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Alex + Tina Choose Happiness!

Alex + Tina Choose Happiness!

Meet Tina and Alex! These two are some of the most adventurous and amazing folks we know. Check out their instagram - Tina + Alex for pure adventure inspiration!

We became friends with Tina and Alex after Tina recognized Dean’s voice (if you know Dean, you understand!) on the streets of Laos last spring as we rode past her on our bicycles. Really shows what a small world we all live in. Tina + Alex (after spending an extended honeymoon in Southeast Asia, last year) packed up their house earlier this year and lived on the road in South America for a while. We asked them to share their adventure and their philosophy of travel, and living such an amazing life. We hope you enjoy their story and adventure as much as we enjoy the two of them.

Tina is a spectacularly gifted Yoga Instructor - check her out at and luckily for us locals, she’s putting together an amazing Yoga Retreat in Boulder, Utah September 11-15th. She also makes beautiful handmade travel inspired journals and accessories - check them out here!

Before we embark on Tina + Alex’s South American adventure, we asked them to answer the Indigo Highway travel questions, so here ya go!

Tina’s up first with her answers.

What are your 3 essentials for your carry on?
1. Whatever book I am currently reading.
2. A scarf - good for covering up on the plane when it's cold and an easy styling piece that looks nice on arrival.
3. Water bottle + snacks (ok this is two things but they go hand and hand) water bottle to refill, reducing on plastic waste and budget. Also super important for staying hydrated while traveling. Makes a huge difference on long travel days for staying ahead of jet lag. Snacks to reduce the hangry effect!

What fuels your love of travel?
Our motto is GOALS - Get Outside And Live Spontaneously; to live life to its fullest. Our time here on Earth is finite, and you never know what may happen that could change it all. I feel the need to experience life, take all opportunities to explore the world, and new cultures in order to expand my horizons as a human.
What is your favorite book or movie about travel?
All time favorite is Shantaram, a novel by Gregory David Roberts. A game changer book that I read on this trip is The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity and Freedom, by Rod Stryker.

What’s next on your Bucket List?
Home Ownership! We are going to dive into a different type of adventure this year by purchasing a home in Salt Lake City. We are excited to rediscover the amazing beauty of the Wasatch Front.

Next up… Alex,

What are your 3 essentials for your carry on?
1. An open mind and an open agenda. Our most recent multi-month adventure was based around a couple of objectives and the weather. When we saw a weather window for any of the objectives, we’d pack our bags, catch the next bus out of town and rally that adventure. 
2. iPhone. From music to GPS to maps to work stuff, it’s my do-it-all tool that allows us to research hotels, backpacking routes and bus schedules while shifting on the fly. It also allows me to work remotely when needed. 
3. My Arc Tery’x Bora 50L backpack. This has to be the best pack I’ve  ever purchased! It’s weather proof, simple and comfortable when loaded (15-18kgs) with all of our gear for a 4-month trip! 

What fuels your love of travel?
I couldn’t tell you how many times I have said, “I can’t believe this my life!” Whether that be standing underneath a 21,000’ peak in the Andes or having a conversation using Google Translate with a Vietnamese Man or Peruvian street vendor, the unexpectadeness of travel is really what peaks my curiosity in traveling this amazing planet. 
What is your favorite book or movie about travel?
I have a signed copy, about half of the authors, of National Geographic’s “The New Age of Adventure” -
Ten Years of Great Writing. The book is a collection of 25 of the best stories from the first ten years of ADVENTURE magazine with stories from some of my favorite authors: Sebastian Junger, Kira Salak and David Quammen. 
What’s next on your Bucket List?
What’s next?! Buying and remodeling our first home! 
We are pretty excited to take our global experiences and worldly art in creating our new home. We will be designing each room around one specific piece of art we have collected. Whether that be a 5’ tall Buddha painting from Thailand or a Bali mandala dot painting or textiles collected from Ecuador and Peru, we will be creating our own art gallery, showcasing our travels, our adventures and our stories. But then again, it is my 20th anniversary of living in Utah so I do have some awesome tricks up my sleeve to celebrate! Stay tuned. 

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Happiness is a choice, so why not choose to be happy?
— Alex Stoy

A couple of weeks ago, Tina posted on Instagram “This is our life” which, of course made me reflect on, well, our lives. Two months ago, we set out on our second honeymoon beginning with family time in Rupert, Vermont. A quaint 2 room schoolhouse of a town that Tina grew up in. We feasted on turkey, artichoke stuffing, potatoes, and a whole assortment of food that would feed a Peruvian family of four for weeks. Today, I’m fasting as we begin our last day in the amazing country of Peru. 

The beauty of Macchu Picchu

The beauty of Macchu Picchu

My recollection brings me back to the beginning of one of many of our amazing walks, La Ruta de Salkantay. This gorgeous 21,000’ peak stood tall above us with it’s magnificent glaciers and blue lagoons. Mosses, lichens and low growing flowers lined our path and eventually would exchange itself to a lush, green jungle. Eventually, we would finish our 5-day pilgrammage at Maccu Picchu. You’ve seen photos and you probably have read a story or two about this magnificent place but nothing, absolutey nothing, will prepare you for the spectacle that she is. The surrounding landscape, the stone work and the 90-year history of the Incan Empire lends a hand to the astonishing story of this former city. It’s a site not to miss. 

And then there is Ausungate and Rainbow Mountain. This 4-day trek that touched every color of an artist’s palette quickly ran up the rankings as a top 3 backpacking trip.  Glaciers; Andean peaks; a technicolor dreamcoat of a landscape; and a kaleidoscope of colorful lakes and valleys will leave you agape at every turn in the trail. It will also leave you gasping for air at any of the six mountain passes that rise over 16,500’. If the landscape doesn’t take your breathe away, the sight of an alpaca or wild vicuna just might. 

