November
3

Why the Bikini is the Uniform for the Empowered Women

Are you tired of seeing the same “bikini body” headlines permeating celebrity news?  Yes, us too.  

While bikinis get attention in mindless gossip, it’s status quo and superficial. Yes, most women want to look good in a bikini. But not every woman feels the need to seek external validation when wearing a bikini. We believe that the bikini is the uniform for the empowered woman, no matter your size or shape. Here’s why:

  1. Beauty radiates from the inside out

If you’re like most women, you know when a photo is staged to be sexy. These photos show off perfectly toned bodies with barbie feet, arched backs and boobs and butts that are thrust out. We don’t need any more of these photos. Let’s say it again: We don’t need any more of these photos.

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We like to see women in action. MI OLA brand ambassador @giuliamanfrini_ ripping in Costa Rica.

While we believe everyone should look good, these images perpetuate an outdated paradigm where a woman’s value depends on being objectified.

Beauty radiates from the inside out, whether you live in a bikini or not. We want to create a community that empowers women to do more of what they love with less stress. If you’re looking to redefine the “bikini” rules and live on your own terms, you’re in the right spot. We believe that confidence comes from within. No matter if you’re stick slim or curvy,  we know that you crush it in life, on the beach and in the waves.

 

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  1. Amy Schumer is the voice (and body) of the new paradigm

Amy Schumer mocked beauty standards on #nationalbikiniday in this Instagram post. Amy, we hear you. We are you. The “bikini body” is typically defined by cultural standards and it often lacks meaning and substance. When can we wake up to the idea that most women don’t wear swimwear to look sexy for others. We wear it so we can have fun, feel comfortable, relax, or – crazy idea – go in the water.  

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We wholeheartedly agree with Amy:

“Is it fat shaming if you know you’re not fat and have zero shame in your game? I don’t think so…I am strong and proud of how I live my life and say what I mean and fight for what I believe in and I have a blast doing it with the people I love.”

 

  1. A shift in perspective is needed

Think about most images in fashion and swimwear.  They usually feature passive women looking “sexy” for the male gaze. An image-based ad where a female sits idle, watching others doing, while “naturally” arching her back and pointing her toes is outdated.  We want to see women #getoutthere and have fun.

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That’s why we shoot active women in our suits, in the water and on the beach.   Our women are surfing, SUPing, doing yoga, driving to a new beach… actively enjoying life.  They are not waiting for anyone to come save them. They are not waiting.  They are doing.

We are also big fans of the Getty Image Lean In Collection that makes stock photos of women more empowering. We’re not here to be just another swimwear line, but rather to change the images that we and our children see as a whole. Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook believes:

“You can’t be what you can’t see. In an age where media are all around us, it is critical that images provide examples that both women and men can emulate.”

 

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We have a huge perspective to shift and we’re eager to get started. That’s why we’ve created an opportunity to invest in our mission! Visit https://www.startengine.com/miola. We’re working to make the best women’s swimwear. ever.

October
27

How To Get Started Mountain Biking!

 

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Photo by MI OLA ambassador Briana (@wanderlovebri)

 

Have you ever been interested in mountain biking?  I know I have, but a little intimidated. Luckily, there is an uprise in women’s only local rides all around the country, women’s only weekend skills clinics, women’s only races, and now a women’s only mountain bike festival (happening this week in Sedona, Arizona!). Now is as good a time as ever to get in to mountain biking, especially since Fall offers some of the best riding conditions! And what better mermaid to learn about mountain biking than avid mountain biker and MI OLA brand ambassador, Briana @wonderlovebri , to get the best tips on how to start mountain biking. Check out her tips for getting started mountain biking and her story below!

How To Get Started Mountain Biking!

