Ziplining through Mexico

A discovery I’ve made about myself in the last year or so is that I absolutely love having an adrenaline rush.

It was never the case when I was a kid or even a teenager. In fact when my family went to Canada’s Wonderland when I was very young I distinctly remember feeling overwhelmed at the idea of being on even the tamest rides. Seriously. I was standing behind my parents in line for one of those rides where you’re sitting in a little pod that lifts you up and spins you around upside down (you stay in by momentum). It’s a ride that isn’t even that interesting, let alone scary, but I can recall with great detail being a little girl in that line. The fear, the terror, the panic setting in as we inched closer and closer to the front of the line. It didn’t seem to matter how many smiling faces I observed from other park patrons, I ended up bawling at the prospect of actually getting on that ride and in the end I opted to just watch my parents go on. There I was, a little redheaded girl crying lamely as this gentle baby ride whirled her parents around for a gripping and worrisome 2 minutes. Afterward they took me on one of those old wooden roller coasters to show me how fun they could be and that there was nothing to be afraid of, and that thing was so wildly out of control to me that it only solidified my aversion to thrill rides and adrenaline sports for essentially my entire childhood.

Fast forward to now, and that couldn’t be more different. I love roller coasters, sling shot rides, sky diving, giant swing rides, hell even just regular swings. You don’t get much of an adrenaline rush on a park swing but I still love it. That little bit of weightlessness is very relaxing and enjoyable to me. When I was traveling around New Zealand back in November I would always go and swing in the campsite playground as my brother and father took care of all the campervan chores. One particular campsite had this miniature zipline and I probably rode that thing, no joke, about 15 times. Probably would have done it more if not for a bunch of actual kids showing up and spoiling my fun. I never managed to have a proper ziplining adventure in New Zealand, though it was something I wanted to do, so when Pam and I were in Mexico last month and I saw that zip-lining was on the list of potential activities I thought now is the time.

Fortunately for me Pam is very adventurous and easy going so it was not at all hard to convince her to go like it was to convince my brother in NZ. We took some time off from lazing around on the beach and flipped our way through some catalogues. We found an adventure that seemed to work well for us: it boasted various ziplines that take you through the mexican jungle (including the longest in Mexico — the superman), as well as some offroading UTV fun, and even a random water slide.

Normally these tours are provided to fairly large groups and take about 6 hours, but Pam and I were lucky enough to be guided on a private tour for two and so we finished in less than half that time.
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Upon arrival we were taken through a brief orientation by our tour guides, going over the basics of the equipment and safety. The most important thing for us of course is to get the basics of the hand signals so we could understand how to get from one end to the other without getting stuck. Which I can’t imagine happens too often.

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The circuit they take you through provides some pretty fun mission impossible type activities. We rappelled, climbed a woven ladder, and then shimmied our way awkwardly across a rope (above). Which, to be honest, was the most worrisome part of the day for me.

Next up was the UTV adventure, which Pam took the wheel for.

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Pam’s huge smile and my look of concern makes me laugh every time. We only nearly toppled over once. Not too bad for our first off roading experience.

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After that you take a little hike up to the Superman, the longest zipline in mexico where they lay you on your belly, load you up with weights and then send you careening off a cliff at 100 km/h to sail overtop the jungle.

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You can’t even see the landing zone from up there.

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As you can imagine it’s very exciting. You really feel a bit like you’re flying, and the views of the forest are obviously beautiful.

So that was our fun adventure day. Something to do when you need a break from playing in the ocean or lying on the beach.

If you’ve ever thought about going I’d highly recommend it.

Have any of you ever been? Experiences?

Thanks for reading! xo

Lucky or not quite so lucky?

Recently I’ve been paying more attention to the Daily Prompts that wordpress provides. The prompt today was ‘luck’. Seconds later I went to youtube and saw that a channel I follow posted this video:

I thought it was pretty strange that the subject of luck came up twice like that in the span of just a few seconds, but then I remembered that it was St Patrick’s day and suddenly it made sense. I hadn’t remembered that today was St. Patrick’s day, yet amazingly, I still managed to wear green underwear and order a green tea latte. Very lucky, indeed. Or perhaps my subconscious cares a lot more about this day than I do. In any case, the video is pretty interesting and you should take the 6 minutes to watch it if you can.

He talks about how luck can be looked at as a meeting of the conscious mind with chance. Or rather, that our own reactions to the curve balls and opportunities that life throws our way can actually empower us to, in a sense, create our own luck.

