Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy New Year!

I know, I'm way behind with blogging. I'll get there, I promise.
I'm currently in a hostel in Luang Prabang, Laos (or Lao, still not really sure which is best/correct) where I welcomed the new year! 2015 was a weird year for me. I did a lot of traveling, both in the U.S. and abroad, and had some amazing experiences. At the same time, it was a mentally tough one for me. I felt emotionally drained for various reasons both at work and at home, and felt an enormous sense of relief when I stopped working full time and went to Germany for a month to travel and visit people. But of course things don't just miraculously get better overnight, and even after quitting my job and then coming to Asia, I've still been struggling occasionally. That being said, this really has been the most amazing past 3 months and I don't regret it for a second. I've been meeting a lot of people who are only traveling for 2 weeks for the holidays, and I realize how much I've changed. My speed of life has slowed way down, and I don't worry about what I'm going to do next. Except when I worry constantly about what I'm going to do after I run out of money and finally need to find a job again. But I'm doing my best to not think about that except to fill out the occasional application and live in the moment!

Here were my goals for 2015:
Continue with emotional and spiritual growth, including journaling and meditation
I did start meditating, but it didn't last long. I think the longest I made it was 10 days in a row. I did get better at journaling though and traveling has helped that! I write almost every day!
Complete a running challenge. I have an eye on the Lake Sammamish half in March. It's probably the flattest course in western Washington.
I mostly kind of ran the Beat The Blerch marathon. Actually pretty impressed I survived that one, even if it was just barely.
Challenge myself every month. So far I have January: no refined sugar and February: no sugar. Yikes. Kate's doing both with me including the February cleanse so I think I will be more successful. After all, it took her going vegan with me for me to really do it. Every other time I tried I always quit because cheese. Sidenote: in 2014 I went 6 months without cheese. Crazy
I didn't exactly do this as planned, and made a lot of mistakes on the way, but every month presented me with challenges.
Exercise every day. Buy a monthly membership at the group fitness place I've been going to near me and go enough to make it worth the money.
I actually did pretty well, especially from March-June before I started traveling. I enjoyed working out in group classes and actually got kind of in shape! Since summer, and especially since leaving for Asia, I obviously haven't had the luxury of a studio by my house. Stay posted.

This year, I want to keep it simple. Someone in my hostel mentioned their friend tried one new thing a week, and actually completed it. I was intrigued, but I am doing many new things right now and apparently that guy spent a lot of money. I really only have 2 resolutions:

- stop buying oreos. This was a bad habit I picked up in China because I didn't always want weird Chinese food. The problem is, it's so easy to finish an entire package! This is not just me - a lot of travelers I've met have developed sugar habits and can easily eat 6 or 8 or however many servings of oreos is in a package. Obviously this isn't the only sugary food I eat and there are plenty of other packaged cookies, but for some reason oreos seem to be the worst. So I'm going to stop buying them. If someone offers me one, however, that's fine because I will obviously have a much more reasonable portion
find a way to include exercise in my routine. It's hard to work out while traveling. SE Asia is hot, so running after the sun comes up just doesn't sound fun. Plus you never really know what's appropriate especially for women and I don't want to be an insensitive tourist. But 6am is early, and I'm way out of shape, and I was a bit burned out and hurting after the marathon. I went on 1 run in China, 2.5 in Nepal, none in Thailand and so far 1 in Laos. I do think I will start running more because it feels right. But I also want to intentionally move more in any way, which could be yoga classes, a challenging hike, going climbing, renting a bicycle, etc. Anything more than the normal walking I do, which actually isn't that much. Everything is super close or too far to walk, unlike Europe where I walked a minimum of 30,000 steps every day. All that to say I feel out of shape and lazy! I'm not trying to train for anything or get anywhere close to the best shape of my life, I just want to find more of a balance.

Other goals:
- continue to travel solo for as long as possible
- do one thing every day that scares me. This is a goal, not a resolution, because I'm not counting. But sometimes little things are really hard for me. Striking up a conversation with someone new, for example. This gets easier the more you travel, but it can still be incredibly hard for me. Asking for directions or help from a stranger. Figuring out how to book a bus or train ticket the local way, instead of just through my hostel. Going places that aren't as touristy where I won't just show up to a hostel full of people like me. I hope to gain more confidence and lessen my social anxiety, which has been pretty bad for me the past few years.
I also want to do jump of cliffs and climb up cliffs and go diving and maybe bungee jumping and other things that are new and exciting in a more traditional way.
- learn new things. I've stayed at 2 workaway sites now, and learned a lot at both of them. Even if I learned nothing about farming in Nepal... But there is something great about staying in a place for longer than a few nights, getting to know the area and the other volunteers and the locals, and really having a home for a bit.
- and finally, a bucket list item. I'm signed up for a Vippassana meditation course at the end of January, a 10 day silent retreat where you can't look at anyone or take naps and you sit and meditate for 10 hours a day. It will probably be the hardest thing I ever do. But I also hope to learn a lot about myself. I've been wanting to do this for over 5 years, and I also hope to develop a meditation habit. This has been something I want to start every year and always make it part of my New Years resolutions, but for me it's really hard to keep it up. At the same time, I know how incredibly important and good it is for you, and one of the best ways to help me overcome my social anxiety and disordered eating.

I have no idea what 2016 will bring but it will definitely be awesome! I'm doing what I've always wanted to do and it's been absolutely amazing! 

1 comment:

  1. I love this! Yay! good luck with the silence!