Judgments Are An Invitation For Healing

It’s important to hold space for ourselves and what we need. It’s also just as important to check our own judgments and opinions. To remember that opinions that aren’t asked for is a form of mental manipulation against another to bind your anxiety and fear. Telling someone an unasked for opinion using the excuse that it is okay because you “love and care” for them is gas lighting.

A judgment over another is an internal fear placed outward. It is not someone else’s responsibility to make you feel comfortable. When judgments or the need to give an un-asked for opinion arise it’s good practice to stop and ask yourself, “What am I making this mean about me and my own world?”, “What in my life is reflecting onto this person?”, “What fear or past hurt is their situation reminding me of? If this is hurting me does it mean it’s healed?”, “Why do I need so desperately to feel right in this situation? What do I make it mean if I am not right? Is that the truth?”, “Is this my personal situation and life? So is this my responsibility to have an opinion on?”, “Is there a way I can care for this person without forcing my way of life onto them?”, “Do others exist only to please me? Then what am I trying to fix (within my view of the world) by forcing them into my world view?”, “Do I know this persons life story? Do I know the truth of them? So is it right for me to judge them?”.

Your anxiety is not someone else’s responsibility, which means your opinions on someone else’s situation are not serving the other person or yourself. Judgments do not bring value, add benefit, or help someone’s growth. Judgments are simply hurting someone else and yourself in the process. It comes from a place of the ego (lizard) brain, which is a deep place of insecurity. It brings you into a toxic place where you’re hoping to tare down someone else to make yourself feel more comfortable about your current situation. It’s not compassion for others and it’s not compassion for yourself.

Always remember: it is not your situation, you are not that person, and it is not your life journey, therefore what you think of it is irrelevant – regardless of that person’s relationship to you.

People forget to let other people live. They forget that others are not meant to look the same, act the same, and think the same as them. No one needs to do something just because you think it’s right. It is from a place of ego that we try to assimilate others to our way of life versus accepting we are all on our own journeys. You only attack someone else’s being or situation when you believe the world was built for you, to please you – which is a mistake a lot of us make within our human experience because we live and think in a first person narrative.

But we share this planet with other humans all having their own human experience of love, of joy, of happiness and also of heartbreak, of hurt, and of trauma. We can look different, we can live differently, we can speak differently but one thing is constant in all of our human experiences and that is our wide array of emotions. It’s with that reminder and understanding that we can keep in mind that we are all dealing with things someone else doesn’t see or know but our experience, our worth, and our need for unconditional love and acceptance is just as deep as anyone else.

When we choose to judge others we choose to disconnect from compassion and connection. When we choose judgment we choose to align with our ego, we choose hate over love, and we choose to stay within our insecurities. When a judgment arises that shows you where in yourself you need healing. I encourage you to use judgment as an aid and tool for your own healing journey. To pause before making judgment, have internal reflection, and instead of voicing that opinion or judgment; offer your friends and family unconditional support, offer a stranger kindness versus pettiness, and offer yourself room to grow versus staying in a destructive toxic environment within avoidance of your own emotions.

It is within our judgments and trying to control someone else’s situation that we are failing to accept the universe for what it is. We are failing to allow others to be their own individuals. We are failing to live in alignment with ourselves. If we are constantly grasping at things outside ourselves it is because we are too afraid to heal what is going on internally. But it is only when we tune inward, when we connect to our emotions, that we can begin to heal and work with our core wounds to be able to live in more harmony.

But we equally have to remember that our own fear of judgment from others is a judgment on ourselves. It is a form of comparison and a need to people please as a way to win love and acceptance instead of knowing our own worth regardless of others approval. It is when we are living in alignment with ourselves, at peace with our self worth, and in a place of self-love that other peoples judgments do not bother us. It is when they bring up anger inside of us that we too are holding onto a fear, an expectation, or an unhealed part of ourselves.

If you’re the one experiencing judgment it’s important to prioritize self care and to ask what you need in that moment. It is also a tool for evolution in your life; re-evaluate the type of people, community, and “loved ones” you keep around you. We are all on our own healing journeys – remember that someone else’s judgments of you is about themselves and their internal healing that they’ve projected onto you. Someone’s judgment of you is a reflection of themselves. That doesn’t mean we don’t have our own work to do, it simply means that we do not have to hold others negativity toward us.

