May 31, 2014

Free Spirit Saturday: Amber McDermid

Today's feature is on the visionary of Opal + Wonder, the young lady who adores animals, cats, in particular; the young lady who is sitting on a plane right now flying to Maine to start her 2,180 mile trek on the Appalachian Trail; the young lady who makes her dreams a reality.  I (Jodi) am elated to feature the Owner/Creator of Opal + Wonder, Amber McDermid, as our Free Spirit Saturday! 
Advance confidently in the direction of your dreams; live the life you have always imagined. – Henry David Thoreau 

This sincere, sunny Scorpio was born and raised in the Great Smoky Mountains where her love for the outdoors, people, and animals manifested.  Amber displays an infectious love for all three; her reviews from the people she has encountered, her actions and pledges for the outdoors and animals speak volumes for her loving nature.   I unfortunately have only known Amber for a little over two years now, but her friendship and presence has forever left an imprint on my life.  She is a silent warrior, keeping fairly quiet only to observe and soak in all that is going on around her.  She takes life day-by-day not letting the insecurities of the future hinder any vision or dream she creates.  She is a believer, a wife, a sister, and a friend.  She is so many things to so many people.  Amber always sees the light, and it shines!

As I mentioned above, Amber is on a plane flying to Maine to start the Appalachian Trail (SOBO!) with her husband, Stacey, her father, Rick, her brother, Tucker, and her cousin, Luke.  Opal +Wonder plans to keep everyone updated on their walk through the longest continuous marked footpath in the world starting at Mount Katahdin, Maine and ending at Springer Mountain, Georgia .  Amber is excited to call the trail home for the next six months. 

O+W: So your departure for the Appalachian Trail is quickly approaching, what kind of feelings do you have about this adventure?

AM: It’s a magical feeling when you can literally feel a dream coming true. I mainly feel weightless with a slight sense of disbelief and anxiousness. I have worked hard for this moment and it just feels like my body is letting out one long, beautiful sigh. It’s happening and I’m ready to welcome the adventure.

O+W: When did you decide thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail was something you wanted to do?

AM: I remember the exact moment when the desire to thru-hike tugged at my heart.  It was in the summer of 2010. My dad and I were at the Backpacker “Get Out More” tour and I was listening to them talk about how to properly pack a backpack. I remember thinking how amazing it would be to travel with all of my belongings on my back. On the way home I told Dad that I would hike the AT with him. It had been his dream a long time before then. I knew it was only a matter of time before It would happen.

O+W:  How long did you prepare/train? What did you do?

AM: I haven’t done any special training to prepare physically other than nightly headstands to strengthen my shoulders. It took about 2 months to pack up all of our belongings and take them to storage (aka my in-laws), purchase all necessary gear we were missing, forward bills/ tie up loose ends.

O+W: How have you mentally prepared for this trek?

AM: I have mentally prepared mainly by researching. I have read blogs, books and watched documentaries to learn what to expect on the trail. I highly recommend Appalachian Trials blog for anyone who is considering thru hiking.

O+W: What are you looking forward to the most about the Trail?

AM: Simple living and being completely in my element. Oh, and getting a trail name!

O+W: What are your fears?

AM: I’m not the type of person who worries, so I don’t really have that many fears regarding our adventure. However, if I let myself think about it, my fears might go something like this: forgetting important gear, something happening to take me /my family off the trail, getting sick, getting hurt, running out of money, not liking trail life, my sweet mom being home without us, my cats going missing or getting so hungry that I eat McDonalds. Yeah, something like that. Fears limit you from living though so I just choose not to think like that.

O+W: What do you hope to take from this experience?

AM: Personal and Spiritual Growth.

O+W: What are you excited to see on the trail?

AM: Critters! Amazing views and landscapes. Oh and Stacey’s mountain man hair :P

O+W: How do you plan to keep a positive outlook when you face adversity?

AM: Remembering that suffering is only temporary and it can always be worse. Hopefully letters from home as well!


O+W: How much weight are you carrying?

