2017 – A Year in Review

2017 was a great year!

I added another six countries to my list (Vietnam, Taiwan, Italy, Greece, Malta and Switzerland), finalized my divorce, completed two more cruises, spent numerous days enjoying the mountains (skiing, white water rafting, zip lining, snowmobiling, RZRing and hiking), received a promotion at work and was able to knock off the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix off my bucket list.

I’m so grateful for the life I’ve built for myself, and I guess that’s the most empowering thing, I’m doing it myself. I can be free to live the life I’ve always wanted on my terms. Each place and experience teaches me something new, and I love that feeling.

My favourite places I travelled to this year was Santorini and Italy. I really fell in love with these two places. Santorini is just magical. I wish time could just stop when I was there. Italy was a bit different, for me it felt like home. Before I left, I learned a bit more about my heritage and found out I have a great grandmother from the Amalfi region and a great grandfather from the Veneto region. So visiting Italy was actually personal. I loved everything about it, the people, the architecture, the food (and wine) and just the lifestyle. This is a place I can see myself coming back to year after year and definitely a place I can see myself living. I spent my birthday this year touring the Amalfi Coast (Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi and Ravello) and it was honestly one of the best days of my life.

2018 is already shaping up to be a fantastic year.

I have three cruises planned so far, one taking me back to Alaska for the third time in September on the brand new Norwegian Bliss which is currently still being built, and another cruise round trip Venice, Italy on the Norwegian Star taking me to Kotor (Montenegro), Corfu (Greece), Santorini (Greece, this time for the sunset on the island), Mykonos (Greece) and Dubrovnik (Croatia). I’ll be spending quite a bit of time in Venice and in the Veneto region, exploring the hills where the world’s best Prosecco is made and visiting the Ferrari factory and museum in the Modena region (also well known for it’s exports of balsamic vinegar). I’ll also be visiting Paris and Amsterdam.

I can’t say enough how grateful I am, and can’t wait to see how 2018 unfolds.

Cheers, and Happy New Year!

Book Review – The I Factor

My book review for December is for the book “The I Factor” by Van Moody. This was released on November 22nd, 2016 and can be found in Indigo for around $21.00 CDN. In all honesty, I really didn’t like this book. The author gave a pretty bold opinion on how certain celebrities “I factors” led to their demise and suicides. This totally made me lose respect for this author right away.

Mental heath is a real issue, some people do need help. They are not less of a human being either for having mental health issues. Sometimes these individuals that do suffer are the kindest people I’ve met, they know what it’s like to feel pain, they don’t want anyone else to suffer like they have. It’s got nothing to do with someone’s “I Factor”. I grew up a Jehovah’s Witness just like poor Michael Jackson, I can see where he got his issues from, not to mention being such a big star at such a young age. It’s also fact that he didn’t want to die and that his doctor was negligent and gave him an overdose.

Sometimes people rise to success, only to lose it at no fault of their own. To say that they are at fault always is judging (kinda what the Bible says not to do I think haha). Each person’s success and failure is sometimes not in their own control. I’ve been laid off from a job that I had no control over losing, the company was suffering and had to cut many jobs. That’s life. Unless I was the owner of that company I would have lost that job, it had nothing to do with my “I Factor”.

Yes, you certainly need to work on yourself if you want to succeed in life. That’s common sense. But to say that anyone that doesn’t have a relationship with God is going to basically fail is just stupid. I think that since religion is out of my life, I live a much better way of life. I feel that my whole life I was living in fear of a “God” who would punish me if I did anything wrong or not according to “his organization”.

Now, there is no fear, I have found the true me. I was held prisoner by my beliefs, but now I’m free. I live by my own common sense principles, that is my “I Factor”. Ultimately I was hoping this book would be less religious, some of the tips are good, but just way to much relying on God. In all honesty, I feel I’m a stronger person without a belief in God in my life, because I have to rely on myself, to me that is a true “I Factor”.

 

If you are religious, this might be a book for you. If you are a “free-thinker”, steer clear. All in all, I give this book one out of five stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com&gt; book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html&gt; : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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.”

 

Book Review – The Things We Knew

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My book review for September is for the novel “The Things We Knew” by Catherine West. This was released on July 12th, 2016 and can be found in Indigo for around $19.00 CDN. I have to say, I found this book a little hard to read. I found the amount of characters in the book to be a few too many. Each character had his or her own story, which a few of them I thought really just got lost in the book and didn’t really add much to the story overall. It was almost too busy which made some parts to me a little confusing. The premise is a family that has suffered a tragedy coming together when the main character reaches out because she needs help. They try to help each other through various trials and personal issues.

