My 2018 Travel Wist List

Friday, 22 December 2017
I've changed my approach to how was I going to write this post. I have two bucket list travel posts planned for 2018 and wasn't sure if it was necessary to do three. I know this is my travel wish list, but I think I'm going to use this post to plan my travels realistically for 2018. My schedule continually makes me question my sanity. I want to be able to travel during 2018, but I want to be smart about it. Adding more stress from travel would be an unhealthy thing for me. So I've come up with one destination per month that I think is attainable. Here is my 2018 Travel List (in no particular order):

Wilsons Prom
This is another quick little day trip from Melbourne. It would probably be better spent on a lovely weekend getaway camping with the pupper if time allows. This is another destination I've wanted to visit since moving to Melbourne but always put it off.  

A couple years ago, my best friend and I decided we would go to Fiji for our 30th. Thanks to the delay in my visa getting approved, we weren't able to schedule that trip. It would seem the universe wants me to visit Fiji this year because I have an extended layover in Nadi and fully intend to explore the island with my time. 

Phantom Falls Walk
Waterfall hikes are totally my jam. I love the uniqueness of every falls. In Victoria, the walk to the falls can often be just as beautiful.  Another great aspect of this trail, it's located extremely close to the Great Ocean Road. It seems like it would be a nice little stop on a Great Ocean Road adventure! 

Giant Ned Kelly
About three hours outside of Melbourne, you will find a giant statue of Ned Kelly. Australia seems to have a thing for giant statues, but this one looks like the most fun to visit. I had only briefly heard of Kelly before moving to Australia. Since living here, I've wanted to find out more. Something about his story reminds me of the old wild west back in the US. 

I WILL get to Cairns this year so help me God. I've been living in Australia for almost 4 years now and have yet to visit. If you haven't visited Cairns are you even Australian?

Grampians National Park
I briefly went to the Grampians about a year ago. However, the Grampians is a vast national park with so much more to explore. I will definitely need to make another trip to enjoy this national park a bit more. 

New Zealand
This is another trip that is so close to Australia, it makes little sense that I have not visited yet. There are always fantastic flight deals to New Zealand, and I want to see where the hobbits are from. Plus having a few friends in New Zealand gives me an excellent excuse to visit. 

Kinglake National Park
In case you haven't guessed yet, I'm big on nature. Hiking, swimming, exploring are all my jam. It's rare that I will go on holiday and want to sit and relax. Even on remote islands, I want to be swimming and snorkelling with the fishes and doing laps of the island. There are so many amazing national parks in Victoria, you could go hiking every weekend if you wanted! I need to start exploring more!

Hanging Rock 
Up near Mount Macedon, there's a unique little rock formation named Hanging Rock. While the hike to the summit is relatively short, there are many unique features about this rock formation that draw people annually. Most of Mount Macedon is pup friendly which is why Hanging Rock has made my list. 

The US
I think its due time I made a proper trip back home. I've planned a long trip back to the US for 2018. It will be nice to see friends and family and hopefully explore the US a little. I still haven't done the Hollywood sign hike. Hopefully, I'll have some time between catching up with family and friends to explore a little bit. 

Tower Hill 
Another nature expedition, Tower Hill is located a fair bit outside of Melbourne, but you can still manage to make a day trip out of it. This wildlife reserve is the remnants of a, now inactive, volcano. There are 5 different walks which means there's plenty of adventure!

Swan Hill 
This may seem like a childish place to want to visit, but Swan Hill looks adorable to me. Every time one of the kiddos I work with mentions Swan Hill, it reminds me of a tiny mining town named Columbia in California. Growing up we used to go on field trips here frequently. It is still a place I love to explore so Swan Hill seems like it would be right up my alley.  

It doesn't seem like much, but with my schedule, this is pretty attainable. Who knows, maybe I'll be able to add a few overseas destinations this year. If money wasn't an option, where would you travel in 2018? Share your top travel destination in the comments below. 

