Category Archives: holiday

Life at Aio Wira retreat!

Upon arrival, or collection at the train station you are greeted with a big hug and an open, kind-hearted face. Di, the coordinator is a lovely woman who, from her attitude and spiritedness in life, you would never place at almost 70 years old!

The centre itself is situated not far fro Swanson, about an hour by train from Auckland, south Island and is hidden away amongst a multitude of plant-life. It is surrounded by bushland, which means forest, trees as far as the eye can see, total lushness! At first the weather was wet wet wet, this area is rainforest after all and catches most of the water supply for the whole of Auckland, but eve in the downpours there is something magical about this place.

The air is clear, there is a feeling of freedom, of letting go of the restraints of civilization as we know it, you are getting back to nature, partaking in activities specifically designed to help you reach inner peace, a higher place inside yourself. It is a place for self discover and self improvement and of course, it is fun. The people you meet here are all incredibly open minded and positive, you can literally feel the positivity radiating from the walls themselves.

The bedrooms are cosy, there is a big communal kitchen, dining area, sitting room and big relaxation room along with a little sanctuary in the meadow and a hot tub and sauna. It is very cosy and, although I am not a person suited to living communally in the long-run due to my need for lots of personal space and alone times, I still saw and felt the benefits of having interesting people around the place, the wealth of experiences and information was incredible and I have already learned a lot from my stay here. The whole place has a very welcoming, homely, cosy feel to it.

And then the sun comes out and a whole new lease of life is bestowed upon you. Although there are places to explore and a certain fondness does arise for getting out there in all weather, it is an altogether enchanting experience to be here when its sunny.

All doors and windows are open, the only sounds you hear coming in is from the animals, the birds, frogs and bees, it is tranquil, peaceful and beautiful. The light glints off the plants and flowers showing their true lushness, you can almost feel the life, the nature and the power resting in the natural world just slipping in around you on the lazy breeze. The great thing is there is nothing really here to sting, bite or prick you (apart from mosquitoes) so you can walk barefoot through the forest, feel the earth beneath your feet, get to grips with nature and you know, its incredibly enlightening!

To be working here is a blessing, although it can be tiring chopping veg and washing up after guests, its not so bad and particularly at the moment there are no guests, the place is quiet, the work consists of a little gardening, washing, tidying up ready for the next guests later in the week, there is so much time for exploring, walking, swimming in the river, or just sitting about with a good book.

For me one of the best parts is the knowledge here, I am learning more about yoga and meditation here than I could have hoped for, not only from guests but fro the library of books on everything from meditation, self discovery, and fasts to faith, tarrot cards, runes and everything else in between! There is so much to learn, and all of great interest.

The centre itself often hosts events such as group fasting for 3 or 10 days, meditations for long weekends and a multitude of seminars as well as anyone wanting a few days at the retreat to unwind, relax and get centred.

Of course there are a few points which are not so positive, maybe you read my last blog, ref the German exhibitionist, but they are minimal in the grand scheme of things.

Below are pictures from my time here so far:

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Filed under adventure, culture, fitness, health, holiday, meditation, retreat, yoga

Globe trotting and Fitness, working hand in hand!

So there are a million excuses for not working out. I’m sure many of us have used a great proportion of them in our lives and will use a lot more before were done but travelling need not be one of them.
When your on holiday its different, for me a holiday is a break from the monotony of your every day life, and although I will try to be active and eat relatively well half the time, I am not going to punish myself for not doing intensive workouts and eating badly the other half.

The problem with the holiday excuse is where does it stop? How many times have you heard ‘I’m getting into the holiday mode’ or ‘I’m still on another time zone inside’? Well these are, realistically, infeasible excuses. The holiday reasoning should be on the holiday, not around, in preparation for or whilst thinking/booking the holiday…Yes I have heard this one!
But what about duration of your ‘holiday’, at what point does holiday become trip, and how long does it have to be before you really should start working out?

Well, I have been travelling for several months now and I tell you, the sooner you start incorporating fitness into your ‘trip’ the easier it will be. Now when I say trip I mean anything longer than, well for me, a week. Some people may say 2 weeks BUT it certainly shouldn’t be longer than 2 weeks, unless your resting from injury of course, because 2 weeks is all it takes for atrophy AKA muscle wastage! 2 weeks is all it takes to start loosing all the good work you put in up until now.

There are a number of excuses you can use for not working out whilst travelling. The main one pointing out its a once in a lifetime trip, I don’t want to waste it working out, I can catch it up. OK, but what about all the muscle wastage? If you don’t keep something up, all the time you put in already was a waste, all the hard, sweaty, painful work! And what about the lovely holiday snaps, by the end of the trip do you really want to remember looking like a beached whale? Well OK maybe that’s excessive but you all know what I mean and what about the general well-being you get from looking after yourself, this will be incredibly beneficial for working out! Be on top form!

