8 ways my rescue dog rescued me

Driving home from Moab late at night in the spring of 2014, I was doing what we all do on long road trips: thinking. Something was missing in my life. I had just spent a week backpacking around the desert and had an unbelievable trip, but all I could think the entire time was how it would have been better with a companion. The next morning I took a trip to Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter in Bozeman, MT to “just look”. I don’t know much, but as soon as we caught each other’s eye I knew I had just met my soul hound. Waker has inflicted monumental impact on my every day life and this canine has made me a better human. I like to say I rescued my dog, but really, he rescued me. Or maybe, we rescued each other. The list of the ways he’s shaped my life is limitless, but here are eight lessons that only Wake dog could have taught me.

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  1. “We” is so much better than “I”.
    Waker is an every day constant now and no matter what it is, it’s about us, not just me anymore. Every decision I make is fueled by what’s best for him and he’s taught me that when you have a teammate in life, you must be considerate, selfless and mindful.

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  1. Dog really is the best co-pilot.
    Waker drastically changed my road trip game. We stop for lots of pee breaks and critter hunting in places I never would have explored alone. We have crossed state lines and time zones together, have witnessed the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets. I have seen so much more beauty because of him and for that I am fur-ever grateful.

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  1. It’s okay to put your head in a hole sometimes.
    Waker knows the best things in life aren’t always right in front of us nor are they easy to get. Sometimes we need to dig deep to find what we’re really looking for, just like catching critters.

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  1. You can get by with a little help from your best friend.
    Waker has seen my heart break, has watched me endure loss and has been there for significant life changes. I was on crutches for the better part of our first year together, but he didn’t let me sit around and think about it too much. He made me get up and get out to actually enjoy those days and suddenly, it wasn’t so bad.

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  1. It’s cool to be goofy.
    Waker is my little weirdo. He doesn’t do what other dogs do – he doesn’t play fetch, he doesn’t woof down his food at once and he only wants to cuddle on his terms. He walks to the wag of his own tail. He builds nests for himself all day long, he plays with his toys like they’re his actual friends and he catches more house mice than any cat on the block. He’s made me realize that the best thing to be is yourself, and its even better when you’re a little goofy.

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  1. Sharing your bed is a good thing to do.
    Waker likes to sleep like I do – in the middle of the bed with all the covers. We needed a few nights, but we finally agreed upon sleeping positions that accommodate both of us. That means he still gets the middle and I try not to fall off, but hey, it works for us and we’ve never slept better. He’s taught me that the greatest things, like sleep, are shared, and sharing is crucial for feeling fulfilled.

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  1. Take a look at the things around you.
    Waker wonders about everything he sees, listens to every sound he hears and takes his time to pee on everything he sniffs. Pausing to take a look at the things around me has enhanced my quality of life. Life is full of simple treasures and beauty is everywhere. Waker gets full credit for teaching me how important understanding this is.

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  1. Fall more in love every day.
    Waker makes me laugh, encourages me to remain patient and takes me on an unpredictable adventure every day. My heart is full of happiness because of him and each day I fall more and more in love with that boy.
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10 things to know about the Hiawatha trail

 #1. It’s a real thing

Opened in 1998, the Hiawatha trail is a 15-mile-long bike trail that operates out of Lookout Pass Ski Area right off of I-90 at exit 0. All amenities such as trail passes can be found at the ski area that opens at 8 a.m.  The actual main trail for the Hiawatha is actually located 7-miles east of the ski area at exit 5 in Montana. The trail is open roughly from the end of May and closes at the end of September every year.

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#2. You don’t need to own a bike to ride the Hiawatha Trail

Okay, that’s a lie, well only slightly. You do need a bike to ride the Hiawatha. However, you do not need to own one personally because you can rent one from the Lookout Pass ski area. Not only can you rent from two choices of mountain bikes for both children and adults, but you can also rent helmets, bike lights and bike trailers.

