In the Wilderness

Adventure, oregon, Personal, Photography



Last week I spent seven days in the Malheur National Forest camping. Seven days. No cell reception. No wifi. Not even a landline. Camping.  That is the longest amount of time I have spent, 1. camping, and 2. without any outside communication since I can ever remember.

It was a time spent with family, chatting, hiking, eating and playing Old Mexico.

Since there wasn’t facebook or instagram to distract us we were able to focus our attention on one another, and head to bed earlier and wake up way earlier than usual. This meant I got to see seven sunrises, some I saw with Seth by my side, others on my own.

I always hear people talking about quiet time, but up until this trip, I had never truly realized the importance of being quiet. At rest with my thoughts. Disconnected. It’s amazing the things you can observe and hear (or not hear) once you shut everything else off.  I learnt to listen to and recognize the sounds of the wilderness, deer running, coyotes howling, and a black bear creeping – trying to go unnoticed.

How much time do we honestly take to do this? To have absolute quiet time and gather or expel our recurring thoughts. We don’t. I don’t. This trip showed me how I’m letting the noise clog up my life, leading me to feel disillusioned and ending in a game of constant comparison.

I’m not where I want to be.

Am I failing at my calling?

Is this even my calling?!

Pointless, and hindering little thoughts.

These are some of the things I struggle with as a result of the daily noise. & sometimes it takes a trip into the wilderness to separate the important stuff from the trivial, what really matters and bring things back to perspective.

So today I’m encouraging you to take a trip to the wilderness – whatever that means to you. & then tell me how it went.


An Adventure + An Engagement

Adventure, Personal, The Outdoors, Travel


Just over a year ago my brother in law started hanging out with this pretty awesome girl called Jana. Pretty soon we all knew she was the ‘one’.  Not just the ‘one’ he was going to date, but the ‘one’ he was going to be with… like, forever. But sometimes when we’re the midst of things it’s so easy to not realize that the other person feels the same way about us as we do about them and as he figured things out, as a family we started to panic that the moment may go by and he’d miss out on being with this amazing girl!

A few months of playing what we’ve now come to call the ‘boyfriend and girlfriend game’ they finally got together and we all not so secretly cheered them on. Fast forward a year later he invited us to go backpacking with them, they’d head out a few days earlier and we’d meet them halfway and bring them home.  At first I kind of panicked because, well, I’d never been backpacking before and the thought of carrying a backpack for 10 miles was a little daunting; but I also had an idea of what was going to happen during that trip, so the obvious answer was yes!


So Seth & I packed our sleeping bags, camping food, lightest cloths and set out on the trail to Obsidian Falls.  About 4 miles in, once I’d gotten used to the 30+lb backpack and managed to get a rhythm so I could keep up with my husband, we find ourselves in 4 ft of snow and struggling to find the trail, and just as panic was beginning to creep in, as if on cue, we heard screams and shouts and saw the happy couple sliding down hill on the snow!


Being a girl the first thing I did was grab Jana’s left hand and look at her finger and realized that yes, after all the games and 12 months of dating, he’d put a ring on it! I really thought we’d do some screaming and jumping, but I’m pretty sure that the 4-mile hike in and their encounter with mosquitoes had something to do with the calmer yet excited hugs and embraces!  Nevertheless we went up the hill and found the campsite, set out a blanket, pulled out the cheese, crackers, summer sausage and wine and listened to how he asked her if ‘he could make her last name sound a little more like his’.  We then celebrated by jumping into 32f water (or at least it felt that cold) and watching the sun set



The views were absolutely stunning and included The Three Sisters, The Husband, Mt Washington & Mt Jefferson and more on the horizon.  If you ever get a chance to do at least part of the Pacific Crest Trail, this is a beautiful spot to go on it.

Seth & I had planned to sleep under the stars, but we didn’t realize how many mosquitoes there would be so we jumped in with Eli & Jana into their two-man tent and slept like sardines. Next time I’m taking a sleeping pill… or bringing my own tent. But what would any trip be without a good tent story!


