Tag Archives: overcoming obstacles

choice signs

The Life I Chose: Thoughts On Manifesting Destiny

I should feel guilty about being a loser and staying inside on a sunny day like today, but I don’t.

I should want to go out and soak in this amazing world, feel gratitude for living here right now, but I don’t.

Instead, I’m 100% tired, dreading my Monday, and knowing that I’ve got to Make It All Happen for another five days. It’s the same feeling I’ve had just about every Sunday night since January, 2013.

Fact is, I’m two years and four months into “working overtime.” When I started this whole journey of Working More, it wasn’t with a dream of seeing the world. Hell, I didn’t even know if I could get enough scratch together to live abroad for a year. All I knew was, I needed to claw out of my unending financial desperation so I could finally do things others took for granted, like maybe get some takeout dinner and buy a $15 wine instead of $9.

But back then, I thought I’d be working so hard so long to get what I want that I’d have to move abroad just so I could pay down my debt. Somehow, I kept finding new gears. I kept working more, finding different clients, trying out different writing jobs.

I valued myself more, I charged more, I earned more, I paid down more.

When the first two weren’t getting me anywhere, I finally doubled down on the third.

Faking It Like a Pro

Somewhere along the way, I started thinking more about Anywhere But Here. What would living abroad mean? How could I do it? What model of nomadic life might be the right fit for me?

Next, I became a classic case of Fake It Till You Make It. In fact, I’ve developed a superhero power for my ability to, no matter what the conversation is about, mention in the first three minutes that I’m on the verge of “selling everything and travelling the world for five years.”

One could easily assume I’m just being a braggart and a jerk, but in reality, I’m still so much in disbelief that THIS is what I’m doing that I’m telling everyone in an attempt to make it more real for me. Sometimes it even works and I believe I’m that girl. I try to tell someone new every day or two.

It’s weird that I can undertake such a massive life-change while being completely unable to tell you when I actually decided to DO IT. The idea just kept evolving.

The more I learned about long-term travel, the more empowered I felt that I, too, could be a nomad. The more I learned about the stuff I owned and the unavoidable emotional pull it all has, the more I started to think minimalism and Owning Nothing might be the best crash-course of psychic healing I could ever get. The more I learned, the less I felt like it was a life for Other People.

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Eventually, I decided I was brave enough to say I, Too, Will Travel Like Them. Eventually I thought I was exactly that kind of person, even though I spent my life thinking I wasn’t. So I told other people this was my audacious plan.

Then a funny thing occurred when I started to think about what it would take to do what I’d need to travel: I just started to make it happen.

It’s like I wrote for my friends on Facebook this past week:

“It’s real weird when you say, “Self, this is what I need. Now go get it,” and then, like, you DO. You go get it!

Sometimes life is all about making choices. Nobody said what comes after those choices is EASY.

The choice is the easiest part.

But you just gotta choose to pay that price. Then, poof. Sometimes magic happens.”

Every time I’ve gotten more specific about what I need to make happen in order to Leave On A Jet Plane, I’ve gotten exactly what I outlined. Is it just a matter of knowing what’s needed then pursuing it? It is some mystical law-of-attraction aka “The Secret” thing?

Meh, I don’t care, I don’t need to know. It’s kind of like writing. I don’t need to understand what different clauses and phrases are called — all I need to know is how to get it done.

And hey, I’m getting it done.

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All The Drops Count

With 13 weeks left in Canada, it’s amazing how everything is coming together in the final weeks. Financially, organizationally — it’s all coming together better than I could’ve hoped. So much so that the prospect of leaving the country 100% debt-free is a growing likelihood rather than the faint hope I pegged it as just three months ago.

Leaving debt-free was never part of the dream. It wasn’t. I’d have scoffed if anyone suggested it could be done.

That was then. Now, I’m a believer.

And here’s the thing: If I hadn’t been antisocial and a workaholic, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in. I wouldn’t be leaving in October. I’d have more debt. I’d be less tired, but also unhappier, more worried.

