Have You Considered Retiring Next Weekend?

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When I found out I was pregnant in September, I decided I would continue to travel until I didn’t feel up to it or my doctor wouldn’t allow it. For six months, I still took to the skies visiting 10 countries on four continents.

 Then it hit me.

During a trip to Peru in February, I started to feel more uncomfortable, tired, and the 7-hour flight felt like days. I knew I reached my limit for adventure travel and long treks. But I couldn’t fathom just sitting in my apartment waiting to give birth in May.

So, I decided to vacation like a retiree.

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My husband and I booked an easy weekend trip this past month to Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. While there are young families who live on the famous island, the majority of those living in the Haig Point community where we stayed were retirees. They spend their days biking or walking along the Spanish moss-covered streets, driving around in golf carts, watching the sunset over the beach, and enjoying the early bird special.

We decided to join them.

As someone who likes to pack as much as possible into a trip, often to the point of exhaustion, it was a bit weird to sleep in and take a nap in a day. But at nearly 28 weeks pregnant, it was just what I needed. While we did some activities like visiting the island’s museums and going for bike rides, we weren’t on any schedule. We could do as little or as much as we liked, just like someone enjoying their golden years.

I came home from that weekend feeling rested, less anxious, and even some aches in my body disappeared. I had been trying to pack in so much before the baby came, that I forgot how important it was just to slow down. My body needed it. My mind needed it.

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Although it’s not realistic to live like grandma or grandpa every day, following their slower-paced lead once in a while is rejuvenating. Whenever possible, we should ditch the schedule and plans, and just take life down a couple of notches.

Sleep in, take that nap, stroll through your neighborhood, stop to chat with a friend, and take in the sunset. These small acts once in a while are the perfect balance to the typical craziness of life we have to manage.

So, go on, retire for a little while because there’s no reason your golden years can’t start now.

Should You Take A Flu-Cation?

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If you were like me and the millions of other Americans this winter, you battled with the dreadful flu. My husband and I were both victims this month.

For days, it was a symphony of coughing, sneezing, and moaning. There was also a never-ending sheets battle as we could never quite synch who was in the chills portion of the fever and who was in the overheated portion.

Since we were feeling so miserable, we thought we’d surely have to cancel our staycation we had booked in the city that weekend. We discussed whether it made sense to leave the apartment and head downtown when we’d just lay around like logs. Well, we decided to stick with our original plan, and it was the best decision ever.

We took a flu-cation.

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The two of us had been stuck in the apartment for days. Dirty laundry was piled up. We hadn’t eaten a decent meal. And we didn’t feel like cleaning. A hotel is a cure for all those things.

When we walked into our room at the Thompson Gild Hall, we instantly felt more relaxed. We weren’t surrounded by our germs or mess, had clean non-fever-soaked sheets, access to room service, and a soaking tub to ease our body aches. We could even have our choice of watching TV on the couch or bed, so vegging out was a cinch. It was better medicine than the Tamiflu.

After a good meal and peaceful night’s sleep, we woke up feeling tremendously better and actually human again.

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In these 24-7, always-on times, it’s so common for us to try to push through an illness, show up to work, and not take care of ourselves when we need it the most. I admit I do the same. But this flu-cation was a reminder that instead, we should be pushing to take care of ourselves.

Of course, it’s not always an option to stay at a hotel when you’re feeling under the weather. But next time you’re feeling stressed at work or a cold coming on, ask yourself what’s that little extra something you can do for you, so you’re not running on fumes.

Self-care is some of the most important care you can give. So, go on, take a flu-cation, sleepcation, or whatever vacation you need to because otherwise, you won’t be able to properly nurse all of the other important things in your life.

A Lesson On FOMO From Antarctica

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Social media and the busy world around us has led to a FOMO epidemic where we spend so much time engaging in what others are doing. But my most recent trip to Antarctica reminded me that what we’re actually missing out on is the experiences right in front of us.

