How Covid-19 Has Changed Travel Forever

So many of us who work in the travel industry could have never predicted what was going to happen this year. The Covid-19 pandemic really turned 2020 into a nightmare for anyone with travel plans, let alone anyone who runs, manages or works for a company in the travel industry.

Personally, I had four large trips in 2020 cancelled and a couple even in 2021 that I’ve had to postpone, along with numerous trips that my clients obviously have had to postpone/cancel as well.

That being said, having some extra time off of my day job has given me time to re-evaluate my short term and long term goals, focus on the other part of my business that I love, being creative and creating new content. I’ve taken some “continuing education” courses, attended some great “virtual conferences” for content creators and started working on launching a travel YouTube channel (more on this coming very soon!). So for me this pandemic was a blessing in disguise so I could focus on really launching this content creation side of my Wanderlust Journey business and still have a steady income. But back to the topic at hand…

In my opinion as a travel professional, Covid-19 has changed the travel industry forever, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I released a two-part podcast episode on this topic, but figured I’d also write this blog post as things have progressed even since those episodes were released.

The Travel Industry Will Bounce Back

The travel industry overall is resilient. We’ve seen the downturn from September 11th (which saw many airlines go bankrupt shortly afterwards), the recession of 2008 and other global events which have impacted travel. That being said, the travel industry was definitely hit the hardest it’s ever been by the Covid-19 pandemic. This is the first time we’ve seen any company related to travel (airlines, hotels, cruise lines, tours, etc) have to shut down temporarily for such an extended period of time.

Yes, there are always ebbs and flows when it comes to the travel industry. Travel is a luxury item for many households, so in an economic downturn it’s not surprising that the travel industry takes a tumble. Many people are still either off work, unemployed or have just recently returned to work, and are now trying to get caught up financially.

However, with Covid-19, people and families were stuck inside and in many countries were forced to quarantine themselves to help “flatten the curve”. Because of this, people are looking forward to getting out and exploring once again. People also value their vacation time, whether that’s reconnecting with family members or recharging after a stressful year. With my own clients, in the past couple years I’ve been seeing the trend of clients wanting a more “experiential” vacation over just going to a location for a mindless holiday. People are more interested in making memories over collecting things. Most people only have two weeks vacation per year, so they want to make the most of it. These trends alone really led to the travel industry making a comeback in the upcoming months.

Domestic travel (either within your own country or in a cluster, if say you live in Europe), has re-opened again in recent weeks. The numbers are positive so far with people booking local trips and looking to re-book vacations that were cancelled this year and move them to 2021 and/or 2022. If everything stays on the upward market trend and there is no resurgence of Covid-19, International travel in my opinion will “cautiously” start up again this Fall. That being said, most travel related businesses have obviously suffered severely this year. In the Northern Hemisphere (North America, Europe, etc), our “Summer season” from May to September has been a write off essentially to any hope of re-opening to International travellers. So I do encourage you to “be a tourist in your own town/region”. Support businesses locally to you who normally rely on tourism. This how we can all support our local tourism businesses so they can bounce back to welcome the world next year and for years to come.

Cruise Lines Have to Make Conscious Changes

The cruising industry (other than airlines) was the hardest hit. Thousands of sailings cancelled, not to mention the bad press that came from a couple sailings when Covid-19 emerged on the global scene. It’s shaken the confidence of even the most avid cruiser. That being said, the cruise industry as a whole has taken steps to win back the trust of the consumer, but it needs to stay that way long after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Personally, I think cruising now is probably the safest it ever has been in cruising’s history. Cleaning will be more frequent in public spaces, more a deep clean during cabin turnarounds between guests, forced hand washing/sanitising when entering dining rooms (some cruise lines already were doing a great job at this), newer and updated air filtration systems, enhanced screenings at check in and reducing guest capacity on ships are just some of the ways cruise lines are making changes for the good.

Most cruise lines have introduced “Peace of Mind” policies , which allow people to cancel 48 hours prior to sailing, if for some reason you don’t feel comfortable sailing or if you’re ill (each cruise line is different, check each cruise lines terms and conditions carefully). This actually brings me to my next point:

You Won’t Be Allowed to Travel Going Forward If You’re Sick

For the foreseeable future anyways. Again, personally, I’m all for this. With most airlines also promising “safe flying protocols”, which include upgraded air filtration systems and more disinfection between flights in airplane cabins, planes should be less “germy” than they’ve been in the past.

