Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bad@ss Traveler - Britt Bledsoe

~Meet Bad@ss Traveler Britt Bledsoe~

Britt getting her Viva My Yoga handstand on in Puerto Rico.

Brittany Bledsoe it most definitely one of a kind. Her stories are some of the most mind blowing I have heard. She is one of the most fearless, awe inspiring, and bad@ss people I know; she's brave and bold yet willing to be humble and vulnerable, open to what life presents - and enjoy it! 

Britt instantly felt like a sister to me. She is without a doubt a truly kind, considerate, beautiful, and passionate souls to have around (that is, on whichever continent she happens to find herself on).

A nomad by trade, Britt works for the US Government (when it's not shut down) and follows her free spirt the rest of the time. Born to a military family she has moved over 20 times in 28 years and loves new places, people and adventures. She is a strong, graceful yogi, one heck of a cook, a horse lover, an avid book reader, and an animal, & outdoor enthusiast!

Due to her work and many passions (it's what makes her vivacious!), you can usually find Britt in the less traveled parts of the world - she prefers adventure travel. And believes that 'there is freedom beyond fear,' loving adrenaline. 

She'll be finishing up her 2013 by visiting Jess in Montana (*YaY!*) and a long weekend in Chicago. Her travel list for 2014 includes Brazil for World Cup, Brussels, Rwanda and Bali. 
Read her heartfelt, intriguing travel story below.

What does the word travel entail to you?

Travel to me is a lifestyle. Growing up in a military family, I was born with no roots. Home has always been a strange word as its never been a house or town to me. I hated the question "where are you from?" as a child. It stressed me out. I was from everywhere.  As I have gotten older, home has become a feeling. 

Home is the happiness in my heart that I feel when I am around those I love, those that challenge me and those I have shared my utmost intimate adventures. Lucky for me, that means that as long as I am surrounded by great people, I can consider anywhere home. 

For me, travel mostly entails me learning to create a "home" in a new place...either for a few years or a few weeks. Learning the lifestyle, culture, food, energy, routines, annoyances and finding friends that turn into family. Travel entails completely letting go and embracing your surroundings. 

How have you created your life around your travel & your travel around your life (and made it sustainable)?

I am lucky that I found a career with the US government that affords me the opportunity to live and travel abroad. My nickname at work is Nomad. I am the first to jump on any trip organized and take leave as often as my manager will allow to explore new places and return to my favorites. I also have friends that live all over the world and often take advantage of the free lodging and local knowledge they offer, which definitely makes travel more sustainable when you reduce costs.

What’s one travel memory that had a truly lasting affect, a total life changing or ah-ha moment?

I lived in Haiti when the earthquake hit on 12 January 2010. 

Waking up that morning there was a naiveté in my outlook on life and an innocence that you still have when you're young and vulnerable to the worlds offerings. 

As of 454pm that afternoon, my whole life changed. I saw the best and worst in humanity, made lifelong friendships and learned the definitions of grit and resiliency. 

Every year I take 12 January as my "life day" remembering and celebrating. 

The Haitian people are truly incredible and a piece of my heart will forever be in that country. A year after the earthquake I always thought to myself that a piece of me died that day; however, as the years have moved on I truly believe that there was a piece of me woken up. A part of myself that probably would have remained dormant had I not taken that assignment in Haiti. 

There is a quote I love that best describes the people of Haiti... 

"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.
Beautiful people do not just happen." 

To me the people of Haiti are beautifully resilient people who taught me more about life in 24 hours than the 24 years I had been on the planet that day.

(**Have I mentioned that Brittany is one of the bravest, most heartfelt people I know?**)

Attacked by Seagulls in Seattle!
What’s one thing that you love to do in any new place?

Once I feel grounded I love to eat. Those who know me, know that I can seriously pack away some food. My sister and I went to Costa Rica for a 10 day surfing trip last year in Santa Teresa on the Pacific Coast and I went through more fish tacos than you can imagine. I think my record was 6 at one sitting clearing both my plate and hers. She had lost her appetite after watching my very full one. Surfing burns some serious calories folks. 

If I am on a short stay, I usually like to get a local guide recommendation from friends to help show me around. I hate big cities and big touristy attractions. I like off the beaten path and have had some of the best times in hole in the wall eateries (see the food theme?!) and eating good street food or markets. I always try to learn a local dish from wherever I go so I can re-create it at home when I am reminiscing about a trip. (**Britt makes a mean Spanish omelet**).

What was a travel situation you found very trying & how did you pull through it?

I got kidney stones in Bogota, Colombia. Never had a damn kidney stone my entire life. Never had symptoms. Woke up one morning and thought I was going to die. I have had dengue fever, Delhi belly, mysterious rashes, bug bites, you name it...but kidney stones are the WORST!  