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First a little back story. Antarctica was an adventure I’d been planning for years. I’ve always wanted to see the penguins there and it was the last of the 7 continents on my list to visit. With so much build up, you’d imagine I’d fall right back into that do-everything-possible pattern I’ve come to adopt so well. I was ready for it. Give me all the expedition gear, tell me all the hikes available, and fill my days with activities.
 
Like most cruises, I expected there to be an endless supply of entertainment and a staff ready to entertain 24 hours a day. To my surprise (and delight), the message they kept delivering over and over was to get off internet, put down the books, and just take in the beauty of Antarctica.
 
If there was any FOMO to be had, it would be missing out on these incredible real-life images right outside the window. Yes, there were some lectures and a trivia night, but there was a lot of quiet time both on and off the boat. I would spend hours just sitting in the panorama lounge looking as icebergs and humpback whales passed me by.

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This idea of taking it all in was really made clear when my husband, Ross, and I decided to camp one night in Antarctica. The guides told us to bring nothing but winter clothing. They provided the tent and sleeping bag.
 
Once camp was set up by 9:30pm we were instructed to be quiet. Ross and I just sat there for a while listening to the crackling of the ice, feeling the crisp air, and watching as seals and penguins went about their business. 
 
We were there, completely present in the moment, and it was pure magic.
 
I was never bored even though there was nothing to entertain us. In fact, I didn't want to go to sleep for fear of missing out on a single wild sound in the distance. I was totally in the present and no Instagram moment could capture that pure bliss. Even better, I didn't fear I was missing anything exciting back home. 

While we can’t have this type of stillness all the time in our hectic lives, it is a good reminder that the moment and place you are in is where you're supposed to be. Don't worry about what you're missing or what you’ll really be missing out on is life.

17 Lessons I Learned In 2017

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As I sit here in Sälen, Sweden waiting to usher in yet another year, it’s easy to start to think about all the things I want to change and do in 2018. But how can we expect to move forward, without reflecting what we’ve learned in the past? What have you learned in the past year?

With that in mind, here are 17 things that I learned in 2017 that will help to pave the way for the year ahead.

17 Lessons I Learned In 2017:

1.     Listen to your body. Sometimes you need to take it slower.

2.     Respect your elders. Their wisdom is an insight you can’t get anywhere else.

3.     Step outside your comfort zone. That’s where the adventure begins.

4.     Don’t have too many expectations. This can limit you from seeing all the possibilities.

5.     Learn something new. You’re never too old to pick up a new skill or hobby.

6.     Take pictures, but don’t get stuck behind the phone. The moment is where memories are made.

7.     Moisturize. Just do it.

8.     Do nothing with the ones you love. We’re always rushing to our responsibilities, but make that time to just unwind with no schedule.

9.     Spend your money on good food and experiences.

10.  Don’t underestimate the power of little tokens of affection. It can not only make someone’s day, but strengthen a relationship.

11.  Embrace negativity. Without it, we can’t know all the positives in our lives.

12.  Don't miss out on adventure by focusing on the misadventure. It’s all about your mindset.

13.  We’re still, the ground moves. Know feeling centered and at home comes from within.

14.  Practice self-care. What makes you happiest? Less anxious? At peace?

15.  Be a tourist in your own city. Some of the best places to explore are just outside your door.

16.  Be grateful, not jealous. A wealthy man has all he desires and all he desires is what he already has.

17.  Listen more.

The Best Trip This Month Was One I Didn't Take

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November was certainly a busy travel month. I kicked it off with a trip to San Diego for the Breeder’s Cup (read more about that here) and, shortly after, headed off to Austin for a week. But, the best trip of the entire month was actually one I didn’t take.

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Yes, you read that right. My husband, Ross, won a last-minute contest with his favorite running brand that whisked him off to Paris for 48 hours. Meanwhile, I had to follow along on his adventure via social media and text message.