And until next time...
Stay curious

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Bright Trifecta Weekend: A Weekend of Insanity

Monday, 11 December 2017
I had set a goal for myself at the beginning of 2017: I would get my Spartan trifecta this year. With a plan set in place to do each of the three races throughout the year, I knew I had this goal in the bag. Unfortunately, life got in the way and my carefully planned out year compacted all three races into one single weekend. (Let massive panic ensue) I was terrified, but I was also so excited. I knew my Bright weekend getaway would not only be a challenging one but a beautiful escape from bustling Melbourne. 

Preparing for a trifecta weekend is no easy task, but that is a story for another post. Somehow,even with my insanely jammed packed schedule, I managed to get everything together. Driving to Bright reminded me of my long drives from San Diego to my hometown. There was a butt load of nothing to see but farmland and the occasional servo. When I finally made it to Bright, I picked up the keys to the cottage and then went to pick up my race packet. 

At first, I was disappointed all of my friends bailed, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The alone time allowed me to mentally prepare for the weekend ahead. I woke up well rested and excited to take on the first of my three challenges, the Super. 

As I arrived at the arena, I became overrun with fear and anxiety. Why on gods green Earth were they saving the Beast for day 2? Wouldn't it make more sense to go from the longest race to the shortest? I was recently listening to a podcast, where John De Sena was interviewed, and I believe I got my answer. Mental toughness. You'll rarely find a Spartan race that is the length stated on your sign up. This is because Spartan is supposed to challenge you mentally and physically. Why put the Beast on day 2? Because you're challenged yet again to get up and force yourself to run the longest of the three races exhausted. 

Leaping over the first obstacle to get into the starting area, I was excited. I knew I could rock this race. I would worry about the Sprint and Beast later. Right now, my goal was to finish the Super in under 4 hours. I ended up making a friend along the trail. This is something I love about Spartan races. If you're not racing in the elite or competitive waves, everyone helps each other out. We were rocking the course until we reached the mountain. Oh. Sweet. Lanta. I was so underprepared for what the Bright mountain held in store for me. 30 was the number that stuck in my head. 30 steps; then you can take a break. Somehow, this worked. I made it to the top! I silently panicked about how I was to repeat this climb twice the following day but pushed that fear aside to keep going. With a little more running, climbing, jumping, and swimming I finished my first Spartan Super! 

I quickly grabbed my bag, ate my lunch, and stretched on my foam roller before entering the starting area once more for my Sprint. My body was aching, screaming at me to just go home and rest. But my mind was yelling louder, "You can do this! You've already run this trail; it will be easy". My mind won. During my Super, being the clutzy person I am, I fell down the mountain landing on my wrist. I did not realise how severely I had injured myself until I was halfway through a burpee penalty about 5kms into the course. My wrist was throbbing; I couldn't put any body weight on it. I convinced myself to finish the Sprint and do the burpees. I was worried I would get disqualified if I didn't. After about 2 hours on the course, my slowest Sprint to date, I was 2/3 of the way to my first trifecta!

Returning to my cottage, my muscles screamed with fatigue, I found driving difficult with my busted wrist, and all I wanted was a nice Epsom salt bath. Imagine the horror when I realised that the cottage was not equipt with a bathtub. I instead opted for a steaming hot shower and a solid hour upon the foam roller. I was praising all the gods that I had made my dinner the night prior. All I needed to do was warm it up and force myself to eat. That night, I slept better than I ever had. 

In the morning, I awoke, sore, drained, and every muscle in my body and brain were screaming at me to go back to bed. 
"You should rest. It isn't smart to run a race injured." 
"You're too sore, too tired, just go back to bed. No one will blame you if you do not run today." 

I messaged my friend I made the day prior asking if she was still going. When I received the message that she was almost to the arena, I jumped out of bed and rushed over. The entire drive was a war raging in my mind. 
"You won't be able to finish." 
"Just try and make it to the mountain. If you're in too much pain, just stop."
 "woman are you insane? You injured yourself, your autoimmune disorder hates you, and you're limping!"

