The Beauty of Solo Travel

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How brave are you?  Have you ever dreamed of taking off and traveling to a new and exciting place?

Alone???

I’m here to tell you that it’s possible and I did it.  I just got back from a solo travel trip to India for 3 weeks and I would do it again in a heartbeat ❤

There are many benefits to traveling solo and I’d like to share what I found with you.

  1. It’s empowering. You gain self-confidence very quickly and your world opens up even more, literally.  Not only that your common sense becomes greater
  2. TIME. You have it all to yourself and it’s what everyone dreams about having more of.  There is no need to share an agenda, you can sleep, eat and do what you want when and where you want.  You also have the time to reflect on your life and discover things about yourself you never even knew.  It’s a great time for personal growth and development
  3. Teaches you patience and flexibility in unexpected situations and you become more accepting of others and their way of living. Your mind and heart opens up to the Universe
  4. Your problem-solving skills will sharpen even more. Getting around town becomes a fun challenge on your own and suddenly you are listening to your intuition more, I also became more spiritual
  5. You gain a new perspective on life and become grateful for everything you have
  6. You love those around you even more
  7. You begin to lower your expectations of how things should be and learn to go with the flow more. Your positive energy attracts positive people
  8. I found people to be very approachable with me and I was to them. I was being treated like I was some kind of celebrity for the first time!  I received many freebie things like food along the way, great conversations, advice of what to see in the area.  Very friendly people are out there, you just need to flash a nice smile sometimes 😉
  9. You gain respect and admiration from those around you for your courage and if you have kids, you are setting a good example for them because they see that anything is possible if you want it bad enough
  10. You make wonderful memories with wonderful people around the world and nobody can take this experience of a lifetime away from you

There will always be some people who will try to deter you from traveling solo but you have to remember they are projecting their fears on you.  Some said “you are a single woman” (yes), “it’s going to be dangerous” (how do they know), “you should go with someone, not alone” (that defeats the entire purpose of solo travel).  My response, I booked my tickets, packed my bags excessively and boarded the 14 hour flight from Toronto, Canada to Delhi, India on January 1st, 2016.  What a great day and way to kick off 2016!

For me, this was a trip of healing for personal reasons and it was to see my close blogging friends that I have a strong connection with in person who are all over India.  Piyusha, Shambhavi, Bhavya, Darshith, Neerja, Dinesh, Chandrajit, Srinath, Kriti and many others I couldn’t meet were the many reasons I had to go.  I felt like the Universe aligned and brought me to WordPress so I could write my thoughts and feelings out there and attract such amazing people into my life.  Then it was so generous to give me this opportunity to travel and meet everyone in person, making our connections stronger than ever.  I am so grateful and if I can say one thing, I will say this; listen to your wants, not everyone else’s around you because it’s your life, not theirs.  At the end of the day, you need to live it.

How was it?

Amazing, inspiring, life changing, delicious, fun and a must for everyone to do once in their lifetime.  India is a beautiful place to go and heal your soul because it’s a spiritual and peaceful place but at the same time a chaotic one that not only changes your mind but also your perspective on life for the better.  This was my way of pushing the “reset button” or “refresh button” on my life so I could come back home and continue to help others and myself in a healthier way.

One of the most beautiful things I learned from life is that in order to find yourself, you need to lose yourself first.  And sometimes in the middle of nowhere is where you end up finding yourself, for me it was in India.  By listening to your intuition it will give you answers but in order to hear it you need to get quiet and alone because it’s only a whisper inside you.  Reflecting on this will guide you in the best possible direction that is right for you and that’s called soul speak, which is the beauty of solo travel.

So much love to everyone in India, thank you for the visits and memories and because of WordPress this was made possible.  I’d like to change the name to WorldPress, FriendPress, LovePress, FunPress, DreamPress, InspirationPress, I think you get the idea….

