So much has happened this year that I haven’t been able to share on the blog – mainly because it’s been under construction since my last post in July! My baby blog was in desperate need of a makeover – I’m happy to announce it has finally joined the modern world and can be viewed on a mobile phone now! I know I know… it’s about time. In addition, I decided to do a major overhaul on the site in general, changing my theme, updating colours, resizing things, swapping out photos, shifting and redesigning layouts, etc. It’s been a colossal project, one that I should have hired someone for but instead chose to go the DIY route and save about 3 grand. Thus, the long construction period!
It’s still a work in progress actually – for reasons you’ll read about below, many other things got prioritised this year over blogging. But the rest of the edits will come over the next few weeks. I know many people have been asking me for an update, considering my long radio silence… I’d like to share with you what my 2017 has been, what I’ve been up to and where life has taken me this year. It’s actually kind of a wild story.
2017 started with me moving out of my longterm home in NYC, selling and giving away a ton of my stuff, and taking off to Southeast Asia with just a backpack. I traveled for several months in Asia essentially living like a nomad – sometimes staying in hostels, sometimes renting out a room, sometimes crashing with friends. You can read more about my adventures with that here.
My laptop died overseas making blog updates impossible but my plan was to fly back to the states in the summer, just in time for the warm weather, and get working on the blog again.
Little did I know there was so much more adventure to come this year.
It turns out the two bouts of food poisoning I got in Southeast Asia (the second one of which landed me in a Thai hospital) really weakened my immune system. And that weakened state unfortunately triggered a major Epstein Barr attack for me. The virus that I had been so diligently working to get rid of for the past 8 months before my travels had just the fuel it needed to make a huge comeback. I’m not gonna lie, it was pretty intense. It started with the chronic fatigue – a constant, full body exhaustion that no amount of sleep would fix. My limbs ached, everything felt heavy and weak. I remember walking a couple blocks to a store and back and feeling totally spent for the rest of the day. I also completely lost my flexibility.
By the time I got back to the states all I wanted to do was lay in bed and sleep for weeks. My body started breaking out in intensely itchy red hives spontaneously throughout the day and nighttime was the worst, making sleep impossible. One of my eyes became inflamed again. My right knee developed edema and swelled to the point where I could no longer bend it. A spot in my wrist developed a painful lump. Every day it felt like something else was going haywire with my body. All of these symptoms lasted several weeks, gradually fading out as I kept my detox protocol up and all I can say is, thank god I knew what to do about it all. Otherwise I’m sure I would have been freaking out.
I learned from my health coach that the body develops edema as a protective measure in order to wall off viral toxins that would otherwise create more serious damage to your organs. In other words, my body was helping to protect me from Epstein Barr.
My diet has been my saviour, truly and completely.
I kept up with eating raw vegan as much as I could in SE Asia but obviously had to make some concessions, as all longterm travel requires. Though I did stay vegan, I ate a fair share of bad oils and sugar in Asia – many a french fry and curry were consumed for dinner when I couldn’t find good alternatives! Since I’ve gotten back though, it’s been 100% anti-viral diet for me all the way. Tons of fruit, tons of raw veggies, tons of raw garlic and onion.
It took me about 2 months to get rid of all the symptoms and put the Epstein Barr virus back into remission. Yikes!! Every time I’m knocked back with my health I’m reminded of just how precious it really is. There is nothing more important than feeling well – your health is the foundation for everything else in life that you want to do and when your health goes, your whole livelihood goes with it. I can’t stress enough how important it is to take care of yourself and eat well.
For this reason I decided the nomadic lifestyle is ultimately not for me.
I know it works for some people and I think that’s amazing. But for me personally, I realised I need a lot of stability in my life in order to take care of myself in a way that has me feeling my very best. I need to be able to access good organic food all the time and being a nomad means going without a lot of health-related things that I rely on in order to feel well. It was a great learning experience for me to have tried it – and of course I plan to travel again (I’m heading to Central America this winter!!) – but I need to be more careful with where I go, how I prepare, and for how long. Right now I’m leaning more towards slow travel – less moving around, more laid-back immersion. Also staying anywhere on or near an organic farm would be right up my alley.
So what happened after healing?
With my nomadic inclinations on their way out, I next decided to try being a housewife. Seriously.😂 I think this sounds especially hilarious since I’m not even married! But hear me out – it’s more the homemaker lifestyle that I was curious about. I’ve often felt for a long time that, as much as I love traveling, what I most want in life is to have a comfy home that I get to spend my days in, animals that I get to take care of, and the freedom to cook all my meals from home. In fact, the single biggest reason why I’ve dreamt of working from home for years and years is so I could do all my own cooking!
I also wanted to more fully embrace my softer side. My last full-time job as a yoga studio manager had me operating in my masculine almost 24/7 and as I’ve confided in previous posts over the years, I felt done with living in an energy that wasn’t really me. I had little interest in driving the ship anymore. I wanted to be the support.