I made up my mind. I would run until I reached the base of the mountain. There I would assess my injuries, and if I needed to, I would tap out. When I made it to the bottom of the mountain, my mindset changed. Just make it up the mountain and assess from there. I kept setting small goals where I could check in and evaluate how my body was responding. My wrist injury was worse than I thought so I did have to sub my burpees for squats halfway through the race. Somehow, I made it up that crazy mountain twice. I became elated once I reached the sandbag carry. I knew I was less than 5kms from the finish line. I could do this! With the help of other Spartan's shouting words of motivation, I powered through the last bit of the course. Upon crossing the finish line, I turned to the volunteer handing out the medals, confessed that I had to switch to squats due to an injury and shouldn't be given my medal. He laughed, put the medal over my head and said, "You earned this damn medal. Most men could not accomplish what you just did. Fantastic job!"  

Words cannot adequately describe the overwhelming feelings of joy and pride I felt after completing my first trifecta weekend. Best of all, I finished my Beast in under 8 hours! I met the time goal I set for myself. After collecting my bag, I returned to my car and cried tears of joy. Yup, I am not ashamed to admit I cried after the hell Spartan put me through that weekend. It was then I told myself, never again would I run a trifecta weekend. 

I fully understand how Spartan races are so addictive. They push you mentally and physically in ways you could never imagine. Yes, not all Spartan races are created equally, but each race will challenge you differently. No less than 24 hours after my trifecta weekend, I sat down and planned out my Spartan races for 2018. Guess what? I signed up for another trifecta weekend, and I cannot wait! Have you ever ran a Spartan race before? What drives you while you're on the course? 

And until next time...
Stay curious!

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5 Tips for Running a Race: the Run Melbourne 10K

Monday, 4 December 2017
With the Spartan Trifecta close around the corner, I've been trying to find creative ways to train and stay motivated. Determined to challenge myself continually, I've started signing up for races at least once a month (October may be the death of me). After signing up for my first 10K, I began to panic. Sure, one could easily Barney Stinson a 5K, but the longer races may require a bit more training. As I signed up for my first 10K two weeks out, what could I possibly do to ensure I didn't keel over mid-race and collapse to the floor? I turned to some of my gym addicted friends for some advice and here are some of the tips and tricks suggested:

1. Vary up your runs.
If you're doing the same distance, at the same pace every single day, there's very little room for improvement. The runs will become more comfortable, but you won't get faster, and you won't be able to run for extended periods of time. Try varying the workout for faster results. What is the best suggestion for improving the distance and time of your runs? Rotate between endurance, HIIT, and active recovery runs. You'll see faster results and build the confidence to run faster and for longer periods of time. 

2. Don't forget to warm up and cool down.
I am notorious for not warming up or cooling down. Even when I was dancing hours a day, nearly every day of the week, warm-ups were not my jam. This has resulted in significant injuries throughout the years, and my old body is paying the price. When I warm up and cool down properly for a run, I find I'm able to run faster, I don't tire as quickly, and my recovery time is shortened significantly.

3. Do some strength training.
This may seem counterproductive to running, but strength training helps heaps! By adding strength training to your exercise routine, you reduce the risk of injury, help improves your form, and it can actually help you run faster. That's right! Having more power in your muscles can definitely aid in moving more quickly.

4. Have an accountability buddy
Life sometimes (often) gets in the way. It can be easy to hit snooze on your alarm, skip a workout because of the weather, or take your friends up on plans. By having an accountability buddy, you're helping one another to achieve a goal. You're there to support each other through the good, the bad, and the downright dangerously tumultuous relationship one can have with long distance running. There will be days where your buddy will push you through your slump. There will be days that you bound and leap in excitement whilst your buddy cries. No matter what, you're there to help each other succeed!

