Brought Home a Travel Baby!!

Two things happened on our travels that made me take a step back at look at myself and realized I was not happy the way things were going.

The first thing that happened was I turned 50, not that I started to freak out that time was slipping away. I didn’t go off and buy a shiny red convertible, get a fake tan or dye my hair an unnatural shade.

I just wasn’t looking anything like I recalled. I now have a few grey hairs and time is showing in certain areas of my body. Gone is the smooth skin, lines are appearing and areas are dimpling. I am not ready for dimply thighs I can tell you that.

Coupling that with the fact that I have gained 15 pounds on this year of travel and over indulgence. These extra 15 pounds did not help my mental state. Being a tiny person, I have always weight between 107 to 110 pounds. So stepping on the scale and seeing the number rise to 125 pounds took a piece of my soul.

After standing there staring at myself wondering ‘When did this happen?’, I decided to face the issue head on. It was time to get back to a normal work out that included cardio, weights, and yoga. So, I dragged Dirk to a gym I thought would be motivating and made him join. Now the weight will fly off, or so I thought.

I decided I needed rules to help my progress. Keep in mind, once I make rules, Dirk has no choice but to to follow. Such as, less eating out and more home cooked meals. Alcohol intake was restricted to only one or twice a week. That one stung a lot, but even after all that, I only lost 4 pounds! The scale and I began to develop an unhealthy relationship.

When talking with another aging friend, we both realized we have the same issue and needed to keep each other accountable for keeping our focus and not over indulging on a regular basis. BUT, then its is Thanksgiving, followed by my Birthday, then the holidays…..argh!! How does one control one’s self around all these social activities and tasty treats?


Dear Mr. Trudeau,

Dear Mr. Trudeau,

This year my husband and I have been able to afford the luxury of taking a year to travel. This is something that most Canadian will never be able to do and we feel so grateful we had such an amazing opportunity.

As we were traveling, there were several really forwarding thinking ways of life that left me wondering. In such an amazing country as Canada, why are we so behind the times? What is holding us back from changing, fear or closed mindedness?

As Julia Andrews said in The Sound of Music, ‘Here are a few of my favourite things’:

Liquor Laws

  • We visited coffee shops that allowed alcohol to be added to your selection. It wasn’t a full bar, you couldn’t walk in and order a beer, but if you felt like a Bailey’s & Coffee, the option was available. This was not just for in store consumption, but also for take away.
  • There was not one country we visited that did not sell Alcohol in grocery and corner stores. Signs were in plain view to remind consumers they would be ID’d, it was convenient, yet civilized. There was no restriction on the hours of distribution, which meant people are not grabbing 24 beers to head to a party. They would take 2 or 3 beers, knowing full well they can obtain more if needed.
  • Our friends have dubbed it ‘Bar Spillage’. It is when you take your drink and stand in the street socializing rather then sitting in the tiny pub. It really is very civilized and well structured. Staff will walk around every so often to pick up empty glasses, but on a whole it was nice to be able to not have to stay within the confines of a fenced in patio to complete your beverage. Patrons spread several metres on either side of the pub enjoying drink and company.
  • In Europe, you are allowed to drink starting at age 16, but any form of distilled alcohol is not allowed until the age of 18. That means, fermented drinks like beer or wine are permitted starting at age 16. This allows young adults to start to become ‘socialized’. Removing the drunken bingeing when they final are allowed to try their first drink at 18.

Moving away for our antiquated liquor laws, there are a few things I liked about Protecting Citizens Health.

  • When we are growing up, parents try to protect us from foods that were not good for us. Today, our country is littered with such an array of unhealthy choices, it is hard to avoid. The leading cause of death is moving towards obesity. As a good parent, several countries have banned Genetically Modified Foods (GMO). I don’t need to go any further than that – any artificially created food is not good for us – so lets ban them. Oh, and if I hear one argument that we need GMO foods to feed the growing population, that’s just crap, Canada’s population is lower then these countries that have already banned GMO.
  • I have mentioned the need to tax unhealthy food choices in the past. Interestingly enough, some countries have implemented a ‘Sugar Tax’. France, Denmark, Finland, and Hungary are examples of countries that have set taxes on high sugar and high calorie products like sweetened soft drinks, sugar confectionery, chocolate, ice cream, chewing gum, and energy drinks. Mexico, yes Mexico, has taken this tax and extend it to fast food or a ‘Junk Food Tax’ as obesity is on the rise, placing extra financial burden on the health system. I like it, if you want to eat crap, well then you have to pay a tax to do so.
  • In Canada, we promote driving by putting billions of dollars into infrastructure. We build bigger roads to accommodate more and more cars. In Europe I was allowed to see what would happen if you put more investment into peoples health by simply building bike lanes. These are cities that have narrow streets, but each has a separate slightly raised bike lane. Cyclists follow traffic rules and signals just for bikes. To me it appeared like everyone in Copenhagen rode a bike rather then drove.
  • Let’s talk biofuels or clean running vehicles. Stockholm has the largest number of clean vehicles in Europe. The process of introducing cleaner vehicles and cleaner fuels started in 1994. Only vehicles that use biofuels or deemed ‘clean vehicles’ are allowed at the Arlanda Airport, thus motivation for taxi’s to convert. There is also tax incentives given by the government to switch to clean cars such as: fuel reduction at the pump, price break on vehicle purchase, tax exemptions, free parking in city and lower registration fees. Challenging our oil and gas industry to at least have one biofuel at the pump is a good thing, I think you would agree.

Mr. Trudeau, you may never read or see this letter, but if you do, in your own words: ‘…because it’s 2015.’

Kind Regards,


post scriptum: Enjoy these pictures of London and our journey to Stockholm.


I don’t set goals. I never have, but this year I decided to make one. My goal this trip was nothing special. I wanted to read 15 books before I got home from Asia. Then another 5 before the end of Europe. I failed. I only read 13 books before I left for Europe and hit 15 near the end of that trip.

This had me thinking about goals and if they are really positives or negatives on people. I’m not talking about work goals, everyone knows that your boss loves to set goals. I hated each year when I needed to show up with SMART Goals in hand on how I was going to help the company succeed through my personal goals. Most times I just made up some bullshit that sounded good on paper. I mean really, you hired me to do a job, let me do it in peace.

I also got annoyed in January at the full gym of New Year’s Resolution people with all their gusto and motivation to finally shed those 10 pounds, only to be gone two weeks later. I guess that is why I was never set a resolution – why make a promise I am not going to keep? Maybe these were the reason I never set goals.

I mentioned my defeat to a couple of friends and how it disappointed me that I could not do one simple thing I set out for myself. I quickly voiced that people shouldn’t set goals, it just makes them feel bad that they failed.

‘But you didn’t fail’, she told me. ‘You read 13 books. Your life has improved because you challenged yourself.’ I started to think this over, she was right, I might not have read these books if I hadn’t set a number and pushed myself.

At dinner in Copenhagen, I was telling Dirk my objectives when we get home. These included getting on a workout schedule to lose the vacation weight, learning to do 50 pushups a day, getting my website completed, and finding clients for my bookkeeping business.

As the conversation continued, I mentioned my post about ‘Goals’ I was working on. Halfway through my story, I realized that everything I outline as my objectives when we got home were actually goals. All these years of setting targets and timelines to complete something is really a goal. Maybe these were little insignificant goals, but they were goals none the less.

It made me realize that giving people goals or targets or ojectives, even small ones, could push them to be better people. It is all in how you looked at it. People aren’t weak if they fall short of a goal, they are stronger for trying.

The trip is coming to an end, enjoy these pictures of Scotland.