Zoe Vlastos: My Year in Review

Zoe Vlastos: My Year in Review

Despite irrationally disliking odd numbers, being twenty-three was really good to me! My year has been chockfull of adventure, exploration, learning, and growth. Sitting at my favorite coffee shop in Boulder, Colorado (the Trident Café) I am stealing the idea of writing a “year in review” from my friend Blake Boles to give you a run down of what I’ve been up to!

 

January 2016

Fraser, Colorado, USA

 

National Sports Center for the Disabled

I spent a month living with my amazing great aunt and uncle in Fraser, Colorado. During this time I volunteered 10 days with the National Sports Center for the Disabled, an organization that provides adaptive sports (kayaking, climbing, horseback riding, skiing, snowboarding, and more) to individuals with a variety of disabilities. I had the pleasure of teaching sit skiing to some absolutely mind-blowing kids and adults as well as working with the jolly staff at NSCD. I learned to not take being able-bodied for granted and grew immensely as a skier. Plus, I got to ski tons when I wasn’t volunteering!

 

Falling in Love

In Dec. 2015 the stars aligned and I met the love of my life. Much of January was spent driving back and forth from Fraser to Boulder as we fell head over heels in love! And…I’m still falling!

 

RAW

I started a blog on my recovery process from anorexia nervosa called RAW for Recovery from Anorexia Wholeheartedly. Check it out here. More to come in the next year!

 

 

 

February – Early April 2016

Patagonia, Argentina and Chile

 

El Chalten

I spent a month living in El Chalten, Argentina, a little climber town in the Andes Mountains on the border between Argentina and Chile. Most people travel to El Chalten to see or attempt to climb the infamous Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy. Of course the spectacular mountains did pull me that far south but it was also the promise of adventuring with my Argentinian best friend, Mica Peker, who caused me to find myself living in a tiny airstream trailer on the edge of town with a freckled young woman re-teaching me the intricacies of Argentinian Spanish.

During my month in El Chalten I backpacked, ran, hiked, and adventured extensively in the mountains surrounding the small town. Friendships formed and grew. Spanish tangled its was back into my delighted brain. I spent many evenings writing in the wind-shaken trailer. I enjoyed the very limited Internet access and no cell reception. Bliss.

 

Backpacking South

In mid-March Mica and I packed up our backpacks, scrubbed the trailer floors, and hitchhiked into Chile. For the next three weeks we backpacked through the southernmost parts of Argentina and Chile. We completed the W-trek in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. We made new friends in Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas. We visited the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia, where we saw penguins and went skinny-dipping in the Beagle Canal. We couch-surfed and hitchhiked for the first time (5 cars, two buses, and 11 hours to get to Ushuaia!). And we ate lots of Torta!

 

April-Early May, 2016

Buenos Aires, Argentina

 

Tango

April = TANGO! I was lucky enough to spend a month studying tango in the city where it was born. I took private lessons five days a week with my good friend Blake Boles, went out to Milongas for social dancing a least 2-3 times a week, bough real handmade tango heels, and let the music and culture of tango infuse my soul. I lived with Mica and her mother. I got to spend quality time with my host family (from when I had studied abroad three years ago); my host-nephews are SO BIG and their Spanish is so much better than mine! I threw a “recovery party” to celebrate having been in recovery from anorexia nervosa for five years.

 

 

May – Early June, 2016

Crested Butte, Colorado, USA

 

Real World Retreat

I got to staff Unschool Adventure’s Real World Retreat where I spent a month living and working with 21 amazing teens and two other staff to work on life skills. I grew enormously as a mentor, leader, facilitator, and friend. Somehow I magically stepped into my dream job and had an absolute blast! Huge Confidence Boost!

 

 

Mid-June – mid-July, 2016

Denver and west, Colorado

 

The Colorado Trail

I began hiking the 485 miles Colorado Trail with my phenomenal mother. So many wildflowers, high-mountain passes, beans, sore feets, laughs, beans, skinny-dipping, amazing views, and more beans. I cannot believe I got lucky enough to spend such quality time accomplishing such a beautiful dream with one of my biggest heroines. Jeez, I’m one lucky young woman!

 

Mile High Blues & Hospitals

We did take a break from the trail towards the end of June so that I could attend Mile High Blues, a blues dancing exchange of three days and nights of wonderful dancing. My Dad also ended up in the Hospital with Epiglottitis when he came out to hike with us for a few days. Unexpected and scary but he’s fine now!

 

 

August, 2016

Colorado to the West Coast…and back!

 

New Home

I moved into a cute little house in Louisville, Colorado with my boyfriend and two other housemates. There are hardwood floors for dancing. I left the next day for California!

 

NASA

I visited my brother Niko at his internship at the Ames Research Center outside of San Francisco, California. Loved seeing my brother so happy, we shared lots of laughter!

 

Yosemite National Park (take one)

Back with Mica, now in the good old USA! We set out to explore Yosemite for a whirlwind two days of rafting with strangers, staying with climbing rangers, and waking up at ungodly hours for sunrises.

 

Not Back To School Camp

I staffed Not Back To School Camp at Camp Latgawa for the second year in a row. It was ten days of deep connection with campers, staff, and my unschooling self. Camp is a magical place! I also got my first stitches…fell trail running, cut knee, urgent care, and no swimming hole most of camp L

 

Yosemite National Park (take two) and Road Trip Home

I spent a high-energy week road-tripping home to Colorado with my boyfriend Carl. Highlights included introducing him to Mica and Niko, running around San Francisco for three hours, climbing in Yosemite (The Grack and Cathedral Peak! First alpine climb = new love!), hot springs in Utah farms fields, Utah Canyoneering, and lots of camping.

 

Colorado Trail

Mom and I headed back onto the trail for the last 8 days of our journey! Surprise snow storms, exciting lightning, sleeping in a yurt, seeing moose, and such beauty beauty beauty! Then suddenly we were in Durango and done. 485 miles in 33 days with 25-40lbs on our backs! Wow! We’re pretty darn cool!

 

 

Fall, 2016

Louisville, Colorado (and weekend destinations)

 

Job Search

Back in Colorado and ready to ground in my new home I began the job search with gusto. I had lots of interviews and quite a few offers…but I was picky and learning…and the process drug on forever. I starting working part-time at Bittersweet Café and Confections down the street to check-off my bucket list item of being a barista! Now, finally, I’ve accepted and started training for a position as a Daytime Youth Treatment Counselor at Denver Children’s Home where I’ll be working with children and adolescents who have experienced trauma. I’m super stoked!

 

Getting Published….Sort of!

During my time at Children’s Hospital working in the lab of Dr. Guido Frank, M.D. I helped to organize, write, and edit a book about Eating Disorders. Check out What Causes Eating Disorder and What Do They Cause!

 

Grad School Applications

I randomly decided to apply to graduate school and knocked out an application in two days! Another one coming down the pipeline and then it’s the waiting game, oh boy!

 

Utah

Two weekend trips to the Moab area for climbing/canyoneering/hiking/camping adventures in the red dirt! So much fun!

 

Climbing

I’ve started climbing a lot more and love it! I’m lucky to have a boyfriend who is both an amazing climber and teacher.

 

 

 

NOW : Dec. 21st, 2016

Louisville, Colorado : Home

 

I’m 24! Life is wonderful! Tonight I’m going night skiing with my amazing boyfriend to complete my yearly birthday goal of doing something I’ve never done before! I cannot wait to see what adventures come to me during this next year of being a healthy two-dozen! Happy Solstice y’all!

 

 

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