Tag Archives: Christen

Christen ~ Here we go, yo.

There are a lot of things about this trip about which I am not excited. I am focusing on that about which I am.

I am excited to be overwhelmed by the beauty of the views.

I am excited to have the people we meet, and the way they live, put my life into a new perspective.

I am excited to not be dealing with the tedium of the details of the trip anymore and to be just getting to it. Anything we do not have or did not do is just what it is.

Mostly, I am really excited for Luke to be pointing the camera at someone other than me.

They just started boarding our flight out of Seattle. Wish us luck!

Love you.

https://karmadocumentary.com/2014/03/26/christen-invest-in-karma/

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Luke Mislinski Photography

3563 US Highway 26
Dubois, WY
82513

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Christen ~ Counting crows

Luke wants me dead.

Or, at least, maybe his subconscious does.

Maybe he thinks it will make better footage.

We were supposed to go on a hike this morning…again. This is either the seventh or eighth time that he has made plans to pick me up for a hike in the last few weeks, where it has not worked out for it to happen. This means that I have exactly one hike under my belt. One.

He said, after that short hike the other day, “We will hit one with a view next time.”

Ha! Next time. Yes, well, since the next one is going to be in the Himalayas now, it better have more than just a view.

It is really too late anyway. One more hike was not going to save me.

I am laughing as I write this, as I am sitting here wishing I had the coffee he promised to bring me for the hike this morning, and I noticed that three crows have joined me on the patio. I seemed to remember something about three crows meaning something so, in looking, I found this:

“Crows are associated with the Celtic Goddess Morrigan. She is a Goddess of war, chaos, death and rebirth. She is also a triple Goddess (maiden, mother and crone). The 3 crows would signify that you are coming into a time of major change, whether you are prepared for it or not. There may be some major disruptions involved, but it will all be for the best, you will have a ‘rebirth’ and new paths on your journey will be opened to you. Go with the flow and all will be well.”

Whether you are prepared or not…seems fitting.

https://karmadocumentary.com/2014/03/26/christen-invest-in-karma/

Clouds
http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos/3050639/

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Luke Mislinski Photography

3563 US Highway 26
Dubois, WY
82513

Christen ~ We do not know what we do not know

Hey Mom and Dad, maybe skip this one. (I am going to bury the lead a bit to even give you more time to do just that.)

So, it has been established that I do not really have any idea what I am doing in all this. I knew it would be unlikely I could make this trek in my converse. I guessed I would need hiking boots, a backpack, maybe a new winter coat (since I have not lived in winter for a while), and probably some gloves and a hat. Apparently, there is a lot more that goes into a packing list than these.

For starters, you cannot just throw on a pair of comfy jeans for hiking in the Himalayas. (Okay, makes sense. Add hiking pants.)

In fact, you cannot wear anything that is made with cotton. (Okay. Add multiple layers of synthetic shirts for varying temperatures.)

ANYTHING made of cotton. (Okay, going against the well known mantra of women needing to wear 100% cotton underwear, add a couple pairs of wool men’s boxer briefs. Whoa, those are not cheap.)

And, then you need socks made for hiking. When I was trying on hiking boots, Trent, our helpful man at Second Ascent in Ballard, handed me a pair of socks and told me to make sure I put them on the correct feet. I thought he was messing with me. They are socks. Nope. There was a little R and L for right and left feet. (Add a couple pairs of expensive socks, so that you have socks to wear while you wash the others.)

You need different levels of coats for varying temperatures, long underwear for under those hiking pants, a pair of waterproof hiking pants to go over your hiking pants, a pair of gators for hiking in the snow to keep the snow out of said hiking pants, a headlamp for hiking in the dark, a pair of polarized sunglasses that can protect you from glacier blindness, face masks, goggles, lighter gloves, arctic gloves, and it all just keeps going…

All of this is fine and, of course, good (though expensive, which is inconvenient). It is good to be prepared.

Now, during all this this supply prepping, I have, also, been acquiring information prepping, as well. Not by my own choice. If I am going to do something, I do not really see how researching is helpful in cases where it is not going to change anything. In those cases, I am best when I focus on what I need to do now.

(On our hike the other day, I had to keep telling Luke to stop telling me the distance we had left to the top. It does not help me. I cannot climb the whole mountain at once. I can only climb what is front of me. If I continue to climb what is in front of me, I will get there, albeit slowly.)

(Mom and Dad, if you have not already, this is where you want to bow out of this. Truly.) With this in mind, I had not looked at the itinerary. It seems of little use to me. I cannot change it. It is what it is and I will deal with it as it comes. It, also, means that I had not looked into the various stops and had not been privy to this next little tidbit of information.

We land in Nepal in Kathmandu. After a couple days, we fly to Lukla, where we will begin the hiking bit. Tenzing-Hillary Airport, also known as Lukla Airport, happens to be (by many counts) the most treacherous airport in the world…

The most treacherous airport in the world…

When I was told this yesterday, I just started laughing…of course, it is. Why wouldn’t it be?

