12.06.2017

Yangmingshan // hiking Mount Zhugao


I spent the month of November writing my face off [along with reaching my 50,000 word goal and raising over $250 for the Malala Fund] and did not get nearly enough time outdoors. so today, we're taking a trip to the mountains.

Mount Zhugao is a short hike in Yangmingshan National Park, north of Taipei, that can be accessed from the "buffalo meadows" Qingtiangang Grasslands area. back in October, I met some of my Hsinchu friends on a sunny but windy day to make the climb.


the trail to Mt Zhugao is a branch off the Qingtiangang circular trail. simply walk to the south across the flat meadow then up the stairs to reach it. or if you're up for a longer journey, you can walk around the circular trail to the north and east first.

side note: to get into Qingtiangang area on a weekend or holiday, you may have to wait up to an hour to get a parking spot. they still let the buses in though, so you could park elsewhere and hop the 108 or small 15, OR park at Lengshuikeng and hike over across the suspension bridge [though parking was a bit backed up there too.]


Mount Zhugao is far from the highest peak in Yangmingshan, but it offers some amazing 360 views of the park for a pretty easy climb. Mt Qixing and its multiple peaks dominate the horizon, but the shorter Shamao is also visible, and on a clear enough day you can even spot Taipei 101.

we got into the parking lot about noon, and it took us around 45 minutes to get to the peak. however, we were slow to start and did a lot of stopping and standing. I think half an hour would be a more accurate time. combined with the circular trail, you could do the whole thing in an hour and a half easily.


I'd recommend a trip up Mount Zhugao if you need an escape from the crowds in the grasslands, or simply if you're craving some mountain views.

also: I'm totally starting the #mountainhairdontcare hashtag if it's not already a thing. I've never been the picture-perfectly-put-together kind of blogger. especially when hiking or battling mountaintop winds. but to me, memories are more important than the perception of perfection. so expect more crazy hair to come, especially with all the mountains in New Zealand...


11.07.2017

help me support the Malala Fund with #NaNoWriMo and #TheMightyPens


hi friends! today's post will be a little different, as I'm dedicating most of my time this month to my manuscript instead of travel blogging. but the topic is important to me -- so I hope you'll read on.

[though if you'd rather, you can skip right to my donations page!]

nanowrimo

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was planning to participate in NaNoWriMo [National Novel Writing Month] again this year to help me get back into the writing habit, and hopefully complete my first draft. a week into things -- I've already made it over 15,000 words! that puts me about 3,000 words ahead of schedule, and a target of just under 1,500 words per day to complete the goal of 50,000 this month.

part of the reason I've been ahead of pace for NaNoWriMo is that I'm reworking my existing storyline. just a few days before November, I decided to fundamentally change the rules of my universe. it definitely has made things challenging, but I believe the story will be better off for it.

about my book

so what exactly is this story I'm writing? well. my main character is a female hematologist who finds herself accidentally turned into a vampire. despite her initial disbelief, scientific curiosity wins out and she begins to adapt. her reluctant mentor -- a British aristocrat from the early 1800's -- enlists her help in solving the rash of murders that have been plaguing Chicago. the vampire population has been dying out, and they can't afford to lose many more of their number.

things become more complicated as the government gets involved -- or at least the alarmingly increasing number of special law enforcement who are aware of the existence of vampires. everyone seems to be keeping secrets from each other. there's a little romance, and a lot of weird science. and also a cat named Charles.

the mighty pens + malala fund

this Novemeber I've joined up with a group called The Mighty Pens. authors Susan and Kat have put together a writing group that will fundraise for the Malala Fund with every word. over the past week, we have already managed to collectively raise nearly $5,000!

if you aren't familiar with the Malala Fund: it was founded in 2013 by Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai to advocate for and support the rights of girls everywhere to receive an education. efforts are focused in areas where girls are commonly discouraged or even prevented by force from continuing their attendance in school. it is my personal belief that a better education for all, especially girls and young women, will lead to a better future for our world.

how you can help

if you are willing and able, please consider contributing to the Malala Fund on my donations page. otherwise, spreading the word about the plight of girls' education and/or offering words of encouragement to your favorite NaNo author this month would also be appreciated. 😊

if you can support financially: feel free to make a flat donation, or to pledge a certain amount once I reach a specific word count goal. for example, pledging $25 if I reach 25,000 words. you could leave a pledge in the comments below, or email me at jamiethewalker at gmail.com. the more money we raise, the more girls we can help! [and as a bonus -- I could earn awesome prizes like critiques by agents and authors when I reach certain goals.]

thank you so much for your time and support, and your patience with this somewhat off-topic post. I'll share an update at the end of the month to let you all know how the writing [and the fundraising] end up. if you like, you can also track my progress on my NaNoWriMo page.

xo,
Jamie
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