Lessons in Travels

Lessons in Travels

I am leaving for Asia in two days for a month of of foraying in Hong Kong, Langkawi, Changmai, Koh Phangan, Bangkok and Seoul so I thought it was time to reminisce about my last trip that I’ve had no time to write about since cycling has apologetically ruined my life. The excitement hasn’t commenced yet, as was the same for my last adventure in Europe in May— it didn’t even hit me until my second day in London (I was too busy shopping the first day— typical me). I swear I’m not boring. I like to think I live in the moment so I’m enjoying every moment of my life right now!

I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing whe

Here are some lessons I learned from my last solo trip around Europe:

  • Pack clothes you will actually want to wear and you’ll feel good in. Maxi dresses, boots, pretty cardigans, dresses… when you [think you] look good, you feel good.
  • Don’t over-pack. If you are a shopaholic, you will definitely be shopping even though you promised yourself you would NOT shop. You’re on vacation… do whatever you want and shop as much as you want. I’m a terrible influence. Sorry, not sorry.+
  • It’s worth it pay a little more for a proper meal and a glass of wine. Food is life and the best way to experience cultures.
  • Walk everywhere. In Europe where so many cities are walkable and it’s really the best way to explore. When I was in Paris, I only took the subway once but walked everywhere else and accidentally stumbled onto all the must-see sights. Painful and sore feet aside, I wouldn’t have done it any other way… plus I had to find some way to walk off the endless pastries I shamelessly devoured.
  • Run aimlessly. Put on your running shoes and headphones and run wild around the city with no directions. Don’t worry about getting lost if the city has good public transportation and you have your phone’s GPS turned on. The only negative part about this is smelling like a wet towel while running through throngs of tourists… but they will never see you again.
  • Look for gyms with free trials to get your workout on. Seriously, best idea ever.
  • European trains are LOVE. Avoid flying when you can because travelling via rail is so relaxing. Plus a first class upgrade isn’t that much more if you want some peace and quiet and more leg room while recovering from all those all-nighter you pulled in Barcelona.
  • Wasting time in the airports suck but arriving there early is a great way to reduce stress. I’ll go there hours before a flight, have a great meal and read a good book before boarding the plane …last so I never have to stand up and wait in line.
  • Check in bags whenever you can. Having less to lug around with you = less stress. Plus not having to worry about boarding early so you can find an overhead compartment for your carry-on… and waiting at baggage claim for luggage isn’t bad. Use that time to research something about the city you are in. If you have been travelling for a long time, it actually feels great to slow down.
  • Splurge on cabs if you can afford it. It’s worth the money when it reduces stress and saves time (can you tell I’m a huge fan of stress-relief strategies?). By the last half of my trip, I cabbed to and from my hotels to the airports. Plus my suitcase got bigger and bigger and I was too lazy to lug that thing around. Don’t worry, I made up for that laziness by always walking around the city versus public transit (unless it was super far and I was super intoxicated).
  • Meet your fiber in-take! Unhappy bowels mean an unhappy traveler. It’ so hard to get enough fiber on vacation so my hotel fridges were stocked with pre-washed/cut fruits and veggies. I was constantly craving for spinach and arugula!
  • I will never be a true “backpacker.” Backpacks may seem convenient but it is definitely not glorious… with the sun beating down on you and a sweaty back. Gross. I had no problems with rolling luggage and wouldn’t have it any other way. There, I’m prissy.
  • Travel essentials: packing cubes, multi-adaptor and a small umbrella. The umbrella!! I bought it very last-minute before I departed Vancouver and it became the most useful thing on my trip. The rain loves me but good thing I’m not one of those people who gets all depressed when the skies turn grey.
  • Google Maps!! No WIFI needed as long as you load the map of the city you are in. Turn on your GPS when you need to pinpoint your location.
  • Coffee shops. Expresso and free WIFI. Enough said.
  • Portable cellphone battery & good music. Wouldn’t be able to survive the trip without them… I wouldn’t even be able to survive at home either!
  • There is no such thing as a ‘must-see.’ Everyone has their own hobbies and find different things interesting. Ditch the travelers’ guilt and only spend time seeing things you truly want to see, not because Trip Advisor told you to.
  • Travel slowly. Don’t try to see everything at once because YOU’RE ON VACATION. People tend to forget that and try to cram everything in, thus making their trip more stressful.
  • At the same time, don’t waste your time sleeping. You can sleep at home. Coffee, people!! Life is short.
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    Feel Alive: Reasons to Cycle

    Feel Alive: Reasons to Cycle

    Cycling makes me feel so alive. Why?

    The positive addiction.