If you show up for your flight and you’re sick, you can pretty well guarantee that you will be denied boarding. That goes beyond boarding a flight though. You can be denied boarding your cruise ship, joining your group tour and even checking into a hotel. The travel industry is not taking anymore chances right now when it comes to further losses, especially bad press. This is also where you need to make sure that you have sufficient travel insurance going forward, if you can’t board a plane or your cruise ship, you need to make sure you’re covered to get all your money back for your vacation.

Flight and Vacation Prices: Going Up or Down After Covid-19?

To begin with, there will be some very attractive offers to get consumers travelling again. I’ve seen crazy deals already on flights and cruises. I’ve booked hotels in Whistler for unheard of rates in past years. That won’t last for long unfortunately.

There are also travel sectors that will be in higher demand than before. This means you won’t be able to score a business class ticket for a fraction of what they once were. Yes, it is true that businesses have proven more meetings can now be held online and over video conferences, plus not to mention that larger corporations have suffered financially during this time and have cut travel budgets. But the fact remains that having your own “pod” in the business class cabin gives you more space for “social distancing”, which will be in high demand now, post-pandemic more than ever.

Costs of extra staff, time of turnover to clean and cleaning materials will eventually be “included” into the base fares you pay. This will mean that costs of flights, hotel rooms, cruises will go up, especially if they are not allowed to run at full capacity.

We are also going to see consumers make more of a conscious buying decision when it comes to flexibility. I think now gone are the days where most people will buy a 100% non refundable fare, hotel or package without thinking twice. People will pay more to have something refundable as a built in insurance so to speak. For example, hotels and airlines offer the best deals and rates as non refundable fares, but now I think we will see people opt for the refundable, more expensive priced options.

Consumers will also think twice about declining travel insurance. As a travel agent, I will say that travel insurance has been a huge help for my clients who have had trips cancel on them or they’ve had to cancel their trips due to Covid-19. Some suppliers were able to help limit losses by allowing my clients to re-book trips or offer attractive “future travel credits”.

Future Travel Credits Over Refunds

Okay, I’m going to say it. I’m all for travel companies issuing future travel credits over refunds.

Yes, it might be annoying to not have your “cash back”. But think of it this way. Most cruise lines were offering 110% to 140% future cruise credits (in addition to other perks) to clients who’s sailings were cancelled. Ummm, you can’t get that return at any bank for that investment.

83% of people who were asked in a recent poll actually said they would be re-booking the exact same trip they were forced to cancel in the next year, so why not take advantage of the perks that come along with the future travel credits being offered?

If you really didn’t want a future travel credit and want a refund, I hope you purchased travel insurance. Travel agents have always touted the benefits of travel insurance, this is one of the reasons why. Most travel insurers (this does depend on the insurer and policy purchased) are paying out claims where clients where just offered a future travel credit. Yes, there are some instances where you don’t know if you can travel again, or if the trip will even happen in the near future so a refund is preferred (believe me I get it, my trip to the British F1 Grand Prix was cancelled this year and not sure if that trip will be in my books again for a few years to come). Life happens, but that’s why you need insurance. You probably have car insurance, house insurance, etc so you should have travel insurance to protect the investment of your vacation costs.

That being said, I think consumers are actually now going to be making different buying decisions when it comes to all aspects of travel, especially with group travel.

Small Group Travel vs Larger Tours

I believe companies who offer small group tours and adventures are going to be in higher demand going forward. With most tour passenger counts with small group tour companies at a maximum capacity of between 12 and 18 people (again depending on the company and tour offered), this is going to give travellers the confidence they can socially distance themselves and still see a destination more intimately.

Small groups also lend better to those who want to make sure they can socially distance and have their own room option. If you think about it logistically, it makes more sense for a smaller group to take over local accommodations socially distanced than a larger group.

I’m a huge advocate of small group tours and have done a few myself, the lure of being in a group where you can truly see and experience a culture, place, etc without sometimes seeing other tourists is amazing! Smaller groups can really help you experience the true soul of a place, without being herded around like cattle and following a flag in a crowd. As I mentioned earlier, I think people are craving more experiential travel nowadays, where food and culture collide.