#3. You will never know what actual time it is

Because the Hiawatha trail main trailhead starts in Montana, but Lookout Pass ski area where you buy your ticket is in Idaho, and Idaho and Montana are in two different time zones it can get very confusing. Now you may be reading this and thinking that it’s logical to just reference Montana time because that’s where the trail starts. But actually half of the trail is in Idaho time because the first tunnel you bike through sends you straightunnamed-1 into Idaho from Montana. But then again be warned, I still don’t know this to be 100% because after riding the Hiawatha many times I still am very confused by the time concept.

#4. It’s fun for the whole family

Or in my case my best friend and I because we’re out of state college students.img_2858 But nonetheless, the Hiawatha trail is a perfect weekend outing for all ages. The 15-mile trail is mostly all downhill so it’s not as strenuous as 15 miles’ sounds. Along with this there are many pullout spots along the trail to take a break, take in the view and have a picnic.

#5. The views are incredible

I personally struggled with staying on the trail because of how pretty the scenery is. If you go later in the season, you’ll be able to see the trees begin to change color. So if you’re somebody who likes to look at everything but where you are going, go slow to avoid a spontaneous trip off the side of the trail.

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#6. There is a light at the end of the tunnel

One of the very cool things about the Hiawatha trail is that it use to a continental railroad system, and contains 7 sky high trestles along with 10 train tunnels. Right out of the gate, bikers will bike through the St. Paul Pass Tunnel which is 1.66 miles long. You will be totally consumed by darkness in this tunnel and it gets very cold. Unless you are Bane from the Dark Knight rises, it’s essential that you have a reliable and bright bike img_2848light, and no your IPhone flashlight will not suffice. It may sound scary to some, but the tunnels are one of the main attraction on the trail and an experience you don’t want to miss. Also, the acoustics in the St. Paul Pass tunnel will convince you that you should’ve auditioned for American Idol.

#7.  Make sure you pack the essentials

As a veteran of the Hiawatha trail I will tell you that it is much more fun if you pack the right things. Some of these necessities for ultimate fun on the trail include a helmet (everyone loves to be safe, also it’s required), gloves (the tunnels get very cold, so gloves come in clutch), a backpack (to hold all your snacks of course), snacks and a sack lunch (to fill your backpack of course. I also recommend img_2901packing a pb&j because it’s the one sandwich that taste best smashed), a bright light (if you have one, if not you can rent one), first aid kit (because better safe than sorry) and water (you’ve got to stay hydrated!). Also I recommend dressing in layers because some parts of the trail are more shaded then others which causes some to be colder than others.

#8. Always buy a shuttle pass

A shuttle pass is not required to buy because it’s possible to ride the 15 miles down to the bottom of the trail and then back up, and some people do this. However, from experience the 15 miles back up to the trailhead is a lot harder than the way down because, well, gravity. But when planning ahead purchasing a $9 shuttle pass so that you have the option to ride on the bus back up to the trailhead is never a bad idea. Better safe than sorry right? You never know what may happen to you on your 15-mile ride to the bottom. You may have plans to be an animal that day and go down and back up, but then realize you’re much more tired after the first half of the ride, or realize it took longer than you thought and you’re short on time. Like I said, it’s better safe than sorry, and also who doesn’t love fun facts and stories about the area provided to you by your very knowledge Hiawatha shuttle driver?  untitled-4

#9. Angels do exist on the Hiawatha trail

I recently learned on my past trip on the Hiawatha trail that angels exist. I was about 5 miles into the trail when tragedy struck and I popped a tire. I realized I was probably SOL because I never planned on popping a tire, because who plans on that? With ten more miles to go I began pedaling my sad self down the now extremely bumpy trail. After a mile or so on my embarrassing flat tire, a red haired angel pedaled up next to me on a blue bike and asked if I needed a replacement. Her name was Emma, or as I call her Angel Emma and she was one of the patrols on the trail that assisted the distressed like myself.  She quickly worked her magic and replaced my tire and sent me on my way. Thankfully Lookout Pass who operates the Hiawatha trail plans for people to have misfortunes down the trail.untitled-3

#10. Take your time on the trail and enjoy the ride

The Hiawatha trail has been dubbed the “crown jewel of rail to trail adventures” and a crown jewel of an adventure it is. Not only do you get to be outside exploring beautiful Montana Idaho but you get to be amongst other friendly cyclists! So enjoy the ride and take the whole day to experience it.

