2013 Year in Review

When this year started I could never imagined that I would be sitting in my old bedroom over trying to down scale all my belongings after just finishing dinner with my family.  The year started with me firm in my decision to resign from my job as soon as my lease on my apartment was up and head out into the world.  I didn’t expect that I would be back in Australia so soon and I certainly didn’t expect to be feeling like a fish out of water.

So many countries so many destinations

So many countries so many destinations

My Wanderlust Odyssey was cut short and that has left me not really knowing what 2014 will hold for me.  I am somewhat in limbo, do I stay in Australia with Ignasi and battle the immigration department to get him a visa or do we go to Spain.  Though I know without hesitation that 2013 was a year of growth and experiences I will never forget.

Before I commenced writing my list of experiences I was feeling a little empty and a little unsure of my decisions.  Coming back to Australia though a difficult choice, in reality I just wanted to continue traveling.  REALLY I wanted to keep traveling after a miscarriage!!!!! I know that was not a healthy and sane option given the circumstances but it still doesn’t take away from the fact sitting at home where it is comfortable and familiar and initially (and still a little now) I felt like I shouldn’t be here.  The beaches of Costa Rica and Machu Piccu still called me name loudly to come experience them.  As well as biking down the death road in Boliva.  Things I won’t get to do now for some time.

Giving myself a hug of love and compassion, I remember that despite any pain I have at being home after losing my beloved little angel I had a bloody fantastic year.  At the start of the year I kicked it off in style by running my first ever marathon with a pretty damn good time.  Helped facilitate a women’s weekend workshop and growing in the company of 30 amazing and beautiful women gave me a little glimmer of what direction I wanted my life to take.  With that in mind and my lust for traveling firmly in my heart I faced a very big fear of mine, I finally quit the job I no longer enjoyed and commenced traveling more of the world.

As a brief snap these are some of the great things that happened in 2013 for me:
Ran my first marathon in 4.23.24
Quit my job to travel the world
Walked the Camino de Santiago
Fell in love with a wonderful Catalonian man!
Visited my sponsor child in Senegal
Visited Cuba – decided its the last place I ever want to revisit
Jumped into Gran Cenote
Visited Chichen Itza Ruins
Swam between the two islands of Caye Caulker in Belize – I impressed myself here!
Qualified as an ESL teacher
Added 9 countries to my list – Spain, Portugal, Senegal, Andorra, Cuba, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Hong Kong
Committed myself to writing more
Finally started my first e-book
Ran my first women’s self-esteem morning tea
Meet wonderful people from all over the world that have touched my heart
Learnt more than 5 Spanish words – ok I know more than 5 but I still have a long way to go!
Getting to spending time with my family (most whom I haven’t seen in over 2 years) and my beautiful dog!
Got published on a women’s travel website
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There are many more amazing things that happened, like the day Ignasi bathed my feet in freezing waters on the Camino de Santiago or the little dogs all over the world that got their photos taken while I squealed ‘Why hello!’.  After looking at the good things I thought about the things I wished were different.  I say different because bad just seems like it was too big of a word to use.

So the things I wished were different:
Money issues with former company not being solved swiftly
Miscarriaged at 13 weeks
Didn’t get to volunteer due to pregnancy issues and subsequent miscarriage
Didn’t get to complete my year long travel plans
Removal of items from Dubai – hopefully resolved by new years
Family illness and tragedy (not my stories to share)

So when you actually weigh up the great things to the things I wished were different it’s 18 to 6.  Pretty damn good odds in favour of great things.

I am also finishing the year in style.  Christmas with family, my darling Ignasi arrives on my birthday!!!! The remainder of my family arrive around the same time and I will have finished my 10000 kettlebell challenge, done 30 days of the no poo challenge (I am thinking I will never by shampoo again as I have found no difference between shampoo and no poo aside from the cost). My 2000 words per day has been more than just a little difficult but the 3 liters of water a day has been surprisingly easy.  And I am pretty sure I have become addicted to PicFrame and posting photos with little comments on them on my Instragram account – aussiebutterfly76!

So to be fair this year has been bloody amazing! I am still grieving our angel and I think I will for awhile yet but I can see all the amazing people, experiences and a few too many ‘things’ in my life.  The list of things I am grateful for would take hours to write.  One thing is certain I learnt the value of faith and trust.  Trusting that everything would turn out the way it was meant to and not how I wanted it too took a lot of faith.
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12 days of the year left and still a few amazing things to come! I am a very lucky women!
What were the great things that happened for you in 2013?

Blessed Be
Robyn xox

December 2013 – Challenge Month!

December is a lovely month for me.  It starts with my brothers birthday, then Christmas and my birthday before the start of a new year.  So it seems the perfect month to start a couple of challenges just to round out the year.  As the month progresses I will keep a diary, both written and photographic, so you and I can track my progress.  Hopefully not tracking my lack of progress!

So just what are these challenges I am going to subject myself and my body to! I’m going to not use shampoo and conditioner for a month (and perhaps continue afterwards), drink 3 litres of water per day and a kettlebell demon idea!

