Motivation Monday with Brittany: Alright so I just got back from an extended weekend in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; how do you go about compositing such an experience into a singular post that is not all over the place? It does seem like a daunting task but I am up for the challenge. I don’t need to give a play-by-play of what I did or what happened, but lets highlight the lessons learned. Let’s begin with why? Why go to Vancouver? Why only for a couple of days? These were commonly asked questions and the truth is that I have no answers. I find that we are always seeking definitive answers in life (girls want to know is he my boyfriend or is he not, people want an exact reason why I don’t like to drink any longer). Have you ever gotten an impulse to do something. To take a certain class, to take a class, to go to a concert, to dance, to take off somewhere, to speak out? We often think and talk about doing things in life, but soon talk ourselves out of it. That idea is ludicrous, we are too ‘busy’, later on in life we’ll do them. I’ll travel when I’m retired, or I’ll have a family once my career takes off. We’ve become a nation of human doers and not of human beings. That’s what happened to me, I had it stuck in my head that I wanted to celebrate my 24th birthday with a trip and for some reason Vancouver was the place. I didn’t question this decision or let memes and excuses get in my way; I merely bought a plane ticket a week before and didn’t really think about in the days leading up, choosing not to anticipate the experience or plan it, but to let it unfold itself organically. A couple of days before I send out some couch requests (couchsurfing.org is a site with a lot of travelers or former travelers, who open their homes to other travelers, the people have references and some are verified, most thought I was nuts for wanting to crash on a strangers couch) to see about a place to stay and get some maybes. So I take off Friday morning take a plane to Denver to Seattle a train downtown a bus to over the border into Vancouver and go by foot to Downtown Vancity. I get into town at 3ish and one of my potential CS (couchsurfer) responses doesn’t get out of class until 8:30 and it’s still uncertain if I have a place to stay. Let’s begin with the first lesson fear: aren’t you afraid of not knowing. It seems we like to have things planned out nowadays, with 5 year plans and daily planners packed with things we ‘must’ do. We are afraid of not knowing. Or if you translate it, we are afraid of living, of being in the moment, enjoying what is right in front of us. No instead we’re either worrying about something that’s already happened or planning out the rest of our lives, when we’ll be happy and successful. What is stopping us from being happy in this moment? Not knowing can seem scary at first, but it is a wonderful time to look around and actually see all the wonderfullness that the world has to offer. To just stare at the mountains or one of our friends in new light- not taking things for granted but actually seeing and enjoying them. I could have spent days just staring at the mountains. Secondly, the couchsurfing part: when I travel and do these trips a big part is testing and challenging myself and who I think I’m supposed to be. Quiet, shy Brittany. Here is a chance to extend myself, to push comfort for myself. To call a stranger and hang out with them for a few days would seem alien just last year to me. I can go places and make new friends and be myself, otherwise I’m sheltering myself and denying myself of the company of some great people. Couch surfing represents compassion and trust to me. It is a testament to the human spirit, that we are compassionate and willing to do for others. Here I met this petite (if I’m taller than that’s petite) yogi, with her own style and edge, beautiful/artful tattoos all over the place (including her face), who instantly I know I chose the right person (that instinct thing works well if you just take the time to listen to it); named Dom. She is high energy, greets me with a hug and continues to generate conversation, awing me with not only her world travels, but her overall knowledge of the world. She’s lived all over the place (New York, California, Vancouver, New Zealand), a gypsy soul, I am inspired (I loved it in the car ride home from hiking we practice mindfulness exercises, which is similar to something I usually do anyway, and it’s effortless to see myself in her). She goes out of her way to make me comfortable: that I have things to clean, a toothbrush, suggestions on where to go (she even takes me hiking with German Daniel), a mattress to sleep on, a bike to get around the city and a map, and she introduces me to other CS members (like Irish Alan and Australian Murray that I meet at an art show). Sometimes in life it is necessary to take risk and to trust others. Prior to leaving I got lectures of craziness, it’s probably some serial killer/rapist and so on, but I followed that intuition again and I’m glad I did because I got a different experience than I normally would have and got to meet people from all over the world. Have a little faith in people sometimes and leap. Vancouver? Gorgeous! I was initially drawn in for its adventure and outdoor appeal, but I found that the city was a wonderful source of balance (which is something I’m always seeking). My first view of the city is this skyline of modern buildings, nestled and tucked in to the side of the mountains. A great model of mixing the advances of the modern world, with the magnificence of the outdoors a short drive or bus ride out of the city. My bike ride through Stanley Park I love, being outside puts me at ease and the trail hugged the side of the water; but it was wonderful at one point I could look to my right and see the Vancouver skyline and on my left were the mountains (which I don’t know why, maybe because I’ve been raised around cornfields, but the mountains entice me so much, and just suck me in). Balance is the one word I would use to describe Vancouver and with that I love Canada. The takeaway from my trip: take risk, follow your intuition, don’t fear the unknown, believe and trust in other, and drop the excuses. Live your life and enjoy each moment, rather than one that has already past, or one yet to happen, eh! Don’t get caught up in just losing weight or changing yourself, but enjoy who you and where you are now (it doesn’t have to be some big trip or adventure to make you live in the moment, I do find that my trips make me realize even more how much I already have). Relish in each bite of food and nourishment, every fit of laughter from your child, each drop of sweat from a challenging workout, each drop of rain on a stormy day, each step in a dance and so-on and so-on. Tomorrow will come, but it doesn’t have to hold you back today.
BE, Love, Illuminate