Category

TRAVEL

GRATITUDE: In All That Matters

In TRAVEL

I started this list earlier this month, and I must say…it’s been a heck of a December! The past 3 months of 2017 have been quite a roller coaster ride in the best sense and also some of the worst ways possible. Within just a month’s time, between settling back in from Vancouver, I’m packing up my last few things again before flying out in 11 hours and I wanted to share some year-end thoughts with you as my last blog entry of 2017 here on FEMFAB!

Here are the some of the biggest lessons and thoughts I’ve come to learn this year:

LOVE: Boundaries should be set and should be respected. Not because we want to keep people out, but to allow others to be aware of the boundaries we have – which express love towards us. It’s making their importance known so that people WE love and whom WE want to love us – know where the boundaries lie, such that they can love us more within them. Healthy communication, healthy boundaries are HEALTHY and necessary!

SELF LOVE: Walking away and letting go of those around us who no longer align with our values and goals is an act of self-love. It doesn’t mean we love them less, nor is it selfish. It means we realize our own love tank needs to be filled. And that sometimes out-growing people is part of the journey of self-discovery and self-love. It may sound harsh, however, it may lead to healthier reunions in the future. There’s nothing more draining than feeling the constant need to please those we ‘love.’ Fill your own cup before you try filling everyone else’s.

WORK: Give gratitude and always remind yourself why you do what you do. Ask yourself, is what you do what you love? Are you serving a greater purpose? Is it your soul’s purpose? Answer ‘yes’ to those more, and sure enough, work-life balance will flow, and so will the abundance and joy come flowing it’s way to you!

TRAVEL: This year, amidst all my travels, the #1 lesson I’ve learned is how insanely important it is to communicate our wants, needs and expectations in each trip when it comes to traveling with people we care about. Assuming people are on the same page just because we’ve all booked a trip together is wishful thinking (sometimes, in my experience.) Oh, and also that Europe is stunning, I am excited to go back one day!

This year I flirted with spontaneity and allowed the world to take care of me. I learned to trust my gut, my surroundings and people whom I met along the way.

FAMILY: Make the effort to spend quality time alone with each family member. I found sometimes when we are ALL TOGETHER, things get a bit messy. This year I enjoyed the time I spent with them 1 on 1 more, so much that I’d like to make this a yearly tradition. It gives me a chance to listen and to really focus on each individual family member. <3 #QualityTime

HEALTH: I’m chuckling as I am filling in this category because I’m currently chugging down my lemon and honey water while having to cough every few mins. or so. This Christmas, this is my body declaring it wants time off. As frustrated and disappointed I am with my current bodily state, it really reminds me of how grateful I am for all the days my body is in tip-top shape! Thank you body, for supporting me through EVERYTHING all the time. Also because I am a Massage Therapist by trade, I’m grateful my body allows me the strength to heal others and…myself.

LIFE: Letting go is my biggest lesson this year. Allowing myself to put into practice releasing many fears and boxes of memories has put things into perspective. Letting go creates space – not only in the physical realm, but also the spiritual realm of things. I’m grateful, nervous and excited all at the same time with all the momentum in my life right now!

ADVENTURE: Take the trip, take the chance! This year was filled with lots of spontaneity, in the form of trips, adventures and projects. I typically enjoy a fair amount of planning, however this year I’ve experienced allowing myself to embrace the flow of surrendering to what COULD come. E.g. in New York I moved around 4 times in a span of one week! Was it exhausting? Yes! Was I nervous? Yes. Did I plan it that way? NOPE! Was it one of the most amazing, exciting and educational weeks of my life? YES! This year I flirted with spontaneity and allowed the world to take care of me. I learned to trust my gut, my surroundings and people whom I met along the way.

Cheers to an amazing 2017, and for more incredible dreams becoming reality in 2018! I have a handful of exciting projects coming up in 2018 and I can’t wait to bring them to life. I’ll share more with you all very soon.