Archer is the best accountability buddy!
5. Just sign up
Sometimes the best way to kick-start your running program is to throw yourself into the deep end. Maybe don't start with a full marathon, but you'd be surprised how easy it is to complete a 5k. Start with a smaller race and eventually you'll be able to build yourself up to long distance running. For me, just signing up for a race is enough motivation to get my booty into gear. I know I'll pay the price if I'm unable to complete the race. Plus then I just wasted some hard earned money for no good reason.

I get that running isn't everyone's cup of tea. Heck, it isn't even my cup of tea. But I continue to do it because I notice the mental benefits of doing so. I find I gain so much more from my runs if I have a running buddy. What's better for your mental and physical health than getting out there and working out with a friend? Did you run the Run Melbourne race? What races have you run? Share your stories in the comments below!

And until next time...
Stay curious!

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Letting Go of Control: Taming Your Inner Control Freak

Monday, 20 November 2017
I will be the first to admit that I am a massive control freak. I like knowing when things are going to happen, why these things are happening, and preparing for any potential speed bumps that may occur along the way. I tend to freak out if that plan gets changed or if they are not going as quickly as I would like (I'm looking at you Australian Immigration). 

It would appear that as I've gotten older, the anxiety surrounding my ability to control things has increased. I've gotten into the bad habit of expecting specific outcomes and wasting energy trying to force them into the way I saw things in my mind. 

As this is obviously an unhealthy approach to life, I began to dig a little deeper to find the cause of this maladaptive coping skill. I discovered that the primary source of this unwanted anxiety stemmed from perfectionism and a lack of trust. 

Cool, I've figured out what the source of the control issue was but how does one begin to adjust and let go? How does one learn to just go with the flow? 

1. What Can You Do About It Right Now?
For me, my anxiety can be quite cyclic. I get stuck in the vicious cycle of overanalysing, with each cycle finding something else that I need to stress about it. When this happens, ask yourself one simple question "What can you do about this right now?". If you find you're unable to do jack diddly squat, MOVE ON! Find something else to focus your time and energy on. If you realise there's something you can do, do it! Once that's complete, ask the question again until you find you've done all you can. At this point, it's time to move on and move forward. 

2. Be Honest With Yourself
Sometimes you just need to take a look in the mirror and be honest with yourself as to why you need such control in your life. This can be challenging. It's hard to realise and accept our flaws. Ask yourself where, why, and how this behaviour impacts your life. At the same time, assess how this controlling behaviour affects you and those around you. 

3. Look At Your Support Network
Do you have a strong support network? Do you feel comfortable turning to them in times of distress? If so, lean on them for support. This can often be incredibly challenging for some. Asking for help can be difficult. We often fear we are weak or needy when we ask for help. By relinquishing this control and asking for help, it aids in teaching us we're not alone nor do we have to go through challenging situations alone. NEVER feel afraid of asking for help. 

4. Sometimes You Just Have To Be Patient
Why does patience have to be a virtue? Why can't hurry the frick up be a virtue? Unfortunately, most of our lives are spent waiting. But this doesn't have to be a negative thing. Could you imagine the mess the world would be in if people just acted and didn't think through their actions? (The Earth would be in nuclear winter by now). This cooling off period is hugely beneficial. Learn to embrace it. Instead of cyclically stressing about the unknown, go for a run, read a book, cook dinner, or hang out with your fantastic support network. Next thing you know, time will have passed, and you'll have your answer. 

5. Challenge Yourself With the Unpredictable
This can be one of the scariest steps to truly letting go. We are a creature of familiarity. We thrive having a schedule and a routine. But adding unpredictability to your day-to-day can help develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with change. I'm not saying go out tomorrow and buy a new car or quit your job. Nothing that drastic. It can be little things. Take an unfamiliar route home from work. Try food from a country you've never tried. Order a mystery box from eBay or another retailer. I did that recently and was pleasantly surprised! It doesn't need to be life-altering, just something out of the usual. 

Change can be daunting, but it does not have to be anxiety provoking. Unpredictability is a thing of life, and it is something we can learn to handle. How do you tame your inner control freak? Share it in the comments below!

And until next time...
Stay curious!

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Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom: A Bittersweet Travel Experience

Saturday, 2 September 2017
It was an experience I had waited my entire life to have. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to interact with tigers. I had heard that most of the tiger sanctuaries in Thailand drugged and mistreated the tigers. Those were not the types of establishments I wanted to spend my money on. Just like the elephants, I sat and did hours of research until I found a tiger sanctuary that appeared to be a reputable company. I wish I could say that my tiger encounter was as magical as the elephant, but I was gravely disappointed. 

When doing my initial research, I found many people confused Tiger Temple and the Tiger Kingdom. It was effortless to find negative reviews about Tiger Temple, but often the Tiger Kingdom was used interchangeably. Eventually, I was able to find various blog posts from individuals who had volunteered at the Tiger Kingdom for an extended period, and according to these sources, there were no drugs given to the animals, and there were no signs of abuse. After this research, I convinced myself that it would be ok to visit the Tiger Kingdom. 

We booked a tuk tuk to take us from the guest house to the Tiger Kingdom. This happened to be one of the only times while in Chiang Mai that it decided to pour. With the back of the tuk tuk open, the rain somehow managed to wiggle its way onto us. However, the cold rain was refreshing from the hot, humid air. About 30 minutes later, we arrived. My excitement could not be contained. I was finally about to pat a tiger!

We lined up to choose which animal encounter would best fit our budget. If I had the money, I probably would have cuddled all the tigers but, alas, I am a broke a** backpacker, so I had to choose. We opted for the small tiger. If the tiger got angry, it wouldn't completely rip our faces off. Unfortunately, I don't think travellers insurance covers accidental damage due to being mauled by a tiger. After purchasing our tickets, we were told the wait would be approximately 1 hour until we would get to see the tigers. What?!? How am I possibly able to contain my excitement for another hour? 

Luckily, or unluckily, you're able to walk around the grounds of the Tiger Kingdom while waiting. This is where the heartbreak started to set in. Walking around the grounds, you are confronted with larger tigers encaged in a space that is clearly too small for them. Many were pacing back and forth, with extreme looks of anxiety across their face. I started to become increasingly frustrated that I had spent so much time researching only to see the tigers in such distress. 
Awake and ready for some pats!

It was finally time for our tiger encounter. My heart melted. The tiny, little tiger was so adorable! All I wanted to do was give her cuddles. Once in the area with the tigers, you're allowed 15 minutes to take pictures and interact with them. Please keep in mind; tigers sleep a lot throughout the day. Just because they're sleepy doesn't necessarily mean they're drugged. Our little girl did not appear drugged at all. Though tired, she was responsive to our pats and the trainer's commands. She let out a couple of big yawns and some, what sounded like purrs of contentment when we were giving her pats and scratches. 

Please keep in mind; particular rules must be followed when in the room with the tiger. Please follow these rules to avoid being injured. While it was incredibly tempting to want to pick her up and give her a massive cuddle, I opted for the safer options, so I didn't go home being mauled by a tiger. 

Overall, I was grateful I got to experience a close encounter with tigers. Would I do it again? Probably not. I've begun to do extensive research into animal tourism, and it makes my heart hurt. However, if you've always wanted to have a close encounter with a tiger, I highly suggest doing your research before going. Had we gone to the Tiger Kingdom before the Elephant Sanctuary, my opinion might have been different. If you are choosing to meet some tigers while in Thailand, I would thoroughly recommend the Tiger Kingdom over the other options. 

Have you ever had an up close encounter with an aminal? Have you ever been to the Tiger Kingdom? Share your experiences in the comments below!

And until next time...
Stay Curious!

