Daring to Celebrate ME!

Today is the first day of my birthday month! Yes, month! I know, I know it’s silly. However, yesterday I was looking for something to help me keep a positive attitude. Too often I let the little frustrations in life get to me. So instead, I’m taking all 31 days of my birthday month to do something for myself and celebrate ME!

Even the thought of doing this has plastered a smile on my face. I feel childish and giddy and I like it. It’s the perfect way to continue my journey of daring myself to take adventures leaps. My birthday month is my own dare.

I will celebrate all the different ways that make me me while daring myself to do crazy things just because. Yes, I can do this any old day, but a birthday month makes it extra special and fun. So I say why not?!

My friends on Facebook have given me a few ideas, but you are more than welcome to comment with your own ideas. And if you share August as your birthday month too, I won’t be upset at all if you steal this idea. Let’s all do it!

Day 1: I think I’m going to enjoy a nice face mask and hair wrap when I get home.

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Daring to Heal

“When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make.” – Brene Brown in Daring Greatly

A couple months ago I wrote about my vision board in a blog post called Welcome to Someday. This board shows all the amazing things I want to do in my life. I was going to wait and give an update on my vision board after at least completing one of the items on it. However, recently staring at my vision board as brought me to an important realization.

When I first created it with words of strength and healing and images of travel, in my head I was saying I need to get stronger first in order to accomplish the rest of the goals on the board.

For the past 10 years I have dwelt with a chiropractic issue. I continue to deal with all the emotions and pain associated with my injury. All of these years I have continued to think that if I do X it will hurt, so I simply CAN’T do X until I’m healed.

Then the universe steps in. I truly believe we all have certain conversations, and engage with the right people, to guide us in our life journey – the purpose of which comes to light when we are ready to see it. It’s all part of the journey: the whole motto of this blog.

In separate conversations, my doctor and my mom both reminded me it’s okay to still do things. My body NEEDS to still do things in order to get stronger and learn how to heal. In other words, when I fall while ice skating and wake up with a sore neck it doesn’t mean I should never go ice skating again. The more I go ice skating the more my body will get used to it.

At the time, I listened to their advice, but it was taking its time to sink in. See, instead, I kept dwelling on the first part – going ice skating and getting heard and feeling this pain all over again. I am SOO tired of this pain. I hate that I can’t do! What about surfing? Should I not be going surfing next month? If I feel like this after ice skating, maybe I should live in a bubble. My thoughts swirled.

I stared at my vision board. I can never do these things because I will never get past the “get strong” goal. That’s when their advice really sank in. I’m not supposed to heal first in order to do all of the things I want to do in my life. I need to play anyway. I need to “Take the Leap” as my board says while I’m healing. I sat there and thought about this for a second. If I do the things that make me happy, the things that will nourish my soul, even if I feel pain afterward it’ll be worth it. Surfing, for an example, has been a goal since watching the movie Point Break when I was a kid. Yes, it will probably make me sore. But at least I can say I did it. I’ll just have to take the steps to soothe the pain after, but it’ll be worth it. Play first, then schedule an adjustment / massage or whatever.

Now I’m going to be completely honest. While I am beginning to accept this realization, I held my previous way of thinking about my neck for 10 years. It’s going to take a few reminders to completely change my hesitations. But I’m working on it.

“When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make.” – Brene Brown in Daring Greatly

I read this passage in a book recently. It’s one I intend to stick to my bathroom wall for a daily reminder. Those of you who know me – hold me accountable to it. I may need your help to pull myself out of my own head from time to time until I really get it.

This is me daring to heal!

Loving the Journey

Recently, I was asked the meaning behind my blog title. The word journey means different things to different people. For me, it’s continuing story of my trip to Cape Town, South Africa.

This trip was the most life-changing experience for me, in every definition of the cliche.