Oh, on a similar note, another thing I did not realize I would need. Evacuation Insurance. Again, makes sense, but…

There is a never ending list of things to get and to do (including, but not limited to, moving out of my place) and it does not feel like I am even making a dent in it, as much work as I am doing towards that every day. And, somewhere in all of this, I need to try to find time to go on some hikes at some point, which are just hours I do not have at the moment.

People plan for a year for these kinds of things. I have had a few weeks.

Oh, well. I know it will all work out. Things always do. However, if someone could, somehow, buy me just a couple more days, well…no matter. I am just going to take a couple deep breaths, and then get back to it, because I can only do what I can do.

https://karmadocumentary.com/2014/03/26/christen-invest-in-karma/

She Walks on Water 6

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Luke Mislinski Photography

3563 US Highway 26
Dubois, WY
82513

Christen ~ All fun and games until you actually have to climb a mountain

I am under no delusions that I will be all ice cream toppings and cupcake frosting on this trip. I get crabby and when I get crabby I get snarky.

Lesson learned from my first real(ish) hike: Hiking makes me snarky.

I came on to this project with just enough time to put in my notice at work, get it organized to hand it over to my replacement, and to start getting my living arrangements put in order to move out. Attempts to go hiking have been for naught in these last few weeks. A full time job that runs on slightly off hours and limited daylight hours, in combination with coordinating with someone else’s schedule, has left little time to make it work.

Training - Roller Skating photo

In the meantime, the goal for training was to just start trying to use muscles that I have not been accustomed to using in a while. A few games of pool one night, an evening at the rollerskating rink (cardio, right?), some time at the driving range (I was wearing the hiking boots, so it counts), and a Pilates DVD that my friend, Janelle, gave me more than ten years ago that I never got around to using.

Training - Driving range (1)
Photo credit: Jeffrey L. Tenderbone

With finishing my last week of work, and going into the homestretch before we leave, Luke finally got me up on a bit of a mountain yesterday. Three miles up and three miles back, with an elevation of roughly 2100ft. Not exactly death defying, but I had to stop a lot and I was more than winded by the time we reached the top.

When we got to the top, I glanced around at the less than impressive view (Tiger Mountain, if you are curious), and attempted to recalibrate my breathing. Some guy, noticing my fatigue [understatement] and scoffed, “Um, ha, yeah, this is the easiest hike in the area.”

Oh yeah, Captain Wilderness? Well, you are spending your time standing on top of the easiest hike in the area pointing that out to people. Time well spent?

I just gave him the thumbs up and a tight smile, “First hike.”

As we made our way back down the mountain a few minutes later, Luke mused casually, “I think the hardest thing about all of this will be the three weeks of hiking.”

Fancy that, we have a scholar in our midst, ladies and gentlemen.

I was, also, informed on our hike yesterday that there is no real endgame on our hike through the Himalayas. Not sure why I thought there would be mostly up for the first two-thirds or so, and then mostly down for the remainder. Nope. It is up and down multiple thousands of feet of hiking, every day, for the entirety of the three weeks. So…there’s that.

I guess I should have looked up the definition of rugged terrain trekking…

It is Tuesday. We fly out on Saturday.

https://karmadocumentary.com/2014/03/26/christen-invest-in-karma/

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Luke Mislinski Photography

3563 US Highway 26
Dubois, WY
82513

Why Luke? Why Christen?

Luke and Christen

Brunch. It is the time when we all come together; it is the time when everyone can speak their mind. Most of all, it is the time that we let our guard down and tell each other how we really feel. Join Christen, Luke, and some of our friends as we philosophize about how to spend time in another geography in our shared world.

Food for Thought from Luke Mislinski on Vimeo.

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Donate to the film. Any and all contributions make a difference.

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Luke Mislinski Photography

3563 US Highway 26
Dubois, WY
82513

Christen ~ Bullfighter

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When you are not an outdoorsy person [understatement], and you tell people who know you that you are going to spend three weeks hiking a mountain in an undeveloped country, the reactions vary.

Oh, wait, it is not just hiking a mountain, I am told. Even though I am not going to the very peak (no one thinks that is a good idea), I am going up to base camp, which is 16,486 ft of Mera Peak.

Let’s put this in perspective. The south and north base camps for Mount Everest are 16,900 and 17,958 ft, and people have to qualify to climb that. Since I just bought the first pair of hiking boots I have ever owned, for this trip, it probably stands to reason that I do not qualify for anything at this point.

Having mostly guy friends, they give me their reactions pretty straight, so I have had quite a few that have simply said, “Dude, you are probably going to die.” One even went so far as to sit me down for a serious conversation and say, “This is the dumbest decision you have ever made”, to which I responded, “Well, that cannot possibly be true.”

[I did try to walk off a broken foot through London with Nerdstick for a couple weeks by just tying my chuck taylors tight.]

