Random Thoughts #1…

John Green once said, “What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable.” That quote really resonates with me right now. I am at a place in my life that I want to do something remarkable, but we must remember that remarkable means something different to everyone.

For me, doing something remarkable right now is training for, competing in and then completing a Half Ironman in May of next year and with the hopes of doing another one in October of 2019. I was supposed to do one in a couple days, but mother nature had other plans. I have been training hard for it, but I could always have trained more. I might not have been 100% ready, but I would have done it and I would have given it my all, I always do! I can guarantee you one thing though, when the time comes, and the race starts, I will complete that race!

See the truly remarkable, borderline insane things I want to do in the next two years is climb Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and not only finish a Full Ironman but qualify for Kona. Big, audacious goals. Things that I find remarkable.

These are all dreams of mine, the top bucket list items you could say. The thing about a good bucket list is that you write things down, you do them, cross them off and then add new things to the list. The bucket list is not meant to be a list of things you would like to do but never end up doing. If that’s the case then you will have a long list of things you wished you would have done when you die, basically a list of regrets. I live with no regrets. You can’t change the past, just learn from it and move on.

I feel that the truly remarkable things I do in life won’t really be the degrees I get or my athletic accomplishments. They will be the woman I marry, the family I make with her and the lasting impact that will have on the world. Everything else will be icing on the cake…


Traveling =

Aldous Huxley once said, “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”

I believe in a global education. I believe that traveling the world is the best form of education. I learn more when I am traveling than I ever have in a classroom and I have spent a lot of time in classrooms.

The thing about traveling is you not only learn about other cultures, you learn about yourself. You find out what your limits are, and then you can push them. In order to learn and grow we must constantly push ourselves outside our comfort zones.

In today’s world we have unlimited, instant access to information but that information can and usually is biased in some way. Some of the most amazing people I have met, I met in counties that most people would never go to. This is a shame. These people have full hearts and would do anything to help another human, even though they have very little themselves.

We must travel to discover what really is going on in the world. We then can bring that information back and share. The world is the biggest classroom we have and I don’t plan on stopping my education anytime soon…

Big, Audacious Goals…

So, the past few days my fellow Group 49ers have been closing their service in Ukraine with the Peace Corps. This is bittersweet for me but also a good thing. I have had this feeling that there was something over my head, and this pit in my stomach that I should be somewhere else, doing something else, that I should be in Ukraine with my fellow Volunteers. I haven’t been able to shake it but hopefully that will change soon.

Life gave me this amazing opportunity to take up a challenge very few have ever done but life also took it away when I got injured. Since that moment I have had a part of me that felt like I shouldn’t be doing what I am doing, that what I am doing is wrong in some way.

I say all this because in the last couple days I have decided to do something crazy, insane some would say but I look at it as a way to jump start my life. My Peace Corps service would be done, my physical therapy was done not long ago after almost 18 months rehabbing my injury. My shoulder is as good as it is gonna be, so, it is time for something big, something audacious. After all, big, audacious goals are one of the only ways I will do and complete something. My parents didn’t raise a quitter or a bitch.

My mom threw out this idea and then I researched it and talked it over with my girlfriend and a decision was made. So, with that in mind I have signed up for and started to train for a half Ironman, 70.3 miles. It consists of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile run (half marathon). I will be competing in October, during Fall Break and right after my 33rd birthday.

I am not where I want to be in life when it comes to my health and this audacious goal is going to help get me there. Also, in my top-2 things on my bucket list is to compete in and finish the full Ironman in Kona one day and this will help my qualifying get ready for it. The other thing in the top-2 is to climbs Kilimanjaro!

Underestimate me. That’ll be fun…

Knoxville Questival 2017

185B8A01-3014-4CE9-B517-50C1C5F85116.jpegI am currently eating lunch at a Thai restaurant in the middle of Knoxville, Tennessee. Actually in the middle of the University of Tennessee’s campus. I am competing in a Questival with my lovely girlfriend Jennifer. I can’t thank Cotopaxi enough for putting this on and letting us explore a new city. Attached you will find a picture of Jennifer and I and the first checkpoint. Remember, Do Good!!!

I’m Back!!

So sorry for the long absence from writing. It has been almost a year and a lot has happened in that time. I will get more into that in future posts but for now I will update you all in where I am right now. 

