Southern France Living

Southern France Living

On my quest to keep my life as fulfilled as possible, I’ve been away from [my second] “home” for 3 weeks now as I traverse Europe. Along with along with my two craziest friends, we partied for two weeks straight in London, Lagos, Lisbon and Barcelona— think jumping from city to city, club-to-airport scenarios, hung-over plane and train rides and constantly thinking about caffeine. It was intense and frisky! Little sleep, but no regrets. I don’t normally do this because left to my own devices, I’d be antisocial and stay home the majority of the time (the partying part), but my I love how some of my friends are so different than me and force me to go out… because I always end up having a blast.

Nice (from the Meridian)

Saying goodbye to the girls, I, then endured a four-day suffer-fest on my rental Cannondale road bike with carbon frame, in and around Spain, the suffering, a punishment for the previous two weeks of insanity (I have learned my lesson). More on that later. Then I rewarded myself with three weeks in one of my favorite places in the world: the French Riviera, hoping to slide back into a “regular” routine— bike rides, gym sessions, healthy-eating (sans bread, butter and wine), relaxing and less partying.

Villefranche-sur-Mer

Since my mindset when coming to Southern France was to just to, you know, “live“, I have no inclination for the usual hustle and bustle that comes with travel; that irresistible lust of wanting to see and do everything when you are in an unfamiliar city. That is not normally my preferred style of travel anyway because I like to spend more time in each city so I can immerse myself into the culture like the locals and truly relax. Relaxing to me is as little packing, unpacking and travel days, as possible… and waking up every single day with zero plans and do as you feel.

mon amour et toi

I was in Nice two years ago, when I took my first great escape to Europe. I spent the longest amount of time in this city because one of my best friends grew up here and we always have the time of our lives together. It is just so rare to meet someone so different yet same as you. Someone who likes all the same things you do, has the same priorities, has the same views of the world, somebody who not only understands your decisions— but would make the same ones as well. We are both untameable and free-spirited explorers (except on opposite ends of the extroversion scale). J’adore mon amour.

When everything is blue, you are on the Cote d'Azur

I have been here for three days, yet I feel as if I have already been here for three weeks, not in a bad way, because Southern France really feels like home! It’s as if I never left. I think I can get use to this slow-paced and care-free lifestyle of the French.

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    New Lands, New Beginnings

    New Lands, New Beginnings

    I came to LA with winter legs, a fresh import from Vancouver, a city that has been drenched from a winter of El Nino tainted weather. Even though I have been riding year round, I have been doing nothing but easy commutes to and from work during the winter, wanting but not wanting to be the victim of relentless rain. In the one month that I have been riding in the City of Angels, my legs and my heart has gotten stronger than it has ever been, due to the fact that I am riding with cyclists much stronger than me, combined with the fear of getting dropped… since I don’t know my way around. Hey it works! Discomfort sure makes you a stronger person. I have to boast, my winter-legz have quickly become spring-legz!

    RCCLA // Riding with the Boyz

    I guess I may not have to worry about getting dropped if I wasn’t always slacking and taking photos…

    In Vancouver, I was a solo rider, purely because of time constraints and being able to ride at my own pace. My busy life in Vancouver also created much desire to get away… and cycling was my ultimate escape. In LA, or any unfamiliar land, I prefer riding with groups because I don’t know my way around, and I am a stereotypical female, with a terrible sense of direction. If you have ridden with me in the past, you would know not to depend on me for directions… but I have to admit I have gotten better, mainly credited to Google Maps, duh.

    ROADS LIKE THESE SETS US FREE

    I don’t take gym classes because I don’t like the thought of having to show up at a specific time— this may sound like commitment issues, but I just like to think that I am a free-spirit… and I hate being constrained by schedules.

    But with cycling, it was different. When you are passionate about something, you always make exceptions.

    When I began riding bikes over 6 years ago, I did not have anybody to ride with, but I really really wanted to ride! I forced my introverted-self to join group rides with strangers, where I eventually learned and familiarize myself with new routes which granted me the confidence to ride by myself, and at the same time making me plenty of new friends.

    Cycling is unfortunately a very hard sport to get into and relies on intrinsic motivation, but once you’ve gotten into the BIKE LIFE, it is almost impossible to stop. You will go out of your way and do anything to get a ride in. Your schedule will revolve around your rides. You spend so much time moving around (or cancelling) lunches, brunches and appointments so everything flows harmoniously around your riding schedule.

    Los Angeles // Wilier Triestina

    In the car you go. I’m sorry… I promise it won’t always be like this. =(

    The past month, I have been riding with the Los Angeles chapter of the Rapha Cycling Club and new friends that I have met on various rides. I am grateful for the cycling community and like-minded individuals, who share the same love for chasing pain and being outdoors on two wheels.

