Home » Living the Dream (page 2)

Living the Dream

A Message from the Shore of the Black Sea in Russia

I haven’t posted much since I’ve been in Russia, thanks to a nasty flu, so I thought I would record a bit of a wrap-up video before I leave Russia early tomorrow morning. So here’s a little message from the shores of the Black Sea in Russia:

Thank You for Bringing the Olympic Spirit Project to Life!

The last 25 days have been one heck of a ride! WOW!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Kickstarter campaign, the Olympic Spirit Project went from a dream to becoming a reality!

Thanks to a few last minute contributions and pledge increases, final total on the campaign came to $7290 from 94 project backers!

So I am sending all my backers giant cosmic hugs today, as I say…

“Thank you!” and express my #Gratitude to all of you who backed the project! I’m blown away by your generosity, and would like to reiterate that #PeopleAreAwesome!”

 

Thank You!

#Gratitude#PeopleAreAwesome   

Thanks you you all I’m headed to the #Sochi2014 Winter #Olympics in Russia!!

 

#Sochi2014   #Olympics

To seek out and document Olympic Spirit and cheer on Team Canada! #GoCanadaGO!!!!!

 

#GoCanadaGO!

 

I invite you to Follow Me at @mariskar on Twitter and Instagram, and to like the Mariska Richters Photography page on Facebook. Quatchi will also be joining me on the journey, and you can follow him on Twitter at @QuatchiTravels.

 

Follow me: @mariskar   mariskarichters.com   @QuatchiTravels

The Olympic Spirit Project is now officially LIVE, and I’ll #SeeYouInSochi!

 

#SeeYouInSochi

 

“What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve!”  ~ Napoleon Hill

* Photos courtesy of Pim Richters (Thanks Dad! xo)

Digital Nomads: Goodbye commute, hello world

Back in October, I took the leap of becoming a Digital Nomad and 2014 is the year this becomes a reality.

I watched this video made by oDesk today and it has inspired me once again to believing that it’s all possible.

Digital Nomads: Goodbye commute, hello world

My nomadic adventure began with a month-long trip to Costa Rica at the end of 2013. I had sold and donated all of my things and Costa Rica was the perfect place to unwind and leave my old life behind to be inspired by what life has to offer outside of an office.

I spent the month traveling around the country, exploring, photographing, learning Spanish, eating well and working out. It was truly an amazing five weeks that I often go back to in my mind when I start to have doubts about the path I’ve chosen and it brings renewed confidence.

After my return from Costa Rica, I began work on a new project and after MUCH hard work on the Olympic Spirit Kickstarter campaign, the adventure and travels will continue, thanks to my many generous supporters. In less than a week I fly to Europe, spend a few days with family and then 10 days from today I land in Sochi, Russia to capture the Olympic Spirit as the world celebrates their athletes! I can hardly believe it!

Through this project I will share the Olympic experience with my amazing Kickstarter backers and others through social media and this blog. Once the Games are over, the stories and images will be compiled into a book documenting the Olympic spirit and will be available for sale. I invite you to join me and share in the experience from wherever you are!

Napoleon Hill’s wrote what has become my mantra:

What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

This project is living proof!!

With gratitude,
Mariska

People Are Awesome!

Throughout the Olympic Spirit Project I’ve seen generosity that I never knew existed. People are AWESOME! People I never expected to take an interest in what I’m doing have come out of nowhere and contributed to the project. People I haven’t seen or spoken to in years are supporting me beyond what I would have ever expected. And people I don’t even know are inspired by what I’m doing and have pledged their support and it has blown me away!

Whichever group you fall into, I say to you:

Thank You for being awesome!

 Some Examples of Awesomeness:

A corporate sponsor pledged a completely unexpected contribution to the project. Thank you Brandy’s Whistler!

A reporter from my local paper featured the project in the weekend newspaper.

An associate producer from CBC heard about my story and set up an interview with CBC Toronto’s Heather Hiscox for their CBC’s Road to the Olympics segment.

A group of Canadian volunteers offered me accommodations with their group in Adler, Russia at a cost that was far more reasonable than I was finding on my own.

A friend recommended an amazing travel agent who found me the perfect flights! Coincidentally, she booked all the flights for the Canadian Alpine and Snowboard teams, so I totally lucked out with someone who knows her stuff! (Contact me for her contact info, if you are looking for great service!)

I posted a message in a Facebook photography group this week that I was looking to borrow or rent some gear for the project and within 10 minutes I had a response from someone and had a lens in my hands within an hour!

And what has and continues to be the most amazing, are the people who are sharing the project on their Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and in their conversations with words of encouragement. Thank you all for sharing in this ambitious dream which is allowing me to live a life that inspires me! And THANK YOU for sharing the Olympic Spirit and making it a reality for me!

