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Tips & Lists

Day Trip: Botanical Beach on Vancouver Island

One of Vancouver Island’s truly unique beach experiences is Botanical Beach, near Port Renfrew in Juan de Fuca Provincial Park.

Botanical Beach is about a three-hour drive from either Victoria (via Sooke) or Nanaimo (via Lake Cowichan), so make sure you head out early to give yourself plenty of time to explore and enjoy the beach. It is a day-use area only, camping is not permitted on this beach. The best time to visit is at low tide, so you can walk out across the flat sandstone and granite beach to view tide pools filled with brightly coloured marine life.

 

Botanical Beach, BC - Map

Botanical Beach is one of the richest tidal areas on the Island’s west coast. You’ll find that the tidal pools are full of life, including mussels, snails, sea urchins, anemones, crabs, little fish, kelp and more. It’s a natural aquarium that will keep you busy for hours.

Botanical Beach on Vancouver Island

Tide Pool on Botanical Beach Tide Pool on Botanical Beach Tide Pool on Botanical Beach

There are also opportunities to view larger marine life. I’ve seen a pod of grey whales and orcas breaching off Botanical Beach on two separate occasions. Whales have feeding grounds just off Juan de Fuca Park. The best time to see Grey whales is during their migration from the Mexico to Alaska in March and April. Harbour seals and sea lions are also commonly found playing offshore from August to May. Keep your eyes peeled on the open water and you could get lucky.

Botanical Beach on Vancouver Island Botanical Beach on Vancouver Island

Tips for Visiting Botanical Beach

  • Look in the tide pools only – do not touch the marine life.
  • Do not remove, collect or disturb any tide pool life, shells, plants, flowers, kelp, etc. Even touching the water in a tide pool with sunscreen on your hands can create an “oil slick” that could kill the vulnerable creatures in this sensitive ecosystem.
  • Watch your step while exploring. The rocks can be very slippery and can be dangerously sharp.
  • Bring your camera. Photos make great souvenirs.
  • Wear sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun and bring a hat for additional protection.
  • Be sure to remove any valuables from your vehicle. Thieves are active in the area and it’s not uncommon to get back to your car to find that you’ve had an unwanted intrusion.
  • Watch for wildlife. Juan de Fuca Provincial Park is a wilderness area and there are black bears and cougars in the area. Be aware of your surroundings and if you happen to come across local wildlife, do not feed or approach it. Wildlife gets dangerous if they feel cornered or have young. Steer clear, even if it means you need to leave the beach for your own safety.
  • Bring binoculars in case you’re lucky enough to see whales playing off shore.
  • Pack a picnic. There are a couple of diner/cafe options in Port Renfrew, but there is nothing right on or near the beach. Pack a lunch with you if you plan to make it a full day trip.
  • Pack it in, pack it out. If you bring a picnic or a snack to the beach, make sure you pack out all your garbage and dispose of it responsibly. No one likes a litterbug, please keep our parks and beaches clean.
  • Stay for sunset. It’s absolutely beautiful!

Botanical Beach is a true gem on Vancouver Island’s west coast. It’s a must see and is one of my all time favourite day trips. For more information, please visit the BC Parks website.

What have you discovered in the tide pools at Botanical Beach?

Botanical Beach on Vancouver Island

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Day Trip: Sandcut Beach on Vancouver Island

How to Get to Sandcut Beach

Sandcut Beach is one of my favourite day trips along Vancouver Island’s southern west coast. It is situated between French Beach Provincial Park and Jordan River, about 30 kilometres west of Sooke along the Juan de Fuca Highway. Access to the beach is easy to find with a gravel parking lot just off the highway.

Sandcut Beach Map

The beach is about a 10-minute walk from the parking lot along a trail through thick forest of giant cedar, spruce and douglas fir trees draped with moss and witch’s hair, also known as old man’s beard. You’ll walk along a boardwalk and take in fantastic views of the Olympic Peninsula through the breaks in the trees as you make your way to the beach.

The Forest on the wat to Sandcut Beach

The boardwalk on the way to Sandcut Beach

Views along the trail to Sandcut Beach

What To Do At Sandcut Beach

After a short walk along the stone and pebble beach, you’ll find a beautiful sandstone waterfall. It’s a perfect spot to plant your picnic basket and blanket to take a break for lunch.

If you’re a rock collector, there are thousands upon thousands of rocks to explore and collect on the beach, and if you like beach creatures, some will have all kinds of life under them when overturned. On warmer days, it’s a beautiful place to swim and there are some nice sandy patches to make it easier to walk into the water.

