A Review of Veganuary and Dry January

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“BOTH? That’s brave.” This January I decided that I would do  Dry January which I have done for four or five years. No big deal (for me personally.) It’s a nice reset after extra holiday season celebrations. If you are considering doing Dry January or just challenging yourself to try a sober month read this. 

Along with the typical Dry January,  my fiancé and I also decided to try something new and commit to Veganuary which is a huge trend in the U.K. It’s just like what it sounds like, eating a fully vegan diet for the month of January.  I even got the chance to do a t.v. interview with Bristol TV about my experience click here to watch the segment! 

Many people try one or the other, but doing both I got a lot of side eyes and eyebrow raises. But you know I’m always up for a challenge. I also am passionate about the mindset first approach. Any type of short term challenge you partake in you should go into it looking at it as an experiment and not restriction. 


Nothing exciting comes from deprivation.

But an experiment… now we’re talking. 

I wanted to wait a little while after January to see what it was like to transition away from the plant based lifestyle but something surprising has happened… I haven’t. 

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Last year for my end of the year project I did a series of excerpts from 2016 blog posts and I loved how it turned out. I felt proud of my creativity and enjoyed reflecting on the year past. This year felt a bit different. Content, content, content. You have to give your readers good content. But sometimes, you simply aren’t sure what will be meaningful or useful to your readers. I will give you a summary of my reflection on 2017 and my intentions for 2018 based on the questions I found on Melissa Ambrosini’s blog, someone I really admire. One word to describe 2017 was unexpected and one word I want to describe 2018 is transformative.

It’s easier to reflect on the year when you feel really accomplished and proud. I can’t say that’s my gut feeling going into reflecting this year, but after I answered the questions and dug deeper into myself I realized I am extremely proud of myself.

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If you are new here or you need a recap, I started 2017 living in Australia, teaching part time at an English language college and running my coaching business as a part-time side hustle. After about 1.5 years in Australia, I finally found my true girlfriends and I was lucky to be a part of an awesome community One Wave. I was truly creating a community of my own networking with other travelers on a similar path. In February 2017, my partner and I got the news that our sponsorship visa had been denied and we had 28 days to leave Australia. We were shocked and I was actually heartbroken but my partner was determined to stay positive so we booked a trip to Bali and applied for a visa for New Zealand. We decided we would use this as a transition to hopefully make our way back to Australia.

Life seemed to have different plans for us. After 5 months in New Zealand we left for an epic long term travel adventure to America and Europe(mainly to meet each others families in America and England and other important events along the way.) Our two month trip was incredible. One of the best adventures I’ve ever had. By the end of it we felt called to stay in England and try to plant our roots here. Once again, we have the obstacle of a visa to face. I’ve spent September- January here in England on a tourist visa and I will return to America early next month to apply for my more permanent visa. This process will likely take a few months and there are no guarantees not to mention my partner and I will have to live separately for a few months. I am starting 2018 still in a transition period. This is my reality and to be quite frank, it’s not easy. 

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Kicking off 2016: Dry January

My last post was Christmas Eve, so hello again friends. I hate to sound like a broken record because every time I realize how overdue I am for a blog post I start writing and apologize for my inconsistent nature. I have a personal goal to write SOMETHING every single day but that doesn’t always translate to blog material. Sometimes it is simply thoughts & musings in my planner, rants in the notepad on my iPhone or scribbles on my lesson plans. As I’ve said before I am someone who is very self-aware, both of my strengths and of my weaknesses. Suffering from ADHD gives me an incredible energy and ability to take on loads of projects but it also leads me to bite off more than I can chew. I want to do it all which makes it very hard to do it all well, consistently. This is something I cut myself slack for but when it comes down to it, I know that my behavior and my habits are in my control. My creative mind seeks space to grow, breathe, wonder and wander but my Type A side needs routine, control, and stability. I am an open book when it comes to my shortcomings and I refuse to “accept” things that are within my control as the “way it is”.