To everyone who has joined me on this adventure:
You are amazing and I am so grateful to have every one of you in my life!

With gratitude,
Mariska

8 Things I’ve Learned in the Last 8 Days

Last Tuesday I launched my Olympic Spirit Project Kickstarter campaign, and the past week has been a wild ride! I launched the campaign on January 14th and now 8 days later, thanks to so many incredible people, I have raised 37% of the funding goal, got one corporate sponsor on board (so far), have a local newspaper article coming out this week, and have an interview booked with CBC Toronto for next week!

Throughout this crazy journey, I’ve learned a LOT, and I wanted to share some of those things with you.

8 Things I’ve Learned in the Last 8 Days:

1. I have incredible friends and family.

I’m so grateful to all of you, who have stepped up to support me and this project. (I already knew you were all amazing, but just had to tell you again!) You have all been so generous with your pledges and sharing the project around and your support has me feeling confident that I will reach my goal of publishing an inspiring book!

2. How to craft a Kickstarter campaign.

Crowdfunding is a new experience for me. There is definitely an art to crafting a good crowdfunding campaign. I’ve done a lot of research and have learned and applied so much, and am continuing to learn as this experience continues.

3. How to promote a Kickstarter campaign.

I’m pretty good with social media, but things change dramatically when you are asking people to put their money into something. I’ve learned a lot about how to craft my emails, tweets, blogs and other social media posts to have the most impact on the reader and inspire them to get involved. This is an ongoing learning process, and I have by no means mastered it, but I’m a lot farther along than I was a week ago.

4. How to create a crowdfunding video.

My video is still in progress, but I’ve learned that it’s harder than it looks. As a photographer, I tend to be more comfortable behind the camera, so talking on camera will be new for me and will I’m sure require many takes before I get it right. Writing a good script and planning your message is key. I’ve had a lot of help  and feedback from the people around me and I am so grateful for your honest feedback and comments to help make my first ever video!

5. How to reach out to the media.

This week I secured two media outlets to tell my story. The Olympic Spirit Project will be featured in my hometown’s local newspaper this Friday, and then next week I will be doing a live interview with CBC Toronto’s Heather Hiscox. This has been the first time I’ve ever approached media on anything and will be my first television appearance. I’m pretty proud of the results so far, and I’ll admit that I’m a bit nervous about the live interview…

 6. It’s all about ACTION!

I tend to get in my own way, and make excuses for why things are not progressing. Because this project has such a short timeline, the past week has been all about ACTION! And I’m seeing incredible results! I’ve realized that “done is better than perfect,” and it has made me so much more productive. You can always tweak things later, but if you don’t get it out there, no one will ever know what you’re up to and you will never move forward.

7. I really CAN work from anywhere.

It’s been a challenge to get my message out to people primarily over the web. I’m currently living in my small hometown of Duncan, BC, and it is a very different experience after the hustle and bustle of life in Vancouver. I don’t know many people here, so the in-person conversations have been mostly with the Safeway cashier and the barista. But, I’m managing to do it! The online impact of this project has brought me one step closer to location independence and have made me so much more confidence that I will soon be location independent and living a life that I love.

8. What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

This is my new favourite quote and words to live by from Napoleon Hill’s, Think and Grow Rich. I’ve been using the mantra, “Thoughts become things,” for a while now, but this one from Napoleon Hill is so much more inspiring to me. I thought it, I believed it, and now it is becoming a reality. I’ve just proven to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to! It’s an incredible feeling!

 

So there it is! It’s been a huge learning curve for me this past week and I don’t see that slowing down any time soon! I’m so excited to see what the next month brings to both me and this project! I’m on a roll and don’t intend on stopping!

What are some of the things you’ve learned and accomplished in the past week? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

And remember…

Napoleon Hill Quote

© 2013 Mariska Richters – Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica

 

 

Reflecting on 2013

With the new year quickly approaching, I’ve spent some time in the past few days reflecting on 2013:

Richters Family ReunionI welcomed 2013 with good friends and a fun night out.

In February, I purchased my #Sochi2014 Olympics tickets and committed to a crazy adventure.

In March I fell in love (again) as our family welcomed my niece into the world. She is adorably beautiful and the love I feel every moment I spend with her fills me with joy.

I had a bad fall in the spring, and spent the time while I recovered rediscovering myself and my strength. There were some rough days, but  I appreciate every moment of that challenging time.

Nairn Falls, Whistler BCIn July we celebrated my dad’s 70th birthday (any my nephew’s 5th) with a family reunion, including some family who came from Holland.

In August, my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary, a truly inspiring reminder that life-long love exists.

I spent the summer discovering new places and new experiences. I made a commitment to try something new or go somewhere new at least once a week. It was a great way to discover this beautiful place we live in!

