Weekly Photo Challenge – Renewal – Young Again

To be honest I struggled with this weekly photo challenge – renewal.  All images of renewal went to the obvious, sunsets, grand-babies, plants and baby animals.  Then, out of the blue I ran into some of my pictures from my travels and time in Venezuela and Ecuador.

Most of these photos revolve around those extreme sports I have already blogged about, however, these images brought back so many memories of the renewed course my life has taken over the past couple of years.  New job, new life with my daughters grown and starting families of their own.  These photos, to me demonstrate the liberating renewal of starting a new life in a new job with new freedoms that I am embracing whole-heartedly.

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So with a grand hug and big thanks to the two tour companies in Venezuela that I used the most, Akanan Travel and Adventure and Guamanchi Expeditions Adventure Tours I present to you my favorite images of renewal.


A while ago I made a promise to myself. I promised that I would try to focus on activities and decide if I really enjoyed them before I went crazy and bought every thing connected to my new obsession and then decided I really didn’t enjoy it.  I have always liked taking pictures but never really focused on what I was doing until about 5 years ago.

When I decided that I loved taking pictures I made myself a 2nd promise.  I would encourage my habit every couple years if I was still interested and purchase a simple but upgraded camera.  I have been using the Sony cyber-shot now for my last 3 cameras and have just recently upgraded to 18.2 mega pixels with a 16x optical and up to 32x clear image zoom.  I can’t wait to use it.

At the same time I decided to become a huge fan of extreme sports – Sky-diving, paragliding, rafting, canyoning, jungle-trekking.  These activities make for incredible photo opportunities.. the problem is these activities are very hard on cameras and there is a constant fear of dropping, soaking, sanding, and stepping on the camera.  I tend to be overly protective of the basic point and shoot cameras I have owned.

Because of my new-found obsession conflicting with my long-time obsession I decided to treat myself during my last visit to the U.S. and I bought myself a Nikon CoolPIX waterproof, shockproof ORANGE camera.  It only has an optical zoom of about 5.  However, I had a rafting trip planned and it would be perfect for this type of activity.

The story of my new camera…  So here I have this brand-new, never-used ORANGE camera.

Nikon – Shockproof, waterproof, ORANGE camera

I know.. cool right?  Well, a friend was taking a trip to this amazing beach to Los Roques near Venezuela.  He asked to borrow this never-before used camera.  My first impulse was to just say no.. but the inner me.. the me that is trying so hard to be more giving, nicer, more of a sharing person over-ruled the Id.. and said.. uh.. o.k.  I felt proud of myself and good about the decision. See mom, I grew up and learned how to share.

A few days later my friend returns from his vacation and I asked how the camera worked and very excitedly he said, “GREAT!!!” He paused.. then he said, “It was stolen!!” I couldn’t believe it.  I was SHOCKED.  I thought he was joking.  He wasn’t.  I also thought he was going to cry.  He felt so bad. So I started feeling bad.  He told me he would do everything in his power to get me a new camera, an exact replica of my newly stolen camera and he would get it to me within the next 5 days. Miracle of miracle.. this magic man, bought a camera, shipped it to a friends house who would be traveling back to Venezuela by Tuesday or Wednesday.  I would be leaving Thursday. I know the suspense is killing you.. did I get it?  How did it work out?  Wait for it, wait for it..

“Miracles don’t happen. You make them happen. They’re not wishes or dreams or candles on a cake. They’re not impossible. Reality is real. It’s totally and completely under my control.”  ― Julie Anne PetersFar from Xanadu

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Extreme Simplicity

My daughter was making fun of my blog’s title saying, “Wow mom, simplicity and legendary should probably NOT be used in the same sentence because it’s sort of a contradiction.” The truth is I have lived a life of LEGENDARY simplicity.  By fault or plan I have had very few things for most of my life and as a matter of fact, most of my life has had very little to do with the things in it.

I find life more entertaining, elegant and happy when I have fewer belongings.  I am always amazed at the people who spend most of their lives slaving away at their jobs, saving their money and planning their retirement – AND – complaining about how little time they have in their lives and at the same time how much junk they have.

I often hear people say things like, “If I only had more time in the day..I can’t wait to retire.. if I only had more money..if I could only find more time to relax..” and on and on.  When you try to tell them to change their job or their plans or their life they will say, “Oh, I’d like to.. my spouse would never let/accept.. I’m too young.. I’m too old.. I’m too deep in debt.. after I pay off my house or car or tv or the next big thing I buy that will strap me to this spot or this job for the rest of my life… then I’ll look into a different lifestyle.”

I’m not against working hard (if it involves a follow-up play hard or relax hard moment).  I’m also not against owning items.  I have a computer, ipad, ipod, random other things in my home that I love and would hate to lose.  However, if I did lose them it would not destroy me.  I refuse to let the things I own – own me.  I am lucky right now to have what I want in my life, but if given a choice, I would chose to have time over money, travel and friends over things.

The one thing that can sometimes be difficult to let go of is the internal turmoil, the everyday stresses or the financial worries.  Having less can also provide stress and emotional imbalance.  In the past two years I have found a way to release even some of those problems.  I call it extreme activity.  This allows you to fall into extreme bliss which leads you back to extreme simplicity.  Possibly Legendary Simplicity.  Not everyone would agree with me, as a matter of fact, many have begun to think I’m crazy for it.  Maybe so, but it’s just one more idea to put away in your little future chest of maybe one day I will”.

Stay young – live long. Peace. (clink the links)

Canopy in Ecuador – Flying like a bird, through the trees.  In control but not.  Jungle beauty. Sounds below you – swish of metal on rope above.  High above the trees.  Bouncing – fast – slow – upside down.  Belly jumping.  Laughing.  Nervous. Laughing. Happy.  Calm.  Release. Memories

Skydiving in Venezuela – (tandem of course) –

Dropping.  Falling.  Extreme letting go.  Brain goes empty, everything is beautiful.  Calmness envelopes the body and mind.  No worries, no bills, no drama.  There is sound but it’s a loud rushing sound like a waterfall, like a hard rain, like a windy day.  Life and sight rushing by.  How long?  I don’t know. Chute opens pulling you towards the sun. So fast the air leaves your lungs.  Pause. Floating.  The world lays before you.  Total in its beauty.  Unmarred.  Serene. Closer – closer.  Then quickly you touch the ground.  You breathe again. You’ve been breathing the entire time but at the same time holding your breath.  Nothing again will be the same.

Canyoning in Venezuela – (2 more links) 2nd link , 3rd link – Scared, hot, cold, falling, jumping, sliding, wet.  Energy, Exhaustion and Emotion.  Rushing water.  Drowns thought. High-low-tired-wide awake.  Heart racing.  No worries only the moment.  No thinking only moving.  Laughter. Fear. Laughter. Memories.

Rafting in Barinas, Venezuela Tranquil. Floating. Momentary rush. Popping, Falling, Jumping, Pressing, Screaming, Laughing.  Heart racing – muscles burning. Mind high. Jungle around you.  Instructions = movement.  Movement = rush.  No worries.  Unity. Teamwork. Cooperation. Happy. Wet. Memories.

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Guamanchi Tours – Merida, Los Llanos, Barinas, Los Nevades

Skydivevenezuela – Aeropuerto de Higuerote, Miranda, Venezuela