For example, today I really wanted to write a blog post here, but I also wanted to practice yoga, and I only had time for one or the other. I chose to go to yoga because I’m trying to make it a daily habit and I’ve been going every other day until now at around 5pm. So I got myself organised, grabbed my mat, walked to the subway, paid for the subway, rode the subway, and walked all the way to the studio only to discover that it’s closed on Friday afternoons.

Was I unlucky because I wasted all that time going there to not be able to practice yoga? Or was I actually lucky because the fact that the studio was closed meant that I had time to write this blog post?

I definitely felt the latter, but in general when I think of luck I tend not to put a lot of weight on it. Luck is such an intangible concept… you can’t really pin anything concrete on it. It’s just a word in our speech that we use to describe how we feel about random situations. When things work out surprisingly well for us we call it lucky and when they don’t we call it unlucky.

On the other hand when I look at my life I do feel very lucky. Or I guess I just feel grateful, but it can’t hurt to try and cultivate that elusive “luck” that may or may not be floating around out there. To me it all comes back to what you put into the universe you get back from the universe. The law of attraction. All that jazz.

 

Did anything happen today to make you feel lucky or unlucky? Let me know in the comments what you thought about the video if you ended up watching it.

Happy St Patrick’s day, everyone!

Thanks for reading xo

Alarm woes

What do you do when alarm clocks actually don’t work for you anymore?

Everyday my alarm is set to go off at 7:00 am and everyday at 7:00 am my subconscious either hits the snooze or outright dismisses the alarm without my consent. I swear to god my body will hit the snooze 15 times without my ever having noticed it. I have trained myself to be immune to alarms over many many years. What to do about this?

I have tried changing up the sound. I regularly set new and excitingly obnoxious tones and songs in the hopes that one will be annoying enough to properly wake me up, but it doesn’t work. I’ve tried putting the alarm across the room and setting multiple alarms, but none of these things have been effective enough to stir me. Fortunately I mostly work afternoons and evenings so until now it hasn’t mattered much if I overslept, and generally I get to bed fairly early so I’m mostly awake at 8:30 or 9 which isn’t too bad. The problem is that in the coming weeks I have been scheduled to work at 7 in the morning which means I need to be up by 6 at the latest and that’s quite the jump from 8:30 or 9, you know? I prefer to run off my own biological clock. Now I’m scratching my head wondering how on earth I’m going to manage to wake up before the sun, which I hate. I seriously HATE when I wake up and it’s still dark. It feels wrong.

I remember once I had to leave to get to work at 4 am and man was that ever a disaster. I had to set my alarm for 3:30 but I was too afraid to sleep in case I overslept so instead I just stayed awake the whole night and spent the entire day exhausted and grumpy.

I follow this guy on instagram whose handle is Before5am. His tagline says “Success starts before 5am,” and I think there must be some merit to that so I’m always keen to read his thoughts on the subject. Recently he wrote a post with tips on how to wake up early and he offers some really solid advice like listening to music first thing, looking at your goals, using motivational images, or playing motivational videos… all of these things sound great. My struggle is that I don’t ever have that moment of consciousness whereby I can implement any of these strategies.

I’m the girl that needs the alarm that’s not really an alarm but rather a pair of robotic arms that come out of the wall in the morning and tip the mattress over to spill you onto the floor. I think that might work. Or every morning a pack of puppies is released into my apartment to wreak havoc and chaos. I’d get up for that, too. I’m sure we could brainstorm plenty of ridiculously innovative but impractical alarm scenarios like these, in fact we should.

In all honesty, though, I think it’s a smart habit to wake up early. I’d really like to get in the habit of waking up at the same time everyday. Do any of you have any tips for this? It would be great to have a proper morning routine. Wake up, write for a couple hours, post on the blog, enjoy some chai, then go to work. It would be very classical hipster, which I love.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

 

 

Ola is the funnest form of hello

When I came home from Mexico last weekend, even though I had only been for a week, I found myself wanting to say “Ola!” to literally everyone I saw.

It’s official, Ola is my favourite ‘hello’ word from any language. It outshines any english form (hey, hi, hello [yawn fests]), french form (bonjour, salut), italian form (ciao, salve), chinese form (ni hao), or japanese form (konnichiwa, moshi moshi) that I know. [I mean, moshi moshi is fun but it’s only applicable over the phone so you can’t just say it while you’re walking around, you know?]

