My sister, Cassidy, high on life after a helicopter flight to a glacier on New Zealand's South Island.

Sure, I’d land on a glacier.

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Reflections on Life

My sister recently landed on a glacier in a helicopter. Some of our friends see her pictures from adventures in the beautiful New Zealand wilderness and tell me: “She’s so lucky.” I smile and reply: “And damn determined, too.”

Cassidy didn’t just stumble upon a helicopter with an empty seat. She envisioned that remote glacier, that magical flight, that life-changing moment. And then she took the deliberate steps to make the vision a reality: quitting a secure job, leaving her comfort zone, traveling solo to a foreign country, seeking out ways to trade her expertise to make a living.

rob roberts paragliding over missoula valley

I’m proud of her. It takes guts to leap from a picture on her vision board to the actual moment in unfamiliar territory. And it’s a leap many people never risk. You know why? Because you don’t know how hard you’ll land when your sooo-much-fun, mid-air, arms-outstretched, anything-is-possible leap is over.

Rob and I made a similar leap. We hit lifetime highs while hovering effortlessly in the nether-world of traveling. It took quite a while to dust off the dirt from our clumsy plop back to reality last year. But now that we have…it’s time to start a new vision board! (Or at least a metaphoric board, since I barely have time to shower these days, much less clip magazine articles to make a real one).

talon is swing

Here’s the secret: manifesting your dreams takes work. It’s worth it, though, because life is more fun when you have grand plans, even if those plans don’t make it off the board. We’re ready to start the work again. During our recent road trip to river raft and explore the coast in Oregon, Rob and I put forward some pictures that embody a few dreams for the future:

A sailboat: starting to feel a bit suffocated without any wind in our nonexistent sails.

Books: to read (ha!) and to write.

One big backpack: I still cringe at the stuff in our house, and long for lightweight living.

Ocean: hoping to boat-sit or house-sit/swap near the sea for a few weeks each winter. Any takers?

A clock: to make the most of many moments.

Rivers: so many more to float and fish.

A vintage motorcycle: because Rob needs a new project and death-defying hobby.

Cash: piles of it, so we can retire early.

Peaks: to physically climb, and to aspire to emotionally, too.

A camera: ready to ramp up the photography skills to augment the writing dreams.

Pillows: because we both need a LOT more sleep post-infant before putting big plans in place.

Smiling faces: including us, family, friends, and strangers, since people are our axis of awesome.

You’ll notice I didn’t add “helicopter” or “glacier” to the metaphoric vision board list. That’s because I’ll leave manifesting snow-related adventures to Cassidy. Sure, I’d land on a glacier … but only if I stumbled on an empty seat.

talon walking into the creekrob and talon on the carousel in missoula

steve randall and talon roberts at rattlesnake creek

My sister, Cassidy, high on life after a helicopter flight to a glacier on New Zealand's South Island.
My sister, Cassidy, high on life after a helicopter flight to a glacier on New Zealand’s South Island: directionaldetour.org
brianna and rob on the horizon line travel blog tonga vavau

Let’s talk about the future.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Community and Culture, Traveling

brianna and rob on the horizon line travel blog tonga vavau

A lot of people have asked us recently about our short- and long-term plans. Where are we going next? What will we be doing in Tonga? What are our goals for the future? (Besides making an album, since we have this awesome album cover photo all ready to go.)

To be honest, we’ve thought a lot less about these answers here in Vava’u than any other time since we left Missoula. Part of the reason we haven’t thought much about plans and goals the last couple of months is because we simply have less time to think. Passages across the Pacific give plenty of time to ponder what the hell you’re doing with your life (maybe too much time?). Partying in Tonga sucks that pondering right back into the sea, sweeping out plans with the tides.

It’s been busy in Vava’u. We’ve been playing a lot of music, and heading up weekly open mic nights at a local bar. We’ve been doing yoga almost every morning. We’ve been helping set up and plan a 4-day regatta and associated festival events so hundreds of people can have fun. We’ve been cooking and eating a lot. We’ve been designing and wearing a variety of interesting costumes. We’ve been sitting around with the tight-knit group of palangis and yachties who live in Vava’u, discussing particle physics, papayas, rainbows, religion, and government theory. We’ve been petting dogs, and avoiding pigs crossing the street.

pub crawl in neiafu tonga regatta vavau party brianna and rob on the horizon line

You see? We barely have time to swim anymore, much less figure out the future.

Rob and I have been living for free here in Tonga in exchange for helping out new friends. We spend a week or two at cooking and fixing things at Mandala Resort on Fetoko Island, and then a week or so in Neiafu watching 3 lovely boys while they’re parents are both working. We plan to keep helping people out, since they keep helping us out in return: so far, we’ve long-term-borrowed 2 mountain bikes, a few spear guns, lots of clothes, a kayak, and a sailboat.

neiafu harbor from mount talau

Our short-term plans are to fix up that sailboat so we can move aboard late November. In December, my sister comes to visit for the whole month! When I’m not hopping around in gleeful excitment about seeing Cassidy in 5 weeks, I’m mapping out the best beaches and snorkeling spots to anchor at while she’s here. Come the new year … well, I expect we’ll be doing more of the same: volunteering to work on interesting projects for friends, sailing around the dozens of islands in Vava’u between summer storms, playing music and eating fruit.

After cyclone season ends in March, we plan to hitch a ride to American Samoa and Samoa, and then on to Fiji for a few months. Rob and I are planning to head back to Montana for a summer visit in July. And that’s about as long-term as we can plan right here and right now. We talk a lot about lofty goals for the future, which include miraculous millions that allow us to jet each year between our home in Missoula and our second home on a tropical island.  Maybe the millions will roll in once we start selling our band’s albums … though I somehow doubt Johnny Cash cover songs will net enough for a second home.

pub crawl in neiafu tonga regatta vavau party on the horizon line travel blog

But it’s all just talk. We’re happy, healthy, and very much in the “now” here in Tonga. Come visit us and you, too, will see how these islands suck plans straight out into the deep Tongan Trench.

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