In Greek Mythology, nymphs were in charge of various aspects of the Earth—from clouds to beaches to meadows to the plants and animals that inhabited them. They were visioned as beautiful and poised and although they walked among the creatures of the Earth, they were in close relations with the Gods. Basically, a nymph is a low key nature goddess.
This series is all about the modern goddesses in my life that walk among us and tend to the land, the communities, and the spirit of the human population in general. May it be through travel, art, sustainability endeavors, or anything else I deem that of a goddess.
Featured nymph: Heather Olson AKA Glow Worm
Heather is a sensational lady that I met through mutual friends at Hangtown Music Festival in Placerville, CA, a couple years ago. We proceeded to fall in love throughout the weekend, primarily beginning with a late night dance party in a coffee booth. Picture me as a giraffe, my girl Ciarra as a cow, and then Heather, dressed as a total fairy goddess or something dancing on a big ice chest while all of our boyfriend figures basked in the glory of their weirdo lady friends over late night lattes.
Since then, I’ve watched Heather go from weekend warrior to vandweller and beyond. She’s currently climbing rocks and having her own dance parties all over Thailand.
What brings in the dolla bills?
Since I prefer to maintain a sporadic, no commitment, extraordinary sort of lifestyle, I dabble in a variety of money-making schemes to keep just enough dollars in my bank account to fund my next adventure. Allow me to be frank about something I’ve learned (this is quite backwards in the eyes of most in our society, however people, including myself, are learning): my job is not my priority, freedom is.
All that to say, I work as a part time Dietitian in a large hospital, which brings in most of the dough while allowing me the flexibility to take time off in the quantity I require. In my down time I drive for Lyft or work music festivals for supplemental income. I also live in a minimalistic manner, which allows me to save extra money by not spending it on things that will essentially just end up gathering dust (I could go into an entirely separate idea here on letting go of attachments, but will save that for another time).
Do you have a natural setting of choice?
My favorite places to hangout are somewhere deep in the mountains, splashing in a high alpine lake while breathing the cleanest air. It’s in these moments when I feel the most free.
Tell me your favorite quote.
My favorite quote rings so true for me that it’s actually tattooed on my arm, in the handwriting of John Muir himself. “…taste the freedom of the mountaineer… climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares drop off like the leaves of autumn.”
What book inspires you the most?
At this particular time in my life I am most inspired by Paulo Coelho’s “Like the Flowing River.” Its full of 1-3 page little gems of wisdom that inspire me to think beyond my present state of being, and encourages me to learn from mistakes and delve deeper into spirituality.
Do you have a travel item that is never left behind?
A travel item that I never leave behind are my nail clippers. They substitute as a Swiss Army knife (since you can’t fly with one) and come in handy as a good multi tool if you can get creative!
What’s your favorite adventure activity?
Backpacking is my favorite adventure activity. When I’m far away from civilization, wifi, showers, and the little stressors that I tend to make too big of a deal about, I’m reminded of the beauty of life’s simplicity. I can put everything I need to survive on my back, and am not distracted by anything at all. This allows me time for self-reflection, prayer, meditation, and internal growth. And, so much peace.
Words from Heather,
Something I’d like to bring up, since I feel very strongly about it, is American society’s idea of success. Graduate college, get a job, work hard, get promoted, make a lot of money, I’m told. “This will make you successful,” they say. Here is the problem, in my opinion (and this opinion is based on personal experience as well as the experience of many people I know): this “successful” lifestyle leaves little to no room for freedom.
When 71% of your week is spent answering to someone else, and you come home most days stressed out, too tired to exercise and even less time to love yourself and others, you are not free. Come the weekend you have just enough time to catch up on things you you couldn’t get to during the week, and suddenly you’re going back to work. And speaking of work, have you ever wondered why we are ok with spending the majority of our time doing work? Why the thing we do all day, every day, is called work? Yikes!
Anyway, we might be able to weasel in a two week vacation at some point during the year, or even better become a weekend warrior, but still, where is the freedom? Ok, I know I’m being a little dramatic here. But that’s only because I’m trying to make a point, and that is that society has got it backwards.
For the last couple of years I have been actively working toward complete freedom. Freedom from debt, freedom from negativity, freedom from personal insecurities, freedom from being unhappy. It has been a ton of work and has taken a lot of dedication. But as a result, I have spent the past year living in a van, traveling the world, and literally making all of my dreams come true.
People often say to me, “I’m so jealous! I wish I could do that!” And it saddens me that so many people in our society don’t feel free. The thing is, anyone can “do that!” It’s simply a matter of shifting priorities and letting go of attachments. And don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly not easy. But neither is work.
And freedom is a hell of a lot more rewarding.