March 2014
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Springing forward

Are we there yet?Here we are with crazy weather for the first official day of spring. Stormy drifting snow with icy road conditions made for a tense and treacherous drive to the airport. Never before have I been so grateful and excited to leave behind a Canadian winter. So here we are: my dream has finally arrived, after months of a long harsh cold haul that had me itching to escape to warmer climes. We’re finally on our way to Spain! Don’t get me wrong. A well earned tour through various yoga studios in the Toronto area with our yogaFLIGHT flair has me grateful to have had the time that we did connecting with an ever expanding community. Yet I am thrilled to be springing forward on this marvellous equinox evening to the warmth of Europe.

It’s been a long time it seems that I’ve played tourist abroad. Spain will be an incredible adventure that hasn’t any set direction or expectation, apart from milder sunnier weather :).

Lufthansa rocks!Landing in Frankfurt after a wonderful Lufthansa flight has me on top of the world, although I feel physically drained and exhausted from little sleep over the past week. Several all nighters this past week took their toll as we crossed the Atlantic; I crashed deeply and soundly for much of the flight. I’d highly recommend the exceptional friendliness and attentive courteousness of the Lufthansa staff. The german culture with the meticulous emphasis on detail has me happy to recommend and fly with this airline anytime!

Meeting with our friend Mic at the airport has me grateful for world travelling friends who go out of their way in being hospitable. I’m constantly reminded by the generosity and lovely spirit of my friends in this lifetime. How lucky am I to be living the dream life that I am?! This trek into the European unknown has me excited about sharing it with my husband and best friend.

What excites you about travel and springing forward into life? What has you most grateful about journeying into the unknown?

Excess Baggage

Now that my husband and I have made firm plans on a trip to Spain (we leave in under a week!), I am debating what to travel with on our 9 week trek to Europe. I’m trying to travel as light as possible, which is quite challenging when trying to factor in such electronics as a laptop, tablet & phone (not to include all the plethora of accessories + chargers). On top of that, I’m uncertain on which camera to take — do I go with my Nikon SLR with the standard 28-50mm lens or choose instead my efficiently portable Nikon point & shoot camera. Forget about the 70-300 zoom lens for the SLR. I’ve got too much as it is. And trying to narrow down to the basic ‘necessities’ is proving to be difficult when it comes to hauling around expensive toys across the big pond. I’m even considering bringing the GoPro. But now, am I going overboard? I have video capabilities on both my cameras and phone. Too many gadgets weighs me down in my travels. I have too much experience living that truth …. I want this trip to be hugely different from my travel days of 15+ years ago when I lugged around a HUGE 75 litre Lowe Alpine backpack plus a day bag. At the time, I wasn’t just on week or month-long trips. I was trekking for YEARS. And carrying all that excess baggage really was a literal pain in the butt. It limited my options, at times, of spontaneity and freedom. I even took my skydiving rig with me on an overload tour of Africa. But it was functional and well-used during that trip. So it made perfect sense. And this was well before the days of expensive electronic gadgets and stuff. Nowadays, I’m of the mind that the less I have, the better.

I remember sharing a bunkhouse with an amazing nomadic world-travelling goddess in India, 7 years ago. She travelled scrupulously lean with little to her name except for her explicit desire for her music library by her side. Megan hauled around a ridiculous amount of CDs for her cd-playing Walkman. But she couldn’t live without her music. An iPod was not an obvious option for her at the time (she had never actually heard of an iPod 7 years back, even though this amazing Apple life-changing invention had been released in 2001). That memory of Megan’s music devotion reinforces the concept that many people tend to travel with excess baggage that they deem important and are unwilling to relinquish. Myself included! I’m having a hard time considering 2 months away without my laptop. Dang.

MAC electronics

I’ve toyed with the idea of only travelling with a tablet. But after spending a few days out and about trying to navigate my working habits, I quickly saw the limits of said device. Editing photos and websites are tedious at best, even with several different blogging and photography apps. For me, nothing can beat a traditional computing experience where hardy software and an accessible hard drive provide for all my digital needs. Having a keyboard is key. I’ve yet to see a usb keyboard that would serve the functionality and ease of my laptop for the iPad. I’m open to recommendations and suggestions! So back to my plan A. Laptop goes with me to Europe. In reality, no one really needs a tablet to accomplish all their digital needs. But once had, tablets are certainly hard to give up! The reading experience is pleasurable compared to trying to surf on a phone. The screen size of my iPhone 4S is not meant for reading large amounts of material online or in book form. Hence the iPad. I’m a MAC girl at heart, and having the whole payload of Apple’s toys at hand is hugely gratifying and appealing. Worth toting around the European Continent??? Something yet to be determined. I’ll keep you in the loop!

To what lengths have you travelled the world with your toys and life possessions on your back? How much is too much when it comes to baggage? And what have you given up in the process?

Fear, the Biggest Hurdle

They say that deciding to make a major change in ones life, following through and taking that initial first step, is the biggest hurdle to accomplishing goals and approaching transformation head on (whomever ‘they’ are). At this juncture in my journey, I can honestly say that indeed yes, ‘they’ are correct! A statement that I heard today resonated profoundly to the depth of my being regarding change: “Live fearless. Find joy. Live large.”

