Tag Archives: life goals

Physical Challenge Life List

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As our time here is winding down, I’m overwhelmed with mixed emotions.  Partly happiness about going home to friends, family, grocery stores and farmers markets, microbrews, and a kitchen!  But a big part of me is very very sad to be saying goodbye (for now) to all the adventures, the constantly-changing scenery, the daily challenges of travel, the cheap street food, and the gorgeous hiking.

Feeling victorious after climbing the highest peak in El Salvador!

I do feel like I’ve matured a lot on this journey, and one of the ways I’ve matured is in regards to my outlook on health.  I used to say that I wanted to die before I get old.  I don’t want that anymore, but I do want to be a super healthy, on-the-go old person.  I think it makes sense to say that accomplishing that goal depends a lot on the investments I make towards it now.  I’ve preached about the organic, vegetarian diet on here before, so I don’t need to go into that again.  And yes, I will always have a sweet tooth and a baking addiction, but moderation is the key.

I’ve kind of gotten over drinking on this trip.  I think an occasional, special-occasion, in-moderation drinker is what I would like to be.  I’m just getting too old for the college-type shenanigans!  The less I drink, the healthier, happier, and more alert I feel.  I’m sure this is a normal transition that most people go through, otherwise there would be a lot more 40-year-old running around doing kegstands.  But still I read what I’ve written and think, “Oh my gosh I’m becoming a lame old lady!”  C’est la vie.

Also, all the hiking, pack-carrying, and occasional surfing we’ve done here has gotten me into better shape than I’ve ever been in.  I’ve still got a spare tire but I am stronger than I’ve ever been in my life.  And it feels great!  What sucks is that with our return to Ohio looming, I’m already missing all the awesome hikes, mountains, beaches, and activities available here.  I really want to maintain, and hopefully improve, my fitness level once we get home.  It’s going to be hard in Ohio, because I’m not a big fan of running, and gym workouts are just so boring compared to mountain climbing!  Our time in Ohio will be brief, however, and I’m committed to finding ways to stay moving somehow.  Once we head west again, fitness can become a lot more fun.

Because I love lists so much, I came up with a new goal list of all the “physical challenge”-type activities I would like to accomplish in my life.  This will probably get added to a lot as I think of new things.  Not all of them are super-physical, some are just outdoorsy activities.  Hopefully I can check one or two within a year of getting home.  These are the things that get me excited and motivate me to work out hard (well, other than wearing a wedding dress next summer)!

Physical Challenge Life List
1. Master surfing

2. Master rock-climbing

3. Master snow-boarding

4. Climb Cotopaxi (Ecuador)

5. Climb Mt. Whitney (California)

6. Climb Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)

7. Hike the Grand Canyon, to the river and back

8. Bungee jump at Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe/Zambia)

9. Ride in a hot air balloon

10. Really give yoga a try

11. Learn to swing dance

What do you think of my list?  Way too ambitious or do-able?  Has anyone else ever made a list like this?

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Two Maps

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On our walls right now are two different world maps:This one is our Couchsurfing map.  Every time we host someone, we have them put a pin in the place they consider “home.”  In the last year, we’ve hosted over 50 people from over 20 countries!  I don’t know where everyone who wants to see the Grand Canyon will stay once we’re gone!  As you can see, the majority of our surfers have been from Europe, many from North America, and some notable outliers from Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Nepal, Taiwan, and China!  Many of these pins also represent awesome new friends who we hope to see again on our travels!  We already have couches almost everywhere we’ll want to go in Europe someday!

This is our map.  The 3 different colors of pins mean something here.  Pink is for places I’ve been, brown is for places Zach’s been, and green is for places we’ve both been.  We intend to add a lot more green!  The past year has been spent building up good karma by hosting so many travelers.  One week from today we are getting in the car.  Our year of travel-as-a-lifestyle begins in California.  It’s time to work on our map, baby!!!