In some ways I think quite a few people can relate to the disfunction portrayed. I don’t think any family is immune to this. The family in the book was dealing with so many things; death, grief, addiction, abuse, caring for an unwell parent, scandal, love and ultimately the unknown. You did feel for the characters and you understood the emotion and what some of them were going through.

I do understand the one area of the book very well, creativity is therapy. The main character used painting as her therapy to help her remember. I do know, speaking from personal experience, being creative through art or writing is very helpful and healing.

All in all, I give this book two out of five stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com&gt; book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html&gt; : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

It’s been awhile…

It’s been a crazy summer.

In a really positive way 🙂

I’ve started my dream job at a travel agency and absolutely love it. It’s been awhile since I could honestly say I love what I do. I owned my own successful business and I really loved that until my world came crashing down. But I’m a firm believer that life happens and puts you on track to where you really belong.

The amount of travel opportunities that have presented themselves to me in the last few months have been incredible. I’ll be doing a 1 Night cruise from Seattle to Vancouver on the NCL Pearl in September, Rocky Mountaineer familiarization tour in October, along with another trip to Mexico to stay at the Hyatt Ziva in Puerto Vallarta in December. That’s just the FAM trips lol. Learning events and cruise ship tours have also kept me busy. This company really has a work hard, play hard mentality, and I love that. They do so much for their employees and I’m grateful that I was chosen to be part of it.

Not bad for turning my life around in a year and a half I’d say.

I’m definitely going to be blogging more, lots of reviews on hotels, trips, etc to come I promise!

Book Review -The Four Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership

So once upon a time I used to be part of a program called BookLook Bloggers, it’s a really good blogging for books program. With the new year here I guess this was another thing that I wanted to get back into, so I applied and I was accepted into this program with this blog! 🙂

So here is my first review!

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I requested to review The Four Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership by Jenni Catron. This was released on December 1st, 2015 and can be found in Chapters for around $28.50 CDN. It’s a hardcopy book and the title is definitely catchy. One thing to me that became very clear very quickly is that this is a book for someone spiritual in the Christian faith. I am not Christian, nor do I really have a belief in God, so a lot of this book I really took with a grain of salt. A lot of her tips were quite simple, I did enjoy her writing style overall and the book was very easy to read. If you are a Christian in a leadership role, I’m sure it would really strike a cord.

I think the biggest takeaways I had from this book was really a couple good reminders. One, to be a good manager and/or a good leader you really need to work on yourself first. Two, taking a minute to think clearly in chaos prevails. These two tips really spoke to me the loudest as I am starting my own journey as an entrepreneur again.

All in all, I give this book two out of five stars (yes I do this). A definite read if you are a Christian in a leadership position, or a great gift if you know someone who is.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com&gt; book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html&gt; : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Anyways, there is my first review! Many more to come! 🙂

Keeping Busy

One thing I’ve learned this past year since my separation is the need to keep myself going. If I haven’t had the support from my family and friends I probably would have gone insane by now.

When going through hard times, keep yourself busy.

In lots of ways this has been a time of reflection on myself. How can I become a better person? So instead of spending my days in bed, I walked and progressed into running, also challenging myself to the Grouse Grind as many times as I can this season, which has built up my self confidence because I’ve lost weight. I got myself a part-time job, started making new friends. I went to consumer shows on the weekends when I wasn’t working, like the Adventure Travel and Sports Show, women’s shows, etc, all in the effort to keep myself out of depression. Day trips hiking to Whistler and of course booking my vacation.

In lots of ways since this separation, I’m figuring out what makes me happy as my own person. Not trying to constantly try to make someone else happy, do what I want to do for me, no one else. I was never allowed to be selfish. Growing up in the religion I did, really stopped that kind of thinking. Getting married really way too early, I was a wife and had to do what my husband wanted. I was not allowed to be independent. So now I can focus on these things.

Since booking my trip to Bali and Thailand, it really has helped me look forward to something when I really didn’t have anything to look forward to. I’m all alone in many ways, and that’s scary to me. Not knowing what my future looks like, if I’ll ever meet anyone again, creates a bit of anxiety. This trip, concentrating on becoming a better, healthier person has really helped me in my darkest times. My life really has changed. I’m hoping for the good.