I am currently on a bus in Israel sitting next to our amazing bus driver Tiger. We are driving from Haifa to Jerusalem. I am staffing my second Birthright trip. It is day 3 and I have to say that I love my bus. I learned this fact even more so when we were rafting down the Jordan river yesterday and saw a few of the other buses. 

This is the first time I have staffed a “national” trip and the first time I have staffed with Israel Outdoors. There is definitely a difference between staffing a national trip and a campus trip. I do love Israel Outdoors so far and I love Hillel International as well. Both are great providers and they both offer amazing experiences for the participants. 

I sometimes wonder if any Birthright trip will ever be as amazing as that first trip though. There was something special, unique about that trip. From my co-staff Gal, to our tour guide Lilach, our amazing Israeli soldiers that were with us all 10 days to the participants. Maybe it was the fact that it was Winter or Hanukkah and New Years. I like to believe that everything came together for the perfect trip for all involved. It was the longest, quickest hardest and most amazing 10 days of my life. 

With that said I am on day 3 of doing it all over again. I have once again lucked out on my tour guide Vadim, bus driver Tiger, co-staff Molly and my participants. On this trip, we have a lot of different things going on. We have brothers, sisters, brother & sister, relationships, cousins and a few you know, regular participants. They have all come together as a big family within hours of meeting each other. I believe it was the 2 days of traveling that did it but also their amazing personalities as well. Whatever the reason, they are together as a family and that makes the trips even more amazing. 

I am excited to see how the next week goes on this trip. This is Israel Outdoors Bus #396 by the way. We have done so much already but have even more to go. We have Shabbat, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, The Dead Sea, Masada, Bedouin tents, camel rides and many more things to do. 

I want to write more but we are about to drive into Jerusalem. I will end with this: I am incredibly lucky to have friends and family that allow me to continue to have these amazing opportunities and I am beyond moved to have the ability to help young Jewish adults on their own Jewish & Israel journeys…

Late Night Thoughts

I don’t know what it is about music but a note, a beat, a lyric, a voice or even a song in general can spark such an emotion in me. It brings back old feelings, makes me think harder about current ones and even makes me ponder the future. What is interesting about this is that the type of music doesn’t matter. The most recent song that I have been playing on repeat is “Take Five” by Dave Brubeck. All I can think about when I hear the alto sax solo is that I want to get my alto sax out and learn the solo, and start playing more in general.

It doesn’t stop there though. The song, the beat, the solo, all of it makes my brain fire in so many different directions with so many different thoughts. It makes me think about all the traveling I have done and all the traveling I want to do. Where I want to go, what I want to see, what I want to experience and even who I want to do all of that with. I am thinking about how I want to travel. Planes, trains, tours, car, or even backpacking?! Do I combine some, or only do one of them? Do I want to make plans, or don’t I?! I like both ways and have even done both. There is a sense of adventure that can’t be beat when you land in a foreign country and have no idea what you are going to do, or even where you are going to stay. I have had some of the most amazing adventures, conversations and experiences of my life with strangers.

Another thought that keeps creeping into my head is this desire to go back to school and pursue a Masters degree. I always want to keep learning. There is no greater asset in life then knowledge and I want to gain as much knowledge as possible. I recently was talking to my mother about this and I believe she agreed but its all about education and traveling. In my mind they go hand in hand and you can’t have one without the other.

Anyways, late night thoughts ramble over for now!

BTW, go check out some of Dave Brubeck’s music, you won’t be disappointed…

What’s Next?

It is an interesting feeling when you plan for one thing for so long and out of nowhere plans change. I understand that at some level we can’t control anything in our lives, all we can control is how we handle what comes our way. I thought I would be in Ukraine right now and for the next 23 months with the Peace Corps, but that changed in a moment when I hurt my shoulder. All I can do is ask, “What’s next?”

What’s next is an amazing opportunity for me. I have been offered and have accepted the position of Israel Engagement Fellow with Oregon Hillel serving the students of the University of Oregon and Oregon State University. This means I am moving to the West Coast! It will be a drastic change for this East Coast boy and his dog Maverick but we are up for it. I am excited that I will be interacting with students and helping them with their Birthright trips and their connection to Israel. Plus I get to go on the Birthright trips to Israel with them as a trip leader! This means I can continue to explore my connection to Israel too, a country I am very passionate about.