AM: My base weight is 28lbs. That’s everything minus food, water and fuel. So I’ll usually be lugging around 30-32lbs around.

O+W: Provide a summary of the gear you are taking:  (backpack, apparel, gidgets and gadgets)


Gear: Osprey Ariel, Leki Trekking Poles, Jetboil Sol Ti, Sawyer water filter, Black Diamond head lamp, rope, bug net, Black Diamond gators, Luci solar lantern, Gerber pocket knife, cup, bowel, spork

Clothes: Patagonia Capilene base layers, Columbia light weight fleece, Patagonia down jacket, Patagonia rain jacket, 2 tech tees, Prana zip off pants, 1 pair of shorts, Sierra Designs rain pants, 3 pair of Exofficio underwear, 4 pairs of socks, Solomon Speedcross trail runners, Chacos, buff

Personal: Dr.Bronners soap, tampons, medicines, nail clippers, tweezers, ipad mini, book, journal, phone, headphones, guidebook/map
 O+W: What kind of tent are you taking?  (all things sleepy time-sleeping bag, pad, etc.)

AM: My humble abode for 6 months will be a Nemo Obi3p complete with a Thermarest NeoAir xlite, eXped air pillow, Sea-to-Summit Thermolite Extreme Reactor and 35 degree Mountain Hardware sleeping bag.


O+W: Favorite three musical artists…ready…go!

AM: Bah! I love so much music, but I will always hold a special spot in my heart for Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Bob Marley, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Mamas and the Papas and O.A.R. ( I realize that is more then 3, sorry)

O+W: Favorite writers?

AM: Henry David Thoreau, my sister, Mary Oliver and C.S.Lewis

 O+W: What does a free spirit mean to you?

AM: Not conforming to other people’s ideas of how you should live life; Being open, spontaneous and welcoming; Feeding your soul with whatever it needs.

O+W: Favorite festival: any year in particular?

AM: Bonnaroo 2010 with my sister. Floyd Fest 2013 comes in second.

O+W: Favorite concert you’ve seen to date.

AM: I followed O.A.R. and Ozomatli in the Summer of 2008 and got to talk to them after each of the shows. The played a set in a park at Raleigh, NC that was pretty amazing.  

O+W:  Philosophy on life:

AM: I believe in living a life you love, even if it means small paychecks. I believe in growing your roots. I believe that in order to be happy and feel good you must do good. So be kind to all living things even if it means going out of your way. Be kind to your body; eat clean, exercise and rest. I believe God has a plan so don’t sweat the small stuff.  I believe that everything is connected. We are all in this together.

Happy Trails! I can't wait to hear about your experiences! Sending our love, good vibes, and prayers the whole 2,180 miles!
If you would like to keep in touch with the McDermid/Adams clan on their journey, you can subscribe to blog or check out any of the social media sites listed below.  

Follow Amber's adventure

Check out Opal + Wonder

Airport Struggles

Hey guys! Amber, here. Hope your morning has been better than ours. 
This photo was taken at 6:15am today just before the flight to Bangor, ME. Unfortunately, Stacey and I missed the flight because my reservation was made with my maiden name. (Lesson learned) We spent the next hour running around like crazy people trying to figure out how to get to Bangor. We finally gave in and bought 2 over priced one way tickets with Delta. Dad, Tucker, Luke and our packs are currently on thier way. Phew, long crazy morning!! Thanks John and Tanja for staying by our side. It's been a bumpy start, but it all makes for a good story! Let the adventure begin. 
Over and out from gate 5 at Tyson McGee. 

May 30, 2014

Gear List

We have had a lot of people ask about the gear we are taking on our trip so I decided to share it on the blog. Luckily, I have a super duper organized husband that created an insanely detailed spreadsheet with everything that will go in our packs. In addition to everything below, we will be caring food, water, fuel, hygiene items (not much) and personal items such as a book, camera and journal. 
We just did our 2nd and final shakedown. Stacey’s pack is at 45 pounds and mine is at 32 lbs without fuel and water. YIKES! 

