2014 In A Nutshell…The Most Epic Year Of My Life (So Far)

Welcome to my new blog. I’ve amalgamated a couple blogs I started in the past (1 personal blog and 1 travel blog) to this space, in the hopes that I can find the time and inspiration to keep up with writing. A LOT has happened in my life over the past year. It started when Ryan and I decided to leave our apartment in Toronto, get rid of most of our useless belongings, quit my job, and buy a one way ticket to Costa Rica with no plan in mind. (See my first blog posts below to read our motivations and planning behind this big change).

We ended up traveling around Latin America for 4 months, visiting Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Colombia. While on this epic backpacking trip we decided that we wanted to explore more of North America… There’s nothing like planning a trip while on another trip! So after our final stop visiting some of my family in Colombia, we flew to Vancouver and prepared for our North American road trip leg of the journey. It took us one week (while staying with Ryan’s brother and his girlfriend) to buy everything we needed for the next couple months. This included a car, tent, camping equipment, and warm clothes. That week was very challenging for us because although everything was planned and budgeted for, we struggled with ‘consuming’ so much after having a totally minimalist mindset.

The open road.
The open road.

 

The trip was one we will never forget and still brings a smile to my face when I think of it. We started in Tofino, then moved down to the States; Washington, Oregon, California… California will forever be a magical place in my heart, it is filled with the most beautiful, breathtaking views. One day we would be driving on the coast, a 500ft drop to the stunning blue ocean and rock formations, the next we would be amongst the tallest trees in the world in the red wood forest. The next we’d be driving through Napa valley touring wineries and eating as many fish tacos as possible in one of the countless Mexican restaurants. I saw seals, dolphins, elephant seals and condors, Ryan surfed in the beautiful but so-called “sharky” waters.

 

This view is never-ending!
This view is never-ending!
The Redwoods in Northern California
The Redwoods in Northern California
Napa Valley
Napa Valley

 

We camped every night in a new place, staying for a few if we loved the place. I did yoga and journalled everyday, we had camp fires and cooked all our meals on our little cooking stove. When we drove we listened to audio books, pod casts, or talked about life and business. It was simple and free and magical.

 

Nothing like daily yoga in the forest.
Nothing like daily yoga in the forest.
We ate WELL when we camped.
We ate WELL when we camped.

Getting back on track here…we decided we were ready to head home at the very end of June, surprising our friends and family members one by one (Ryan’s favorite thing to do when returning from a long trip). It was good to be home and we were ready to put a lot of our plans into action.
Within 2 months of being home we:
-Looked at upwards of 30 houses and finally settled on one in Peterborough which we could rent out a portion of to University students (moved in August)
-Did minor renovations to the house (splitting it into 2 separated ‘units’)
-Found 4 students to rent rooms to (before Sept 1st)
-Planned our wedding and got married on Sept 13th.
-Rebranded Ryan’s Web Design business (Butter Web Design) and I started to work with him. Got our new website up and began acquiring new clients.

Those 2 months were an absolute crazy whirlwind, but months I will never forget and were critical in our development. We had our goals and we achieved many of them, moving us closer to our ideal dream life.

If I haven’t lost you yet and you are still reading, here are a few personal things I gained during our 2014 travels, which may seem small, but felt huge and life changing to me.
(I should start by saying prior to this trip I always worked full time, have been a pretty anxious person, who had difficulty ‘calming down’ or doing ‘nothing’. I felt like I was wasting time if I wasn’t busy all the time, and had to always have a plan.)

1. I stopped wearing a watch and being obsessed with the time. This small feat helped me learn to enjoy being the moment more than ever before.
2. I never set an alarm in the mornings, allowing me to listen to my body and what it needed. I acquired a whole new wonderful relationship with sleep.
3. I started eating bananas regularly (before the trip I was disgusted by them, but wanted to like them given their many benefits). I now love bananas!
4. I stopped wearing makeup (for the most part) and felt beautiful and confident without it!
5. I learned to listen to my body instead of my mind when it comes to exercise and especially yoga and started practicing regularly. I used to always set unachievable work-out goals and felt disappointed with myself if I didn’t achieve them.
6. I started wearing my contacts every day, which was a habit I couldn’t form before. My life was slightly blurry for years, but it was comfortable. This small addition to my life has helped me appreciate even more beautiful things.

Life truly is a continuous journey, learning and growing everyday. They are not all ups, I’ve struggled a lot through these changes but have kept pushing through knowing they will benefit me in the long run.

I’ll leave you with this:

“Its not the destination that you need to find, its the path, the journey” -Thich nach Han

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