A group of us traveled through home-stays understanding and appreciating the beautiful country of South. Our guide directors instilled a few theme lessons during the trip: one being “Trust the Journey.” We learned and were constantly reminded that every step of the trip was part of the journey. From the selection interview to participate in the trip, to the pre-homework, the 18 hours of flying to finally reach Cape Town, all the emotions and experiences of the 7 week trip, and even the departure. It was all part of the journey. Each emotional, frightening, exciting or aggravating step was part of the journey – accept it as such and keep going.

This lesson was ingrained in us during our scavenger hunt our first full day in a foreign city. Yeah, I wrote a post about that one, you can read it later (here).

We brought it up ourselves in laughs and irritations.

Finally after the most incredible 7 weeks, we began our departure. We fly from Cape Town to Johannesburg, and then had to catch a connecting flight to New York. It was a long 7 weeks. We were exhausted. But we still had another flight or two to actually get home. As we rushed to catch our connection, security slowed us down. The large bags and other items had to be scanned. Ugh!

But then we looked up, and laughed. On the wall at the Johannesburg airport was the sign “Love the Journey.” It was way too perfect. Yes, this airport crazy was part of the journey too!

For me, the journey wasn’t just the trip. It didn’t ended when I arrived home. My experience on this trip impacted me in more ways than I probably grasp now. I opened up a bit more as person. I understood more about myself and the world. And I gained a thirst for travel.

This blog connects all of those lessons I learned, and more. It’s my way of inspiring myself and hopefully to inspire you a bit.

Read my previous Trust the Journey post for a bit more about the trip.

Welcome to Someday

What does it take to truly start living the way you want? How do you start ticking off those life goals and travel destinations from your bucket list?

I admire those people who have that natural let’s go attitude. You see them bouncing around doing one crazy thing after the next. For me, I need a bit more self-talk. I think things over, consider all the “what ifs”, and then after letting it stew in my head for a while I’ll go do it. Or if I wait too long I just never do it. It’s okay I’ll do it “someday” – I tell myself.

But when does someday happen? How do we know when it’s here?

Honestly sometimes, I annoy myself. I can picture myself with a fun lifestyle. But what lock do I need to open to set myself free? What will it take to have the life I want? 

Recently I’ve begun to ponder these questions even more. I’ve sat in frustration over my monotonous day to day life. It was unfulfilling. Something was missing. I could picture my dreams, but I can’t quite get there. I’m at that sort of pause in my life where I’ve taken a step back to think about my goals. I may be in mid-twenties, but I still have to re-evaluate what I want to do when I grow up.

Meditation 

Photo Credit: Huffington Post

It was time for self-exploration, which for me meant journaling and meditation. I started Deepak Chopra’s 22-part meditation for “Getting UnStuck: Creating a Limitless Life.” Through it, I’ve allowed myself to face what was holding me back. We all have scars and phrases we’ve internalized throughout our lives. It’s easy to hide behind them. Believe me, I have. I’ve closed myself into a box, at times I even climbed into a smaller box inside that other box. Taking it a step further, I began to accept the past as past and let it go. Then the next step: opening yourself up to the creativity around you.

A few funny things happened during this process. Others around me opened up too further supporting my lessons for healing and acceptance.

Vision Board 

Then I read an article about creating a vision board. I had thought about it before, and it was finally time to do it. The article advised readers to grab all the magazines and a pair of scissors, and then just cut out any images or words that speak out to you. Cut out those pretty things that make you smile, or words that motivate you to make things happen. Clear your mind of inhibitions and just cut. So I did just that.

After I scoured through every magazine I had, I spread out my clippings on a poster board. It was quite impressive.

I had clipped out images and words of strength. Those words are my personal promise to dedicate time for my 
physical therapy. I have an injury that at times has gotten in the way of me moving forward. I can heal, but this too has been a “one of these days” or “someday” thing. The time is now to focus on it.  This way my  “someday” can carry me into greater adventures, like traveling.

In my quiet concentration, I had also clipped out the Northern Lights in Alaska, a night city view of Rio de Janiero, a rainbow in a rain forest in Costa Rica, and the ocean by Hawaii.

I added words to appreciate my inner beauty. There’s love and family. There’s nature and the wild.