 While I certainly would have loved to be with him in one of my favorite cities in the world, I couldn’t help but find myself just as excited to hear about what he was doing. I wanted to know every detail about the surprises they had in store, the places he was seeing, people he was meeting etc. It was all the same energy I would have if I was there myself.  

I could have been angry or jealous, but I was so happy and excited for him to be having this cool experience.

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Often, I get messages or comments from people saying they “hate” me or are “jealous” of my travel schedule. But, at the end of the day, travel is just something I’ve made a priority in my life. I take advantage of the opportunities that come along with my career and spend any extra money on trips over clothes or a fancy meal. It’s just a choice I made.

How often do we do this to each other though? We scroll through social media and feel envious towards others, whether that’s where they are, the clothes they have, or the people they’re around. But, why? It’s as if we all have this notion that there’s only a limited amount of happiness to go around.

Good news though! Happiness and love are limitless. Just because someone else is having a really cool experience, doesn’t mean you can’t have one as well. What would happen if you were just happy for that person and then did something that made YOU happy?

I didn’t get to go with Ross on that trip, but hearing him talk about the unique things he got to do gave us some ideas for future adventures of our own.

As we head into the thick of this holiday season, you’ll most certainly be inundated with these picture-perfect images. But, instead of being jealous, be happy for those around you, grateful for what you have, and think about what joyful experiences you want in your life.

What Story Are You Writing For Yourself?

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How many times have you told yourself you can’t do something or don’t like something? That’s exactly how I felt about cycling. I couldn’t understand why my husband wanted to go on four-hour bike rides on the weekends and was convinced I just didn’t like biking.

Then I went to Italy.

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When I was trying to think of something to do for my husband’s birthday and our wedding anniversary (which are just a few days apart), I came across a new tour offered by VBT Tours. The weeklong trip was a bike tour of the Piedmont region and included a day of truffle hunting (one of my bucket list items). I figured the cycling would be for him, the truffles would be for me, and maybe I’d cruise around a little bit on a bike.

With so much traveling happening before this trip, I put the details of the itinerary aside until a day or two before we left. That’s when I realized I had signed us up for a tour that consisted of a minimum of 30 miles a day on a bike for 6 days. Uh oh, what did I just get myself into?

I arrived in Italy with some hesitation telling myself that I could just sit in the support van or stay at the hotel while Ross went out. Surely, I wouldn’t like all that biking.

The first day we got there, we got fitted for bikes and another realization came: uh oh, these are road bikes. I’ve never ridden on one! My husband encouraged me to give it shot and taught me some of the basics of braking and shifting gears. I shakily tried it and took a short spin around the vineyard where we were staying.

Fast forward six days later: I’ve crushed over 125 miles on the bike and tackled some steep hills along the way. And guess what? I love cycling!

 

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This experience reminded me that we often write stories for ourselves that aren’t true or are outdated. Yes, there will always be things in life we genuinely dislike no matter how hard we try (I’m looking at you hummus). But, many times, especially when it comes to experiences, we have predetermined perceptions about ourselves.

After my dad died, I was convinced I was an anxious person. I would approach every situation through the lens of “I’m overwhelmed” and “I’m so anxious.” That dictated how I experienced everything in life from work to family and relationships. Yes, I was an anxious person because I convinced myself of that. It was my story. Turns out, I’m not so anxious.

When I looked back at how I used to think and handle situations, I was very optimistic and laid back. Sure, I think about the future a lot and how I want it to go. But, that made me a driven person. This feeling of anxiety was situational because I was going through a traumatic event. It wasn’t who I truly was.

So, I changed my story and wrote a new chapter using character traits of who I wanted to be, not who I thought I was. This shift in thinking changed everything in my life for the better and is a continual process. Just look at the cycling trip!

Ask yourself, what story are you writing for yourself? Do you want to change that story? If, so then get that pen out and start a writing a new chapter.