We fly out tomorrow morning before sunrise. Can’t wait to lug this pack up to Katahdin! 

What Amber Is Carrying
Type Brand Gear Name Actual Weight Cost
Sleeping Pad Thermorest NeoAir Xlite (Large) 16 ounces $179.95
Sleeping Bag Liner Sea To Summit Thermolite Reactor (Extreme) 14 ounces $66.95
Pillow Exped UL Air Pillow (Medium) 1.6 ounces $49.00
Sleeping Bag  Mountain Hardwear Lamina 35*  (Regular) "Green" 38.4 ounces $180.00
Pack Osprey  Ariel 55 Liter 4lbs 6 ounces $259.95
Bathroom Towel Sea To Summit Pocket Towel "Kiwi" (Large) 3.9 ounces $21.95 (2)
Pack Covers Osprey  UL Raincover "Titanium" (Large) 4.5 ounces $39.00 (2)
Face Towel Rei Mini Multi Towel " Hyper Blue" 0.8 ounces $7.00
Headlamp Black Diamond  Gizmo "Vibrant Orange" 2 ounces $19.95
Sandals Chaco Unaweep Z1 / ZX2 1lb 14 ounces $99.95)
Spikes Yaktrax Walkers (Small & Medium) 4 ounces $19.95
Bug Nets Sea To Summit Head Net w/ Insect Shield 1.3 ounces $12.95
Food Bowl Sea To Summit Delta Bowl w/ Lid "Pacific Blue" 2 ounces $9.95
Shoe Solomon (Size 7) Speedcross 3 "Bordeaux/Dynamic/Papaya" 1lb 3.8 ounces $125.00
Trekking Poles Leki  Makalu Speedlock 19.8 ounces $119.95
Spoon,Fork,Spatula JetBoil JetSet Utensil Kit "Grey/Orange" 1.3 ounces $9.95
Gaiters Black Diamond  GTX FrontPoint Gaiters (Small) 8.9 ounces $69.95
Cooking Stove Jetboil  Sol Titanium 8.5 ounces $149.95
Cooking Pot GSI Outdoor Pinnacle Soloist Cookset 10.9 ounces $44.95
Water Filter Sawyer Squeeze Filter (32 oz) w/ Bottle 3 ounces $39.95
Water Bottles Platypus SoftBottle (34 oz) "Blue / Red" 1.2 ounces $8.95
Water Bottle Platypus SoftBottle (17 oz) "Clear" 0.8 ounces $7.95
Sock Smartwool PHD Running Ultra Lite Micro (Medium) $15.95 (2)
Sock FITS Medium Hiker Crew (Medium) $20.99
Sock Smartwool  Long Wool Sock?
Sports Bra Patagonia Capilene Mesh A/B  $35.00 (2)
Baselayer Top Patagonia Capilene 3 Midweight Zip-Neck Top $65.00
Baselayer Bottom Patagonia  Merino 2 Lightwight Long Underwear $90.00
Underwear Exofficio Give-N-Go Bikini Briefs "Brown/Black/Cream" $18.00 (3)
Gloves North Face  Etip $45.00
Shirt Mountain Hardwear DryHiker T-Shirt  $45.00
Shirt Rei Sport T-Shirt  $24.50
Shorts Patagonia Happy Hiker $49.00
Pants Prana Sage Convertible "Coal" $85.00
Rain Pants Sierra Designs Microlight $37.00
Buffs Polar &  UV High (Mosiac) $30.00/$23.00
Rain Jacket Patgonia H2NO Lightweight 
Primoloft Jacket Patagonia Nano Puff w/Hood
Fleece Columbia Micro Fleece
What Stacey Is Carrying
Type Brand Gear Name Actual Weight Cost
Shoe Solomon (Size 9) Speedcross 3 CS "Dark Cloud/Light Grey/Flea" 1lb 6 ounces $145.00
