How to celebrate your birthday on an island

I suppose if I’m doing a solo trip, I should celebrate my birthday by myself as well. I decided to make the day special and find a place I thought would be memorable. Having heard good things about Koh Lanta, I decided to book my own bungalow on the beach and relax for a couple of days.

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At the end of the walkway was the beach. Ahhhhhh!

Koh Lanta was headed into low season, so many of the shops were closing but the town still provided a nice afternoon for a birthday shopping spree. I had snacks at a super nice Thai family’s roadside restaurant and did a lot of smiling and head bobbing with the owner’s 90 year-old mother. I still have no idea what we were trying to talk about but she seemed like a dear.

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My actual birthday was spent in an open air hut on the beach taking a 2-hour yoga class taught by an intense Scottish yogi. It was rather surreal and something I wanted to do while in Asia. After yoga, I wobbled over to an adjoining café for muesli, yogurt, and an Americano followed by a Thai massage. Beach life in Thailand is so great. Everything you want is usually within a 5 minute walk of where you are staying. Life literally consists of a swimsuit, sarong, bare feet, and sunglasses for days at a time.

Feeling the need to do something productive and because I was wildly missing my dog Nellie, I headed over to Lanta Animal Welfare, a rescue and care facility for the island’s pets. They head a huge sterilization program for the island, as well as offer treatment, adoption, and education about animals and their care. After taking a tour of the facility, I walked Carrot, one of the dogs available for adoption, and chatted with a volunteer, also a solo female traveler who was taking a month to work at the shelter.

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Here are some of the other cuties. Seeing them just made me want my dog more 😦

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I spent several dinners and happy hours at Time for Lime, a cooking school and restaurant that sponsors the shelter. The food was amazing, drinks delicious, and view, well that was priceless. I guess if you were to have a birthday by yourself, this was the place to celebrate.

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My goals update

October! My favorite time of year! It seems like every Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest I see is overloaded with pumpkin pie spice lattes, butternut squash soup, and last-minute marathons before winter hits. This marks the first year I’m not running a fall race which makes me so sad. Last year I did the Marine Corps Marathon in beautiful Washington, DC and I must say, you HAVE to run this race at least once. The course is absolutely beautiful and it’s super fun to see many of the DC landmarks. To make up for missing a race this fall, I am volunteering at the Kansas City Marathon. I’ve always wanted to give back the love I’ve gotten during my races and I thought this year would be a perfect opportunity. Now that it’s getting closer and I hear more of my friends entering, I think I’ll have a slightly sad heart. Oh well, more motivation for finding another great marathon! Speaking of which, does anyone have a great recommendation for an awesome winter race?

At the beginning of this semester, I talked a lot about my goals for the rest of the year. Since I’m deep into projects and tests, I thought I’d give an update of how it’s going. So far, my butt is still fitting into my jeans. Major goal accomplished! I have planned ahead making sure I have lots of fruit, precut veggies, yogurt, and other healthy snacks ready so I can grab and go. Making sure my fridge is stocked keeps me from relying on takeout. My stress level is WAAAYYYY down too. It really shouldn’t be. I had to scrap a research project this week and I’ve pulled a couple 36 hour days with no sleep. Major difference is I’m taking more time for friends when they want to get together and I’m taking lots of running/walking/get outside breaks. I’m also learning to make more short-term goals to accomplish big projects and if I do get stressed, I make sure I step away from the situation to breath and re-focus instead of letting the stress build up.

(This is my favorite breakfast right now- oatmeal with cinnamon, cherry preserves, chopped walnuts, and vanilla almond milk. It tastes almost like the cherry crunch dessert!)

Some obstacles I’ve met this semester is my sleep schedule. I’ve had some 36-hour no sleep days which are awful. I don’t recommend that and I hate that I try to practice being healthy but screw up my body this way. Some days are unavoidable with my night work schedule falling into a day class schedule which coincides with a test or paper. I want to be more proactive in managing my time so I don’t have this problem.  I also need to figure out better solutions to my carb cravings. I don’t believe eliminating anything, and as an active person, I need carbs. However, I don’t need a pan of mac and cheese. While I haven’t given into that craving, it’s a nagging thought all the time (mmmm, cheesy pasta).