All in all I absolutely loved backpacking, more than I thought I would – it may have had something to do with the views and the company though 😉

Lessons Learnt

Adventure, Personal, The Outdoors

Lessons Learnt

The last few weeks have been a little crazy and I’ve learnt a ton of things! Some things were new, and others were things I was aware of before but had forgotten about, and it got me thinking, wouldn’t be great to keep track of those things? So that in the future I can just browse back and be reminded of them?

So here we have it, just a few of the things that have stuck with me recently – some are just plain funny, some I’ll have to keep practicing and others I’ll have to ponder on…

#1 – When you go on a hike don’t leave your food in the car – who would’ve thought it?!

#2 – If you don’t go and skip stones often, you’ll forget how to do it and it will take you forever to get back in to it again – so keep practicing the things that make you smile.

#3 – If you have several hobbies and choose one as a career path, don’t give up on the others – you’ll end up starving your career ‘hobby’ and will need your other hobbies to feed it. Thank you Austin Kleon. 

#4 – Sometimes life throws different things and situations at you pushing you to take the jump,  you can either panic and do nothing, or you can choose take the jump and figure out how you’re going to land standing.

#5Community is important, whether they’re there for you so you can vent, or to support you and hold you accountable.

#6 – Having confidence in your work and a good pricing structure are vital, not just to pay your bills, but also live a happier life.

#7Consider it pure joy when you face trials.  It’ll teach you perseverance, push you to do your best, place your trust in God and help you grow like no other.

#8 – Don’t trust UPS to deliver on time, and have a back up plan.

#9 – Ask yourself why you want something, if you don’t know why you want it – you’ll never fully pursue it wholeheartedly, and it’ll become a burden or selfish need.

#10 – Nothing happens in the comfort zone. Except for sleep.


Picture taken at Cougar Reservoir, and edited with VSCO cam

From The Weekend – Timberline Lodge

Adventure, Personal

It’s been a while since I went snowboarding, but having just finished acquiring all my gear, I was dying to go. So needless to say when my friend Carrie and her boyfriend invited us to go to Timberline Lodge and take advantage of lower spring season tickets, I jumped on it! It ended up being Carrie, Andy, Carrie’s sister Jenny, and my own little sis Laura!

We had a blast trying to make it down the hill, taking a number of drops on our butts, and of course – dealing with the dreaded lift. Laura and I finally made it off the lift at the end of the day without falling either flat on our faces or on some awkward position and then being shouted at by the attendant to move out of the way! If you know me, you know I can’t always hold my temper, but I tried really really hard that day 😉 I just wanted to shout at him that I obviously wasn’t on the floor by choice…

A serious tumble on my part (I was seeing stars for a while), mixed with sore muscles and a long ride home demanded we stopped at the lodge for an après-ski cuppa hot chocolate. I had never been to Timberline Lodge before, and boy was I blown away by it. It was built in the 1930s and is now a National Historic Landmark, it’s beautiful and rustic on the inside and the furniture is to die for, I want all those couches in my house (if only they would fit!).

Three days later I still have a sore neck that I can’t get enough Tiger Balm on and a few bruises on my palms, shins… but now I just can’t wait til the next time I go again!

North, via US-101

Adventure, Personal, Travel

Heylen Thienes | California No1

When we headed to California two weeks ago, we had bought one way tickets as we weren’t sure how long we were going to be, but while down there we figured out that not only it would be way cheaper (since it was last minute, again) to drive home, but also a fantastic adventure! So on a whim, we rented a car and headed North via US 101!

It was so much fun! My favourite part of driving home was that not only did we get to a make handful of stops that allowed us to see sights we hadn’t seen before (such as the Hollywood sign)  but also got to say hi to friends we wouldn’t normally see because of distance.  I loved catching up with Marlene and Jessica who are both in LA and Kasey in Vacaville, it’s amazing how much depth and meaning a quick hello can add to a trip!

