Friday, July 15, 2016

Are we there yet? #summerPD #PCT

"Are we there yet?" From the time I was little, every road trip, every plane ride, every vacation included this question. And when my kids were little, they asked it, too. Always focused on the destination which often seemed far away.

And then the other day I was hiking near Carson Pass on the Pacific Crest Trail with my husband with Showers Lake as our destination. And in my mind, I heard the question:

Are we there yet?

So focused on the destination, and yet all around me the most beautiful views you can imagine. As I stopped at to capture moments with my camera, it hit me. Life, and our work is about the journey. This summer has been an interesting one as I realized there is no real way for me to separate my life from my work-- my work is my passion-- and every lesson I learn along the way has meaning for me as a friend, a wife, a mom, and as a leader. And so, in spite of those who say educators have "summers off", I offer this-- learning can happen everywhere! Even on a hike. This blog post was composed mostly in my head along the 12.2 mile journey, and it was somewhere near the top of the mountain when we weren't quite there, unsure if we would EVER arrive at Showers Lake that the title revealed itself: Are we there yet?

Lesson #1: Look
Notice everything. The sky, the color of blue, the clouds, or in this case the magic of a cloudless day. The reflection of the water. The colors of green. And in our daily lives, notice the people around us, their eyes, their smiles, the expression on their face. Don't miss a moment.

Lesson #2: Listen
Quiet is powerful. As we hiked together, I listened to birds, and beetles, and the sound of the wind in the trees. Several times we stopped to cross streams which involved me, unbalanced, navigating across rocks. 

And then I stopped to listen to the sound of the water.  Click below to listen :)
We need to listen more to each other.

Lesson #3: Learn
In my life, I struggle with balance and technology can be overwhelming. But even on this hike I was exploring and learning with technology. The sound of the water I recorded with AudioBoom, a podcasting app, and the picture below is one of my first attempts at taking a 360 picture with the Google Street View app. And I even tracked our progress using All Trails and GPS so I would know IF WE WERE THERE YET!  And after 6.2 miles in, we arrived. Yes! I don't think you can view them properly in a blog post, but I was so excited to learn how to do this! I TRIED embedding code below... can you see them?

Lesson #4: Laugh
Take time to be silly, have fun, and do things that make you laugh. It feels good! Selfies are fun.

Lesson #5: Conserve Your Battery
In life and in work, we have a limited amount of energy, just like our phones! Had I left all of my apps open and the internet on, I would have not been able to track our progress, to record the stream, or to capture images that I didn't want to forget. To conserve my battery while hiking, I always put my phone in airplane mode, which allowed us to hike for over 6 hours and never run out of power. So too, in life, we need to disconnect, to relax, to rest and recharge so that we can bring our best selves to our life an our work. 

In this way, we can enjoy the journey, finish strong, and reach our destination!


  1. It sounds like you are having an amazing summer! Great advice about the airplane mode..I love that w can still track our trip using gps while airplane mode is on.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Tammy! I had no idea the All Trails app would work with the airplane mode either! Have a great trip!

  2. I loved your post, Jen. And I could see all the cool 360 street views from my phone as I read it. I agree with what you said about teachers in the summer. It's such an important time for us to do some deeper reflection, preparation, and planning. I need this time to take care of myself and my family too. Ultimately it helps us to be much better for our students. Thank you for being your awesome self! Happy summer!

    1. Hi Natasha!
      Thanks for reading! Glad you could see the pics :) I agree completely we need to rest and recharge with family and friends. Happy summer!