Two years ago, in the spring, I went road bike touring from Colorado to the Grand Canyon. It was an epic week of cycling with my best friend Liz. When I returned, my boyfriend at the time invited me to go mountain biking, seeing as I had a peaking interest for cycling. I wasn’t interested but his persistence landed me on a bike, on a dirt trail, in June. The first ride wasn’t very enjoyable for me. I felt outside of my comfort zone and had a lingering fear of biking into a tree or going over my handlebars. I stuck with road biking for most of the summer, but every now and then my boyfriend would persuade me to go mountain biking. It wasn’t until the 3rd or 4th ride that something clicked and I felt the flow of the bike beneath me, rolling along smooth dirt trail, wind in my hair. It felt good. And then winter came and I pondered the investment. A year after he initially invited me mountain biking, yet only a few rides later, I bought a bike and have been hooked ever since. In a year and a half of owning a bike, my riding has progressed, Ive attended multiple women’s clinics, I’ve assistant coached at the same clinics I attended, and just wrapped up a season of mountain bike team coaching at the high school I work at. Persistence pays off.

Here are some tips for how to get the ball, er, wheels, rolling.

  1. Get a bike! 
    There are so many options! Mountain biking is not a small investment, so I recommend you try many bikes out before you buy. Check out the local shop for rentals and demo events. A word of advice – – don’t think that you must get any specific model or brand. Every woman will find unique features that suit her body style, riding style, and preferences. This is why its so important to try different models and different brands. A few women’s specific crowd favorites: Yeti Beti, Liv Pique, Juliana FurtadoHeres a great resource for womens mountain bikes: https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/topics/biking/best-womens-mountain-bike

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    Photo by MI OLA ambassador Briana (@wanderlovebri)


  1. Gather the essentials!
    There are a handful of essentials that will not only increase your safety, but will also increase your level of enjoyment. Don’t skimp on these:Helmet: As soon as you are hooked, invest in a good mountain biking helmet. They are designed differently than road bike helmets and a nice, comfortable one is worth it.Jersey and Shorts: While a mountain bike specific jersey isn’t necessary, be sure to invest in comfortable, tech fabrics that breathe well. As for shorts, its debatable whether you will want padded shorts or not, but if you go without, be sure to get seamless (or minimum seam) wool boyshorts. There are pages of information regarding keeping it clean down there – – if you go with padded shorts, remove them as soon as you are done riding! Like fun prints? Check out Shredly.Good Shoes:  You can wear any type of comfortable shoe, but be warned that most pedals will shred your soles. This is because the pedals have sharp points to assist in grip, but without solid soles, it will eat away at your point of contact. In the beginning, go with what you have, but eventually, you will want to invest here.

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    Photo by MI OLA ambassador Briana (@wanderlovebri)

  1. #GetOutThere!
    Research local trails by visiting a local bike shop. Learn about trail etiquette and conditions. Find a friend or a local group of riders. And most of all, enjoy the ride!

 

Lessons from the bike:

Hold on, but not too tightly.

Just keep pedaling.

Look where you want to go.

Enjoy the ride.

Be present.

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Photo by MI OLA ambassador Briana (@wanderlovebri)

Resources: VIDA- https://www.vidamtb.com

Interested in joining the MI OLA Ambassador Program?

Know of anyone who should #GetOutThere with us?

Then shoot us an email at info@MI-OLA.com

 

 

October
20

#GetOutThere Guide: Tampa, Florida

MI OLA Ambassador @MarinJayden is a yogi, mother, influencer, speaker, author, and entrepreneur who recently relocated with her family from the Big Island of Hawaii to Tampa, Florida. One of Marin’s favorite things to do is to get out there with her family, especially if yoga and anything active are involved. We caught up with this gorgeous and talented mermaid to get the scoop on Tampa – – check it out below!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Marin- @marinjayden

Florida is often taken for granted and underrated when it comes to mainland destinations in the U.S. After living in Hawaii for a few years we wanted to find a destination that was in between the tropical sunshine of the islands and the social bustle of Southern California. We thought we’d give Tampa, Florida a try. With it’s gorgeous landscapes and endless beach fronts, Tampa has so much to offer in nature as it does in the city. Check out my #GetOutThere Guide below!