Sleeping Pad Thermorest  RidgeRest Solite "Silver" (Regular) 14 ounces $29.95
Pack Covers Osprey  UL Raincover "Titanium" (Large) 4.5 ounces $39.00 (2)
Bathroom Towel Sea To Summit Pocket Towel "Kiwi" (Large) 3.9 ounces $21.95 (2)
Headlamp Black Diamond  Storm "Dark Shadow" 3.9 ounces $49.95
Spikes Yaktrax Walkers (Small & Medium) 4 ounces $19.95
Trekking Poles Coleman  Aluminum Anti Shock  20.8 ounces $29.99
Sleeping Bag Liner Sea To Summit Thermolite Reactor "Black" 8.1 ounces $56.95
Face Towel PackTowel Nano (Medium) "Orange" 0.9 ounces $9.95
Pillow Cocoon UltraLight Air-Core (Medium) 5.8 ounces $29.95
Food Bowl Sea To Summit Delta Bowl w/ Lid "Pacific Blue" 2 ounces $9.95
Spoon & Spork Sea To Summit Alpha Light Spoon & Spork 0.4 / 0.3 ounces $8.95/$6.95
Sleeping Bag North Face  Wasatch 40* "Red" (Regular) 46.4 ounces $69.00
Bug Nets Sea To Summit Head Net w/ Insect Shield 1.3 ounces $12.95
Sandals Chaco Unaweep Z1 / ZX2 1lb 14 ounces $99.95
Gaiters Rei Trail Light Gaiters (Small) 6 ounces $29.50
Tent Nemo Obi 3p  4.7lbs $470.00
Water Bottles Platypus SoftBottle (34 oz) "Blue / Red" 1.2 ounces $8.95
Water Bottle Platypus SoftBottle (17 oz) "Clear" 0.8 ounces $7.95
Survival Blanket/Tarp Sol Sport Utility Blanket 15.5 ounces $21.95
Fire Starter Gerber Bear Grylls Fire Starter 2.6 ounces $15.00
Utility Tool Leatherman OHT Multitool 9.9 ounces $84.95
Lamp MPOWERD Luci Solar Light 4 ounces $14.99
Sock Smartwool  PHD Running Ultra Light Mini (Long) $17.95
Sock Smartwool  PHD Running Ultra Light Mini (Short) $15.95
Sock Fits Light Hiker Crew "Cream" $19.99
Sock Fits Light Hiker Crew "Dark Blue" $19.99
Smartwool  Crew "Brown" $18.95
Smartwool  Crew "Green" $18.95
Underwear Exofficio  Give-N-Go Sport Boxer Brief "Black/Red" $30.00
Underwear Exofficio  Give-N-Go Boxer Brief "Black" $26.00
Underwear Exofficio  Give-N-Go Boxer Brief "Blue" $26.00
Underwear Exofficio  Give-N-Go Boxer Brief "Grey" $26.00
Baselayer Columbia Baselayer Midweight Mock Neck (Long) $55.00
Baselayer Columbia Baselayer Midweight Tight Bottom w/fly $55.00
Pants Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible $60.00
Shorts Gateway Canyons Shorts "Black" Free
Shorts Gateway Canyons Shorts "Black" Free
Rain Pants Patagonia  Torrentshell H2NO $99.00
Shirt (Wicking) North Face
Shirt (Wicking) Nike
Soccer Jersey England National Team Jersey
Baselayer Patagonia  Merino 1 Silkweight Crew (long) "Grey" $70.00
North Face Thermoball $199.00
Fleece Arc'Teryx Delta LT "Blue" $129.00
Fleece Mountain Hardwear Microchill Zip T $55.00
Headwear Buff Polar $30.00
Headwear Buff UV High $23.00
Headwear Buff Orignial (Nat Geo Edition) $20.00

