Australia’s calling, Graduates travel down under

 Beats, Scene & Heard, The Well  Comments Off on Australia’s calling, Graduates travel down under
Feb 262013
 

Author: Cassandra Whelihan

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Meagan Cassily prepares her backback to travel. Backpacking across a foreign country is a popular way for graduates to travel. Photo by Cassandra Welihan.

Your toes are playing peek-a-boo through the crystal white sand transparent against the blue sea. The warm breeze kisses your skin delicately as the sun sinks further into the sky. A palette of colors streak and blend in a mosaic as if created by the gods… heaven? Not quite, this describes Australia.

“Australia has a very good economy right now and you can go and make a lot of money working in the seasonal tourism position, hotels or any seasonal position like we have here in Colorado,” said Dustin Kovac, a senior biology major. “They also have a harvest season where they’re looking for work and they pay the clients per hour plus overtime.”

Planning to travel for half a year, Kovac and his girlfriend Maeve McGranahan have begun planning the ins-and-outs of their expedition.

“The plane ticket is going to be the main cost so it kind of depends on what’s up with that,” said McGranahan, a junior HDFS and philosophy double major. “Hopefully we can find somewhere to make some money after that to kind of compensate. But I’m kind of planning on tailoring the trip to how much money is available.”

Saving $20 a week, the couple estimates the plane tickets to cost between $2,000 to $3,000. Upon arrival in Australia, they plan to make money along the way and plan some adventures during their off time.

“We would probably be housed where we were working and then we would be on the road when we were traveling,” Kovac said. “I think ideally we would spend some time backpacking in New Zealand and island-hopping in Fiji.”

Kovac and McGranahan have some friends that are in Australia so they have being asking them for more information. In addition, the internet is a good resource for planning a post graduate odyssey.

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Admiring the scenery, Cassily contemplates what a similar view would be in Australia or Guatemala. Photo by Cassandra Welihan.

Sites such as www.helpx.net and www.workaway.info are informative, affordable and safe. These resources offer online listings of farms, ranches, hostels and home-stays that invite volunteer helpers to stay short term for food and room in exchange for a few hours of help per day.

The reasons for traveling are bountiful. Responsibilities are minimal and cultures are waiting to be discovered.

“I was planning on studying abroad, but then it just seems like it made more sense to travel if I had somebody to travel with,” McGranahan said. “I wouldn’t have to be worried about being kidnapped as much and I wouldn’t have to do school while I was traveling.”

According to Kovac, “It’s just a place I’ve always wanted to go. It’s ideally a good spot to go right now because the economy is doing so well, it wouldn’t be hard to find work.”

Backpacking essentials for survival

 Beats, Features, Goods & Gear, The Well  Comments Off on Backpacking essentials for survival
Feb 222013
 

Author: Allison LeCain

Backpacking pack at REI. Photo by Allison LeCain.

Backpacking pack at REI. Photo by Allison LeCain.

It’s always better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it when it comes to backpacking. Unfortunately you can only fit so much in a backpack. Boy Scouts are always prepared, but if you don’t have a Boy Scout in your life, turn to this guide to supply everything you may need for a spring backpacking adventure.

First things first — get a quality backpacking pack, preferably one with an attachable water-proof cover. These can range from $60 to $300. A backpacking pack is definitely an investment, but when you’re stuck on a mountain in the pouring rain, you’ll be glad to have a pack that could fit everything you need.

Sleeping bags are necessary for overnight backpacking trips. It gets really cold at night, even in the summer. Most sleeping bags are around $75. If you’re looking for true comfort, get a sleeping pad for $40.

For long trips, a water purification and cooking stove will be a must. Starting at $60, these allow you to cook food, so you’ll be eating more than just trailmix. Make sure to buy cooking fuel, as well.

First aid kits are necessary and can be made for cheap from things around the house, starting at $7. You never know what you might get into on a backpacking trip, so it’s important to be prepared for injuries. You’ll be far away from a hospital and may not have cell phone reception, which may require you to play doctor for the weekend.

Water bottle is the most essential item while backpacking. Photo by Allison LeCain

Water bottle is the most essential item while backpacking. Photo by Allison LeCain

Bear-proof food containers are required when backpacking in a national park, such as Rocky Mountain. These are pricy, running for $80, and won’t fit easily in a backpack. To avoid this issue, backpack in a non-national park area. Other options to avoid interactions with bears include tying your food high on a branch, away from your camping area.

One of the most obvious, but also most needed pieces of equipment, is a water bottle or bladder. Staying hydrated is key is remaining healthy and fit for the hike. Other much needed items include a compass, a map, sunscreen, insect repellent and soap.

While The Weather Channel is helpful, it can be hard to predict what type of clothes you may need while backpacking. Bring layers, including one that is waterproof, and roll them instead of folding them. This will save space in your backpack.

