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SymphonicDan

Panama SymphonicDanama [level 23]

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On 1/11/2017 at 6:30 AM, SymphonicDan said:

Not the same as doing the breathing under the shower

Haha, nope. Nice try though :lol:

 

5 hours ago, SymphonicDan said:

Do you ever get that feeling where your kidneys feel cold?

Yes! In fact, in winter I can't feel warm if that part of my body is not properly covered. Will Wim Hof take care of this too?

 

26 push-ups, wow! Good mark.

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Now I remember why I didn't do any NF challenges while I was volunteering at QuetzalTrekkers on my first visit: there just isn't enough spare time/energy to do everything! It's been going well, I've taken 3 groups on 2-day camping trips and a couple of groups volcano boarding. The other guides here are good company, and I'm currently sitting at one of my favourite restaurants eating a meal of gallopinto, pinolillo, sour milk, plantain, tortillas, ...

 

In terms of the NF challenge, I've been eating plenty of fruit/vegetables, either on our hikes or going to smoothie bars and ordering lots of fruity drinks with "poquito azúcar" (otherwise they put way too much sugar in everything). I haven't been tracking it properly though, blergh.

 

I've done basically no workouts except for lots of hiking (which doesn't count) despite there being a pull-up bar in our house now :( Maybe I can fix that soon...

 

For Wim Hof I've studied more of the science, and I'm using it to speed up recovery in between hikes, which seems to be effective! I lie on my bed with my legs against the wall for the 2nd and 3rd sets of the breathing, which means I later get really oxygenated blood in my legs. Normal times are around 1'40 - 2'40 for the retentions, depending on a number of factors.

 

On Saturday I did the training with a couple of the other volunteer guides, who had a good experience with it.

 

For the science, one important part I do understand is the following: Wim Hof breathing - effect on O2 levels:

 

When you take the 30 fast breaths, you increase the amount of O2 in your blood (small change) and decrease the amount of CO2 (large change). This has two effects:

  • you can hold your breath for much longer afterwards. Usually, when you hold your breath, you soon reach a point where the CO2 levels get too high and your body notices this as a sign you need to breathe. After the 30 fast breaths, you take much longer to reach this point, and might even get to the point where you have insufficient O2 before you have too much CO2. This is why it's super dangerous to do this before going into water - if you hit the point when you don't have enough O2 then you can quietly pass out and drown. On land you'd pass out and wake up again soon after no problem.
  • for some reason your body won't use the O2 unless the CO2 levels are high enough, so during the breathing you can feel light-headed and tingly. This is from too little O2 (not too much). Therefore the retention afterwards is important to bring your CO2 levels up to a sensible level so your body uses that extra O2.

I'm learning some cool stuff about its effect on hormones and the immune system, but I won't write about that until I understand it better. I like to avoid #fakenews...

 

No progress on any of the bonus goals though...

 

Random stories:

  • I was guiding a 2-day trek to Telica with another guide, and we decided to hire a horse for the second day so we and the clients could try real horseback riding (our own money, not from the social enterprise). Some of the steep downhill parts were a bit crazy, but the stability of the horse was pretty impressive.
  • A friend from the cruise joined me on one of the hikes to El Hoyo, and it was the first time she'd ever done wild camping, so it was cool to show her that.
  • I finally tried a pitaya and it was delicious :D

pitaya2.png

 

 

What next? I'm not sure about joining the next challenge, as for some of it I will be still here volunteering, so I might just put updates here until I'm ready for a fresh NF challenge (maybe in the new year?) I'll stay visiting here though :)

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13 hours ago, SymphonicDan said:

I finally tried a pitaya and it was delicious

That's what we call Dragon Fruit here.  The red ones are ok but the white ones are pretty flavorless.  Unfortunately, I have no idea how to tell the difference until they are already cut open

 

13 hours ago, SymphonicDan said:

For the science, one important part I do understand is the following:

That is really interesting, thanks for sharing that.  

 

Sounds like you are having a great adventure there. I am enjoying following along with your updates :) 

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16 hours ago, SymphonicDan said:

otherwise they put way too much sugar in everything

I can't understand why people would put sugar to fruit. Worse if it's a juice.