If the Second Wave Hits, Will Everything Just Shut Down Again?

The honest answer is that we don’t know and that it depends. If the travel industry has taken anything to heart (and the world in general), it’s that we can’t afford a total shut down again.

We need businesses to start opening again and stay open. This helps all of our economies and will make sure that we can start to get back to a new normal. Hopefully, with all the safety measures in place, we’ll be able to continue on with life, and if you are sick, please take heeded advice to stay at home.

Why Using a Travel Agent or Advisor Is Smart

Especially after the pandemic, travel agents are in the know of each travel provider’s policies and can help our clients navigate which vacation option is best for them. When you book your trips and vacations online yourself, your computer isn’t going to give you first hand knowledge of the area that hotel is located in that you just booked, local restaurant recommendations or even which sights are a must do. Your computer also doesn’t care if you need to cancel a couple days prior to departure because you’re sick or double check to make sure you have the correct (and sufficient) travel insurance to cover you. Booking with a human normally doesn’t cost more than booking with your computer, you’re just going to get better service and a customized experience. Plus, you’re helping support financially an actual person, not necessarily a massive corporation.

I am a travel agent and advisor who specializes in luxury travel and cruises and I love to help people plan and book amazing vacations. If you would like to work with me as your travel agent in the near future, please contact me and I can put you on my “client waitlist”.

Covid-19 Has Changed Travel Forever and That’s Okay

Being in the travel industry for over 8 years has taught me one thing (okay and life in general), change is good. It’s painful in the beginning, but it can be for the good. With all these new cleaning and social distancing procedures in place for airlines, airports, cruise ships, tour groups and hotels, we will see a healthier travelling environment overall. We need to make sure though that companies stay on top of these procedures and keep them going forward, not just until we think Covid-19 is over.

Looking forward to travelling again soon,

Ariane

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Self Love, Gratitude and My Morning Routine

As you might have already read, on my trip home from Venice this past October was definitely a time for me to reflect on my life in more ways than one (click here if you missed this post). Many people have a love/hate relationship with Valentine’s Day, however all of these reminders of love really wanted me to write something to help some in regards to having a more positive attitude during this time of year. Whether you’re married, single, in a relationship, in a complicated relationship or whatever your status is, we all crave happiness and love in our lives. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my life so far, is that no matter what, you need to love yourself first, practice gratitude and have a true understanding of what makes you happy. If you miss these vital steps, you can lose yourself in a relationship, or worse off, never find that place of true contentment.

On New Year’s Eve, I performed a very powerful intention setting ceremony which was very sacred to me. I wrote out my intentions for this year on a piece of paper and at midnight I rolled it up with some sage leaves and smudged my apartment and all my crystals with it, putting my intentions into the universe. One of my intentions for this year is to fully practice self love.

My Path to Self Love

I’ll be totally honest, I have huge self image issues. I’ve struggled with this for years now. You won’t find a photo of me on my Instagram, I prefer to take photos of the beautiful places I visit than to be in any of my photos. It’s something I’m working on, on a daily basis. I feel I’ve made huge strides with this since practicing self love and daily gratitude, but it’s a work in progress. Being grateful has a huge impact on your path to finding self love and acceptance. I want to clarify, self love is not being selfish. It’s coming to an awareness of what you truly have to offer, who you are as an individual and you are fully aware of all your faults and failures, after all, you are just “human”. Self love is about being the best you and standing up for your truth. It involves understanding your body’s presence, limitations and need for nourishment, exercise, rest and rejuvenation. You need to strive to practice self love daily.

My morning routine is my way I make this a daily practice and priority.

My Morning Routine

Every morning I wake up at 5:30am. I make my way to my living room, sit on my yoga mat and meditate for ten to fifteen minutes. Immediately after my meditation, I write in my journal. I always start off with “Today I am grateful for…”, and from there I let my gratitude and thoughts for the morning flow. After journalling I do thirty to forty-five minutes of yoga to completely “wake up” my body and get ready for the day. I recently started a ketogenic diet again (I love how I feel on a keto diet overall, more in a new post soon), so after yoga and a shower I make myself a keto latte (steamed unsweetened coconut milk with a couple shots of espresso), sit at my dining room table and organize my day ahead of me. My morning routine helps me with stress levels, making sure I’m starting the day with intent and focus, and keeps me grounded.