I realise that this is just a small sampling of the languages available on earth, but these are the ones that I happen to know off the top of my head.  I love trying to speak in other languages, so anytime I get to travel somewhere where they don’t speak English is a real treat. I know some people feel nervous about speaking in other languages, and it’s totally understandable. So many fumbles will happen when you are trying to convey your meaning in another language, but I actually love the challenge and the resulting hilarity that can ensue from misunderstandings. (I have many of these stories from my time in Japan.) But this post is about Spanish, not Japanese!

My knowledge of Spanish is so completely basic, previous to this last year I only knew Ola, gracias, and cómo estás. Back in September I spent 2 weeks in Peru where I learned a teensy bit more. Just a few crucial things like “Tienes leche de soya?” (do you have soy milk? truly important), “¿Dónde está?” (where is ____? not as important as the last one, but still useful), “un poquito” (a little)… and that’s pretty much it. What’s amazing, though, is how many times I went out of my way to speak just those few sentences.

For example, walking around the town of Puerto Vallarta, I went out of my way to ask people where things were, even when I knew the answer.

Permitame senor/senorita, dónde está Starbucks?
Permitame senor/senorita, dónde está la Catedral?
Permitame senor/senorita, dónde está Planeta Vegetarianos?
Permitame senor/senorita, dónde está el Plaza?
or a few times at my resort:
Permitame senor/senorita, dónde está chips de plátano? (Where are the banana chips?! Seriously, they kept moving them around on me.)

“Tu hablas español?” they would ask, to which I would always reply, “ci! un poquito!” Then they would proceed to answer my question with more Spanish, explaining the location.  At the end of the explanation when I was stood scratching my head and staring blankly back at them, they would repeat again, slower, and with more gestures… because clearly I don’t speak even a little Spanish. But still, it’s fun to pretend and to try.

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Ola, boardwalk!
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Ola, catedral! Found you
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Ola, lord!
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Ola, Senor!
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Ola, ocean!
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Ola, puppy! (Cuddling is a universal language for cute puppies)
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Ola, kitty!

Spanish is certainly a fun language to speak, so it’s no wonder that in my head walking down the street in chilly Toronto I am saying “ola!” to everyone. Even when I was around other English speakers in Mexico I would say ola and gracias. It’s infectious in my brain, like my brain wants to be rewired into Spanish.

Which languages do you guys like to speak other than English? Even poorly! Do you get nervous speaking in another language? Which ones sound the nicest to you? And most importantly, what’s your favourite form of hello?

Most languages are prettier than English, don’t you think? (Sorry, English.)

Happy hump day, everyone. 🙂

The road taken – surprise week in Mexico

I was woken up by a text message from my best friend in Calgary a couple weeks ago. I was a bit dazed from a rough sleep and it was still early morning, my body was protesting heavily as I rolled over and squinted at the blazing light of my phone screen to read her message:

“I’m planning to get away next week, do you want to come to Mexico?” it said.

Yeah right, I thought. Wouldn’t that be nice?  I responded very bluntly and swiftly: I can’t, sorry.

Because I couldn’t, you know? I have work, life in Toronto… it’s obviously too last minute… all that jazz. Plus, I’m sure she’s not serious. We’ve talked about running away for a trip together for ages but we’ve never made it happen so surely it wasn’t about to happen this time. I put the thought out of my mind and went about my day.

Later I was in my car and was overtaken by a dawning epiphany. Actually, I CAN go to Mexico next week. Why not? You only live once, Heather, so go to Mexico with your best friend! You’ve never been, and the two of you haven’t travelled together since you were children.

I messaged her at the next available opportunity my new realisation. Let’s make it happen. Now is the time for our beach holiday.

I said to her I’d go wherever she thought was nice. Bless her, she took care of EVERYTHING- coordinated our flights so that we’d land around the same time, booked our room, did all of the grunt work with our travel agent. All I had to do was wire her my share of the money when all was said and done and be on the plane when it took off. I can’t love my bestie enough.

I’ve decided I love spontaneous travel, I wish it could happen way more often. This is certainly the most last minute trip I have ever taken. Instead of spending last week bundled up in grey, cold Toronto, I was in a bikini admiring sunsets by the ocean in Puerto Vallarta…

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I think I made the right choice. Sand between my toes, spanish on my tongue, my best friend who I never get to see at my side, a drink in my hand… life is full of beautiful surprises. I love each year more and more.

Do any of you guys have spontaneous travel/roadtrip stories? Share them in the comment section!

 

 

I wrote this for The Daily Prompt, check it out if you’re interested in submitting your own.

PS you can see more photos of my trip on my instagram!