This is where the fitness aspect of my life is crucial. After a month of my 60 day exercise challenge and 5am wake up calls for workouts I am feeling motivated, determined, focused, dedicated, empowered, committed, and excited (clearly we have been working on forming adjectives in my ESL classroom this week). Having physical fitness goals and a program to follow gives me the discipline I need in my life. I am very skilled at doing whatever the hell I please. But, I am wise enough to want more. I know I can push myself to be more than average, ordinary, or satisfactory. Fitness reminds me you have to work HARD for what you want. You have to put in the effort on days you feel like it and especially on days you don’t. You have to commit and stay consistent in that commitment to see results. When you are wishy washy in your commitment your results are wishy washy and ordinary. With the start of 2016 I naturally reflected upon my journey through 2015 and how many ups and downs I had. When I bite off more than I can chew I manage to swallow anyway but it is a personal goal of mine to channel my energy into fewer projects this year with MORE mindful focus and intentionality placed on the chosen ones. 2015 has been a year of monumental growth from the inside out. The funny thing about figuring yourself out is you continue to change while doing so and hence, have more to figure out! You must believe you CAN do anything but accept you can’t successfully do everything(I know, I know…but you still wanna try). I know that my anything begins with using my words & sharing my constant journey to a balanced, healthy lifestyle full of adventure & genuine happiness.

I had two incredibly different teaching jobs in 2015, one that was so stressful, emotionally draining and exhausting and one that is currently uplifting, flexible, and my classroom once again feels like a place where I feel my creativity is celebrated. I feel like I am positively influencing my student’s lives every day.  I am happy to go to work every morning. I have also slowly but surely dove into building my own business as a health and fitness coach. This is something I never in a million years imagined I would do but as I progress as an individual I realize that most people don’t turn out to be or do what thought they were going to be. That’s the fun part about life. We don’t know what the future holds but we are surely in control of building ourselves up into the best possible versions of ourselves. Jim Rohn said, “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” As I mature, I realize that when I make myself better I in-turn become better at whatever job or life obstacle is in front of me. The more I encourage others to take risks, take action and live the life of their dreams the more I continue to do it myself.

Accepting that my path is incredibly different than an average American 20-something has given me the power to listen closely my heart and actually TRY different things to find what makes me genuinely happy. The hard part is this process is never ending and at times can feel daunting but I have some truly hysterical people in my life who remind me not to take anything too seriously. It is amazing to me what different people teach you and as a traveler, teacher and coach I am constantly influenced by so many interesting and dynamic individuals.  It is a fascinating world and my favorite way to experience it is through the stories of strangers and new memories with friends.

Between all these goals, plans and dreams for the future I refuse to forget the invaluable moments that are happening right now.

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Returning to My American Dream

Things that I will miss desperately about teaching in Thailand 

  1. Respect
  2. Adequate planning time
  3. Free delish lunch
  4. Valuing extra curricular
  5. A “family like” community of teachers and a group office
  6. Personal Teacher-student relationships
  7. Compliments
  8. Freedom of choice for curriculum (minimal standardized tests)
  9. Gratitude
  10. Laughter

Things I actually miss desperately about Thailand

  1. Friendly Strangers & Smiles
  2. A deep sense of value and gratitude
  4. The food- especially Som Tam and Tom Kha Gai
  6. Simplicity
  7. Surprises
  8. All of my friends/coworkers
  9. Adventure around every corner
  10. Mai Pen Rai attitudes

Things I appreciate about America

  1. Familiar faces
  2. Quality time with family & friends
  3. My doggie/other doggies I can actually PET!
  4. The emphasis of HEALTH, NUTRITION & EXERCISE
  5. Having a car and a kitchen
  6. Good wine & coffee
  8. Customer Service
  9. Good music
  10. Comfortable beds

A few months before I left Thailand I jotted down a list of things that I believed I would miss the most about teaching there. After being home in America for nearly two months I wrote a list of what I actually miss, not just about teaching there but about living there in general. I miss it every single day.

That doesn’t mean that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed my time home in America. I am grateful for the luxuries of home and I am astonished by how much our country truly has at its fingertips. I am beyond grateful for the quality time I have spent with people who I love sharing stories, meals, dance parties, copious amounts of wine and more than a few laughs. I love sharing about my journey, my life, and the magical slice of South East Asia that captivated my soul and stretched me to my limits both in positive and negative respects. Many people I talk to have preconceived notions about what it would be like to live there and I never hesitate to prove them wrong.

