45 Days Until The Great Escape

If there is one thing on my mind a lot this year, it’s the fact that I am really getting old. 2014 marks my seventh year at my company and the thought of that never ceases to astound me. I’ve seen colleagues get married, have kids, move away, get new jobs and then come back… so much has happened in the last 7 years. I know I started there at a really young age, while many of my friends just started university, but it makes me feel old, knowing I’ve been there for so long and that time is slowly slipping away…

The one thing I have to look forward to this year is being able to take my sabbatical. When you become eligible, the company encourages you to “do all the things you’ve always wanted but could never get around to, like travel the world, pick up a new hobby, work on the house or just plain relax at home…” and that I am. I’ve decided to travel around Europe for the 7 weeks— solo — from May to June …that way, I’ll also be back in Vancouver to cycle in our beautiful city during the summer so this is going to be an absolutely stellar year!

I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person. ~ Olivia Wilde

Why am I travelling by myself? Well other than the fact that no one I know has 7 weeks of vacation, I have no idea! I knew I wanted to do something amazing with the time that did not involve “relaxing at home” so the thought of travelling around Europe alone popped into my mind and I never gave it a second thought.

I have my entire trip roughly laid out, I know what I want to do and see, half my plane tickets and accommodations are confirmed and I only recently booked my return flight home (sigh, I guess I am not going to run away). Normally, I think one would be excited about a trip like this upon inception but I didn’t start feeling it until 2 weeks ago, probably because I was too caught up with the busyness we call life and the planning of the trip (which has also been extremely time consuming). But, I LOVE planning and I am a self-described master-planner. I AM sitting at the edge of my seat now as my departure date inches closer and I’m counting down the days until I step on the plane.

I will be starting in London and making my way through Germany, towards Greece, a short stop in Italy, a longer stint in Southern France, then I’ll hop over to Spain for some roadbiking and sight-seeing and then back to France, ending my trip in Paris so I can take advantage of the shopping on the last stop of my itinerary! The places I’m most excited about are Santorini; I rented a place high on the caldera so I can relax in the middle of the trip (I purposely found a place high up on the cliff so I can take advantage of the stairs for an extra workout). Berlin because of its culture and history. And Southern France, where I will be staying the longest. I’ll be in Nice with a friend and then I will be travelling to Nimes where I will base myself so I can cycle with John and Gerry from Cycling Languedoc… and cross Mont Ventoux off my bucket-list! Before my last stop in Paris, I’ll be in the Loire Valley, cycling, tasting wines and frolicking in castles. How heavenly does that sound?

On travelling solo, I haven’t felt any fear or anxiety about it yet and honestly, I don’t really see what is the big deal. People do it all the time and the media always blows the bad things out of proportion. I probably have a higher chance or getting killed in Vancouver than I do in Athens. I mean descending a mountain on a bicycle with nothing but a helmet at 80km+ per hour— that’s dangerous! Yes, I may be doing that in France but still… I’m also a natural introvert, I love being alone and I really don’t see myself getting homesick either. Sorry Vancouver! That doesn’t mean I won’t come home though because I’m really looking forward to being in beautiful Vancouver this summer.

As of now, I only have frivolous worries such as should I bring cycling gear and the Garmin? Where am I going to workout? How am I going to “train” for Mont Ventoux? Do I want to carry a backpack or a roll-on? What shoes am I going to bring? Which maxi dress am I going to bring? How many tops should I pack? Which tablet laptop should I buy so I can work (unfortunately)? I don’t want to be lugging around my 15″ Macbook (and I do not want to buy another Mac either). If anyone has any opinions on these, I would be grateful to hear!

45 days and counting until the trip of a lifetime…

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    Back to Bikrams Yoga

    It’s been almost a year and a half since I’ve done Bikrams Yoga and I finally went back last weekend. The last couple classes I had back at the end of 2012 weren’t great and on top of that, Bikrams is expensive! If you know me, I’m super cheap when it comes to fitness (unless it has anything to do with cycling), so I stopped going all together.

    I decided to try Bikram’s again because my friends asked me to go with them to check out a new location in New Westminster. I was also sick that day but I managed to drag myself out of bed because I thought it would be good to sweat it out. Sweat it out I did but it was HARD and I definitely could not hold some of those poses as well as I did before— my back was really stiff from the last couple months so the back bends were hard, my legs were sore from my workout on Friday and I didn’t remember some of the poses. The heat also caused some light-headedness since I was sick so I really had to take it easy.

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    I have NO regrets whatsoever and I’m extremely happy I went because it has renewed my interest in Bikram’s Yoga! I love the intensity, I love the heat and I love sweating so I’m definitely going back — I just bought a 10 class card. *gasp* You see, there are a lot of things you can do for free when it comes to fitness while some things aren’t but is 100% worth it… and hot yoga is one of those things.

    If you guys live near the area, check out the new Hot Yoga location in New Westminster. They are offering a one month deal for students who have never been in the studio in 2014 for $39.99. Meaning if you were in the studio at any time in 2013, but not in 2014, you are eligible.

    Do you do Bikrams?

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      Favorites: Tropical Protein Smoothie

      Tropical Protein Smoothie

      In the summer, we would go out for long bike rides and then I’d come home, covered in dirt, sweat and grime, quickly shower so I can make myself a glass of one of my favorite smoothies: a tropical protein smoothie that is SUPER refreshing and tastes like heaven, especially after a long, hard workout in the summer heat. I know it’s not summer yet, but it’s starting to feel a lot like spring here in Vancouver so we can only think ahead right?

      • 1 Mango (cubed)
      • 1tsp Sealicious Fish Oil (Tropical Colada)
      • Liquid of your choice (water / almond milk / coconut water)
      • 1 Scoop Protein Powder (vanilla or strawberry would work)
      • A Handful of Greens (spinach, kale, parsley, etc).

      Blend all these together and enjoy! You can also add a banana, pineapples, chia seed and other magical ingredients if you have them on hand for extra deliciousness. There are no rules when it comes to smoothies.

      I don’t like posting smoothie recipes because you can mix anything together and it doesn’t require much creativity but I wanted to post this one because it has one of my secret smoothie ingredients: Sealicious Fish Oils! My friend gave me a bottle last summer and I’ve been hooked ever since. They are advertised as the “best tasting fish oil” and it’s no gimmick– the four flavors tastes great, plus they contain 1,500 mg of omega-3′s and uses all natural flavors. You can take the recommended 1tsp by itself, in smoothies, salad dressings or any creative ways you can think of.

      Note that this is NOT a sponsored post– I only write about products I love!

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