 

16 hours ago, SymphonicDan said:

When you take the 30 fast breaths, you increase the amount of O2 in your blood (small change) and decrease the amount of CO2 (large change). This has two effects:

  • you can hold your breath for much longer afterwards. Usually, when you hold your breath, you soon reach a point where the CO2 levels get too high and your body notices this as a sign you need to breathe. After the 30 fast breaths, you take much longer to reach this point, and might even get to the point where you have insufficient O2 before you have too much CO2. This is why it's super dangerous to do this before going into water - if you hit the point when you don't have enough O2 then you can quietly pass out and drown. On land you'd pass out and wake up again soon after no problem.
  • for some reason your body won't use the O2 unless the CO2 levels are high enough, so during the breathing you can feel light-headed and tingly. This is from too little O2 (not too much). Therefore the retention afterwards is important to bring your CO2 levels up to a sensible level so your body uses that extra O2.

Very good explanation.

The WH course has plenty of red warnings about not doing this or that when you're in the water. Apparently, several people drowned because of the use of hyperventilation under the water and he's been blamed for that.

 

How much longer are you going to stay in Panamá?

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On 11/20/2017 at 6:16 PM, SymphonicDan said:

I'm learning some cool stuff about its effect on hormones and the immune system, but I won't write about that until I understand it better. I like to avoid #fakenews...

 

Tease. :P 

 

On 11/20/2017 at 6:16 PM, SymphonicDan said:

When you take the 30 fast breaths, you increase the amount of O2 in your blood (small change)

 

On 11/20/2017 at 6:16 PM, SymphonicDan said:

during the breathing you can feel light-headed and tingly. This is from too little O2 (not too much).

:huh: This looks like a contradiction to me or am I missing something?

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11 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

That's what we call Dragon Fruit here.  The red ones are ok but the white ones are pretty flavorless.  Unfortunately, I have no idea how to tell the difference until they are already cut open

 

Ah yes, it's one of those words (like "camino", "cambio", "sencillo") that I naturally use in Spanish, even though there are perfectly good translations in Spanish ("dragonfruit", "trail"/"hike"/..., "change" (money), "small change" (money)) because we've learned the associations in a Spanish-speaking context. I rarely hear English-speakers talk about "St. James' Way", they just call it "the camino (to Santiago de Compostela)".

 

 

8 hours ago, zenLara said:

How much longer are you going to stay in Panamá?

 

I left Panama 23 days ago to travel through Costa Rica, and now I'm in Nicaragua until sometime in December working as a tour guide until I have a plan for afterwards. Knowing my speed for planning things, I'll probably be here forever :P

 

 

6 minutes ago, Mad Hatter said:

:huh: This looks like a contradiction to me or am I missing something?

 

Yep - when you have too little CO2 in the blood, the O2 isn't absorbed so easily by the tissues. When you finish the 30 breaths your CO2 is low and your O2 is high, but the O2 isn't being used properly. After the retention the O2 is used properly. I found this on Wikipedia with some more detail.

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11 minutes ago, SymphonicDan said:

Yep - when you have too little CO2 in the blood, the O2 isn't absorbed so easily by the tissues. When you finish the 30 breaths your CO2 is low and your O2 is high, but the O2 isn't being used properly. After the retention the O2 is used properly. I found this on Wikipedia with some more detail.

Oh ok, so basically you're talking about different concentration of O2 in the bloodstream vs in tissues. Makes sense. :) 

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11 hours ago, SymphonicDan said:

Ah yes, it's one of those words (like "camino", "cambio", "sencillo") that I naturally use in Spanish, even though there are perfectly good translations in Spanish ("dragonfruit", "trail"/"hike"/..., "change" (money), "small change" (money)) because we've learned the associations in a Spanish-speaking context. I rarely hear English-speakers talk about "St. James' Way", they just call it "the camino (to Santiago de Compostela)".

Haha, right.  There are a lot of words that are just come more naturally in the language you learned them/use them in.  

