Day 25-26: Wanderlust

IMG_6570It’s past midnight and even though I should be exhausted from travel, I am wide awake. I arrived back in Indianapolis earlier today and while I was nowhere near ready to leave sunny California, my Uber driver recognized my great big sigh of relief when he dropped me off in front of my home.

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Sunny GAC co-counselors and sisters from different misters (and mothers)

California was everything that I needed and more than I expected. I was visiting a dear friend of mine who I met 10 years ago as we “worked” as co-counselors at a summer camp in the Sierra Nevadas in northern California. We were perfect strangers before that summer and it wasn’t long before we became sisters. Every night we fell asleep on our cots underneath stars so close you felt like you could just pluck them from the sky. We would stay up all night telling stories and make the bonds that still tie us together 10 years later. She just recently got engaged and while we are fortunate to see each other at least once a year, I have yet to meet her fiancé. Without getting too mushy on here, I could not be more proud and more happy for the love that they share and for the life that they are creating for themselves. I feel like a very proud sister and in many ways, I am.

Rain drenched, discovering fried cheese "street meat" in Prague - mind BLOWN.
Rain drenched, discovering fried cheese “street meat” in Prague – mind BLOWN.

It was during that summer at Gold Arrow Camp, that my passion for travel ignited. The camp was filled with counselors from all over the World; Europe, South America, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. Spending nine plus weeks with these amazing people, opened my eyes to possibilities I had never considered. It was during that summer that four of us counselors made a spit pact (you know the ones) that we would travel the world for a year and then live in Australia for a year. We spit on it! It was going to happen, and it did. Kinda. The next summer, I took off for a European backpacking adventure while the other three went back to camp and then we all landed in Australia at the end of the summer where we got jobs and I ended up living for nine months.

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In Kinsale, southern Ireland, with another incredibly fun and wonderful friend who I met at GAC and who graciously hosted my stay in Ireland x Rouri O’Connor – it doesn’t get much more Irish than that! 😉
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Australian Football League – to this day, the only sports I can watch on TV. Go the SAINTS!! Those shorts!

Living in a different country opened my eyes even wider to the possibilities that are all around us. Australia isn’t THAT different from America. They wouldn’t admit it, but they have adopted many of our cultural tendencies from years of watching our cast off television shows and blockbuster movies. Of course, Aussies are rich in their own culture, but I couldn’t say that it was a “culture shock” to live there. And then again, it was. I had to learn to adapt to their culture and embrace our differences and just seeing the way things worked in their society, made me see my home and the way we do things here, more clearly. Australians see things differently than we do in the Midwest, and they do things just a little differently and even if I didn’t always understand them or agree with them, they were beautiful in that they created more vibrant colors for me to see my world through. These differences and these lessons were my souvenirs from my time there.

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The 12 Apostles on the The Great Ocean Road, a trip I made many times during my stay in Australia. How could I not?!
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My mum and my mom together in Australia. There’s a Koala in there somewhere…

Flash forward a year and I’m back in Australia for what is suppose to be a 6 week SUPER spontaneous visit and I am diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Five weeks after losing my father from gastro-esophogeal cancer. Talk about tailspin! I didn’t even tell my mother that I had cancer until after my first round of chemo-therapy. How could I tell my mother that her daughter had cancer when she had just lost her husband after a very short battle with cancer? Needless to say, it wasn’t easy! None of it was. Being away from friends and family back at home, endless doctor appointments and needles and chemo and cold metal radiation tables. It sucked. It was hard. But then again, I have never wished that time away.

I knew back then, and it is resounding with louder and louder echoes, that this period of my life is not to be ignored and I am meant to do something with it. You know the old saying “Everything happens for a reason”? Well, I don’t think it could be more applicable than in this very instance for me.

I’m not sure EXACTLY what journey I am on and where it will take me, but what is the fun in that? I know that I am meant to be challenging myself and I am meant to be digging to find answers and I am meant to be listening to the answers that are already inside me. Never stop exploring, right?

Nola dog in the great Pacific xo
Nola dog in the great Pacific xo

I have however.

I have spent the past six years, going back to the same job I had before Australia. I knew that it wasn’t a healthy environment to be in, so I made movements to get out sooner than retirement. I thought that I could clean a few houses on the side to make some extra cash to pay off student loans and allow me to pursue my passion of travel more frequently. This turned into a full blown business that grew so fast, I couldn’t keep up with demands and lost myself completely in the process! The whole while, leaving me with very little energy to pursue my passions of yoga and wellness. I haven’t had a solid yoga practice since I was going through my cancer treatments, let alone spend the time to really focus on what I was shoving in my mouth and into my psyche. I knew this was an obvious problem, but I was on the train and it was moving fast and while you know that it isn’t going in the right direction, it is really effing scary to jump off!

It wasn’t until recently that I have built enough courage to make the jump. Or maybe it’s out of shear terror of where this train may be taking me, but whether it’s fear based or courage – they are actually the same instinct and I am listening. I know that I am getting closer. I have a clear intention and this is something that has been cloudy for many years.

I know that my past and my skills are meant to help others.

Towards the very end of my chemo treatments, my yoga teacher Louise and I had a photo session to send pics to my dear friend in America who I was missing being a bridesmaid in her wedding. I was told by the Immigration offices of Australia that I "couldn't have my cake {healthcare VISA} and eat it {go home for my best friend's wedding} too". Oh, boy...
Towards the very end of my chemo treatments, my yoga teacher Louise and I had a photo session to send pics to my dear friend in America who I was missing being a bridesmaid in her wedding. I was told by the Immigration offices of Australia that I “couldn’t have my cake {healthcare VISA} and eat it {go home for my best friend’s wedding} too”. Oh, boy…

There are SO MANY challenges in this 108 day Sun Salute challenge I am embarking on. While the actual physical activity of taking two to three hours a day to complete 108 Sun Salutations is the most my body has been through in years, it is not the hardest part of this challenge. Being vulnerable and sharing my journey so openly has been a greater challenge. Sometimes, like today, I am excited to share with you and open myself up to whomever is reading this and other days I just want to keep it close and be more quiet and I think that is okay.

This however, is still not the hardest part. It is SO humbling to ask for help. I am asking you to take a chance on me and support me by sponsoring this journey that I am on. I know with every fiber of my being, that India is where I need to be. Not only to continue my education in Yoga Therapy so that I can help others to better understand the power of healing they hold within themselves but also take the opportunity to complete an intense detoxification  of physical and emotional cleansing to rid my tissues from the harsh yet powerful cancer treatments that I endured six years ago.

To learn more about the intensely healing and restorative practice of Panchakarma, click here.

I am so excited to better understand this part of myself and I am ready to share it with the World. I however, need some help getting there.

If you would like to sponsor my journey, I would be beyond thankful and would be honored to be a helping hand in our community. I am doing this right away by donating 50% of all proceeds of my campaign directly back into my community via way of three different organizations doing really great things in our community. The first 36 days, which finishes THIS FRIDAY, I am teaming with Peace Learning Center to aid their amazing peace education services in communities throughout the world. Check out my recent blog post to learn all about their super powerful services.

For more information and to donate, please visit my campaign page.

Thank you so much and I have a wonderful night!

My second cup of camomile tea is starting to kick in and my eye lids are getting heavy. I feel like I am only beginning to touch the tip of an iceberg but I’m sure your eyes are getting heavy too! Until next time…

Good night and warmest of love to you xx

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