Within a Blog Post, There was a Poem...

Not Just a Mountain

Look over there.
Toward the East, barely kissing the horizon
Stands an old mountain,
Its stance so tall,
Years of thick skin.
From playing the violin.
A minute, a week, five years
For centuries, everlong
She was told to forever
Stand still.
To play her violin
until the strings wore thin.
Little did she know,
The potential she carried,
her Strength from within,
So deep, it was buried
until she thought,
'mountain, not just a mountain,
but anything,
and everything',
she thought.

Although Thanksgiving has come and gone...

The life lessons of Thanksgiving should persist each day. And I'm not suggesting we eat a Turkey/mashed taters/green bean stuff/followed-by-pumpkin/apple/blueberry-pie-drowning-in-Cool-Whip type of diet. Well, you can do whatever you want but to get to the point; this post is about being thankful...

For everything...


Think about how many days/years were wasted complaining about what we don't have or have not experienced yet. 'If only I went to school, my job prospects would be more profitable', 'Once I get a house, I will feel more complete...', and 'I'm going to be happy once I get an opportunity to change my life for the better'.

It's sad to say that it is quite easy to adopt the polar opposite of being grateful. What with all the incessant commercials reminding us what we don't have and the constant buzz regarding the latest hottest phones, I can see why! Let's take a stand together and make a change. A change for the betterment of humanity.

I am thankful for...

The love and support my parents have given me throughout the years.
My little brother.
The friends that have come and gone in my life.
Awkward situations that challenge me to improve my social skills.
The five senses.
Sentimental songs that strike a chord in my heart no matter how many years may have passed.

The fragile crust of a Crème brûlée.

Being with the wrong people at the right time.
The wisdom gained from crappy relationships. 
Taking comfort of always having options in life.
The bad and good times; without the bad times, we wouldn't know the difference to cherish the good.
Movies that provoke long-lasting deep thoughts about my life. 
Living and breathing semi polluted air; at least it's air and I can breathe it. 
10 fingers, 10 toes, a brain, and a beating heart. 
Challenges that encourage growth. 
Inspirational speeches (formal and informal).
Memorable and lasting impressions.
Music that makes me want to dance my worries away. 
The power of choice.
Red roses.
All flowers. 
The friend that always tells it like it is, even if you don't want to hear it. 
Planes, trains, and automobiles.
The option to travel and wander just because. 
My brave mother for immigrating to America all by herself, at the age of 27. 
My suave father for offering a piece of bread to my mother when they met on a boat, together escaping the Vietnam war. 
Banksy's art. 
The ability to forever capture a moment in life through cameras. 
The risks I have taken in the past to lead me to this very moment. 
Never really knowing what's going to happen next. 
The right to vote.
Dreams; of all sorts. 
My R.E.I. membership card. 
Actions that sometimes shout much louder than words could ever fully express.
Warm-hot showers on a brisk winter day. 
Being raised in a cross-cultural environment.
My gut instincts that have saved my ass in past experiences. 
My strengths and weaknesses that embody who I am. 
The people who accept my strengths and weaknesses. 
The ability to stay connected from across the globe. 
The roof on top of my head.
Readily available food and water to keep me alive each day. 
Receiving and giving surprises. 
Never-ending opportunities to learn more.
Making the vow to mean everything I say to myself and others. 
Laughter. Lots of it. 
Being here. 
Using all of my ten fingers. 
Making the choice to call it a night.

Happy Thanksgiving again and again...

8 Reasons to Keep it Real.

  1. You attract what you desire.
  2. Easy to find value in what surrounds you. 
  3. Empowering.
  4. The power to control your own environment lies in your own hands.
  5. Better detect authenticity in others.
  6. Universe will bring you the best situations. 
  7. No feelings of guilt or shame when you are true to yourself. 
  8. All relationships and experiences will add value. 

Happy Sunday ladies and gentlemen. 

There is so much more to a Bad Day.

A bad day might induce feelings of stress or frustration for some whereas others may experience heightened levels of positive stress. The difference between the two? Simply doing something about it.

 As time continues to tick on and on, we may be at risk for losing our sense of consciousness or awareness. I say may because this is just a theory. I am sure many of us have experienced more than enough 'bad days' at a school setting, workplace, or at home. So what is truly considered a 'bad day?'

Bad day = a coffee stain on that brand new white silk blouse?

Bad day = getting broken up with by a post-it note?

Bad day = not acing the job interview you worked so hard to obtain?

There are some things we can control and some things not at all. The coffee stain; this very occurrence can be perceived in an opportunistic way rather than a victimized-like attitude. Maybe I shouldn't drink coffee anyway and start working on my health. That blouse is a material item; therefore it is replaceable. Within those types of thoughts, the thoughts will then transfer over to our emotions/how we feel about it. Depending on how our emotions are managed, we can either react consciously or unconsciously.

Don't let those external circumstances determine what kind of day you have; there's no need to give that coffee stain that much credit. I'm not saying this type of thinking is easy, by any means. In some ways, I feel as if we have been programmed to believe happiness is obtained from outside sources and play a victim of our reality.

There is so much more to a bad day. How? A bad day could be an indicator to practice how to react positively. Perhaps bad days are just great days disguised as bad luck. Challenge: Next time you feel/think it is going to be a bad day, take a moment to simply turn that thought around. Over time, we can change the language of our minds. 

