Tag Archives: Mexico

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
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.
cuban_face_n_Fotor 2013-08-17 06.53.54-1 2013-08-17 06.28.56-1 2013-08-20 16.06.39-12013-11-29 06.33.50 Candle for Lost Loved Ones
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


Self-Esteem: My top five strategies…

We all know someone with amazing self-esteem and elegance.  She is the women that walks into a room and all people notice her and she doesn’t do it by tweaking or wearing a skimpy dress or being loud and obnoxious.  She is the one who is dressed so that it flatters her figure (no matter what her figure is) and has a beautiful, kind demeanor.

That woman is generally not me!  I now have much better self-esteem than I ever did in my 20’s.  I am sure something happens as a women approaches 40.  Ok that is a few year off for me but I am turning 37 in about 6 weeks.  As I get older I have become far more comfortable in my own skin – even if it is fairly well tattooed.

Though I now feel an intense desire to become more elegant, in my own eccentric and hippy manner.

My self-esteem doesn’t come from other people, though the people I confide in and socialise with certain help in not damaging my self-esteem.

Self-esteem is an inside job a vast majority of the time.  When you get sick and tired of being sick and tired you want to change from the status quo.  Over the years I read books, changed my interests (generally to whatever someone else told me was good) and even tried to be a blond for a while but these did not help my self-esteem at all.

Note to self: You look so much better as a natural brunette than you ever did as a blond!

Over the years I have developed some personal strategies that I employ to ensure my self-esteem stays relatively high.  I don’t always achieve them as it’s progress not perfection that one should be aiming for.

1.   Dress and Bearing:

  • I am guilty of not dressing my best or wearing lazy clothes, A LOT.  I am writing this without make-up on, my hair in a messy bun, green cut offs and a blue and white boob-tube, though in my defence I am in Mexico, we don’t have aircon and it’s bloody hot and humid!  One of the good things about my past working career in a corporate office was that when my self-esteem was high I wore elegant clothes but when it was low I wore, well clothes that should have been my house clothes.  Wearing nice, clean and elegant clothes as well as a small amount of make-up often makes you feel good even if you don’t feel it initially inside.
  • Carrying yourself with your head held high and with your body tall shows self-worth.  When you drag your feet or keep your head constantly down the entire world can visibly that you don’t value yourself.  Walk tall!

2.   Be Honest with Yourself:

  • The best quote about being honest with yourself was from the late Steve Jobs:
    “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” ~ Steve Jobs

  • I don’t advocate not taking in consideration people in your quest to be honest with yourself but don’t remain trapped in an unhappy situation.  Work on relationships, stop being around people that are negative nancy’s and follow your passions.

3.   Exercise:

  • I am not talking about becoming a marathon runner or an olympic athlete but I am talking about moving.  One of my favourite workouts is an at home Zumba DVD.  Dancing around the lounge room, making mistakes and giggling is fun.  I love working out and when I am not doing it (as I have been now for a few months!) I feel less confident.  During my training and subsequent completion of my first marathon I felt amazing albeit I was sore on more than one occasion!

4.   Speaking and Manners:

  • This has been a major area of work for me.  I can swear like an disciplined soldier and it’s sounds vile.  When I speak clearly and confident I automatically feel better.  I love how I feel when I don’t swear or have interesting in-depth conversations about more than just the latest gossip.
  • Don’t be a troll, don’t speak trash about other people and always show compassion to others.  You never really know what is going on in someone else’s life.  They may just be going through the worst experience of their lives.

My favourite self-esteem strategy without fail is to stop comparing!


  • You are unique and wonderful.  When you compare yourself to your friends and families suddenly your personal assets or physical attributes don’t seem to add up.  Take healthy pride in yourself and your achievements.  Further more take joy in your friends and families achievements.

There are many different ways of increasing and maintaining your self-esteem, these are just some of the ones I use.  Whilst I also said this was an inner job, surrounding yourself with other women and men that are working towards better self-esteem or who already have high self-esteem!