Giant kelp on Sandcut Beach The waterfall at Sandcut Beach Waterfall at Sandcut Beach The waterfall at Sandcut Beach

Cliffs line the beach and at the end there is a gorgeous rock formation that you can climb to get a bird’s eye 180 degree view of Juan de Fuca Straight and the Olympic Peninsula on a clear day. Sandcut beach is a great place for a campfire to roast a tasty lunch (please mind the fire restrictions), and if you’re lucky, you’ll even see a pod of whales playing out in the open water as you sit on the beach listening to the wind, waves and the pebbles tumbling in the surf.

Sandcut Beach Sandcut Beach Sandcut Beach Climbing Rocks at Sandcut Beach

Sandcut Beach is one of the more natural beaches along Vancouver Island’s southwest coastline. There are no facilities provided, so make sure you come prepared.

 Tips For A Day Trip To Sandcut Beach

There are a few things to keep in mind when visiting Sandcut Beach or any provincial park in BC:

  1. Do not leave valuables in your vehicle. Thieves are active in the area and are not shy to break into cars. Make sure you take your valuables with you and lock your car before heading to the beach. There are sometimes volunteers keeping an eye on the parking lots during high traffic times, but don’t count on this being the case on a regular basis.
  2. Respect the wildlife. There is all kinds of wildlife on Vancouver Island, including bears and cougars. Be aware of your surroundings and if you happen to come across local wildlife, do not feed it, do not approach it, and give it lots of room. Wildlife gets dangerous if they feel cornered or have young with them. Steer clear, even if it means you need to leave the beach for your own safety.
  3. Protect yourself from the sun. Use sunscreen and bring a hat. No one likes a sunburn and skin cancer is largely preventable. Be sun smart.
  4. Pack it in, pack it out. If you bring a picnic or a snack to the beach, make sure you pack out all your garbage and dispose of it responsibly. No one likes a litterbug, please keep our parks and beaches clean.
  5. Bring a camera! Sandcut Beach is a beautiful place for photography, especially the waterfall. We all have our camera phones with us these days, but it’s well worth it to bring your actual camera to this one.

Have you been to Sandcut Beach? Please share your experience in the comments.

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Day Trip: French Beach Provincial Park on Vancouver Island

French Beach Provincial Park is located on the west coast of southern Vancouver Island on the Straight of Juan de Fuca. It’s a great day trip or weekend camping getaway, and is only about an hour and fifteen minute drive from Victoria on Highway 14.

French Beach Provincial Park - Map

French Beach Provincial Park Facilities

Not only does the park boast a beautiful beach, but visitors can also enjoy the picnic area with barbecue pits, hiking trails, a playground for kids. Other park Facilities include 69 vehicle accessible campsites, located in the forest approximately a 5-10 minute walk from the beach, a sani-station, pit toilets and fresh water.

 

Me at French Beach

French Beach French Beach

 Tips For Visiting the Park

There are a few things to keep in mind when visiting French Beach or any provincial park in BC:

  1. Do not leave valuables in your vehicle. Thieves are active in the area and are not shy to break into cars while you are out enjoying the beach. Make sure you take your valuables with you and lock your car before heading to the beach.
  2. Respect the wildlife. There are all kinds of wild animals on Vancouver Island, including bears and cougars. Be aware of your surroundings and if you happen to come across local wildlife, do not feed or approach it, and give it lots of room.
    French Beach - Bear Sign
  3. Protect yourself from the sun. Use sunscreen and bring a hat. No one likes a sunburn and skin cancer is largely preventable. Be sun smart.
  4. Pack it in, pack it out. If you bring a picnic to the beach, make sure you pack out all your garbage and dispose of it in the waste cans provided. No one likes a litterbug, please keep our beautiful parks clean.
  5. Be aware of the tide. Tide Tables are posted at trailheads. Remember to add one hour to the listed tidal times during May to October as Daylight Savings Time is in effect. The currents can be quite strong and kayaking and canoeing is not recommended here.
  6. Camping Reservations. This is a very popular campground, so I recommend you make a camping reservation to guarantee yourself a spot. The campground is 100% reservable so chances of getting a last minute, spontaneous campsite are slim. Reservations are available from May 15 to August 31.

For more information about the French Beach Provincial Park, or to make your camping reservation, please visit the BC Parks website.