I came home at by far my favorite time of year, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Now the rose colored holiday glasses are rapidly being clouded with SNOW. It’s -8 degrees right now. That just sounds like a sick joke. The temporary high of being back in America is wearing off and reality is setting in. Just like moving to Thailand, there is definitely a “vacation” period filled with adrenaline, reunions, and FUN and then you come to terms with the fact that you actually need to adjust to life here.

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The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly: First Backpacking Extravaganza

I’m back! I promised I would return to the digital world after my backpacking adventure but had little idea of what that trip had in store for me. I also underestimated how draining it is to travel consistently for 3 weeks! I am still recovering! In some ways, I wish I could have kept up with the blog along the way but I think it is extremely important to actually experience and live in the moment while traveling as opposed to trying to document every single second. It is a more authentic style of traveling. I took notes as I went with hopes of remembering funny memories, interesting people and conversations and defining moments of the journey. I took tons of photos, but I can’t count the number of times we said “Pictures just don’t do this place justice.” The pictures pale in comparison to feeling the breeze on the long tail boat, the visions of crystal clear waters all around, or the magnitude of sensations and stimulation you feel walking through a crowded temple or a popular night market. I also think about all of the people I met along the way, their stories, and all the stories in the heads and hearts of people who will never write them down.
In hindsight, I now have a different philosophy about my trip and my blog and dare I say, life, in general. The most amazing part about traveling is the sensation of vulnerability, you never know what to expect next, whether it be good or bad, you can only control so much. There was both good and bad experiences on this backpacking trip, but each and every moment and memory is apart of me forever. I want to share my experiences, my photographs and my musings of what they taught me, but I have to admit I have started to feel possessive of my experiences. I feel as though I am transforming from an American 20 something, teacher from New York into a traveler. A traveler with an interesting story, background, a loving family and friends, a bucket list and most importantly dreams of what’s to come. Being a traveler, it’s like a club that you aren’t invited to. You become a part of it and it becomes a part of you. The best part of every single city, island, hostel, resort, bar, restaurant, temple, airport, bus station or street corner we visited was the fellow travelers I met along the way. There is an inexplicable fire in their eyes when they talk about where they’ve been and where they’re going. There is a desire to move, to see, to experience; that truly is like an infection that spreads. You can recognize it in someone else and you form a friendship, an unspoken bond and respect for the good left in the world and the individuals who choose to experience it.
Travelers do not simply exist, travelers are never satisfied with staying in the same place, but always appreciative of their surroundings. Travelers do not listen to what other people have to say about why they shouldn’t visit a certain country, its “too dangerous” or “too poor”. Of course we must all utilize caution while traveling, but if you too scared to step outside of the familiar, you might as well stay home. On my three week backpacking adventure I saw more than I can possibly condense into one blog post. I figured I would give you a list of places we visited and a few highlights of each location (both good, bad and ugly) because anyone who has traveled knows that it is not all as glamorous as pictures make it look. The bad and ugly are usually quite trivial things, but at the time, they are roadblocks or moments of true vulnerability. Once you learn to embrace all aspects of traveling, it frees you to enjoy the perks and discover the beauty in the hardships.

1. Chiang Mai
The good: 1. Sammy’s Organic Cooking School-learning how to cook all of my favorite Thai dishes from a lovely Thai couple using all fresh ingredients from their farm
2. New Years Eve at the Tae Pae gate with people, lanterns, and fireworks covering every square inch of the roads
3. Meeting a monk name Aye at a temple I haphazardly stumbled upon and hearing his take on life, Buddhism and happiness (One of those “life changing” moments that happened right before my eyes)
The bad: Getting lost with Jackie the first day with no idea what street our hostel was on or how to get there (No one else knew either) Made the best of it by shopping til we dropped & finding a sacared Mexican restaurant we visited 5 times in 7 days
The ugly: 12 hour bus ride to Bangkok (a bus that we searched the whole station 4 times over for) and lots of waiting in the airport (Jackie fell asleep across 4 chairs in the “Muslim Only” section LOL)





2. Ko Phi Phi:
The good: 1. Boat cruise around the island, visit to Maya Bay (where The Beach was filmed) & breathtaking private coves & beaches
2. Beach parties- Fire shows, mojitos, hookah, and LOTS of dancing with my girlfriends
3. Our splurge bungalow – the last night we decided to treat ourselves to a beautiful room after suffering in a new hostel every night. Well worth it!
The bad: Arriving at our hostel and immediately having to cancel our reservation due to the horrid conditions. Changing rooms EVERY single night of our 4 days on the island, Jackie loosing her phone (which was returned thank god) Shitty manicures & pedicures that chipped the NEXT day, already acquired two additional bags(not including huge backpack) we deem ourselves “The Worst Backpackers Ever”
The ugly: Throwing up the whole ferry ride to Ko Lanta(not due to being sea sick) having a Thai worker rub my back






