Thursday Thoughts: My Mumbai Airport Rant!

~A few weeks ago I found myself stuck outside the Mumbai International Airport because security would not let me in. My flight was at 4:30 am the following morning and I didn’t want to spend money on a hotel for that evening. There were only two spots I had to choose from to sit and wait. The 1st was a Burger King; if you’ve been to India you know how different these fast food chains are and I didn’t really feel like a potato burger. The 2nd was a little place called “The Beer Cafe”, now that’s more like it!

Here is my rant:

It’s going to be a long two days. I am sitting near the Mumbai airport in a café across from the International Arrivals doors. The security guards won’t let me in because my flight isn’t until 4:30 am tomorrow morning and right now it’s about 2 pm. Of course, I don’t really want to pay another $70 dollars to stay in a hotel for twelve hours so I’ve ordered a Masala Chai and I’m hoping no one notices how long I sit here.

This morning I had to beg the front desk for a late checkout, which only brought me to about twelve o’clock noon and then I sat in the lobby of the hotel for about a half an hour trying to figure out why my card wouldn’t work to pay for the room. I finally realized it’s just because this country is impossible sometimes… well, most of the time. After 3 attempts at the hotel’s card machine, I ended up walking in the blistering heat to two different bank machines each way down the street. After the 2nd attempt at the ATM’s nearby I thought maybe my bank back home had canceled my card for the 5th time during this trip. It wouldn’t have surprised me at all. But when I went back to the hotel and called my bank on Skype, the bank attendant told me my card was active and should be working just fine.

It was then that I remembered, “Right… India.” I should’ve guessed it wasn’t going to be a smooth transaction. Once again, I asked the hotel attendant if there was another bank machine close by and went for yet another walk down the street in a different direction this time to find a 3rd bank machine in hopes that this one would work. Finally, after all that, the 3rd ATM let me take some money out to pay for the room. Success!

Now, here I am sitting in this café with only four hundred rupees in my wallet and fourteen hours to go. I’m really regretting not stuffing some bread in my purse from my buffet breakfast. I didn’t really feel like eating much anyway because my stomach was not feeling well. It has been a common and unpleasant feeling I have had a lot during this last month in India. I’ve heard of Delhi Belly before and luckily, I haven’t been that sick. Most of the time it’s just a morning thing, I do my business and then move on with my day. I have found that most travelers will talk about this at some point because the food is so different over here and a high percentage of people experience stomach issues while traveling through this country. Even locals have bowel issues. It’s just another wonderful thing about India; everyone poops a lot. It’s not the end of the world. Maybe just a minor delay in the day.

Never the less, the food has always been really tasty. This is one of the best things about India. Every dish is delicious. I haven’t really had anything I didn’t like. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed all the spices and curries this place has to offer. And not only that, I’ve also never had so much amazing Vegetarian food in my life. Who knew being a “Veggie” was so great?

The 2 things that have stood out most for me while exploring India are the food and the fashion. The colors and the sparkles of the woman’s clothing have blown me away. I’ve never seen so many beautiful garments in one place, and while being in one of the dirtiest countries I’ve ever experienced to boot. It does seem a bit strange at first when realizing how each woman dresses like this daily no matter what they are doing. Whether it’s going to the store, working in the farms, cleaning dishes and laundry in a filthy lake or even just sitting around on the pavement trying to avoid the scorching heat, the women of this country look amazing all the time.

There are so many stories to tell and it looks like I may just have enough time to write a few while I wait for my flight out of here. I can’t say I would come back to the North again but I would really love to travel through the Southern region in the future. I’ve heard there are some wonderful beaches down there and it’s more of a chill, relaxing atmosphere. I entered through Delhi and stayed in Rajasthan for the month I’ve been here and the chaos is very real through this region. There is so much congestion and pollution in a lot of the areas I’ve visited. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also seen some very nice areas as well which I am very excited to write about while I have this time in the airport here.

I mean really, what else am I going to do now for the next… thirteen hours? I have no excuses anymore.

It’s story time! 🙂

Wait… this is beer café!!!!

OMG!

Guest Post- Life Lessons You Can Learn From Travelling

Today’s guest post is courtesy of writer and entrepreneur, William Bourn. Thanks, William! 🙂 

Buddha says: there is only one mistake one can make along the road to truth; not going along the way, and not starting. But let’s make room for one more along this road: not looking at what’s right in front of you.