May 27, 2014

Press Play: Truth by Alexander

This beautiful song is a testament to our imperfect selves. Each of us have qualities and flaws we would love to change. We all have a shadow- a dark side, an ego or a past  that we often mask or try to forget. However, even in our darkness we are beautiful individuals and we are still able to SHINE. The “truth” is that we must accept ourselves as a whole and just as the song goes “have faith in ourselves” to move into the light. 

Enjoy! And love your yin yang self! 

May 25, 2014

Land of the Free Because of the Brave

"No one has greater love than a person who lays down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

Source: pinterest

Let us remember all of the brave souls who have made sacrifices so we can live in freedom. They are true heroes and deserve to be honored daily. 

May 20, 2014

Trail Days 2014

Well, we can mark one thru-hiker tradition off the list! This past weekend was the annual Appalachian Trail Days in Damascus, VA and since we are thruhiking this year we got to walk in the hiker parade! I must say the Class of 2014 seems wild and crazy! In the words of Rick Adams, "is there no decency?!" Hahaha, it's going to be a trip!!

The parade was a highlight of Trail Days this year and I'm so glad we were able to experience it with our family and friends! Thanks everyone for your love and support! You make our little world go round.

May 15, 2014

Free Spirit: Zack Turner

Happy Free Spirit Saturday! 

We are super excited to introduce this lovable addition to the O + W Free Spirit family. Meet, Zack Turner, a 23 year old Libra living in the Rocky Mountains. He has this great positive energy that feels like your soul is being hugged. He lights the world up with his personality, warmth and kindness. The way he loves life is such an inspiration. One day is working at outdoor store the next day he might be working on a farm. Whatever he is doing, he makes the best of it. I encourage you to read the little pieces of his life that he has shared with us! Highlights include: Zack’s job as a bud-tender, his trip to India and the longest he went without a shower.

Life Motto: If there’s one thing I know, it’s that I will never know enough.

Current dwelling: Of course, as a “free spirit” you caught me in-between dwellings :p for two weeks I will be living in a spiritual retreat center referred to as the “foam dome” It’s a large private dwelling that has been molded into a cave like atmosphere where zero corners exist to prevent stagnant and negative energy from getting trapped in the house. It’s one of the coolest properties I have ever visited because of the awesome energy and wild architecture. There is a traditionally and ceremonially resurrected tipi and sweat lodge on property, as well as a yurt and two beautiful fire pits nestled on the blue river in Silverthorne Colorado. The gentleman who built this vision and the house is named Boot who I think just celebrated his 90th birthday and still lives in the foam dome. The rest of the inhabitants are other fellow travelers and transient beings.

After my two weeks in the dome, my best friend and love, is moving to Colorado and bringing a 1972 airstream with him. We accepted positions as campground hosts and we’re setting up our airstream for 5 months in the desert surrounded by sagebrush, the Rocky Mountains, and the Green Mountain Reservoir. We purchased the airstream nearly gutted so we look forward to customizing and renovating the space.

Current occupation: I am currently a bud-tender at High Country Healing, which is just a fancy way of saying that I sell marijuana products legally. But the realms of my responsibilities extend way beyond just selling cannabis flowers and edibles to recreational and medical users. As a bud-tender I have to act mostly as an educator, relaying information to patients to assist them in finding the right bud for their condition. We have patients that come in for issues like insomnia, pain, epilepsy, eating disorders, etc., and each strain has specific cannabinoids that might be good for one thing, and not so good for another. It’s a lot of learning and researching each strain to best help each individual that has chosen an organic alternative to pharmaceuticals. 

Opal + Wonder: What does being a free spirit mean to you?
Zach Turner: Doing what you want to do, chasing your curiosities, and finding adventure in everything.

O+W: I have so much fun looking at your photos from your adventures. I'd love to hear about some of your favorite places. 
ZT: I’ve got a really soft spot in my heart and a never-ending urge to keep returning to India, so that’s definitely top-of-the-list material. It’s a powerful place to grow in any direction you please, whether it be growing more spiritual, more healthy, more conscious, or more sustainable, or pretty much any other aspect of yourself that you can grow on. Some of my most special moments were spent in days of silence at a meditation retreat, working in a raw food restaurant where a large portion of the food used I helped grow, and spending time in several different guru’s ashrams. I’ve done a lot of traveling, but India has definitely assisted me in becoming a better person on so many levels so I give it a lot of credit. Other countries I’ve visited include, Thailand, Costa Rica, Amsterdam, Peru, Mexico, France, Italy, Spain, Singapore, and Turks & Caicos. My passport says I have been to Germany, but I haven’t.