    An addiction with benefits. It’s a free gym on wheels. The satisfaction of a great workout. The feeling you get when conquering a mountain. The low impact on your body. The feeling of effortlessly getting fit. Being able to satisfy your vanity. Sculpted calves. Rock hard quads. Amazing legs. Being effortlessly lean. A healthy heart. The natural high.

    There is no such thing as a bad ride.

    Pre-ride coffee. Mid-ride coffee. Mid-ride lunch breaks. Post-ride pig-outs.The ability to eat whatever you want. The social aspect. The wonderfully positive people you will meet from all walks of life. The connection with people who share the same passion.

    Versatility.

    The fact that it’s considerably cheaper than a car and with many more benefits. Lowering your carbon footprint. Zipping joyfully by traffic jams. Riding to work and feeling on top of the world when you arrive. Extra energy. Better health. Better sleep. Better mind, body and soul. The undeniable fun.

    The sense of freedom.

    The wind in your hair. The feeling of being closely connected to your surroundings. The feeling of awe and inspiration when you ride past beautiful landscapes. The knowledge of being able to experience something this marvelous is so much better on a bicycle than in a car. Flying down the road on a 100% human-powered machine. Losing yourself in your thoughts and self-reflection. The magical phenomenon of all your problems melting away and feeling absolutely at peace. Escaping the stress of every day life. Not being able to stop smiling. Feeling blessed.

    Happiness.

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      Goodbye for now, my Dear…

      Goodbye for now, my Dear…

      I made it a point this summer to be as free as I can and one way to achieve freedom was to ride the crap out of my bike… and that I did.

      This week marks the unofficial “end” of my cycling season for 2014 because I’m leaving for Asia next Saturday, until mid-November, where, to my dismay, I will have to use my legs for the entirety of the time (instead of my two wheels). I’m sure I’ll be back on the saddle for the remainder of the year for short and hard rides, commutes and chasing the sun whenever I can but I don’t foresee time for anymore “epic” rides. The sun rises too late, sets too early and since I’ll be crunching at work and the holidays will be upon us when I get back, I’ll have no time to ride long distances during the week. Time to start being a responsible adult again.

      Time spent on a bicycle is priceless.

      Ever since I got back from my seven week escape in Europe, all I’ve been doing is having the time of my life, out dancing with my friends, drinking lots of coffee, eating lots of cake and of course, riding my bike. I rode 4500 kilometers this past summer with tons of long, epic and fun rides— just the way I like it. Every week, as I progressed on my bike and learned more about my body and proper nutrition (for endurance cycling), I fell in love with the sport even more.

      Can I say this summer was perfection?

      Cypress Lookout | West Vancouver, BC

      Dark rain clouds were hovering over West & North Vancouver where we were riding but the sun was shining gracefully on downtown Vancouver and beyond. Yesterday’s ride was my last time up at the Cypress Mountain lookout in West Vancouver this year. Fall is here, the snow will cover the mountain soon and although climbing that mountain is always heavenly [painful], the freezing descents still cannot be justified… unless someone will volunteer to drive me and my bike down!

      After 65,000 meters of climbing mountains this summer, my arch-nemesis: my IT-Band, finally caught up with me. As we were doing a slow recovery ride to Deep Cove for lunch yesterday, my left knee started hurting again, but I must say, I did really well taking care of my body this summer. The discomfort showed up at the right time— right as I am about to take 3 weeks off the bike and gym. This year, I cut down my lifting sessions, did almost zero full-body high intensity interval training, stopped doing the my weekly Grouse Grinds that I’ve been doing every summer the past three years …and spent the majority of the time on two wheels. The past couple of weeks, I started incorporating more heavy lifting and leg days because I’ve been doing less riding due to the weather and random festivities and I suspect that’s the main culprit. And the fact that I have not been stretching and rolling as much as I should. And I totally ignored the RMT’s recommendation of getting work done for my super tight quads and hip-flexors. Uh, no thanks. I am annoyingly ticklish and I may end up kicking them in the face if they touch my legs! I swear I will get my stretching game back on…
      Recent Cycling Adventures | I Fucking Love Fitness

      Recent adventures in and around Vancouver // Notice the cloudy skies? Fortunately, the sun did occasionally grace us with its presence. It’s amazing how you can be at one end of your city where the autumn storm clouds are threatening the peace … then you ride your bike 50 kilometers to the other end of the city, while enjoying all the benefits of good health, fitness, freedom and FUN, where it feels like summer all over again. That is pure bliss…

      I feel quite sad about leaving my bikes at home while I go seek adventures on the other side of the world but I know I will live in the moment and have the time of my life while I’m there.

      Goodbye for now, my dear…

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