Photo Favorite: Tattoo Idea

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I took this picture in Maasai Mara National Park, Kenya, in 2007.  The camera was a crappy point and shoot but I think to this day it’s one of the best pictures I’ve ever taken, compositionally.  This Acacia was the only tree in the middle of the enormous plain.  In my time in Africa I’ve seen plenty of Acacias (I had one right behind my house in Tanzania and have some cool pictures of it too) but I still think they’re the coolest trees in the world.

So, getting a tattoo is on my Thirty by 30 list.  I’ve been set on the location (shoulder-blade) and the words in my envisioned tattoo for a long time, but I keep waffling on the picture.  Lately I’ve been thinking that an Acacia tree would be perfect!  It could have color, meaning, and even be based on this picture that I took!  Including the road would be awesome and meaningful too.  Plus, it’s African-themed without being obvious (my first idea was an outline of the continent of Africa) and fits perfectly with the words I want:  “Tupo pamoja” meaning “We are together” in Swahili.

What do you think?????

Operation Bikini: Update 3

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Remember I said I’d write again after I weighed myself today?  Well, I’m doing it!  Accountability, eh?

I feel great today because not only did I do a great job eating right and exercising through the weekend, but I weighed myself today for the first time in months and it was not as high a number as I expected!  I don’t want to write out the official digits on the Internet, but suffice it to say, I actually lost 4 pounds since the last time I weighed myself despite my sporadic eating ways!

So, instead of the 20-24 pounds I thought I had to lose, I really only have 18!  So this whole shebang could be accomplished in only 9 weeks!!!  9 weeks ain’t so bad!!  Woohoo!!!

I’m feeling happy and in control today!  September 12 is the official goal date.  (A little past bikini season in the US, but not in Colombia!)  I know I can stick to this and get the “freshman 15” off for good!!!

Operation Bikini: Update 2

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Everyone falls off the wagon sometimes, right???

Right????

‘Cause I definitely did.  Gulp.

Despite my best intentions, I have kind of sucked at my eating recently.  Our trip to Mexico, having lots of couchurfers, and actually doing stuff with friends recently has led to me not following my rules and eating/drinking way too much bad stuff recently.

But, I’m back, because I am not a quitter!!!  However, it is time to seriously get my butt in gear.  I’m hoping that the time ticking down to our road-trip departure will serve as good motivation for me.  If I get serious now, I can still lose 14 pounds by the time we leave on August 22 and be almost done by then!!!  My goal is to lose 20-24 pounds total.  So, in drastic measures, I’ve decided to eliminate the flex days.  I knew I would abuse them, and I certainly did.  Achieving this goal is about sacrifice, and I just need to get my mind around that.  Of course if it’s a truly special occasion or something I will still let myself go a day without counting.  But by allowing myself 2 flex days a week I was just waiting for those days and then stuffing my face to the max.  Not good for learning moderation.

So this is it: 1000 calories per day, exercise every day.  I can totally be at my goal weight by the time we get back to Ohio!!!!!

Now let me celebrate some small victories:

-I have been doing consistently pretty well on my exercise.  Climbing, hiking, biking, gymming it up.  I finally bought new running shoes that actually provide support so I’m not hurting my feet anymore.  Now I’ll be able to keep running outside once we’re on our trip and I don’t have gym access.

-Last night I had a couple glasses of wine with girlfriends but kept within my 1000-cal limit!  I just had a light snack instead of a meal when I got home, then went to bed.

-Today I got a 6-mile bike ride and a bunch of crunches/push-ups in all despite the heat and before 11am.  Getting exercise done early is a great way for me to make sure I get it done!

-I baked something that DIDN’T INVOLVE CHOCOLATE!  Shocker, I know.  Tomato Rosemary Scones.  We’ll see what Zach thinks of them.  I am getting better at baking for him but not indulging myself.  Not having chocolate-filled goodies definitely helps though.

-I’m making these Chipotle Squash Fritters for dinner tonight.  I love trying new, inventive recipes; plus this sounds delicious and super-healthy!  I have been doing a good job making dishes that are heavy on the veggies and light on the cheese and dairy lately.