O+W: Did you have any “aha” moments during any of your many travel experiences?
ZT: I have a journal full of “aha” moments! But a large theme of my travels has been centered around environmental and personal sustainability. In the states sustainability is often a hard concept to grasp because we are surrounded by unsustainable practices…everywhere. Traveling around India I was spending most of my time in extremely rural areas. These cultures don’t have any other option but to be super sustainable and live with the earth. A lot of my "aha" moments were just realizing the beauty of the planet, other cultures, and how small we are in the grand scheme of things

O+W: First concert you went to –
ZT: I think one of my first concerts was weird al. I was in fourth or fifth grade I think? Weird indeed!

O+W: Let’s talk festivals. What is your favorite festival you've been to?
ZT: My #1 festival to date is called Gratifly. It’s a transformational festival, which balanced the music, art, spirituality, and community like the yin and yang. Most festivals I have encountered are centered around over indulgence, partying your face off, and mindlessness, where as gratifly was truly emanating compassion, transformation, and unity. It’s in South Carolina in a community called Avon right on a river you can relax in. There's a fairy forest to wander around in, a waterfall to sit in, and a dome that looks like a jelly fish! 

O+W: Name 3 things you believe in. 
ZT: Vibrations, Alternative healing, Universal magnetism

O+W: Someone just gave you $15,000. What are you going to do with it?
ZT: Burning Man then move back to India.

O+W: Fill in the blank. The world would be a much happier place if ________.
ZT: If people would show some damn compassion

O+W: What is your favorite article of clothing?
ZT: Does a satchel count as an article of clothing? I’m all about satchels. If satchels aren’t included, I’m all about this jacket that’s made out of dashiki material with a wizard hood on it. satchels and wizard hoods, cant get enough of them.

O+W: Favorite room in your house and why- 
ZT: I’m always drawn to the kitchen. There’s food and it seems to always be the community hang out in whatever house I am living in at the time. Also I really enjoy the whole process of cooking, so it’s gotta be the kitchen!

O+W: What is the longest you’ve went without a shower ?
ZT: It was either 3 or 4 weeks while on a sea kayaking trip around the San Juan Islands in Washington State. All of us were pretty ripe after that trip, but it’s crazy experiencing the effects of natural hygiene and watching as our body return to it’s natural state without all of the artificial products that we use to clean ourselves

O+W: If you could have one super hero power what would it be?
ZT: I would totally want the power to be like a super healer or something shaman like where I could wave my hands and do a dance and people would be fixed

O+W: What are your summer plans?
ZT: I guess just hanging around the green mountain reservoir and working at the dispensary. I’ll probably make my way to a few festivals but other than that I don’t have any major plans.

Keep up with with Zack on: 
Facebook + Instagram

May 8, 2014

TBT: Floyd Fest

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Festival Season is upon us!

Like any free spirit, we LOVE festivals. Music festivals, art and craft festivals, hiker festivals, food festivals- we love them all! And since we are leaving for Shaky Knees in the morning, we thought it would be appropriate to do a Throw Back Thursday- FESTIVAL STYLE!

Today’s TBT takes us back to Floyd Fest. Last year Jodi and I had the opportunity to experience our first trip to Floyd Fest together. And we had a complete blast! We love reminiscing on these old memories before we create some new ones!

Hike in camping! As many problems our little red wagon gave us, we loved camping in the woods. Unlike, Bonnaroo and other festivals where you are right on top of your neighbor and their car.

Lounging in the hammock we set up across a stream . . .

while we watched the boys play on the slackline.

We couldn’t pass up taking a group photo with the giant “LOVE."

Hanging out in the beer garden.

Hanging out in the beer garden some more.

YOGA! The yoga class we took was amazing and inspiring. It felt so good to stretch after dancing all night and then sleeping on the ground.

