My Two Month Travel Diary!

Enjoying a relaxing cryotherapy session.

I took a two month hiatus to refill my creative, physical, and psychological gas tank. It was such a blast!

During those two months I….

Went to the Dominican Republic. 

Kite Surf
Kite island, where kite surfers gather

 

I stayed at an amazing hostel called Swell Surf Camp in the snack-sized town of Cabarete. This was my first time staying in a hostel, and I loved it! Staying in a hostel with people from all over the world gave me the richest, most unique travel experience of my life.

Swell Bathroom
The bathrooms are covered in motivational quotes from vagabonds!

 

A typical vacation for me usually consists of being in a big brand hotel, looking up local spots online, and mostly keeping to myself. At Swell, the cooks made delicious, authentic breakfast and dinner that everyone in the hostel ate together,  at the dinner table, family style. The Swell Hostel was a breeding ground for interesting conversation, and surprising connections.

I’m about as introverted as they come. It’s typically just Zeus and I, my family, and close friends. I thought I would hate the constant company of strangers, but it was the exact opposite. The entire experience was something I’ll never forget. If you’re an introvert, and prefer the company of books and Dr. Solitude, don’t discount hostels, nor the value that staying with strangers can bring to your travel experience.

Group picture
Fellow travelers and surf instructors from all over the world!

 

Throwing yourself into a place with new people provides unique and priceless life lessons. It certainly did for me on this trip.

For example, a police officer from Switzerland named Melanie was ALWAYS finding the positive in any situation. When someone would complain about something, she would swoop in with the positive perspective about the situation. She taught me to see negativity as a chance to spread a optimism!

Another example was a quiet, sweet guy from Denmark. He mostly just listened to what everyone else was saying. When he did talk, he would ask questions about other people. He taught me to talk less and listen more. 

A NY bar owner taught me that being comfortable around new people is a choice. You don’t have to wait for permission to have fun or be accepted, you can (and should) just jump right in. If they don’t like it, screw em’. At least you’re having fun!

What I learned: Every person that crosses your path can be a potential teacher.

Went to San Diego

IMG_0366
San Diego has the most GORGEOUS sunsets. Every. Single. Day.

 

I’ve been talking about moving to CA for years. This was supposed to be an apartment hunting trip to finally follow through on a “no-brainer”.

After spending some time there, my gut told me otherwise. This was a huge surprise for me! The weather is perfect, the sunsets are mesmerizing, the people are great. I’ve always loved vacations there…But after staying for an extended time, I realized California just isn’t for me. There are subtle and obvious “vibes” that people, places, and things give off. It doesn’t matter how beautiful, tropical, or perfect a place may seem. What matters is how you feel. California just doesn’t feel like the right place to live for me.

I’m not moving to CA like I always assumed I would. The phrase “life had different plans for me” makes total sense. I used to scoff at that phrase, but I understand it now more than ever.

Take away:  Follow your instincts, even if that means taking a sudden left turn, or in this case, staying exactly where you are for the time being. 

Went to Austin, TX

This was my first time in Austin. It’s full of beautiful hiking trails, sweet people, cute food trucks, and a weird vibe that I loved! It felt like the midwest in many ways. Maybe because thousands of people move there from IL every month. In fact, most of the people I met were from the midwest. I met a total of four people in Austin that were originally from Austin.

The Austin vibe is come as you are, all are welcome, wear whatever you want, and namaste, y’all!

Saying hello and goodbye to strangers is normal here! It sounds like such a simple nicety, but it’s beyond rare this day in age. Especially in Chicago. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Chicago. But if you say “Hey there!” or “Hello!” to strangers here, you’re met with cock-eyed stares of suspicion.

The ONNIT playground in Austin.

 

The gyms in Austin are ahead of the curve, and it doesn’t hurt that the ONNIT gym is located in South Austin. Most of the gyms are full of turf, pushing sleds, kettle bells, and functional training tools! Austin gyms are miles ahead of the corporate gyms in most of the country.

The ONNIT playground in Austin.

 

I took advantage of the cryptherapy that Onnit offers. Cryotherapy is capsule you stand naked inside of, while being exposed to subzero temperatures.  As you can see from my face, I enjoyed it about as much as feral cats enjoy bath time. Despite the fact that it’s uncomfortable, there are numerous health benefits to cryotherapy! (Future posts to come regarding the benefits of cryotherapy)

Enjoying a relaxing cryotherapy session.
Enjoying a relaxing cryotherapy session.

I floated in an isolation tank at the Zero Gravity Institute. An isolation tank is a huge, dark cube filled to a shallow level with body temperature water, and one thousand pounds of Epsom salts. The salts create a buoyant solution so that you float effortlessly inside the dark tank, void of any external stimuli. For me, the float tank was similar to a deep meditation, except you lose your sense of self much quicker in the tank, and are free of distractions. (Future posts and videos regarding float tank benefits to come!)

float
Picture courtesy of Austin Fit Magazine, because I was naked, and didn’t have my phone on me.

 

There are unique yoga studios everywhere in Austin. The class I took at Wanderlust Yoga was full of 60’s rock music, no mirrors, and at least forty people. There were also cues like “pretend you’re kicking dirt off your boot”. During dancer pose, the teacher played Tiny Dancer by Elton John. It was different from the yoga classes I’m used to, but in the best way!

Take away: I might move to Austin. We’ll see. 

Back to Business

Regardless of where I live or what I’m doing, we’re back to new videos every week!

Namaste, Y’all 🙂
Brenda

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