Monday Moment: Preparing for Home

~Now that I have been gone for so long

I realize the place to which I belong

I miss those familiar things that make me feel protected

That place I can shelter from the unknown prospected

Soon I will feel the warmth of my own bed

My teddy bear nestled between my shoulder and head

I’ll know where I can find my perfect delights

I can be assured where I sleep each night

The countdown is on and I’m going to soon be home

I’ve seen Paris, Barcelona, England and even Rome!

I wandered through cities like Edinburgh, Bergen, and Berlin

I went sightseeing in Venice and Florence with a big perma-grin 🙂

I explored some of India and in the hot sun I would wake

And of course, I went to Amsterdam and got totally baked!

Three more countries to go as I enjoy Argentina

A touch of luxury ahead with hot tubs and piscinas

I will finally see the great mountains of Machu Pichu

It’s amazing what this wonderful world can teach you

More adventure awaits as the last leg unfolds

I have so many tales that need to be told

So many stories that don’t seem like they’re actually real

I can’t even describe the many feelings I feel

My home is waiting and I’m just about there

I’m finishing off with a BANG!! And then once more…

I’ll fly UP UP UP high in the air!!

I can not express how grateful I am

Boy oh boy… I’m going to have the most incredible Instagram!!

My dreams have come true each and every day

I’ve lived life to the fullest in every possible way ❤

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 cafĂ© 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 cafĂ©!!!!

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:

williamb

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.

Thursday Thoughts on my Travels

~Here I sit in Bergen, Norway on a white cloudy day. It may seem like any other day to my family and friends back home but to me this day is extraordinary. I’ve been gone for nearly 2 months and home seems so far away. The rest of Europe seems so far away as well as I sit in the North contemplating my next move.

I’ve seen very small portions of 5 different countries; each one varying ever so slightly from the other. I’ve had ample time to reflect on my own inner thoughts and demons.  I no longer question whether or not I am doing the right thing anymore. All of the time and planning has brought me here to this very moment.

Although I have only just begun to tap into the cultures and ways of living, I have also gained an overwhelming amount of knowledge from each place I graze through.

The words evade me…

How can I put into words the emotions and visual pleasures I’ve experienced? So many feelings within my gut I can barely begin to explain in a transparent sentence let alone describe what I’ve seen or heard in my passing through these mysterious realms.

I’ve been surrounded by history and sophistication. The aftermath of victories, accomplishments, and defeat throughout many battles and wars have literally been at my fingertips and yet I could never actually come close to understanding the complexity of it all. I can lay my hands upon the ruins. I can read the engraved words in the stone. I can sit and bask in the elapsed time bubble that has brought me here.

My eyes can merely gaze in wonder.

In Paris, I slept in a building constructed in the 1800s that has been restored time and time again. In Barcelona, I realized a resistance had transformed the very flags in which the country of Spain had once honored. I discovered a language I had never heard of before. I stood inside a tunnel in Bury St. Edmunds, England, encompassed by ancient ruins which had been originally erected over a thousand years ago. I have recited tales of witches and ghosts in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Here I sit in Bergen, Norway on a white cloudy day writing these indescribable feelings the best I can. A beautiful little city enclosed by glorious green mountains, trees and lakes. Cold streams of water trickle down the slopes of Mt Fløyen. At night the entire city center lights up from the shops and houses nestled within the mountain side. The reflections in the harbor waters glow and dance with the wind.

My best explanation of my thoughts on my recent travels; they are vast, deep and full of fascination I wish I could convey. I am so incredibly grateful I have this chance to experience something so much greater than I could ever explain.

Travel now. Travel far. Travel; for it will show so many truths within ourselves. The world has so much to offer.

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 FamĂ­lia Cathedral, Park GĂĽell 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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~Bon Lundi Matin~ Good Morning Monday~

~Bon Lundi Matin~

When I was a girl I dreamed of Paris; I wandered through it in my mind day and night.

I dreamed of the Eiffel Tower as if someday it would stand before me; finally within arm’s reach and in plain sight.

I desired the romance, the wine, and the cheese.

S’il vous plaĂ®t, mon amie pretty please….

From the corners of The Louvre to the top of Arc de Triomphe I wished to cross the great Transatlantic Sea.

With French blood running through my veins, I felt connected; my ancestor’s spirits must have called.

For as the years aged me my bucket list extended to Big Ben, The Vatican, and the mighty Berlin Wall.

Further investigations of the European beauties that lay miles and miles away, sparked my intrigue so intensely I must say.

To a land far away I still have a yearning to explore; from the croissants, Moulin Rouge,  and so much more! 🙂

Now I’m a woman dreaming of Paris; for it is merely two flights away.

I will finally fly to my dream land; I will go to Paris and there I may just have to stay! 🙂

~Je rĂŞve de Paris~

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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.

paris-1244703

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 🙂

paris-1300417

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?

africa-15428

A Friday Poem- Reminisce

~Thank goodness it’s Friday, it’s been a long week

As I reminisce, the sun warms my cheeks

Standing at the window I look to see through

I remember when I used to spend my Fridays with you

And as the months pass by it gets easier to swallow

But still there’s a soft dull pain; a sweet empty hallow

For once my heart longed for the week to end

It was because of you but now I look forward to my dear friends

Freedom is funny when you wished for a bond

That desire to be connected suddenly gone

Now today is just mine and I’ll do what I wish

I will dance. I will sing. I will accept the tarnish

For my broken wings are starting to heal more and more

I think I am finally ready to close that heavy rusted doorantelope-canyon-543590

The brightness I thought I’d lost is shining into my cave

I know I have to emerge. I have to be brave

Today is my Friday and it is mine all mine

From the depths of my heart, the sun will continue to shine xo

Happy Friday

~T