In late summer I regained a friend I thought I had lost, and let go of someone else I had hopes of repairing things with. It was an interesting and freeing breakthrough to realize that some things just aren’t meant to be, and holding on to them only taxes your well-being and emotions.

Tamarindo Beach

In October, I made a huge life choice and purged most of my possessions, moved out of my Vancouver apartment, put the stuff I had remaining into storage, and booked a plane ticket!

In November, I got on that plane to Costa Rica to begin a new life adventure focused on freedom and living my life for me, living a life I love!

I returned from Costa Rica in December with a new outlook of what I want life to look like. (It does not include a daily commute to a 9-5 job in a cubicle.)

I joined a gym in 2013, and worked my butt off to get into the best shape of my life. I had a few injuries throughout the year, which set me back, and stopped me from achieving my one fitness goal of the year (to run a half marathon), but it felt amazing to feel what my body is capable of with a little push and determination.

I’ve spent December planning my upcoming travels and adventures in Europe and Russia and cannot wait to tell you all about it as it happens!

Whistler Olympic Rings

I launched a fundraising campaign with a team of journalists, to help us get to Russia to report on the fan and cultural experience of the Sochi 2014 Olympics. See the campaign at bit.ly/TheRealSochi.

It has been an incredible year with tons of personal growth and life changes. I’m so excited to see what 2014 will bring in the months ahead! I look forward sharing my photos and experiences with you along the way and hope to inspire more of you to live a life that you truly love!

What are some of the great things that you experienced in 2013? And what are your aspirations for 2014?

The past has brought me great things, it has made me who I am. And the future is a clean slate and can bring me anything I want! Step one is to visualize it, and step two is to take the actions to make it happen!

Much love to you all for the year ahead! Live a Life You LOVE!

The Tropical Hangover

The Tropical Hangover…

I’m feeling it. I’m feeling it baaaaad!

It’s been a week since I spent my last full day in Costa Rica. I started that morning like every other morning: on the beach with a kickass workout. After my workout tho, I had a bit of an emotional moment while cooling off with a swim. I stood there, water waist high, and looked out at the ocean. I closed my eyes, breathed in the tropical air, listened to the waves and tried to imprint that moment into my mind.

I didn’t want to leave.

Costa Rica Sunset in Tamarindo

My time in Costa Rica had an impact on me that I did not expect. I’ve done a good amount of traveling over the years, and of all the places I’ve been, I’ve never felt at home like I did in Costa Rica. It seems I’m not the only one with this feeling. In Tamarindo, where I spent about half of my time, there are a ton of expats. People who have realized that a simpler life is where their happiness lives. Most have sold their homes and possessions and transplanted their lives to this beautiful paradise.

You don’t need much to be happy. This became abundantly clear during my time there. I left Canada with one suitcase and a backpack for my camera gear. I probably only used about half of the stuff I packed. I could have packed carry-on luggage and had everything I needed. This really showed me that I don’t need much to be completely satisfied in life. Some of my must haves: sun, beach, heat, fresh foods, and daily workouts. All of these things are provided by the location and cannot be packed in a suitcase! Everything else can be bought when I get there.

I returned to Vancouver last week to -10 degrees celsius. My body is still in shock a week later. The cold dry air is sucking the tan right out of my skin and has me moisturizing at least twice a day. All I can think about is getting back to that life where I spent my days in shorts and tank top, or some days I wore nothing but my bikini all day! Now, I have to layer up just to take out the garbage. “No me gusta!”

So now my only thought is:

“Get back there as soon as possible!”

Time to get my ducks in a row and make that happen! But first: The Olympics! 

The Less I Own, The More I Crave Simplicity

Moving DayBefore my trip to Costa Rica, I moved out of my Vancouver apartment and sold or donated most of my possessions. What I had left, I moved into storage at my parents’ place and I got on the plane and forgot all about it all for five weeks.

When I returned from Central America, I began unpacking some of my boxes, and as I unpacked, I wondered WHY I had kept so much stuff. I really don’t need 8 dinner plates, 8 side plates, and 8 bowls; I only two of each (maybe four). I don’t need all these kitchen gadgets that I use once a year; all I need is a wooden spoon, an egg flipper, a can opener and… yes, a corkscrew (hehe). I’ve owned my Cuisinart Food Processor for about 5 years now and have probably used it as many times. WHY was I holding on to it? I love my Cuisinart Blender, but again, why do I need something so big, when a Magic Bullet with just one cup is all I really need for my smoothie pleasure? (And, it’s a lot more portable!)

Then there’s my closet. Wow. So I’ve spent the last year working hard getting fit and am now in the best shape of my life, and have lost weight. As a result, nothing I wore before fits me anymore. So WHY am I holding on to my “fat” clothes? (No, I was never really “fat” but I was definitely bigger and those clothes simply don’t fit anymore.) So again, WHY have I been keeping my old clothes? Just in case I’ll fit into them again? No. Not gonna happen.