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Sad you missed your chance to ride the Hiawatha trail this season?

Because I know I would be if I missed it, but thankfully I didn’t! And because I didn’t you can experience parts of my ride in this short video.

Enjoy and visit www.ridethehiawatha.com for more information and to plan your trip next season!

 Have a hidden adventure you want to share?

Tell me about it!

Lace Up: Anyone Can Be A Runner

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 2.51.02 PM The amount of times I have heard “I’m not a runner” or “I’m not built like a runner, therefore I can’t run” has really started to piss me off and honestly, whoever I walked by this weekend saying these things, thank you for the inspiration to prove you all wrong.

I’ll start by being completely candid, I am a bit biased to the whole physical activity hoorah. I grew up playing competitive soccer up until the day I left for college. I mean, yes, it’s a lot of running and disciplined conditioning, but I never had to run longer than 3-4 miles at a time in those 15 years of playing. I should also add that each of those miles had to be in 7 minutes or less (the struggle was totally real).

Once college started, all concepts of physical activity went out the window and I was now struggling to run 1 mile, on a Sunday, while trying not to gag over the smell of Captain Morgan and Fireball seeping through my pores. Cool.

Freshman year ended and those attractive 15 pounds needed to go (this isn’t where running saved my life, I just got cut off of my campus meal plan when I moved out of the dorms). Exercise became important again and I was back in shape but I still couldn’t run more than 2 agonizing miles, maybe 3 on a good day.

IMG_8584Come Junior year I accepted an offer for an internship in Seattle and decided I should find things to do that would let me see the city in a unique way. This is where running made my life great. I signed up for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Seattle, by myself. Turns out I wasn’t alone, a few of my friends had already signed up and planned on taking a road trip to run as well. Training became fun as we increased our distance by one mile each Sunday and spent the majority of our runs singing and talking in very breathy sentences. Come race day, 13.1 miles never seemed so doable.

To make a long story longer, I caught the running bug. Since my first half in Seattle, I have completed two more half marathons, improving my time each time.

The point of this was to show that anyone can lace up some shoes and hit the pavement. I can’t lie like some Pinterest post and say it’s as easy as that. Running is an investment in your time, your body, and your wallet. Ugly running shoes changed the way I felt about running. YOU MUST INVEST IN UGLY RUNNING SHOES. My GPS watch complimented my competitive drive by keeping my pace (so that I wasn’t trying to run 7 minute miles for 13.1 miles straight) and my running belt was crucial for holding my phone, keys and ID. Looking the part makes performing the part so much easier.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 3.15.13 PMI’m not saying go sign up for five half marathons or to start out running 9 miles at a time. I challenge every one of you to start by going outside (weather is a horrible argument), plug in some pump-up tunes or grab a friend to distract you, and start off slow. If 1 mile is all you’ve got, then it’s one more mile than those sitting on the couch. Happy Running 🙂

*Serious about it? Comment below for more tips and help on joining a world wide community.

How to travel the air with comfort and style

Have you ever wondered while being on board of the plane how to make it more comfortable for you? Or maybe after the flight?
Thanksgiving break and Christmas holidays are quickly approaching and a lot of people will travel somewhere, probably home, on a trip, visit families and friends. As somebody who have traveled and flew quite a lot across the Europe and US and also overseas from Europe to US and Africa for several times I feel I am at least a little competent to talk about “how to” now. Although I don’t feel like I know everything and I think nobody does. There is still a lot of things I can learn and observe about flying. But experiences and mistakes teach us the most. And thanks to them we can find a lot of hacks for our own good, comfort and wellbeing. Some of them are very small things but especially on long flights or when there is a delay on your flight they can save you a lot of stress, money and time. As I learned a lot during that hours on plane or at the airport when I was cold, thirsty, hungry or bored, felt dried and my skin looked grayish I will share some hacks, observations and experiences with you so that you can think about it and enjoy your next flight in comfort and style. So sit back, relax and enjoy this article.