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Goal #2: workouts: I've been slacking on this completely. There has been plenty of exercise in my life (maybe too much hiking haha) but almost nothing for my upper body. I was speaking to yesterday to some of the other guides and they'd be interested in some group workout sessions, so I'll arrange that :)

 

Goal #3: Wim Hof: yesterday I did two rounds of the breathing exercises, and got retention times of 2'30 and 3'00 (and this time I'm sure that I legitimately got to 3 minutes without breathing at some random time!) That's pretty cool, but one thing I don't understand is why my retention times continue to increase each time I try it? When I started I used to get 1'30 for the first round, and now it's rare ever to "fail" to get 2'00. Some ideas:

  • I'm pushing harder now (I don't think so - I don't push hard for the retentions because I know that there are no health benefits to continuing too uncomfortably long, and I think I'm actually pushing harder now than when I started)
  • My standards for a "long" time have increased, so I feel confident now continuing longer
  • My body has adapted in some way (like what?)
  • I'm now doing it in more relaxed states (probably true - it's now on my bed rather than on a beach or public balcony)
  • You can continue longer when you have a more active lifestyle (surely it would the opposite way?)

From my understanding, the important thing for the technique is that you normalize the CO2 levels after having done the 30 breaths. Whether it takes 30 seconds or 3 minutes, I don't see that it makes much difference. The exercise where you do as many push-ups as possible during the retention is clever because it reduces the retention time (you're accumulating CO2 faster when you're exercising). Even better would be to do squats or other more calorie-burning exercises, but you need an exercise that:

  • doesn't require the core much (because you need it stable for the retention)
  • doesn't pose a danger if you pass out (so squats would be unsafe)

So I see how push-ups is a smart choice.

 

I've found a interesting-looking podcast about the science of Wim Hof's method, by a couple of neuroscience-trained PhDs. I haven't listened to it yet (need to find my headphones!) but I'm looking forward to checking it out!

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On 24/11/2017 at 6:22 PM, SymphonicDan said:

I don't understand is why my retention times continue to increase each time I try it

I think there may be many many different factors that contribute to this, in different degrees, making it difficult to pinpoint which is influencing you most at the moment.

Level of relaxation for sure. I've tried doing the exercices standing up, sitting, lying on a mat, and lying cosy and warm in my bed, and retentions increase as comfortability and relaxation increase. There is also a link with temperature, the colder the environment, the shorter the retentions (and they are heavily reduced under a cold shower), I guess because of the energy expense.

It may be some adaptation too; I also started at about 1:30 and kept growing until I reached the 3 minutes. Then, it went down to around 2 minutes, and I'm thinking that those sensations I had that I was like getting a cold, but everyday the symptoms would go away after the exercices and the cold shower, had a lot to do with it. I went back to 3 minutes again a couple of weeks ago, and now I usually hold for about 2-2:30 minutes, and I don't seem to find any specific reason for these oscillations.

 

On 24/11/2017 at 6:22 PM, SymphonicDan said:

You can continue longer when you have a more active lifestyle

I am not sure about this one, though. I have definitely increased intensity and have been more active this last challenge, but retention times don't seem to be influenced by that.

Also, I'd really like to know whether there could be a link between retention times and daily cold exposure, as in, the more you get into the cold water, the better your muscles surrounding your vascular system work (WH words), so how much would this training influence breathing cycles' results?

 

On 24/11/2017 at 6:22 PM, SymphonicDan said:

I was speaking to yesterday to some of the other guides and they'd be interested in some group workout sessions, so I'll arrange that :)

Real life accountability!

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@SymphonicDan!!!!!  I'm glad you posted a recap!!  I can see what you've been up to the past year and a half!  I thought I was busy with full time school and work!  You have been crazy!  Way to go!  Your travels sound amazing!  You definitely should include pictures with all of your updates!!  Glad to see you're still around!

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On 11/24/2017 at 7:22 PM, SymphonicDan said:
  • doesn't pose a danger if you pass out (so squats would be unsafe)

Why do you think squats would be unsafe? (I assume you mean BW squats, not weighted) When you pass out you tend to pass out pretty gently so as long as there's not a bunch of sharp objects around it's not a big deal even if you fall. 

 

Thanks for the podcast tip and explanation - interesting stuff! I'm really interested in the long term consequences (though too lazy to read up on it myself haha), have you read anything about that or are you still holding out on us? ;) 

 

8 hours ago, Nightcrawler_Bamff said:

You definitely should include pictures with all of your updates!!

