September 29, 2008

It's National Coffee Day: Try a cup of Kopi Luwak

If you saw "The Bucket List" you know that Kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world. You also know that it is created through a process that only an adventurer could love. Since today is National Coffee Day, it seems only fitting that an adventurous woman should forgo her usual Starbucks latte or mug of Folgers and choose something a bit more exotic.
The Kopi Luwak process does not begin with Juan Valdez and his mule, it begins with something smaller and furrier, the Common Palm Civet. The civiet, which looks a little like a monkey-cat, eats the raw, red coffee "cherries" as part of its usual diet. Because the hard inner beans don't digest, they travel through the civet's digestive tract intact. Enterprising local citizens collect the beans from civet feces and sell them to dealers.
Considered the rarest coffee in the world, Kopi Luwak is very expensive. Shopping around the web I found prices ranging from $100 to $300 per pound. However, I'm not sure how you go about verifying that you are buying the real thing so actually purchasing Kopi Luwak may be the most adventurous part of the coffee.

September 24, 2008

Road Trip! All National Parks are FREE this Weekend!

The Adventure Blog is reporting that the National Park Service has declared that all 147 parks will waive their admission fees this weekend. NPS is celebrating National Public Lands Day on September 27 and honoring new U.S. citizens on the 28th.

In addition to waiving entrance fees, national parks and other public lands will host special programs and volunteer projects on Saturday to commemorate the 15th annual National Public Lands Day.

In all 50 states, volunteers can take part in projects to improve public places. Last year, more than 110,000 people helped with tasks such as planting trees, building trails, or removing invasive plants. Anyone who volunteers at a National Park Service area on National Public Lands Day will receive a free one day pass valid for future use at any site.

Grab your Adventure Club and volunteer your time, plan a girls' day out or take this opportunity to enjoy the peace and quiet of our natural treasures on your own.

For a list of National Parks by state, click here. To get to the official site of a particular park click here and type in its name. For a list of parks and sites under the National Park Service in alpha order and links to their official pages, click here.
Photo credit: William Bradfield

 Links updated 4/17/2010

September 17, 2008

Go Yurt!

In my opinion, fall is the best time for camping: the days are warm and dry, the nights are cool and dry and you have two chances to catch meteor showers in the evenings.

What's that? Your tent has collapsed from overuse? You don't own a tent? You don't WANT to own a tent?
How about a Yurt!

A yurt?
The housing unit of choice among nomads in the Eastern hemisphere, yurts are circular, portable and roomy. However, since most people in the West don't store theirs in the basement with the holiday decorations, there are a number of places that are happy to rent a yurt for the night.
For a lot more information about living in the round, check out this article from "How Stuff Works." Still not sure if yurting is for you? Click here.
Now, go find a yurt in your neck of the woods:

Yurts for 5 in Oregon state park:
Yurts in Vermont

Yurts in Georgia state parks

Yurts at Nickerson State Park, MA

Yurts in Utah

Photo credit: A yurt in Bobby Brown State Park in Elberton, Ga

September 15, 2008

Are You Game? Road Trip

Women's Health Magazine just concluded their "Are You Game? Road Trip" where for one week they challenged readers to escape their comfort zones and join organizers on California adventures ranging from snorkeling to kiteboarding to star gazing. (OK, they also made a stop in Las Vegas for indoor skydiving.) Although their efforts were limited to one week and one area of the States, this is a concept that any adventure club can embrace.

What do YOU want to do? Grab your friends and plan a weekend, plan a week-long road trip, plan a year's worth of adventures. In her final entry on the Road Trip Tracker blog, Suzanne Neubauer's words summed up everything good about adventure:

The goals don't have to be climbing Mt. Everest or doing the Ironman, but they should have you stepping out of your comfort zone and facing some fears. Seeking adventure in all aspects of your life makes it worthwhile. There is a certain exhilaration that is experienced when you succeed at something you've never tried before. Take the road less traveled and remember it's all about attitude. Most importantly, don't forget to have fun!

September 12, 2008

Be a Force of Nature: Help in a Disaster

Hurricane Ike is closing in on Texas and the citizens of Galveston and surrounding regions are moving out. Saturday, the storm is expected to destroy homes, utilities and change the lives of everyone in its path.

If you're reading this it's probably because you're fortunate enough to not have to worry about Ike but disasters can touch all of us at any time. Are YOU ready to step up and help your friends and neighbors?

We all know that the American Red Cross is one of the first to provide assistance and they always look for funds to support their efforts. You can donate to the Red Cross here. But there is a way that you can be in the heart of disaster relief.

Check out the courses offered by the FEMA's Emergency Management Institute. Their independent study classes cover topics including disaster logistics, emergency communications, service to disaster victims and more. FEMA also uses trained reservists to step in to assist in disasters around the country. For more about FEMA jobs, click here.

You CAN make a difference!

Photo courtesy of NOAA

September 10, 2008

Recipe from "Bizarre Foods"

It just wasn't right to promote an adventure where you watch a man have all the fun so, I'm happily sharing one of the Travel Channel's "bizarre" recipes so you can make some fun of your own.

I've eaten chicken feet and it's not too different from gnawing on a chicken wing -- not a lot of meat but if the seasoning is good the experience is satisfying.

Bon appetite!