The only way we become victims is when we think we are. 
You are what you think. 

Dance Dance Monday

Each day is an opportunity
To sip slowly, taste everything
Tomorrow is not a guarantee
So cheers to today, 
To be free, to be happy. 

Self-Discipline and the Mind.

Months ago, I had been warned by friends, family, acquaintences, even as much as strangers tell me that I am about to embark on an intense emotional roller coaster ride of my life. Now I am not typing up this blog to say I agree or disagree with that statement. If anything, I'd like to throw in my two cents for the night...

Intense? Surely. Unexpected? Yeah. Challenging and awe-inspiring? So much so. 

4-5 months ago, it seemed far enough that it didn't put things into perspective quite yet. Even at the 3 month mark, I felt secure and comfortable. As of this moment, I'm honestly experiencing every possible emotion. Luckily, the negative emotions (i.e. anxiety, sadness, sudden pangs of sorrow), come to me in tolerable fleeting moments...

Those fleeting moments of nervousness/anxiety do not fleet without control. It's quite easy to get lost in the 'what if' moments...'Am I remembering to bring the essentials for my trip?', 'What if a volunteer opportunity gets cancelled and I get stranded?', etc. 

Anytime I feel discouraged or sad that I am leaving behind everything I  know...
I tell myself that it's only temporary and something I must let myself feel for a moment. 
If not for a moment, acknowledge it in some way, shape, or form.
But when that moment is over, we must pick ourselves back up and continue that journey.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said:

"It is not length of life, but depth of life."

An Avante-Garde Way to Explore the Unexplored...

I have spent the past 21 years making assumptions about the amazing concept of long-term traveling; education-based, business trips, having family abroad, or come across a rare opportunity somehow to enable that sort of expedition. As of the year 2011, I came to the realization that my assumptions carried zero value.

Thanks to a variety of factors this year, I really felt as if I cracked my own code to re-framing my reality. A valuable life moment such as being shown The Secret documentary for the first time by my poetess gal pal Renee. As we were sipping our red wines and watching this absurd yet simple message, it made some sense - - at least, I think it did. I would go back and forth with the idea of positive thinking in high correlation with happiness. Many questions arose:

Is this a bunch of mumbo-jumbo that was intelligently marketed?? 

How do thoughts such as 'I will be happy' differ from 'I don't want to be sad'? 

Are our behaviors governed by our thoughts?

And if so, does that concept essentially prove the power of positive thinking?

I was about 22 or 23 years old when I watched that doc. Gradually, I would give this new-found framework of thinking a shot to see different results in my life. Following that event, I picked up The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and was mostly taken by the 3rd agreement:

"Don’t make assumptions - Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life." 

I never realized how unproductive making an assumption was until now. 

'I'll never be able to afford something like that', 'School is not for me; I wasn't good at it back then so I won't be good for it now', 'With a job market like this, the (insert industry name) is too risky and would never land a decent-paying job doing what I truly love', 'Tokyo? Sweden? Paris?!? I don't have that type of money and freedom to ever see the other side of the world..."

Catch my drift?

Whoever taught us our own assumptions are always going to be 100% correct? Aren't assumptions just thoughts of the future? If it hasn't actually happened in the past or in the present moment, then it's not even real! When assuming anything, we are wasting our present moments. Rather than wasting time by making assumptions, do something about it and find out. 

Next time you catch yourself assuming your dreams away, do remember there is never a wrong time to take a step forward and possibly even fuck up. Because that's just it, we won't ever find out if we fucked up or not if  we stuck to one possibility: fucking up. We are human after all and wouldn't be the person we are today if we never took that leap of faith, in a sense. 

Like I said from the first paragraph of this blog, I always thought long-term traveling was completely out of my reach. I assumed someone like myself could never be the female version of Christopher McCandless by taking on such an unconventional way of traveling. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the book Eat, Pray, Love realized she wasn't forced  to continue living an unhappy life and started to make tangible decisions. 

Have confidence in what makes you happy; don't assume it's always going to lead to failure. Without the experience of failing, dreams will never come true. 

If I didn't have 100% confidence that I will do everything possible to make this dream a reality..If I didn't face my vulnerabilities or fears of couchsurfing.com in New York..If I never purchased the one-way ticket months in advance (to hold myself accountable)- - I wouldn't be up at 2:24 Arizona time typing this up.   

"The End" - - The First Chapter

As the naive Penny once said to the overly logical Sheldon Cooper in the CBS sitcom the Big Bang Theory, "When one door closes another one opens", Sheldon's response was:

"No it doesn't. Not unless the two doors are connected by relays or there are motion sensors involved."

Although Mr. Cooper may be right in his observations, there lies some truth to this commonly used idiom. For instance, the act of ending a romantic relationship will naturally open up fresh opportunities for finding a more compatible partner. When one reaches graduation (high school, undergrad, whatever), learning does not suddenly cease but rather informal learning takes on a whole new meaning. Even though my uncle physically left this world recently, who is to say his energy/soul/spirit diminished as well? 

I believe the end of anything is the beginning of something. 

With that being said, I am in the process of "ending" my life here in America to begin a new chapter in Western Europe, Southeast Asia, and finally, Taiwan. It has been, hands-down, one of the most exciting decisions I have ever made in my 27 years of living. But you know what? 

I have never been happier.  


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