We've tried convince him to add more pictures but he's being stubborn. :P 

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1 hour ago, Mad Hatter said:

so as long as there's not a bunch of sharp objects around it's not a big deal

It would certainly make the thing more interesting :P

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On 11/27/2017 at 4:26 PM, Nightcrawler_Bamff said:

@SymphonicDan!!!!!  I'm glad you posted a recap!!  I can see what you've been up to the past year and a half!  I thought I was busy with full time school and work!  You have been crazy!  Way to go!  Your travels sound amazing!  You definitely should include pictures with all of your updates!!  Glad to see you're still around!

On 11/28/2017 at 1:22 AM, Mad Hatter said:

We've tried convince him to add more pictures but he's being stubborn. :P 

 

Oh wow, good to see you back Nightcrawler! I don't take so many photos but when I have some I'll post them here :D And half the reason for posting a recap is to help me remember haha... I'm scared I'll forget half my adventures if I don't keep track of them...

 

 

On 11/28/2017 at 1:22 AM, Mad Hatter said:

Why do you think squats would be unsafe? (I assume you mean BW squats, not weighted) When you pass out you tend to pass out pretty gently so as long as there's not a bunch of sharp objects around it's not a big deal even if you fall.

 

Yep I meant bodyweight squats being unsafe because of the danger of falling, although I suppose what you say is true, that if you're passing out you have at least a second to get down into a safe position so it's not so unsafe.

 

The other day I asked a friend to time my retention while I was doing push-ups and I think it was 40 seconds, so I suppose there wouldn't be much marginal time-saving anyway if I switched to squats or burpee backflips or whatever.

 

 

On 11/28/2017 at 1:22 AM, Mad Hatter said:

Thanks for the podcast tip and explanation - interesting stuff! I'm really interested in the long term consequences (though too lazy to read up on it myself haha), have you read anything about that or are you still holding out on us? ;) 

 

I want to post updates as soon as I understand something new and significant, but it takes me a while to synthesize the information, especially when half the time I'm carrying onions up volcanoes for my tourists :P

 

I did some listening to the scienceontherocks.org podcast I shared, and found it frustrating for two reasons:

  • the information is so slooow... the episode was more than 40 minutes, but if they wrote it down it would take less than 3 minutes to read it all. Or if they had an option to speed up the podcast. Or if they spoke without pointless where they express surprise at what the other person is saying...
  • they don't explain how what they're saying relates to the Wim Hof Method. In particular I was listening to podcast #2 where they talk about the positive effects of adrenaline (and associated hormones), and somehow the only mention briefly that the breathing increases adrenaline, and forget to explain why...

So I'm hoping that I get more information from the other podcasts, but I might send them a message to discuss the missing information. I really appreciate what they're doing but the execution is (until now) pretty ineffective :(

 

On the other hand, here is some useful information that I did learn from their podcast:

  • the sympathetic nervous system always keeps the body excited/alert/stressed
  • the parasympathetic nervous system occasionally relaxes/rests the body
  • it's good to regularly activate the parasympathetic nervous system to allow the body to rest

I don't understand the link with Wim Hof yet, but I'll keep learning!

 

In other Wim Hof news, I did 3 sets of the breathing before a hike when I was sleep-deprived, and had so much energy it was a bit ridiculous. I had one client who was struggling, so I ended up doing the hard part of the hill extra fast and running down to do it again with the last client... then in the evening I took the full sunset tour so the other guide could rest and still finished up with almost too much energy. I don't think the breathing was the main reason for this, but I like to think it had some positive effect.

 

In other news, I did finally lead an exercise session for the guides at my house... I set up 5 stations of equipment (bar, floor, bench, etc.) and asked everyone to choose an exercise for each station, then we did 3 sets of 45 seconds on each station. I can definitely feel my upper body today, and hopefully we'll do something like this more often :)

 

In life news, I'm again looking for my next adventure... I have some ideas, but any ideas for the following are welcome:

  • worthwhile and interesting volunteer projects in Central America or South America
  • fun variations on generic "backpacking"
  • interesting events/projects in the region
  • ways to combine serious fitness with travel
  • worthwhile (potentially paid) remote software or other professional projects
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3 hours ago, SymphonicDan said:
  • the sympathetic nervous system always keeps the body excited/alert/stressed
  • the parasympathetic nervous system occasionally relaxes/rests the body
  • it's good to regularly activate the parasympathetic nervous system to allow the body to rest

I don't understand the link with Wim Hof yet, but I'll keep learning!

