Just Go.

12 Mar

This is pathetic. I have not posted anything here in THREE YEARS! What does that tell you about my life, hey? Not many adventures have happened since Greece in 2011 (pause for a quick reminiscent daydream).

So Helen, why now? What’s going on? Let me tell you! Because honestly, I am bursting. I’m pretty sure I’ve told everyone at work, even people I don’t talk too very often. It’s been a very long time that I’ve wanted to take this trip, but it will finally be happening. Come March 2016 (yes, a whole year away) I will finally be going to INDIA!

Those of you who have already visited India will know that there are only two reactions you get from people, upon sharing with them your upcoming travel plans.

Reaction #1:  “That’s amazing! I’m so jealous. You’re going to have a great time!”

Awww, so lovely and sweet and supportive. 

Reaction #2: “Umm, WHY would you want to go THERE?! India? Really? Uh, no thank you. It’s so dangerous and dirty.”

Umm, okay. Thanks. 

People either want to go to India or they do not (like…at all). There is no inbetween. And that’s fine! To each their own, it takes all kinds, whatever floats your boat. You get the point. 

The reason I want to go to India is the same reason I want to go anywhere; food, people, culture, to experience something different and remove myself from my comfort zone.  Even if my reasons for traveling are the same for every destination, that doesn’t matter; every destination is unique.  The food and people and culture and experiences and comfort level will vary from place to place. Heck! They vary from province to province here in Canada. My level of curiosity towards India has simply stayed at a higher level than other places. Once I’ve returned, another destination will take it’s place (I’m already thinking about what I’ll book after India).

I finally had enough of dreaming and decided to make this a reality after binge watching the show “Departures” and becoming insanely inspired! I realised that I have to just GO. 

It’s hard up save up the dough for a big trip like this, or any trip for that matter. I live in an expensive city on a single income. It’s a struggle sometimes but I figured out a way to make this happen without going into debt and eating ramen for the next 365 days. 

I’ve booked my trip far enough in advance that I was able to hold my spot with a small deposit, instead of paying in full at the time of booking. I’ve worked it out so that I will incorporate the cost of my trip into my monthly bills (no charging it on the credit card and then trying to pay it off for the next five years). I’ve worked out how much money I need to put towards my trip per paycheque. Smaller payments = Happier Helen. As long as I have the whole trip paid for by the end of this year, I’ll be on that plane!  

“F” is for…

17 Jan

F is for FUN!


…of the Norwegian variety. I have already been to Norway and stood in Bergen at the gateway of the Fjords. I watched my friends board the ship for a four-hour cruise of these stunning waterways. I was held back only by the desperate need to visit a doctor and relieve myself of the hives that had taken over my beautiful porcelain complexion. I’ve mentioned this story before, but it only strengthens my need to go back and sail through the Fjords for myself; see it all with my own eyes.

Flash Mob

I have yet to meet a mentally stable human being who has not laughed or at least smiled while watching a YouTube video of a flash mob. Of course some are better than others, but c’mon! How could you possibly hate on a group of people who have taken the time to learn a choreographed dance, show up at a specified location and bust out the moves in front of unsuspecting strangers? There is nothing but happiness there.

I always admire the daring and bravery of the first person to start dancing. That would take some serious will power to not just flake out and walk away. Imagine you’re the only person dancing for a good ten seconds… longest ten seconds of life! I imagine within that time span you would feel many an emotion; fear that no one else showed up and you’ll be dancing all alone for the rest of the song; pride in the fact that you were able to force your muscles to move instead of freezing up on the spot; relief once a second person starts dancing.

The best part of a flash mob might actually be when the dancing is over and everyone just picks up and goes about their business like they hadn’t just participated in a public dance session, possibly while wearing  shiny gold Hammer pants.

Establishing Goals: Guest Post by Melanie Bowen

6 Jan

Just before Christmas I received a very nice comment on my Bucket List post from a lovely person named Melanie Bowen. Melanie is a part-time contributor to The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog and an absolutely wonderful writer. She asked me to email her directly and of course I obliged. Her response was one of the most surprising and flattering emails I’ve ever received.

“Hi Helen,
I asked that you contact me after coming across and reading the great content on your blog— to log and catalog desires, wishes, and things you plan to accomplish is by far the most important aspect to actually undertaking goals! Most people do not put their thoughts on paper—consequently leaving them without tangible reminders and constant ambition. I’m sure you can imagine how important this idea could be for those going through health struggles regardless of what they may be. An individual going through treatment, in remission, and even the family members of those with chronic or terminal illnesses face everyday challenges of maintaining a quality of life—self-motivation and inspiration is the key!”

I was thrilled to hear that someone outside my circle of friends and family had found my blog to be something special. How interesting that Melanie was able to see that quality in my Bucket List writing – this is something I had never considered before, although now I realise how important it is to keep track of our dreams. I was happy to fulfill her request for a guest post on my blog, so please take a moment now to read and understand Melanie’s message.

Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Power of Personal Goals in Treatment of Chronic Illness

 Though the experts in charge of establishing your treatment program may neglect it, everyone is aware on some level that improving quality of life is an important goal in the struggle against chronic disease. Improved quality of life is linked to relief of symptoms associated with both diseases and treatments. Studies have shown time and again that two of the most important changes for patients to make are establishing a regular exercise routine and eating a healthy diet. Addressing individual fitness is widely acknowledged to relieve many common symptoms of chronic disease, such as fatigue and emotional disorders, and improve the quality of life.

Though the recommendations have been out there for some time now, patients still struggle with implementation. Even when nutritionists and physical therapists are included in treatment programs, it is difficult to change established habits no matter how detrimental. One powerful method is to establish personal goals and share those goals with others in a lasting way. A verbal commitment can be effective, but writing tends to work for more people. A written set of goals kept in a visible location, like a blog that can be visited by friends and family, is a constant reminder of what you want and why you want it.

Establishing Goals for the Short and Long Term

Successes in the short term are necessary to maintain motivation for the long term. Since chronic diseases differ in prognosis and all patients are different, there is no one formula for choosing appropriate goals. It is only important that the first goals have a high possibility of success while still requiring work to get there. From mesothelioma to diabetes patients, this could mean establishing the goal of learning more on ways you can outside of treatment have a lasting effect on your path to wellness or healing. A specialist can help by designing a program to help you meet the goal or you yourself can motivate yourself! Read other people’s stories and share your own. Write down your thoughts, wants and desires and motivate yourself but maintaining that idea that earlier goals should progress to the more difficult ones.

Others, such as those battling breast cancer or heart disease, may be in the position to plan further out. If you’ve always wanted to climb Machu Picchu, definitely put it on the list! Its good to get your thoughts out on paper—the little things pave room for bigger things. Be sure to create short-term goals that will take you closer. Big dreams give us all something to live for, and you can use this power to live a fuller, longer life.

– Melanie Bowen