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Hiking into the second deepest canyon on the planet was an arduos feat. So were the hundreds of switchbacks we climbed to get out of Colca Canyon. Three thousand and three hundred vertical feet over two miles distance earned us numerous Pisco Sours in the village of Cabanaconde, where some of the world’s largest birds reside. An adult Andean Condor can have a wing span over 3 meters and when they soar overhead, it sounds like the exhale of a Shipibo Ayahuasquera blowing smoke through your soul. 

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Speaking of soul, it took a lot of sweat and tears to create the Aqueducts and Nazca lines of Nazca. Part of the driest desert on the planet, the Atacama, the Nazca people moved heaven and earth to survive in what some would consider a barren wasteland. They would also create pieces of art in the landscape to speak with the Heaven’s above. Now, I’m not religious but what we saw from the seats of a Cessna 207 had me rethinking the concept of Gods and Goddesses. In fact, anything human made by the native people’s of Peru has me rethinking a lot about life. A slap in the face by a 2 meter tall wave brought me back to reality. 

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Huanchaco, a small coastal town with a bunch of surf breaks is where we landed for a week to break up the monotany of walking. Now, I love surfing and was fortunate enough to have had most mornings to myself as most locals like to show off their skills at sunset. Channeling my inner dolphin, I’d eventually catch the best ride of my short lived surf career, making left and right turns on a left that lasted 25-30 seconds. Peru is, afterall, known for some of the world’s longest lefts. We eventually made a different kind of left turn and ended up in the Amazon! 

Our first day in Iquitos had us walking on a guided jungle tour where we would see the world’s smallest monkey, the Pygmy Marmoset and South America’s largest freshwater fish, the Pirarucu arapaima. We fed Cayman Alligators and piranhas. We also managed to catch a glimpse of a breaching Pink Dolphin! Might not seem like a big deal but these are freshwater dolphins that only live in 3 rivers of the world. So cool. 
Speaking of cool, we exchanged the heat and humidity of the city lights for a tropical paradise in the middle of the selva, that’s Spanish for jungle. 

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Planting our roots at Ayamadre Healing Center for the week was one of our lives most amazing experiences. For 8 days, we would learn about plant medicines from Maestra Estela, a Shipibo-Conibo Ayahuasquera that has this magical gift of healing through plant remedies. We would smash and mash Piñon Colorado to help with dreams and sleep and drink Ranaco to aid in strength. We would also peel the bark of the Mother of all plants, ayahuasca, and boil her down with some Huambisa, Toe and Tobacco for a ceremony of the ages. 

“You must defocalize your gaze so as to perceive science and the indigenous vision at the same time. Then the common ground between the two will appear in the form of a stereogram.”  -The Cosmic Serpent

A stereogram is the closest one will see to a hallucinogenic vision without actually hallucinating. It’s the pixelated sheets of paper that you need to ‘defocalize’ to see the image that lies within. When I was seated cross legged in front of La Maestra, listening to Her amazing Icaros (songs), I fell into a Mariacíon, a hallucinogenic trance. When I became aware of my gaze, two blurry images appeared. The first, a flourescent King Cobra. The second, an image of my new wedding ring. When I finally relaxed my gaze, it was then that I stepped into the body of the King Cobra and we began to dance. When I say we, I mean Mother Ayahuasca and myself. 

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When she first introduced herself, she did so by speaking in my stomach. I acknowledged her, said my thanks and proceeded to let her know that I was in control. I then asked her to dance, as long as she would lead. What ensued for the next three hours was an amazing dance into the cosmos. Images of my favorite humans appeared, dancing with us from right to left. Images of our favorite art appeared, embracing my wedding ring as they passed on by. Images of bright, glowing landcapes scrolled on by like sinuous waves. I rooted down so I could rise up. And when I did, Mother Ayahuasca took me to the heavens where I would float through clouds like Aladdin on his magic carpet. I would continue dancing like a tranced King Cobra, moving my body like a double helix. Twisting one way from the hips and then twisting the other. It seemed like eternity, this dance that Ayahuasca led. But the dance would end when Maestra ended her Icaro with her signature, “whit whit, whew”. A sound that cannot be written, only known from experience. A sound that will resonate my entire life. A sound I will miss but will definitely hear again, sometime soon. 

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Tina Stoy was born in Southern Vermont, Tina is the youngest of 3. The drive to always keep up with her siblings fostered a love for challenging herself both mentally and physically. Tina’s adventurous side got the taste of traveling in college; studying abroad in Australia, driving the south island of New Zealand (solo) and rock climbing in Mexico. After earning a B.A. in Psychology she moved west in search of larger mountains and more snow. Landing in Utah, Tina spent the first 8 winters at Snowbird and Park City Mountain Resorts as an Alpine Ski Race Coach working with teens. Meanwhile in 2009 she completed a 600 HR Yoga Teacher Training with D’ana Baptiste at Centered City Yoga, and in 2018 a 200 HR YTT with Octavio Salvado of The Practice in Canggu, Bali. Both coaching and yoga have been made Tina who she is today. 

Alex Stoy is a 20 year Utahan, who’s been wandering the globe for 42 years. His adventures include anything from slot canyons to surf sessions, skiing off random peaks to mountain biking secluded singe tracks while anticipating random street food of all types. In his spare time, you can catch him and his Mountain Miner’s Landscaping crew building and maintaining landscapes in the Park City area. Alex’s philosophy is “Happiness is a choice, why not choose to be happy?” We agree whole heartedly and look forward to following more of Tina and Alex’s grand adventures and infectious outlook on life!

Update -Tina + Alex bought that bucket list home and we look forward to seeing their finished gallery!


Soaking up the Last Bit of Summer!

Soaking up the Last Bit of Summer!