Invest in a Swiss Army Knife. These knives come with seven or more different tools and cost about $30. This single tool can open a can, cut meat or fabric, pick out a splinter, and even open a bottle of wine. Genius.

A headlamp will come in handy while backpacking. Photo by Allison LeCain.

A headlamp will come in handy while backpacking. Photo by Allison LeCain.

There’s no electricity in the wilderness, and the best hands-free way to light up the world is a headlamp. A headlamp can be as cheap as $20 and will really come in handy. Using a headlamp is also a lot safer than starting a fire in a forest, although it’s good to bring tinder in case a fire is necessary. Bring extra batteries too, just in case.

Dehydrated foods are best to pack because they don’t take up much weight or space. This includes foods such as granola bars, oatmeal, dried fruits, hard cheese, sausage and pasta. All of these options can be eaten raw or cooked with a portable stove.

**Editors note: prices shown were gathered from REI and may vary in other outdoor stores.

Souled Out: Up, up & down, a snowriders guide

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Oct 242012
 

Author: Cassandra Whelihan

 

The Snowriders at Colorado State University are dedicated to getting you to the mountains for some much-needed mountain time.

So much in fact, that we have planned our first day trip before the snows started falling.

Saturday, October 27th, join us for a day of fun and shredding at A-basin.

We have rented three vans that fit roughly 12 people each. For members, the cost is only $15; non-members pay $20,

Sign up today during our office hours in the sunken lounge in the Lory Student Center.

As for upcoming trips, Jackson Hole is happening January 3rd-8th, 2013. For the low price of $620, the trip includes transportation to and from Jackson and the mountain, lift tickets, lodging, sustenance and beer. If you are an avid snow goer, you do not want to miss out on this trip.

People have already started putting their deposit down so get saving! A $100 down payment can be made online through our website to reserve your spot. Bless the hole, let’s get weird!

Currently, we are trying to plan a trip to the Winter X-games January 25th-27th, 2013. We are looking to rent a house for up to 15 members. Check back for updates and details soon!

As for spring semester, we throw down for a spring break house, movie premieres, day trips and socials. Just because it’s spring doesn’t mean we can’t follow the snow!

Check out or website and Facebook page to stay updated on our events:

Snowriders Facebook

Snowriders Homepage

Build your own super speedy sled on the cheap

 Beats, Goods & Gear, The Well  Comments Off on Build your own super speedy sled on the cheap
Sep 282012
 

Author: John Sheesley

It’s that time of year again; the falling leaves will soon give way to falling snow and frigid weather. With bike trails covered in snow and the nearest ski area hours away, those with a lust for speed will have to turn to the old sledding hill. Cheap, plastic sleds are slow and boring, and the speedy runner sleds can cost more than a college student can spare. It’s time to get out that screwdriver and head to the thrift shop to get supplies for your very own do-it-yourself sled.

English: Boy on snow sled

A boy on a runner-style snow sled. These are fast! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Keep in mind the fact that snow is slippery. A sled that is equally slippery is going to go fast. The sled design outlined below will go very fast on a mildly steep hill. So wear a helmet, and maybe some old football pads or other protective padding. Be careful; with great speed comes a great risk, and sleds don’t have brakes. These instructions will require some knowledge of power tools, but nothing too difficult. If you haven’t got any tools head to the Hammer Time! shop on east Laurel and check out their tool co-op. They have lots of tools that can be used for a suggested donation, and they’re happy to help you use them.

All of the needed materials to build the sled

All of the needed materials to build the sled

Mostly anything will work as a sled. An old mattress can hold a few people and slides pretty well. Trash can lids, cookie sheets, car hoods; anything hard and slick can work. Here, we go big or go home, so at the thrift shop take a look around for a pair of old skis. They can be beat up, ugly relics from the ’80s as long as they’ve still got some wax on the bottoms. Try to find a cheap, plastic sled as well, or something similarly shaped, and an old pillow. Stop by the hardware store on the way home and get some scrap wood and four nuts, four washers and four bolts. Be sure to get the nuts with the smooth round heads, as they will slide easier.

Now to put everything together:

  1. Place the sled between the skis and the wood as shown below.
  2. Drill two holes the same size as your bolts through each ski and up through the sled and wood.
  3. Bolt it all together as shown, making sure the nuts are nice and tight.
  4. Put the pillow on top of the sled, covering the bolts.
  5. You may want to affix a rope to the sled so you have something to hang on too. Just drill a couple of holes in the front of the sled and tie the rope to them.
Assembling the sled

Assembling the sled

The finished product, the pillow is left off so you can see where the bolts go

The finished product, the pillow is left off so you can see where the bolts go

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now it’s time to try out the new sled! Sit on the pillow and go for a speedy ride down a nice snowy hill.