Self love is so important. Creating this mindset along with gratitude is key for being a successful person in all aspects of your life. Find your rituals that speak to you. This could be going for a walk, doing a cross fit class, setting time in the evening for a relaxing bath, reading a book or sitting in silent meditation. These are examples of practicing self love you can do on a daily basis. It’s about finding a self love routine that helps you accept, forgive and focus on you.

How do you practice self love and gratitude? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below.

Love and light,

Ariane

PS – Did you enjoy reading this blog post? Please consider joining my Wanderlust Journey Community as a Patron supporter. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee per month (my community membership tiers start at $2 per month), you can help support me create more content! Click here for more details.

Why another trip in Italy changed me…

Coming home from my last trip in October felt very different from the rest.

Ok, I might have said that with every trip I’ve come back from recently, but this time it was different… I didn’t feel like I was coming back “home”.

Home can be different for everyone. For most people, home could be to build a life and strive to build a home for their families, etc. Home is where most people’s families, children, pets, lives are. Home is a very powerful concept. For me, leaving Italy this past trip was hard, I felt like I was already home. I was going back to a life that was just a means to an end. Driving back to my apartment once back in Vancouver, it just seemed “off”. Especially coming home to another yearly rent increase sitting in my stack of mail.

Life in Vancouver has really changed let’s be honest. It’s expensive AF and it seems less and less is being done about it. As someone who lives off of one income (proud of it), if things continually keep going the way they are, I can’t afford to live in this beautiful city anymore. I won’t be able to live comfortably (live without stressing about paying rent that’s astronomical, etc). So it was time to make some shifts and look within.

So flashback to me sitting in the Venice airport, I honestly did not want to get on my flight. I was dreading leaving this place I found so much peace and sense of home in the craziness that is Italy. As I was wallowing in my sorrows that boarding time was approaching and how any thoughts of making a run for it just wasn’t plausible, a woman beside me pulled out a journal and started to write “Today I’m grateful for the amazing trip I’ve just experienced”. I literally wanted to cry. The Universe had just given me a huge wake up call in more ways than one in that moment. I started chatting to the girl beside me about how I couldn’t help to have read what she wrote and how it really touched me in that moment. She explained she was going through a messy divorce and had gone through a miscarriage a few months prior and this trip was her healing gift to herself. Since her miscarriage, she had been recommended to do a “gratitude journal” to help her through it. She said it saved her life. It helped her be strong when her husband left and start rebuilding a life that she was proud to live. Next surprising thing which helped her, yoga. Yoga everyday. She said it helped keep her mind clear and able to focus on what’s happening and be present.

It was so amazing chatting to her. I believe the Universe puts situations and people into our lives at the exact moment we need to learn, hear or heal. This was that instance for me. On my flight out of Venice, I made a promise to myself to start a personal wellness challenge on the first of November. First step was to start a gratitude journal. Second step was to implement yoga everyday.

Now I’ve done yoga before and love it, but can yoga everyday really make a difference? Yes, yes it can. It does give you clarity and helps your physical body as well. Since doing yoga pretty well everyday, sometimes twice a day, I can honestly say hand on heart, that I’m so much less stressed, I’ve lost weight and feel physically stronger than going to the gym. I look forward to yoga and cherish my time on the mat.

But it was a few days ago that it really all fell into place. I woke up at 3:30am with what I wanted my long term goals to be. I spent a few days researching and thinking, then getting a bit discouraged. I wanted these ideas to work. So a few days later I journaled about being grateful for my experience in Venice and how I wanted to manifest my dreams. I very specifically wrote out what my long term plans are and what my intentions in regards to manifesting abundance moving forward. Then I headed off to my Yin class. After yoga I listened to a podcast (Rachel Brathen, love her) about manifesting abundance and putting trust in the Universe. I also wanted to work on focusing on living my life out of a place of love, not on what I have had to overcome (death, loss, etc), so I purchased a beautiful large piece of Rose Quartz and some Jade that afternoon. Later that night, right before I was about to go to sleep, someone had shared a quote for that day, it read “The Universe is saying to you today: Trust that your desired results will be manifested into fruition in your life and all is going to Divine right order. Stay balanced, grounded and focused. Love yourself more”. Ummmmm… Okay! So accurate for that day it was scary and the acknowledgement that I was working towards the right goals was amazing.