Heylen Thienes | California no2

On such long trips making stops is vital, as are wine, coffee and a good night’s sleep.  We ended up spending the night in Santa Cruz (and got to see our other friend Kari) to break up the drive and get some rest, as day two was spent on I-5.  The stretch between LA and Santa Cruz on 101  is probably one of my favourite I’ve driven on, it’s so interesting to watch the landscape as it changes from palm trees and big cities, to pines, farming communities and northwest architecture, if you haven’t done this before, make sure you put it on your bucket list!

Heylen Thienes | California No3

We started in Murrieta, CA and this is where we stopped and ate:

+ LA; Brakfast at Lamill

+ Ventura: Blenders in the Grass 

+ Pismo Beach: Farmers Market

+ Paso Robles: Amsterdam Coffee, you can’t buy wine by the glass, but you can buy the bottle and drink it there – great if you need to use the internet!

+ Santa Cruz: We stayed at this super cute Airbnb place, grabbed food at Whole Foods and then got some fuel (Coffee) and amazing pastries from Verve Coffee Roasters


Oh What a Month It was…

Adventure, The Outdoors, Travel, Vacation

It’s hard to believe that just 31 days ago we were ringing in the New Year.  Just after the midnight bells rang we all went around the room sharing a challenge we were giving ourselves this year or something we hoped to achieve.  Mine, clichéd as it is, was to get out of my Comfort Zone… and boy has this month taken me up on that challenge.

From realizing that if we go to a Spanish Speaking country I am going to have to do all the talking (all introverts will understand this feeling) – it’s only fair, since I am the Spanish speaker in our marriage; to (un)lucking out with our accommodation on the same trip (turns out pictures don’t always reflect the truth – who would’ve known it!).

All in all, the whole comfort zone thing is about having fun, meeting new people, seeing new places and enjoying life a little more with purpose.  And so far 2014 has provided all of those.  Watching my little sister get married in Costa Rica will be hard to beat, but also going to Miami (post on this coming soon), making new friends and meeting new clients makes for an exciting start to get rid of that comfort thing!

Are sticking to your challenges/goals/dreams?



HT_LAURA+CALEB_1Processed with VSCOcam with k3 preset

Throwback Thursday: San Francisco Twenty Twelve, Film

Adventure, Photography, Travel, Vacation

Photography, traveling and new adventures.  I can’t quite express how much I love these three things.  I love the excitement before a big (or small) trip, especially to somewhere new.  I get there and my eyes have a hard time focusing on one thing, I want to take it all in – so this where my camera comes in, and I can’t help but take thousands of pictures  of little details, different angles and faces, at different times of the day.  Then I get home, put them on my computer and then that’s it.  Or have a roll of film processed and then put it in my filing cabinet.

heylenthienes - San Francisco 1

I hate bombarding people with pictures on Facebook, and so one of the reasons I started this blog was so I could share more of them without feeling guilty of clogging up people’s newsfeed.

heylenthienes - san francisco 2

I realise I have a lot of pictures to share, going way back when… so I thought it only appropriate to name and post these series on “Throwback Thursday”.  Starting small with a just 5 pics from a trip to San Francisco last year, it was the first time my parents came to visit me in the States since I moved here.  We hang out in San Fran and a visit to the Golden Gate was a must, and honestly a bit of a dream come true, because I’d been drooling over that bridge since I can remember!

heylenthienes - san francisco 3

I used my Diana F+ lomography camera and it it took me so long to get the film processed, that I had forgotten what as on it, so it was a nice surprise when these guys popped up!

Leaving the city at sun rise

I used the Lomography XPro 200 ISO 35mm film for these pictures.  I love how the day time pictures turned out, and at first I wan’t quite sure if I liked the night time/dawn pictures, but they’re growing on me…

Seth by the Golden Gate