When people are under pressure or stress, they tend to shut other people out. History class was the worst for me. My teacher would always make us write essays, and I’d do my essay at home, but then suddenly I realized that everything I wrote was all wrong, and I’d get all stressed about it since tomorrow is the deadline, and then I’d start yelling at my brother whenever he tried to pester me. Well, that may be a bit milder than the usual situations, but the point is when we become stressed, we tend to vent it out our frustrations on other people.  Actions like this stick with every aspect of their life. They become distrustful of other people. They then treat the present world as a one painful yesterday. It may help them get through the feeling of confusion and pain at the time, but they will realize later on how it affects their life decisions.

You can spot these people from a mile away because of their irrational statements. They say things like, “people can’t be trusted” or “people are idiots”. These are the roots of prejudice.

How can you possibly feel hostility towards somebody who loves his community and reaches out to visitors? The only way to do this is by failing to see the person for who they are and only seeing the shadow of a past enemy instead.

Travelling and communicating with the world are the solutions to these problems. We were raised knowing certain traditions and norms, and when we come across people who go beyond or below the standards, we develop hatred. By traveling, we become exposed to different cultures and people, which broadens our understanding of different kinds of people. It’s the way to cure our prejudices.

There are tons of life lessons we can learn from traveling, and since I’m pretty fond of traveling from one place to another, let me show you some of my favorites:

It’s okay not to plan everything

We’re used to planning things out before we execute them. We need to plan our weekend. We need to plan for our future. We need to plan who to marry. We need to plan which clothes to wear. We need to plan when to go to the dentist.

Planning has already become an important aspect of our life that attempting to do something unplanned seems frightening. But when we travel we realize that no matter how hard we try to plan everything, things won’t always work out the way we want it to.

I once booked a plane ticket to California to attend our family reunion. All my cousins were there. I was really looking forward to talking with them again after we’ve been separated for five years. I booked the ticket three days early. When the big day came, I was so excited to step out of the car and board in the airport, but as I did one of the employees told me that my flight was delayed and will resume the following week. Needless to say, I wasn’t able to come to the reunion. What’s the moral of the story? Things won’t always go the way it’s planned. That doesn’t mean you stop caring about everything that happens to you. It just means, do your best to prepare, but if you left out some details, that’s okay too. Things will just fall in its proper place.

It’s okay to be lost

Everyone who knows me knows how bad I am at taking directions. I’ve been commuting to my new workplace for a couple of months now, but there are still times when I find myself lost in the middle of nowhere. And then I have to ask people where I am just so I can maneuver my way back to the office. When you’re in the city having poor navigation skills is a bad thing. You can’t get to places. Even if you did, it’s going to be a while before you get there. But when you’re a traveler, you know that getting lost is just another new opportunity to explore and learn new things. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself for your lack of direction sense, just embrace it. Take the time to look around and appreciate nature’s beauty.

There are times in our life when we feel lost. We don’t know if we’re on the right track. What do I mean? Well, there are times that we feel like we’ve made wrong decisions, taking us to places we shouldn’t be, but instead of hating ourselves for our mistakes, we should just enjoy the ride and see what happens next. We can’t avoid mistakes, but we can learn from them.

Talk to strangers

Contrary to what our parents taught us, talk to strangers. The truth is, we can be a bit choosy when it comes to people. We only want to talk to people who we think are a lot like us, and ignore the ones who we think are uncool. And oftentimes, this brings us to a situation where we feel like everyone’s up to no good. We’ve all been there a couple of times: our best friend betraying us, boyfriend or girlfriend cheating on us, a workmate working towards ruining us. But it’s only because we don’t look beyond our gates.

We get to meet amazing people when we talk to strangers. There are people who think that they are travelers just because they travel a lot. You’re only a travel lover when you can travel by yourself. Real travelers feel excitement upon having to meet new people.

Don’t stress over things you can’t change

We want things to go our way. To do that, we study until we drop, we work until there’s nothing left of us, we train until we’re in tip-top shape. But sadly, this never did anything but got us frustrated. We just have to accept that there are things that we can’t change.

I used to be so upset when our bus broke down. But ever since traveling became an integral part of my life, accidents become another opportunity to just chill and enjoy the moment.