So here it is…

I’m now on a journey to become a yoga teacher, I also want to host healing wellness retreats around the world and eventually purchase an agriturismo property in Italy where I can have a yoga studio on the property in a restored barn to host workshops,  retreats and weddings. That’s it. I don’t know if it will happen in five years or fifteen. But I’ve got the clarity and the goal. I’ve got something I’m now consciously working towards.

Pivotal moments happen in our lives, we just need to open our hearts and minds to the prospect of the blessings they can bring.

This blog will change a bit, I’m excited to continue writing about the amazing places I got to see and experience this past trip (Paris, Venice, Montenegro, more of the Greek Islands and Croatia) and continue to give advice on countries I visit in my travels along the way in the future, but I’ll also focus more on my journey as well.

I hope you’ll continue reading and stay tuned for expressions of interest for a few wellness retreats starting in 2019 and 2020.

With love and light,

Ariane

PS – Did you enjoy reading this blog post? Please consider joining my Wanderlust Journey Community as a Patron supporter. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee per month (my community membership tiers start at $2 per month), you can help support me create more content! Click here for more details.

I Found My Belief in Bali

Facebook reminders that pop up can be funny, you get that reminder of where your life was “x” years ago because of what you posted. The one that popped up on my newsfeed today reminded me of a really pivotal moment in my life.¬†Two years ago I took a trip to the magical island of Bali, this is where I found my belief…

My belief in myself and my life path…

I was still quite freshly wounded dealing with separation and beginning stages of divorce stuff, I was emotional and was frankly quite angry and numb that I had just lost everything I had worked so hard for in the past ten years of my life. Bali set me straight. I realized there is always a lesson to be learned in what we experience in life, be grateful for what is, let the rest go.

You see I had never been to a country where you see people living so simply, and were content and happy. Yes, Bali and Indonesia in whole has quite a poor population compared to any “western world country”, however the people are happiest and most grateful I had ever met. This taught me so much. We get so caught up in our lives that sometimes we live with blinders on. We just carry on our day to day and live through “motions”. I would have been content to live the way I was, however when my world fell part and the curtain fell, I saw a new world around me, inviting me to explore and experience all that it had to offer.

This might sound crazy, but this realization hit me walking through the streets of Ubud, Bali after a much needed yoga class at Yoga Barn. I felt free and thankful all at the same time. I knew in that moment I had changed. I wanted to experience the world and soak up everything. I was going to commit to living simply, travel as much as I could and put the past behind me.

Since that time, I live a life focused on gratefulness and mindfulness. Yoga and meditation is a large part of my life and keeps me mentally on track. I am blessed with a job that has given me many opportunities to travel around the world and experience new things. Including my trip to Bali and Thailand, I’ve travelled to 15 new countries since my separation/divorce and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Bali will always hold a very special place in my heart, I hope to go back in the near future and spend even more time exploring the island and it’s beautiful culture.

I’ll be writing a blog series soon about travel tips and tricks for Bali, so stay tuned!

Change is good…

I’m not the best when it comes to keeping up with a blog.

I could blame it on a multitude of reasons, but I won’t.

But it’s time for a change, and change is good.

The past trip I took to Europe changed me. It changed my outlook on life and what I want out of this time I have left here on this planet. I realized that because this wasn’t a work trip (most of the trips I had done the past year had been “work/sponsored trips”) I was able to really do what I wanted and experience the countries I was visiting on my terms and timeline, so I was able to do quite a bit of self reflection.

Going into this trip a lot had changed with my life, the day before I left I received my final divorce certificate and I was promoted at work to management. I was too excited for my holiday to really put much thought into either of those things or really care. But in Rome a few days into my trip, whilst drinking wine and enjoying freshly baked focaccia overlooking the Colosseum it hit me, I was free.

I built this life myself, from scratch and I was free.