These are the reactions that make me laugh, and they are quite helpful. I am prone to acting as a devil’s advocate on any topic, so to have others taking that side relieves me of the need.

Most responses have been supportive and of the “Once in a lifetime opportunity” variety. These are quite helpful, as well.

All three of my siblings are behind me on this trip. If you ever saw the four of us try to pick out candy together when we were kids when we could only get one thing, you would realize how astonishing this is that we all agree on something. I appreciate their support, because they do not often unite as a cohesive front behind my choices.

Then, there are those who hold a special place in my recent memory.

~I told a friend in NYC that “I have been asked to be in a documentary. It requires that I take a three week trek up a mountain. I leave in a few weeks.” He said, “Is it a comedy?”

~A friend in LA had the first reaction of, “Oh, I see Academy Award winning documentary all over this. You will be a comedy of errors in all of this.” He calls occasionally, laughing, to check in on my progress and to tell me that the more people he tells, the funnier he finds it.

He called on a Tuesday night around midnight and asked, “What are you doing?”

“Eating cinnamon rolls.” I said.

“At midnight?!”

“Yes, why not?” [What the time of day has to do with it, I have no idea.]

“Is this part of your training?” He says, laughingly.

Swallowing around the too big bite of the cinnamon roll I had just taken, “I am wearing hiking boots.”

~My dearest guy friend, Nerdstick, in Chicago, watched the first bit of footage and said, “I get why they asked you to do this. You are absurd.”

The reactions are entertaining and I love that I have such wonderful people in my life that even entertain having reactions. I guess it really comes down to the really ridiculous, stoner sounding, stream-of-consciousness explanation that I gave Luke when he broke into my place one morning to ask me if I wanted to go on a hike (and he filmed it…).

Bullfighting from Luke Mislinski on Vimeo.

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Donate to the film. Any and all contributions make a difference.

 

***You can donate through the GoFundMe campaign, as well as share the link and encourage others to donate:

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***You can send a check to:

Luke Mislinski Photography

3563 US Highway 26
Dubois, WY
82513

Christen ~ Invest in Karma

I am not sure I have ever had to be brave for longer than a moment. This next chapter will require much bravery for me and for much longer than a moment.

[Deep breath]

I have been asked to help with a documentary by an old friend, Luke, who I have known since I was five. (South Dakota, baby.) This means a three week hike in the Himalayas in Nepal. Rustic will be an understatement for the accommodations along the way. Getting sick is a certainty, rather than a possibility. Encountering a different level of poverty than I have seen is inevitable.

The objective of the documentary is this:



International trekking companies have been coming into the region for years, hiring the local people to work as porters for these hikes and climbs. Though this brings some work to the area, it does not bring any sustainability to the region, as the profits are taken back out of the country. People in these villages die of things as simple as a bacterial infection from a cut or complications in childbirth, because the closest medical assistance is a four day hike from where they live. Their education rarely exceeds that of an average Western eight year old.

With this film project, the hope is to tell the story of The Karma Project, which aims to help the local community build their own tourism company, so that the profits can stay, allowing them to create schools and clinics in the immediate region.

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Those of you who know me will know that I have never been camping or hiking. I appreciate nature for its beauty, but I have no interest in cuddling with it. I do not have a strong pull towards this kind of traveling, as I have a strong distaste for being uncomfortable. (I will choose my Chuck Taylors over high heels any day.) With this in mind, you may be wondering why I am doing this…

When I was asked to be a part of it, the idea intimidated me. That alone would have been reason enough to do it.

My Catholic upbringing echoing in my ears, “What you do unto the least of my people, you do unto me,” is playing its part. It seems no matter how far you travel away from your Christian education, you still take it with you.

Ultimately, it is this: One month of discomfort seems like a small trade for, possibly, changing people’s years.

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I am asking for help with this project with any or all of these ways:



Donate to the film. Any and all contributions make a difference. Sincerely, no amount is too small, and every dollar counts.

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Although, finances are the most immediate need, we will need donations of your expertise and experience, as well. If you can donate music to the soundtrack or talents in any of the stages of film making or efforts for fundraising, you will be a rockstar in our minds.

Please share this message. The more people that see it, the more help will be had.

Letters. Anyone that has the mental space to send support in writing that can be read on the mountain during the hike would be much appreciated. There will not be access to virtual lines of communication and there will be daily moments of discouragement and wondering why in the world I chose to do this.

(Send them before April 9th to Christen c/o Luke Mislinski 6559 15th Ave NW, #226 Seattle, WA 98117 and he will give them to me on the mountain to open. Luke, also, said that he would accept letters for either of us via email at l.mislinski@gmail.com
He will print them off and put them into envelopes for reading on the mountain (for the anti-snail mail or those who do not have time to send the written letters before the 9th). We leave early April 12th.

This project cannot happen without you.

 Thank you for doing what you can to help.

https://karmadocumentary.com/invest-in-karma/