Zoe Vlastos’ Year In Review
A New Year! A quarter century of life! And 2017 was a blast!! I cannot fit all the amazing times I had into one blog post but I have created a shap-shot of my 25th year of life to give you an idea of what I’ve been up to!
December 2016—May 2017
Base Home: Boulder/Denver Colorado
Denver Children’s Home
As a Youth Treatment Counselor at Denver Children’s Home I spent more time than I ever have before in a K-12 classroom. In the Day Treatment Program school at the facility I worked with students ages 10-18 who had experienced trauma, abuse, and/or neglect. I greatly enjoyed working with underserved populations, loved being around the kids all the time, and learned lots of group management and counseling skills. I also got to work with some amazingly dedicated and passionate people. Although I did decide to leave DCH due to a draining and unfulfilling schedule, I am extremely grateful for the experience!
Eating Disorder Foundation Gala Speech and Performance
In April I spoke about my recovery from Anorexia Nervosa and provided a piano performance in front of an audience of 400+ fancy-smancy guests at the Eating Disorder Foundation’s annual Gala fundraiser. I am beyond honored to have had the opportunity to share my story with so many people while raising funds and awareness for eating disorder prevention and recovery support. Furthermore, I had the privilege of sharing the speaking podium with my amazing mother who spoke about recovery and the experience of a parent of a child with an eating disorder. Ah! What a full heart to look through the crowd to the beaming faces of my family after playing Brahms’ Intermezzo in A Major Op. 118 No. 2 and speaking as a woman recovered from anorexia. Proud! Hopeful! Grateful! Yes!
Six years after starting my recovery from anorexia nervosa I held a party to celebrate my journey! With a house full of friends, chocolate, flowers, and love I felt more blessed than ever for all the support I have experienced throughout my recovery!
Moab & Ancient Art
In late April Carl and I returned to Moab for my first visit to Indian Creek (love at first crack, indeed!) and to conquer the infamous climb of Ancient Art. Climbing the last pitch across a thin walkway and up a twisty spire with 200+ feet drop-offs on either side was rather easy without the 60 mph winds we had experience during our first attempt of the climb the previous fall! What a feeling and what a view!!
Carl introduced me to paragliding by setting up a tandem flight outside of Vail with a wonderful older instructor. As the seasoned ‘sky people’ (as Carl calls the paragliders) jabbered away about past lives and passion for the skies, I soaked up every second of the gorgeous flight. With air rushing all around me and mountains sparkling below I thought, “This is why Carl is obsessed with paragliding! I’m flying!” Eventually I want to get the training to paraglide myself. For now, I’ll dream about that glorious flight and cherish Carl’s stoked energy after flying.
Base Home: Part-time Durango & Part-time Boulder
Job Switch! Fast!
Through a series of fortunate events I switched jobs rather suddenly in May. I interviewed with Open Sky Wilderness Therapy on a Wednesday, turned in my ‘less-than-two-weeks-notice’ at Denver Children’s Home on Thursday, and started a two week orientation at Open Sky ten days later! Whoop, quick turnaround, decision making with my love, and setting my life on fire again with work I love! I now bounce between 8-days of full time (night and day) work in the wilderness (no reception!) outside of Durango and 6-days of time off for front-range connections and adventuring!
Wilderness First Responder Course
I surprised myself with how much I loved learning about Wilderness Medicine and remote emergency response during my Wilderness First Responder course outside Buena Vista, CO. It was fast-paced, fun, and full of risk assessment! One simulation found me “trapped” underneath a fallen tree awaiting rescue and another assessing a hip fracture during a “flood.” I loved every minute! My new backup career plan is to work for search and rescue!
Stuck under a tree during a simulation during my WFR course! What fun!
Backpacking with Mom
Before starting my new job a grabbed some time for a quick 3 day backpacking trip with my amazing mother in Lost Creek Wilderness! We explored watery caves, hiked through awesome rock formations, and had fun with Carl until he hurt his foot. I cannot wait to hike with this wonderful woman again; we are already concocting plans for this coming year!
Glowing outdoor dance floors amidst the trees, waking up to jump yalping! into mountain lake water, and nights of creativity-connection-inspiration fusion dancing! I cherished time camping out and dancing with my best friends as well as making new connections on the dance floors.
The morning of August 21st found Carl and I at Grand Teton Lodge outside Jackson, WY experiencing the wild power of the full solar eclipse at totality. I existed in a constant state of awe as the air cooled, the swallows came out to feed at “dusk,” and suddenly the mountains experienced a sunset and the sun disappeared and the darkness was beautiful and the many-languaged-voices Ooooed and Aaahhhed around us! Words cannot describe totality. Two minutes flew by and then I was wishing I could press repeat to experience it again. Plus, I got to experience the whole dream with Carl’s wonderful parents and sister!
First Solo Backpacking Trip
During one of my offshifts I screwed my courage to the sticking place and headed out on my first backpacking trip alone. After a breathtaking hike up to Owen’s Basic, fiery sunsets and sunrises, and the peace of my own small camp, I am hooked on solo backpacking. This year I’ll have to make it out for longer!
Carl and Southwest Colorado: So Much Love!
Carl came down to visit me in Durango over Labor Day Weekend to explore the mountains of Southwest Colorado. The trusty Battlewagon got us over the gorgeous Cinnamon Pass and up to the base of Handies Peak. We weathered a thunderstorm cozied up in our tent to then rise early the next morning for a pre-dawn hike and sunrise summit. Carl ran-ran-ran-jumped off the 14er for a beautiful paragliding flight back down to the car! Wow! What a view from the peak as he soared above the mountain ranges and down into the green valley! He’s crazy and I love him! With many hours of daylight left we hoofed up to Columbine Lake outside of Silverton to jump into the freezing turquoise water and come up bubbling with life! What a weekend!
Seattle Fusion Festival
We spent a long weekend exploring Seattle by day and dancing fusion in a new scene by night. Carl’s sister, Camille, tour-guided us around to the rainforesty mountains, bright bouquets of Pike’s Place Market, and richest, deepest, most delicious hot-cocoa ever! We spent time with friends old and new in a whirlwind of connection!
I spent four days hiking to hot springs, trekking through yellow aspens in the rain, and eating authentic Mexican food with my Mom during some time off in October! Goodness, I cherish time with my heroine-bestfriend-mentor-mother!
Fall found me back at Indian Creek twice more to shove my body in more cracks, find that beautiful flow of fist and hand jams, and experience the peace of knowing that my body is meant to move up desert walls! It feels so right!
I was interviewed by 9News Denver as a woman recovered from anorexia nervosa for their addiction week series. I am proud to be an advocate for recovery from eating disorders and other addictions! See the video here.
I celebrated two years of sharing life with the phenomenal Carl Marvin! I’m still crazily in love and can’t believe how lucky I am to have such an amazing adventure-buddy and friend as my boyfriend! Plus, he puts up with my crazy life 🙂
Other noteworthy occurrences of 2017:
- I became a confident manuel driver with my new car, the Bodacious Blueberry.
- I led my first sport and trad pitches climbing outdoors and thus met two of my intentions for the past year!
- Mastered the drive between Durango and Boulder…it is so beautiful and boring and beautiful and boring and…yeah!
- I realized that I am ready to go back to Graduate School next fall. I have applied to Denver University’s PsyD Program and Regis University’s Masters in Counseling. We’ll see where life takes me!
- I am enjoying having two of my siblings in Colorado attending Regis University; I’m grateful to share time with Xander and Kali on a more regular basis!
I am stoked about 2018 and already have gobs of intentions! Stayed tuned for next year’s review!