Jā matane, everyone! Somehow it’s already July 23rd, which means I’m leaving for my summer vacation tomorrow. I’m going on a little solo trip to Japan, visiting Osaka and Kyoto for 5 days.
I’m a little nervous about travelling on my own in Asia for the first time, but I’m sure I’ll be fine. Truth be told, summer vacation totally snuck up on me – I feel like I’m only just now getting the hang of my new job and new schedule, so I’ve barely had time to plan for this trip. It’s been stressing me out for the last few days, and I’ve been worrying that I won’t make the most of it or know what to do, but if I think logically about it, I know I’ll be okay. If I dive into my memory banks, I remember that I love navigating in new cities, I love wandering around and taking photos of beautiful things, and I love eating the local food. It’s been a stressful month, and so earlier this week the idea of finding my way around Japan seemed really overwhelming, but I think I have a handle on it now. I’m just reminding myself to be gentle, go slowly, and be grateful.
No matter what happens, I will come back having seen some lovely things, and with a belly full of tempura and sushi. And really, isn’t that all that matters?
I’ll be back to posting on the blog next Wednesday. If you’re curious about my adventures while I’m away, you can follow me on Instagram @lifeinlimboblog!
Over on the podcast today, Laura and I are discussing our favourite mantras, perspectives and life philosophies. We shared them with each other for the first time while recording, but it was awesome to see that we had so many similar ideas that went hand-in-hand. I definitely came away with some awesome new perspectives and a bit more peace.
There’s a little bit of overlap with my post about my favourite quotes, but surprisingly most of the ones I shared with Laura on the podcast are never-bef0re-shared on the blog (but shared about a million times with myself in my own brain). Here are a few of them:
Sit with it: I read a Tony Robbins quote a while ago that said “The quality of your life is in direct proportion with the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with.” It reminds me of doing cross country running in high school when my coach told me that it’s normal to be a little uncomfortable, that you shouldn’t be running in a way that gets rid of every ounce of discomfort. I think in every situation, we rail against uncertainty and annoyance and pain, but this mantra reminds me that we don’t have to believe everything we think and feel. We don’t have to try to change and control every little thing that happens to us. We can try and sit with it, accept that it’s not ideal, and breathe through it.
Big deal or little deal?: This has always been a favourite of my mother’s and it always instantly puts things in perspective for me. It reminds me that a good 95% of the things I get stressed out about aren’t very big deals – they might be stressful, but not much is at stake. I often think to myself, in a year’s time, will I remember being stressed about this? Usually the answer is that I probably won’t even remember it in a month’s time, and sometimes even less time than that.
Abundance: My wonderful word of the year has served me well so far. It’s amazing how many times it’s come up for me, and how many times it’s been helpful when things have been stressful or confusing. Sometimes I’m just repeating the word itself over and over in my head to remind me to think big and not scarce and small. Again, instant perspective shift.
Nobody cares about almost: I recently read this idea on Elise’s blog and it just kind of stuck with me. It reminds me that in the end, you can’t tell stories about the things you considered doing but decided not to. People want to know what decisions you made, what things you actually did. You can make your decisions based on who you are as a person and what you need – and then own those decisions – but you have to decide. You can’t just let life happen to you. Elise also shared this awesome quote from Amy Poehler: “Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. Doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that – that is what life is. You might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that’s really special and if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself.” – Amy Poehler
Those are most of mine, but there are some real gems in what Laura shares as well. We also talk a lot more about what these mantras mean to us and how they’ve shaped our decisions and lives so far.
Today feels like a day when I need to count my blessings. I was just editing the latest episode of Guinea Pigging Green (out tomorrow!) and when it was over our episode about The Line started playing and I just let it run. (Side note: is it weird to listen to your own podcast? I think the jury’s still out on that one.)