So as I’ve unpacked, I’ve purged even more stuff. I have boxes of kitchen stuff, bags of clothes, and more boxes of other random items that I have found some reason/excuse to keep “just in case” I will need them someday.

So now, as I spend some time in the home where I grew up, I see why I’ve held on to so much stuff. I’ve been conditioned to keep stuff. I’m seeing things around the house that have been there since I was a kid. Stuff that has been replaced, in some cases, twice over, but the original (and its two replacements) is still around and was never thrown out. I’ve been conditioned to keep things “just in case.”

Live Simple

Costa Rica was an eye opener for me. It helped me realize and understand that I don’t need much to be happy. The less I own, the simpler life becomes. I went to Costa Rica with a suitcase and a backpack, and still I packed far too much stuff, half of which I didn’t even use.

So the more I realize that I don’t need all this stuff, the more freeing it’s becoming to purge it. The less stuff I own, the more I crave a simple life.

My Heart is Heavy As I Leave Costa Rica

Playa Langosta, Costa Rica

My last walk on the beach at Playa Langosta this morning.

My heart is heavy as I sit at the departure gate of the Liberia airport. Costa Rica has captured my heart and made me feel at home. I feel as though I’m leaving a piece of myself behind as I prepare to go from a month straight of 30C in this amazing place back to zero degrees in Vancouver.

I mean seriously, I have to put on PANTS! That is just insanity! I haven’t worn pants in over a month! And socks and shoes? Whaaaat?! No gracias!

My mind, body and soul are all connected to this place and as I get closer to flight time, they are all resisting the reality of leaving.

Yes, I will get on the plane, but I am already planning my return as soon as possible. And if I play things right, it will be more permanent. This place has become home. I have fallen in all-encompassed love with Costa Rica. The culture, the people, the language, the food, the beaches, the lifestyle. I’m in love, Love, LOVE!!!

Pura Vida! It’s go time!

Staying Fit While Traveling

Staying fit while traveling can be a challenge. It can be tough to get into a routine when your location changes often. While in Costa Rica I’m happy to say that I’ve been getting a workout in almost everyday. My favorite has been the beach workouts. I started doing them every morning while in Tamarindo, either with a local personal trainer or self-led HIIT workouts at the water’s edge.

For the personal training sessions, we used Nick Holt Fitness. We did several amazing TRX suspension training workouts with Nick. He tied the TRX to a tree, and with the jungle on one side and the ocean on the other the view was gorgeous, no matter which way we turned.

We worked out barefoot in the sand with the TRX and used a log for ground work and kettle bells for an added challenge. Nick pushed us HARD and our post-workout dip in the ocean was well deserved. I would recommend him to anyone who wants to maintain regular training while in Tamarindo and surrounding area.

Tamarindo Workout

While traveling around Costa Rica, I continued my beach workouts wherever possible. I would do a 35 minute HIIT workout with a different combination of exercises each time. With the heat and humidity I would do half my workout in the water. It was perfect!

What I love about the HIIT workouts is that you don’t need any equipment, and if you’re doing them on the beach, you don’t even need shoes! All you need is a timer of some kind and music to keep you moving. (I use my iPhone for both.)

All exercises are are completed using your body weight. Some examples of some would be:

  • Squats
  • Lunges (walking or stationary alternating or reverse)
  • Pushups
  • Lizard Crawls (these are fun when you do them on the beach when you see your lizard tracks in the sand)
  • Planks (do them in the water and let the waves pull the sand out from under you for added challenge)
  • Single Arm Alternating Planks
  • Site-ups / Crunches
  • V-sits
  • Burpees (the one everyone loves to hate)

I always include squats and planks in my workouts (cuz who doesn’t want a nice beach bum and killer abs?), and then I mix in a bunch of other exercises, depending on which are I want to focus on. I could add many more to the above list, but these are great if you’re just getting started with HIIT.

I drink a protein shake about an hour before I workout and I always ensure that I’m well hydrated. You should always make sure you drink plenty of water but if you’re traveling in the tropics this is especially important. In warmer climates your body loses a lot more water through sweating, so make sure you are drinking LOTS of water throughout the day. This will ensure that you are well hydrated for your workout as well as for general your health.

While in Costa Rica, I have had several days where I’ve missed my beach workouts, but those days are usually spent exploring which involves a lot of walking and/or hiking, so I get my exercise in other ways. When I returned from Central America I was so hooked on the TRX that I bought one to use at home and I love it!

Travel is no excuse to get lazy!

How do you stay fit while traveling? Please share in the comments below.

To give you a little taste of my workouts, this is my gym in Montezuma: