Travel…a shift in the everyday existence

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A friend of mine used to tell me that I loved travel because I didn’t like reality. She swore that was the reason I loved laying on a beach in Cancun or seeing the sights of Europe. Perhaps part of that is true, but most of life was pretty great. If you’re healthy and have the ability of choice – what’s the problem, right? I had another friend who told me that if I loved ‘summer Stacey’, wouldn’t I want to try to embrace that person all year ’round? I imagine, in a sense, they were both right. Travel and summer, for me, have always provided a lifestyle involving freedom, possibilities, smiles and endless optimism. They’re the chocolate ice cream for toddlers and the glitter for crafters rolled into one.

Travel has been my vice for decades, now and I always figured there are far worse vices to have than this one. This one not only explodes my comfort zone, introduces me to all things new, challenges and excites, pokes at fear, provides changing perspective, develops growth, opens up millions of possibilities and reminds those involved that kindness is the global language. I’ve been a witness to travel’s changes and have felt them within. When I was new to travel, I always played it safe. Once I got my feet wet, I let in a little more risk, but only that which felt navigable to me. With experiences accrued, the risk ratio skyrocketed. Travel changed my outlook on the world, brought me to my husband, showed me life in places I never thought I’d go and eventually, flipped my goals on their collaborative heads. The person typing this today is not the same as the young girl who grew up in a little town on Long Island. I’ve seen a bit of the world and I want more.

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Since I have no giant trust fund and against all reports, no money tree either, somehow I hoped there was a way to incorporate the lessons of travel into life lived always. There are times between adventures, that you’re in one place for awhile. Choosing a place that will light you up from the inside makes a huge difference during those lapses in flight plans. Spending summers in Long Beach, New York helped. Flinging ourselves into life in San Diego has helped. And recently, we remembered even more why channeling that travel mindset on any given Tuesday is always a good option.

We’ve always tried to work travel into the everyday. Whether it’s changing one’s attitude on a rainy day, heading out to explore a known ‘touristy’ spot, or going where the locals go – the things we love about travel can be found almost anywhere. In the past few weeks, we’ve been to two new supermarkets. The first is an Asian grocer that upon walking in beams us back to parts of Bangkok and Hong Kong reminding us again of some of the many reasons we love those places in the world. Some of our favourite travel finds are here, new foods to try and walking each aisle transports us immediately into a market on the other side of the world. The second is a Mexican supermarket. It took us almost two years before we learned of this store and I’m certain it will take us less than two months to return. Some foods we know and love are there and others we’ve yet to encounter but were instantly enticed. In both experiences, the language spoken by many of the shoppers was different to our own and any questions we had were asked through a combination of English and (Spanish in the Mexican market) or pointing to pictures. As travel often does, we were placed outside of our comfort zone and forced to embrace diversity even when doing the simplest thing such as shopping for salsas or soy sauce. Smiles adorned our faces as we turned down each aisle waiting to see what was to come next. Two supermarkets, less than twenty minutes from our apartment in downtown San Diego reminded us once again of only some of the gifts of travel.

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And more recently, we had some friends visit from overseas. In New York, we would have said we’re ‘playing tourist’ when we had visitors, but in San Diego, we’re living our lives. Yes, of course, some of the places to which we brought our guests are not those we frequent on a daily basis, but they’re all nearby and on our regular hit list. Of course, with each visitor to the place you call home, you begin to see things through the eyes of your guests. This time, we remembered exactly why we chose this city, why we’ve stayed for 22 months instead of the 3 we first thought we might and why, if you have the opportunity to give it a whirl, choosing a quality of life from which you benefit daily can make such a difference in your moment to moment outlook.

I don’t think the friends who told me I disliked reality were right, but I don’t think they were entirely wrong either. If you have the power to change your reality, shift your existence or channel that which makes you happy to become a more regular occurrence, do it. For me, the difference has been truly perspective changing. Happy travels.

Journey, change…forward

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Do you know if you’re on a path? Have you felt stuck, in search of a new goal, or have you realized that there’s something else you can do or learn in this world? I’m not sure how much stock I ever put in all of this stuff. For years, it wasn’t for me. I didn’t need a path, journey or any of those what I once thought were ‘life coach moments’, I was living, enjoying, being – that was enough. I can’t tell you if there was a specific ‘aha’ moment or that I read this thing on @Pinterest or saw it on @Oprah® that seemed to click, but somehow, this mindset has entered my existence and it seems it’s here to stay.