32 chicken feet (about 2 lbs.)
1/2 cup sake
1/3 cup water
6 large thin slices fresh ginger
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Chinese yellow rock sugar
2 dried hot chiles, crushed
2T oyster sauce
2T hoisin sauce
2 star anise buds
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup scallion cut in 1” pieces
2T minced scallion and 1t toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Rub chicken feet with kosher salt and let stand for 10 minutes, rinse in cold water.
Place feet into a pot of rapidly boiling salted water, blanch for 5 minutes and drain well. Chicken feet can be set aside and refrigerated for a day until you need to cook further.
Place a 14 inch saute pan over high heat.
Add the chicken and dry-sear to lightly brown.
Add the remaining ingredients (except the garnish) and bring to a simmer.
Cook, covered, for about 10 minutes.
Uncover, and simmer until pan is almost “dry,” tossing frequently to coat the feet as the sauce reduces.
Serve, garnishing with scallion shavings and toasted sesame seeds.

September 9, 2008

Follow Adventurous Woman's Trip to the Arctic

Join Jessica Robertson, Public Affairs Specialist for the U.S. Geological Survey, as she travels to the Arctic aboard the U. S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy. Our adventurous woman is traveling with scientists from the U.S. and Canada on their collaborative mission to map the sea floor. You can share the adventure from September 6 through October 1, 2008 as Jessica records her thoughts, her photographs and maps her route here.

September 8, 2008

Take the President's Challenge Adult Fitness Test

Remember that award from the President's Council on Physical Fitness? We spent hours in PE running and exercising in the hopes of earning a certificate and a dark blue patch with a golden presidential eagle.

Even if your gym teacher is long past retirement, you can't escape the fitness challenge from the White House. Click here to learn more about the President's fitness tests: aerobic, strength & endurance, flexibility, and body composition. You can enter all your test data online and receive instant fitness scores along with tips for improving. My suggestion: try it today, set some reasonable goals and then try it again in a few months. Challenge YOURSELF and see what you can accomplish over the next year.

Go put on your Keds or your PF Flyers and give it a shot. It'll make you feel like a kid again!

Image courtesy of the President's Challenge Program.

September 5, 2008

Facing Fear

I started taiji (tai chi) four years ago for a variety of reasons. At that time, I knew very little about the sport and had no idea that taiji was a martial art, that every posture had a martial application, that swords could be (would be!) involved, and that there were taiji competitions. Participating in a martial arts tournament had never, ever been on this soccer mom's radar screen. But life can take some unexpected turns.

Three weeks ago, dressed in silk , I was standing just outside a large rectangle made of blue tape. It was one of about a dozen “rings” that sectioned off the carpet of a Marriott hotel ballroom. Every ring had a head judge seated at a table along the side and additional judges planted in chairs at the corners. All of them held dry erase boards and markers for scoring. The spectators and other competitors occupied the rows of chairs nearby.

Each ring was dedicated to a different art. Those closest to me were dedicated to karate and to competitors with weapons (sword, staff, saber, etc.). The farthest side of the room was for wushu (think Jet Li and Jackie Chan). Wushu had the largest and most vocal audience. Their chanting and cheering echoed off the walls and settled over ring 5 where I stood, waiting to be called.

I was definitely feeling the pressure. Part of me prepared to do my best taiji: slow, soft movements, high kicks, low drops and perfect turns. Part of me REALLY wanted to run away. Fast. I guess that’s the “fight or flight response.”

Choose: do it or run.

I was thinking about all the reasons to run, “What if I forget my routine? What if I disgrace myself? What if I disgrace my school?”

Then I reminded myself, “This isn’t life or death; it’s an ADVENTURE! It’s all about BEING here. About participating and controlling fear enough to ENJOY being here.”

Three weeks later, I can’t brag about my performance but I am proud of myself for doing it. I am pleased that I faced my fear and had a great time to boot. I think I'll try it again next year -- with a sword!

September 4, 2008

September is Yoga Month

Ok, I'm a tiny bit late with this announcement but according to Diane Cesa's 3rd Living Yoga Bulletin, this is Yoga Month! For a schedule of activities around the country, click here. For information about Health Magazine's "Here Come's the Sun" event in NYC's Central Park on September 27, click here. If all else fails, click over to Diane's Everything Yoga Blog or click here to find a yoga school in your area.

September 3, 2008

San Shou (Sparring) Day 1

When I was about 18, an artist friend of mine, who also practiced the fighting arts, thought it would be very edgy to photograph me wearing a lot of his Everlast gear, looking tough and beating up his punching bag. I gave it my best effort but I just couldn't pull off a Hilary Swank. (Sorry Carl.) Fast forward 30 years to this weekend when I donned my own pair of hand wraps, a borrowed pair of gloves and took my first real steps into the world of sparring.

San shou (sparring) is a Chinese martial art involving punching and kicking. Similar to kick boxing but with different competition rules, it's a good way to burn off extra physical and mental energy.

Since I am currently the only woman in this class (the only pedicured foot practicing kicks) and I'm twice as old as some of the guys, I'm happy that we'll be punching our padded instructor and not each other -- for awhile. But age and gender aren't a reason to hang back. I know another woman who takes San shou. she has a dozen years on me and a scary-strong left punch. I want to grow up to be just like her.

September 1, 2008

The Omnivore's Hundred

Andrew at "VeryGoodTaste" has presented a challenge to the bloggers of the world. He would like to see his list of "must try" foods appear on computer screens across the planet. I see this list as a life-long food adventure. Here's Andrew's list, how many have YOU tried?

The Omnivore’s Hundred

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake