Welcome to the FIRST of my monthly roundup posts where I get more personal into my daily lifestyle, routines, struggles, wins and thoughts!
I recently did a poll on social asking what people wanted more of, and that was overwhelmingly a deeper look into my life. I realize that not everyone has the type of minimalist-based and travel-based lifestyle that I do, and that many people are curious about what my day-to-day life looks like.
I am really excited to get more personal and ‘hide’ less behind my computer screen!
Each monthly round-up post will cover some of the more interesting things I did that month, what I read, podcasts I listened to, books I read, and any items, products or habits that really helped me. And yes, if I had a major fail or miss that month, I’m going to write about it as well. I think it’s equally as important to cover the bad as it is the good.
Welcome Back Home To Kelowna
June was my first FULL month of being back at home in Canada, and WOW did it feel good to be back! Taking the ship from Japan to Vancouver in May was amazing, but I'm so happy to settle into home for a while. In case you don’t know, home for me is an RV parked at the lake in Kelowna, BC.
It’s around 300 sq ft and all the home I could ever ask for! No where in my entire life has felt as much like home as this does. I love how simple, cozy and let’s be honest… CHEAP it is.
Some people wonder why I have such a big budget to travel and a big reason is my low cost of living. Being a minimalist and choosing to live in an RV saves me about 75% of what my former lifestyle cost, so that makes a huge difference in my ability to travel.
But for the month of June, it was all about appreciating being HOME.
Redecorating the RV
Since this will actually be our FORTH season in the RV, I really wanted to make some changes to make it more of a sanctuary. After a hell of a time in Asia this winter, I just wanted to RELAX.
I fell into the Pinterest rabbit-hole and thought “Yeah! Let’s renovate the entire thing! Paint cabinets, change wall colors…etc”, until I realized that would literally be the opposite of relaxing. It would take weeks to do, be a lot of labour, and let’s be real – the RV isn’t from the 70’s and needing a facelift, it’s only 4 years old!
Once I came back to Earth I realized we only needed to make a few small changes, mostly all with the furniture.
The little brown couch that came with the trailer had to GO. I can’t believe I didn’t kick it to the curb years ago. It’s really tight, especially for two people to sit on to watch a movie together. I practically had to sit on Trevor’s lap.
We found an amazingly comfy, uber-soft, wraps you like a hug sectional at Ashley Furniture for $799 and bought it immediately. Who cares if it doesn’t properly fit in the RV!?
Which it didn’t.
The sectional was so much longer than the original couch, we had to remove the dinette (four chairs and table) to make room from it.
So this is where I had to get creative. I needed to find a space for :
A) a work desk/office
B) a place we could still dine.
I took measurements and searched high and low for affordable, yet practical solutions.
I was able to find a miniature bar-counter style dinette at London Drugs for $99 that works perfectly in unused space by the sliding door. The table top can actually fold up to expand and seat 4 if we need, otherwise it takes up no space at all.
The space I stuck it in was being used to house junk. Some shoes, Trevor's ‘desk-mate' and a water jug. Having the table here is such a better use of space now!
For my office space, I found a desk at HomeSense that fits like a glove, without an inch to spare. Of course, I also grabbed a fancy chair, but got both in the clearance section for under $200.
Now I realize a couch, desk, and table don’t really sound like life-transforming objects, but they are for me! I now feel like I have this huge comfy oasis of a couch to relax in, plus an actual work space for when I need to grind. These small changes have completely changed the inside of the RV to work so much better for my day-to-day life! I really wished I did it sooner!
I did however have to restrain myself from getting more stuff to go with my new stuff. You know what I mean. Going into HomeSense I saw a million rugs, lamps, pillows, candle holders, crystals, bowls, plates, etc…. that I knew would end up in my shopping cart. Even though I got rid of all that stuff a few years ago, it doesn’t mean I don’t have the urge sometimes to buy it all back. I just had to put on the blinders and remember the mission for going into the store. Luckily, I came out unscathed.
(The couch actually came with the pillows, and even though I wanted to change them, I resisted!)
What helped was knowing exactly what I was looking for, with the help of a list, and making a deal with myself to not buy anything that wasn’t written down.
Learning to Cook Healthy Meals in the RV
They say you don’t know what you’re missing until it’s taken away from you, and I learned just how true that is. While away in Asia for 6 months, we didn’t have access to proper grocery stores, sanitary-enough markets, and workable kitchens, so we just ate out every meal.
That sounds fun, until two things happen.
One, you get major decision fatigue. It’s annoying to play the “I don’t know, where do you want to eat?” game with your spouse every day.
Two, even if you think you’re eating healthy at restaurants, you’re not. I easily gained 10-15lbs just from eating out 2 meals a day for 6 months, even when I thought I was making wise choices.
When we got home I swore to myself I would learn to cook some crazy healthy food. For the entire month of June, I went CRAZY with this promise.
I cooked everything.
Every meal we ate was a home-cooked creation, using the freshest and healthiest ingredients I could find. Some even from our own garden.
It didn’t stop there… I also baked daily, trying my hand at vegan desserts and low carb treats. Healthy food was all over the place, with Trevor being a very happy guinea pig for me to test all my recipes on.
Something crazy started happening. Not only did I feel a million times better from all the healthy food, but I dropped all the weight I had gained while abroad. I didn’t work out once.
Mind you, I did walk the trails beside our property each day, but only the 2.2km loop. I aimed for 7,000-10,000 steps per day, but other than that, didn’t do any type of exercise. Not even a squat. (I am also dealing with two injuries right now, which I will get more into on another post.)
I’m not sure if it was water weight, my body holding onto fat from processed foods, or just really over-eating in Asia, but I just went right back to my size before I left. Even though I am still eating tons of food (and trust me I don’t feel deprived in the least) it seems that the more organic and clean I eat, the less my body wants to store fat! Go figure!
Weight aside, because it should never be the only reason to eat healthy, I feel more energized, focused, strong, happy and alive than ever. I guess you could say I am back to a balance that my body and brain really agree with. I forgot how GOOD eating well felt.
Since I have discovered some really amazing recipes that are easy enough to make in an RV, I will start sharing them with you! I’m hoping to post 1 or 2 recipes a week for the next few months, so be sure to check back for them.
I am especially pumped to share my healthy baking creations.
Things I Loved in June
Is it dramatic to say I have PTSD over living in Vietnam? Maybe? Well in my quest to get back to homeostasis, I have been feeling a little anxious in the evening and have had a few restless (read: insomnia fuelled) nights.
I kept hearing that Magnesium was a really good and natural way to calm down at night and get into better sleep habits. I have to admit I can be pretty doubtful when it comes to supplements, but this actually works! I have been taking this magnesium supplement 1 hour before I go to bed and it chills me the eff out. I can instantly feel it relax all my muscles and it kind of feels like I am slipping into a warm bath. I kid you not! Then when I get into bed, I fall asleep with a minute or two. No more rolling around reciting my to-do list a thousand times, I’m just out like a light.
The only weird side-effect I get from it, is it makes a scalp a little itchy, but I’m cool with that. It’s anxiety busting powers are well worth it. I am seriously a believer. It's the closest thing to a sleeping pill you can get that is fanatically natural.
Vietnam was so hard… blah blah blah. But yes, between the black mold poisoning, tainted water, and food safety issues, I came home with a pretty ravaged digestive system. I knew I needed to get on a good probiotic stat to start rebuilding healthy gut flora so I can feel human again.
I did a lot of research and chose this brand of probiotic, because it had the specific strains I was looking for. Without boring you to death with scientific names of bacterium, it has the ones that help with digestion, mood, skin and lower inflammation.
Fatso Peanut Butter
Peanut butter with hints of coconut and brain-boosting MCT oil?! YES PLEASE!
I saw this stuff while grocery shopping at Safeway and immediately threw it into my cart. Now I am addicted to Fatso!
I use it on toast, rye crisps, in smoothies, in protein pancakes and even in a pad thai-style stir fry I made. Canadian made, get some!
Thank you Canada for the CLEAN fresh water!
Yes, I am being a little more basic than usual, but I found a water store that sells naturally alkaline water from a nearby spring. Every single day I am pairing a huge glass of that with a freshly squeezed lemon, and I’m in business. It’s detoxing, hydrating and not to mention super extra.
I am putting lemon in my water 90% of the time, and for the other 10% I am mixing it up with other things like basil or mint from the garden, orange slices, or some fresh berries. Lemon always seems to be my go-to favorite.