I needed to hear it. I’ve been feeling caught up in my head and stressed out lately, and the idea of the line hasn’t been on my mind very much over the last couple of weeks. I’d also forgotten that we’d talked a lot about practicing gratitude in the episode, and I think I needed that reminder. I’m so grateful for that healthy dose of soul talk and perspective with Laura this morning. Life has been moving really fast lately and it’s been easy to let my automatic reactions carry me along, but being present and refocusing is so much harder. Even so, I have so very much to be grateful for.
As I was listening to the episode, I was making falafels. They remind me of home: our big wooden kitchen table, my mom’s delicious garlic sauce, people coming and going. I’d never made falafels before today (heretofore I’ve just purchased them premade from Costco or President’s Choice) but they were so easy and really delicious. They aren’t deep-fried, so of course they’re less crunchy-crispy, but since I haven’t had falafels in months, they were perfect.
I loosely followed this recipe from Oh She Glows, and it worked out perfectly. I substituted bread crumbs for ground flax, plus added maybe a 1/4 cup more breadcrumbs than she called for since I was using an Asian-style breadcrumb (more like Panko) that seemed a bit less dense than what I’d normally use. I also used chives instead of the fresh cilantro and parsley she calls for, because those particular fresh herbs are hard to come by in Korea. The chives gave the falafels such a beautiful green colour!
On the side, I made a little garlic yogurt sauce and just chopped some tomatoes and cucumbers, mixed together with a bit of salt and lemon juice. I ended up eating some of my falafels in a whole wheat pita with the sauce and salad all mixed in with a bit of extra lemon juice, and it was the perfect lunch.
Again, the recipe for these yummy falafels is right here. Enjoy!
I can barely believe that it’s July 18th. My closest friend in Korea, Dylan, is leaving in a little over 2 weeks, but this is his last full weekend in Busan because of his summer vacation. It’s crazy, because it means almost 5 months have gone by since I arrived in Korea (!!) and definitely bittersweet. We have lots of things planned: lots of time spent on the beach, karaokeing, exploring Korea, and of course going to our favourite spa. I’m looking forward to it. Happy weekend everyone!
When I made my 24 before 24 list, I included a few things that, truthfully, I had no idea how or when I would accomplish. “Make business cards” might sound easy to do, but it becomes much harder when you don’t have any idea what your professional life is going to look like a year from now. The incredibly vague “Sell something I make” was on the list because it’s been a dream of mine to be a small business owner for a few years now, but when I wrote it down it was more of a pipe dream. I didn’t necessarily expect to accomplish it, because I had no idea what I would make, what I could sell, or how I could sell it. It was on the list because it represented a step in the direction of how I wanted my life to look. I couldn’t necessarily picture it happening, but I knew it was the kind of thing I wanted to work towards.
Well all I can say is thank goodness for goal setting. It’s the way I push myself to experience new things, work harder, and explore the world. Setting big goals and working towards them one tiny step at a time is how I end up growing as a person. Every step of the way I learn a little more. I’ve been trying to make my motto ABL: Always Be Learning.
The other night, after a rainy, so-so day, right before I went to bed, I got the above notification on my phone. I won’t be able to explain the feeling, but I’ll try: joy mixed with shock, disbelief, happiness and gratitude. I did a crazy-looking happy dance in my apartment while smiling like a fool.
This is the first time I’ve sold one of my photos, and it is one of the best feelings in the world. I joked to my friends last night “Well, that’s it! I’ve made it! Anything on top of this is bonus.” In a way I’m kidding, because I do hope the shop continues to grow, change, and continue to be successful, but on the other hand I’m not kidding. I feel very proud, and I’ve achieved something that’s worth pausing to appreciate. The sale means more to me than just earning money – it also represents that I have something to offer that others might enjoy. It means this could actually be something I could pursue in some small way. It really means so very much to me.
Thank you for your support and kind words over the last few days! I truly appreciate it. I’m on the moon!
If you haven’t yet had a chance to check out my new travel photography shop, you can see all the photos I’m offering by clicking right here.