I’m pretty damn happy with where I’ve come from. I don’t look at myself as a divorcee anymore, not that it’s a bad thing that I am divorced, but that doesn’t define who I am. Yes, I went through a shitty divorce, but I’m happier as I came out of a really shitty marriage with someone who truly didn’t value who I was. My friends tell me I’m way to positive for someone who went through what I did, but it’s my positivity that got me through it. It’s positive thinking and gratitude that pushed me forward.

So I’ve decided to change the name of my blog. It’s no longer “Wanderlust Journey of a Divorcee”, but now just “Wanderlust Journey”. It speaks to who I am. I’ve always had a wanderlust soul, but am only now truly tapping into it. I read books just to learn something new, I travel to experience other ways of life. This is what my soul yearns for and what makes me truly happy. Home to me is just a feeling, it’s not a place. I could be at home anywhere in the world, Italy showed that to me. Yes I have an apartment, but I don’t crave to put down roots. From the moment I arrived back the thought of “where to next?” entered my mind. I can’t wait to see what adventures await me in the near future and I’m looking forward to sharing past journeys and experiences more regularly.

 

A New Year, A New Outlook

Already the first week of the new year has passed. It’s been an emotional Holiday season, and I’m thankful it’s over. You see, I signed my final divorce papers on December 19th. In lots of ways it was a day of relief, but the days following, I’m not going to lie were difficult. So many friends were with family and their spouses or boyfriends. I was, well, alone.

Being alone hasn’t really bothered me this past year. I’ve been busy, focusing on my career and moving forward with my life. But I realized over Christmas that I am having that feeling of missing companionship. We all have the need and want to be loved and cherished by someone. Friends and family help stave that feeling, but only to an extent. I’ve worked hard on myself. I’ve worked hard to have my own personal mission statement so to speak. I know what I want in life and what I don’t want, and I know I won’t ever settle. I’ve had time to work on these issues and know and trust myself. I don’t need anyone to make me whole, I already am. However I am ready for someone to complement my life.

So I’m beginning this year being open. Open to finding love and new opportunities. I know it’s not going to be easy. I know it’s going to take someone really special and patient to become my partner. I’m not looking for marriage. I think I’ve said it before in another post, I don’t believe in marriage anymore. However I do believe in partnership and commitments.

We will see what this year brings. I know I will continue to travel, I made a big decision over the Holidays that I will be doing another bucket list trip. Actually one I wanted to do with my then husband. I’m going to be spending my birthday in Italy. I’ve booked a three week adventure which includes an 11 day (round trip Rome) Mediterranean cruise (visiting Italy, Greece and Malta), then spending time in Milan, doing a few days trips from there with an epic finale of attending the Italian Grand Prix in Monza before departing back home.

I will never stop growing as a person. This is my first year that I am not doing resolutions. Even growing up a Jehovah’s Witness I still secretly made resolutions, even though I wasn’t supposed to. Having resolutions are good, having goals is healthy, but I hardly ever completed them. This year I simply want to work on living a creative and mindful life. Really living a life of “wanderlust”, being happy and paying it forward whenever I can.

So I started this year with a hope that this year is again a good year. I have dreams and goals that I hope get fulfilled, both personal and in my career.

Cheers, to 2017.

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I’m alone, and that’s ok…

For many women, being alone at 31 is scary.

We all grew up with Mothers, Grandmothers, other women of influence and basically society telling us if we weren’t married and had a family by 30 we were failing at life. Well I was married at 18, and let me tell you, I’m so glad I’m single now.

I was reading a book by Kelly Cutrone recently, one of the many things she wrote really resonated me was this: “Between the ages of 15 and 32, don’t worry about getting married, don’t worry about settling down, don’t worry about having a baby, give birth to yourself”.

This quote goes against everything I was raised with. But it made sense. I wasn’t ready to get married when I did. I was part of a religion (Jehovah’s Witnesses) that pushed that you needed to get married to have sex as God frowned upon sex before marriage, blah, blah, blah. Not to mention that men are the head of your household and you can’t go against your husband (yes, I had to call him from the grocery store is there was anything else I needed, I couldn’t just buy it or I’d get in trouble when I got home). My marriage was doomed when it started. Looking back I firmly believe that. The cherry on the cake is that I was given a stern talking to that I needed to be a good Christian wife and take back my cheating husband, with his son that he has with the woman he cheated on me with, I needed to look past it and accept it. Yeah right!