Am I where I thought I would be right now? No. However, everything happens for a reason. We can never stop learning and we can never stop exploring. What’s Next…

Plans Be A Changing

I can honestly say that right now, at this very moment I’m not where I thought I would be. I am at my parents place recovering from a major shoulder surgery, watching the NBA Finals and America Ninja Warrior with my dog Maverick snoring next to me. Where I should be is at my permanent site in Ukraine doing Community Economic Development with the Peace Corps. Due to circumstances beyond my control I have been medically separated from my service in the Peace Corps due to my shoulder injury sustained in Ukraine. Am I sad? Absolutely! Am I going to let this situation keep me down? No way!

My family, friends and myself put a lot of time, energy and effort into getting me ready for Peace Corps service and for that I want to thank everyone who helped me and I am sorry that I was not able to complete my service. It’s life after all but a new plan is starting to take shape and updates on that will be coming up shortly. All I can say for now is that whats next is very exciting! As my parents say, “Everything happens for a reason!”

For now, I am recovering from surgery. It is going very slowly but it is going good. I have my good days and my bad days but that is to be expected. I look forward to a great snowboarding season once I am fully recovered, in 4 more months.

To my fellow 49ers: do great, have fun, make a difference and learn something!


When one thinks of staging you might automatically think about making a house look perfect before a showing when said house is for sale or maybe something to do with a theatre performance. Staging in the Peace Corps is nothing like this.

Nothing. At. All.

Staging is usually 1-2 days in a major city in America where you and your Peace Corps Group finally come together, meet each other, put faces to names and Facebook posts and learn a lot about your upcoming trip to your Country od Service. This is also a very crucial time to get paperwork done for student loans, and any other last minute forms you need signed verifying you are about to spend the next 27 months in the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps takes this time to show you what to expect upon arrival in country, what life is about to become and go over general rules, procedures and security for Peace Corps service.

I had staging in Miami, which was awesome and different for my country of service, Ukraine. Usually it is done in Washington D.C. However, none of us were complaining. We were able to get a few more days of nice sunshine and warmth before we landed in the cold but beautiful country of Ukraine. It was a little crazy going from 85 degrees to 25 degrees, not going to lie. But you adapt, maybe, not really.

Staging had it ups and downs. My roommate was awesome! I do believe we will be friends for many years to come. During staging we had 2 different sessions where we took in a lot of information, did ice breakers and many other things. At night I went out and checked out an authentic Mexican restaurant, it was amazing!

Finally the day had come to head to Ukraine! I quickly realized that I had massively over packed. Thankfully one of the other Volunteers only packed 1 checked bag and let me use his 2nd checked bag for my big backpack. I was very thankful for this so I don’t have to carry my big bag all over Europe. My last meal in America before I left, Taco Bell! Had to get that Mountain Dew Baja Blast one last time! Check in went smooth and so did TSA. We had a long wait at the airport but out of nowhere it became time to head to Munich. We boarded, got situated and were on our way to Ukraine. Staging was officially over…


Anybody who knows me knows that 10 is my favorite number. I always play it in roulette, I always wear it when I play sports and it always cheers me up when it randomly shows up in my life. Why is 10 such a big deal to me and why am I writing about it? I will explain…

First, why I am writing about 10. Today marks exactly 10 days until I depart Miami and head to Ukraine to start my 27 month journey as a Peace Corps Volunteer doing Community Economic Development. 10 days out, its crazy! I remember being 60+ days out not long ago but it is creeping up quick. I am excited, very excited but also it is starting to hit me how long I am going to be gone. I have been gone for a long time before; when I studied abroad in Australia and even when I did my internship at Disney World but neither had a length of time that sits in front of me. The funny thing about the length is the fact that I am going to add 2-3 months on top of my service to backpack through every country in Continental Europe before I come back. I am even going to hit up Africa with a stop in Morocco.

Next, why is 10 such a big deal to me? Many reasons! I was born in October and October is the 10th month of the year, only seems natural, right?! In an interesting coincidence I was also born at “10”:11pm. Yes, I know it is weird, but it is just another way of showing 10 in my life. Being born at 10:10 would have been better but that is my fault, I mistimed my entrance into the world. In soccer, my favorite sport, the best player on the team usually wears 10, and so I always wanted to wear that number. Whether it was true or not that I was the best player on the field, I believed it and I wanted to wear 10. Usually did and still do to this day.

I hope this explained a little bit about why 10 means so much to me. 10 days out from a 30 month adventure. Let’s get it…