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When The Sun Goes Down, We'll Be Running: The Colour Run Night 5K

Friday, 25 August 2017
I should probably preface this post by stating that running the Colour Run was probably one of the dumbest decisions I've ever made. Listen to your body when you're feeling unwell. Learn from my mistakes, pushing yourself will only lead to hospital stays and increased medical debts. 

I find it more motivation to train and workout when I know I have an event coming up. The fun runs, Spartan races and timed runs are great motivators for me to pick my lazy booty off the couch and go work out. The Colour Night Run was the perfect motivator to continue running but still, have heaps of fun. 

This race is almost the same to the daytime run except it's at night (wow shocker I know!!). All of the colour powders respond to black light, so your colours glow as you run. Your race packet included a glow in the dark t-shirt, a couple of glow in the dark tattoos, and a nifty head lamp (so klutzes like me don't trip and break their neck). 

Unlike most of the races I run, I managed to wrangle up a group of friends to join in! I could not be more grateful for the fact I had other people there with me. It was so much fun, running around like silly children while knowing if I got sick, there were people there who could call an ambulance for me. 

We galloped and sprinted through the various colour sections, making sure to stop and smile for the cameras. We laughed, we ran, we attempted to be fit, and we almost finished without falling over. The best part of the fun runs, they aren't timed. It does matter what level of physical fitness you're in; you can take as long as your heart desires to complete the race. 

If you've ever wanted to run a 5k but were too afraid, I would highly recommend running in a fun run. This way you can get out there, have heaps of fun and complete your goal! Next thing you'll know, you'll be on your way to your first marathon. 

Have you ever ran the Colour Run or any other fun runs? Tell us all about it in the comments below!

And until next time...

Stay Curious!

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18 Things You Wish You'd Known Before You Started Travelling

Friday, 18 August 2017
It's the most incredible feeling in the world. You've saved up, put in heaps of planning, and soon you'll finally be off on your first adventure. Whether you're travelling within your own country or travelling abroad, travel, in general, can be a daunting task. Previously, I've discussed the top 10 travel blunders even the most seasoned traveller can make. As I frequently get asked about travel advice, here is Adventures in Aussieland's list of things I wished I'd known before I started travelling:

1. Everything you're on the fence about bringing, LEAVE IT AT HOME! You're only going to waste space and carry extra weight. 

2. Pack lighter! If you can't comfortably carry your suitcase upstairs, it's too heavy. No, you will not need twelve different pairs of shoes.

Related Post: What To Pack When Backpacking

3. (This may be obvious) Make sure you have your passport and that it will be valid for the entire length of your travels.  

4. Remember to bring all your medications. Even if you're not on meds, it's wise to pack acetaminophen/ibuprofen, band-aids, an antiemetic, and (sorry mum) contraceptives. It's better to be safe than come home with an STI. 

5. Bring extra memory cards and batteries for your camera. I'm not joking. I took over 3,000 pictures of the Angkor Temples. I was happy to have additional memory cards with me. 

6. I highly advise against drinking on the aeroplane. Yes, it is heaps of fun to try and drink the price of your flight ticket, however, hangovers as soon as you land in a foreign country are not. 

7. It's ok to get up and walk around on the aeroplane. If you're anything like me, you'll puff up bigger than a puff pastry. Not a sexy look. If you're unable to get up and walk around, do the silly little exercises recommended in the pamphlet in the seat back pocket. 

Related Post: 3 Simple Steps to Avoid Jet Lag

8. Carry the essentials in your carry on. By essentials I mean, a toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, wet wipes, deodorant, and a clean pair of underwear. You'll feel like a new person if you freshen up a little bit towards the end of the flight. 

9. Learn a few key phrases in the native language of whatever country you're visiting. I try to learn: "hello", "thank you", do you speak English", and "I'm allergic to pork and fish". 

10. Step out of your comfort zone. You didn't travel halfway around the world to feast on the food you could get back home. Try the local cuisine. You won't regret it (or you learn you don't like something and at least you tried!). 