The past two years of my life have really been my own rebirth, a therapist once told me right after my separation I was experiencing a delayed adolescence.

Milestones I should have had much earlier in life, I’ve only just recently been experiencing. My first apartment, really travelling and experiencing this world, creating contingent-free friendships that are not based on “if I’m a good Jehovah’s Witness or not”, and just dating in general.

The point is, it might be late, but better late than never. Truth is, I’m happier than ever.

I went through a really crappy ten years of my life, the death of my father, the infidelity and abuse from my husband. When everything did finally come crashing down, I got depressed, really depressed. I thank my Aunt and my Grandmother especially for being there for me. I also thank my friends too, everyday going through this divorce is hard. It’s sometimes really hard. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

My happiness now depends on me, no one else. I realize that now. I don’t have time for relationships that don’t bring me peace or happiness. I’ve learned not to settle. Life is not about settling. It’s about ebbs and flows and about contributing to that peace we want to see in this world.

Will I ever have a family of my own, probably not. I think that ship has sailed. I’ll never be a mother, but that’s okay with me.

Everyone tells me “I’ll meet the right guy at the right time”, “never give up hope on getting married again”. The thing is we live in a throwaway generation. Our computer breaks down, easier just to go out and get a new one. Kind of my current thoughts and feelings towards relationships. Most people nowadays just throw out time and energies invested because it’s work. That’s what successful relationship are though, work. Just like any job, work is work, it’s not called fun. Finding someone who wants a partner is not easy in this world. Maybe one day I’ll find that special someone, but I won’t be getting married. I think marriage is overrated. It’s a piece of paper that can hold one of you hostage if it ever ends. Would I consider a “commitment ceremony”, probably. Just no marriage certificate. Love is supposed to have no bounds right?

My true love right now? Travel.

I’m so happy that I found a job I truly love and can’t wait to see where this career takes me.

I know this blog post got really personal, but hopefully it gives you an insight of where I want to take this blog I’ve set up. Again from Kelly Cutrone, I’ll end with this quote “I hope that you, too, will choose to have a journey instead of just a life. Actually, I hope it’s a full on expedition.”

 

I hit a wall…

So I hit a wall the other day.

An emotional, hard, brick wall…

I’ve been reading a lot of books recently, cheap way to occupy time really, but when I was reading “Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do It” the other day, I fell apart. Found myself crying and really feeling emotions I haven’t felt in a few months.

Maybe because for so long I wasn’t honest with myself. I actually do like being divorced.

Yes, I said it, I like being divorced.

Now my divorce really isn’t final in any sense of the word, we technically are still married. My ex has gone on with his life pretty well, leaving me out in the cold. He’s been living with with his girlfriend for over a year and they just had a baby. Really in so many ways my life feels like it’s the twisted script of some movie, and I was waiting to find out if there really was a happy ending in it for me. I didn’t realize it, but there is. Hence the wall. It all just finally, clicked. I’m doing things and planning things that I always wanted to do but could never do them because I was married. He was holding me back. I wanted to travel, he convienently became scared of flying. So I’m doing what I love, and it’s making me happy. I get the odd message or phone call even to this day saying he’s got his own problems and that he’s sorry. He wishes things were different and he misses me, he misses our home. I know he hasn’t found his happily ever after, I’m not sure if he really ever will because of what he did to us. Yes there are times where I miss the companionship of a relationship. I still feel stress of a job, struggling to pay my bills, I’ve got nobody’s shoulder to cry on. But if I’m honest, I’ve never had to deal with these issues on my own either. I’ve always had my parents or my husband. There was no in-between period for me because of the religion I was raised in.

A therapist once told me I suffered from a delayed adolescence. I totally agree. In lots of ways I think that’s one of the biggest reasons I wasn’t ready to have kids. I was still trying to find out who I was, finding myself outside of a religion who for so long made me a stereotype. I was going to grow up, listen to my husband who was the head of the house and have children. Once we left, there was a big new world and I wanted to find my place in it.

