Home » Living the Dream (page 3)

Living the Dream

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:

 

Releasing Baby Turtles in Montezuma

Yesterday I was walking along the beach here, in Montezuma, Costa Rica, and I came upon a turtle hatchery just as they were hatching baby turtles! This was not a tour, or a tourist attraction, just a hatchery doing their conservation work.

There was a handful of people hanging around as they pulled the baby turtles from their sandy birth hole, and we were given the opportunity to hold them.

All I can say is that this was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen and done.

Baby turtles in Montezuma

Baby turtles in Montezuma

20131117-073508.jpg

 

 

20131117-073517.jpg

 

(more images to follow)

10 Days in Tamarindo

I’m in Costa Rica!

I spent my first 10 days in Tamarindo with a friend. I used the time to unwind and release any remaining stresses of city and office life and create a routine to take and appreciate each new day as it comes.

My days have looked like this:

Wake up between 6-6:30am. Get up, drink a cup of coffee and a fruit shake before heading to the gym for a workout.
My gym looks like this:

20131116-160555.jpg

After an amazing HIIT workout (either on our own, or with Nick Holt Fitness) in the sun and sand, take a dip in the ocean to cool off and head home for a shower and tasty breakfast of eggs and bacon, with fresh local fruit and veggies. Then spend the day doing some work, maybe a photowalk, an afternoon snack of tacos and a cerveza (or two?) at Kahiki (total cost $6), or a stop at El Pescador for one (or four?) of their ridiculously delicious piña coladas, or one of the other beach bars for a refreshing glass of sangria.

20131116-162223.jpg     20131116-162210.jpg

Sometimes our friend “Steve” makes an appearance in the estuary next door, we’ve seen him quite a few times. Apparently he has a couple of friends that live there with him as well. Steve looks like this:

20131116-160644.jpg

If we haven’t (accidentally?) been sucked in to the awesomeness of sangria happy hour, we may head home for a dip in the pool and a nap before going to a 5pm Spanish class. After class, its home to cook a deliciously healthy dinner with all fresh ingredients and, of course, a cocktail or two (cuz really, whynot?)

By the time 10pm rolls around there’s not much fuel left in the tank and it’s time for bed.

Sleep. Repeat.

Yup, they were rough days in Tamarindo… I’m dreading my return there toward the end of my trip… ; )

Steve the Crocodile!

Costa Rica has all kinds of wildlife. So far I’ve seen some beautiful birds, howler monkeys, an iguana, squirrels, geckos, all sorts of bugs, and the most amazing thing I’ve seen is a CROCODILE!!!

Before coming here, I had heard that there are crocodiles in the estuary in Tamarindo. There was even an attack in the bay off the beach here last week. But I never thought that it would be so easy to see a crocodile and there we were, taking a stroll on the beach, and as we walked through the small stream from the estuary into the ocean, we looked over and saw this guy:

Costa Rica Crocodile

He was probably about five feet long, nose to tail. I was about 20 feet away when I took this photo, and I was not about to get any closer. Crocodiles can run up to 17km/hour, and you can see here that he’s got some pretty big teeth. I was thinking it might be nice to keep my arms and legs, so I kept my distance. Next time I go for a stroll I’ll be sure to bring along my zoom lens!

I’m Officially Homeless!

20131027-162140.jpgToday was a crazy day. I woke up in Whistler with my family, had a cup of coffee, and hit the road back to Vancouver for Moving Day. We drove straight to U-haul and were at my house, ready to load up by 12:30. By 2pm everything was loaded, the place was clean, I had dropped off the keys and we were on the road to the ferry terminal to head to Vancouver Island.

I’m officially homeless. I have no house. I left my car in Whistler, and everything I own is in a small U-haul trailer, and I’m sitting on a ferry as I write this. Holy crap!!

It’s a strange feeling to leave a city that I’ve lived in for nearly 13 years. As the ferry pulled away from the terminal, I looked back and thought, “I don’t live there anymore. Weird.” It feels strange that I don’t have a place to go back to, but at the same time it’s a freeing experience to know that I’m starting fresh and with a clean slate. By the end of this week I’ll have packed a suitcase and will be on a plane to new adventures, including beaches, sunsets, Spanish, new foods, new people, new EVERYTHING! So excited!!

But will admit that I’m more than a little freaked out. I’ve asked myself more than once today, “What the hell did you just do?!” But at the same time, my intuition is telling me I’m doing the right thing. So I have to trust that.

So, here goes nothin’! My new life has begun!

 

 

How To Follow Your Gut

Have you ever thought about doing something when you got this weird feeling that maybe you shouldn’t? Like you KNOW it’s a bad idea, but you can’t explain how you know it? That strange feeling that in retrospect, you usually kick yourself for not following it and saying to yourself, “Why didn’t I trust that feeling?”

Call it a gut feeling, intuition, or a sixth sense. I’ve learned to trust this feeling. It’s usually when I resist that feeling that things turn out badly. Like the time I left my backpack in my car (even though “something” told me not to), and I came back and the car had been broken into and the backpack was gone. Or the time I thought I could quickly run in somewhere to drop something off and I thought (against my gut), “I’ll just be a minute, I won’t get a ticket.” Sure enough, I came out 5 minutes later and had a parking ticket. (d’oh!) Or another time when I left my bike in the carport unlocked, was late for work and against my intuition, I thought, “It will be fine.” Came home: bike gone.