The world isn’t so scary

Stepping out of our comfort zone has always been scary. Just think about all the wolves and lions that could devour us at any moment right after we step out of our gates. But when you’re a traveler, you’ll realize that all those scary characters we hear about are just simple people being themselves. They’re not really going to swallow us whole. They won’t be hurting one piece of our body. We just have to accept that people are what they are and that we just need to adapt.

Author Bio:

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William Bourn is one of the pillars of crazy essay, alongside his college peers. He functions as both writer and social media ambassador for their business.  He occasionally makes podcasts for students and newbie bloggers to better their writing. William continuously practices corporate social responsibility by donating to various foundations.

Guest Post- Stop Trying to Find Work-Life Balance. Start Creating It.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay by TheDigitalWay

~Today’s Guest Post is courtesy of Career Coach and fellow Blogger, Julie Morris. Julie has graciously written a lovely article about stress management advice that I know my readers will love. She has a wonderful outlook on living life to the fullest and I am honored to feature such a great post on my tiny blog. Thank you, Julie! 🙂

Enjoy!

The modern business world pressures us to be workaholics while glamorizing the habit of staying busy as if it were an art form. Perhaps this is why so many entrepreneurs, freelancers and businesses professionals find themselves craving work-life balance. Some people have started to believe that work-life balance in modern society is actually just a myth. Speaking from experience, it’s very possible to achieve a healthy balance between work and personal time; we’ve just been going about it all wrong. As a society, we talk about “finding” work-life balance as if all we have to do is walk into a room and simply look for it. Instead of expecting the work-life balance to be an effortless task, we must actively change habits and shift priorities to build the happy, fulfilling life we’ve dreamed of.

If your New Year’s Resolution is to find more balance, here are some changes you can make today to start working towards your goal:

Unplug

I know, I know, you’ve heard it so many times before. Here’s why…

Unplugging (turning off the computer and putting down your phone) is important for us to do on a regular basis. In addition to improving work-life balance, studies have shown it has actual health benefits for the human body. Give your brain a rest, reduce stress and anxiety, sleep better, and get back to enjoying the moment.

Schedule It
If you’re having trouble finding time to unplug, try scheduling it on your calendar like you would for any other task. This holds true for ME time, exercise, self-care time, or any activities that will make you feel less stressed about work.

Start Small
When you first start to prioritize yourself, it can feel strange. If you’re finding it difficult or even shameful to pull yourself away from important projects and deadlines for the sake of reading a book or relaxing with friends, here’s a tip that might help. Start small. Instead of scheduling a whole hour for self-care time, try blocking off a smaller window of time. The length of time is up to you. What feels realistic to you today? Even if you start with just five minutes per day, you will eventually start to feel the benefits – and you can always work your way up from there.

Shift Your Perspective
Instead of beating yourself up for the things you didn’t accomplish by the end of the day, start re-training your brain to focus on positivity. Business coach and former Google employee Jenny Blake offers the following advice: At the end of your workday, create a list of everything you did accomplish that day, even if it was only chipping away at a much larger project.

Work-life balance isn’t something that can be found because it isn’t something that just magically happens. You have to prioritize it and work for it, just like anything else in life. It may feel strange scheduling time for yourself at first. You may even feel a little guilty not checking your work emails. Over time, however, you’ll start to find that you’re less burnt out and more productive at work because you’ve created some healthy boundaries and prioritized your own well-being. Optimizing your home for stress-free living wouldn’t hurt either. You get enough stress from work.

You certainly don’t need your place of living to add to that.

Julie Morris – juliemorris.org

Thursday Thoughts: Starting the Trip of a Lifetime!

2 weeks ago I was sitting in a fancy hotel room in Vancouver, Canada, waiting for the anticipated flight to Paris, France. Now, I am sitting in an apartment in Barcelona, Spain with a handful of stories already under my belt. Where do I even begin?

Here I am, enjoying Europe. This trip is just getting started.

I honestly can’t believe I left everything behind. It feels so refreshing. I brought a small suitcase, which I left in Paris, and a big red backpack stuffed to the max. Everyone told me to travel light but seeing as how I may hit some different climates along the way I did not pack light at all. My backpack is pretty heavy so luckily I don’t have to carry it too far. With cabs to and from airports, I just have to worry about my smaller carry-on bags while I’m traveling around.