The next excuse is lack of time and equipment. Well this really is no excuse at all and can actually be beneficial. So the issues with time, never knowing when you will get a spare hour or how much time you will have…Well I have several ways to tackle this Firstly every morning as soon as I wake up I jump out of bed and do 10 minutes of something, usually the 5 Tibetan Rights, or a few rounds of Surya Namaskar (clips in previous posts), that way I know I have done something even if unforeseen forces mean I cant get a proper workout done later. Secondly, you learn to grab the moments whilst you can. You learn to plan ahead when you have time and have workout plans ready BUT also to be adaptable. Maybe you can’t grab the full hour so you learn to make it short and hardcore. The point is to grab the opportunity as soon as it arises and this is a great habit to get into. No putting it off until later, you are always ready to jump into your workout, no slacking, no excuses and this is a great skill to bring home and put into practise.

With regards to equipment, again adaptability is key! There are ALWAYS equipments you can use to workout, whether your doing strength, endurance, or growth! Its just a case of being smart, thinking outside the box, keeping your eyes open for items of use and not being afraid to give it a go.
Grab that big log and hug it for some goblet squats, use those metal poles or tree trunks for overhead presses or curls or dead lifts. Rocks make great weights and stuffing a rucksack with them is a great way to add weight for squats, lunges and walking! Use tables, chairs, any ledges you can use to elevate yourself to add extra work to bodyweight moves making them more hard work and pushing you into the growth category! Find a door frame or overhead bar somewhere you can pull up from, steps you can run up and down or use to do a step aerobics style workout. Find your nearest, steepest hill and work those legs, walk run, lunge, jump, skip, squat jump or crawl up it! And down again, coming down will use a different set of muscles! Throw yourself into any physical activity you are given! I have made use of wheelbarrowing dirt, shovelling sand, lifting and stacking big logs as well as smashing in fence posts and even helping demolish a wall! Whatever you get the chance to do, give it some welly and get the most out of it!

Saying all this, there are a few necessities I bring with me. Firstly a yoga mat, for obvious reasons. Its hard to yoga on a hard floor or to do a press-up with grit digging into your hands. Secondly a bring wrist bands. For me yoga is an important part of my workouts and when your somewhere hot, maybe there’s no air con or maybe your outside somewhere, sweat can literally ruin your grip, there’s nothing worse than slipping around trying to do a static pose. Thirdly I bring a stretchy band. This is not essential but its small, easily transportable and great for numerous moves, and for a full body workout or as part of a workout with other items. Lastly I always bring my weight lifting gloves. Brilliant for weights and also for all those unsavoury items you may be picking up to workout, saves your hands from splinters, cuts, and helps with grip.
I will also touch on diet. Now I know its the hardest part of keeping fit and especially when travelling so there, I just try to do I my best. I say to myself, as long as I have my 8 fruit and veg, my 100g of protein(weight gain), ensure I get good fats every day, keep my carb portions small and wholegrain where I can, try to limit junk foods to one small treat a day OR a full cheat day, then I am happy. Its not perfect. Obviously I am more strict at home but travelling makes it almost impossible, especially as I am travelling using helpx, meaning I am fed for my work. I don’t get to be picky and choose my meals, I use a few supplements and buy extra fruit, nuts and protein shakes to ensure I am getting the best foods I can whilst I’m here. This can also be beneficial though, this lack of control and being in someone else’s house means I can’ simple go get a biscuit or midnight snack…this is not my house, not my food so in a way it is helping me control my cravings!

Now it may seem hard to do all this but it really isn’t. Use it as a positive, use it as a goal, some thing to accomplish and just think, all the changes, the variations and the fact you have crated workouts yourself mean its never going to be boring, workouts will rarely be the same and they will be exciting, trying out new ideas you have come up with, it will be an adventure in itself! There are also numberous apps and online programs to help if your stuck for inspiration!

The skills you learn from workout out whilst travelling, the adaptability, the motivation to get it done when the opportunity arises, the readiness, the research you will do, and the way you learn to keep a workout interesting, using your initiative means you need never be stuck in a boring fitness regime again! Use this experience to keep it exciting even back home. Keep researching, keep trying new things, new places, keep pushing yourself, creatively, mentally, and physically!

So you see, travelling really needn’t be a hindrance to your fitness lifestyle, It could in fact be the boost you need too shake it up, see it in another light and find new ways which excite and motivate you! Share your experiences, help others from your experience and get satisfaction knowing not only have you helped yourself but improved your karma by helping others as well!
Everything positive I find, I share and its really gratifying and good for the soul, even if just one other person benefits from your experience!

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Lose everything…Find yourself!

Finding yourself…I process often starting with the losing of everything else.

Ever tried to make some journey of self discovery whilst your content in your home surrounded by good people with a good job, money in the bank?? No??? Well me neither.
I’m not even sure its possible, after all why would you even consider your not just a perfect reflection of your perfect little life?