#GetOutThere Guide: Tampa, Florida

What to Do:

Beaches:

What’s a getaway if it isn’t complete with a beach trip? Fortunately, Tampa has more beachfront than you can imagine with many options available. Some of the favorite ocean beachfronts in Tampa are; Clearwater Beach know for it’s crystal beachfronts, St. Pete Beach stocked with restaurants and boutiques, and Honeymoon Island low key, perfect for families and a relaxed beach day. 

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Marin- @marinjayden

Nature:

Florida landscapes are just beautiful and there are plenty of places you can soak in as much as you want. If you’re looking to get some sun and water, the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is a wonderful place to walk the Tampa Riverwalk and stop for a place to cool off. It’s also a great space to bring the family!  If you’re looking for more wildlife the Lettuce Lake Regional Park provides plenty of greenery and animal sightings like gators and birds. These are just a few places you can explore for your nature fix. However, there are endless parks and trails all around the Tampa Bay area.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Marin- @marinjayden

Thrills:

Whether you’re a thrill seeker or looking for some experiential entertainment, Tampa is loaded with plenty of amusement parks from Busch Gardens to the Florida Aquarium, or Adventure Island and the Museum of Science and Industry. Enjoy an exciting adventure that best suits your style.

Culture:

From the Straz Performing Arts Center to the Tampa Museum of Art there are many venues that offer insights to culture and arts. Be sure to check out the host of Cuban restaurants, nightclubs, and historic architecture in the heart of Tampa Bay City.

As you can see, Tampa has a lot to offer. And if that isn’t enough for you don’t forget Orlando, Miami, and the Florida Keys!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Marin- @marinjayden

Where to Eat:

Ocean Prime for fine seafood dining
Brocato’s Sandwhich Shop – for penny-saving bites
Columbia Restaurant – Spanish & Cuban with vegan and gluten-free options!
Ulele – Seafood! Also with Vegan / GF options
Bahama Breeze – Caribbean!
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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Marin- @marinjayden

How to Get There:

Either fly into Tampa International airport, or if driving take I-75 or I-4.

Where to Stay:

Tampa has a plethora of options for any budget, from hotels, motels, to AirBnbs!

October
14

#Getoutthere Guide to Vanuatu

MI OLA ambassador Ellen visited Vanuatu recently. Vanuatu is an archipelago made of more than 80 islands, on which 250,000 people live.  It’s located to the East of Northeast Australia and the west of Fiji and features great scuba-diving and wrecks, waterfalls, volcanos and extraordinary cultural diversity – with over 1000 languages being spoke in the archipelago.  Now that it’s become a new destination on our bucket list, we had to get the inside scoop on this pristine group of islands to #GetOutThere!

Originally from the tiny island of Jersey, UK, Ellen now lives in one of the most beautiful parts of Australia, the Northern Rivers, home to the world famous Byron Bay.  Ellen’s passion is being in or under the water. Fins, mask and underwater camera in hand, exploring the reefs and wrecks around Byron Bay is this adventurer’s game.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ellen- @artemis_eleven

#Getoutthere Guide to Vanuatu

You could be forgiven for not having heard of the Pacific island archipelago that is Vanuatu. Until the nation gained independence in 1980, the group of islands went by the name of the New Hebrides, reflective of its colonial history that at various times were claimed by Portugal, Spain, France and England. Only 1750 km (about 1000 miles) northeast of Australia, it makes a great place to escape the southern hemisphere winter, and that’s exactly what my partner and I did recently.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ellen- @artemis_eleven

What to see/do:

As you may know from my past #GetOutThere Guides, I like to spend my time in the water! In Vanuatu we deliberately chose to stay in places with great snorkelling and based many of our other activities around the water. Honestly, it would be criminal to go to Vanuatu without snorkelling or diving!!! The corals really are pristine, and there are some famed dive sites. In Efate, you must visit the Hideaway Island marine sanctuary, and the island of Santo is famed for the SS President Coolidge, the largest and most accessible wreck dive in the world, jammed with the machinery of war and personal effects.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ellen- @artemis_eleven

 

Chase Waterfalls
Vanuatu is also littered with stunning waterfalls, many of which you can swim in. In Efate, the Mele Cascades (located in lush rainforest) are worth a visit, as are the Cascade Waterfalls and the Blue Lagoon on the east coast.