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4. Ko Lanta
The good: 1. Chill out House- Coolest hostel EVER- 3 story tree house run by a woman from California, bar. Restaurant, authentic bamboo tattoo shop within the hostel, So many genuinely interesting and friendly travelers
2. Snorkeling& trip to the Emerald Cave- awesome boat cruise to the Emerald Cave, had to swim through a dark cave and wind up in a totally enclosed beach within the island
3. Meeting up with my childhood friend- Sarah Jane, so great to see a friend who happened to be teaching yoga on the same island
The bad: Sickness for a majority of our traveling crew (4 out of 6) food poisoning, sinus infections, etc. , Boat cruise boat breaking down and having to be taxied in to shore by two other long tail boats
The ugly: Hangover of DEATH the first day in 95 degree weather in the outdoor tree house hostel… Barely saw the island the first day


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5. Tonsai Beach, Krabi

The good: 1. Looked like Jurassic Park, a less crowded, super chill beach, my favorite spot of the trip (I think) Right next door to the popular West Railay beach ( If you are reading this KEEP IT QUIET, it would be a shame to see it turn into a tourist trap)
2. Kayaking around Krabi- great day! Watched rock climbers, visited caves & a few different beaches with the pack
3. Chill Out beach bar- our home base for the entire time on the island, amazing view, cool vibe, best bartenders (two goofy Thai men in their early 20’s) fire shows, good food & drinks
4. REAL COFFEE & Fabulous veggie burgers! (Two luxuries I totally miss from America)
The bad: Beach water was about two inches at low tide and couldn’t swim, at this point our backpacks were overflowing and we couldn’t find any of our belongings, sand covering every inch of us, our clothes, our room
The ugly: Electricity only worked from 6 p.m until 6 a.m and there was only one outlet in the room (three girls, one fan, no time or ability to charge our cell phones/ woke up feeling like we were in a sauna/disconnected from the world )








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6. Ko Pha-Ngan
The good: 1. Hacienda Resort- great pool & swim up bar overlooking the ocean, fun atmosphere, and tasty restaurant two steps from our Bungalow, barely ventured off the resort the first few days
2. Jungle Party & Full Moon Party- once a lifetime experience of pure chaos on the beach, some of the weirdest and wildest parties I have ever been to
3. Amsterdam Bar- amazing spot with a very relaxed atmosphere and great view of the Gulf, great sunset with great new friends, lots of laughs
The bad: Ants everywhere in our bungalow (bathroom, bed, every place you can imagine), everything was overpriced since it was so touristy
The ugly: Lost our room key, lost/broken cellphones (not me, Thank goodness) missed our ferry, started to feel “ready to go home” & very drained





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I hate to condense the richness of the journey in a simple list especially since I have developed a new feeling of animosity toward this popular blogging format that is infiltrating social media. A few of you will probably read that and laugh because I have bitched to you about it. Guilty as charged. I simply could go on talking about it forever and I want to give my followers, friends and family at least a taste of the experience. If anyone is interested in hearing more or visiting one of these places in Thailand, please let me know! I am happy to make suggestions and help you! The greatest part of the trip was how close I grew to my friends I was traveling with, the amazing people we met and how my outlook on the world changed. Usually, it is hard to pin point defining moments of life, especially if you take away arbitrary “life changing moments” like graduation from high school and college. Of course those moments changed my path and started new chapters, but I love traveling because you feel yourself changing in each passing moment. You absorb your surroundings and you float in and out of conversations with people from all different walks of life, whether it is a monk you meet a temple of a friendly English girl you meet in your tree house hostel. You proactively grow, change and appreciate the world around you. It is inspiring and addicting. It is fulfilling and surprising. It is uncertain and extremely intimidating at times, but then again, so is life. “ We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us”. Now, back to teaching and planning for the next trip (Thailand’s Summer Vacation), which is quickly approaching in March and April! Here we go again! Stay tuned! Cheers!