Have you been to French Beach Provincial Park? Did you camp or take a day trip? Please share in the comments.

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The Universe Provides What the Soul Needs – 14 Life Lessons to Remember Everyday

After sharing my favourite poem with you the other day, I’m inspired to share some of the lessons the universe has provided me with through my years.

We all learn lessons in life as we experience new things and meet new people. Some experiences are positive, some not so much, but each one has a lesson built into it that you will carry with you to the next experience. This is how we grow.

Below are some of the life lessons I’ve learned the hard way in life. I can apply them to almost any new situation or person I meet. Remembering them helps me to live an honest, clean and positive life.

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  1. People are who they are at their core. Some people will never change, regardless of the number of chances they are given.
  2. Never abandon your values and friendships for another. A true friend accepts and respects both.
  3. Always be kind. Kindness builds and preserves character.
  4. Forgive quickly. Holding grudges only hurts you, while the other person moves forward completely unaware of the pain you carry. Let it go.
  5. Leave the past where it belongs: In. The. Past. Move forward, don’t carry it with you and leave any grudges behind.
    Leave the past where it belongs. Move forward. Live a life you love. © 2010 Mariska Richters - Lovina, Bali

    Leave the past where it belongs. Move forward. Live a life you love.
    © 2010 Mariska Richters – Lovina, Bali

  6. Don’t waste time with people who treat you poorly. Spend it with those who those who value your presence in their life and treat you the way you want and deserve to be treated.
  7. A true friend will stand up for your friendship. If they need to hide it, or if you are disposable, they were never a true friend.
  8. If something works, it works. If it doesn’t, timing will not change that.
  9. Listen to your friends and family; they have your best interests at heart. When they warn you that something or someone isn’t good for you, trust that their outside perspective is a lot clearer than your blinded one.
  10. Never let others’ negativity or mean streaks rub off on you. Spreading negativity only spawns more negativity, and life is too short to to be mean.
  11. Take no interest in gossip; it is usually either a sign of envy or a delusion of grandeur. Both are negative emotions.
  12. Trust your intuition. It tends to know things that your mind will take more time to learn.
  13. Be careful of the bridges and friendships you burn. Although apologies go a long way, some friendships will be irreparable and you can only be forgiven so many times.
  14. Have no regrets. Everything happens for a reason and there is a lesson in everything. Know that you are learning and growing as a human being.
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It’s tough sometimes to stay positive or to stay away from things or people that you know in your heart are not good for you.

Not long ago a friend asked me, “Why are we attracted to people who are not good for us?”
My response was, “Because we have visions of them being better people.”

That’s not to say that they are in any way bad people, but just that they are bad for us. We tend to think that we can change people for the better, but in the end they are who they are and nothing will change that. When this happens, we need to either accept them completely as they are, or move on and leave them behind to preserve our own wellbeing.

Life is too short to be anything but happy. Learn from your experiences and don’t regret a single one. The universe provides what the soul needs to grow.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned from life? Please share in the comments below.

Life is Short

“Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile.” ~ Mark Twain

11 Health Benefits of Coconut Water

Coconut oil has become all the rage these days. There are so many benefits and uses for this natural oil, some of which I will cover in a future post. Today I’m going to focus on another wonderful nectar that this delicious fruit provides: Coconut Water!

I first discovered coconut water while traveling in Bali a few of years ago, and then I rediscovered it in Costa Rica last fall. Toward the end of my trip, I would hunt down “Señor Coconut” on the beach to indulge in this delicious nectar on a daily basis. My favourite time to drink it would be after my morning beach workout as a reward for my hard work.

What I didn’t know then was that coconut water has many benefits beyond its refreshing deliciousness!

Fresh Bali Coconut

My very first fresh coconut in Bali. This man climbed the tree to pick it for me, lobbed the top off and handed it to me with a straw. So delicious!