Surf
This may come as a surprise to some, but Vanuatu is famed for its surfing. Pango Point on Efate is a reef break that has fairly consistent surf. To cater to the surf tourism market, a number of great hotels have recently popped up on Pango peninsula. Vanuatu represents a much cheaper, less crowded alternative to other Pacific Island surf destinations such as Fiji or Samoa.

Explore Volcanoes
On the island of Tanna you can stand on the rim of the live volcano (Mount Yasur) and witness the shooting lava bombs and volcanic ash clouds. Plus, the Ambrym volcano (on the island of the same name) is in the top ten for earth’s most active volcanoes.

Experience the culture
Finally, a few words on culture. Most people in Vanuatu live in villages that, and despite hundreds of years of European rule they have retained much of their traditions. Visiting or staying in a traditional village can provide a rare glimpse into a very different way of life.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ellen- @artemis_eleven

 

When to visit:

Like most tropical destinations in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s advisable to visit in winter (April to October) when the air and sea temperature is still consistently warm. Tropical summers (November – March) are hot, humid and wet, so if you visit during these months expect an almost daily storm, though you’re still likely to get plenty of sunshine and beach time. Tropical cyclones (or hurricanes to our US readers) occur every few years, usually between December and April. Year round the sea temp doesn’t deviate much from 25°C, so whether you’re surfing, snorkelling or kayaking, all you need to wear is your MI OLA bikini!!!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ellen- @artemis_eleven

Cyclone Pam: In March 2015, Vanuatu was devastated by Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam, a category 5 storm. The cyclone crippled Vanuatu’s infrastructure: an estimated 90 percent of the nation’s buildings were impacted by the storm’s effects, telecommunications were paralyzed, and water shortages plagued the small nation. The impacts are still visible in Port Vila, one of the worst hit areas, but an incredible amount of work has been done to rebuild and restore key infrastructure, particularly that related to tourism, which is a key part of Vanuatu’s economy. So don’t be put off by Pam’s legacy – visit these beautiful islands, spend your money, and help them rebuild!

 

 

Where to stay:

With only a 7 days for our trip, we decided to focus our visit on the island of Efate and its associated smaller islands. In doing so, we stayed in and visited a number of resorts and accommodation options, and I can safely say that Vanuatu has something for every budget, family situation, and activity level. Here are my (brief!) thoughts on a few different types of places that we saw:

Hideaway Island – great on a budget, great for diving

A short boat ride from the mainland sits the coral-fringed Hideaway Island resort and marine sanctuary. Home to the only underwater post office in the world (yes, you can actually mail waterproof postcards!), it is a snorkelers paradise, with shallow bommies, and deep walls alike. The diversity of fish and coral species is incredible. There are accommodation options to suit your budget, from a backpacker style dorm room right up to private villas. The food is simple but delicious, and the bar does some great deals at happy hour. There are a number of free, water-based activities such as boat tours, paddleboarding and kayaking. The island is also home to a PADI dive school, and runs regular tours to a number of great dive sites, including two wrecks. Be aware that because of the great snorkelling/diving, Hideaway Island is a haven for day trippers, and can feel crowded at times.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ellen- @artemis_eleven

 

Erakor Island – great for relaxation

A great place for couples to escape for a relaxing time, Erakor Island is a small resort located in the middle of a turquoise lagoon. On one side, the island is fringed by seagrass beds and on the other by soft corals so while snorkelling or kayaking expect to encounter lots of starfish and juvenile tropical fish. Rumour has it that a family of dugongs (similar to a manatee or sea cow) live in the lagoon and can often be seen around sunset. The rooms are individual villas, with a balcony overlooking the lagoon. There is a spa on the island, and the overall vibe is one of relaxation and spoiling yourself. If you’re on a tight budget or have children to entertain, this isn’t the place for you.