Depending of your final retention for the push-ups or the cold shower, with air in or with air out, you influence one of them. I just can't remember which was in each case.

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On 11/29/2017 at 7:06 PM, SymphonicDan said:

 

  • ways to combine serious fitness with travel

Can you bring anything? Rings? Paralettes? A kettlebell? 

Then you'd have at least one consistent element for your workouts and you could try following a structured program including that + bodyweight (like something GMBish) and supplement if you're someplace that has more toys.

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On 11/29/2017 at 8:06 PM, SymphonicDan said:

In other news, I did finally lead an exercise session for the guides at my house... I set up 5 stations of equipment (bar, floor, bench, etc.) and asked everyone to choose an exercise for each station, then we did 3 sets of 45 seconds on each station. I can definitely feel my upper body today, and hopefully we'll do something like this more often :)

 

Great idea. :) 

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Wait, I haven't updated here for nearly 4 weeks?! Well now it's Christmas and there's not much going on here I've got some more time to write down what's been going on...

 

First of all, I'm not going to level up from this challenge because I wasn't really concentrating on it and only ended up getting about 20% of the points... I was living healthily as intended, just not in a way that warranted a leveling-up

 

 

On 11/29/2017 at 3:17 PM, zenLara said:

Depending of your final retention for the push-ups or the cold shower, with air in or with air out, you influence one of them. I just can't remember which was in each case.

[sympathetic vs. parasympathetic]

 

I'd be really interested to know which way around and why. I never considered that it made a difference how much air you had in your lungs during the retentions. Question for WH people: do you do the retentions with air in or air out? I've been doing them at about 30% capacity (like the normal level that you breathe out to when you're not doing any breathing method) but maybe I should be breathing out to 10% or keeping it full to 90%, or something else? Maybe this also makes a huge difference to the retention times?

 

 

On 12/2/2017 at 7:58 AM, KB Girl said:

Can you bring anything? Rings? Paralettes? A kettlebell? 

Then you'd have at least one consistent element for your workouts and you could try following a structured program including that + bodyweight (like something GMBish) and supplement if you're someplace that has more toys.

 

Lol I'm not bringing a kettlebell with me on my travels. It's true though, that a consistent element would help a lot. I considered bringing the rings before, as at least they're reasonably light and compact. To be honest, here when I'm hiking 5 days per week working as a tour guide perhaps it is too much to attempt a workout schedule alongside it... Here I think it's best to just make an effort to do occasional workouts, and then when I'm in a less active part of my travels I'll focus on a consistent element as you recommend. Here my consistent element is the hiking.

 

A couple of Wim Hof related things from the last few weeks:

  1. My record is now 03:20 for the retention (holding air at 30% capacity) and that was only on my second "set". Not quite sure why my times are improving, as I'm not pushing harder and I wouldn't've thought there was much of a practice effect from this.
  2. I had some dead time waiting for the rain to stop on one of my hikes, so I asked the group whether anyone wanted to do some of the WH exercises, so 6 of them joined me in the dining shelter while the other guide and the other 6 clients chilled in some hammocks in the other shelter... most of them reported more energy and generally feeling better-recovered after the 3 sets, and one guy had some experience with it and was obviously being super competitive and made 04:10 for the retention :o
  3. I got an email last week from support@wimhofmethod.com with a Christmas message from Wim Hof. I'm super confused how this happened, as I don't know any way that they would have my email (I didn't sign up on their mailing list or ask any questions to them) and they're not addressing me by real name, but by a rude name I asked me internet bank to call me as a joke hahah... super confused...
  4. Not much progress on the Science aspect of this... I listened to the podcasts from Science on the Rocks, and they're frustratingly poor on information, but I did learn some things from them... I'm still holding back on updates until I understand it better
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6 minutes ago, SymphonicDan said:

I'd be really interested to know which way around and why. I never considered that it made a difference how much air you had in your lungs during the retentions. Question for WH people: do you do the retentions with air in or air out? I've been doing them at about 30% capacity (like the normal level that you breathe out to when you're not doing any breathing method) but maybe I should be breathing out to 10% or keeping it full to 90%, or something else? Maybe this also makes a huge difference to the retention times?

 

I've tried to find it (sympathetic/parasympathetic) but wasn't successful.