Must make myself update more on this un-fun topic.  I think I have to get back on the scale too.  That’ll happen sometime next week, after I continue my good habits for the rest of this one.  Then I’ll post another update.  I CAN do this.  Positive thinking, yeeehaw!!!

Yay for a productive day off!  Of course I wish I was working since we desperately need $$, but I’ve used today to bike, bake, blog, (hahaha alliteration!) and now I’ll be studying some Spanish and reading my awesome book about the Colombian drug trade.

The dreaded diet post

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Guys, I hate writing this.  But I feel I must.  Things have come to the point where unless I start making some changes and exercising some accountability I am never going to be happy with my body.  My bad habits and severe lack of self-control have been WINNING (Charlie Sheen, anyone?).  I really really want to turn things around and drop 20 pounds so I can cross #17 (Wear a bikini and look hot) off my Thirty by 30 list.  The thing is, I just SUCK so much at losing weight.  I try really hard for a few weeks, then have one bad day, feel bummed, and continue the badness for a whole week.  Hence the horribly unoriginal and boring blog post about “my new diet plan!”  Honestly though, I’m writing this for the accountability.  I just want to put my goal out there on the internet for all to see AND make myself post updates as my goals are accomplished.  And they will be!!!!!!!  (Woo, positive thinking.)

So here’s the deal.  After my junior year of college I did lose my freshman 15 (I’ve since gained it all back and more) and what worked for me then was calorie counting.  Ugh, I know.  But it’s the simplest and most logical method to me with the least restrictions on WHAT I can actually eat.  So that’s what I’m gonna do.

THE PLAN

1. Count calories and eat 1000 calories or less at least 5 days per week.

2. Exercise every day. (gym, hiking, biking, yoga, something!!!!)

3. 2 days a week can be a little bit more flexible.  If I want to have a treat, some drinks, or go out to eat I can.  This will help me stay sane and have things to look forward to.  BUT these days are also a tool to help myself learn moderation.  Just  because I’m not counting does not mean I can fully unleash the munchie monster.  If I stuff myself silly 2 days a week it will totally undo the benefits of the other 5 low-cal days, so I am going to really concentrate on being REASONABLE!

4. I’m not going to weigh myself obsessively.  I’m going to wait to weigh myself until I notice some changes.  I think this will help me focus on sticking with the plan just to be healthy, not to achieve specific numbers.  (Although theoretically if I do this right those numbers will come!)

5. All bets are off for my birthday week.  My best friend and her hubby will be visiting and there will probably be lots of treats.  But it’s my birthday and I will not care!!!!  But that is the ONLY week I am allowed to go off-plan until I meet my goal.

6. If I get to where I want to be before we move away from Flagstaff, I’m rewarding myself with a brand new outfit from this AWESOME but slightly expensive store in town, The Rainbow’s End.  (I haven’t bought any clothes not from Kohls or the thrift store in years.)

That’s it.  Seriously, I KNOW I can do this because I’ve done it before.  If I can just make myself buckle down it should only take around 3 months to get back to where I want to be.  That means I could get my bikini out by the end of this summer!  I would LOVE that!  I just really need encouragement.  So please, if you read this, send me some happy thoughts AND make sure to ask me how things are going once in awhile.  Hopefully I’ll have some positive changes to report soon!!!  Thanks for bearing with such a superficial post!

Serving is awesome because…

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I recently started my new job.  I worked two weekends “in training” before getting the go-ahead to give my 2 weeks notice at my receptionist job.  So now I’m in the midst of my last 2 weeks here AND working weekends at my new job.  It’s crazy exhausting but I LOVE my new job and can’t wait to be there full time.  I’m working at Criollo Latin Kitchen as a server.