11 Health Benefits of Coconut Water

  1. Hydration – Coconut water is rich in potassium and natural sugars that your body needs to rehydrate after rigorous exercise.  Sport drinks only carry half the amount of potassium and twice the amount of sugar compared to coconut water. So stop buying sport drinks and try this natural and more effective (and healthier!) alternative.
  2. Energy Booster – Rich in essential nutrients, coconut water makes a wonderful energy drink. Coconut water has less sugar and sodium content than energy drinks, and a high content of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium which helps hydrate and rejuvenate the body.
  3. Hangover Remedy – Thanks to it’s hydration properties, coconut water is a great remedy if you had one too many the night before. It also helps settle your stomach and replaces essential electrolytes for those extra rough hangovers that result in vomiting and dehydration. So before you reach for that caesar or redeye, give your body a break and start with a glass of coconut water!
    Me and My Coconut
  4. Muscle Cramps – You know how they say you should eat bananas to avoid cramps? Well if you’re not a banana fan, this is a perfect alternative. The high potassium content in coconut water helps to reduce muscle cramps caused by potassium deficiency.
  5. Weight Loss – Regular consumption of coconut water increases the metabolism rate which helps burn sugar much faster. As a result, the level of insulin in the body burns faster, causing more energy and fat burning. It also helps you feel full and reduces cravings.
  6. Stronger Bones – Coconut water is high in calcium, which we all need for stronger, healthier bones, muscles and tissue.
  7. Regulates Blood Pressure – It helps improve blood circulation, lowers blood pressure and reduces the chances of a heart attack or other cardio problems. Drink up!
  8. Skin Benefits – If you have problem skin, or you simply want to retain your skin’s youthfulness (who doesn’t?), apply coconut water on your face and leave it on overnight. Coconut water has shown to be effective against acne and acts as a toner for the skin. It also moisturizes your skin from within if you drink it regularly.
  9. Hair Conditioner – You know all those hair products that contain coconut oils and extracts? Well it’s not just to make it smell nice! It actually conditions the hair from within by penetrating the hair shaft. You can get these benefits by either consuming coconut water, or by washing your hair with it. It also promotes hair growth by protecting the scalp against dandruff, lice and itchy scalp, all of which can impede hair growth. And an added bonus: it gives your hair a beautiful healthy shine!
    coconut palm tree
  10. During Pregnancy – Doctors often recommend coconut water during pregnancy to help fight constipation, heart burn and slow digestion.  It helps to improve immunity and boosts the levels of amniotic fluid and improves the overall health of the foetus (and the mother).
  11. All Natural – The BEST part about coconut water is that it’s ALL NATURAL! There are no added artificial sugars, preservatives, colouring or other chemical ingredients that you want to avoid.

This is just a short list of the many benefits of this delicious natural nectar. Do your body a favour and try some coconut water today! You can drink it straight up or add it to a shake or smoothie. However you decide to ingest it, get it in ya!

Where to Buy Coconut Water

If you’re lucky enough to be living your dream (and mine) in the tropics, you will likely find a plethora of fresh coconut vendors around. If you are living your dream in a cooler, non-tropical place, bottled coconut water is available in most grocery stores and you can even have it delivered to your door by ordering online from Amazon. Many yoga studios stock it because of its health benefits and some gyms do as well. You may never have noticed it before, but it’s everywhere. Drink Up and Enjoy!

Do you drink coconut water? What benefits are you seeing? Please share in the comments below.

 

13 Ways To Use A Sarong – An Essential Travel Item

When It comes to packing for a trip, multi-functional items are key to keeping your luggage small and compact for convenient travel. With this in mind, a sarong is an essential item to pack for any trip. It doesn’t matter where I’m going, warm climate or cold, I always pack at least one sarong and it is always well used.

What is a Sarong?

A sarong is a rectangular piece of fabric longer than it is wide, usually found in a variety of colourful prints. Its versatility is what makes it so essential for any trip as well as for day to day use.

Depending where you are in the world, sarongs have many different names. The name “sarong” comes from Indonesia. In Hawaii, they’re called pareos; in Fiji and Tahiti they’re known as lava-lava or sulu; in parts of Africa they’re called kente or kikoy; in Brazil they’re known as canga, and  they have many other names, depending where in the world you are.

Multi-Functional Uses For a Sarong

I’ve used sarongs for many different purposes while traveling, some that I would have never thought of when I first started using them in the 1990’s.

  1. Wear It
    The most common use is to wear it as clothing. There are countless different ways to wear a sarong, from a skirt or dress to a shirt or shorts or even a belt.

