Gaining More Financial Control

Seashells were used as money in the past, Seashell curtain, Monterrico.

Seashells were used as money in the past, Seashell curtain, Monterrico.

I have been lucky with regards to tax time as my father has been doing my taxes for me for the past thirteen years. It didn’t even cross my mind to take over it, as he would do the taxes for all five of us. He always assured me that it would be easier for him to do it as he knows the ins and outs of it better than I could ever know. I’m grateful for his help. This year as I was away from home and as I had been receiving income while I was travelling through my own small business, I decided to do my taxes myself. It is amazing how much you can learn about your own finances when you undertake the laborious process of doing your taxes.

Interestingly enough, I had several moments in the process where I would get really jittery and anxious. I realized after it was the after-effects of fully feeling the burden of complete financial control. Every number that I placed in that TurboTax Home and Business Fed, Efile and State 2013 with Refund Bonus Offer was my responsibility. I was the only one who would be in trouble or not if I made a mistake in the document. I was as diligent as I could be in going through the software. Continue reading

Setting Up The Right Mood To Write

Beautiful pink sunset in Puerto Jimenez

Doing yoga with a beautiful sunset really sets up the mood right, Puerto Jimenez.

Sometimes you stumble upon the most peaceful and well-set up yoga class by accident. The lighting, the music, the candles, the scents, the people, the teacher, the bamboo floors, the walls; they are all inspiring you to have the best practice of your life. You go into that space and it is as if you have stepped into a piece of your own personal heaven. You have arrived, as soon as you step onto your mat in that space. You know that you are going to have the best practice of the year on that day as you have been set up perfectly for it.

The class begins and the instructor has the perfect voice and intonation – not too loud, not too soft, not too hurried, not too mellow. She does all the ‘right’ poses – a combination of poses that you need more of, and poses that you are amazing at. The teacher is all about adjustments, which you absolutely love. She is also all about using eucalyptus and rose scents to enhance the practice. At the end of class, you get into Sivasana (Corpse pose) and you are so relaxed that you fall asleep. An indication of a well-spent hour and a half. Continue reading

Being Criticized For Being Prejudiced

A view of the bay from the top of the mountain

My lesson is to stay grounded in nature and stop comparing myself to others, Matapalo trail.

Someone that I truly admire, a travel writer for the New York Times, commented on one of my blog posts through Facebook. She wrote: “Remarkable that even in complimenting one person, you find a way to dismiss an entire city of 8 million people. I thought perhaps as you traveled more, the blog might become less about reinforcing stereotypes of people and places, but that worldview seems to have endured through the months.” You can read the post to see what she’s referring to, but as Thenix pointed out, the important thing was that she was referring to a recurring theme within my writing.

The more I thought about her comment, the more I realized that I am a comparer – I compare things to one another. I have a hard time looking at things impartially. I would like to blame this shortcoming on my schooling or something else, anything else really, but the truth is that it is that this is my own fault. I look at the world in shades of black and white – something is good and something is bad. Continue reading

Postponing Purchases Is Detrimental To My Health

Postponing Purchases Is Detrimental To My Health

Postponing the purchase of this icecream might not be detrimental to my health, but it tasted so good, Puerto Jimenez.

Shopping is really complicated if you are a girl. – Helen Salter, Does Snogging Count as Exercise?

We were ambling along on the highway going to Eclipse Music Festival in Quebec. The road was long and lonely. There weren’t a lot of stores or people on the way. We were crossing over the border from Ontario to Quebec (two provinces in Canada) and we passed by a gas station. Thenix asked me, ‘Should we get gas, do you think?’ I immediately refused.

I wanted to postpone the purchase of gas (or anything else in life) as long as physically possible. We drove on and on. We didn’t pass by any other gas stations. It got dark and we were getting close to the Empty mark in the gas gauge. Finally, it was the middle of the night, we had seen no open gas stations, the Empty light had come on several times, and Thenix was using all of his driving skills to reduce the amount of gas we were using. Continue reading

Financial Breakdown For USA

Boom looking over at the vast red desert, Utah, USA

Monument Valley, Utah, USA

Throughout our trip we’ve been keeping detailed expenses. Every time we make a purchase we would write down our costs in either a paper notebook or a phone. For everyone who has been asking us how much such a trip (driving down to Central America through Canada and Mexico) would cost, we decided to put those detailed expenses to use and show you how much it costs us to travel in each country.

We will start off with the first country we visited, the USA. As you can imagine travelling in the USA is generally more expensive than in Central America. We knew this before we started on the trip and we came up with some strategies for keeping our costs within our budget of 110 CAD/day. We didn’t quite hit our goal, but we came close. Our average for 27 days in the USA was 125 CAD/day. Continue reading

My Ego Comes In The Way Of Yoga

Sunset in Tamarindo

Chilling out after a long day on the beach to watch the sun go down, Tamarindo.