So with the green light from my boyfriend, I decided to give the homemaker/housewife thing a go. (Lets be honest though, who in the right mind would turn down an offer from someone to cook and clean for them?! That’s right – NO ONE). I’m sure my bf was in heaven!
My days were spent running errands, cleaning, cooking, doing laundry. Because I had whole mornings and afternoons free, I could shop around and find the best deals for groceries, not to mention the best produce. Important stuff for a raw foodist 😉 No more buying every single food item from one store because it happens to be the closest one on my rush home from work.
I took a lot of pride in my homemaking skills and it felt so good to know that I was greatly benefiting someone’s life by making it a ton easier. And I LOVED having the day to myself. That was the best. I really am an introvert at heart. At the same time, I felt like something was still missing. My purpose in life is not to be a caretaker – it’s to be an uplifter. I’ve known this for a long time and I also know that if I’m not actively uplifting to the best of my ability, I literally start to feel stuck and depressed after a while.
That was when I decided to get a part-time retail job – entering my next phase of life in the 2017 “Year of Exploring.”
Why retail you might be asking? I’d never worked in retail before and was curious about it. Actually that’s not quite true… I once worked in a clothing store for a while in high school. But that was forever ago and since then I’d only ever worked desk jobs. The idea of standing and getting to move around constantly while talking to people all day seemed different and fun. And maybe this would be a good complement to my more solitary work-from-home stuff.
I picked up a little 3-day a week gig at an aromatherapy shop, making sure their time off policy would be open and flexible. What I wanted was the freedom to take time off whenever I wanted, without it being a problem. This proved to be extremely beneficial for all the traveling I did those next 2 months – ohh did I travel a lot with that job! I planned several road trips around the country during that time, rented cars, traveled to festivals and visited with old friends, went on hiking trips and berry picking trips and apple picking trips, stayed in little air b&b rentals around the countryside.
This kind of in-country travel was much easier to do because most of the time I brought my vitamix with me.😂 Not to mention it’s so much easier finding raw vegan food in the states!
I also REALLY loved my retail job. I did not anticipate loving it as much as I did. My sole job duty there was to talk to people. That’s it. Plus being in such an upbeat and positive-minded environment smelling essential oils all day did wonders for my health. I’d leave there consistently feeling better than when I came in.
If it wasn’t for this blog actually, I’d still be working there. But The Wellness Explorer has been on my mind throughout everything this entire year. I never forgot about it. I never thought for a moment about not being a blogger anymore. I’ve also made every major work and life decision for myself keeping this site at the forefront of my mind. And a few months of retail work made it crystal clear to me that I needed to choose between my work for an employer and the work I feel I’m here to do in the world. It’s been a long roundabout journey this year but one that’s led me to a place of peace finally. Because I got what I needed to get out of my system in order to move forward.
There’s also one more thing I’ve been doing this year and that’s been grieving.
This past fall my 7-year old rabbit passed away, very suddenly actually. I wasn’t even around when he died and felt a lot of guilt for being away traveling for so much of this year. Although there are people who say that losing a pet isn’t quite the same as losing a person, I have to disagree. Losing Alexi felt to me like losing a child. The first few days I literally didn’t know how I was going to keep on living.
I still can’t quite talk about it without getting teary-eyed, though it’s been a couple months. I think about him every time I’m cutting up some fruit or making banana ice cream (which is everyday) since I’ve gotten so used to sharing some with him. After Alexi’s death, I stopped work on the site completely and took a lot of time to myself to just heal in my own way and process everything that this year has been. Which brings me to now.
My life has been all over the map this year. 2017 has truthfully been the most challenging year of my life because little of it has been stable – I’ve overcome a lot of trauma (home loss, illness, death) – and yet I know with big growth comes big change. We can’t expect things to stay constant forever, nor can we expect to want the same things forever. It’s because of all my experimenting this year that I now know for sure that nomadic living, homemaking full-time, and working traditional jobs is not for me. In spite of all the challenge this year has brought, it’s also resulted in my top two dreams becoming a reality: backpacking Southeast Asia and working from home full-time.
Well – I still don’t have a permanent home yet so the nomadic living out of a backpack thing is still kind of happening. This time it’s more like a backpack and a big box!😁 But I’ll definitely be working towards putting roots down somewhere in the new year and am very much looking forward to greater stability and grounding! Feeling ready for it.
So there you have it – my chaotic life experiment of 2017! Seems oddly fitting for a site called The Wellness Explorer. I’m looking forward to 2018 and already have an intention for what I want it to be – GROUNDED and SOVEREIGN. Mmm yes…
What about you? What’s your intention word for 2018? By the way, be careful with what you choose. Guess what my 2017 intention word was? WILD SUCCESS.
Yes. Yes it was.