Pin me for later!

11. Don't be afraid to stay in hostels. Staying in a hostel can enhance your travel experience, and you have the opportunity to meet hella cool people. Ask the staff at the hostel for their recommendations around the city. They probably have a better insight than your guidebook.

12. While you're at it, meet locals. This is the greatest way to become emersed in the culture and learn all about the incredible city you're visiting. 

13. It's ok to make mistakes while travelling. 

14. Make copies of all essential documents. Your passport is your lifeline so do everything in your power not to lose it. 

15. Don't keep all your funds in one place. You can never be too safe. 

Related Post: Ho Chi Minh City: A Rocky Adventure

16. Make the most of your time. Do not try to cram too many activities into a short period. This causes travel burnout. 

17. Every trip will not be perfect. You'll have amazing moments; you'll have hellish moments. Do not let the bad times ruin your time. Use them as learning experiences. 

18. You WILL become addicted to travelling and want to book your next trip the instant your home. 

There will always be uncertainties surrounding travel that even the most season traveller cannot avoid. But as long as you're flexible, you open yourself to a fantastic experience. Have any other travel advice? Share it in the comments below!

And until next time...
Stay Curious!

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Power Through Challenging Activities: Tips for Completing Your Run

Thursday, 10 August 2017
Everyone has certain things in their life that they dislike doing. Whether it's going to work, cooking, cleaning, tolerating children, or working out, we all have things we struggle doing. For me, it has and always will be running. I find it dull, boring, and for the most part, a huge waste of time. It's consistently been the only form of cardio I struggle to complete. But for some reason, I force myself to go on runs anyways. 

There are numerous articles written about finding exercises you enjoy because there is a higher probability you'll complete them. For the most part, I agree with these articles. It is so much easier to wake up early when I know I have a workout I enjoy. I love making the time for dance and yoga classes. These workouts get me excited about fitness. Running, however, sounds just about as appetising as eating deep fried spiders. Not my cup of tea. Forcing myself to go on runs has helped me grow as a person. So why do I continue to put myself through this kind of torture? 

Running has been a great way to reinforce the notion that in life: there will be times I have to participate in things I do not want to do or do not like. We all have been placed in a school group where we didn't get along with everyone, been given a project we're not overly thrilled about, or had to go to events that weren't something we enjoyed. By forcing yourself to partake in these activities, you're helping condition yourself to be able to survive these times (with minimal whinging). While running, I've found that HIIT or active recovery runs tend to keep me motivated throughout the entire run. When I'm feeling extremely unmotivated, I often will open the Zombies, RUN! App and RUN FOR MY LIFE! Hearing zombies breathing over your shoulder tends to boost the motivation levels. But most importantly, I set a goal, and I push forward to achieve this aim.

My diary would make the US President cry there are so many meetings, activities, and work scheduled into every day. If you're anything like me, planning a run into your day is an excellent way to give yourself some forced alone time. Depending on the time, I am either able to prepare myself for the day ahead or process the events that happened. It's a time to shut off my brain, organise my thoughts, and enjoy nature. Occasionally, if my day is super busy, I'll run while listening to an audiobook. This way I feel doubly productive. 

While there are many cardiovascular activities I could do to keep me healthy, they are not always free. Running is a great, free way to get in shape and stay healthy. No matter the weather, you're always able to step out your front door and go for a run. 

There are a few ways to help make your runs a bit more enjoyable: 

1. Make a great playlist. Finding music that is motivating to you will help keep you on track throughout your run. Need a few new songs to add to your workout playlist? Try looking HERE

2. Run with your dog. My dog is the most motivating running partner on the planet. If your doggy is a firecracker like Archer, take them on the run. You'll both benefit from the exercise. 

3. Change your running route. Each day try a different way. This way you'll be looking at new scenery, and it won't become monotonous. 

4. Join a running group or download a training App. This will help keep you motivated throughout the run. I've found that running with other people helps me during tempo runs and Aaptiv Running App really helps keep me on track when I'm running solo.

