old man and his 8-year-old son. I knew I would not return to my home the same. I knew we would all come back with lessons and opinions and feelings that would remain long after the car was parked back where it began. For better or worse…
The last 15 minutes of our long journey ended with us all in laughter, delighting in a shared joke. This is important. There was plenty of time on this trip when I thought I couldn’t go another mile drowning in the annoyance, or the isolation, or the silence. There were days when I looked at them and thought how strange it was to find myself an intruder in their well-established belonging to each other. And then there was the night on Orcas Island, when the 3 of us curled into our sleeping bags in our shared tent, giggling and breathing together, still learning each other, but silently aware that we were slipping into something familiar, something familial. A new kind of family. Something that is complicated but powerful in its realness. Something that takes a lot of time, patience, creativity, surrender, forgiveness, flexibility, humor, and ultimately love to grow. Something that will require newer and truer parts of you to come forth. Hopefully the bigger and better parts, but most likely something in between.
When you realize what you want, you might be surprised to find it looks nothing like what you thought it would. I never thought I would fall for a man with a child that wasn’t my own. I never thought I’d need to learn the tricky territory of loving and leaving space with someone that you know will never see you as their mother, and yet, will hopefully over time see you as an important source of love and support in his/her life. I never thought I’d be sitting in the passenger seat reading the I Survived series out loud to an enthusiastic boy in the backseat. At first rolling my eyes at the juvenile language and then being moved to tears. The simple language of the stories of sinking ships and shark attacks drawing out how complicated love can feel. How hard it is to stay open and soft when we’re all scared of being hurt. I never thought I’d feel the tender and complex love for a mother who was navigating her own feelings as she had to accept her child was growing to feel comfortable with another woman.
It’s scary. I don’t want to overstep any boundaries. I don’t want to do more than is wanted or welcome. I don’t want to threaten anyone, or take away. But I do want to honor the truth of who I am. I want to be allowed to love more each day. To impart wisdom or guidance where it is needed. When possible, to make life a little lighter, more beautiful, more secure. To honor the wishes of my partner, who is a wonderful father, while also believing that I have something to offer. Some new ways of seeing, of being. Some new ways of being good to and for each other.
On the road, we were stuck with each other, quite literally. Perhaps that is what raises the stakes. This movie trailer for what is your unfolding life. The road that stretches ahead becoming a metaphor for the bigger commitment you are making to each other. The ways you are forced to depend and negotiate and compromise. The way you have to stay in the tent in the middle of the night in Montana, no matter how much part of you may want to run away. The way you fall asleep hurt and wake to feeling another’s breath on your face. The way it softens your desire to leave and imparts in you a primal need to stay.
I couldn’t have known how 2 weeks on the road would make me feel. That’s why I was nervous the morning we set out. That’s why I stayed nervous, when we went to Portland to stay with his his ex-girlfriend, his first love, his now dear friend. But she was lovely, and the more I challenged myself to keep my heart open, the better it felt. And then visiting my family in North Idaho. Worrying how it would go. Melting into a puddle when it went so much better than I could have hoped. Feeling almost confused at how immediately comfortable it felt. How everyone settled into each other. How in the midst of my history, I could see a future unfolding, and how right that felt.
We have the measure of days and miles that we traveled, but there is no way to quantify what was gained. What was surrendered. What memories etched their way into our minds and how differently those memories will be remembered in future moments of our lives, together or apart. For now I am trying to keep it simple. For now I am trying to gratefully and graciously take my time. Offer what I have and who I am. Try not to ask for more than is gratefully and graciously given. And to trust that we come into each other’s lives for a reason. And if we meet with open hearts and open minds, wherever the road may take us, we will discover more truth and love and beauty along the way. And if that’s not the point to all of this, then I don’t really know what is.
Photos by James Adolphus. Follow Bethany on Instagram.

Free People Blog

For Maria Margolies, It’s All About Breath and Body

For Maria Margolies, It’s All About Breath and Body

What motivates the instructor of our upcoming Glacier National Park FP Escape? Come on and find out…

“[Glacier] is so vast, untouched and sacred. It appears as if no one has ever walked its grounds. I’m looking forward to immersing myself in the wild, connecting with the land and its creatures, and sharing guidance and energy with a beautiful tribe of women.”

Zodiac sign: Gemini

Birthplace: Bogota, Colombia

Your website says that you are a: Mystical Gypsy Traveler. Mother. Spirit Surfer. Plant Obsessed. Healer. Yogini. Teacher. Consciousness Awakener. Cosmic Dancer. Creative cook. Eternal Student. Sacred Activist. How did you come to embrace all of these wonderful qualities? This is the story of my life. Since I can remember I’ve been using my body, this vessel in which I travel the physical world as a tool to heal and access the world, it drives my curiosity. I passionately believe in movement as medicine. Movement is another form of nourishment, just as important as food and one of the most healing practices we can do for ourselves.

