With Gratitude, By Carly Speno

Carly is a Californian native, but has now made NYC her home. She has a lot of knowledge about nutrition and food and LOVES sharing recipes, meal prep tips, or simply just talking about the role food plays in our lives, and how it can be an unnecessary source of stress.

I have always felt a strong pull to the outdoors - growing up in Northern California with a VERY outdoorsy family, I spent many summers hiking, climbing trees, swimming in the lake + ocean, kayaking, camping, and later yoga and paddle-boarding. If I'm honest, I didn't always appreciate it. In fact, I sometimes resented going on the "family hike" on holidays, when I'd rather just sit around and relax like "normal" people. However, the need to be active, to feel the sun on my face, the dirt underneath my fingernails, the salt water in my veins - it became ingrained in me and I grew to be fascinated by humans' raw and deep connection with nature.  

One of my most life changing experiences thus far occurred on a 5 day river camping trip through the Yampa Canyon on the Yampa River in Colorado to the Green River in Utah. We spent 5 days and 4 nights paddling 72 miles from campsite to campsite, as we made our way through Class IV whitewater in a Canyon seeped with history and spirituality. As I challenged myself on the SUP through class III and IV rapids, I learned to trust and respect the river and understand it as a living, breathing, life force. I challenged myself in athleticism, and made myself vulnerable through this great body, that could easily crush me in an instant of lost focus, or a second of inflamed ego.


While most of the trip was slammed with intense action, and challenging activity, my favorite moment of the trip was during a silent float. We were on Day 4 of river camping and were coming up on the confluence - the point in which two rivers (Yampa and Green) flow into one another. I can't explain the way it made me feel. Small and insignificant and incredibly humbled by this huge canyon engulfing me, while at the same time filled with awe & wonder and a sense of union - like I was part of this grand creation, like I belonged in the greater picture of it all. We broke the silence with bongos echoing through the canyon and the magic, the mystery, was amplified. It was a lesson in respect, awe, humility, and a deep spiritual connection. In that moment I knew I was surrounded by something bigger than me and more powerful than anything I could imagine. I carry that moment with me (too often I forget) as I move through life and interact with people. I am reminded of the great confidence and gentle love of creation, and the fact that I am indeed part of it.

May I live every day with the power, honor, and responsibility of that notion running through my veins and beating in my chest.