I may despise running, but I enjoy the benefits I receive from completing a run. I end up feeling better about myself and more motivated to tackle more challenging tasks. What do you continue to do that you dislike? Have any tips for running? Share them in the comments below.

And until next time...
Stay Curious!

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Why It's So Important to Remove Toxic People From Your Life

Friday, 9 June 2017
If you’re lucky enough, you’ve surrounded yourself with amazing friends. These friends have your back and are an added bonus to your life. However, sometimes, these amazing friends can become toxic. It can happen slowly over time or be wildly apparent from the start. Whatever the situation, this person has infiltrated your life, and it's time they were removed.

Generally speaking, I’ve been fortunate enough to have some incredible people in my life. Most are super supportive and a positive influence on my life. However, I have ended up with a few bad apples. *Please do not confuse those with opposing life views as toxic people. These two are not synonymous.* This has always been a concept I’ve struggled with mainly because I choose to see the best in people. So when you want to see the best in everyone, how do you remove toxic individuals from your life?

The first step is to identify these people. Sometimes, the person just might be struggling at this point in their life. While it is important to be there for your friends, if you are being dragged down by them, it might be time to cut the cord. Other times it can be incredibly challenging to identify these individuals as they can often be extremely manipulative. Their ability to charm those around them while being incredibly cruel behind closed doors leaves their 'friends' confused and in dismay. These type of toxic people may have an underlying, (un)diagnosed personality disorder and rarely recognise themselves as the problem.

Not sure if you have a toxic individual in your life? Here are a few signs you may need to end the friendship:

  • They are frequently asking but very rarely giving.

  • They have the need to always be right. It’s their way or the highway with tiny wiggle room.

  • They’re self-centred.

  • They have a Dr Jekyll/Mr. Hyde attitude. One moment they’re loving and caring, the next they’re angry, cold, or resentful.  

  • They are always the victim. Whenever something happens, it’s never their fault.

  • They lie...CONSTANTLY. It doesn’t matter how big or small the lie, it will happen. Sometimes, they will purposefully negate information to present themselves in a more favourable light.

It can be hard to sit down and objectively analyse a friendship. If you’re anything like me, you want to see the good in people. Heck, you pray that the little slice of good you see can win and prevail over the bad aspects of their personality (thank you, Disney). But we’re not going to play the victims here. It’s not always about how that person is acting, you could be enabling this type of behaviour. Here are a few things to internally check when trying to suss out the unhealthy relationships in your life:

  • Protection mode kicks in, and you feel the need to save or fix this individual.

  • You find yourself justifying or making excuses for their behaviour.

  • You’re always on edge because you’re not sure how they’re going to respond in certain situations. You may go out of your way to avoid talking about certain things to avoid making them upset.

  • You find yourself feeling guilty but without justification as to why. When they’re angry, you find yourself struggling to understand what you did wrong.

  • Spending any time with them is draining.

Toxic individuals can be emotionally and physically draining to the people around them. Choosing to remove someone from your life can be a very stressful and scary process. It's also not a process that may happen overnight. But at the end of the day, you will no longer be weighed down by their bullsh*t. This can allow you the opportunity to live a happy and fulfilling life.

It's ok if you're unable to walk away without extra support. If a toxic individual is abusive, please contact your local support line. These professionals are trained to help aid with short-term support. If you do not feel comfortable calling a support line, Crisis Text Line is available 24/7. Simply text 741-741 to start a conversation.

This post was not as upbeat as what I typically discuss but was an important topic to address. Life is too short to be consumed by those who make you feel bad about yourself. I again would like to stress that if someone is different to you, this does not mean they are toxic. HOWEVER, if the person is causing you some kind of distress or is being emotionally or physically abusive, this person very well could be too toxic for your life.

"Surround yourself with people that reflect how you want to feel inside." 

And until next time...
Stay Curious!

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