My friend I was traveling with called friends who had grown up in Bogota. They saved the day getting me to a hospital where I was asked to pee in a cup. Miraculously, I passed the stone right into the cup. The wonderful Colombian doctor told me that passing a stone feels like child birth. Well, that was good birth control for me at the time. They gave me some great pain meds, an IV and let me rest for the day just incase any further stones wanted to make their way out. 

I make sure to always know where I can get medical treatment and I travel with a medical kit with the basics, but in Colombia---I was so grateful for dear friends and a wonderful hospital staff. 

How do you feel you inspire others?

I hope I inspire people by my sense of adventure. I love to travel alone. 
Ive met some of my dearest friends while traveling alone.  (**couldn't agree more!**)

Jess & Britt in Montana - serious horse lovers.
I went on a yoga retreat to Goa, India a few years ago alone and met people I still keep in touch with. Traveling alone is also how I met Jess. I was feeling lost, lonely and all around scared about life and knew I needed a change after a rough year. On a whim, I googled two of my favorite things together--horseback riding and yoga. Up popped Cowgirl Yoga RetreatsI saw they only offered them in the summer. I emailed Margaret (**founder of Big Sky Yoga Retreats**) anyways saying that I needed to get away and would they allow me to come out off season? 

I ended up staying for over a week in Bozeman meeting Jess's entire family and falling in love with Montana and developing great friendships. I think people are scared to travel alone, but if you do your homework, it can be so rewarding. My mom still hates that I do this though, just for the record. 

What’s something that inspires you to keep exploring?

Hearing peoples stories. I am fascinated by every person I meet and I love to hear about their lives. 

When my dad and I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in 2012, we had the chance to meet this 80 year old French man who had also climbed the mountain. He taught me a valuable lesson. He spoke no English and I spoke only broken French. We invited him to eat dinner with us anyways. He had a translation book and we made the conversation work somehow. The more wine I drank, the more fluent I became. We were sharing stories from the summit He made it to Gilman's Point, which is the first stop after the long vertical climb of the long trek to the summit (summit is about 2 hours further). 

He said his dream was to always climb Mt. Kili and reach the top of the mountain. At 80, he did just that. His goal was not to reach the summit, just the top of the vertical climb. I liked that. He taught me that just because everyone else has one goal, yours may be something totally different and equally meaningful


I wasn't willing to admit it at the time but I climbed that mountain to let go of an incredibly painful relationship. And each person I met on my 3 week journey in Africa did just that--help me let go. People are fascinating and each has a story. I want to hear as many as I can. 

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who feels stuck in their current life or afraid to take that first step?

"There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you'd better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you'll never understand what it's saying." Sarah Dressen
You will never regret truly listening to your heart. I take a trip to somewhere I don't now anyone each time I have a major life decision to make. The alone time helps me determine what is best for me with no influence from others.

How has service affected your travel & what does service mean to you?

I do volunteer work with disaster management and have ever since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Humanity is a powerful thing and we are at our best when we are taking care of others. I often travel to places that have been affected by different types of disasters. Continuing to still see the beauty of a place amidst destruction gives people hope. And I love returning to places like New Orleans and seeing the re-building and pride. For me, service is working with people during difficult times and learning the culture and stories a bit differently, returning later to find out they told it perfectly.

What are some common misconceptions of the world that you'd like to share with readers a new point of view on?

Everyone speaks English. They do not. I am not gifted with the skill of picking up languages easily and have played more games of gestures than I care to admit. Taking the time to learn key phrases is so important, especially during an emergency (or getting kidney stones). 

And even with all the wars, poverty and disease...
I believe the world is truly still a beautiful place.
Brittany climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

"People go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars; and they pass themselves without wondering." - Saint Augustine

A question from Britt for all of you:

I was lucky that my parents taught me to explore your own back yard before going to the neighbors for entertainment. They took us to every corner of this country and I have been to most of our glorious States here in the Unites States. I think this has given me such a strong sense of self when I travel. I can share the wonderful things about America and listen to the stories of their own country.

There are so many wild, untamed, legendary and structural places to visit in the US. 
Have you taken full advantage of your own backyard before exploring elsewhere?

How can people get in touch with or follow you?
Follow me on instagram under @Britt71285

Avid yogi, avid adventurer.


Namasté y'all


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  2. I knew Britt.... We Met in Haiti, and she still to this day is one person I am thankful I was lucky enough to meet and spend time with..... Larry

  3. I knew Britt.... We Met in Haiti, and she still to this day is one person I am thankful I was lucky enough to meet and spend time with..... Larry