    How to wear a sarong

    image source: harpersbazaar.com

  2. Beach or Bath Towel
    Avoid bringing a heavy towel to the beach and bring a sarong instead. If you need to pack a towel when you travel, a sarong is a much lighter option and is far easier to pack, lighter to carry, doesn’t get heavy when it’s wet and it dries quickly.  It’s also a great way to protect yourself from the sun.
  3. Blanket
    Lay it out on the ground for a picnic or wrap it around your shoulders if you get a little chilly. I also use it as a blanket when traveling on air-conditioned planes and busses.
  4. Scarf / Shawl
    For cooler nights or windy/rainy days, use a sarong as a scarf or shawl to keep you warm or to cover your hair if it rains. It is also an easy way to dress up any outfit when you have a limited travel wardrobe.
  5. Cover up
    When visiting temples or places of worship (in Southeast Asia for example), it is required to cover your legs before entering (for both men and women). I always carry a sarong with me, just in case. I’ve ended up spontaneously visiting a temple more than once, and although most temples will have sarongs available for sale or to borrow for a donation, I prefer to use my own.
    Buddhist Temple in Thailand
  6. Bed sheets
    Although most hostels are generally clean, I have used a sarong in sleeping situations where the cleanliness may have been a bit sketchy. If you have two with you, put one on the bottom and one on top, if you only have one, wrap it around yourself before getting into bed.
  7. Pillow
    If your hotel/hostel pillow isn’t puffy enough, or you simply don’t have one, use your sarong. You can wrap some clothes in it to make it extra puffy. I like to use one as a pillow on planes, busses and trains.
  8. Purse – If you find yourself shopping and you don’t have a bag to carry all your purchases home in, tie the corners together into a purse.
  9. Curtain or Divider
    If you’re staying in hostels with shared rooms, use your sarong to create privacy. I’ve also used it to block the windows on buses, trains or cars while in transit.
  10. Packing Separator
    Use it to separate your clean clothes from your dirty clothes in your backpack or luggage by wrapping your clothes inside it.
  11. Padding
    Wrap your valuables in it while in transit. I’ve used it for my laptop and my camera equipment both to conceal and protect it while moving from one location to the next. It’s also a great way to hide valuables while in public places or hostels.
  1. Emergencies
    No one wants to end up in emergency situations while traveling, but if it happens a sarong can be used as a bandage, sling, tourniquet, or to tie a splint until you can get proper medical attention.
  2. Gifts
    When it’s time to go home, sarongs make great (and inexpensive) gifts to bring back for your friends and family. It is a practical souvenir that will always have a use.

I’ve collected many sarongs over the years and I’m still coming up with new creative uses all the time. I don’t only use them when I travel, but around the house as well. They are not only are they useful for us ladies, but they are equally practical for the men out there too. Don’t be shy boys, wear a sarong!

How do you use your sarong? Please share in the comments below.

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9 Things I’ve Learned From Solo Travel

My first solo travel adventure was a 3-month backpacking trip around Europe when I was 21. I set my budget goal and worked hard to meet it, and within 6 months I was on a plane. It was the craziest (and scariest) thing I had ever done and it felt invigorating!

Since then, thanks to that experience, I’ve traveled solo all over the world and I’ve learned so much about myself and life through my experiences, and I wanted to share some that with you.

1. Take the Leap!

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~ Lao-tsu

The first step is always the hardest. Waiting for the perfect timing, or the perfect circumstances, or the perfect travel companion will have you waiting a VERY long time! In the end the initial leap is up to you. Choose your moment and jump! Your choice and the actions that follow will bring all the right things into your life. Once you make the commitment, the rest will fall into place.

Costa Rican Sunset 2013

2. Always trust your gut. Always.

Your intuition is your best friend in life, especially when you’re on the road in unfamiliar territory. It will tell you when something isn’t quite right. When you’re traveling and you don’t speak the language, and you don’t know anybody, your intuition is your best friend. It will keep you out of uncomfortable situations, away from shady characters and hopefully tip you off when someone is trying to rip you off. Trust it! 

When I took that first solo trip to Europe I took a detour to Morocco. When I dismbarked from the ferry I was approached by an 17-year-old kid who offered to tour me around the Tangiers. Despite my insistence that I didn’t need (or want) a guide, he followed me around for two hours while I waited for my bus out of town. I had this uncomfortable feeling and as I went to board the bus he pulled a knife, saying that I owed him money for the “tour.” Whaaaaaat?!! I wasn’t going to pay someone for creepily following me around for 2 hours! Thank goodness the bus driver was nearby! He instructed me to board the bus and he handled my “tour guide.” I’ve trusted that uncomfortable feeling ever since.

Follow your gut instincts

3. You Can Only Truly Count on Yourself.

Everyone is on their own path, and you cannot expect others to understand or follow yours. There are always reasons (excuses?) that stop people from taking that initial leap. If I had waited for others I would have missed out on so many experiences. I’ve learned that I can’t rely on others to fulfill my own dreams. All I can do is believe in myself to create the life that I envision and live it.

