Sitting at the tree lot for the fourth year in a row and making it through another groundhog day. I can’t tell you how many times people have told me that I am living the dream and you know what? Sometimes I forget. I am getting a reality check my tree lot life consists of waking up before daylight, walking across the street to the gym. After my work out, I work 9-9 selling trees which is a lot of weight lifting. Now that the season is coming to an end and its sunny and warm. I am getting a chance to escape and go mtn biking, suping on the river, and hot yoga.  During this season of work I am reminded on what an amazing life I lead.

For the past year I have been focused on traveling to all the events placing in SUP and kayaking with a few international trips sprinkled throughout the year. While I am living in my truck across the country it sounds like I have an exorbitant amount of free time, but between events and travel, there is not much as you would think. When I am on the road I get salty and jaded. My workouts become training and over-thinking, paddling becomes competing and work, road-tripping becomes an all out overly caffeinated driving marathons, friends become competitors, and in all of this there is no perfect conditions. Each event the water level changes during your training, along with temperatures, lineups, and injuries. After this year of visiting 2 countries, 5 cross country trips driving and flying, and 15 states. I ended my tour in Chattanooga to find some balance in my life and have a roof over my head for the first time in 5 years. I got so burnt out from rushing around I wasn’t taking the time to enjoy the journey.  I honestly thought that by now I would be content in Chatty and ready to dare I even say the word...settled. After about 2 months of having a roof over my head and now living at the tree lot in a camper. I can’t cure the desire to be on the road, I don’t think I will ever be cured of this disease. I love that I am totally infected and I might be contagious with being nomadic. I moved my twin size mattress into the back of my truck today and I got to say it feels good. To know that all I need in my tiny life is a vehicle big enough for my 5ft body to sleep in and my excessive amount of boards, boats, and bikes.

Some times when you wait for the perfect conditions or time to take action you miss a wonderful opportunity. I refuse to sit around and wait for the perfect time to attack a dream or even as small as a work out when your really tired. I made myself SUP the other day even after a day of trees and a gym workout. The water was about 80,000 cfs or more and it was super windy...but the sun was out. While paddling I was thinking about how my training is just like normal life. For a while I am paddling upstream - attaining this large open river with the wind to my back helping me along the way. Then turn the bank around the island, I am faced with a head wind that was strong and the river flowing downstream at 80,000 cfs. Its awesome how you can not wait for the perfect conditions to happen but just try and it usually turns out. Training that day turned a 3 mile long paddle that could have been super flat, made me improve my skills in all the different conditions (water reading skills, balance, mental, and physical). The following day was a chilling early 5 mile bike ride with a friend and a yoga class after.

So I could be super bummed about being at the tree lot for tons of hours or make the most of being in one of my favorites towns in the country. I have friends stopping by all the time I am in a perfect outdoor community and location. I tried again but nope I am ready for the road.  My paddle board is waiting on me in Florida where my workouts get to be longer and some relaxation before 2014!!


Haley Mills

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