Much love to you,

Jenny
xo

The Inner Game of Tennis – Love vs. Fear

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Dealing with change and finding the positive silver lining hidden within our experiences are tough life lessons to be learned.  It sounds pretty straight forward but when you are really in it, it takes every ounce of energy and focus to actually do it.  Easier said than done right?  Sometimes it feels like these life lessons and difficult decisions are being launched like tennis balls out of a cannon one after the other with no break in between to catch our breath while we use our racquet as a shield.

From what I have seen with many people, myself included, letting go or surrendering to what is can be the hardest life lesson to swallow because it’s scary and unknown.   Should I stay or should I go?  Should I control the situation or just accept it as it is? Will I choose to be a victim or a victor?  We fight to hang on and we fight to let go.  It’s that constant back and forth rally in our minds that keeps the Wimbledon inner game of tennis alive.

Is letting go giving up?  Not at all, it’s actually quite the opposite.

Caroline Myss wrote something that shook me to my core when I read it and I will share it with you.  When someone says “I want to get out of this circumstance, but I’m too afraid.”  She is betraying everything in her heart.  She’s making choices that are harming her and that’s why she’s hurting.  Her intuition is trying to tell her that.   When your life begins to harm you, know that you have taken a detour from your true path.  You are no different from the people who hurt you.  People know when they have betrayed themselves because the little voice inside says “You’re still with that person; why didn’t you leave?”  Your intuition speaks the truth that you don’t want to hear.  It also says “You’ve done everything you can so it’s time to let go and surrender.”

Wow.  “I am no different from the people who hurt me.”  That was a huge light bulb moment and reading that was enough to make me want to let go.  It’s bad enough that someone or something is hurting you and by ignoring your own heart, you are hurting yourself on top of it.  Double punishment hurts.  I love Caroline Myss and her perspectives.

It’s been a tough match so far, that inner game of tennis is almost finished and silence is everywhere.  What will your next move be?  Time to focus, your opponent Fear is about to serve.

What a perfect opportunity to discover a new and unexpected strategy in your game.  By releasing someone so they can be where they need to be, do what they want to do and be with whomever they want is actually an act of love and courage on your part.  Trust and respect yourself and let them go.  Let them be the destructive one, you be the kind one.   In that exact moment, you become more peaceful and free and you create the much needed space in your life for bigger and better things to come flowing in.  It leads you to the next.  Ah, finally the silver lining; acceptance and happiness.  And the crowd goes wild…

We all have our “stuff” we are dealing with but that doesn’t mean we can’t find our joy along the way.  Even a caged bird can find something to sing about.  And when you do find the courage to surrender to change and let go, you will fly like a free bird and think “why didn’t I do this sooner?”  Not only that, the tennis balls will stop flying at you and you will have victoriously won the match.

Congratulations…Love always wins.  At least at this game.

Tennis anyone?

“The longest journey you will make in your life is from your head to your heart.”  ~ Gary Zukav

 

Much love,

Jennifer

The Butterfly Emerges

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“How do you become a butterfly?  You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”  ~ Trina Paulus

Author and cancer survivor Mark Nepo says the things we hold dear in our hearts like a relationship, an identity, a dream or an ambition acts like a cocoon.  When the butterfly emerges, the cocoon has served its purpose.  It doesn’t mean it’s false, it means it served its purpose just as everything in life serves as a purpose.  Therefore our relationships, identities, dreams and ambitions are often cocoons that lead us to the next.  The problem is when we are so attached to these relationships, identities, dreams and ambitions, we come in conflict when it breaks or falls away that we don’t see what it’s opened us up to.