Paris and Barcelona in the winter are exactly the same climates as winter back home in Victoria. It’s a bit rainy, windy and there’s a slight chill in the air. Luckily the sun has made an appearance a few times.

My best friend, Lisa, has been by my side the whole way and we’ve had the Trip of a Lifetime! We’ve seen The Louvre,  The Eiffel Tower and Galeries Lafayette in Paris. We’ve also discovered the impressive Sagrada Família Cathedral, Park Güell and the beautiful beaches of Barcelona. Our feet have ached and our sleep comes early, but it’s been worth every second. Each day tells a different story. The faces we see and the paths we take change on the regular. Ah, the joys of traveling. Long line ups have definitely tested my patience but it is nothing I haven’t experienced before.

I feel more ready this time around. It’s been smooth sailing for most of the trip. A lot of people speak English and with a bit of broken French and Spanish; it’s easy to get around. Groceries and the everyday bottle of wine costs much less than I would have thought. The most expensive thing is accommodation. Fortunately, I have not had to pay much towards my temporary housing during the trip thus far. I have had an exponential amount of luck and people who care about me to generously put me in a safe and comfortable living situation at their own expense.

dsc_0007From the Eiffel Tower to the famous masterpiece, Casa Batlló by Antoni Gaudí, we have checked so many items off the bucket list. I feel so privileged to be able to travel to the fullest and cherish each moment like no other.

Now I can say I’ve dipped my feet in the Mediterranean Sea. I can reminisce about the views from atop the Eiffel Tower overlooking Paris. I can brag about the warm sun on my face on Christmas Eve in Barcelona Square. That is if the sun comes out again tomorrow.

 

Until next time, I want to wish everyone a happy holiday! Wherever you are; enjoy all of it. 🙂 Stay tuned for more stories of the long-awaited trip to Europe.

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*Euro Trippin*

~Europe~

It’s been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. When I was a teenager I dreamed of traveling to Paris, France. I don’t know if it was because I had heard France was a beautiful country or if it was because of my deep romantic nature that drew me in. I would always look at photos of the Eiffel tower and imagine what it would be like to stand underneath it.

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The city of love; I wanted to be a part of it.

There are so many cultures, languages, monuments, foods and a million more amazing things to discover in Europe; why wouldn’t you want to go there?

Italy, Spain, France, England, Scotland, Norway, and of course not to mention Amsterdam… they’re ALL right there on one continent. It sounds like a pretty great experience I have yet to enjoy.

I guess what I am trying to say is:

I’M GOING TO EUROPE!!!

6 months ago I started planning my trip after spontaneously booking a promo flight I just couldn’t pass up. And yes you guessed it: I’m flying to Paris 🙂

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I have once again decided to pack up my entire life and leave the country to go exploring. Once I gave my notice to my office, it really started to feel like reality. People sometimes don’t understand how I can do it.

The most common reaction is: “I don’t know if I could ever do anything like that!”

But the fact of the matter is, I don’t know if I can do it either. I have no idea what is in store for me. There are so many variables that can impact the outcome of the trip. I’m sure I will meet many people from all walks of life that point me in a direction I would’ve never thought I could go. The only difference is that I actually thrive on fear and love stepping outside of my comfort zone. A lot of people don’t like that feeling and fear change so it limits the practice of spontaneity which is just fine for those people.

Truth is: I’m terrified! And that excites me!

There is absolutely no way to describe the combination of fear, joy, excitement and uncertainty when you feel these feelings all at once. It’s like a whirlwind of emotions fighting with one another deep within your gut. It’s those very feelings that push me to do the unthinkable; quit my job, pack away my life and leave the country with no real return date in mind.

My ticket may say that I’m coming back home in 4 months, but who knows what can happen during that time. I could run out of money and have to return sooner than expected or I could get a great job and extend my stay for a longer period. Either way, I get to experience something on a large-scale. It’s an adventure no matter what the outcome may be.

It’s true what they say: “You never know until you try.”

So try I must.

In 48 days I will get on a plane and fly to a place I’ve never seen before. I will leave my former self here in Victoria to find a new self and mold her into a brand new person. I will go to Paris and I will try to fall back in love with myself again after this long year full of ups and downs.