For me, this vision board isn’t a timeline. It’s not even just goals. It the beautiful thoughts and ideas I want in my life. It’s a way to call out to the universe. The things is these have always been my goals and dreams. I’ve always known them. But bringing them to life is empowering. It’s me accepting that this is what I want … and more importantly says YES to it.

Women on Adventures 

Incredible things happen when you open yourself up. During this process of meditating, and creating a vision board I also got to know a friend. She started a pretty cool group called Women on Adventures. It’s a network that encourages women to “Get Out, Get Connected.” How perfect! I’ll definitely be sharing fun adventures from my trip with this group!

 

Welcome to Someday

This brings me back to the title of this post. I’m ready for that “someday” I was always waiting for. Today is someday. It’s time for some crazy adventures. Maybe like surfing with Women on Adventures in San Diego ….

“Unsafe” perceptions and real statistics

Travel to foreign lands really freaks some people out. People  look at news stories, which will always be skewed by the negative. They watch television shows, which purposefully give more attention to the drama.

But reality is, you are safer than you probably think you are in those unknown foreign lands.

Last month, I said “Go anyway” despite the fears and anxieties of travel.

A few days ago, I saw this article on Matador Network.  It displays research by a travel company called Stratojets. They surveyed thousands of people and investigating different city’s and country’s crime rates.

 

It wouldn’t be a surprise to you I’m sure to hear that many people perceive Tijuana, Mexico to be very dangerous. However, according to Stratojets, New Orleans, Louisiana has a higher murder rate than Tijuana. New Orleans also has a higher murder rate than Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Please excuse the lack of accent marks, I can’t seem to add it).

But then there’s also the flip side, like the places we perceive to be safe but actually aren’t. For example, Kingston, Jamaica had a perceived danger threat lower than Johannesburg, South Africa, but in reality Kingston has a higher murder rate.

See the full study with info graphics here. 

What does all of this mean to me? 

It’s simple. We can’t judge places, communities, and people based solely on our preconceived notions. If are truly worried, do research. Crime statistics are easy to find. Don’t let what you heard through the grapevine or the flood of drama TV be the reason you don’t go.

*All images were originally published at Matador Network and created by Stratojets. 

Travel Scares: I say ‘Go Anyway’

I hear it all the time. ‘It’s dangerous over there.’ ‘Don’t go by yourself.’ ‘You don’t want to go to that area right now.’ ‘You’ll get robbed.’

Yes, we live in a dangerous world. There are psychotic people. There are gangs. There are terrorists. But these exist EVERYWHERE you go. That’s the one thing people seem to forget.

After the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015, even I said maybe traveling is not the best thing to do while ISIS is still active. But there will always be a terrorist threat somewhere in the world.

During the last Olympics in  Rio de Janiero, I kept commenting on how much I would love to go to Rio. It’s one at the top my list. People looked at me like I was crazy. It’s too dangerous they would say. Or there’s Zika. Well yes, but again there will always be viruses in the world.

A few weeks ago, my co-worker and I discussed her upcoming trip to India. People cautioned her about getting robbed. Grab a purse that crosses over you so it’s harder for people to take it, they advised her. People told me the same on my way into the townships of Cape Town, South Africa. I was informed countless times to be prepared to come back without a coat, purse or shoes.

Here’s my thing. Yes, it is a good idea to be cautious and aware of your surrounding. But do realize one very important thing: these safety precautions are safety precautions EVERYWHERE.

You may be traveling to a country foreign to you, but the more you travel the more you realize how the same we all are. At least I realize this more and more. People, in any country – in every country, are the same. There is a world of wonderful loving kind people out there. There are thousands of curious children who like to stare at the foreign travelers and get to know them.

And yes, there are those who seek to harm. I am not ignorantly ignoring that. I’m not saying we should be naïve.

I am saying however, we should travel anyway. We shouldn’t let fear take that experience away from us. The more we travel, the more we allow ourselves to connect to the world around us – to connect to each other.

So travel my friends. Dare to explore. Dare to learn. And dare to connect with humanity.