Somehow, all the times I’ve worked longer and gotten takeout instead, every time I’ve turned down plans and rested after a six-day week, each time I spurned the great outdoors in favour of recharging mentally so I can write more — it all conspired to get me right here, right now.

I cannot tell you how important every single drop of water in that bucket is. I kid you not when I say it looks like it will literally come down to the week I leave that I pay my debts off in full.

It will be one of those written-by-the-cosmos storybook endings to about 12 years of struggle — but the last five years had me clawing my way out.  It will all culminate with me handing in my housekeys on my 42nd birthday, and within a week, likely becoming debt-free as I leave to travel the world for five years. I couldn’t have written it better.

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For many, this is true. But I have had depression and I know that is not a “choice.”

Mastering Fate

It’s like the poem “Invictus” says: I am the captain of my fate, I am the master of my soul.

There are days when I think I will regret not being Little Miss Outdoorsy more while I’ve been in Victoria, but then I realize that this place has been exactly what I needed it to be: The place where I fell in love with writing again, rediscovered photography, learned how to deal with my back, and where I finally fixed my finances.

Those were the goals I set for moving to Victoria, and I gave myself five years to accomplish them.

I will be leaving 3 years, 6 months, and 29 days after that clock started ticking, and with a “100% done” stamp on those four goals.

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All I Did Was Choose, Then Keep Choosing

It’s nothing amazing, what I’ve accomplished or set out to do. All I did was make a choice and never stopped being aware that everything I was doing — all the extra work, all the long hours, all the tired days, all the weekends I opted out of — was a choice. It wasn’t punishment or suffering, it was opportunity to take what I wanted. I wasn’t allowed to whine about overwork, because A.) I made a choice and B.) the universe gave me the opportunities I needed in order to make that choice real.

Making a choice is the easiest thing you’ll ever do. The trick is never letting yourself forget that you CHOSE it, and always being willing to pay for it.

Don’t like your life? No one says it’ll be easy to change it. Other people might have it easier than you — God knows folks had it easier than me (and still more have it harder) — but either that holds you back or gets you angry so you move past it.

It’s all still just a choice.

Like me, staying inside today, sleeping until 10, cleaning my apartment, and just being still. You pick your battles and you go where the struggle takes you. That’s what choices are all about.


I’m travelling the world for five years, starting on October 5th. Follow along with my travel blog, The Full Nomad, as those plans come to life.

Darth Vader’s Right: Anger’s Good For You

I had that “lightbulb” moment a couple of weeks ago that has served as a real catalyst for a change in thinking and being.

A moment of my own stupidity just reminded me how many things happen to us due to a lack of care or attention in life. Big, small, whatever. Often, that lack of attention tends to not be neglect or ignorance, but just that we’re so damned thinly stretched.

I don’t really want to share my “moment” with you, except that it was my getting mad. Really mad. At myself, at the cosmos, at the passing of time.

Whom/what I was pissed off is irrelevant, beyond the simple “thinly stretched” mode of living. Some of it financial, most of it physical related to my complicated 8-month Yo-Yo of back injury struggles, and a lot of it due to the vacuum of time that is modern life.

Much of the sustaining of my back injury came from the reality of my love for cycling keeping me injured, but not in an immediate cycle-and-hurt way, rather in a cumulative way that wouldn’t become obvious for a few weeks. So, every time I was improving, I would suddenly have a dramatic backslide with extensive flare-ups.

We figured that out in August, then I ignored that until the end of September. Then I paid the price.

Now, though, I know. I know why, how, and when it all happened. I get it.

More importantly, at the end of that whole stupid, definitive journey, I got pissed. I had my Peter Finch Moment, from the movie Network, of wanting to open the windows and bellow I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE at the skies, at the world below, raging into the wind.

MAD AS HELL! NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE! RAWR! RAWR! RAWR!

That was two weeks ago, when I was still having my ass kicked by a flu. On the 1st of November, I slipped into a new gear. I’ve worked out 7 of the last 9 days, began a new physiotherapy routine, have started to rethink food (though haven’t excelled there yet), and put a new focus on resting and sleeping, so my body can bounce back from the workouts and physical grind I’m throwing at it.