I’m sure some people are content, settle, find enough things to keep them oblivious to the other versions of themselves, the strengths and character traits left undiscovered, but I am not one of them.

There have been several times in my life when things have just seemingly fallen apart, I hopped on a downwards spiral and in retrospect, it needn’t have happened. None of these times were out of my control…I subconsciously made decisions leading to these tough times, why??

Well I am currently working through one such time and it has just hit me. I am not a settler. I enjoy being happy, I am optimistic, I appreciate what I have when I have something good but I am also a dreamer…I want life, and lots of it. I want to experience and to feel and to grow as much as possible and that’s just not possible when your content!

Don’t get me wrong I don’t sabotage perfectly good aspects of my life, only the dead weight aspects, the jobs I don’t like anyway but they provide SECURITY, the relationships in which I don’t prosper but they provide COMPANIONSHIP, the materialistic gains I convince myself i need to provide COMFORT and ACCOMPLISHMENT..These things are difficult to let go of, they are programmed into us as ants and needs from a very young age and we fight to hold on to them…

But…

if you manage to let go, if you manage to free yourself from these preconditioned wants and needs you may well find yourself on a journey of self discovery, a journey bestowing much more than security, but freedom and strength,
More than companionship but the confidence to be alone in your own skin, and also the experience of and power to converse with, connect with and essentially bond with a multitude of people, to really know them, to open yourself up and find people with whom you bond on a deep and meaningful level.
More than Comfort, but growth and expansion of you, mentally, physically and emotionally
and lastly more than accomplishment, you aquire, memories, experiences, new skills and a new mindset which creates more dreams, a brighter future and the knowledge that anything is possible, you have done this, you have come this far, nothing is out of reach…

Of course you just have to give up almost everything you hold dear, make that leap of faith and go for it. Fortunately for me, my subconscious ensures I do this, I only have to make the journey, not the decision to do so. But for many they are more inclined to listen to reason, stick to what is ‘right’ and ‘safe’ and so miss out on opportunities which really are what life is all about.

I’m not saying everyone should give up thee things they love and run away to the other side of the world like I have, but maybe take some time to consider, really listen to that inner voice, open yourself up and feel, are you truly happy with the person you have become, do you have the potential to be more, do you feel life is passing you by? If this is you, then I am writing this for you.

This is scary, you will cry ALOT you will doubt yourself, you will doubt everything you once believed in, there will be hard days and there will be good days but its worth it because this is life, and this is what will make us the most interesting people in the OAP home! 😉

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Everyone needs a holiday, if only to get a little perspective on this thing we call life!

OK so my last post was quite some time ago, as you will see, my dears, I have been stuck I this crazy train of a life for a while and have been unable to gather thoughts of any sense.  I have been but a shadow of my self and am only now getting down to deciding who that shadow is again!
So August was my last entry, I was attempting to ‘win’ at this Philippine life, keep my head above water and, well, I lost!

After months, there was still no working visa, and no work even if it were to finally appear, The humidity and heat were making my boyfriend and I agitated, annoyed (ad annoying) and money issues were stressing the situation further, you can imagine we, naturally started adding relationship issues to the negativity that was our life!
We hadn’t managed to find places to go for peace, fun, interest…nothing! We were stuck, just the two of us and this big negative wedge!

In September we had a holiday to Vegas and upon leaving the Philippines, the feeling of a weight being lifted was immense! I immediately felt lighter, happier, and more like myself. As did the fella seemingly. We enjoyed our time and the whole thing really brought home how we can’t continue in this ‘life’ we had made. We agreed it was time to move on, brilliant!

That being said, we had slightly different paths, he wanted specific plans, I couldn’t afford, I wanted to go via the helpx route and we compromised, decided we were worth a shot at being together away from this place that had become a nightmare.

So I came to Australia, he to India and he was due to meet me here…Although time apart also gave us perspective on us. Although we care and had happy times ad could(and I believe will again one day) have more, we both needed to do some soul searching.
Sort out these issues we developed I ourselves but also with each other, we had bred the negativity so long the resentment and difficulties were too hard to ignore.

So sadly we have reduced our relationship. There is no label now but being free of that is good. This time should bring us back to being good people, versions of ourselves we like and are happy to be whilst getting to know each other again…new and improved versions and the who knows….

Maybe we will have experiences which will give us distance ad perspective enough to remember why we fell for each other and push us back together, I’d like to think so but, who knows, until we get that perspective from where we are now….
For now there has been a lot of change and revelations and just getting to grips with those is enough to be getting on with.

Time for some self discovery, I am after all doing this amazing thing called travel and doing it alone is both terrifying and exciting. One thing I know for sure is that I shall never be the same woman again!

So take that holiday, get that trip away booked, and take a moment to assess your life! Its so easy to get bogged down and trapped but you will ever be able to be truly happy unless you have been able to get a clear view….a bit of perspective and decide if your really living the life you want to.   Don’t live in the shadows, be sure to have life in your years, colour in your dreams and character to your person!

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