WHY YOU SHOULD DO THINGS ALONE




I've done a fair bit of solo travel and I always hear the same questions:

"You're going alone? Are you crazy?!"
"Don't you have any friends?"

"Wont you get lonely?"

There's a huge stigma about doing things alone - one that I cannot quite wrap my head around.

I've been to the movies countless times all by my lonesome. Dinner for one? You bet! Solo tropical vacation? Check mate. Climbing the Sydney harbour bridge? Yup - did that alone too, on my birthday even! I don't feel embarrassed, ashamed or lonely. In fact, I feel TOTALLY comfortable. Liberated.  Enriched.

If I waited for a friend to be available, I would of never completed half the things on my bucket list that I've conquered by now!

If you REALLY want to do something, why should doing it alone be an obstacle?

I refuse to wait. I'm not going to let others dictate when I get to accomplish my goals.





Spending time by yourself is good for the soul, and heres why:

1. You'll stop caring so much about what others think.
The thought of being in public with just your own company scares the shit out of some people.

Oh god they're looking at me, they probably think Im such a loser here by myself.....
Where am I supposed to look? What am I supposed to do with my hands??

We all care far too much about what others think. It not only holds you back - but also has a negative effect on your self-esteem and confidence.  Take a look around, guarantee you're not the only one there alone. You are fine. The truth is, everybody is too busy thinking about themselves to really give a fuck about you.  Breathe. Enjoy the moment and take it all in.

After going out in public alone a few times, you wont even think twice about looking weird.

Being a photographer has really brought me out of my comfort zone. There's been a few times where I had to get into a weird position or use an attention drawing flash.  The first time I was asked to photograph a venue during open hours I was MORTIFIED of completing such tasks because I was scared of 'looking funny' and standing out.

Did people look? OH YES!
Were my photos awesome & did I get a nice pay cheque? Hell yeah!!!!
So should I really have cared what they were thinking? NOPE!

Over time I have learned that you don't need to justify yourself to anyone. Just do you.





2. You'll get to know yourself.
You'll be able to ponder your own emotions and get a deeper understanding of what makes you happy, what you really like and what you want out of life.  You will learn so much when you get out of your comfort zone and try new things.

As it turns out, I really love Indonesian food, writing and the art of dance. Who knew!





3. You can do what you want, when you want. 
Of course it's fun to travel with other people, but there's been times I've felt rushed when I really wanted to relax and soak in the experience, while other times I really wanted to speed things up a notch but had to remain patient instead.  When you travel by yourself, you set your own itinerary and move at your own pace.

Feeling tired? Skip on the night out and go to bed early - no pressure.
Wake up and watch the sunrise OR sleep in until noon. You're on your own time frame.
Feeling like tacos for lunch and supper? Why not.
The world is your oyster!



3. It makes you more independent.
You no longer rely on someone else to do things for you. When you're on your own, you absolutely need to speak up to get what you want and/or need!

Also, when the influence of others isn't present, you're able to think for yourself and create your own opinions.

Your voice will be come strong and clear.
You'll be able to think for yourself.
You'll strengthen your beliefs and purpose within the world.
But most of all, you'll be able to accomplish things on your own.

There's no better feeling than saying "I did it!" - with emphasis on the "I"





4. You'll learn responsibility.
Somethings just don't work out. You'll miss your bus, a train or a plane. Forget to pack an essential. Get your car stuck.  Maybe even fracture your knee (again) and end up on crutches in a foreign country.  You'll be forced to take responsibility for your own actions, as there's no one else to blame. You'll end up stronger, learning and laughing through your mistakes.


5. It clears the mind - then opens it. 
There's so much chatter in our daily lives. Social media, the news, co workers, friends, family - seems like everyone has something to say these days. It can be mentally draining when you're constantly connected to other people: keeping them happy, reading emotions, making them laugh, feeding their egos, providing advice...  A bit of alone time does wonders to clear the mind. It allows you to recharge and regroup. It's important to take care of yourself too.

Once you clear your mind and let it wander, you'll be amazed at how much inspiration is around you.  Use this as an oppurtunity to become an observer:  take in the sights, the smells, the full experience.

With a clear and open mind, you're in a better position to learn about the things you don't understand before you place judgement.





7. Creates better relationships
Seems odd - but its true.
When you can love, understand and value yourself you're better able to understand and value others.
You'll have a better knowledge of what qualities you seek in someone when you really get to know yourself first.

For those in relationships: It's true that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Alone time can make you realize how much you appreciate your lovers company.