Leaving on a Jet PlaneI’m in the throes of excitement sparkled with fear as slaDE and I plan a last minute trip to Europe for 9+ weeks. I’ve always been a very spontaneous and somewhat fearless international traveller. If I felt an urge or craved an adventurous getaway, I would jump at any chances or opportunities that oozed my way regardless of their shape, size or form. My passion and enthusiasm for stepping beyond my own comfort zone into a different country and an unfamiliar culture in the past has been my strength and motivating force to perpetuate adventure in my life. And I am so feeling this with the notion of taking yogaFLIGHT to Europe. Specifically to Barcelona. Initially however, I was faced with a whole different and puzzling challenge of extending to my husband the premise that such a trip could be hugely viable, sprinkled with the potential for yogaFLIGHT greatness. I really wasn’t expecting his walls of uncertainty. Fear was getting in the way. For the first time in a longtime, we were at a crossroads in the way that we approached our life’s journey together.

Historically, I’ve tended to leap before looking, without forethought of the potential consequences when it came to travel (BS ~ before slaDE). On the flip-side, slaDE tends to logically think out and rethink every step of the odyssey. Me, I just go. And live with whatever unfolds along the way (I may be generalizing somewhat hugely, but you get the picture).

When I travelled in my twenties and thirties, I didn’t have the internet or the massive educational resources (library books, travel blogs and DVDs, etc) that we have today at our fingertips ~ instant consumption. Back in the day, I was an intrepid nomadic global wanderer. Now that, as a society, we have opportunities to go crazy in online planning, I’m finding myself overwhelmed by the possibilities and the plethora of vast information overload available online. Such a different medium and age in these travel plans. This however seems to be a positive influence for slaDE and his process, helping him work through any anxieties and fears that might have existed. After watching an instrumental inspiring video on living life fully (What would you do if Money Was No Object ~ Alan Watts), slaDE has now boarded the sKYtrain line of thinking, and currently, we are in the process of booking flights! Hurrahhhhhhhhh!

I’m noting that once an initial decision is made to actually go forth and explore, the rest is awesomely ‘easy’ and hugely fun!  For me, lists play a HUGE part in maintaining my sanity and organization. Thoughts, ideas and must-dos come tumbling out at the most random of times. And having a notepad at hand is vital to keeping me sane and on-track! One challenge that I am discovering, however, revolves around the planning details of currency exchange and money. I’m still trying to figure out best and common practises, and what would be the ideal choices for uS. My days of backpacking in the 90s revolved around the usage of Travellers Cheques (TCs) and cash as a way to live, with little difficulty in travelling from country to country currency wise. However, I’m repeatedly hearing that TCs are not as globally painless or accepted as they once were, during my heyday of overseas trekking. But I’ll leave that for another blog posting :).

As of now, I am so ready  and excited at the decision to catapult into this next shifting and phase. For the longest time, my head and heart have been out of the starting gate with an engine vibrating at the ready, yearning for international travel. It has been WAY too long!!! Yahoo!!!! Europe, here we come.

Here’s the transcript of Allan Watt’s video if by chance you are interested and searching for answers to that very same question of “What would you do if money was no object”!

What do you desire? What makes you itch?  What sort of a situation would you like?

Let’s suppose, I do this often in vocational guidance of students, they come to me and say, well, “we’re getting out of college and we have the faintest idea what we want to do”. So I always ask the question, “what would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life?”

Well, it’s so amazing as a result of our kind of educational system, crowds of students say well, we’d like to be painters, we’d like to be poets, we’d like to be writers, but as everybody knows you can’t earn any money that way. Or another person says well, I’d like to live an out-of-doors life and ride horses. I said you want to teach in a riding school? Let’s go through with it. What do you want to do?

When we finally got down to something, which the individual says he really wants to do, I will say to him, you do that and forget the money, because, if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing, which is stupid. Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.

And after all, if you do really like what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually turn it – you could eventually become a master of it. It’s the only way to become a master of something, to be really with it. And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is. So don’t worry too much.

That’s everybody is – somebody is interested in everything, anything you can be interested in, you will find others will. But it’s absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like, in order to go on spending things you don’t like, doing things you don’t like and to teach our children to follow in the same track.

See what we are doing, is we’re bringing up children and educating to live the same sort of lives we are living. In order that they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children to bring up their children to do the same thing, so it’s all retch, and no vomit it never gets there.

And so, therefore, it’s so important to consider this question: What do I desire?

What are your biggest hurdles in initiating change? Do you have someone cheerleading you on the sidelines when faced with the obstacles of doubt and indecision?

The Body In Motion

Have you ever been inspired by the human body in fluid motion? I’ve always been especially curious by the mechanics of the human form in its beauty as I flow through my yoga practice, exploring the depths of mobility, expansion, flexibility and flexion. Watching this video had me misty eyed at the gorgeousness of the physical anatomy, stunningly created by the medical 3D visual eFX team of Hybrid Medical Animation. Here’s how the Company described their project’s idea:

We wanted to combine the beautiful moves of yoga with this new visual approach to bring the full human skeleton to life. Hybrid’s illustrations and animations extend beyond the boundary of highly informative graphics: they enter the realm of high art, achieving a combination of Truth and Beauty

A skeleton in Tree PoseI am certainly inspired and entranced by this visceral journey through the skeletal landscape of the body, fluid in yoga motion. This dramatically unique video enhances my gratitude for a healthy mobile body that reaches beyond the proverb of beauty being only ‘skin-deep’. I hope you enjoy this profoundly gripping and humbling journey through the body in motion.

Herein lurks a deeper lesson for me. Beyond the movement of yoga lies stillness. And with the stillness and silence, one can explore the wisdom and lessons that are contained within each precious moment of our life.

The gifts of presence in body, mind and spirit is immeasurable. And magical.

What inspires you about your body, on or off the mat?