Have you ever been in a relationship or a situation that has served its purpose and you know in your heart it’s time to surrender and let go?  It hurts to even think about it breaking away or never returning.  We’ve all been there.  Just the angst of making that decision to leave can be the biggest struggle of our lives just as the caterpillar struggles in becoming a butterfly inside the cocoon.  This inner process takes time and all the work that is being done is from within, it just needs the time and space to do this on its own.  Similarly, we need to work from within to find our inner strength and make changes in our own lives. After having gone through this struggle, not only does it make you stronger, it transforms you.  Like the butterfly, when you finally emerge from the cocoon and come out on the other side after having made that decision, you are so powerful and beautiful.  The cocoon which represents a relationship or situation has now served its purpose.  It is time to surrender and let go.  This process cannot be rushed, nor can anyone do this inner work for you.  For an observer, as difficult as it may be to stand back watching and waiting for this final moment to happen, you must be patient and let nature take its course.  Even the sun and rain support the process which can represent our own support systems like friends and family, we are all connected.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives to emerge us into the next great opportunity.  They strengthen us, connect us and can even make us fly.  I have learned freedom from struggling and I am very grateful for this teacher.   ~ J.J.

CALLING ALL NURSES: HOW MUCH OXYGEN IS LEFT IN YOUR TANK?

Have you ever been on an airplane and really paid attention to the flight attendant that is acting out the proper way to put on your oxygen mask in case of an emergency?  I am guessing the answer to that is “no.”  I have a challenge for you the next time you find yourself on a flight to paradise.  One of the reasons the flight attendant is demonstrating this necessary policy is because in order to help other people, you have to start with yourself first.  The same is true when you apply that to your career as a nurse.  We are not only taught but expected to take care of the patients, their families, and our colleagues, only to find out later that we forgot to take care of ourselves along the way too.  This is a normal consequence of doing a good job for others but not for us.  Is it possible to think that we count too?  Or is that just being selfish?  If we don’t put our oxygen mask on first, where does that leave us?  On the plane with the others heading for a crash landing in a town called BURNOUT.

The best way to avoid stress and burnout as a nurse is to start by putting your oxygen mask on first so that you have enough to give to others.  Also, you can only give what’s in your tank so it’s important to monitor this amount that you have at all times.  You do realize I am using a metaphor here and that the oxygen mask is an analogy for taking care of yourself, right?

Stress and burnout are rapidly increasing all over the world in every helping profession out there.  In schools, burnout is not even talked about which is sad.  Nurses are often overlooked for all the hard work they do and at the end of the day, we are expected to take care of our families at home and friends in need.  All of this is possible, as long as we take care of ourselves and don’t run our bodies on empty.  When our oxygen tank is no longer in the green and is heading straight for the red, it’s time to jump into self-compassion mode!  What is self-compassion anyway?

Self-compassion involves 3 key components that can ease our stress by far. (Neff, 2003)  Start by treating yourself kindly like the way you would treat a good friend who is suffering rather than using harsh judgment on yourself.  Two, try to see your own experience as part of a larger human experience instead of isolated and abnormal.  We are not perfect and neither is life.  Third, become aware of what you are feeling emotionally and let them be as they are instead of suppressing them for a later date.  On a physiological side which is a great side for nurses to understand, when we are being self-compassionate to ourselves it releases the “feel good” hormones of oxytocin and opiates.  Similarly, if we are self-critical when we have a bad day, it threatens our defense system and cortisol and adrenaline are released into the bloodstream making us feel even worse.  We become irritable, tired and stressed.  Do you see the road sign that is up ahead?  Burnout.  Unless you make a change soon, that is where you will end up.  So how do you change?

Practice the 3 key components of self-compassion and give yourself a time out or a break.  When you are able to do this, several things will begin to occur such as a greater desire to learn and grow, higher motivation, less frustrations, increases in life satisfaction, connectedness, gratitude, more effective coping skills, more caring and supportive relationship behaviour, more conscientiousness and improved health and wellness.

I am highly supportive of nurses all over the world who work so hard not only at work but also at home.  Give yourself a big hug for being such a compassionate person to others and then give yourself another hug for being a compassionate person to yourself.  You count too and not just during nurses week!  Remember, whatever you do, don’t forget to check your oxygen tank and put your mask on first!     -JJ

Courage

Courage is about making a choice or taking action where a risk is involved whether that may be an actual or imagined fear.  It is the driving force behind necessary change.  It’s the standing up for what you believe in regardless of what others may think, while being afraid, but going on anyhow.    -JJ