 

Iririki Island – great for families

Nestled inside the Port Vila port, Iririki is the type of resort designed to cater to everyone. For families, there’s a large pool complex with a snack bar serving all the kid’s favourites, plus tennis courts and playgrounds. For the grown-ups there’s a spa, an adults only infinity pool, and great cocktail bar. There’s some great snorkelling from the island’s one beach area, but you’re fairly limited as to how far you can go exploring before you reach the boating channels. On this island you’re a mere stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of Port Vila, making this a great location from which to catch a bus or an organised tour to venture out and see other parts of the island. Probably not the best location for those looking for peace, quiet and tranquillity.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ellen- @artemis_eleven

 

The Warwick Le Lagon – great for teenagers/active people

On the edge of the Erakor lagoon, The Warwick is what I consider to be a ‘typical’ big resort hotel. Firstly, it’s enormous, so you’ll be sharing your holiday with 500 of your new best friends. This is great if you’re looking for people to join you in paddleboarding, sailing, golfing, kayaking, or any of the other activities that are on offer. It’d be hard to be bored at this place! However if you’re looking to lounge on a beach all day, and enjoy some peace and quiet, this probably isn’t the resort for you.

 

Getting there:

Vanuatu is made up of 65 inhabited islands and a handful of uninhabited islands, stretching across 1300 km (about 800 miles) of the south Pacific Ocean. The larger islands (Espiritu Santo, Malakula, Efate, Tanna & Pentecost) are the most popular with visitors, and there are a number of cruise ships that allow you to visit multiple islands as part of your itinerary.

International flights arrive at Port Vila, the nation’s capital and the main city on the island of Efate. Flights from New Zealand or the east coast of Australia take around 3 hours. As one of the central islands in the chain, and the most populous, Efate makes a great base from which to explore the other islands. Air Vanuatu offers flights between about 20 of the larger islands, so you can island hop to your heart’s content!

Vanuatu map - geographicguide.com

 

What to eat:

Unsurprisingly for an island nation, the seafood is not to be missed! Tropical fruit is also in abundance, as are coconuts, and thanks to the fertile volcanic soils a range of vegetables grow well, and root vegetables feature frequently in local cuisine. The local beef is also well worth a try.

Vanuatu’s multicultural past is reflected in the variety of restaurants represented in the larger towns and resorts. French, Mediterranean, Thai, Chinese, Italian and Spanish cuisines are all represented in Port Vila, and many of them are excellent, thanks to the high quality chef training at the country’s Hospitality School.

A trip to Port Vila would not be complete without a trip to the Mumma’s Market, where the matriarchs of each village on the island come to sell their wares. As well as local fruit, vegetables, fish and meat, the Mummas cook up incredible local delicacies that you can try for bargain prices, like the national dish lap lap, which is a baked pudding made up of grated yam, banana, or taro that is mixed with coconut milk and salt, then baked under hot stones.

Ellen-at-Iririki-Island

Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ellen- @artemis_eleven

 

Interested in joining the MI OLA Ambassador Program?

Know of anyone who should #GetOutThere with us?

Then shoot us an email at info@MI-OLA.com

October
6

End of Summer Road Trip

MI OLA Ambassador Leslie spent the past 2 years exploring New Zealand and now she’s back in the US.  After visiting her hometown in Minnesota, she’s moving to Bend, Oregon.  And has decided to road trip her way to Bend.  Here are her tips on a great end of summer road trip, with great recommendations on how to #getoutthere along the way!

