Category Archives: travel thoughts

Taking on Switzerland

10 May 17
Heidi Kumm
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Taking on Switzerland

I’m back! Back in Switzerland + on my way back to the tiny mountain town I fell in love with a few years ago. I booked my flight to Switzerland as soon as I accepted that winter job in the Colorado Rockies last October. As ridiculous as it seems, I was legitimately concerned I’d get a “real job” [seasonal as it was] + forget how to leave the country. My crazy doesn’t always make sense, but this time it got me back to Switzerland so I won’t apologize for it!

After van-tripping around Iceland I hopped on a plane to Switzerland to start a summer in the Alps. I’ve been in Zurich for a week. An uneventful week, for the most part. I’ve been nursing a cold [the only souvenir I brought back from Iceland, ironically] + dodging even more raindrops. Yes, more rain. Mother Nature’s tears have been following me around the world + each country I end up in. I need to start plotting a way to cheer her up…soon!

My time in Zurich has been spent wandering city streets, sleeping in, eating $32 burgers, reading books, drinking $8 lattes, writing memories, pondering life + slowly going stir crazy. Of all the big cities I’ve been in, Zurich is easily one of my favorite [I think Vienna still wins]. Even so, this girl can only take so many days surrounded by concrete + asphalt.

This past weekend was a nice break from the big city. I tagged along with friends + friends of friends down to southern Switzerland for a few days. We crashed a family’s BBQ, indulged in an Italian meal whipped up by Swiss-Italians, drove insanely steep + windy mountain roads, watched street hockey tournaments, ate homemade cheese in the barn it was produced in + wandered wanderwegs. It wasn’t what I expected, but it was kind of awesome! More importantly, it was a weekend I would have never been able to pull off on my own! I was just the girl along for the ride. I rarely had any idea what the game plan was, even when I was the one driving! Language barriers are real. Very real.

Surprisingly, my fluency in German did not magically increase while I was gone. Last weekend, I also learned that even my shoddy Spanish is more useful than English when surrounded by Italian speaking Swiss. It’s also been hypothesized that being fluent in Italian makes you a good chef. I may need to spend some more time testing this hypothesis, which I’m okay with!

At the moment, I’m surrounded by bits + pieces of my gear + clothes. Everything is nearly packed up. Mostly. I’m almost ready. I am about to break this constant cycle of packing, unpacking + repacking. In about an hour I’ll be on a train headed west…to Gryon. Tonight I’ll crash my head into a pillow under the roof of Chalet Martin. I can. not. wait. My heart is ready to chase happy in the mountains + my brain is begging for a little more structure + responsibility in my every day life.

There is a lot to love about Switzerland, no doubt. However, the time I spent volunteering at this hostel that I came back for + that I’m craving. I’m here for the relaxed mountain life, surrounded by people with rich histories + ambitious futures in the mountains. The Alps. I really don’t think my mom had any idea how appropriate of a name “Heidi” would end up being for me… [thanks, Mom!]

Iceland; By the Dollars

09 May 17
Heidi Kumm
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We did minimal planning prior to hopping on a plane to Iceland. From time to time we’d talk about sitting down to plan. Every once in a while I’d scroll through a list of “5 must visit” or “8 best” list looking at photos + cocking an eyebrow at the Icelandic words. About a month before we showed up at the airport we decided we at least needed to find a place to sleep. A few Google searches + a colorful pros/cons list later we had our camper van booked. We also made reservations at a hotel in Reykjavik for our final nights in Iceland.

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Iceland; One Stop at a Time

08 May 17
Heidi Kumm
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I spent a week in Iceland this spring, almost on accident. When I was searching for flights to Switzerland last fall I realized it was cheaper to fly through Iceland on Iceland Air than directly to mainland Europe. The airline’s website didn’t have to do much prompting to get me to book a “stayover” for the full 7 days. Once my flight was booked I spent a few months talking Robb into coming along to explore the island. Eventually, he gave in.

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When Being Alone Gets Lonely

05 Oct 16
Heidi Kumm
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15 comments
feeling-lonely

whenbeing-alonegets-lonely

Maybe it’s just me and the network for nomadic friends I have acquired over the years but my social media platforms seems to be full of articles about “being alone isn’t lonely” or “being alone makes me feel powerful” + other stories about how being alone isn’t a bad thing. All of those things are true.

However, sometimes being alone really does get lonely.

It’s true + it’s okay. It’s not a bad thing, it’s a real life thing. More importantly, it’s not something that just those of us literally on our own feel. Even people in long-term relationships, living with family + surrounded by a strong community feel lonely. Rather than try to deny or hide that let’s admit it, embrace it + let ourselves grow from it.

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The Mountain Loop Highway

20 Jul 16
Heidi Kumm
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one comments

I’m back in the van! After two weeks of hot showers, a full kitchen + easy access internet I have returned to my nomadic life in the TETON Sports #yourlead van. And…I was really excited to get back into the van. I was ready to move again. The van must have felt the urge to tone down my giddiness because it has been throwing things at me since the moment I pointed it east for the second leg of my trip.

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The Explosive Pacific Northwest

15 Jul 16
Heidi Kumm
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Did you know the pacific northwest is full of volcanoes + craters, courtesy of a very explosive history with Mother Nature? Yea, it is. I mean, I survived high school, I do have some smarts so I am aware of the fact there is a lot of tectonic activity on the west coast. I just had no idea how much volcanic activity there was over here + how much it affected the landscape. Here, let me show you…

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Trails of Tahoe

11 Jul 16
Heidi Kumm
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A handful of weeks ago Tanya + I pointed the #yourlead van toward Lake Tahoe for a few days of trail roaming + wifi-poaching. I could explain all the little details, boring you to sleep…or I can toss a few numbers + handful of photos at you. I’m willing to be you prefer the latter anyway, so if you promise not to judge my lazy version of “recapping” enjoy the basics of our trip to Lake Tahoe!

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From the Bottom to the Top

07 Jul 16
Heidi Kumm
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Life in the #yourlead van did not slow down after our trek into the Grand Canyon. Sure, we took the afternoon off to rest up [+ digest the massive burgers we inhaled] but we were back at it the next day. A quick stop by the Flagstaff airport had Robb running away from me + Tanya pretending not to know me as the van rocked out to some Spice Girls. Bring on the next adventure!

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Moving…Into the TETON Sports Van!

13 Jun 16
Heidi Kumm
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11 comments

Life is a little crazy + has a way of taking you by surprise, even when you plan all of the chaos months in advance. In the past 24 hours I have traveled from Monterrey, Mexico to Guadalajara, Mexico to Las Vegas, Nevada to Salt Lake City, Utah to Silverthorne, Colorado. I am now as close to “home” as I’ll get until I make the trek back to Wisconsin. My gear is here, there is ice cream in the freezer, the trails are dry-ish + Max was happy to see me!

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Monterrey’s Mountains: Cerro de la Silla

11 Jun 16
Heidi Kumm
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one comments

The city of Monterrey is surrounded by mountains, lots of them. They aren’t exceptionally high mountains so you won’t need to worry about elevation but they are steep. Really steep + the trails don’t exactly “switch back” so you’re often hiking straight up the mountainside.

The biggest obstacle I’ve had while attempting to explore the mountains down here is the complete lack of trail markings or obvious trailheads. But, through trail + error I’ve found a few routes up Cerro de la Silla, the iconic ridge of summits you see in a lot of Monterrey photos.

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