Friday, 20 February 2015

50 Things I want to do, before I Turn 50...

I was looking at my iPod the other day, searching through some random notes that were held on it, and I came across one that I created throughout High School and University. I made a simple list of things that I want to do before I turn 50. 

Reading my list, I am amazed to see how many of the simple goals I set for myself, I still want to accomplish. Most of them are travel related, I clearly have had the travel bug in my bones for a while, and if my current mood (of the last 3 years) is any indication, it is more like a virus that has overtaken my body and not going anywhere any time soon.

The adventures I have planned for myself are plentiful, especially those related to nature. I haven’t spent enough time hiking in recent years, it is something that I hope to do more of, maybe finding this list will help push me back into it.

I am baffled, clearly my desire to travel hasn't changed but the places I have put importance on have.  I don’t think I had ever thought about travelling in the Middle East at the time of making the list, now  - I can’t imagine spending those two years anywhere else, or being anywhere but my current home of Kazakhstan (except, maybe, on a beach…). Central Asia certainly never crossed my mind as an interesting place to be, I was wrong.

Here is the list, if you’d like to have a wee looksie at what I thought really mattered between the ages of 16 and 20. I will try to find photos of the relevant, accomplished items to add a bit of colour to the post! Enjoy! 


1. Graduate University
     University of Alberta, Faculty of Education, 2008.
2. Fall in love 
    More than once, followed by the dreadful accompanying heartbreak.
3. Have a family

4. Climb Kilimanjaro
5. See the Angkor watt
6. Backpack through Europe
      Twice! Summer of 2008 and Summer of 2014
      Countries: France, Austria, Germany, Italy, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic 
7. Go on an African Safari 
8. Hike the West Coast Trail
9. Paddle down the Mackenzie
10. Teach overseas for a year  
      Kuwait for Two, Currently in Kazakhstan Teaching
11. Hike the East Coast Trail

12. See the northern lights, north of 45
13. Go on an Alaskan cruise
14. Spend Mardi-Gras in New Orleans
15. Go to Harry Potter World  
16. Spend a summer reading on a beach
17. Adopt a dog
18. See a Performance at the Sydney Opera House 
          Idina Menzel, July 2013
19. Hike in Argentina
2o. Eat sushi in Japan
21. Visit Bali 
          June 2013: What an adventure it was, between hiking volcanoes, swimming in the most                                          beautiful waters and having my heart broken.
22. Write a novel
23. Paint a sunset
24. Ride an elephant in Thailand
       February 2013 - my first trip to South East Asia, and part of it was my first trip alone.
25. Walk through the History I have Studied  

26. Go to Georgia - both, just because
27. Learn a new language, and become fluent
28. Pick up the violin again - seriously
29. Get A Masters
30. Hike Machu Pecchu
31. Spend a summer working with my hands
32. Spend St.Patrick’s Day in Ireland
33. Swim with dolphins
34. Ride a motor bike in Vietnam
35. Eat pizza in Italy 
          So. Much. Pizza. July 2012
36. Live in Paris for a year...or more
37. Visit the Galápagos Islands
38. Take a dip in the Antarctic sea
39. Sing Oh Canada at Vimy Ridge 
           I think I might have added this to the list after completing it, but it was an honor and a                          privilege, July 2012
40. Walk along the Great Wall of China 
            As far as we could go, what a stunning experience. The thing that sticks out in my memory                 the most was the many Chinese people taking our pictures, Girls Choir Tour, 2007.
41. Take the Trans-Siberian Railway
42. Walk down Chili
43. Swim with a whale shark
44. See the Terra Cotta Soldiers 
          Stunning. July 2007
45. Spend a month without technology
46. Learn to play the guitar
47. Open a baking business
48. Buy, and immediately drink a really good bottle of wine
49. Visit the North Pole
50. Volunteer my skills in a meaningful way


* I will update this post as I accomplish more goals, but I am not using this as a list to live but, so whatever happens, happens. Going with the flow has led me to some great places so far, and I plan on keeping with that plan.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Fitness Goals!

Living abroad, it is really quite easy to fall into bad habits, especially when you first arrive in a new location. You are meeting new people, getting acquainted with your new city and of course, trying out new places to wine and dine.

I have always fluctuated in my habits of working out and eating right, and then being very naughty - this has been a constant battle for me. Moving to Kazakhstan, however has proven to have given me a renewed interest in changing my lifestyle to be generally healthier.

After a brief 'settling-in' period of about three weeks, I signed up with a gym (Atyrau Fitness) and started my journey to a healthier life, and towards my weight-loss goals. Gypsy Lady and I help keep each other on track with eating, and ensuring that we are working out, which has been super helpful. I am down 10kg from when I moved to Kazakhstan and have been feeling great. The progress I am making isn't as quick as I would like it to be, but I am trying to find a lifestyle that I can maintain for the rest of my life. Crash dieting doesn't work for me - I know this, so I am taking it slow and finding what will work and is sustainable for me.

Atyrau Fitness is a wonderful center, they have classes, excellent equipment and a number of trainers that are always around to ensure that you are doing activities correctly to avoid injury. When you sign up, you also get one free personal training session, they listen to what you want and create a program that will help you achieve your goals.

After Christmas, Gypsy Lady, Flower girl and I have agreed to sign up for the Almaty Marathon! I will be running the 10K, Gypsy Lady will be running the Half-Marathon and Flower Girl will be running the full Marathon.

This is my first running race/event that I have taken part in, and needless to say that I am very nervous. In a lot of ways, though, training for the 10K has been more of a mental exercise than a physical one. I think physically I will be ready by April 26th but mentally, I am terrified. I have only been able to run on a treadmill thus far, and have rarely run outside in the past. It is winter deep-freeze right now, so there isn't much I can do about running outside. I am hoping for warmer weather soon, so that I can start practicing!

Right now, I am averaging about 4-5k per workout and I am feeling good about that!

Send some positive vibes my way!

If you are living in Atyrau and looking for a gym, I encourage you to try out Atyrau Fitness!
Here is their wesite: http://atyraufitness.com/   It is in russian, but Chrome does a good job of translating the most important information!