Student Abroad: Leap of Faith

 Blogs, Student Abroad, The Well  Comments Off on Student Abroad: Leap of Faith
Aug 292012
 

Author: Anna Palmer

 

Bungee Jumping Appareil
Bungee Jumping Appareil (Photo credit: mtsofan)

As my feet edged closer to the ledge, I took one deep breath, threw my arms over my
head, and hurled myself 43 meters off of the bridge. What exactly was I thinking at that
very moment? I cannot tell you. All I knew was that there was no turning back. And the
funny thing was, I had no desire to. I had come this far, worked up the courage to take
this plunge, and for the amount of fear I had anticipated, I felt surprisingly calm. The
excitement coursing through my veins was enough to get me over that ledge, and as I
dove toward the brilliantly blue water of the river coursing beneath me, I realized that I
had done it. I had overcome my fear.

Never in all my life had I imagined myself willingly taking such a huge leap of faith. It
was as if I was a bystander, an observer of the whole scenario, simply watching this
assured girl hurl herself off of the bridge. It was as if I had floated out of my body,
momentarily, gaping at the spectacle before me. The best way to describe this experience
is to compare it to that of a dream, a far off reality, but a dream so tangible and reachable
all at the same time.

Since coming to New Zealand, this dreamlike feeling has enveloped me, leaving me
with a sense of wonder and disbelief at where this dream has taken me thus far. Before
coming here and as much as I hate to admit, I did not view myself as the adventurous, go
get em’, live in the moment type. Sure, I have imprinted myself with a tattoo as a subtle

reminder of this motto I am ever-striving to live my life by, but this simple inscription
on my shoulder has never felt real until now. Living for today, in all its simplicity,
has come to take on a whole new meaning for me. I have already begun to notice a
change in myself, a change I can say I have welcomed with open and excited arms. I’ve
noticed myself taking more chances, being more adventurous, and really living out this
life mantra. A simple mantra…yet one that takes conscience choosing and constant
reminder. To live in the moment means to trust yourself fully and completely. It means
to trust the choices and chances you take each and every moment. This trust extends into
all aspects of life: trusting others, trusting God, trusting the universe, trusting the unseen,
and finally and often times most difficult, trusting when the outcome, the result is not yet
known.

Yet, this ever-pervasive fear in our society and within ourselves has prevented us from
fully embracing all that life has to offer. We hold so tightly to this fear, whatever that
fear may be, and we try to control each and every aspect of our lives. This control gives
us a sense of security but what is lost in the process is the natural flow of life. We are
meant to flow with life, trusting in every which way it sends us, but more often than not
we are unable to loosen the tight grip. We hold tightly to every routine, to everything
that makes us feel safe, secure, stable. But each day this stability is compromised even
by the slightest hiccup in our path. So what do we do? We hold on even tighter. But
what would happen if we were to just let go? To let go of this apprehension, this fear of
not being in control? I can say from experience that the feeling of not being in control
is a scary feeling, so scary that I find myself fighting to regain my grip on anything I can
get ahold of.

But what if I was to push through this initial fear? Would I find myself trusting in the
process as time went on? In all honesty, I do not have the answers to most of these
questions. I think all that I can do is continue to acknowledge the moments when this
fear arises and consciously choose to sit with that fear. Then, in doing so, I can either
choose to turn back or keep on going. As past experience has shown me, to keep on
going, heading into the unknown, taking that leap of faith, has led to experiences far
beyond my imagination. Coming to New Zealand was a huge leap of faith in and of
itself. Not only that, but the experiences thus far have been far beyond the bubble of
my comfort zone. Each leap of faith I’ve taken has led to such a feeling of euphoria,
accomplishment, and confidence that I can only trust that those to come will do that and
more. So in this moment, I choose to trust the path I have taken, to loosen the grip of
control, and to keep moving, plunging ahead into the thralls of this spectacular adventure.

Too School for Cool: Let the Fun Begin

 Blogs, The Well, Too School for Cool  Comments Off on Too School for Cool: Let the Fun Begin
Aug 202012
 

Author: Allison LeCain

A Kranz (wreath) of Kölsch beer.

A Kranz (wreath) of Kölsch beer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hi there! I’m Allison LeCain. I’m very excited to be coming at you with a college humor column this year,
but before you begin to enjoy them I thought I’d tell you some tid-bits about myself. I’ve been writing
for College Avenue since I was a freshman, which has pretty much made writing my life. I’m a senior
journalism major with a business administration minor. When I’m not writing or in class, I enjoy drinking
beer, roasting marshmallows, and spending time with my crazy roommates, (you’ll hear a lot about
them, just wait). Throughout the year I’ll be opening up about a range of topics that hopefully all of you
can relate to. For best results, sit in a comfy chair and wear a fluffy hat while reading all my columns.
Enjoy.