Getting dirty in the mud.

Oh the mud . . .

Other memories that were not captured due to living completely in the moment include:

Silent disco dancing, standing hours in the torrential rain pour, shopping at the magical crystal both, hula hooping, making prayer flags, jamming to the Lumineers, Edward Sharpe and The Devil Makes Three and frequently visiting the organic farmers market.

Bring on Shaky Knees!! Anyone else going?

May 7, 2014

Hunting + Gathering for Inspiration

Average life is so completely uninspiring. Doing the same thing each week, seeing the same people, listening to the same music. Yes, we humans are creatures of habit. We look forward to our daily rituals, myself included; however, sometimes our habits hinder us from experiencing moments. We stick to what is familiar and comfortable to us which often leads us to a big fat dead end. We get stuck in ruts and pray someone will pull us out. 
Well if you are feeling dull and are bored with your life, it is up to you to do something about it! Don’t sit around waiting for a gust of inspiration to pick you up because it may not ever come. Be thankful when the world drops inspiration in your lap. Because most of the time it is up to us to search for it. We must hunt and gather to stay inspired! 
So where do we look? Where can we find inspiration? My favorite places to find inspiration are people. My oldest source is my best friend, Lillie. She radiates creativity. Connecting and sharing ideas with people are my first go-to during my inspiration hunt. I feel my best when I spend time with my creative friends— the writers, the photographers, the idealists, the painters, the musicians. They feed my hungry creative heart! 
Other sources to gather inspiration: 
  • Places- go somewhere. Maybe here or here or here. Allow your eyes to see new things. Experience cultures! Awaken your wanderlust heart. 
  • Music- ALL music. Get tickets to concerts near you. Check out one of our spotify playlists. Or my personal favorite- youtube. It’s like listening to live music from the comfort of your couch. Here is my go-to video at the moment. It stirs my soul every single time. Guaranteed inspiration. 
  • Words- Poetry, your old journal, biographies, quotes- doesn’t matter. 
  • Your local neighborhood or coffee shop- these are sometimes the best. Take a walk around the block and go chat it up with some strangers. 
So the answer to the question really is, everywhere. You can find inspiration everywhere, but it is up to you to open your heart and let it take over. 
Live with a goal to inspire others and you will be inspired, I promise.
On days when your inspiration tank is running low, try to inspire someone else. I warn you- this is not easy. It takes a lot to even realize that you are in need of inspiration. This is clearly why it is important to stay inspired! Keep doing the things that make life interesting to you. If that is building statues out of your food, do it. If it is writing down your thoughts, do it. If it is driving the scenic route on the way home, do it. Think outside the box, open your mind, live anything but a boring life

May 4, 2014

Free Spirit Saturday: Kris Bible

I (Jodi) am happy to introduce our first male Free Spirit, a subjective Scorpio who has become drawn to the idea of simple living. Meet Kris Bible, a 27 year old, young at heart,  adventure-seeker, who was born and raised in Gatlinburg, TN! Gatlingburg is mostly known for Dolly Parton's Dollywood, but is also home to the most beautiful sights to be seen in the East.  The Great Smoky National Park is located at the end of Gatlinburg's downtown stretch.  The park is where this young man has conquered numerous mountain-tops, discovered paths unseen, captured images so beautiful they are indescribable. For the most part, the mountains are responsible for inspiring his various endeavors; the National Park has given him a vision for a life that is far from the norms of our society, but a life that brings a sense of ownership, freedom, and most importantly, happiness.  He envisions a life where we can back to the basics of simple living-being the cultivators of the food that fills our stomachs, the knowledge we acquire in our minds, the comradery of neighborhood, the love the respect we have for each other as individuals.  Most would argue that it is an unobtainable way of life, it is unreasonable...but at one point in time, that was the way of life.  It is quite beautiful to listen to someone speak of such an idea; an idea that appears so primitive to our modern world. 

"Too weird to live, too rare to die." -Hunter S. Thompson 

Opal and Wonder: What is your life motto?