After living abroad in New Zealand for the last two years, I am back stateside. After spending a few months with the family in Minnesota it was time to get back on the road again. We choose to move to Bend, Oregon for it’s proximity to a variety outdoor activities, small businesses, and breweries. We drove our new home Forrest (a 2004 mini school bus) which travels at a max of 65 mph. This slower style of road tripping was new to us, but very refreshing!

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Photo by MI OLA brand ambassador Leslie @lesnorberg.

We didn’t take the most direct route to get to Bend, but we made it an opportunity to hang out with friends both old and new. We took breaks to have epic hammock naps, trail run, hike, swim, jump, climb, eat good food, and enjoy life! Check out our road trip route below:

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Photo by MI OLA brand ambassador Leslie @lesnorberg.

 

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Every time I visit here I am blown away by the scenery.  I stay at the Sage Creek Campground; it’s fairly basic with just a toilet and places to pitch a tent or pull up an RV. There is no water at the campground so come prepared. I recommend arriving with enough time to see the sunset as there’s a small hill behind the campsite that makes for good viewing. Look for prairie dogs and bison and listen for the coyotes at night.

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Photo by MI OLA brand ambassador Leslie @lesnorberg.

 

Lander, Wyoming

Lander is amazing, I’ve spent some time here and all I can say is there is no shortage of trails, all within an hour drive. I used rootsrated.com to give me ideas of where to trail run/hike.

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Photo by MI OLA brand ambassador Leslie @lesnorberg.

 

Fairfield Hill: If you are looking for a challenge! Starts with a steep lung busting incline, then mellows out once you reach the top.

Popo Agie (“Puh – Po Shuh”) Falls Hike: a moderate hike that leads to an epic waterfall slide.

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Photo by MI OLA brand ambassador Leslie @lesnorberg.

Red Canyon: short hike to see some amazing petroglyphs!

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Photo by MI OLA brand ambassador Leslie @lesnorberg.

 

Lander City Park: You are allowed to car camp or tent for up to 3 nights right by the river. It’s a 5 minute walk from the town and a 20 minute drive to Sinks Canyon.

Lander Bake Shop: I’m a sucker for anything “nitro” these days, whether it’s coffee or beer. The bake shop happens to have cold brew nitro coffee on tap. Pair this with a potato, egg burrito and you’re guaranteed a good start to the day.

Scream Shack (only open in summer): Get your ice cream fix! But be quick, the choke cherry shakes sell out fast!

Lander Bar: Looking for some local brews, burger, and live music? Look no further than Lander Bar. Live music most Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Wild Iris: A popular climbing area and also a fantastic outdoor store in town. Camping is allowed, but there are limited facilities (a vault toilet but no water). Be respectful of the area and others. Be bear aware – make sure your food is locked in a bear proof container or your car. Check the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) website for more information.

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Photo by MI OLA brand ambassador Leslie @lesnorberg.

 

Boise, Idaho

We found the local climbing gym Urban Ascent. The staff were super helpful and friendly! This was a great spot to work the muscles, meet some locals, and have a shower.

Post climb meal: Boise Fry Co. This place was highly recommended to us. If you are a lover of fries then this place is a must visit! There is an entire menu board with different potato and sweet potato varieties. The burgers (and veggie burgers) were super great, and don’t even get me started on all of the different ketchup and sauce options that were available! Check out their website to get the taste buds flowing!

We parked the bus at the 8th Street Trail parking lot, which offers great views of Boise! Again this is a basic site, it’s essentially a parking lot with a toilet. It can be noisy and people do show up at odd hours of the night.

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Photo by MI OLA brand ambassador Leslie @lesnorberg.

Bend, Oregon

We are so excited to start our new chapter in Bend! Unfortunately it has been a super smoky start but we have already sampled a few local trails, a few local beers and adopted a dog. Stay tuned for more adventures!!!

