Hiking Feliz is a project created after 12 years of challenges and unique life experiences. I hope my story inspires you to get outside, explore and go in search of your happy place.
When life give you lemons, make lemonade
When I was 24 years old, the universe gave me a unique gift: a job offer to work and live in Costa Rica. During the six years I lived there, I discovered my greatest passions in life: hiking, nature, and healthy food. I also met my partner in crime!
Shortly after arriving in Costa Rica, I began to feel sick. After several tests doctors diagnosed an unknown immune disorder that affected my joints and could someday evolve into arthritis or lupus. Simple things like brushing my teeth, cooking and even walking became painful.
After receiving the diagnosis, I worried my days in the mountains might be over.
After overcoming the initial shock and weighing my options, I started medical treatment. I also read books about overcoming arthritis and other immune diseases through a healthy lifestyle and good nutrition. Rather than continue to suffer, I changed my lifestyle for the better.
I also decided to continue exploring and hiking the world as long as my joints would let me.
Over the past 10 years, I’ve explored Costa Rica end to end and gone on incredible adventures around the globe, including in my native Colombia.
What about my job?
I did most of my traveling while working as a Technology Consultant for a big corporation. I had stability, a great salary, and good benefits.
I was also able to afford business school, and I even opened a natural food business. (Sadly, the business didn’t work out, but I learned a lot from the experience.)
Although my career was going well, I was feeling stressed out and unsatisfied. I began to tire of my daily routine. I needed more time outside, exploring and breathing fresh air.
So in October, 2017, I took two months off from work. I needed to let my mind and body breath. I decided to explore the world with my boyfriend.
We visited five national parks in the Western U.S, then flew to Asia to hike in the Himalaya and explore Thailand and Vietnam.
That trip helped put things in perspective, clarifying my vision of what, exactly, I wanted from life.
When I returned I quit my job, got married, and jumped into the unknown!
New Challenges and Introspection
2018 became my year off. A year for me and my family. Dedicated to cultivating myself, learning new skills, and working towards a healthy new lifestyle.
I explored some of the most beautiful hiking routes around the world, with the goal of sharing them with you.
One trail was particularly meaningful: El Camino de Santiago (Saint James Way). Not only did I hike El Camino with my mom, who had recently overcome brain cancer, but shortly before starting I discovered I was pregnant.
A few weeks after the trip, I suffered one of the most painful moments in life. I had a miscarriage. My little baby went to heaven.
The grief is hard to describe, but I had to continue. Thankfully I was able to get pregnant again and now I had a beautiful daughter who is my best hiking buddy.
All of this let me learn that we must overcome the challenges we face, whether they are daily problems, physical pain, sickness, or even death.
Hiking Feliz is a project dedicated to my little angel, my 1 year old rainbow baby and my mom.
I found my happy place in hiking and nature. When I’m outside, I find the peace and the strength to continue.
I hope this website also inspires you to overcome the challenges in your life. To hike, to connect with nature, to find your happy place in the world.
Have you been in a similar situation? What kind of challenges have you faced? How were you able to overcome them?
Don’t be shy. Please comment below. We would love to hear from you.