A Year of Reflection

Spending your birthday by yourself is a chance to focus on your goals and appreciate how far you’ve come

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In 3 hours I’ll be 27 years old.

It’s so strange to think about where I thought I’d be by now. When I was a kid, I always imagined that I’d be married with 2 kids by the time I turned 25 years old. I suppose I had based this thought around the nuclear families I’d seen on TV, and the stories I’d heard of my grandparents marrying and having children of their own in their early 20’s.

The times however have changed. Now, it seems somewhat out of the ordinary to learn of anyone I know of or grew up with, as getting married and having babies of their own. In a sense, I still feel like so many people my age are still children themselves. Nonetheless, I feel as if for me 30 is just around the corner, and that there’s a push to start getting my life more in order…in terms of relationships, career, and responsibilities.

Looking back, I’ll consider the year I was 26 as a whirlwind adventure. I experienced what feels like a lifetime of ups and downs in a mere 365 days. I took my first solo trip and lived in Nicaragua for the summer, I became a certified Yoga instructor, I spent 3 weeks travelling through Europe, I made new friends, I spent more time with family, I left my job, I impulsively moved to Australia, I re-evaluated relationships , and most importantly I learned more about myself and how to love myself.

Although I’ll be spending my birthday this year 17,000km away from my friends and family, I look forward to turning 27 and to what this year has in store for me. I feel through this past year’s experiences, I’ve gained more wisdom and clarity to be able to truly decide on what I want in life.

Ageing is inevitable, so why not make the most of this short time we have on Earth? 

Perth Beach reflection

Preparing for Yoga Training in Nicaragua (PART II)

This post is part two of a three part series.

Continued from My Journey Towards Becoming a Certified Yoga Teacher – Part One

I have to admit, I was a bit sceptical at first about travelling all the way to Central America by myself. I had been to Nicaragua before with my boyfriend, and his family made frequent trips there several times a year, so I knew the country well enough. But this was my first solo trip anywhere and to add to my anxiety, my Spanish was no bueno.

I decided first to do some research on the yoga school in Nicaragua to make sure it was indeed a legitimate program, and to see what my accommodations would be like. Nicaragua is a third world country, and more often times than not, most people have difficulties even pointing it out on a map. Since the country gained independence in 1821, it’s seen many periods of political unrest — most recently in the 1970’s. That fact alone is usually enough to put a sour taste in one’s mouth and deter them from ever visiting the country, let alone living there.

MapOfNicaragua

But the Nicaragua I knew was full of peaceful, helpful, laid-back people who you’d never think of as violent at all. In fact, quite the opposite as locals would sometimes invite gringos and complete strangers into their family homes to share a meal with them. So clearly, I wasn’t concerned for my safety at all. I think if anything, I was worried I’d be lonely and homesick.

As it turns out, the shala where I’d be learning was inside of a bed and breakfast called Casa Aromansse located at the base of an inactive volcano called Laguna de Apoyo, which over thousands of years had naturally evolved into a volcanic lake. Coincidentally I had also visited this lake in my previous travels, and I knew from memory that its tranquillity would set the perfect tone for some rest and relaxation. The research I’d done on the B&B revealed a beautiful retreat with plenty of outstanding reviews and the teaching instructor, Serge, seemed to be loved by all of his students. I promptly contacted him and as my old journalist instincts kicked in, I realised I was interviewing Serge and asking every question I could think of.

After weeks of intense research, email correspondence with Serge, planning, and budgeting, I had enrolled in my first 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher Training and purchased my plane ticket. Nicaragua’s climate is hot yet dry, and our classes would be spent all day outdoors. August in Canada can see the hottest temperatures we’ll experience all summer, but I’d be arriving in Nicaragua during their wet season, invierno (winter). So although the temperature wouldn’t feel humid, I did run into the possibility of experiencing a tropical storm. This of course, meant I’d have to get creative and carefully plan out my outfits when packing for my trip.

yogaInThePark

Leading up to my departure, my free time was spent attending Moksha’s yoga in the park, and unrolling my mat in my backyard and on the beach so that I’d be more accustomed to practising outdoors.  Outside of the office, I lived in my yoga leggings and a breezy shirt so that I could move more freely, and most of my disposable income went towards purchasing more gear to bring with me for the 6 weeks I’d be away. 

The big day finally arrived for me to fly out, and I said goodbye to my friends, family and co-workers. Everyone was extremely supportive of me going out on my own and eager for me to come back with new accomplishments (solo travel & a certificate!), so off I went on my 8 hour-long journey to Laguna de Apoyo. 

…Little did I know, I was in for a rude awakening.

Click here for the final chapter of My Journey Towards Becoming a Yoga Teacher (PART lll)

Bitten by the Travel Bug

You can’t put a price on experiences

After I arrived back in Canada from my trip to Nicaraguawithin 24 hours of hopping off the plane I received a text message from a friend excitedly asking me if I’d accompany her to Europe. I tried to protest that after a summer-long hiatus from work, my bank account had seen better days, but she (among many others) reminded me that it would be a once in a lifetime experience, and what better time to travel than now — while I’m healthy and in good shape, and before I had started a family.

Besides, the new mantra I’d adapted while obtaining my yoga teacher training certificate was after all Om sri ram jai ram jai jai ram which my guru had loosely translated to “don’t forget, you’re going to die!” and I had interpreted as “live life to the fullest, and don’t have any regrets on your death bed.”

Many others reminded me that I can’t take my money to the grave with me, so why not experience all that you can when the opportunity arises? After much consideration and planning, we took the plunge and decided to book a 3 week trip to Britain, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Italy, Vatican City, France and Monaco, commencing in only 45 days.

EuropeFLIGHT

Surprisingly enough, I had no reservations about booking such an impulsive trip. I had never taken a girls trip and was really curious as to what our time together would be like, since I’d usually only ever travelled with family or my boyfriend. And although my friend did end up becoming homesick a few days into our travels and had to cut the adventures short by catching an early flight home, I didn’t resent her at all for leaving me alone in a foreign country. Although I’d just spent the summer to myself in Nicaragua, most of my time was spent studying and intensely training. Here in Europe, I was free to explore and have my own adventures (and now having the hotel rooms to myself was just an added bonus) !

And of course, had I not come to Europe, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet new friends who had travelled from Australia…which lead to the next chapter in my life of moving to the land down under.

travel