There is a quote by Yogi Bhajan that changed my life and continues to serve as an important reminder, “If you are willing to look at another person’s behaviour toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time cease to react at all.”

It can hurt to be in a place you want to celebrate and to have the people you care about respond in judgment. But knowing that it isn’t personally about you, even if they’ve made it personal, helps to aid you in your journey. It is important to remember also, in these times, it may be a milestone that you’re elevating yourself higher than you’ve previously been and at times that means a chapter is finished in a relationship. Other times it may mean that entire story ends.

When someone can no longer see you and support you as you are, you’re no longer on the same page in your healing. That does not devalue what you’ve learned, the memories you’ve made, and how you’ve grown. What it means is that you’ve simply outgrown the relationship or moved onto separate directions. Things have run their course. This is a normal human experience and a sign it is time to move on. And while endings can be sad, it is something to celebrate that you lived out the course of a friendship fully.

Judgment comes from a place of disconnect but it invites us (whether giving or receiving judgment) to learn, heal, and grow. Each emotion or action that can be deemed “negative” has room for positive. Each experience has room for learning if we are open to it. And our lives are a healing journey if we open our hearts to evolving as much as we can as human beings.

We each have our own journeys, our own healing, our own learning. We cannot dictate someone else’s journey or how they should live it. We all learn lessons in different times and we cannot control how someone else heals. The best we can do is support them in their endeavours and to know that they will get to where they are meant to be (where they are meant to be we wont ever know). The best we can do is offer others compassion and love and light on their journey.

If you truly trust the universe and yourself then you release all need to control your surrounding environment. When you’re at inner peace you release the need to control others. When you allow yourself to just be as you are and celebrate in self-love and self-worth you set yourself free. It isn’t a destination to be won, this is a lifetime of work. Healing is a lifetime of work and constant practice. But it is with that practice that you find peace. I choose to heal. I choose to evolve. I choose peace.


A Week Of Water

I always say to people that the two great loves of my life are the mountains and water. But it’s funny how easily the chaos of life can pull you away from the things that you love. Often times my life gets too busy and I simply forget to make time to go out in nature. At times it can take me feeling extremely disconnected with myself or overwhelmed with the way of the world to remember to go out and explore.

A few weeks ago this summer I got to rediscover why exactly water is so important to me. I hadn’t been out exploring and adventuring for awhile and I knew I wanted to get back to the water. Just like the mountains, the water calls to me and it’s a magnetism I can’t ignore.

So I went out to one of my favourite lakes for it’s clear beautiful colours. While I came ready to swim or to walk around the lake I decided to go kayaking. It had been awhile since I had been out on the water in that way and it was my first time getting to kayak on that particular lake.


I took my sweet time, over a few hours, just tracing the edge of the lake to see what I would find. Exploring it’s different nooks and crannies I discovered areas I wanted to return to like a rope swing, little islands, and far off beaches away from campers or day use crowds. I didn’t get to see any wildlife but I got the mountain views.


The next day despite my exhaustion I headed out to one of my all time favourite waterfalls that just happens to be local. While I had photographed it before I had never actually spent time enjoying the cascading water. Completely alone with the sounds of nature I laughed with joy with the feeling of interacting with this beautiful place.

On Wednesday after teaching a yoga class beside a nearby lake I decided that I wanted to go for a sunset dip. The lake is usually extremely cold when enjoyed under the hot sun. But to my delight after I jumped off the dock at dusk I was met with warmer water. I laid back feeling refreshed as I looked up at the light pink sky.


By Thursday I realized that I had been in a different body of water each day. I loved the thought of this and decided to continue it if I could for as many days as possible. That night I had to do some work in a remote area near a lake. I decided to make a day of it and headed to a hike that had been on my list for awhile and then went for a nice sunset dip afterward to freshen up before starting my work.


Friday was the blood full moon, lunar eclipse (in a series of three), and mars being closest to Earth since 2003. I knew I wanted to do something special for it all. My mother and I decided to commute an hour to the beach to set our intentions and write a list of what we wanted to let go. I sat on the sandy beach to write my list and then walked along the shore, the small waves lapping up onto my feet, as the sun went down and the moon rose behind us.


