Hello

Hi. I’m Michelle and you’ve found me.

Welcome to my little space on the inter-webs.

My blog, Keep Taking Chances, is my blog 3.0.  The first one started way back in 2005, and at some point around 2009-10 I upgraded to a proper wordpress blog. Then sadly, in 2015, my blog was claimed by an internet black hole.  I used that time to change formats, change names, and do a major re-design.  In a nutshell, my blog is a (very) vaguely chronological timeline of life events, travel, and mishaps along with some life lessons and musings thrown in for fun.

So why did I start blogging in the first place?

My very first blog post was a hate filled diatribe about an ex-boyfriend who was not an ex at the time that I caught with another woman.  On my birthday, no less.  Yes, I’ve gotten over it. Yes, I’m still bitter. No, that post is not anywhere on this blog.  Then I did medical disaster relief, and oh boy was that mentally draining. I needed a place to get those feeling out and the blog was it. Over the next few years, I traveled a lot, changed careers, almost bought a house, adopted some cats, learned to cook, became adept at using power tools and completing home improvement projects, changed careers, rekindled my love for hiking, took up fencing, boxing, tennis, and went back to university as an adult.

The blog has been my one constant for my adult life.

So is it a travel blog?

Not exclusively. Traveling is one of my favorite activities, but I’m not exactly in the most ideal position to write a blog that focuses on traveling the world. I haven’t even been to Africa, yet. Or South East Asia.  Or Central Asia or any parts of Asia, really. Or Australia. Or New Zealand. Or the Middle East. But I want to, one day, and my bucket list gets longer every day. So, obviously, I can’t really give any profound travel advice about going to places I’ve never been. I always hurt myself without even doing anything adventurous and I always forget something crucial. Like my passport. It’s no secret that I honestly don’t have a clue when it comes to round the world planning, or packing, or malaria pills.  I actually got malaria while taking said pills.

Is it a personal blog?

Well, not exactly. I mean it’s personal to me, but it’s certainly not a daily log of my life.

I am passionate about travel, heading outdoors as often as possible, grass roots health care, education and conservation, reading, learning to do things myself, and creating the perfect combination of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. I’m trying to learn to love coffee (or even tea); these days my drink of choice these days is apple cider, hot or cold, but preferably fresh-pressed.  I’m a recovering wine fiend, tequila connoisseur, vodka-lover, and whiskey drinker.  Even though I don’t drink alcohol anymore, I think wineries are spectacularly awesome, breweries are uber cool, and  distilleries are, ummmm, interesting. On my blog you’ll find a collection of travel stories (and misadventures), kitchen experiments (also misadventures), home improvement projects (also misadventures) and things I find interesting. Occasionally there are stories about things that I thought were a good idea at the time, but in retrospect turned out to be a horrible idea.

I’ve studied monkeys and turtles in the wild, fell in love with lemurs at the largest lemur population outside Madagascar, chased cats all over the world, rescued sea turtles on the coast,  taught health classes in Spanish with Caribbean Ocean peaking over my shoulder, built stoves with proper ventilation in the Andes mountains, helped bring babies into the world and  have seen them out of the world, been regaled with WWII veterans’ tales, helped people die with dignity, and dealt with the dangers of addiction on a personal level.

BA cats 4 - Copy
Buenos Aires cats

I am cynical but optimistic, tough but kind, honest, sarcastic, introverted, yet assertive.  My filter has giant holes in it which means a lot of things get through that probably shouldn’t.  Working in health care has given me an appreciation of dark humor. Political correctness is lost on me. I call a spade a spade, so if you are easily offended, here’s your advance warning.

Myers-Briggs calls me a INFP–It means I focus on the big picture, avoid conflict like the plague, better at written communication than oral, and for the life of me I cannot make concrete plans; it also means I’m sensitive (whatever). I’m at the tail-end of Gen X or the very beginning of Millennial generations. When you figure out what that means, let me know, OK?

Life’s better in the woods

Life is not meant to be rush through– hurried, anxious and rushed. We’ve been told many times before that this is not a dress rehearsal, but know all too well that this is also not a play. This is life and the only one we’ve been bestowed with – let us occasionally remind ourselves of that. My life has never followed a linear grid and I’m constantly taking what most people consider ‘a chance.’

So it’s not a travel blog or a personal blog  or a DIY/home (HA!),  a cooking (HA-HA), or fashion (OMG, I’m dying) blog?

No, it’s not. I write about all of those, except fashion (I essentially wear pajamas or wilderness clothes all the time). My bucket list gets longer every day.  I entered the medical profession, but during that time I’ve gotten malaria, a touch of the plague, broken a few bones, gotten the flu, required stitches, and fallen down so many times it’s not funny anymore.

So most of my advice is advice you should probably not follow.

Stick around. I promise… you’ll want to see what I do.

Can’t wait to get started?  Read on for some of my most popular posts:

  • Interested in staying healthy while traveling through harsh environments.  This post outlines how I’ve avoided (or recovered from) a host of injuries/illnesses I’ve managed to have while outside the friendly confines of ‘home’.

poop pills

  • I’ve done a lot of things people might call crazy, but this one absolutely takes the cake.

death road 2

  • Everyone has a cultural symbol that they’ve fallen in love with:  mine is Berlin’s Ampelmann.  In this post, I explore ampelmann’s history and its future.

Berlin-walking man