From these incidents (and others), I’ve learned to trust that “feeling.”

My intuition doesn’t only warn me about bad things though, it also gives me a GOOD feeling when I am doing something right for myself. From the moment I made the choice to move and hit the road, I’ve had this amazing feeling that I’m finally doing what’s right for ME. My intuition hasn’t flared up once in a negative way. Life just seems to be flowing and everything is falling into place at the right time. It’s been the most amazingly empowering feeling, and I want MORE of it!

When you’re having these “feelings” trust them!

Follow your gut instincts

Long Beach, BC, Canada – © 2010 Mariska Richters

How to Follow Your Gut:

1. Ask yourself questions, and trust the first answer that comes to your mind.

The next time you are faced with a decision, even something as simple as which fancy coffee to order at Starbucks this morning, take the first one you land on. Our minds are constantly a whirlwind of thoughts. That little voice is always trying to tell us something, or convince us of things. Trust your instincts and go with whatever your first response is. It may seem scary at first, but once you start exercising this regularly, it will become easier.

2. Clear your mind.

Whether you meditate, do yoga, go to the gym, or just go for a run to clear your head: do it! Our heads are full of repetitive thoughts that need to be cleared out regularly. Find a practice that you are comfortable with and maintain it.

3. Trust your body.

When gut feelings hit, we tend to have physical reactions. Trust your stomach if it flips or you get those “bad” butterflies. Trust your body when it resists you wanting to do certain things. Your brain and your heart know when something isn’t right, and may warn you physically. Trust it.

4. Keep a journal.

Develop your intuitive confidence by writing down any gut feelings you have. Keep a record of them and then later look back and see how often you were right. As you learn more about your intuitive feelings, your confidence to follow them will grow, and you will have a better sense of when you are being led in the right (or wrong) direction.

5. Be creative.

The right-brain hemisphere is the center of nonverbal, intuitive, holistic modes of thinking. So to keep this side of the brain more active, we need to be and stay creative. I use photography as my creative outlet. We all have our own ways of expressing ourselves creatively, from drawing and painting, to dancing, to brainstorming and visualizing. Whatever it is, keep it up to exercise the right side of the brain.

Trust your gut. Follow your instincts. Live a Life You Love!

 

Live Your Dreams and Live Them Now!

sunrays

We often forget how short life is and how fragile we are. It’s not until we are faced with the loss of someone important to us that we are reminded of what’s really important. This week, brought this back for me while supporting a friend through such a loss.

About two years ago I went through a similar experience. I faced the sudden and unexpected loss of a friend. Processing the array of emotions was one heck of a roller coaster ride. I experienced denial, anger, frustration, a lot of sadness, and eventually acceptance.

I value the lesson I learned from the experience, although I wish I didn’t have to lose someone in order to learn it. I came out of the process with a renewed appreciation for the people I care about. I started to notice that I was sweating way too much of the small stuff and not being present to what was important and right in front of me. I had far too much attachment to material possessions. I was holding on to the past and this was holding me back from LIVING LIFE NOW!

This experience was the initial realization that I had to transform my life, and choose my happiness. I had to start living a life in the present, and appreciate every moment. Once I let go, there was nothing in front of me but possibility. No one knows how much time they have, so make the most of the time you’re given.

So, to borrow the words from a friend, and to pay tribute to those that we’ve lost, let this be…

“A reminder that life can be short; so live it with love, passion, emotion, and adventure. Live your dreams and live them now!”

Clean Up the Clutter, Clean Up Your Life

Preparing for any extended trip can be stressful. Add a move into that, and the stress escalates. This is the second time I’ve moved right before traveling. You’d think I would have learned the first time that this isn’t the best idea.

My last extended travel was a couple of years ago for a 2 month trip to Thailand. I had to have my house moved pre-trip. I did something very similar to what I’m doing now, and moved everything into storage to save on 2 months of rent costs while I was gone. Because really, it makes no sense to pay rent when that money can be spent in much more exciting ways like travel!

This time, things are a bit different. I’m not moving stuff into a storage locker here in Vancouver, but rather I’m selling or donating all the big stuff (furniture etc) and I’m storing the rest with family. Although my Craigslist experience has been a frustrating one, things are slowly selling off. My TV now lives on the floor, I hang out by candlelight in the evenings, I eat my meals at my desk, and my patio is standing room only. There’s still a pile of stuff to sell, but it will all happen in the next week. It has to!

It’s funny how we get attached to stuff. I’ve been working on this purging thing for probably about a year now, and I can honestly say that I’m not attached to much anymore. The more I get rid of, the easier it gets. It all just feels like stuff. Stuff that if I really wanted it again, I could buy it again.

The experience of watching my things go out the door has been freeing. Each item I’ve sold has given me a little bit more breathing room. It’s a great feeling to free myself from the shackles of possessions. It’s almost like any attachment I’ve had to my past goes out the door with it, creating a clean slate to recreate myself and my life.

Some people do spring cleaning, I’m doing a life cleaning. Scrubbing away all the unnecessary crap that just ends up being put on a shelf, shoved in a corner or stored in a box. If I haven’t used it in the past year: Gone! I love it!

I’m sure you also have a bunch of stuff that you could live without and not even notice. So why not do exactly that? You will love the feeling of decluttering your life!

Clean up the clutter! Clean up your life!