Since I’m new to the blogging/social media world, this next tip might be well-known to all you super bloggers. One of biggest things that has helped me this semester is Twitter! Gotta say, I never saw that coming. Having just joined this year, Twitter has been amazing helping me stay motivated. It pushes me to stay fit, eat healthy, and find other people who have the same goals. I’ve loaded up my follow list with mostly fitness, health, and clean eating lovers. Their continual positive tweets through the day has motivated me more than once to work out or eat better. I really recommend doing the same if you need a little extra support in keeping your fitness and eating goals. Look for me on there too @TakeFlightLive

(Nellie- my other great motivator. When all of her balls are sitting at my feet and she’s giving me this stare, I know it’s time for a walk break.)

What is something surprising that has helped you stay motivated?

A diggin’ fool

 

Confession: I’m a personal trainer who doesn’t belong to a gym. Gasp! After spending so many years and hours in them both personally and as a trainer, I’m just a little tired of the scene. Plus, I’m being super thrifty now and saving my pennies for some cool trips. However, I’ve got tons of home equipment in my little apartment and can do a pretty good workout on my own. I also like looking for opportunities to do some manual labor to squeeze in an extra workout. Which brings us to a random morning when my dad mentioned he was needing our garden dug up so he can plant. Hello arms and back workout! Here’s a before shot of some hard, dried out Kansas soil. Hard to believe that last year this was a bountiful garden.

Row by row, dig, scoop, turn, dig. My dad isn’t a big believer on spending extra money on fancy things, like oh, say a tiller, when he has kids to do this stuff.

These guys decided to show up and make things complicated by lying on the cool dirt.

Even though the dirt was turned up, there were still large chunks that were not conducive for tiny seeds and plants. So even though my dad doesn’t have that fancy tiller, he does have this contraption…..

Apparently this is what they used back in the good ol’ days. It busts up the clods and fluffs the dirt. Are you surprised we have Internet and cable because some days I am.

Two hours later, I had a space about the size of a single car garage dug up. My back and arms got the workout I was hoping for and the dogs got to roll around in some fresh dirt. We were all pretty tired and dirty and I was craving fresh squeezed lemonade. Nothing beats a quick dash through the hose!

What’s your favorite non-gym workout?


 

Taking Flight

 

Hi! I’m Andrea and this is my dog Nellie…..

On what was a normal walk down the drive for the morning paper, a little surprise popped up……

Isn’t she precious??!! How someone could have decided they didn’t want her is beyond me, but they did, and proceeded to dump her in my brother’s car. She was barely 4 months old but already full of love, happy tail wags, and puppy kisses.

Since then, I’ve made up for her traumatic appearance into this world. We take lots of these….

She’s also my running buddy and all around little shadow. Don’t let the pink polo fool you either; she’s a fierce protector.

So what’s up with this flight? Well, I used to be a personal trainer until I got tired of watching people do push ups so I became a registered nurse in a critical care unit. Now I take care of people who didn’t have personal trainers. While taking flight is another descriptor for running, I feel that it embodies what I want to live for and what I want other people to experience-happiness and wellness. Lots of focus is placed on hard bodies and the next hot diet and people forget that wellness embraces more than the physical. We also need to make sure we’re taking care of our social, spiritual, occupational, emotional, environmental, and intellectual self.

It has taken me awhile to get to this point in my life and I still need daily reminders not to forget about certain pillars of my wellness. I try to keep my life full of running, biking, hiking, adventurous travels, fresh cooked foods, great friends, and happiness. I want to encourage you in your flight of life and wellness while learning how you make this journey.  I don’t expect everyone to rock hiking boots and dirt-streaked legs. I’m pretty realistic knowing that this is not everyone’s thing. However, I do hope you have a daily moment where you do something that benefits you and your body. It’s time to take flight and live!!

What is your daily moment for your body?