Bottom line is:
 There's nothing to lose but the fear of being alone.

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Ultimate Baby Registry Checklist


I'm currently pregnant with my first baby girl and I couldn't be more excited!
 It's definitely a learn-as-you-go process so I thought I would bring everyone along on the journey.

This month I've been looking up baby shower ideas and started making my baby registry - better late than never haha.

I chose to make mine on Amazon.com as it was super easy, includes multiple retailers for better options and gives the creator a discount once all set up :)

Click here to create your baby registry on Amazon!


When I first started making my registry I HAD NO SWEET CLUE what to include. So I made a list of all the baby things I would be needing and went from there.

My list was broken down into sections to cover all the basis...

TRAVEL:
- Car Seat & mirror
- Baby chest carrier
- Stroller
- Diaper bag

A few from my list:


SLEEP
- Crib, mattress, crib sheets
- Light & heavier blankets
- Baby monitor
- Night light/ sound machine
- Pyjamas

a few from my list:


FEEDING
- Bottles & nipples
- Bottle sanitiser/ cleaner
- Breast pump, nipple cream, nursing pillow
- Bibs
- Highchair/ Feeding chair
- Baby utensils and dishes

A few from my list:



BATH
- Baby tub
- Shampoo/ baby wash
- Washcloths & towels
- Grooming/ health kit (Nail clippers, combs...etc)

A few from my list:



DIAPER STATION
- Diapers (duh)
- Diaper pail & liners
- Changing table/ pad
- Wipes, cream & powder

A few from my list:



CLOTHING/TOYS
- Onesies,  socks, hats, warm clothes to conquer the Canadian winter
- Pacifiers
- Play mat/ bouncer
- Teething toys

A few from my list:




I plan on breastfeeding and using disposable diapers - so my list could be different from other moms. Since I'll be immigrating to Australia when the baby is 4-5 months old, I opted for easily collapsable/ lightweight products to take on the airplane. I've included both big ticketed items and smaller priced items.

What did you include on your baby registry? Have I missed anything that you would recommend?
I'd love to hear your feed back.












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Nude Maternity Photoshoot



Although it doesn't always feel like it - pregnancy IS a wonderful miracle. The female body does miraculous things while growing a baby & should be embraced.

Thank you, Gabrielle Gionet Photography, for making me feel like a maternal goddess. I feel beautiful and empowered every time I look at these photos.

_______

Gabrielle Gionet Photography,
Instagram: @gabriellegionetphotography




























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Rural Survival Guide



This past month I've moved from a big city to a very rural town. It has been a HUGE lifestyle change and I'm still trying my best to adapt every day.

No more pizza delivery.
No coffee shops within a 65km radius. (Tim Hortons doesn't count, sorry... It's disgusting)
More mice. The cat kills them and places them by the door as a gift... Yuck.
No more stimulating career events on a regular basis (Networking) 
45 minute driving time for basic life necessities.
No more buying fresh produce from the market on a weekly basis.
No more $15 express manicures.
Contrasting urban vs rural mindset.
Forgot to pickup something from the store? thats too bad.
Having to "make do".
Fashion here is plaid flannel, hunters orange and camouflage. Kill me now.
Guns are no longer a cause for alarm.
No public transportation.

A lot of these sound silly, I know... but the struggle is real!

Fredericton is the next closest city populated with 60 thousand people. Although it's more of a small town than a city, the 45 minute drive into civilisation feels like a luxury vacation. The sweet feeling of being home is cast upon me. I've never loved grocery shopping so much in my life - it's the perfect getaway. 

____________

I've created a survival kit for those like me who are also discovering the art of slow living  dying... 

City slicker guide to feel 'at home' while living rurally: 

1. Get yourself an espresso machine and quality beans for that cafe feel from home. This will require a trip into the city but totally worth it.



2. Get a furry friend so you wont be in total silence. The more animals the better. Especially noisy ones. You'll feel like you're in the middle of Times Square with a whole zoo packed inside your home. 


3. Close your eyes and pretend you're not there. 


4. Keep your mind busy by getting involved in a thrilling hobby. Knitting, doing crossword puzzles and watching The Price is Right are fan favourites in this neck of the woods. They're a bit TOO adventurous during these pregnancy days, so I like look out the window and contemplate my life. 


5. Show grandma your 'casual' boots. It'll make for great entertainment. Pair it with anything except camo or plaid for double the shock factor. 