I will grow.

I will change.

I will travel.

I will love.

I can’t wait!

postcard-1185804 with love ~T 

Preparing for the Next Big Trip!

It’s been about 10 years since my last big trip. I remember when I finally decided on my destination: Australia ❤ Of course 6 other countries followed that one and a lot of wonderful memories were made. It was the single greatest experience of my entire life.

It all seems like a distant dream now that so much time has passed. Was it even real? Did I really live and work on Saint Kilda beach in Melbourne? Did I really take a boat tour around the islands of Figi? Did I really ride down those white water rapids in Thailand?

It happened, and it changed my life forever. I gained a deep love for traveling. I met so many amazing people who have remained my friends from afar despite the years that have passed us by. My love for travel has never diminished and my desire to explore this tiny world we live in has only burned stronger and brighter with time.

So now is the time to plan the next big trip! I’m talking about multiple countries over a long time frame in which I have to leave everything behind including my job and my loved ones.

THE NEXT BIG TRIP!

The preparations are already underway; I’ve applied for and received my brand new 10-year passport. My belongings have either been sold or donated and I now only have 3 bins to store. I’ve also received a working holiday visa as well after a lengthy application and some running around to gather all of the documents that were needed.

During my last big trip, I was able to store most of my stuff in my parent’s basement. This time around I do not have that luxury as there is talk of selling their house. Luckily, I have a handful of best friends who are more than willing to help me out with storing the things I would like to keep such as my bed, dresser, and couch. The last thing I want to do is return home to nothing and have no money. So I’ve thought many steps ahead on this decision. I packed most of my things last night and they are now ready for storage.

Worst case scenario:

I arrive in a foreign place, lose all my belongings and money somehow and have to fly straight home on Dads credit card. Not a terrible thing and at least I gave it a try.

Best case scenario:

I arrive in a foreign place and meet some amazing friends who hook me up with a job and I never return home because my new home has captured my heart forever. I will now have to watch my nieces and nephews grow up through Facebook pictures and Skype. Not a terrible thing and at least I have a computer (I have all my things in this scenario).

So where am I headed?

I’m headed to a place full of culture.

A place where you can take a train from one country to the next and relish in the various landscapes across the land.

A place that speaks many languages.

This place has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember.

Can you guess where I’m going for my next big trip?

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~Saved by the Sea Turtles~

~For the past 3 months or so, I’ve been contemplating how to write this story. Do I write it with the swirling emotions I felt because I finally had a chance to see turtles? Or do I write the cold facts about the grievances those poor creatures endure? Does this story end with a broken heart or a happy little turtle scurrying off into the sea as the sun sets beyond the ocean?

This story is not just about the greatest turtle experience ever in the history of all turtle experiences (biased opinion since this was the first and only turtle experience I’ve had so far), but it’s a story with no real happy ending. I set out to learn about the sea turtles and those tiny turtles taught me so much more than I could have ever imagined.

Arriving in Junquillal, Costa Rica on a hot overcrowded bus was uncomfortable, to say the least, but the sunset that evening made it all worthwhile. You really haven’t savored a sunset until you watch fresh newborn baby turtles pushing their tiny legs through the sand fighting for their freedom. Watching those ambitious little babies swimming their very first strokes towards the depths of the dangerous ocean is beyond any words I can write. It’s an emotional event. I didn’t know if they would make it. And most of them probably didn’t.

13509069_10157119828460444_9055118651432322492_nThe odds are not in the turtles favor, unfortunately, but the biologists and volunteers do everything they can to help save them from poachers and other various threats. I was placed at a small turtle conservation hostel called Verdiazul, which means green/blue in Spanish. In the orientation, I learned a lot about the practices of the project and the harsh realities of the sea turtles demise. The chances of the turtles returning to the beach to nest are slim to none once they are released. If they do happen to survive, the turtles will always come back to the same beach they were born and lay their eggs in the area.

The release is a beautiful thing. It made me feel like I finally had a purpose while traveling and that all of my planning had paid off. My very first night at Verdiazul, we released nearly forty babies.

The three species of turtles that the conservation had interactions with are Black (Negras), Olive Ridley (Loras), and finally the most endangered species on the planet; Leatherback (Baulas).