 

Some Final Road Trip Tips:

  1. Maintain your vehicle. Have you had your oil changed? Checked your tire pressure? Know the location and status of the spare. Prevent roadside breakdowns before they happen!
  2. Make some playlists or check out podcasts.
  3. Plan where to stay for the night. I use the website freecampsites.com. They post both free and paid camp sites. I always feel more relaxed knowing I have somewhere safe to sleep.
  4. Pack plenty of nourishing snacks – you’ll feel better!
  5. Limit caffeine, yes I know weird right? You are actually better off having a power nap.
  6. Have a paper atlas/map. Cell service is non existent in some areas plus it’s nice to look at the big picture. Recreation area maps are great because they include 4 x 4 roads and potential BLM campsites.
  7. Say yes! Be open to changing plans on a whim. Meet new people. Visit old friends. Do something that scares you!
  8. Have fun!
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Photo by MI OLA brand ambassador Leslie @lesnorberg.

 

 

 

 

September
29

How to Help: Hurricane Maria

If the hurricane season of 2017 wasn’t devastating, it would be funny.

First it was Hurricane Harvey, then Irma, and now Maria. Three major hurricanes, all striking within one month. From small Caribbean islands to the United States, people need help with recovery and they need it now. Puerto Rico has over 3.4 million American citizens, but the US government has been slow to respond to relief efforts. The destruction and devastation is being described as “apocalyptic” – – it will take weeks, if not months for power to be restored on parts of the island. Water, food, and fuel are scarce on the island. So, how can you help?

  1. Cash: Most organizations are asking for cash, rather than supplies, so they can route help to where it’s needed most more quickly. Here are some of the largest groups with campaigns underway
  2. Supplies: The government of Puerto Rico has also launched a guide that details how individuals or companies can donate emergency and construction supplies (from bottled water, hand sanitizer and formula to extension cords, tarp and safety glasses).
  3. Volunteer: Once infrastructure is stable, the island will also need volunteers.
  4. Spread the word! Part of the problem is that much of Puerto Rico isn’t able to ask for help, due to loss of power and infrastructure.

Check out Vox.com’s recommended list of list of charities accepting donations to help Puerto Rico:

ConPRmetidos: The Puerto Rican organization focused on public-private partnership is aiming to raise $150,000 for relief and recovery. You can give here.

Global Giving: A charity crowdfunding site that is attempting to raise $2 million to be used exclusively for local relief and recovery efforts. You can give here. (4/4 stars from Charity Navigator.)

Salvation Army: The Christian charity is emphasizing its intentions to help with long-term recovery. You can give here.

Americares: The nonprofit focused on medicine and health is seeking to provide emergency medical supplies and other basic resources to first responders and others. You can give here. (4/4 stars from Charity Navigator.)

 

PR Power NHC

Night-time images of Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Tortola and Saint Croix before and after the recent hurricanes. Image courtesy NHC

DONATE AND HELP.  But please… DON’T DONATE MONEY TO THE RED CROSS. Instead donate to organizations that will be on the ground helping people get back on their feet. We believe that there are many other options who will use your money better to aid those affected by the Hurricanes.

I was personally made homeless by Hurricane Sandy.  In the months after the hurricane, we saw a lot of amazing volunteers and organizations from around the world that helped the people on the Rockaway Peninsula. (Thank you!)

We did not see the Red Cross. Except for on TV — you know that big concert with Bon Jovi that raised over $300Million for Hurricane Sandy victims. That money that was very slow to be distributed and some of which was moved to other areas of the country after the Red Cross determined that no more help was needed in the Rockaways.  (BTW – people are still not 100% back in their houses, 5 years later.)

Do a little more research.   Here are other sources that also suggest that the Red Cross is not the best at Disaster Aid.

During Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, 40% of the Red Cross Relief Trucks were diverted for public relations

25% of the funds raised to help Hurricane Victims in Haiti was used for internal expenses

Here are a couple of articles with lists with other great options.

What every American needs to know about Puerto Rico’s hurricane disaster

How you can help hurricane victims in Puerto Rico