6. Get a pie from your local bake sale. The country equivalent of 'takeout' - but way less Asian. 


7. If you SERIOUSLY need  prayers to get you through living rurally, dress in your Sunday best and head to church. Sit in the front row for the ultimate Jesus experience. I personally havn't done this for two reasons:

One:  Modest to me and modest in God's eyes are two VERY different things.

And Two: Im 5 months pregnant with no marriage plans. Rather not burn up in flames upon entry. Sorry Jesus, not today. 


Last but not least:
8. If all else fails, document your struggles in an online format (such as a blog) so everyone else can laugh at your problems.  























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Wellington to Auckland Road Trip Itinerary

WELLINGTON TO AUCKLAND ROAD TRIP ITINERARY



Sean and I lived in Wellington, New Zealand for the past 6 months. After finding out we were expecting our first child, we decided it would be best for me to have the baby in my home country of Canada. I would have the company of my family and of course, free health care. We booked our flights and packed our bags. 

Instead of flying out of Wellington, we thought it would be more fun to drive the 9.5h journey to Auckland and catch our flights from there. 



We woke up at 5:30 am; giving us enough time to shower, get dressed and pack the last minute essentials. With our luggage bags in tow, we walked to Thrifty Car Rental with a pit stop at McDonalds along the way for some coffee and a quickie breakfast.


We chose Thrifty Car Rentals as they have a FREE relocation deal from city to city in New Zealand. It was SO convenient for us and we saved some major cash!
The only expense we incurred was a $20 fee for a 2 day GPS rental and our fuel.

We picked up our car as soon as the shop opened at 7am. 



We saw some gorgeous views as the sun was coming out.






This pregnant lady had plenty of pee stops and snacks all around.  Imagine squatting on the side of the road with this beautiful view! 



We had one place that we wanted to stop at along the way - Mount Ngauruhoe. Mount Ngauruhoe is also known as Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings series. I've personally never watched any of the movies or read the books, but Sean was dying to see. Mount Doom is located in Tongariro National Park which is also home to Knoll Ridge Cafe - the highest cafe in New Zealand at 2020 meters above!



We arrived at the national park around 1pm. 







It took 2 long ski lifts to get to the cafe. It was Sean's first time on a ski lift and his first time seeing so much snow!




Unfortunately it was low visibility so I was unable to get cool mountain pictures - I bet the view would of been fantastic otherwise! 




We had some french fries & chicken nuggets inside the cafe then ordered hot chocolates to go.  It was quite busy and our drinks took a long time but the atmosphere was nice. 




We shared quite a few mountain top kisses! 













We made our way back down the mountain and prepared for another long drive. 






Our next stop was Hamilton, where we would spend a night at the Ibis Hotel. 






We arrived at our hotel around 6pm. We wanted to have a memorable night in Hamilton so we freshened up and hit the town.  We decided on eating at Keystone as we could hear really nice live music playing from the sidewalk.  We had garlic bread to start, I had a chicken fettuccini and Sean had a slow cooked prime rump steak. It was lovely!

Next,  we hit up the casino and lost $60. Neither one of us are big gamblers so we toasted our loss and hung out for a bit near the bar. 

By this time it was getting late and he had another big drive in the morning. We headed back to our hotel room and hit the hay. 




Around 9am, we enjoyed the free hotel buffet breakfast. There was plenty of options and TONS of fresh fruit. 




I didn't drink my hotel coffee as we made plans to drop by the Starbucks down the street before hitting the highway. 

We drove around in circles trying to find a parking spot. At one point, Sean accidentally drove on a cobblestone footpath thinking it was a road to drive on. It was hilarious! I was glad he finally did something stupid while driving too LOL.  We left Hamilton by 10:30 am.

We were still laughing about the cobblestone incident as we approached Auckland 2 hours later.  

We dropped off our rental and ordered a taxi to the airport. 
We made it in perfect time!



We checked our bags and received our boarding passes. 

All up, our trip to Auckland cost $140 in fuel, $200 for the hotel, around $100 for food/ snacks along the way, $60 for the taxi and $60 at the casino for a total of $560. 



Unfortunately, we flew in opposite directions. Sean went back to Australia for work and I to Canada as my Australian visa has not yet been finalised. It was a teary goodbye at the airport and our hearts were breaking. 

Gladly though it's only until Christmas and I've already started counting down the days until our next family adventure! 

Sean,
if you're reading this,
Remi and I cannot wait to meet you at the airport this December!
We love you and miss you lots.


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