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Each night the volunteers patrolled the beach for 3-4 hour shifts. Walking up and down the shoreline searching for nests, tracks or nesting mother turtles. We would spend thirty minutes walking to either the south or north ends of the beach in small groups then we rested and sat in the sand under the stars. During the mild nights, it was so tranquil I could just stare at the moon for hours listening to the waves crashing against the shore.  But when the wind picked up you would have to hide your face from sharp spitting sand in your eyes and mouth. My skin stung from some of those windy patrols. But it was the wonderful people who made those nights fly by with laughter and great conversation. I made some lovely new friends and felt very content in the passing of time.

The bitter-sweet part of this story is where I had my dream come true. My wish to encounter a Leatherback; the largest species of turtle in the entire world and the most critically endangered, finally became real on my 3rd patrol on Playa Junquillal. That was the sweet part. The bitter part is that I experienced this incredible event with someone who is no longer in my life. It’s hard to tell the story without him in it as it was such unbelievable trip. It’s a shame these memories are slightly clouded by pain now when I reminisce.

The siting was magnificent regardless. As the glow of the moon bounced off the water, the seven hundred pound mother slowly slid her way onto the beach that night. From twenty feet away she looked like a huge rock and if it hadn’t been for the slightest of grumbles as she pulled herself through the sand, we probably would’ve walked right by. We came to a sudden halt when we realized the beautiful mama Baula was directly in front of us and then slowly backed away to give her some space.

Some would say she was ugly with her wrinkled scaly face and fishy scent, but I was mesmerized by her enormous beauty. The volunteers who had studied sea turtles told us that she was probably more than fifty years old! They determine the age by the size of the turtle. The older they are the bigger they are. We watched in amazement as the mother moved up the beach towards some nearby grass, looking for the perfect nesting spot. Our group leader called the rest of the volunteers from a cell phone as Baulas are rare and she knew everyone would come running to witness the endangered creatures trek to lay her eggs.

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Tears of joy welled up in my eyes as I patiently waited to see what would happen. Just as the turtle neared the grassy mound, she started to turn around back towards the sea. At that moment a group of the senior volunteers circled around her to take down some information. I did wonder if she was spooked by the people surrounding her at first, but they started to take measurements and record the markings on her shell. Apparently, this was not the first time the mother had traveled to this beach to nest. I was astonished to learn that the markings on her shell and the irregular shape of her fins matched those of the Leatherback babies we had released from the hatchery earlier that day.

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Although the mother turtle did not end up nesting that night, I felt privileged to be in her presence none the less. The only images I have of her are in my mind, just for me as I was not able to take any photos. Turtles are very sensitive to light and that’s why they come to nest at night, guided by the moon. But through the darkness, I saw something most people never have a chance to witness. To know that her kind is almost extinct and that I had the chance to see a short part of her journey, well, the feeling is indescribable.

Looking back, I understand that a 2-week en-devour did not have a huge impact on the sea turtles at all, nor can I say that I saved them. My wish to save the sea turtles will only ever be a desire and not a fact. I was merely a small aid to the conservation project in its efforts to improve the chances of the turtles survival and educate the community about the threats to these glorious reptiles. I did, however, learn a great deal about the life of a sea turtle and I will forever be grateful for that.

10431871_489861497868477_1069012161_nSo how did the sea turtles save me you ask? Well, they taught me some very valuable lessons:

Swimming out into the unknown will either kill you or make you stronger.

Letting go is an essential part of life and although it may be the most difficult thing you ever do, it will only pave the way for a new life.

And finally; even though your initial release into the deep waters ahead of you may inevitably end in disaster, the only thing you can do is move forward like those little babies swimming their very first strokes towards the depths of the dangerous ocean in the direction of that fading sun while it sinks away.

It may have taken months to come to these conclusions, but now I am here at the shoreline ready to see what lies ahead. And yes, sadly, my story ended with a broken heart, but my survival odds are greater than the turtles and I am very fortunate for that. In the end, my experience with the sea turtles turned out to be much more rewarding than I expected. I left the conservation full of love, knowledge and admiration for those involved with this remarkable cause. It was worth every second and I will never forget it.

And that’s my story of how I was saved by the sea turtles.

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Thursday Thoughts: Learning to Love Myself Again Xo

I think a lot. And by a lot, I mean A LOT!