4. Fear Is Part of the Deal.

Traveling alone is scary! But my theory is that if you’re not scared you’re doing it wrong. If you’re not scared then you’re not playing a big enough game. It takes courage to step out of your comfort zone and go somewhere you’ve never been. It takes a brave person to be able to venture into the unknown, especially on your own. These are the opportunities where you will learn the most about yourself and grow. Don’t let your fears stop you from having an incredible life! Get out of your own way and FACE those fears. You will surprise yourself when you realize there was actually nothing to be afraid of, and you will feel a sense of pride for what you’ve accomplished.

Diving in Thailand

5. I’m Not Running Away!

I always let myself believe that travel was my way of running away from real life. I’ve come to realize that I was never running away from anything, but instead I’ve been running TOWARD a dream! I’m creating an incredible life with every step, every flight and every new place I explore, and new person I meet. I’m seeing the world and experiencing new things and photographing it all! I’m living a life that so many only dream of and I’m so grateful for the choices I’ve made to make it all possible.

6. Roll With It.

Travel always comes with frustrations and mishaps.  No trip or adventure is ever perfect. The unexpected happens and things will not always go as planned. There’s no point in getting upset when it happens though. Getting upset isn’t going to make it go away, it will only frustrate you and affect your experience and your memories of it.

I’ve had my share of travel mishaps including lost luggage in Russia, food poisoning in Indonesia, and floods delaying trains in Thailand. These things used to stress me out, but I’ve learned to roll with it. Getting upset isn’t going to get my luggage to me any faster, get the food poisoning through my system any quicker, or make the floods clear the tracks any sooner. I’ve learned to adjust my plans and make the best of unexpected situations over which I have no control. And, surprisingly, I’ve found that these adjusted plans tend to make for some amazing adventures and the best travel stories! 

7. You Will Get Lonely, but You’re Never Alone.

Traveling solo isn’t always sunshine and lollipops, and can be lonely at times. Sure, I’ve met some wonderful people along the way, but at the end of the day everyone goes their own way. It can get lonely when you have no one to share the experiences with, no one to have those “remember when” conversations with, and no one to share your meals or a cocktail with. But loneliness comes and goes. When this feeling hits, I remind myself that I’ve chosen to be where I am, to live a dream that inspires and excites me. How many people can honestly say that?

We have so many tools at our fingertips (eg. Skype, Facetime and Facebook) that staying connected while on the road is super easy. I travel with a laptop and an iPhone and most hostels and hotels have free wifi, so when loneliness hits I hit up the internet and the next thing I know I’m enjoying a glass of wine and a laugh with a friend.

Elephant Nature Park, Thailand

8. Follow Your Heart.

If you have a sudden inspiration to do something, DO IT! Don’t wait! Set the wheels in motion! Don’t allow yourself to come up with all sorts of reasons (excuses?) not to do it. I’ve had many regrets as a result of those internal conversations talking me out of doing something, usually leading to a lot of “what-ifs” and missed opportunities.

The way I look at it now is that if I’m in an amazing place with a chance to do something that I will likely not have again (like zip-lining through the Costa Rican rainforest, or diving the Blue Hole in Belize, or playing in the river with elephants in Thailand, or hiking a waterfall barefoot in Bali), then I’m going to do it! Who knows if I’ll ever be back in these places for a second chance? If I have the inspiration and opportunity to do something, I do it! It reduces regrets, leaves me with a lot less “what-ifs,” and a lot more wonderful memories and stories.

9. “What the mind can conceive and believe, it can conceive.” ~ Napoleon Hill

My recent trip to Russia proved this to me when I was successful in raising the funds for the trip through a Kickstarter campaign for the Olympic Spirit Project. I raised $7300 in 25 days! It took a lot of work , cold calling and self promotion, but it was all worth it because it got me to Russia for the 2014 Olympics! I have proven to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to. All it takes is the decision and commitment to do it and then put in the effort to make it happen. 

If you have a dream, chase it! You will come up with all sorts of reasons why it won’t work, but you need to focus on the reasons that it WILL work. If you can come up with the idea, and envision yourself making it real, then you can. It’s really that simple. Then you set the wheels in motion and the universe will deliver what you need.

It’s not going to be easy, but I promise you it will be worth it! 

20140317-153007.jpg

 

What lessons have you learned from your travels?

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: