What am I Doing with My Life?

~I close my eyes, the clock rewinds and I see myself in my early twenties. My skin is a bit softer and my spirit is less jaded. I am 20 years old and I am wondering what I should do with my life. Should I go to college and get a career? How will I find the perfect job? What if I get a student loan and can’t pay it back? Is this what I really want?

~I don’t know what I want to do with my life.~

Fast forward.1795724_10153783477570444_852409181_n

Now I am 21 years old and my mind is full of new-found knowledge. I am a Dental Assistant. Why? I have no idea. One day I went to a career counselor and took a Myers Brigs test and this test told me all the professions I would be best suited for. I took the test and now I am a Dental Assistant because there were so many things to choose from. I just closed my eyes and placed my finger in the center of the paper. Now I have a career.

Fast forward.

Now I am 23. I worked in an office for a short while and saved a bit of money. What if I could travel the world? What if I could experience new things? What kind of adventure would I find? Is it possible to live your dreams?

So I travel.

I take out a loan and I take my life savings and I don’t care what anyone says. I travel. I have the most incredible journey I could ever imagine. I see animals I have never seen before. Colors so bright. I am so happy standing in the ocean with hands in the clean air and I just…cry. I cry for the happiest moment of my life. I jump out of a plane in New Zealand. I cascade down white rapids in Thailand. I dive into a cave in Fiji. I live and work in Australia. I never want to come back.

Fast forward.

I am in an office again. I am 26 years old. My student loan payments are behind and I’ve racked up a credit card. All I want to do is travel again, but how can I make that happen? How can I get out of this debt? What am I going to do? What am i doing with my life? I wish I could travel again.

So I travel.

Fast forward.

Now I am 28 years old. I traveled down to Mexico for a short trip. It was a tease. It was not long enough to satisfy my desire to travel. I am no longer a Dental Assistant. I am struggling with debt. I have anxiety which really puts a damper on things. I am a Personal Trainer, but that’s not making me any money. I want to write again.

So I write.

I am struggling for money. My first career didn’t work out. My second career is not really working as well as I’d hoped. But I am happy. I love life and I know one day if I am patient, I will travel again. I’m staying positive.

Fast forward.

Now I am 30 years old. My skin is not as soft as it used to be. I am slightly jaded but that’s OK. I am no longer a Personal Trainer. My first career didn’t work out. My second career didn’t work out. I am happy. Why am I happy? Why would I be perfectly OK that everything didn’t work out?


Because now I write.

NOW I follow my dreams. I follow the path I was truly meant to be on. I was never meant to be a Dental Assistant. I was never meant to be a Personal Trainer. I was never meant to stay here forever.

I was born to travel the world. I am a writer. I was always meant to be a writer. I was always meant to be a traveler. No one can ever tell me anything different ever again. I will not conform to the everyday norm. I will not just go get a job because it’s what everyone else does. I will not sit here and let life pass me by any longer. I will write. I will travel.

What am I doing with my life?

I know what I want to do with my life.

I am doing whatever I want. I am finally following my dreams.

Right now.


4 Hidden Treasures of Nayarit, Mexico

4 Hidden Treasures of Nayarit, Mexico

By: Tanya Brooks

When people think of traveling to Mexico, they usually decide to go to large, tourist destinations such as Puerto Vallarta, Cabo, Cancun or Riviera Maya. But what about those hidden little treasures which are off the beaten path?  I found out about Sayulita when my best friend Lisa lived there for close to 18 months.  Lisa had traveled down to Sayulita for a short visit with a friend of hers and ended up falling in love with this wonderful little haven instantly, as did I.


Sayulita is a quaint little surf town about 45 minutes to 1 hour North of Puerto Vallarta by bus, which only costs 25 pesos (about $2.50) to ride. If you have a rented car it takes approximately 30-45 minutes depending on traffic. Not only is it very easy to get to, but the bus that takes you there is right across the street from the Airport in PV. I’ve landed here 3 times in the last few years and every time I was traveling alone. I was always greeted by the locals with warm smiles and helping hands which made me feel very safe.  The first time I stepped off the bus in Sayulita, I was overcome with the wonderful smell of delicious Mexican cuisine. Everywhere I looked I saw restaurants, taco stands, and little nooks in between the shops full of heavenly aromas. I was so excited to explore. Not only did I have a great time learning about this town and surrounding areas, but I also made some amazing friends along the way.  Te amo mi familia Mexicana ❤


Mi hermano Yiyo ❤

There are a bunch of great places to stay in Sayulita, from cute little bungalows on the beach to beautiful resorts with fully furnished rooms. http://www.sayulitalife.com/ has information on superb casita’s to rent varying in price. If you find yourself backpacking and looking to save some money you can even bunker down in the local hostel. No matter where you stay in this amazing place, you are guaranteed to have friendly residents guiding you through all there is to see here.  While I visited, I found so many fun and exciting places. If you love seafood you can dine at Chilli Willies and have your taste buds explode with delight. Sayulita is known as a very popular fishing town so the seafood is always fresh. Or maybe if you’re looking for a bit of diversity and crave a juicy burger, you can hit up Munchies for a brilliant combination of American food and Mexican ambiance. My favorite little eating place is called La Terrazola, which is situated right on the gorgeous beach. They serve up a scrumptious meal and a nice cold cervesa to quench your thirst while basking in the sun. Muchas Gracias!

In the center of town, there’s La Plaza, the town center, full of little clothing shops, coffee stands and inexpensive souvenirs made by the locals. Watching the kids running around and playing tag in La Plaza is one of my favorite things to do; listening to laughter and squeals as they fill the streets. Once the sun goes down and everyone has had their afternoon siesta, the nightlife in town is a blast. Fire spinners and break dancers fill the streets as onlookers take photos and videos. You can boogie down at Yambak or Tigres which are right across the street from one another or you can hit up Cumbia night which is situated directly on the beach every Friday evening. Whether you like reggae, hip hop or electronic music there’s always bumpin’ tunes to dance to.

Once you’ve seen the sights around Sayulita, there are 3 more hidden treasures just outside of town. If you’re looking for a more relaxing and laid back atmosphere, you can drive to Punta De Mita which is about a 15-20 minute drive from Sayulita. Punta De Mita is nice little getaway from the hustle and bustle of big crowds. This is another cute, little town you can venture around and find the perfect trinkets and gifts to take home. There’s a beautiful beach to soak up some sun, a strip of shopping, delightful Mexican restaurants and you can even go out on a sailing tour to see what the Pacific Ocean scenery has to offer. One tour I was fortunate enough to have as a gift from some local friends was to

The IMG_4273Marietas Islands.

Here I was shown a fantastic snorkeling spot where I could swim into a big cave that opened up onto a tiny, concealed beach completely secluded from the boats that surround it. You can take a day tour to explore this mysterious beauty on La Ponga or La Chica Loca sailing tours which include free beer, food, and music to enjoy. If you’re lucky you might even see a whale or a school of manta rays jumping in and out of the water like we did when we were on our trip.

And last, but not least, surfing in Mexico is a must do! Lisa decided to take me to a great surfing spot at La Lancha Beach on the last day I was in Sayulita to experience my first surfing lesson. The beach is about a 15-minute drive from town and if you can spare about 400-500 pesos (about $40), you can get some great surf lessons. If surfing is something you’re interested in then you can get some information from my friends at Mexican Surf Mafia surf shop or check out Wild Mex to get the details on great surfing spots. You have to walk down a path to discover this hidden gem, but once it opens up the beach is a sight for sore eyes. The white sand on La Lancha is so fine and silky smooth you will feel like you’re standing on velvety, fleece pillows.IMG_4460

Surfing on the La Lancha waves are so much fun… if you don’t mind a little bit of sand in your shorts that is! In the summer months during low season the south swell makes for bigger waves and tremendous surf, but if you’re a beginner and want some smaller waves, the high season might be a better time for you to hit the water. But all in all, Sayulita is the best place for surfing whether you’re a seasoned surfer or just starting out. The waves in Sayulita are absolutely spectacular anywhere you go. Even if you’re not into surfing, just watching the locals and practiced tourists tackle the waves is a wondrous thrill and will leave you thoroughly entertained.


Mi Hermana Lisa ❤

So there you have it, if you’re looking for some fun in the sun, these hidden treasures are a great way to spend your Mexican vacation. I know I fell in love with these hot spots in Nayarit, Mexico as soon as I experienced the culture and way of life there. Always in high spirits and enthusiasm, visiting my friends down in Sayulita makes for the best trip ever. I am so happy my girl Lisa introduced me to this home away from home, mi casa en Mexico… where our good friends are always waiting with open arms for our next trip down 🙂 Hasta luego mi amigos!

I can’t wait xo

~Stories of a solo traveller~ The Barry Ashworth Experience


~48 Hours of Fame in Aguas Calientes, Mexico with Barry Ashworth-

My favorite Dub Pistol

Barry Ashworth

By: Tanya Brooks

My flight to Puerta Vallarta was delayed by 5 hours. The airport was full of angry frustrated faces and two babies were crying in unison. I had just begun my long journey to the center of Mexico to go meet my best friend Lisa in Aguas Calientes. We would arrive there at different times so I was solo for the first part of my trip. Lisa had some connections from previously living in Mexico and also from being a wicked cool Dj, so she managed to set up a gig with a friend of ours from Mexico, Arturo. He was throwing a huge party with some other music production people in the city and I had my “in” since Lisa is my best friend. I was to be a part of it all!

The special guest was Mr. Barry Ashworth from the infamous Dub Pistols! Don’t know who the Dub Pistols and Barry Ashworth are?

“Dub Pistols are a London based dub music, hip hop and big beat band founded by Barry Ashworth in 1996. The other members of the band were record producer and bassist Jason O’Bryan, Brooklyn producer and lyricist, T. K. Lawrence on vocals, Jap Slut guitarist John King, and DJ Stix / Steve Hunt. Guest songwriters and vocalists include Blade, James Dewes Sheffield (JMS), Rodney King and Terry Hall. In 2008 Jack Cowens joined the band on drums.”

Dub Pistols

Thanks, Wikipedia!

We were totally stoked! This was the plan:

I was to arrive in Sayulita by bus from PVmexico

stay there with our friend Nuri for two nights and then catch a 10-hour bus ride from Puerta Vallarta to Aguas Calientes. Arturo was then supposed to pick me up from the bus station and get me a hotel room. Barry was to be picked up from the Airport in Aguas the next day while Lisa was coming into a different airport around the same time. Then we would put together the party, entertain Barry and Lisa would stay in the hotel with me for a few nights. Seemed like it would be pretty easy to coordinate.

Well, as I was saying in the beginning:

my flight was delayed 5 hours from Vancouver so I didn’t arrive in Sayulita until late at night. I ended up sleeping most of the time I was there. I did manage to hit the beach for a few hours but didn’t see too much sun. After the next day’s bus ride, which took a grueling 10 hours… in this direction:


Arturo finally picked me up in Aguas Calientes… but didn’t have a room for me.

The trip started out just wonderful.

Finally, after 3 places denied us, we found a room on the complete opposite side of Aguas Calientes from where I was supposed to be. The rest of the plan worked out pretty well, though. The following night my chaperone drove me to the airport to get Barry. He was flying in from The UK. IMG_0902

We met up with Lisa and went out on the town. That’s when the fun began! 🙂

Barry’s face was all over Aguas Calientes. We saw posters and big huge banners as we walked around from place to place. People kept looking over at us and pointing. Suddenly as we entered Yambak (the bar hosting the show) locals started taking pictures of us and tapping us on the shoulder to get a look at Barry. I felt a soft touch on my arm as we sat down with our beers and I turned around to see an Asian girl standing next to me.

“Can we have a photo?” she asked with a huge grin on her face.

She must have thought I was Barry’s agent or something. All of a sudden a line up of people formed around us as more and more locals joined in our spontaneous photo shoot with Barry. People were laughing at clapping and shaking Barry’s hand. Some people didn’t even know who he was but they saw his blown up face on a huge banner outside the bar so they just had to get in on the action. I think Barry probably signed some autographs that night too. It was so much fun!

IMG_0908 IMG_0904 IMG_0907 IMG_0905

Bright flashes and big crowds engulfed us as we struck a pose and boasted about the upcoming show. Everyone was so excited and I felt like a total rock star! As the warm air saturated my skin the sweat started to drip down my face. Hours had eventually gone by and we were getting pretty exhausted. Lisa and I started discussing the ride situation to get back to our room and Barry overheard our dilemma.

He kindly offered us a place to stay in the king sized bed in his big huge hotel room… which was much nicer than ours AND right down the street from where the party was going to be. So the next day we moved in with Barry and the three of us crashed in the gigantic bed. Barry was an absolute gentleman and a riot too. He was so fun and energetic. All we did was laugh and have fun with him. It didn’t matter where we were we stuck together and made the trip one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. We even managed to go see a bit of the city and grab a few trinkets along the way.

IMG_0910 IMG_0914 IMG_0918

Then, before we knew it… it was time to PARTY!

Armed with our backstage passes we dressed up and pulled our dancing shoes on!IMG_0929

We grabbed a couple of drinks while people started showing up and the stage slowly started making some noise. A bit of background Mariachi music played while the sound system was being tested.

The first DJ was on, pounding some heavy bass and people started bobbing their heads and moving around.



Then… the lights came on for Barry!

As soon as the announcer introduced Barry, the entire place went crazy! Strobe lights were pulsing, people’s hands were in the air and Barry instantly destroyed the decks! Pure joy pulsated through my veins as Barry threw on:

“Mucky Weekend” 2012- from Worshipping the Dollar

Lisa and I looked at each other and began screaming the lyrics at the tops of our lungs while we ripped up the backstage with our killer moves and flailed around howling up towards the stars.

“Oh, no here we go again,
I’m off my face another mucky weekend
One day I’m gonna have some kids and a wife
But until then I just wanna live my life.”

Barry blew everyone away with his sweet tracks and epic mixes that dropped atomic bombs!! IMG_0947

We jumped up on stage to bust a move as Barry grabbed a bottle of Vodka, took a swig and then spit it all over the crowd. The IMG_0958smoke machine intensified the drops of liquid spraying out onto the dance floor making them look like little beads falling from the sky. IMG_0961

We danced until we couldn’t dance anymore. The night was a hit. So much fun… so many memories.


The following day we just relaxed and recouped from the night’s festivities. After a short run in with a weird after party in the wee hours of the morning and a snippy little dog that almost chewed Barry’s leg off… we managed to get some rest. Other than some ripped pants no one was hurt in the party process 🙂

Barry became an automatic awesome good friend and I am so lucky to have met him.

He even came over to Victoria recently to do a small show here at Rehab bar after his big Canadian tour!

barry in vic

What a great guy… and a visit with Barry Ashworth always makes for a great story! Here’s to you, Tio Barrio!!  We love ya xo

Dub Pistols! Check em out!