My mind is made up of multiple wheels turning in every direction, so naturally when I experience something painful it hurts in all kinds of different ways. Maybe it’s just the cycle you go through after your heart has been broken. But for me it feels so much deeper than I would’ve imagined. After 4 years with one person it has been extremely difficult to be alone with my crazy mind. My thoughts seem to take over.

It’s been about 3 months now and I do feel like the worst of it has passed. But there are still times when I’m alone that my heart starts to ache repeatedly. I still lie awake wondering how I got to that point where I am alone in my bed. I feel like I never want to let myself fall in love with anyone ever again. One time seems painful enough.

Then I start to think about others who have shared their stories with me when it comes to heartache and pain. When there is marriage and children involved and many years of counseling, I can’t even begin to understand how that feels.

Moving on…

I have been so lucky to have the most loving friends who have helped me through this break up. They have lifted me up and made me laugh. They have said so many loving things to me to try to help me remember who I really am and that I matter. I am not just a broken heart.

The hardest part is writing about my most recent travel experience in Costa Rica; the trip that I thought would bring us closer together. How do I write about that? Do I just write him out of all the stories I want to tell? Do I include him in the adventures I reminisce about? I’m torn between wanting to forget and needing to remember. After all, he was there with me and we had that wonderful experience together.

Maybe some of my blogger friends can shed some light on this situation.

How do you bring yourself to write about someone who broke your heart?

How do you get the words out while you are still hurting so much?

How do I share my story when I just want to forget about him?

I know I am worth more than I feel I am now and I know that my heart won’t always hurt. After so much reflection and self affirmations I feel like my old self is slowly returning. I do feel happy, but when I sit down to write the pain comes flooding back.

How do I stop this from happening?

How do I learn to love myself again?

Traveling: Will It Make or Break You?

~Relationships are funny. You gain some and you lose some. Lessons are learned and hearts are broken. Travelling is a huge test when it comes to relationships and putting the two together can be either a wonderful practice or a deadly concoction.

If you have read my blog recently you may have noticed that I am going through a very painful break-up which makes it incredibly hard to write about the trip I just experienced with my ex two months ago. It really is true what they say: Traveling will make or break you.

Learning about someone in a relationship is exciting at times, but when you realize something is not quite right in that person’s actions towards you, it can be hard to understand where that person is coming from. This is exactly what happened to me. All I can say is that a distance grew between us and I don’t really understand why. Distractions caused me to feel invisible and ignored. Once we had returned from our trip the distance grew so strong that we ended up further apart than ever.

So I guess traveling broke us.

In any case, I find this to be true in friendships as well. Maybe it’s because there are shades of colors you can never see in a person unless you travel far away from home. Maybe it’s because traveling changes you. Whatever the reason may be, I believe it’s a blessing in disguise. Everything happens for a reason.

Going outside of your comfort zone can be a challenging decision. Stepping outside that zone with another person; well that’s a whole other story.

I lost a very special friendship while I was traveling through South East Asia. I had planned to meet up with an old friend in Thailand who I had known for years. I jumped on a plane and flew from Singapore to meet him. Once I arrived in Bangkok, we met up and had some fun in the city before venturing out to an Island called Ko Samet. My birthday was right around the corner and I was excited to celebrate.

But something happened during that trip that I will never understand. Everything seemed fine when we arrived but after a night of drinking and words, our friendship went sideways. Again, a distance suddenly grew between us and I started to notice a strong wall being built up inside my friend.

That evening I celebrated my birthday without him and danced around with some locals instead. If you’re interested in the details of how that night you can read my post: Stories of a Solo TravelerIn the end, the trip was a bit of a disaster. We left the island without speaking a word to one another and I sat on the bus back to Bangkok all by myself. I felt horrible.

Once arriving back in Bangkok I confronted my ex-friend about his actions towards me. He left me at the bus station that day and three days later he boarded a plane and flew back to Canada. I haven’t spoken to him in almost ten years now. Travelling seemed to have broken him and our friendship.

And that’s how fast it can happen.

Maybe it was something I said. It could have been something he felt and I didn’t. In my current situation, it was clearly something I felt and he did not. Now we are just strangers with a bunch of pictures of us from another country. Memories that were supposed to be happy but now just cause pain.

In both cases, I have felt totally abandoned by people who I thought cared about me.