I’ll probably never have children, and that’s okay. I gave everything I had into a relationship of 10 years and really got nothing out of it. I just lost myself. Maybe it was never the universe’s plan for me to have kids, maybe I was just meant to try to live my own life peacefully. I guess time will tell. My ex tells me I’ll meet someone and have a family of my own, but I know he’s wrong. I have trust issues, I see the number of broken families out there and I certainly don’t want the type of relationship he has right now. Will I ever get married again? Probably not. I honestly don’t see the value in it. Maybe that’s me talking from a guarded perspective, but right now it’s my truth.

A saying that hit me hard was “finding your true north”. Something that I had never done. The last few months since my trip to Bali and Thailand, I’ve been celebrating me. Working on me. The tattoo that I got in Thailand was a symbol of that and so much more, so why stop? My next trip I’ve decided is to Everest Base Camp. Yes, trekking to Everest Base Camp. Not some beach vacation.. Noooo! A sweaty, back and feet breaking, probably life altering vacation. I guess that’s just who I am.

And I have to say, I’m pretty damn proud of who I’ve become.

The Soul Healing Side of Tattoos

While I was away in Thailand, I did something I thought I would probably never do.

I got a tattoo.

Nope, I wasn’t drunk, high or anything for all of you wondering, this is not a story like “The Hangover 2” either.

I was fully aware of what I was doing, had’t had a drop to drink that day and I don’t do drugs (they really are bad for you kids!). I had an idea of what I wanted earlier in the year. If I wanted a tattoo, I was going to get two glyphs melded into one.

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So with this glyph chart I found (I honestly can’t remember where, I just saved it to my iPhone), I fell in love with the two meanings that really hit me last year (2015). The glyph for Explore and the glyph for Transform. That summed up so many things in my life. I was exploring a whole new me, process of living, experiencing new places, exploring life. I was also transforming, transforming into a strong, skinnier (ha! I’m adding it cause it’s true), independent woman. The two together made even more sense. It was like it was made for me. The two glyphs once melded into one look like a snow capped mountain. I’m a mountain girl at heart, what can I say. I was miserable when I was pulled from my home, I gained even more weight and missed the mountains everyday. That was a few issues, I get that, but I now have a reminder about my strength and that I am my own mountain.

While I was on Ko Phi Phi in Thailand, I saw all these amazing tattoo artists, I would stand there and watch a few of them at work, not with a tattoo gun, but with the traditional method of tattooing, bamboo. I went home that night and did a bunch of research and asked around who was the best on the island. I heard a couple time that Coral Ink Tattoo did the bamboo tattoos and they were clean and very good. So off I went, they are on the other side of Ko Phi Phi from the pier, down the street to get to one of the beach clubs. They really were amazing. My bamboo tattoo only cost me 1000 Thai Baht and the process, like I had read was actually completely painless. I was shocked. It didn’t hurt. Now mine was simple and small, and I’ve been told that shading can be painful, but if you are reading reviews of bamboo tattoos, mine didn’t hurt.

I guess this is where I really saw how a tattoo can really heal a soul. There is something magical about getting my tattoo on Ko Phi Phi, it was a beautiful place. The bamboo aspect brought in the more traditional way of how tattoos are done, so I had an appreciation for that as well. Every time I look at my wrist, I feel power, energy. I never had that before. To me, my tattoo symbolizes so much. It has helped me heal from my past, I truly am my own mountain. I think that’s maybe what more people should do when they tattoo. For it to be a soulful healer, it needs to come from the heart and have deep meaning to you. For most of my friends that have them, it’s what they’ve done as well. The only problem now is the want to get another. They say that once you get one, you are hooked. I’m beginning to think they are right…

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New Year, Fresh Start

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Lots going on with this new year now here.

2015 came and went. 2016 looks promising and positive.

I accomplished so much in 2015, a messy separation, weight loss goals, worked hard on myself and of course, healing.

I went on an amazing adventure to Bali and Thailand for just over a month in November/December (blog posts coming this week I promise!), and while there really connected with who I am and where I want to be in life.

Thanks for sharing this journey with me. Divorce is messy, emotional and confusing. Writing has always been a great outlet for me.

I can’t wait to share all the good things that I have planned in 2016, it’s going to be a great year!