Not Checking My Phone in the Morning
For the entire month of June, I made a challenge for myself to NOT check my phone in bed when I woke up. I’ve gotten caught in the trap before where I roll over, grab my phone, and waste the first 20 minutes of my day aimlessly scrolling. I found that useless morning ritual was actually sucking the creativity right out of my brain. On mornings I scrolled from bed, I felt so foggy and depleted when it came to doing my own work. So, I know I needed to make a change.
The challenge was this:
Wake up, say a few gratitude’s, get out of bed, chug a big glass of lemon water, walk the 2.2km trail outside, do 1 small work task…. And only THEN could I look at my phone/Facebook/Insta.
When I stick to the ‘no checking the phone’ plan, I have so much more energy, creativity and focus throughout the day.
What I Read in June
I don’t even know how to explain this book, other than – If you love psychology, history and science… but hate stuffy/boring books, then READ THIS NOW.
Sapiens was enthralling from cover to cover. I mean, you do have to be a bit of a sci-nerd like me, but I absolutely loved it. It covers human history back as far as research can go, all the way up to our screwed-up world today, and where we made mistakes/progress in between. I found it fascinating and gave me an entirely new perspective on the habits of humans.
What I Listened To in June
I listen to a LOT of podcasts y'all! I listen to them when I go for my daily walk in the woods, I listen to them when I do my hair make-up, and I listen to them when I am cooking. I love podcasts.
They are the best way to multi-task and learn something new when I am doing mindless activities. I prefer to listen to health/science/business podcasts, but I throw in some fun ones here and there to lighten the mood.
Here were some that stood out in June:
Healthy Aging Begins and Ends in the Gut w/ Dr. Steven Gundry
Heal Yourself from the Inside Out w/ Dr. William Li
Okay, so I'm obviously gut health obsessed right now, but it's all good, because I am learning SO much about food and how it truly is ‘thy medicine'. Both of these podcasts on Dave Asprey's BulletProof show are super informative and eye-opening. You know, if you get off on health science like I do.
The Skinny Confidential
How To Balance Business, Life and a Brand w/ Jessica Alba
Such a great peek into how Jessica Alba came up with her clean beauty/home line Honest, and building a successful brand from the ground up. Success always leaves clues, so I love to listen to the stories of successful people to absorb what I can.
What I Watched in June
I will only turn on Netflix after 8pm, that is if all my work is done for the day, but I made sure it was for some extra couch time last month.
Queen of the South – Season 3
It's a little cheesy, but it has tons of latin culture and flair and I love it! Plus, most of it takes place in Sinaloa which is the state of Mexico I am moving to this winter. Season 3 just became available on Canadian Netflix, so I binged it right away.
Designated Survivor – Season 3
ABC cancelled the show after 2 seasons, but Netflix picked it back up and made a saucy new 3rd season. You can tell it wasn't on normal cable anymore with the increase of the F-bombs and decrease of the boring political banter. I was so happy to be able to return to this series, because I was just left hanging last year when it was cancelled!
Moving to Mazatlán
I really missed Canada this time around. A lot. I missed it so much I wrote a blog post about everything I was hurting for. Since I had such a hard time mentally/emotionally/physically in Vietnam this year, we actually made the decision to stay closer to home for the next trip.
Mid-June we decided that Mazatlán would be our next destination, and I can’t be more excited about it!
Mazatlán is a coastal city on the pacific side of Mexico, but not as well-known as others like Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, etc. It still has a lot of its culture in-tact and isn’t a ‘tourism-first’ city, which will be so nice for our 6-month stay!
Plans for July 2019
→ July I want to continue writing more blogs than ever. We recently hit the 1,000,000 visitors a year mark and I want to keep the momentum going. My goal is to get up 5-10 posts about the Okanagan.
→ Cooking insanely healthy meals and posting lots of the recipes!
→ Seeing more of my friends in Kelowna. Working online can be so isolating, especially when my ‘office’ is in the middle of nowhere!
→ My birthday is on July 17th and the following weekend I am going to have a small party here at the lake. I haven't been in Canada to celebrate my b-day in 4 years, so I'm excited to be home for that.
→ I am getting my 2nd PRP treatment done at Kelowna Medical Aesthetics to try and get rid of some acne scars, discolouration and to produce my own collagen.