At least now I’m not literally an active part of the problem via bicycling and exacerbating that which I’m trying to heal. At least now I seem to be getting things right and having more good days than bad.

I suspect a few weeks will make a world of difference. I think I’ve found the magic bullet physio that will undo the punishment I dish to my body, IMS, and I know the roles sleep, nutrition, and exercise play.

But it means I won’t see people, I won’t have money to spend, and I won’t have a whole lot of fun… for a little while. The thing is, I’ve been here before. I’ve been this MAD AS HELL. I’ve been this focused. I’ve demanded this of myself in the past — 6 to 10 hours working out a week — and I succeeded like few people do, and for the better part of a year.

Somewhere along the line, I stopped doing things that had made me successful in 2008-2009. The year 2010 was my undoing and I’ve spent much of 2011 paying for it.

I’m not mad at myself for that. It is what it is. Somewhere in this stupid era of back troubles are life lessons I couldn’t buy. My anger is slowly turning from something I’ve been exacting on others into something that I’m using as a catalyst for changing myself, fuel for the fire, as it were.

Anger isn’t a bad thing. It’s what you let it do to/for you that matters. I have a hard time of harnessing it. I’m a pretty passionate person and there have been a lot of times of late my anger has gotten the better of me and turned into a self-pity-sorrow show, when frustration rules me, and much of the last year has had pockets of my Being That.

I had a hard time processing, for a really long time, that I could be the person who was pushing 300 pounds, lost 25% of her body weight, and became UNHEALTHIER, despite doing it all through better eating and exercise. Something about realizing that sort of crushed me. Still does, sometimes.

We get so caught up in the moment sometimes and forget life’s a long, long road, and this time of struggle might wind up representing less than 5% of our entire life, but TODAY it feels like it’s forever. When they talk about “big picture,” that’s what they mean.

If I live to 70, finally get past the worst of this back injury in the next couple months and never revisit Herniated Disc Land again, then these past three years of up-and-down injuries will represent a grand total of 4.2% of my life.

That’s a different perspective, isn’t it? That’s not even a nickel compared to a dollar, you know what I’m saying?

I think the hardest part of injuries, weight loss, all of that, is the mental game. I willingly admit that I was losing that game for the better part of a year. My unemployment last year showed me pretty much every wrong direction I was headed in. It honestly wasn’t until I was working again that I realized what I should’ve been doing when unemployed.

And that’s life for you. We figure out what we should’ve said, should’ve done, long after the ideal moment passes. Rearviewmirror Syndrome. We’ve all been there.

Have I figured everything out? Fuck, no. Am I close to the finish line? Fuck, no. Am I sure I’ve got the solution this time? Fuck, no.

But this time I have my anger to keep me warm and running. In a good way.

Feel the Dark Side, Luke. Then kick its fucking ass.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I started the Bonus Resolution plan for FREE and I get a whole extra month of kicking ass and taking names! My 2010 started on December 1st!

It’s the Olympic year in Vancouver, you know. “Citius. Altius. Fortius.” Faster. Higher. Stronger.

Considering a couple years ago I weighed 65 pounds more, couldn’t run a block, do a single push-up, and was 8 sizes larger, being faster, getting higher, and becoming stronger than I already am will be a challenge. And I’m so up for it!

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Oh, Those Sticky Mindfucks

There’s an oppressive pall out there today. Low, bland clouds, void of distinction, interest, or drama. Ominous for us Vancouverites who are seasonally affected, as daylight hours have already quickly ebbed away by four hours in just the last two months. There’s another 6 or so to lose, and countless certain dreary days that loom.

Winter and I aren’t on the best of terms. It’s safe to say I loathe it. When I’m older and in the money, I’ll certainly be a in-Mexico-from-January-to-March type. I dread the depressive grey. My hydro bill for December and January could be a teaser for any marathon horror movie session. HOW MUCH? EEK! Fuck Climate Change; if it lights up, I’m plugging it in.

As if it’s not a moody enough day, I might add that I’m not entirely thrilled that I started therapy yesterday, by the way. Oh, that. Continue reading