“No matter how hard the past…you can always begin again” – Buddha Read the rest of this entry

Adventures in sand

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In the mind of a former New York teacher, Labour Day weekend means only one thing…back to school. Since this September baby is also born around the same time and lived in Long Beach where that Monday is the unofficial close of the summer season – it already means something else. And then, this same girl moved west and now, Labor Day weekend also signifies the USA Sand Sculpting Competition held annually in San Diego, California. This year, I not only got to attend, but spent the first day of the event volunteering and learning some of what goes on to make those incredible pieces of three dimensional artwork come alive. Read the rest of this entry

Giving Back

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Like everyone else old enough to remember, I know exactly where I was on the 11th of September 2001. I was sitting on hall duty in Farmingdale High School, New York when the first of a few letters was delivered. Like everyone else who tried to get through, I found the mobile phone lines weren’t working. Kids were pulled out of class, teachers rode the busses with elementary school kids and we all sat in silence for hours glued to the television. Later, I found out that my sister, who traveled on the subway through the Twin Towers station every morning had made it through and a co-worker of hers provided shelter on Staten Island for the next few days. My Dad was in Europe at the time and eventually, through the kindness of strangers, coworkers and embassies made it home from Belgium a few days later. In the years since, at school, we had no morning announcements aside from a moving tribute coupled with a talented singer serenading the school with the chorus of Sarah McLachlan’s, I Will Remember You. Read the rest of this entry

The aftermath of adventure…returning home

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Travel. A gift, choice, calling, vice – whatever you call it….when one travel journey comes to an end…it affects you. Our most recent long travel adventure took us across two continents, three countries, seeing friends and two sets of family, planes, trains, trucks and automobiles, a cross country road trip and over two months of travel. Then it ended. Don’t get me wrong…being ‘stuck’ in sunny San Diego, is no place anyone would ever use the term ‘stuck’ – nevertheless, a journey that took months to plan and weeks to execute, was over. Read the rest of this entry

Growing through change

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Have you ever had one of those experiences where you’ve been fully changed? Something experienced, transpired, or happened and on the inside, you no longer feel like the same person, yet on the outside, to the world at large, you’re still you? It feels so obvious to you yet this new you is foreign to those around you. It seems you now react differently, respond differently, make different choices and have different insights to the same old questions or actions of those you’re around. To you, these changes seem positive – almost as if you can’t imagine going back to the way things were – but to others in your life who can not understand what’s happened, they’re frustrated. What happens now? Read the rest of this entry

Learn Things

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Mat and I don’t watch a lot of shows – we don’t even have a television. Of the few we try to catch, one that often brings a smile is NCIS New Orleans®. Scott Bakula’s lead character sends his agents out into the city to, as he says,  ‘learn things’. We seem to have adapted this idea to our life, and no matter the situation, that has become a goal. Perhaps all of our travel together has had that as a backstory, but it is quite apparent these days in life in San Diego. It’s been a year and a half in a new city, with new career goals, new people, and new adventures and ‘learn things’ has become a constant. Read the rest of this entry

Remembering Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s Candy Man

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“We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams” – Willy Wonka

Charlie Bucket, Violet Beauregarde, Augustus Gloop, Mike Teevee, Veruca Salt and Willy Wonka are a part of my childhood. When their names appear, story lines get quoted or a mysterious meme crosses my social media feed featuring any one of them, I smile. This week the world lost a giant, but nothing can stop the flood of memories. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory® wasn’t just a movie – it’s colourful depictions, quirky Candy Man and land of imagination taught us more about life than it did about chocolate. What did Willy Wonka teach you? Read the rest of this entry

Mindfulness on the road

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Recently I’ve found myself in the library in the mindfulness section. Call it the yoga addiction or the easy access to meditation and mindfulness gurus, but the mindfulness connection has taken off with me. What about you?

“The goal of meditation isn’t to control your thought; it’s to stop letting them control you.” -Unknown

I can’t even tell you when the first time was that I heard the word, mindful. I imagine it’s been floated around for years, and perhaps, like so many other things, it begins to penetrate when you need it most. And as with everything in life – things change. When I began my yoga journey seven years ago, I was looking for something to feel good, not hurt my back and an exercise that my little asthmatic lungs could handle. I didn’t much enjoy the meditation portion or the yogic philosophy or listening to anyone talk about chakras, healing ways, aromatherapy or any sort of sutras. Today, I crave it. I miss my Wednesday yoga therapy classes with Kellie and Friday meditations with Sarah at the old studio. But, as with everything in life, I’m in search of something new – something more. Read the rest of this entry

If those yearbooks could talk…

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Remember them? Remember the agony of choosing the appropriate quote to go under your senior photo in that high school yearbook? I recall hours of searching movie lines, lyrics and quotes to find one that I thought worked best. And then there was that question that would accompany your photo…’where do you see yourself in ten years’? Seriously? How on earth could I know that answer at seventeen years old and would there be any possibility it would be true in a decade? I certainly couldn’t foresee a teaching career and full on career change, a love of travel, life on two coasts, freelancing or a spouse from the other side of the world. Read the rest of this entry