The retention are usually with your air out, although at some points he will ask you to take your shower with air in. Air out doesn't mean having any air on your lungs, but just relaxing the muscles from what you were doing so I guess that about 30% is fine, although I would not know how I could do to perceive the % of air I have in.

To me it changes everything, because I find it quite easy to chill with no air, but retention with air in is quite difficult to me, I get a bit stressed.

 

6 minutes ago, SymphonicDan said:

and one guy had some experience with it and was obviously being super competitive and made 04:10 for the retention :o

o_O

 

6 minutes ago, SymphonicDan said:

I got an email last week from support@wimhofmethod.com with a Christmas message from Wim Hof. I'm super confused how this happened, as I don't know any way that they would have my email (I didn't sign up on their mailing list or ask any questions to them) and they're not addressing me by real name, but by a rude name I asked me internet bank to call me as a joke hahah... super confused...

Maybe they got your e-mail from the workshop you did during your cruise?

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On 12/26/2017 at 6:58 PM, SymphonicDan said:

To be honest, here when I'm hiking 5 days per week working as a tour guide perhaps it is too much to attempt a workout schedule alongside it...

Maybe you could have a super minimal workout? Or even just focus on one single thing at a time, like the muscle up? A full workout might be too intense but what if it's just 5-10 minutes and only longer when you feel like it?

 

What's been your favourite destination so far? Beginning to ponder next year's travel plans over here. :) 

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Argh maybe it's time for a quick update?

 

So since New Year I finished working at QuetzalTrekkers and travelled south towards the south... I had a few friends travelling in the area so I ended up with different company pretty much every day for the next two weeks until I got to San José.

 

I found myself in Rincón de la Vieja national park in Costa Rica earlier than my friends would arrive, so I found a waterfall hike that was supposed to take 1h30 each way, so I decided to run it. I ended up there a long time before any of the other tourists and pretty much had my own private waterfall and swimming pool :)

 

About 4 weeks ago I flew to Colombia, with some vague plans to be productive in 100 different ways, and the decision paralysis pretty much meant I did nothing for a week, stuck in a hostel in Medellín. I mean, I went to a few dance nights and did a single workout, but nothing worth quitting my job to do. That's my criterion by the way, I should regularly be doing things worth giving up my job for... otherwise I should just go back to the normal professional life I once had.

 

Finally I started travelling and decided on a project to work on (more details later, but it's not very exciting), and I'm really enjoying Colombia as a place. Some highlights so far:

  • Cool waterfall hike in Guatapé where for most of the walk you're hopping between rocks, balancing on fallen trees, climbing up the riverbanks, and eventually wading through the river over 1 metre deep :D
  • Went for a random run around Guatapé and had so much inexplicable energy up and down the hills! It was like @zenLara has sometimes described about her trail running. I had done some Wim Hof breathing the week before, so maybe that was a factor? Or just the training from being a tour guide in Nicaragua, then doing nothing for a week? This was at 1900+ metres above sea level too...
  • Had a paragliding accident in Andes, when a freak wind (or error by my pilot, not sure) dragged us down a hill and we fell about 50 metres on the hillside until I collided headfirst with a banana tree :o Luckily I was fine except for a couple of minor cuts and some DOMS in my back for 1-2 days. I think it helped to be so relaxed as I fell. We had to spend an hour extricating the parachute from the tree, but I did actually do paragliding (successfully) that afternoon!
  • Hiked to the Cave of Splendor near Jardín, which has a waterfall crashing through the roof into and a pool of water at about 10'C, so we did some really cold swimming and jumping into the water.
  • Finally hit 60 calendar dates in a minute, using a new strategy with a metronome
  • On Sunday I'm going to a new volunteering placement in the Amazon on the border with Peru and Brazil, where I'll be a translator/interpreter for a tour company for a couple of weeks. The organizer is really bad at communicating details, but hopefully it will work out okay and be as cool as it sounds!
  • I'm flying back to the UK in mid-April

 

On 12/29/2017 at 4:33 AM, Mad Hatter said:

What's been your favourite destination so far? Beginning to ponder next year's travel plans over here. :) 

 

A bit late reply, sorry! But Slovenia, Nicaragua and Guatemala were the most fun. Colombia too but it's big so you'd need a full month to see everything you wanted to see. If you want any travel advice for these places let me know :)

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