First challenge – no poo method

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Hairdressers shudder when you mention it but the hippy and frugal girl inside me is completely intrigued.  So what is the no poo method? In basic terms it is cleaning your hair without the use of chemical ladened shampoo and conditioner.  I will admit I am nervous about trying this.  Intrigued, yes but still nervous.  I have lovely hair when I get regular haircuts but it also gets very greasy.  Different blogs say how amazing going no poo is for your hair, others say it is horrible and wrecks it but just like everything in life, I can’t really comment on it until I get it a try.

There are a number of different techniques but I am going to use the pre-mix solution.  Appeals to my lazy side, mix it up and put it in the shower, refill when finished.

Step 1 – Baking Soda: In a small squeeze bottle I have added one tablespoon of baking soda to one cup of water and shaken well.  You use it on the roots of the hair.  Once the hair starts to feel ‘slippery’ you rinse thoroughly.  In everything I have read states this part of the step cannot be underestimated.  YOU MUST RINSE THOROUGHLY!

Step 2 – Vinegar Rinse: Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to one cup of water in a spray bottle.  The rinse is only applied to the length of the hair no the roots.  Keep in for at least two minutes or for the remainder of the length of your shower, rising before getting out.

Step 3 (as required) – Coconut Oil Because my hair is naturally wavy and has a tendency to knot (I am also very lazy I combing my hair everyday) the coconut oil will provide a deep conditioner.  As well when used sparingly, shine and conditioner till the natural oils are balanced.

Not looking forward to the transitional phase where apparently it will suck to be doing this and my hair will be greasier than ever! Joy!

Second challenge – drink 3 litres of water per day 

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This idea was first spawned after reading an article about a 42 year old women, Sarah, in the UK taking 10 years of her face by drinking 3 litres of water per day after recommendation from her neurologist and nutritionist.  Now as a woman fast approaching her 37th birthday I don’t really need to take 10 years off my face but I could certainly do with drinking more water.

Over the years I have been pretty lackadaisical about regular water consumption and can go many a day with only drinking a small amount of water.  My skin can be very obvious at showing my lack of hydration.  Cracked lips, uneven skin tone, wrinkles around my eyes and dark circles under them.  Looking at Sarah’s photo’s from the first day and then after 4 weeks the difference was very tangible.

A lack of hydration effects more than just the physical look of my face.  All the bodies systems require water to flush the toxins out, carry nutrients around and eliminate waste.  I shudder to think how much of my bodies systems are impaired, so the results over the next month will be telling.

My biggest worry about drinking 3 litres of water per day is shear and utter boredom at the taste.  I am going to allow herbal teas and 2 cups of normal tea (which I have weak, black with one sugar) to be counted in my daily consumption rate.  All other fluids will not count towards the goal.

My constant need for bathrooms with my pea size bladder may be tested with this challenge!

Third challenge – Kettlebells

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I first got introduced to kettlebells after reading Tim Ferriss, 4 Hour Body and whilst training for the marathon I started using them.  Such a simple move with the kettlebell swing and yet so many muscles benefit from the action.  It has been called the perfect exercise.  I tend to agree.  Engaging the core, posterior chain, leg power and shoulder stability the result is an all over body work out that develops power, strength and balance in one.

So to challenge myself I can’t be wimpy but I can’t be so over ambitious that I hurt myself.  I have purchased a 16kg kettlebell and after 20 reps it gets a little on the heavy side.  I looked at a 10000 rep challenge but this means roughly 322 reps per day.  Not quiet sure after numerous months of inactivity that my body could handle that…… or can it.

10000 kettle bell repetitions by 5pm on the 31 December 2013.    I think I just made myself a little sick at committing to this challenge!!!

Going to get very impressive; or unimpressive depending on how you look at it, callouses on my hands doing this!!!

AND JUST FOR GOOD MEASURE!!!!!!!!

Another challenge or should I say this one is a requirement.  As I am a writer I couldn’t have a challenge month without a writing challenge included!

Fourth challenge – 2000 words per day

For the time being, to keep my writing in check while I am sorting out my stuff and generally just being lazy now I am back in Australia, I have to keep motivated in my writing.  I gave myself a few days of chilling with the family but now its time to get cracking on the book plus my paid work.  Got to keep the dollars trickling in!  Therefore I aim to write 2000 words per day!

December 2013 is going to be an interesting month.  I can see myself getting frustrated with the transitional period of the no poo challenge, bored with water, sore and sorry muscles not wanting to lift the kettlebell and writers block.  However, an unchallenged Robyn makes for a rather lazy girl.  I know this about myself and if I don’t challenge myself and make it public I WILL be a slug!

At time of posting I have:
◦    Completed 272 kettlebell swings
◦    Drunk 2.250 litres of water
◦    Written 1200 words
◦    Haven’t washed me hair yet ;)
So I am starting pretty good…… 30 days to go!

Are you challenging yourself to anything this month?  Let me know!

Blessed Be
Robyn xox

Disclaimer: I had a tiny touch of make-up in the photo oops!!