I know I would have never been able to travel like I will be when I was married. In many ways my adventure started the day I left my home with him, when he left me all alone, a broken person. I’m glad I had the courage to leave.

In the next few months I look at all the positive things happening, my trip to Bali and Thailand, going to be moving to Whistler and hopefully still stay on the path of losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle. I’ll constantly keep myself busy cause that all I know how to do now. It’s helped me heal and find my true self.

To all the women out there struggling, keep your head held high, you can do this. You can get through whatever it is you are going through, just keep moving 🙂

Packing for Bali/Thailand

With just a week to go until I leave, I’ve begun packing!

I am bringing a 26″ lightweight Heys suitcase and a Dakine Heli Pro 2 as my carry-on.

Thinking about what I needed for this trip, I thought I would create a post about some of the things I am packing which sometimes get forgotten by others.

Camera gear/technology – So I’m planning to bring a few pieces to document my journey. I will be bringing along my GoPro Hero 4 Silver with an underwater housing, my Canon 6D and a few memory cards. I am also bringing my iPhone 6 to take quick pictures to post to Instagram and Facebook once I get back to my hotel each night. I will be turning my cellular service and my data off, but the nice thing with an iPhone is that you can still use most functions just connected to wifi (iMessage, FaceTime, posting photos, etc). I will also be taking my Samsung tablet, just in case I decide my iPhone is too small to do browsing at night, or to upload some of my GoPro videos and photos.

Snorkelling gear – One thing I read several times is that it’s recommended to bring your own gear if you can. I heard that renting gear can be expensive and of course you aren’t 100% sure if they really sanitized the snorkel completely. So I decided not to take the chance and just bring my own. I found a set at Costco this summer for $29.99, so very reasonable and it includes the mask, snorkel and fins.

Travel documents – I have hard copies of everything! Hotel confirmations, flight details, copy of my passport, travel insurance documents, tour itineraries, credit card company/bank phone numbers, etc. These documents will go into the hotel safe wherever I am in case my details on me gets stolen or lost.

Other items – Some of the other items I am taking are a small emergency kit, Tylenol, Gravol, Pepto Bismol, sunscreen (I also bought a travel size to keep in my purse for re-applications on the go), hand sanitizer, wet wipes, Clorox wipes (to wipe down hotel and airplane surfaces), Downy wrinkle release spray (amazing for travelling!), insect repellant, mini flashlight, and a few other little things here and there. I also purchased some Ener-C, little packets of powder that contain vitamins and minerals that help with immune system health and replenish electrolytes.

Other than that of course I packed some great outfits and who can forget the most important item of all on a trip like this… My swimsuit! 😉

Journaling

Globe and Journal

I love journaling my trips.

It’s something I can always look back on, also write in the moment when my tablet and/or computer isn’t in reach. There is also something about writing on paper that I love. When you pen words to paper, sometimes you remember more than just what was happening at that moment, it brings you back to the smells, the views, the moment your were experiencing that very time you were writing. I tend to blog after I return from my trips, so my journals are also my reference.

So I went in search for a journal for my Bali/Thailand trip and found a beautiful one at HomeSense for $6.99! It’s the perfect size and honestly I can’t wait to start using it.

I also found a globe at HomeSense as well, it had a few marks on it (which was ok because of what I had planned for it), so I got it at a fantastic deal. I saw an awesome idea of using a globe and writing all over it with all the places you’ve traveled. Over the years, you fill your globe with all your travel experiences. It’s a great keepsake project that I absolutely love. Years from now, I hope to look my globe and all the places I’ve traveled and really appreciate that there is more happiness in memories than things 🙂

My new journey awaits…

My name is Ariane and I’m 29 years old.

I’m currently going through a very difficult time in my life, I’m going though a separation and divorce.

Through this time you really do evaluate everything in your life, you figure out your priorities and what matters to you. Not only that, you need to try to find what makes you happy all over again, to rediscover yourself. Through this I found I had a want to travel, to travel and discover the world.

Before this I was content with my life, being a wife, keeping a house, working. Since that life came crashing down and feeling like the rug was ripped from underneath me, I realized I had not been selfish.  I hadn’t done what I really wanted to do with my life. Now I have that chance, the chance to experience life on my terms.