You can see spectacular things from the air
You can see spectacular things from the air

1. Stay hydrated!
It is more then essential to stay hydrated and it’s not always easy on board. My biggest hacks here? Thermal water in spray and empty bottle for water. It is essential to stay hydrated and it’s not very easy in an on board air and aircondition. Do you sometimes feel on a flight like your face is made of rubber? This is why, the air is very dry there. And this is what thermal water in spray will help you with. It’s very refreshing and it keeps your face “watered”. Also having an empty bottle for water, nobody will tell you anything and you can fill it almost everywhere. Remember you can always ask for a water on board anytime during the flight (probably not during takeoff and landing though) they don’t wanna faint you either. Also having a hydrating cream for face and hands is handy.

Make sure it is not over 50 ml / 1.76 OZ. This one is from Avene,but you can also buy Vichy, LaRoche or not branded one.
Make sure it is not over 50 ml / 1.76 OZ. This one is from Avene,but you can also buy Vichy, LaRoche or not branded one.

2. Don’t smell
Nobody wants to find out having a neighbour on a flight by bad smell. You know what I mean,some people sweat,some people sweat more and some people just smell a lot. Now,you can’t have big bottles, sprays or perfumes in your carry-on, so how to prevent from smell? Get small deodorant, either solid or spray. They have them in Target,Walgreens, everywhere for around $3. Also they fit everywhere, even a purse. If you really sweat a lot than having a spear t-shirt could help. Don’t wanna give up on your favorite perfume? Some brands have small perfume roll-on versions,if not buy perfume atomizer. Small thing you can fill up right from your perfume bottle,they have them in perfumeries or order online.

You can easily fill it with your favorite perfume and have it always by your side.
You can easily fill it with your favorite perfume and have it always by your side.

3. Freshness all over you
Maybe this applies just to women, but it’s important and nobody talks about it. Wet feminine wipes and maybe spare undergarment are life savers on long flights. When you fly from Europe to US and contrary you fly from 10 to 20 hours plus transfers. It is even worse on longer flights. You usually change your underwear at least once during 24 hours, right? This is the same time. Plus airport is usually not your final destination, you go to the hotel or straight downtown. Just think about it in advance…
4. Bacteria challenge
Do you know where on the plane is the biggest bacteria coverage? In recent article Business Insider revealed that places with biggest bacteria exposure are food trays, magazines and safety information in your seat pocket and WC handle aboard. It is very useful to have a small antibacterial gel or an antibacterial tissues on hand. Especially right before meal.
5. Cozy and warm
For staying cozy and warm have your own pillow, blanket or scarf and maybe pair of fluffy socks. You don’t wanna use airline’s pillow and blanket, because if you’re not first class they’re usually not very snug and clean. You can have inflatable pillow if you don’t wanna carry it around. For scarf you can easily style it with your outfit. And fluffy socks? Maybe also more feminine issue? They are great when you wanna take down your shoes, they will warm you and you can also walk in them around the plane, nobody cares there, plus it’s dark-ish there too.

Can serve as a scarf and a little blanket, 2 in 1.
Can serve as a scarf and a little blanket, 2 in 1.

6. Move it!
Don’t sit for over four hours. Sometimes you’re watching a movie or sleeping and really forget about time, but you should set an alarm and walk a bit, stretch and move your legs. It is not healthy for your muscles nor your veins to sit and not move too long. Doctors usually advise to set the alarm for every two hours. You’d also feel very stiff and even more tired after landing.
7. Entertain yourself
Especially on long flights it is very easy to get bored. You probably know that there is a free entertainment center or system provided by arline, you can even use Wi-Fi on board on most of the flights (pretty expensive one though). Any hacks here? Miss out some of your favorite show’s new episodes and catch on them on flight. Always have your earphones, it’s more hygienic to use them the one providing by airline and you don’t have to listen to every noise around. Don’t rely on the entertainment center and have your own book, iPod or whatever, it pays off when you find out there is nothing interesting on, it’s broken or you’ll eventually get bored of the center.