I feel that I was much more humble in Yoga before I did my teacher training. I knew then that I was an amateur, that I knew nothing, and that I was learning. I came into every class from that standpoint. My ego was non-existent. Even when I did a pose in the manner that it was supposed to be done, I would put it down to fluke, rather than skill. At that point, I knew more so that yoga isn’t about competition, or about looking a certain way, but about how you feel. I focused more on myself and how I felt in the pose, rather than how I looked.

Teacher training caused my ego to inflate, so that now I go into the class thinking I know everything. There is nothing left to teach me. My Ego, with a capital E, comes into play every single time I go into a yoga studio. I have to do everything perfectly in class, and I have to be the best one (whatever that means in Yoga). I am always engaged in making sure I look good – that is, my poses look exactly like the instructor’s or even better if possible. Because I know more due to my training, I feel like that comes out as me showing off for the rest of the class. I’m sure, no one in class cares or is paying attention to me. But in my head, I am a peacock prancing about for the attention of all the other students. My ego prevents from thinking otherwise. Continue reading

We Do Not Party Like Rockstars

We Do Not Party Like Rockstars

Scarlet macaws hanging out in a tree spotted on our way back from lunch in Puerto Jimenez.

We were in San Juan Del Sur, and every night, the outside of our hotel would be inundated with loud, raucous, drunken crowds. On Sundays things would get even crazier. Every Sunday, the event called ‘Sunday Funday‘ would bring all of the young tourists into San Juan Del Sur to go from pool party to pool party drinking unlimited quantities of drinks. The next morning, on my way to Yoga, I would notice inebriated people sprawled about on the sidewalks sleeping off their hungover, unable to figure out where they are staying. Thenix and I were happy not to indulge in the drunken madness that was taking place around us. But then it made me wonder, are we not taking advantage of travelling? Are we missing out on one of the essences of travelling? Continue reading

Why Is Travel Not Considered Real Life?

Why Is Travel Not Considered Real Life?

Feeding hungry stray dogs and cats every meal of the day is real life, Isla Ometepe.

Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life. – Jack Kerouac

I was chatting with a friend about how Thenix and I are coming back home in June, earlier than we thought as Thenix has a job offer. She commented that we are coming back to real life. I thought about that statement for a while. I found it funny that she thought that just because we are moving from place to place, we are not living real life, but because people back home are staying put in one place, they are living a real life. I asked Thenix about it, and he said, ‘The reason people don’t consider travel to be real life is because more then likely you cannot make a living at it. Even though in this trip we made money, we didn’t make enough money to cover our costs.’ Continue reading

The Pura Vida Phrase And Misconceptions

The Pura Vida Phrase And Misconceptions

This little boy is Pura Vida personified. He had a broken down old camera that didn’t work, but he was enthralled by it. He used it to take fake photos of us while we passed by, Isla Ometepe.

You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,

Love like you’ll never be hurt,

Sing like there’s nobody listening,

And live like it’s heaven on earth. – William W. Purkey

I was sitting in the hotel restaurant in Nicaragua eating the free breakfast that came with the nightly rate. It was the typical breakfast in Central America, Gallo Pinto (rice with beans) and scrambled eggs. A bunch of surfer-style dudes and gals came tumbling into the restaurant, inebriated, on a Saturday morning at 10am. I wondered to myself if they had been to sleep yet. Probably not. As I ruminated on the fact that I had ten hours of sleep last night, while these individuals probably slept not a wink, one of them started a bitter diatribe on a subject that seemed close to his heart. It seemed the others had heard his arguments before, and they just wanted to drink their hydrating water in peace. But he went on and on about it. Continue reading

Getting Attached To Inanimate Objects

Getting Attached To Inanimate Objects

Our beautiful, little Honda, waiting by the Yogi’s Hostel in Isla Ometepe.

Practice giving things away, not just things you don’t care about, but things you do like. Remember, it is not the size of a gift, it is its quality and the amount of mental attachment you overcome that count. So don’t bankrupt yourself on a momentary positive impulse, only to regret it later. Give thought to giving. Give small things, carefully, and observe the mental processes going along with the act of releasing the little thing you liked. – Robert A F Thurman, Tibetan Book of the Dead

We were in San Isidro El General, Costa Rica and we were looking for a place to get #7 washed. After driving through dirt roads for the past two months, she was extremely dusty and dirty. We decided to stop by the side of the highway, at a Lavacar (carwash). Thenix parked the car on a side street and walked into the “Lavacar” to see how much it would be. They told him that the electricity was out and they could not wash the car. On the way back to the car, three locals stopped him to ask where the car was from. They had noticed the plates on the car were not from Costa Rica. After a little chat, one of the three locals asked him if he was willing to sell the car. Thenix said that he would sell the car for 2000 USD (~1 million CRC). The man started poking around in the car, and in the engine compartment. He was chatting away with Thenix about taxes, dates, and other details. Continue reading