The next day I went into Vancouver to watch the Celebration Of Light. It was South Africa’s night and it was by far the most spectacular set of fireworks I have witnessed. While I didn’t go into the water earlier in the day due to contamination levels, I did sit by the ocean to watch this spectacular show and enjoyed the ocean air.

I decided to end my week by taking a short road trip from Vancouver to one of my favourite spots in British Columbia. The mountain views and ocean colour there are spectacular (the cover photograph of this blog). The best part is it’s often only known by locals. It’s a place of recluse for me where I can enjoy the sounds of nature and my time swimming without interruption. While the day I went there happened to be more people then usual I was still able to spend my day in the ocean, looking out at the stunning view, and appreciating the natural beauty around me.

My week of water reminded me the importance natural water holds in my life. While swimming is good for your health, being in nature and going on these adventures is even better for my mental health. Being in and surrounded by water allows me to reconnect myself. If ever I am feeling ungrounded or lost all I need to do is jump into natural water and I feel worlds better.

We take our water sources for granted, we pollute them and we harm the creatures living in them. It is important if we enjoy something to also respect it. I practice protecting where I play. So while I enjoy these natural places I do my part to ensure I am not harming them.

If you want to learn more on reducing your impact you can join my group Women’s Eco-Friendly Health Collaborative.


Remote Beach Clean-Ups

I love when travel works its way into your everyday life. For me one of those distinctive times was when my volunteer work with the Surfrider Foundation lead me to being sent to Ucluelet/Tofino to hike into a remote beach to clean up debris from a cargo ship spill.

Protecting the environment has become something that is deeply important to my heart. In these last few years the extent of my knowledge and personal growth for making changes to my daily life to help reduce my impact has been huge. Realizing the deep impact travel can have on the environment I have since altered the way I travel to be more eco-friendly.

(If you want to learn more on how to reduce your impact feel free to join my free Facebook group for Women to network and talk about how to reduce our impacts)

• • •


The trip started off with an early 5:30 am start. Anyone who knows me well knows I don’t do early mornings unless it involves travel or adventure. My alarm went off and I woke up to darkness. As I walked along the sleeping city streets of Vancouver I smiled at the familiar sound of suitcase wheels rolling along the pavement.

It had been too long since hearing that lovely sound and knowing I was headed toward something new. I realized it was a sound so closely related with joy that I had missed dearly. Walking past the few commuters and street cleaners I remembered what it was like to see a city before it was awake.

The trip itself was out of my comfort zone. Being an avid and almost exclusively solo traveller I knew I would be pushed on this trip. Despite that I was excited for the adventures to come and relinquished control. I was looking forward to returning to such a beautiful area of British Columbia.


After a typical Pacific Northwest rainy and overcast drive through the mountains we came to settle in a wood cabin which backed onto a marsh area. Hammocks laid tucked away in the trees and an overgrown trail led to little hide aways for bonfires and a spot to sit with candles that was overrun with wax accumulated, I am sure, from many memories.

I explored the area while I could before the familiar coastal downpour of rain descended. I retired into the common area, relaxing into a seat to drink tea while admiring the lush greens through the water covered window. Eventually the rain cleared and the sun peaked out from the clouds just in time for an outdoor movie night hosted by the local area’s Surfrider Chapter.


The night’s events were held at the local botanical gardens which gave way to some post dinner beauty. We settled into our chairs bundled under heaters, holding warm drinks. There were many short films all filled with love and devotion to the ocean from all over the world (as well as some made by locals). It was a contrast of love and loss for our natural world.

• • •

We met early the next morning to set off on our cleaning expedition. 13 volunteers (including me) headed off down back service roads to a location we were asked to keep secret. We hiked down paths and through bushes and down to the rocky rugged Pacific Rim coast and broke off into different sections to tackle as much debris as possible.


We balanced over the rocks as we headed to where we would clean. We watched the time knowing the path we had just crossed would be swallowed by the rising tide if we didn’t return in time. As we rounded the corner to our designated section of beach we were greeted by a cargo container on the shores torn apart. Styrofoam littered the beach reaching up into the forest line where the tide had pushed it.

We all broke off individually to different areas of the beach and started filling garbage bags. I worked along the side of the beach against a rock face and then into the forest area where the water line ended. I discovered a trove of plastic bottles and styrofoam debris. Eventually moving further down the beach knowing that any log you moved would reveal more.


This wreck was one they had been working to clean for quite awhile. It was a big undertaking that required a lot of effort and by far wasn’t the only remote beach or area littered with debris along the coast. We were told stories of different things they would find from their many clean ups through the years, including wreckage from the tsunami that happened in Japan 8 years earlier.

The 13 of us ended up filling 7 tonnes worth of debris into super sacs. Everyone worked together to manoeuvre what we had found into each sac. Once we had fit all of the debris into the bags we roped them all together to be picked up by helicopter and dropped to the proper sorting facility.


It was a successful clean up done by a lot of hard working individuals. Despite the continued hard work of the locals and our additional help for this clean up the area was still filled with micro plastic of the broken styrofoam that would require more cleaning in the future.

(If you want to learn more of the dangers of plastic and especially micro plastic to the ocean and animals watch the documentary A Plastic Ocean)

TofinoTrip-45After our hard work we all enjoyed a lunch together at a local favourite: Ukee Dogs. We ended our combined time and headed back to our accommodations to relax before our next adventures.

A failed hiking plan lead to us accompanying one of our group members as she went to go surfing before the sunset. The wicked waves splashed onto shore and against the ragged coastline rocks while surfers and kite surfers alike took advantage of the swell.

I myself opted to explore the shores and take photographs. I wandered along the coast line and noticed a light house in the distance. My wonder for light houses and the low tide lead me to a rock island. A few secluded homes laid atop the rocks and I explored it’s surface to catch a better glimpse of what may lay beyond.


As I headed back toward my group a rainbow was laying over the beach and view of the landmass in front of me. By the time I returned to where we had left our gear the setting sun gave some stunning photographic opportunities. Our friend returned from her work out on the waves and we watched as the last light of the day coloured the sky with subtle pastel purples.


We briefly sat for hot chocolate and popcorn at the beachside home of the local chapter’s leader discussing what we all did beyond our volunteer work. As our visit ended we thought that our night was at an end as well until we received a message from fellow Surfriders we had met earlier. We were invited to one of the many beaches for a bonfire. Luckily because we are all outdoors lovers we had our packs and our headlamps ready to walk down the dark trail to the beach.


We followed the distant light of the fire and found familiar faces. Our eyes eventually adjusted to the dark and we stayed warm with the burning fire. The night was spent chatting and laughing. But being the artist I am I was more mesmerized by the stunning night sky, the sound of the crashing waves, and the rotating light from the light house in the distance.

I spent more time taking photographs than I did interacting. As I continued to take night shots (using the logs as my makeshift tripod) others from the group became curious to see my creations. I had asked a friend to help me so I could light paint and it ended up being a hilarious party trick I never knew I had. Once the others realized the end result of someone running around with a flashlight everyone wanted a chance to try.


We laughed hysterically as we yelled letters out and guided the painters to get the picture right. After a lot of tries I finally got the perfect shot I wanted showing the lights of the city in the distance and the city name painted above the beach. We left the beach that night having had great conversations and having gained some new local friends.


I woke up early the next morning knowing I didn’t have much time to enjoy the beauty of the area since I was on someone else’s schedule. I decided to head out again to the marsh area behind our accommodations and was greeted with the beautiful natural world already underway.

Steam rose from the ground as the frost was thawed by the rising sun. Birds chirped and flew over head while a heron stood on the waters edge looking for food. I followed the almost non-existent stream toward the open water and admired the sleeping boats and their mirror images. I felt so much joy experiencing the natural beauty and grabbing some beautiful shots.

While we didn’t do much extra exploring we did make one stop on our way to the ferry and that was to an amazing area that still holds some of the oldest trees in British Columbia. Some of these big beauties are bigger than the tower of Pisa and over 800 years old. It is one of the few areas with giant trees that thankfully remain untouched from the logging industry.


It was my second time there and I was glad to be able to appreciate the magnificence of these huge beauties again. It is so humbling feeling so small compared to their size and history. It’s a place despite being packed with tourists still feels relaxing and a place I was happy to return to.