Find the perfect headphones for you and take them with you. Always.
Find the perfect headphones for you and take them with you. Always.

8. Where you going?
It is essential to think about your final destination. Especially about the weather and time difference. You can plan and layer your outfit according to it. Also you can try to plan your sleep a few days before your trip according to time difference and slightly adapt yourself to local time in advance.

You travel,you move from one place to another, think about your final destination.
You travel,you move from one place to another, think about your final destination.

Also don’t forget your camera, tablet with it or phone to capture the beautiful views from the plane.

Beautiful sunset somewhere over Utah
Beautiful sunset somewhere over Utah

Now, if you have any additional hacks or experiences feel free to write them in comments. They are appreciated. That’s the only way we can learn from each other and have more pleasant flights in the future. This is our final destination today, thank you for keeping with us.

The author is a university student from Czech Republic, currently on an exchange program at the University of Montana, USA. She likes traveling, exploring new places, skiing and going to the movies.

18+ reasons why you should go on exchange!


18+ reasons why you should go on exchange!

18Look, exchange semester/year is just like a life, accelerated on a whole new speed! You never cry about yesterday, you never plan tomorrow and as for today – you just live it! To the fullest! Everything happens with the speed of light and sometimes people do not pay attention how they change while on exchange. They don’t appreciate all the “perks” of it. I as an                                       “experienced” exchange student, will try to give you 18+ reasons                                why you should  go on exchange.

 

So here we go:

  1. You get to explore new culture. Who cares – ‘Murica!images
  1. You live with a host family. But you always wanted to move away from your family, well now you have 2 families to move out from.family
  1. You get to learn and practice new language! Eurekaaa! – now “uno” has a whole new meaning!12166209_980282798695572_1462687737_n
  1. You get to experience different education standards, as well as different learning techniques – no more flashcards.metric
  1. You start being concerned about global issues. As if any of those were up to you to decide.sun
  2. You travel! Ok, that really is exciting…
  3. You get out of your comfort zone. Dude, it’s called COMFORT zone because it’s comfortable, why would you get out of it?comf
  4. You become more responsible. Now you feel even more concerned about global issues, but still none of them are up to you to decide.
  5. You get to try traditional food. Don’t go to Italy, it is not too different from food back home.pizza
  6. You make life-long friends! Exchange ends soon, but your friendship stands strong – in skype.skype
  7. You learn about awesome career opportunities and you start planning your life accordingly. But then you find out that 99% of the jobs are restricted to national citizens.permit
  8. Now your friends back home have new inside jokes. And no, they will not share them with you, instead they will laugh at you after you go back.
  9. You drink a lot of beer, but not too much. But unfortunately, you can never accurately measure how much is “too much”.beer
  10. Semester abroad will look great on your resume, but 99% of the jobs are still restricted to national citizens.
  11. You fall in love.love

 

  1. Everything is so much cheaper. So now you buy expensive stuff.
  1. You make memories that matter. You will tell about them to your friends, family, kids, dogs and cats back home. They will all hate you for talking about exchange all the time. ALL THE TIME.
  2. You get to go to your favorite band’s concert. But they never show up(that’s what happened to me).Show-Cancelled
  1. You get to have a new roommate. Of course you love each other.room
  1. On exchange you stop judging the book by its cover and realize that 18+ in the title above is just another way of saying “more than 18.”

P.S University of Montana is where I am doing my exchange. It has shortly become my favorite place. I enjoy every single day here and try to get as much out of my exchange as possible. In fact, I work at the international center specifically in study abroad department. I strongly recommend every student to go on exchange and use this incredible opportunity of finding himself/herself through the adventures of living in a foreign country.

My little piece of advice: Go to American University in Bulgaria – Great school with great people!

Post by Omari Lomiashvili, Junior at University of Montana, School of Business Administration