As I head into the last few days of my 25th year of life, I just wanted to share and reflect on this past and probably one of the best years ever. A year of new experiences, a year of discovery, a year of tranquility, a year of humbleness, a year of new connections and reconnections, and so much more…
My 25th year started off with a bang. My birthday was spent packing and just preparing myself for an amazing 13 day adventure. I partook in two back to back photography workshops in the beautiful and stunning Canadian Rockies. It was in these workshops that I met some wonderful and inspirational human beings. They were extremely encouraging and supportive of me and my work, which truly meant so much and gave me that confidence boost to continue working towards my goal and my vision.
During these 13 days, I traveled from Vancouver to Lake Louise, to Banff, to Canmore, to Calgary, to Jasper and back to Vancouver. There were many firsts that were checked off during this trip, such as: road tripping alone, sleeping in my car, backcountry camping, seeing bears, elks and mountain goats, flying in a helicopter, and lastly not having a plan and not knowing where I was off to next!
The following are a few snapshots I took during this life-changing trip. I honestly can say it is the best trip I have ever taken. I have always loved nature and the outdoors, but it was during this trip in which I fell in love with it. I was able to witness the most magical and unreal sunrises and sunsets.
“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”
Once I came home, I was a little too ambitious and ended up getting four new jobs… why you ask? I wanted to network, to make new connections, and just continue learning and experiencing new things. I also started my website/blog and a consulting business. Although I have been fairly consistent in blogging, my business has been a standstill. I underestimated how difficult it is to balance all these commitments. As of now I only have two jobs and have decided to take more time for myself and to continue working towards building my brand and my business… slowly but surely. But first, traveling and exploration is calling me.
Can we just briefly reminisce about the winter that Vancouver had this past year? The number of days with freezing negative temperatures and the amount of snowfall we received? I am not complaining though, it really made Vancouver such a majestic and beautiful winter wonderland. I also think my core strength and ability to balance and walk on ice and snow has exponentially increased ;).
In March, my friend and I took a road trip to Vancouver Island. Starting off in Victoria and making our way through Nanaimo to the west coast of Ucluelet and Tofino. Although this trip was cut short, it made me fall more in love with this beautiful province and what it has to offer. Definitely need to go back and spend more time there for sure. I just love the slower pace and more chilled and relaxed vibe of the island.
Fitness is also something that has been a pretty big part of my year. Running has never and probably will never be ‘my thing’. However, I was given the opportunity to partake in the BMO marathon this year and of course I couldn’t pass it up. Although it was only 8km, I have never ran a marathon before and it was quite the experience. All in all, I was very happy with my time which was slightly over 45 minutes. The goal now is to run the half marathon, but we shall see what happens. If you are interested, I have written a post about my marathon experience HERE!
In terms of other fitness related things, I also tried a bunch of new types of fitness classes and exercises. For example: mini trampoline, boxing, barre, and my favourite of all, rest and recovery in which I learned exercises using the foam roller and lacrosse ball. It literally is the best thing ever and is also a very important part of fitness that many people disregard and ignore.
If you know me, you know that my favourite musical artist is Chris Brown… I could listen to his music all day, everyday. Whether you like or hate him, I don’t care because he is an amazing artist and performer. So, obviously when I found out he was touring I just HAD to go, even if it meant driving to another country to see him. I still cannot believe I attended his Party Tour concert, and he literally was so close! Blessed does not even begin to describe how I feel.
The next trip I took was at the end of May. This was the biggest road trip I have ever taken to date. I met up with one of the participants from the Rockies photography workshop and his brother in Oregon. We spent a week travelling around Oregon; first spending a few days in and around Portland and Mount Hood, then to Cannon Beach along the coast, and then south and more central near Bend and La Pine. I have not been to Oregon since becoming vegan and oh boy do I love this state. There are SO MANY vegan friendly, health-conscious places. Everyone is also so welcoming and kind. If I were to live anywhere in the states it would have to be Oregon hands down. My favourite night was star-gazing and capturing the milky way… I will never forget it.
After that week in Oregon I headed down to Northern California to visit my family in the bay area. I am so thankful I went during memorial day weekend meaning my family had a day off to spend time with me. We ended up going on a hike to Mission Peak. I am so proud of my family for trekking up that quite moderate to strenuous hike with me. Being in the bay area also meant visiting one of my friends. It was so lovely catching up and reconnecting with a friend that I only see once or twice a year. I only spent a few days in California before making my journey back home. I gave myself lots of time because I wanted to take the road along the coast all the way home. The coast is stunning. There is just something about being able to look as far west into the Pacific Ocean and that sound of the water and waves crashing ashore. However, as much as I LOVE the coast and starring far into the ocean, being in the forest and among the great and beautiful trees literally makes my heart full. The freshness of the air, the smell of the trees, and that energy you feel being surrounded and engulfed by greenery… I could probably start crying of happiness and joy if I think about it too much.