Happy Holidays <3

xo Esther

 

Going SoloFeatured

In TRAVEL

I know for many, the thought of traveling solo can be a very daunting thing. To explore a foreign place, not knowing anyone, not even speaking the language and survive… much less have a good time? Eeeek! Often, this is the point when the idea just drops. Now let’s sit down and run over a few things, grab your choice of comfort liquid and I’ll share my list of reasons why I believe traveling solo can be very rewarding!

1) Learn to hold yourself capable. From planning, taking care of yourself, being more aware of your own surroundings – you learn to TRUST yourself, your gut instincts and inner compass.

2) Let go. Depending on your traveling nature, if you plan days during your trip where you have nothing to do but roam and chill out at your own leisurely pace, one can really learn the value and beauty of taking your own “sweet time”. Often when we are at home, we have a pile of to-do’s and subconscious stressors that run us no matter how much down time we have. But when you are a thousands of miles away from home, by yourself, one can truly detach and surrender, breathe, taste, and simply “be”.

3) Make new friends and be open to learning. Get out of your comfort zone! Introverts, you will be making new friends and meeting people from all walks of life wherever you go. I was exploring temples in Narita last year when a friendly older lady came by and asked me if I knew the history of the place. Upon my response, she enthusiastically decided to take the next two hours out of her day to show me her village. She did her best to use what english she knew, mixed with body language to show me where and how everything started in her village. By the time she had to go, she apologized for having to leave due to being late for making dinner at home! It was the most adorable, yet educational lesson.

when you are a thousands of miles away from home, by yourself, one can truly detach and surrender, breathe, taste, and simply ‘be’.

4) Overcome the fear of eating alone or sitting alone. I used to be one of those people who hated eating alone. I would rather not eat at all than be seen eating all by myself. Now that I’m writing it out, and thinking of it I’m laughing because it seems so silly now. However, I know there are many who find it very uncomfortable to do this. With a shift in mindset, especially when it comes to traveling solo, you may find yourself being alone and eating alone quite often. A way I overcome this is, if anyone asks, is I proudly say, “I’m on a date with myself”. It’s a serious act of self-love! Own that time you have to yourself, allow that silly, uncomfortable feeling to bubble up and also allow that to leave your psyche. Your soul will thank you later! Remember, you need love from yourself too!

On top of all the amazing stories you will be able to share with your grandchildren, your experiences from travelling solo will no doubt strengthen your independence, self-confidence, openness and trust.

Tip for beginners traveling solo:

  • Visit places where you speak the language
  • Visit places where you may have some friends/family around just in case you want to have a point of comfort
  • Research everything. Especially the potential ‘scams’, they change all the time and it is important to do your own due diligence in terms of safety
  • Unlock your phone, get local data and buy a really good external charger! That phone GPS is what got me through Europe and Asia with a breeze. Don’t cheap out on this!
  • EMERGENCY FUNDS – unexpected things happen during travel all the time, some countries won’t grant you a visa unless you have x amount of $ in your bank account
  • Yes, get travel insurance. You never know!
  • Know that HOME SICK is a very real and emotional thing. Start off traveling in shorter time frames like 7-10 days, and once you feel good about that, you can challenge yourself to 3-6 months+!

Lastly, a Facebook group I highly recommend to join for ladies who love traveling, is “Girls Love Travel” #GTL. They are a wonderfully positive and supportive group of Wanderlusters around the world. Many ladies in this group have extensive experience in traveling solo, and it’s a good place to start if you want to make new friends around the world.

DON’T CANCEL YOUR TRIP, FOLLOW THROUGH, HAVE AN AMAZING TIME! YOU CAN DO IT!

If you are a seasoned solo traveller, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please share your experiences and tips in the comments below.

Building Inner Awareness for Outer Peace

In TRAVEL

Have you ever been so excited to go on a trip, counting down days, planning each and every detail, only to feel extremely disappointed by it and even wishing you were home instead? I know many people have been in that situation.

Too often we blame others for our disappointment, not realizing we have the CHOICE and ability to fix our situation.

