Training Update

Hey guys! Long time no see—totally my fault since I’ve been on the road for about 3 weeks now and had no service or working Macbook battery to update. I’m going to keep this short since although we’re now back in civilization, we’re still iffy on the wifi.

This past MONTH has been such a whirlwind of adventure, sleep deprivation, stress, and hardcore friend-making. 3 weeks ago, I met 22 other crazy, gung-ho, outgoing people. Today, they are some of my closest friends. Spending 24/7 for 4 weeks together can do that to you. I’m just surprised that none of us have killed each other yet. IMG_8150IMG_8167We’ve slept under the stars together, supported each other when it was our turn to lead for the day, we’ve experienced the magic that was a downpour of rain in Monument Valley for the first time in years. It seems that every chance we get, we always ask ourselves “How long have we known each other? Because it feels like forever.”

I really want to say more and share all the stories and ridiculous times that I’ve been having, but wifi is sparse this summer and these photos are gorgeous, if I do say so myself ;) Enjoy! (Because god knows, I’ve gone through hell to get these). Kidding. Maybe.

Our itinerary mimicked one of the trips that we will actually be running this summer:

San Francisco

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 23.07.42

Yosemite National Park


Zion National Park


Horseshoe Bend


Monument Valley


Grand Canyon


The Bad

The training itself was already an emotional whirlwind—despite training only spanning 3.5 weeks, it felt like we were on the road for years. When we weren’t setting up camp, cooking, leading, discussing, we were researching the places that we were going to, ready at any moment to pop out a presentation on a certain subject.

Our days themselves were longer, about 18-19 hours a day awake and only 5-6 hours of sleep, all while trying to be better leaders and experiencing all that the national parks had to offer… which was also under the guise of “research” as well.

I was constantly tired because of sleep deprivation, hungry because food was just energy for my body at that point, and nervous because I wasn’t sure if my presentations were up to snuff. Nervous because I didn’t know if I had what it took to command a tour group. Nervous because I didn’t want to be the person to fail out of training.

The Good

Oh, but the good—the goods outweighed the bads so much.

First off, I feel like I’ve personally grown so much from this trip. I went from feeling unsure of if I even belonged in this group of amazing people leading this amazing life that could be so much… to knowing that I would put in anything to do this summer successfully. In the first few days, things were so overwhelming and intense that I honestly questioned if I’d made the right choice in coming out west. I was tired, I was constantly nervous, and I was insecure.

However, as the trip moved on, we all grew with confidence. They called on us and we were embarrassed so much that at a certain point, I realized I was no longer even nervous. We were all going through the same thing and making mistakes are a part of the job.

Secondly, the people. The people that I’ve met here have been by far some of the best concentration of people ever. They’re all friendly and open to any conversation. And, the best part—most are chill enough to survive extreme amounts of time together in close proximity. Sure, I got tired of the entity once in a while, but it was also easy for me to pull away from the group when I needed.

Thirdly, the places. I would never have been able to go to some of the small towns that we’ve dropped by, these roads that offer some of the awesomest scenery I’ve ever seen. But these aren’t the roads that people take to get from Usual Point A to Usual Point B. It’s from towns in the middle of nowhere to more towns in the middle of nowhere. But with that comes the sense that you’re exploring the unknown—that you’re getting a fraction of the feeling that maybe the pioneers had when they first made it out to the west.

And for all these experiences so far, I’ve been extremely grateful.

What has everyone been up to?

Twitter | Bloglovin | Instagram

Related posts:

  • Kelly

    Good to see you :) Your photos look amazing! That’s great about the people – so crazy and true how a few weeks can seem like forever. Exploring around towns in the middle of nowhere sounds amazing! I totally need to go out west sometime – but not as hardcore as this because I’m prissy.

    I. . .haven’t been doing much of anything. Besides planning my wedding, going to other people’s weddings, occasionally haunting Twitter, and figuring out how to get the most Europe out of a three week honeymoon. God, I’m old.

    • Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Good to see you Kelly! Thanks, girl :) Haha I’m getting all my USA travels in this summer… and then there will be none left! If you ever need suggestions after this summer, I’d be chock-full of them!

      Yeah, my friends are all posting photos of wedding season, so I can definitely understand how that can take over your summer. Ooh, where are you planning for Europe?!

  • Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorld

    Hello stranger! Good to hear from you :) What incredible photos!! Just wow, all sounds pretty amazing and incredibly intense! But that is sooo the best way to make some brilliant friends.

    Meanwhile in London, we are enjoying some beautiful weather and this is my first week of the summer holidays, teacher holidays rule! ;)
    Lots of love!

    • Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Hey there!! Missed you :) Thanks so much, Marcella. And yeah, I have a feeling these are ones that will probably stick around hehe.

      Ooh, I would love to see London in the summer. It must be gorgeous there! Take care <3

      • Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorld

        You too! Enjoy every second :)

  • Sara

    Ah looks and sounds amazing Michelle! I was so curious how everything was going. Sounds like quite the whirlwind but also like an unforgettable few weeks :)

    As for me, I’m leaving my au pair host family in less than a week for a big old European adventure! Nervous but very very excited!

    • Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Thanks, Sara! Haha yeah, it’s been such a whirlwind and probably one of the highlights of my life so far.

      Can’t wait to hear all about it! You’re going to do great :)

  • Kerri

    Guuurl it’s good to see you around these parts! I’ve been missing your updates and I’ve been so curious as to how everything has been going! Now I know ;)

    Sounds like a very intense yet very rewarding experience and I’m am completely jealous of all the beautiful places you’ve seen!

    For me, I’m still in good ol’ Belgium. We’ve got three trips planned (Warsaw in Sept, New York for Christmas & Dublin in Nov) which I’m pretty excited for.
    Also, I might be quitting my phd and taking a new job which is good for my happiness although not really what I want to be doing all at the same time – who knows.

    Hope to see another update!!

    • Michelle @ Mishfish13

      I know!! I’m either going to forget everything I’ve done this summer or just have a backlog of things to write about!

      Oh man, Kerri! Sounds like so many things have happened to you as well! I’m happy that you’re taking steps to something that might make you happier :) And I can’t wait to hear about the trips!!

  • Lani

    It’s good to hear from you! You’re pics are amazing, too! Wow. Love them all. Can’t wait for more updates.

    What have I been up to? Oh, hmmm, just moved from Thailand to Siem Reap Cambodia. So, yeah, sleep deprivation, lack of food, working working and working? Yes, I’m relating.


    • Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Hahaha it’s the worst. Knowing someone is feeling the same way definitely helps though :)

      Whoa Lani! That’s a big move! I’m going to have to read all about it :)

  • Camila @ AdventitiousViolet

    Wow seems like indeed a crazy whirlwind! I have kind of forgotten what you are on the road for but it seems like a great life experience and teaching you so many important skills – hm without forgetting bringing you to amazing places! All those photos are amazeballs!x

    • Michelle @ Mishfish13

      I’m a US tour leader right now, taking passengers all over the US! I’m really happy I tried it out :)

  • Jessi @2feet1world

    Yay you’re back! Love the gorgeous photographs and WOW, sounds like an intense but amazing few weeks! Hope you get a bit of time to blog when you’re out there over the summer (maybe in between trips?) cause I’m sure you are going to have a LOT of epic stories :)

    I’ve been enjoying the London summer – today it’s raining, but mostly it has been pretty awesome – and plotting a few summer trips away for guaranteed sun. Hopefully off to Mallorca at the end of next week for some pool time :D

    • Michelle @ Mishfish13

      Haha, hopefully I’ll have time during the free days (like today). This summer is just going to be a huge whirlwind! Hopefully I remember all of it haha

      Super excited to see photos from Mallorca! :)

  • Courtney @ Adelante

    I’ve missed reading your blog, but I’m so glad to hear that you’re having a great time! Your photos are EPIC. I’m pretty sure that my good friend Jess (who blogs at Curiosity Travels) is also a tour leader through the same company as you. I hope you guys get to meet at some point!