#AtoZChallenge | T is for Taking Risks and Saying Goodbye to My Comfort Zone.

On my flight back from a recent business trip, I reached Boston and had to change planes for the final leg up to Portland. I hadn’t paid much attention when making my reservations, so was a little surprised when I saw that the plane we’d be taking for the final leg was a small five-seater and that the open cockpit meant we’d be able to watch the pilots in action. I was definitely guaranteed a window seat. The flight was thankfully uneventful, and what struck me most was that I couldn’t have even gotten on the plane ten years ago. I had too much anxiety about flying.

I had anxiety about a lot of things, but in the last ten years I’ve realized that the more I push myself beyond my comfort zone and challenge myself the more my fears ease.

Comfort zones act like our friend, but they’re really not. They’re the frenemy who holds you back. I’m not saying I’ve swung to the other extreme of becoming an adrenaline junkie and only doing things that make me uncomfortable. It’s about finding the balance. I still love hanging in my comfort zone as much as the next person but now I push myself out on occasion and take more risks. I’ve never been happier.

So how to challenge myself this year?

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#AtoZChallenge | I is for Islands and a perfect summer day on Monhegan.

There is something magical about a perfect summer day. It stays in our memory with such a force that we can easily return to it and relive the moments to brighten more dreary ones. Our trip to Monhegan Island was one of those days.

After a foggy boat ride out of New Harbor, we reached Monhegan Island where the sky was bright and clear. We immediately set off on the 4.4 mile Cliff Trail, which circles the outer edge of the island and opens onto one amazing ocean view after another. It is the embodiment of the rugged Maine coastline. Below is a slide show of images from our trip:

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Seven things that take a hiking trail from mediocre to amazing.

Summer was a little challenging but we’re finally getting back to our weekly hiking routine at least for the most part. Our favorite thing to do is take a road trip where we spend the day exploring a new area of Maine. We’llĀ find a fun place to hike that’s in the vicinity of a nearby craft brewery which is not difficult in Maine. We have a lot of them. We also find someplace new and fun to eat and maybe explore a few shops in the area. That last one is probably more me than my husband.

It’s always a great day, but in order to up our hiking frequency we need some trails that are closer to our house for those days where we don’t have the luxury of time.

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Hiking Maine | Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth

Hiking in Maine

So, summer got away from us a little bit. We were so focused on getting our girls ready to leave the nest, that there was little time left over for blogging. On the plus side, I now know all about VISA requirements for Sweden and how to vacuum seal a comforter so it will fit in a suitcase.

Even with all the chaos, we did find a little time here and there to fit in some summer adventures (more coming on those soon) and keep up with our weekly hikes (well, for the most part).

As we approached the drop off date to bring our youngest to college for her Freshman year, we headed out for a later afternoon hike and she decided to join us. Our girls aren’t big on hiking, so it was a nice to have her decide to come along with us for this one.

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Hiking Maine | Trek along the Bold Coast in Cutler

Sometimes the timing of a hike impacts the end result and even the most beautiful of spots ends up feeling like more of a challenge and a little less fun than expected. After a day spent getting up close with the Puffins of Machias Seal Island, we were more tired than we realized and underestimated the difficulty of the hike we had planned to Cutler to explore the Bold Coast.

It didn’t help that we left our go bag in the car and didn’t have any bug spray to ward off the mosquitoes that were coming out as the day was winding down especially as the first mile of the trail is through the woods without any ocean breezes to keep them at bay.

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