Over the past three weeks, I have been to Barcelona, France, Italy, Montenegro, and Toronto with my family. We enjoyed the beautiful streets of Barcelona, the Gothic Quarters and the Sagrada Familia Church by Anton Guidi. Many of these places were huge bucket list items checked off for me!

Between my brother, my parents and I, we each had different interests and goals for the trip which made things complicated. Many of these could have been avoided by discussing our priorities before we left. So it really got me thinking: what if I could understand myself and my family better while traveling? Thus, I took a Myers-Briggs test and a few travel quizzes.

Too often we blame others for our disappointment, not realizing we have the CHOICE and ability to fix our situation.

From the Myers-Briggs test, I scored as an ENFP: ‘Free-spirited, sociable, emotional, creative, who yearns for connections. They are travel driven by inspiration, curiosity, and meaning. They aim to make beautiful memories, interact with locals and enjoying authentic cultural experiences to further understand the world around them. They enjoy spontaneity, instead of a thought out day to day schedule and see the world through a big lens.’

My mentor once told me, “No one can drive you crazy. No one can MAKE you feel a way that you don’t allow. You alone are responsible.” A couple days into our trip, I took some time to reflect on how I responded to the disagreements with my family and how I could change the way I contribute to a more enjoyable experience for everyone since I knew we still had another two and a half weeks together! I started stepping out to be alone for a few hours to recharge and enjoy some things that were really important to me. Even my mom joined me a few times too and we got to share some of these things together.

Armed with my new awareness, I’m gearing up for my next group travel. Here are 3 questions I believe is worth discussing before starting your trip, to smooth out any wrinkles and make sure that everyone gets what they are looking for while they travel.

  1. What type of traveler are you? (Try 16 Personalities or Travel Personalities)
  2. What are your top priorities? What comes first? Food, adventure, culture, shopping, low budget things to do? Or the most luxurious excursion?  
  3. What are your trip expectations? Are there things that you must do? A certain restaurant or activity?

What is your personality test result? Do you do anything special before leaving on a trip with others? Share in the comments below!

Experiences Over Things

In TRAVEL

I am known as the girl who’s never in her own city….

It seems crazy to say, but in the past 3 years, I’ve hopped on over 80 flights every few weeks or so (the first year and a half I was in school, while the other half I was  working as a massage therapist with a flexible schedule). It has become more common for me to be someplace else so often, that sometimes, I find it weird to be in one place for an extended period of time.

It all started with my first long distance relationship. Up until then I never made traveling a priority. It was always something I thought I’d get to do once I graduated university. Obtain a job like most adults and then begin travelling. Wow! Did that relationship throw me a  curveball! Having been involved with someone for four years while we were both in different provinces across Canada really gave me a different take on travel. It upped my diligence of learning how to make and save money, how to plan, and gave me a greater reason as to ‘why’ I wanted to be on a plane.

I want to share, explore and discover what makes travel special for you, for myself and the impact it has on those around us when we return.

Fast forward to 6 years later, that relationship is a wrap, but my wanderlust remains. With my wealth of travel experience, I want to share, explore and discover what makes travel special for you, for myself and the impact it has on those around us when we return. Through travel, the people I get to know, things I get to taste, see and smell, these all contribute to the woman I am becoming.

And by the way, travelling doesn’t need to involve a 5+ hr flight to someplace far from home. Simply exploring someplace you’ve never been before where you can meet new people, discover different cultures, get to know mother nature…who knows, maybe even in your own backyard! I live in Alberta, Canada where the hikes I’ve got going on within an hour from my home are ridiculously gorgeous!

Through this blog, you will find valuable travel tips, personal experiences and posts on reflective thought, ‘meaningful travel’. Being a photographer, I will share my photos, to give you a glimpse of the beauty that surrounds me during my travels. My hope is to perhaps inspire a reader or two to to embark on their own adventure… be it a simple road trip, or a flight to somewhere wondrous.

A thought I always like to share is that you can’t take with you in the end. Experiences over things! In the end those are what you will cherish most.

Our first travel – Singapore

In TRAVEL

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