If none of these tips helps you feel better please seek professional help.  Don’t be ashamed, many people seek professional help every day for any number of things.  Self help though a professional is no different to taking your car to a mechanic if you know nothing about engines!  Sometimes we all need a little help.

Oh and don’t forget to smile!  It could brighten someone else’s day!

Blessed Be

Robyn xox

Becoming Minimalist: Rethinking owning too much stuff…

After walking the Camino de Santiago and surviving with 3.5 changes of clothes (this included sleepwear) and very little else; then traveling for more than 4 months with about 20kgs worth of belongings (5kgs of this is books then I have laptop, camera, first aid kit and even clothes I haven’t worn) have made me question the importance of owning lots of stuff.

I love clothes, books (this is almost an addiction!) and all the conveniences that make life easier. I love living in a place that feels like a home not a hotel room but slowly I am starting to embrace a minimalist or more simplistic way of living.

In Australia, I have boxes and furniture at my mum and step-dads, my mum’s farm, my uncles and my brothers! About 6 years ago I was leaving the army and moved in with my parents.  I went from a 3 bedroom house (full!) to having a room at my parents.

Some of my furniture is very well used.  My 8-seater dining table looks perfect in my parents and it has had many dinner with grandchild and family all seated round.  It has had more use there then it ever did when I owned it.  My military history is in boxes in a storage container at my brothers farm.  To be very honest I have no idea what is even in the other boxes that are there.

Under my bed there isn’t room to hide anything else.  Cluttered and dusty, and filled with God only knows what is not conducive of energy flow and thus not feng shui compliant at all.

After the Brisbane (QLD, Australia) floods of 2011, I asked my mother to donate a lot of the clothes I had in my cupboard that weren’t being used.  She did go a little overboard but in reality despite being a little shocked at just how much she donated I haven’t actually missed any of those clothes, except maybe those perfect fit black stretch jeans!… Sigh!

I need to start taking a different view on consumerism and my ‘needs’ vs ‘wants’.  In a few weeks I am returning to Australia for an unknown amount of time but what I do know is that I have a couple of weeks before my partner, Ignasi, arrives so this is the perfect time to not just declutter but to de-own!

Joshua Becker’s blog Don’t Just Declutter, De-own got me thinking.

I have reorganised my life a number of times.  Moving around Australia whilst in the military, moving back to my parents (and just shuffling my belongings around), moving to the Middle East, then finally packing it all up and traveling.

The vast majority of my belongings are not benefiting anyone else.  From a snowboard, shoes I can’t wear, fiction books I will never read again to kitchen utensils; these are items that could be used my someone else somewhere.  Even if we turn the books into paper fire briquettes for our winter fire basket fires they will be more useful than just sitting on shelves collecting dust!

Debt can be an issue for people who have too much stuff, this thankfully is not the case for me.  Whilst I have very little debt (a small HECS debt) and don’t own a credit card buying excess ‘things’ has meant my savings and retirement fund could have been in far better shape than they are.  I do know that I am actually far better of than the vast majority of people on the planet!

Training myself not to want more is difficult.  Even here in Mexico where I have been wearing the same 3 or 4 outfits over and over I want more.  I want longer shorts (culturally my short denim shorts are so inappropriate) and different PJ pants (long ones are way too hot when you have no air-conditioning).

See how easy it is to want more?

When I start the process of de-owning my ‘stuff’ I know I will be forced to evaluate my life.  What is truly important to me and what I am keeping out of some misguided loyalty or sheer laziness?  I have been evaluating my life for a while now but there is still a ways to go!

I am not sure just how successful I will be a decluttering and de-owning but hopefully it nets me some additional money and provides some needed items to other families.  The paper fire briquette has got me thinking though!!!!

Where this goes I don’t know yet but it might be a painfully refreshing experience!

Blessed Be
Robyn xox