My interest for healing and wellness sparked at a very young age — dancer since the age of 5, vegetarian at 15. And as the closet nerd that I am, I read and study as much as I can about all of the things that interest me. I like to dive deep and not swim in shallow waters. Because of my air nature and gypsy spirit, I was called to move: to travel, to leave my native country to explore and experience the world firsthand. It was on this journey where I learned about myself and my path. My passion for health and wellness deepened and evolved: I developed an interest in cooking and experimenting with flavors, spices and medicinal herbs, understanding their benefits and how these affected not only my practice but my whole energetic and physical being… and of course, my love affair with riding waves began.

I weave all these teachings, passions, experiences, travel and studies into my daily practice and rituals. They are part of who I am and they inform my teaching as well as my holistic approach to wellness and life. But I never stop being a student. I continue to study and explore as much as I can with my teachers and on my own. I am very curious!

You will be guiding our next Escapes trip through Glacier National Park. What can our guests anticipate learning from you? Our highest intention will be to connect to our cosmic centre — that constant place of awareness within. We will be placing a great deal of emphasis on breath. I believe there is a direct connection between the breath and mind. If we work with our breath we can heal our minds, while yoga asanas heal our body. Breath provides us with our ebb and flow — it unifies, sustains and informs us in every level. It’s our life force. It communicates with our body, heals and stops the fluctuations of the mind and even increases our longevity.

Being on a retreat provides an ideal opportunity to venture within. To stop, contemplate and learn about ourselves. Through unified flows of asana and synchronicity with the breath, our experience with the internal and external worlds will deepen, tone our systems and rebalance our entire body. There will also be plenty of playtime! Plus, I’ll be sharing a hands-on Radical Radiance workshop with herbal alchemy and recipes to glow inside and out.

For those of us who can’t accompany you, what lesson/s can you impart on us to integrate into our daily exploration? I think that the biggest, most important message in these very difficult, busy times is to find quiet and go within. Disconnect. Listen. Witness. Observe your mind. Find time to connect to our cosmic center. The divine.

Nowadays we are always connected, constantly moving, with so many distractions and spending way too much time in front of a screen. So, consciously trading some of that time to mere contemplating, observing and cultivating a meditation practice is very important. A moment of meditation can refresh you on every level, give you the tools to cope with whatever life brings you, and ultimately guide you to happiness.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever got? Be you.

Worst advice? I can’t remember, it was that bad!

Spirit animal: Butterfly.

What does the word free mean to you? Free means to be me. Authentic. To be awake and keep consciousness alive. To Give. To Love myself. And to be attached to nothing, yet connected to everything.

Photos by Enrique Aviles.

Free People Blog

Beauty Vacation Packing: What a Yoga Master Brings to the Mountains

Beauty Vacation Packing: What a Yoga Master Brings to the Mountains

Reach a higher elevation with an antioxidant-charged serum, natural bug spray, crystal-infused water and more…

In anticipation of doing yoga among the mountains — surrounded by epic peaks and crisp, fresh air — we’re counting down the days to our upcoming Glacier National Park retreat in Montana. The 5-night excursion will be led by yoga master and health coach Maria Margolies, who combines her understanding of Ayurveda, macrobiotics and mediation, among other studies, into her grounding practice. Here, we asked the wellness guru to teach us about her beauty routine and what she’s packing in her suitcase to keep her skin, hair and spirit in harmony with the mountain setting.

Photo by Enrique Aviles.

Raw Coconut Oil

I don’t go anywhere without it! It’s great for inner and outer beauty. I use the raw kind externally on my skin and hair to moisturize and cleanse. And I combine it with essential oils, such as lavender or frankincense as bug repellent, deodorant or just for pure relaxation. Internally, I put a bit of the oil in my coffee or smoothies for extra fats and to slow down the absorption of sugar. It’s also wonderful for oral health in toothpaste or for oil pulling, which is an ancient Ayurvedic practice of swishing oil on an empty stomach for 20 minutes to draw out toxins.

DIY Superherb Blend.

I combine powerful adaptogenic superherbs to help boost my immune system, balance hormones and mood, combat the effects of stress and fuel me. I go for a mix of medicinal mushrooms, maca, ashwagandha, he shou wu, cacao and cinnamon. I add this to coffee, hot water, teas, smoothies, milks or juice.

Bug Spray

It’s important to me to find something that’s natural, great for the outdoors, moisturizing and smells divine.

Electrolyte Supplement.

This helps keep me hydrated after yoga, teaching, hiking, surfing or when ever I am very active. A supplement improves hydration, muscle recovery and performance and helps me burn energy efficiently.

Beauty Chef Dream Repair Serum

I love this oil. I usually make my own beauty products, but this one feels so incredibly rejuvenating after a long day outdoors in the sun.

Palo Santo and Cinnamon.

I always travel with some sticks for smudging and clearing space. Our ancestors used spices and common herbs found in gardens to clear space, cleanse, protection and increase vibration. Palo Santo is also used to repel mosquitos in Ecuador!

Water Bottle.

It’s a must! I carry one in my bag wherever I go, always. This way I make sure I keep hydrated at all times. Often when we feel tired, and in need of a pick-me-up, we are mostly dehydrated so instead of reaching for a coffee next time, drink a big glass of water! I’m obsessed with this crystal water bottle. The water feels so charged, energizing and purifying from the raw crystal that lives inside.

+ Put your packing list to the test! Join us on our last FP Escape of the summer — book here today

Free People Blog