Kris Bible: Difficulty lies in attempting to sum up one's "life motto" into a singular, coherent thought, line, or page; yet one phrase has lead me to being the person I am today..."So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12).  Surprise, I know...a bible verse.  However, this Law has never led me astray.  Never free of pain, heartache, temptation, but filled with many of enhanced every day moments, unbeknownst adventures, and a family larger than blood. 

O+W: Since I know reading is something you do...A LOT.  Lets talk about some of your favorite books (which I am proud I knew!), music and/or movies?

KB: So many good ones to have just one favorite, therefore I forgo my top three of each (listed above) Also, order does not imply favoritism.  
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Electric Kool-aid Acid Test by Hunter S. Thompson
 Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry to Values by Robert M. Pirsig

No Impact Man
Seven Pounds
Into the Wild

Rising Appalachia
The Doors 
Elephant Revival

O+W: As you discuss your favorite books (because I know you will), what is your favorite quote?

KB: Oh, you thought I was going to rant about 1984?! Hahaha.  My favorite quote?! That's a tough one...probably one of my favorites is from Hunter S. Thompson, "Too weird to live, too rare to die." 

O+W: Tell us your passions.  What matters most to you?

KB: Life.  That's really all that matters to me.  Without life...well, I'm not sure, but it would suck.  When I say, "life," I mean the opportunity to do what you see fit in the situation at hand.  Rather it be to hike a mountain, plant a garden, or go to kick-ass rager party.  Moments.  Life is nothing but an amazingly complicated, constantly changing, brutal, beautiful collections of moments. And it's the ones that are remembered that count.  

O+W: Tell us about how you live your life as a free-spirit, and what it means to you?  

KB: As I have been told by too many co-workers, I do what I want. No matter consequence, conclusion, or odds; if I set my mind on doing something, there’s not much that can stand in my way. To me, that very action defines being a free spirit.  

O+W: What inspired you to start  Chaos Made Sense in late 2013?  What is it about the type of photography you do that makes you want to share it? 

KB:  The only thing I do differently that most photographers do nowadays is I don’t edit. Besides that sharing my photography is a chance to show people how the world looks those eyes that look a little closer than most. There is nothing more powerful, beautiful, and humbling then to capture an image. Not to mention the high you get when some wants, like, or compliments something you hold so dear.

O+W: Describe the projects you are currently tackling?  Why did you decide to learn to build furniture? Or anything for that manner, hobby or genuine interest?  

KB: Ha! I lost count years ago, knowledge, I feel, doesn't sit docile waiting for someone to come find it.  Just like building furniture, photography, sign carving, gardening, and the countless others found me.  I never went looking for them.  The furniture building came from an almost limitless supply of materials: pallets, good-will, and recycling/re-purposing.

O+W: Where does your inspiration for your writings #hopefullywordstothewise come from?

KB: To be honest, #hopefullywordstothewise is my emotional outlet.  I use it as an opportunity to show people what I see is happening, what is wrong,  what is right in in how we live day-to-day.  People, both known and stranger alike, are my muse.  There are a few key players that have inspired me more than others, my favorite to mention  is Joanna Bigham aka J or pusspuss.  

O+W: Haha, thanks for that.  Discuss your philosophy on life. And the pursuit of happiness. Try not to get all political, rant-like :)

KB: Live it. Live it for you. Live it for your loved ones. Live it for your friends. Live it for the people you haven’t yet to meet. Live life as you if one day you will have to balance each moment on a scale of righteous. Make sure you do more good than bad. Not because you might go to “Hell” but because if you don’t then you suck.  

It is always interesting interviewing/writing a piece on someone that you have had the pleasure of knowing, loving, and watching grow during our experiences together.  Thank you again, Kris Bible for allowing me to share your views, humor, hopes, and dreams for your future, as well as others you encounter on this journey through life.  Life is so much more fun with you in it.  

If you would like to connect with Kris 
                                             Facebook: ChaosMadeSense
                                             Instagram: @chaoskris