“And into the forest I go to lose my mind and find my soul.”
Coming home was the start to a memorable summer indeed. It was the summer I finally got to explore just some of the nature and landscapes that BC offers. I now truly understand the meaning behind ‘Beautiful British Columbia’ on our license plates. Some local hikes that I went on this summer includes: Stawamus Chief, Diez Vistas, Quarry Rock, Lynn Valley, Eagle Bluffs, and St. Mark’s Summit. One particular hike I went on was the Canada Day Chasing Sunrise hike. I joined more than 800 others at 3 in the morning to hike up Mount Seymour to catch the sunrise and to celebrate the 150th birthday of our wonderful nation. What an unforgettable moment, hiking in the darkness, witnessing a beautiful sunrise and sliding down the snow.
There has also been a hike at the top of my list for years and I was lucky enough to finally cross the stunning Panorama Ridge off my list. Although we went during the time Vancouver and much of the province was covered in a blanket of smoke from all the wildfires, Garibaldi Lake was still stunning. I went on two camping trips this summer, one being at Taylor Meadows and another at Elfin Lakes. I am so proud of my friends who have never gone backcountry camping before and are not hikers either, they did great and I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did, especially that epic slide down the steep mountain lasting for nearly 2 minutes!
Ahhh, atmospheric phenomenons, I was lucky enough to witness and capture two: the Northern Lights/Aurora Borealis and the Perseid Meteor Shower. Forever grateful at being able to catch these so close to home. At Elfin Lakes we were also blessed to visibly see Saturn… yes the actual planet of Saturn! How cool eh?
One more phenomenon that probably everyone knows about is the Total Solar Eclipse. I never thought I would go back to Oregon so soon! An opportunity to catch a full total eclipse does not happen often, so another road trip was calling my name. It was a surreal experience, watching it in a parking lot with numerous others also doing the same, being given free glasses by such friendly neighbours, and being chilled and slightly haunted by an eerie, and foggy disappearance of the sun was so strange but extraordinary. So happy that I got a chance to go back and visit some of the same and also new places in Oregon. It truly has a place in my heart.
On my birthday 4 years ago, I gave myself the best present, which was a car. My lease for that car is expiring this September and so I decided to lease a new car. The only reason I want to remain a car owner is because one of my jobs requires access to a vehicle. Additionally it makes being able to go on road trips and hikes that much more convenient… and I have to say that I really do enjoy driving.
One last and my most recent trip was taking my new car for a spin during the Labour Day weekend. This time going south to Seattle. I met up with my friend and his friend who was working in Seattle for a few weeks. Although I’ve been to Seattle before, I have yet to explore much of the state. All I can say is what a great last weekend of my 25th year. It was filled with hikes, beautiful sights, long drives, great company, good laughs, delicious food, and also many firsts that were checked off as well. I am so happy I got to introduce and share some of my favourite things in life such as being outdoors in nature, and eating cruelty-free, delicious, plant-based foods. We managed the Rattlesnake Ledge hike, visited Snoqualmie Falls, circled around Mount Rainier National Park, and accomplished the Klahhane Ridge in Olympic National Park all in one weekend. Long weekend well spent if I do say so myself.
Yes, you don’t have to remind me how thankful and blessed I am to have had such an amazing year. There are so many people who I had the opportunity to meet, to cross paths and to connect with. Thank you to all those people. It really would not have been as great of a year without each and every one of you.
“It’s not happy people who are thankful. It’s thankful people who are happy.”
As for my 26th year, I hope it will be just as if not even more amazing as 25. I say this often but every year should be your best year to date. No matter what obstacles, what hiccups, or whatever comes our way, we can only learn and grow from it. We can only get better and get closer to the person that we are capable of being and the person that our younger self would be proud to look up to. We are all on our individual and unique journey, it definitely is not easy but try your best to enjoy every single moment, even if it’s painful and undesired. All I wish for is to be even more present, be even more in the moment, and continue living my best life by taking opportunities, by being inspired and inspiring others, and by helping and making a difference as best as I can.
Cheers, cheers to a beautiful year ahead.