    Ironically, I am driving on average 40 minutes out with my bike, gear and baby wipes, in the backseat… just to ride my bike with the privilege of others to show me the ways. Damn me and my navigation issues! One day, I will learn my way to ride around the city. I am terribly inconvenienced, being in a city that is so spread out and centered around a fucking car culture… although who said that was going to stop me? I will do anything to sustain this lifestyle that I have created for myself in Vancouver, even when I have to start all over in a new city.

    Hello California

    When the thought of moving away from Vancouver was lingering in my mind last year, I have to admit one of my biggest fears was not being able to live the way I wanted to, which was exactly the life I have created for myself in Vancouver: being in a career I was happy in, being able to see my friends and family often, being able to ride my bike whenever and wherever I want and basically having the freedom to do anything my heart desires.

    But the whole point in life is to experience new things and grow as a person. To do this, you must accept change and adapt to new environments. If something isn’t working, you make it work. If you aren’t living the way you want to live, you continue to walk (or ride) forward and forge a new way of life. So here I am…

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      I had an Epiphany…

      I had an Epiphany…

      epiphany : a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way

      While riding my bike to work one cold, albeit sunny October morning in 2015, I suddenly had an epiphany and decided I had to quit my job that day. The idea was floating in my mind all year but there were things I had to wrap up, and I was not ready to let go of my routine— but during that symbolic morning, it was as if all the fear and hesitation magically dissolved and the veil was finally lifted. I had no doubt, only absolute clarity that this was what I had to do.

      At that moment, losing control of my life was exactly what I needed to really push me out of my comfort zone.

      Thus, a month and a half ago at the end of February, I celebrated my last day at work with lots of cake, walked away from this amazing career I nurtured for the last 9 years, and here I am temporarily located in the city of angels; Los Angeles, officially unemployed for the first time in my life. Free of a 9-5, from any obligations, and finally entering the real world… a.k.a. having to think about dental and travel insurance, what to do with my condo, etc., etc. Talk about first world problems. I had such a secure and stable life, cushioned with a salary and benefits, up until now. The struggle was real! But in a good way.

      Ciao Vancouver

      In two weeks, I literally quit my job, packed up all my belongings in my storage locker (after giving away 25+ garbage bags of clothes and shoes), ironically purchased new furniture and a TV (I don’t watch television) for my condo (don’t ask), rented out my condo furnished, and flew myself and my bike to LA. Of course, I have been planning this for a while since I handed in my resignation months in advance, but alas, it is so like me to leave things to the last-minute.

      Most importantly, I made sure to see as much of my friends as possible in those two weeks because I was saying goodbye to life as I knew it.

      girlfriends: not a going away but a 'see ya later!'

      A week after I liberated myself, I was sitting on the couch in LA at 4pm, after a super busy and productive morning (because I like to start my day early) with nothing to do! I had a harrowing “moment”: Is this was the rest of my life is going to be like? I never have nothing to do. Thankfully, that moment of dismay passed by swiftly and I found myself occupied later that evening… something that involved thumping sound system and Bloody Mary’s.

      Since then, I feel like my life has been just as hectic and fulfilled as it was when I was working. In 2015, I significantly slowed down my life, but apparently not enough, suffering from this incomprehensible weakness of always trying to fill my time with things to do. I always say you create your own life, so you should always be doing things that makes you happy, and I am content keeping my life busy engaged. After all, isn’t that why I spend hours and hours on my bike, alone and lost in my thoughts? So I can be fully recharged to fulfill my need for social engagement, keeping my introverted-self at bay.

      Is freedom anything else than the right to live as we wish? Nothing else.

      A month ago, my life consisted of ridiculously early mornings to get in long bike rides before work (what happens when you make working on yourself a priority), making commitments to lift heavy weights at the gym sometime during the 9-5, ride my bike home in the pouring rain, where I’d frantically get ready for dinner with friends.

      These days, my days still begins early, but it is much less stressful since I have the option of sleeping in. They still normally begin by some form of sweating, a lunch (god, have I turned into one of those “girlz who lunch?), and whatever errands I need to run… by late-afternoon, I’d be exhausted, but being unemployed gives me the opportunity to take naps!! Then the same evening events, dinners, social stuff, blah, blah, blah.

      drowning in eternal sunshine | manhattan beach, california

      And the best thing about being unemployed?!

      I have been getting at last 7 hours of sleep almost every night— something I have never achieved in the past. The privilege of sleep; something we are all guilty of devoiding ourselves of. Best. Thing. Ever.

      I began my sabbatical with a ‘vacation’, hence why I am in LA temporarily, still trying desperately to hold onto some form of routine (I love spontaneity, but routine keeps life preciously balanced and healthy). Bike rides, going to the gym and brunches are shamelessly, my current priorities. The party really begins in May with a one way ticket to London, reuniting with two of my best friends, before I make my way to Girona. Perhaps getting glimpses of the pros training for Le Tour, while on my rental carbon road bike, I will secretly race those on pretty commuter bikes with baskets and high heels, as I embark on a cycle-tour around the surrounding areas.

      My life is currently an enigma and I am looking forward to seeing where the universe will take me…

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