 

I hate it when people judge me because I’m a college-grad who’s still serving tables.  I got one particularly condescending response from a current co-worker when I told her I was leaving.  Of course she didn’t say it to my face, but to my friend Matt, who in turn told me.  She flat out told him I was “stupid to leave a job with benefits” and should “stay and advance my career.”  Totally sounds like me, right?

So now, I present to you, my list of reasons why I ACTUALLY LOVE restaurant work.

1. Travel is my priority right now.  I don’t want to start a career and get tied down to it.  I don’t want to have a job I will feel particularly bad about leaving if I decide I want to say, go backpack through South America for a year.  Restaurants are used to high employee turnover rates and are usually full of cool people who will encourage my adventures and are often planning their own.  For me right now, work is a means to end to support my travel habit and independent filmmaking, and not much more than that.

2. Tips tips tips.  I can make SO MUCH MORE $$$$ than I can working at a desk job, or even an entry-level film job.  At my old restaurant, Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers, I averaged $20/hr in JUST TIPS on a bad night.  Criollo is going to be even better.  With $30 steaks and $150 bottles of wine on the menu, I’ll hopefully average about $30/hr just tips for dinner shifts.

3. Benefits are not an issue.  Obama’s health care reform included an awesome idea to make parents’ health insurance cover their children until age 26.  So I get to go back on my dad’s health, dental, and vision, and it’s all WAY BETTER than my $3000-deductible insurance from my current job.  Yay Obama-care!!!!!!!

4. Flexible schedule.  I can work different days each week, pick up shifts when I need some extra cash, and request days off whenever I need them.  None of this “you have 10 vacation days a year” nonsense.  If I NEED a few days off, whether I’m getting sick or I’m going to Mexico, I can get a few days off.  I get paid for the days I work and don’t get paid when I don’t. Makes sense to me.

5. No desks!!!!  I HATE sitting at a desk all day!!!  How utterly unhealthy!!!  Of course serving is the exact opposite…you NEVER get to sit down and are running around the restaurant for up to 12 hours a day.  But being active, busy, and up talking to people all day is just so much more fun than sitting at a desk staring at a screen until your eyeballs burn out of your head and you turn into a big fat blob of mashed potatoes.  Ick.  Moving makes the time go faster AND burns more calories.  Hurrah!  Plus, I swear my back hurts more now just from being in the same position all day than any of my muscles ever hurt when I was serving.

6. Learning opportunities.  At Mellow Mushroom I learned all about microbrews and now I can say I really understand and enjoy good beer.  Criolllo is much classier and thus is all about fine wine and liquor.  So now I’m going to get to learn all about that stuff.  And in the interest of “learning” all of Criollo’s servers get to do a mandatory weekly wine tasting.  Hoo-yeah!  Last week we tasted tequilas rather than wine.  Did you know that expensive tequila actually tastes good to sip?  Shocker!

7. Future.  Zach and I definitely have nomadic tendencies.  He now has tons of experience as an electrician and I have tons as a server.  With these skills we can find jobs anywhere.  Criollo is definitely gonna class me up and hopefully after this I’ll be able to find work as a fine-dining server or bartender.  Mucho peso, baby.  Plus, I could see myself being happy as a restaurant manager if it was at a cool place like Criollo.  And Zach and I have been known to dream about “our bar on the beach” in some expat-friendly area of some developing country.  So I AM developing skills for my future.  And that future, hopefully, will never involve a boring desk job again.

What do you think?  Am I extremely naive and shortsighted?  Or can you see where I’m coming from?

Thirty by 30 Brain-freeze

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For the past week I’ve been working on a list of 30 goals to accomplish before I turn 30.  I’m going to make another tab at the top of this page and post it there.  The list includes things to learn, places to go, milestones to experience, etc.  I’ve got 29 really solid ideas on the list but I CANNOT think of a #30!  This is weird because usually my brain flutters all over the place wanting to do too many things.  I just want this list to be composed of really awesome and well thought-out things that I can reasonably do.  I know there has to be one more awesome thing I really must accomplish in the next six years.  Any ideas for me?