I’m not going to lie, it hurts… a lot! But you can’t stop the changes that happen to someone else when you travel. Going somewhere else in the world is a life-changing experience. People’s true colors shine through and the universe either brings you together or it tears you apart.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also had some amazingly happy trips with other people in my life. My best girlfriend and I have traveled down to Mexico a few times and everything turned out great for us. It all depends on the people, the timing and the situations you put yourselves into.

You can’t stop change. You can’t force change.

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It is true what they say: Traveling will make or break you.

Luckily, I know how to put myself back together 🙂

 

Remembering Costa Rica xo

~Costa Rica was an amazing country to visit. Not only is this country very beautiful in its own unique way but it’s also very diverse. This Central American beauty, officially known as the Republic of Costa Rica, is enriched with culture and independence. There is a wonderful mix of lush green jungle, gorgeous beaches, and rustic landscapes.

Ecotourism plays a big role in the rapid development of society. From long hikes through the rainforest to snorkeling adventures through a coral reef, you can really experience a lot of fun stuff on a trip to Costa Rica. We were lucky enough to have had close encounters with the rich wildlife including Turtles, Iguanas, Geckos, Capuchin monkeys and Howler monkeys, which sound like dying donkeys if you were wondering where they got their name from. 🙂

My boyfriend and I decided to keep ourselves situated on the Pacific Coast. We had limited time to see everything we wanted to see and then work our two weeks at a Turtle Conservation in the middle of the trip. We booked our rooms through Air B&B, which turned out to be an interesting experience in itself.

Our first stop was in Alajuela, which is the third-largest city in Costa Rica after San José and Desamparados. We stayed there for 2 days to get our barrings straight and rest up post-flight. I noticed immediately that the city life had adopted American culture. There were a lot of billboards and signs in English, American music playing in the stores and American products for sale everywhere. Sometimes when purchasing items, the currency is quoted in American dollars as well, especially when you’re a tourist. If you are speaking English with a local and don’t understand the Costa Rican colón, you will be given the figure in American dollars. Taking out Canadian dollars from a bank machine down there turned out to be pretty expensive since it was converted to American dollars first.

IMG_20160210_154310Roaming around near the city mall you can find cows IMG_20160210_155807or horses drinking out of various things like fridges even when you’re staying close to the airport. We stayed in a little hotel 10 minutes away from where we landed. We were so close that we could hear the planes taking off all day.

From there we decided to leave the city and go down to Montezuma, which is located at the South Western tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. It just so happened that our Slovenian neighbors who had arrived on our second night in Alajuela, were driving in that same direction so we ended up catching a ride with them. 

Now, driving in Costa Rica is slightly terrifying, to say the least. The roads are incredibly rough in a lot of different areas and people don’t tend to follow the basic rules of the road. There are no blinkers to warn you what drivers are about to do and when passing another vehicle, it doesn’t matter if you have the right of way. I was pretty much white-knuckling the edge of my seat the whole time. It’s amazing how your heart drops into your chest when your seconds away from a head-on collision; and that’s just the norm there.

The countryside was a mix of farms and hills full of trees. Everywhere you look you can spot many different colorful birds flying around. Once we arrived in Puntarenas, we had a long 2-hour wait for the ferry. It was extremely windy and if you had a hat on you had to hang on to it as tight as you could. We sat at a little restaurant eating Ceviche and drinking Imperial beers while watching the hustle and bustle of the passengers getting ready to board the ferry. Finally, once the ferry arrived it quickly went from this:

IMG_20160211_124305 to this: IMG_20160211_132720 

in no time at all. It was actually quite exciting to watch as the dock workers pulled the long chains manually bit by bit. Two big men reeling as hard as they could to lift and lower the dock to level it for the oncoming boat.  Once the cars were cleared, we boarded the ferry. Only one person is allowed to drive the vehicle on board. Everyone else must walk on for some reason.

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Montezuma was awaiting us on the other side and I was giddy like a child crossing over. There were huge Pelicans everywhere that would dive bomb head first into the ocean, snapping at the fish below the surface. The water was dark blue and the islands that surrounded us as the boat crossed the peninsula, were flourishing with green leaves and long high palms waving in the sun.

What do you think? Travel Tuesdays?

I like the sound of that 🙂 I’ll schedule my Montezuma story for next week!