We caught a later ferry and while some of the girls relaxed and tried to nap I was too captivated by the setting sun. I ran all over the upper deck of the ship to capture the lands edge and the colours painting the sky. While I am often afraid of boats I find most of my journeys on them are the most memorable and packed full of stunning photo opportunities.

I returned home with some amazing photographs, having made some new connections, and having learned a lot more than what I had known before. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to gain the experience of participating in a remote beach clean up. It definitely won’t be my last.


• • •

To see more you can watch a video created from our journey from a fellow Surfrider and content creator Crystal Chan:

• • •

I have absolutely loved the volunteer work I have done and through doing so I have gained great value in my life. My knowledge has grown so much, I’ve met like-minded people, I’ve gotten to be connected with more organizations I love, and have grown my resume significantly. I truly recommend volunteering within areas you’re passionate in.

Use of this image without permission is against the law.

Taking Care Of Myself

Self care can sometimes be taking a step that may not seem rational like quitting your job, walking away from friendships and relationships, or literally standing up and walking away from a situation whether it be an event, a conversation, or a space you don’t feel safe in. Self care can be realizing the stressors in your life and doing a mass removal of them. That is what I have been focusing on lately.

I’ve been choosing myself and my well being over everything else. I’ve walked away from people and things that bring negativity and stress in my life and instead started putting myself first again. I’ve gone to yoga class instead of obligations because it was what I needed more for my health. I’ve spent a weekend saying goodbye to things that weighed me down and spent my days going out in nature and taking photos and videos for the joy of the art.

IMG_0642I made a decision I had had enough of the toxic atmosphere I was in, of the ridicule there. So I stood up and walked out, turned my phone off and felt the weight of the stress melt off my shoulders with the warm sun. I had forgot how much I missed the sun and I went out to trails I use to know well. I watched the sun stream across the open fields of grass and smiled as I approached a trail marker and realized it was part of the Trans Canada Trail – something that is on my bucket list.

I didn’t spend long here but it put me into a state of existential contemplation. I thought of all the things on my bucket list and what they would look like. I thought of how my life is bigger than these stressful times. I thought of future adventures but I also wondered what these places would look like twenty years from now. I wondered how much of our Earth will still be this wild and beautiful and how much of it will be gone.

I finished my night of breaking away from negativity at a hot yoga class. Standing in tree pose (Vrikshasana) looking out the window at the mountains in the distance and the hue of pink blanketing the landscape with the setting sun. I knew 100% that I had made the right decision even if it meant consistent money wasn’t coming into my bank account anymore.

It was breaking away from that atmosphere that inspired me to go out and enjoy my freedom. When I woke up I was graced with another great sunny day and set out to new trails I had never been to before with my cameras. I wanted to go out and enjoy nature while also just taking photographs for me again, for the love of the art, not for anything else. It brought back that childlike joy of discovering a new place, exploring, and being in awe of the beauty.


I watched the rapids of a waterfall mesmerized by the patterns and continued along the trail to see what awaited me. I found a perfect juxtaposition between peaceful green trails and thrills as I stood beside three waterfalls all interconnecting. There were many different waterfalls I got to capture that day. I later sat at the top of one and as the water fell I looked down the canyon in front of me wondering how I could get down there to get photographs. It inspired a future adventure I knew I could accomplish to come up river into the canyon to get the photographs of the waterfalls from the perspective of the water below.

I haven’t had that much fun in a long time. As I walked back to my car I thought to myself how wonderful it felt to just go out with no time constraints, no expectations, not knowing what I would find but just enjoying it all. It’s what I miss most about travelling solo consistently – zero compromise. But it also reminded me the joy of discovering new things and just exploring for however long I wanted to so I could discover the area.

The next day I had to compromise to attend an event I didn’t want to be at. But it was a celebration because it was the last event volunteering for an NGO who had lost it’s way and gave me no appreciation for my huge contributions and dedication. As soon as the event finished I felt that same sense of freedom I had two days earlier with the weight of stress lifting off my shoulders. I was free from another constraint and knew that it opened me up to be able to seek out greater environmental opportunities.

kanaka-3I brought all that I needed to explore the area after the event if I still had energy. And luckily I not only had energy but the sun was still shining so I set off again out onto the trail to chase waterfalls. I rediscovered an area I hadn’t seen in 5 years and I worked hard to get the angles I wanted of the waterfalls despite fences or tourists everywhere. Despite the obstruction it was because of the fences that I was lead to a beach below where the water was so clear and beautiful I knew I had to come back on the next sunny day to swim. I looked out from the beach and saw rocks in the area that would be perfect for self portraits and I knew I had to return to capture the vision I had in my head (the feature photograph for this article is one of those).


I didn’t want to retire from my adventures completely so I spent my last bit of daylight sitting in the forest with my watercolours. It was the first time in a long time I have remembered to bring them with me on an adventure to capture my inspiration with my words and paints instead of just my camera. I forgot how much fun it was to plein air paint. Eventually the mosquitos came out so I headed home to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day in a relaxed way with my mom.

me lynn canyon-5I did my research, checked out the weather and knew that I only really had one day where it was guaranteed sun to return back to the same spot for my swim and photographs. So a few days later I set off to get the portraits I had imagined in my head and to have my second polar swim of the year. I decided to again try to integrate video into my adventure, offering me the opportunity to experiment with a different artistic medium. It gave me so much joy creating something new and sharing my adventures with others from my days of freedom.

While drying off in the sun from my swim and packing up my gear I met someone from Spain visiting the area. I didn’t know at the time but he later told me that he was walking on the trail above while I swam and a guy made a comment to him about how crazy it was someone was swimming down there. He told me he had to come down to meet someone who would dare to swim in those waters.

This lead to one of my last adventures in my domino series of outdoor discovery. The next day was his last day in Vancouver and he had asked if I would meet him. While it wasn’t what I had planned I thought back to all the times I’ve been in a new city and a new friend I had met offered to take me on an adventure. It’s those spontaneous trips and memories that are the best I’ve had so I knew I wanted to pay it forward. I gave him a list of adventure ideas and he chose to do his first winter hike with me.

Despite a cloudy day we persevered out into the snow filled back country for a small hike hoping for the chance to catch a view through the clouds. Although that didn’t happen I still got to show him how to interact with the wild birds on their terms. I laughed to myself thinking “what a Canadian experience – in the snowy mountains having Canada’s national birds land on your hand”. As we headed down from the mountain we even had a deer cross the road near us. I was happy despite the lack of view it was a rich experience in wildlife.

It had been a great way to celebrate the Spring Equinox and as we returned to the city so did the sun. I got to enjoy the last little bit of sun we would have for awhile by the sea, excited to see blossoms in bloom on the trees. It was a great segue from winter to spring and into the next chapter of adventures to come.

It was because of that break out moment that I returned to the things that feel most rewarding in my life and bring me joy. I haven’t felt more inspired and free and joyous in a long time. Standing up for myself against people that don’t appreciate me and putting my mental health and joy first created a huge ripple effect through my life. It has significantly changed my level of happiness and creativity and productivity. I have created more in those 5 days than I have in months.

Never forget the power of putting what is best for you first. Never forget the power of walking away from things that are negative and no longer serve you (and knowing you don’t need to explain yourself if it’s going to fall on lost ears). Never forget the power of going after what you love and bringing joy into your days. I was grateful for the much needed reminder I ended up giving myself.

me lynn canyon-8


The Cost Of Freedom

I’ve realized a prevailing trend in my life to seek out freedom and to break out against constraints put on me. It may be why I can procrastinate paying bills or doing something I know is necessary, simply because I don’t like being told when or how to do things. I’ve never really followed the way society is suppose to flow and have craved a way out.

My ideal life would be me on an island living by myself; thriving off the land, enjoying nature, and living in a more simple way. It’s why being a lighthouse keeper is on my bucket list. It’s also why doing the Trans Canada Trail (24,000 km across Canada by foot/bike) as well as a year long road trip across Canada living out of my car is part of that list. I want freedom to explore, freedom to follow my hearts joy, the freedom to ask myself “what do you want to do today?” and to go do that.

I was once told my idea of being able to live a life with joy and doing what I love for work was idealistic and not actually achievable by someone from an older generation. I laughed because it is entirely achievable because I have done it. A big barrier in living a life with joy every day? Money. It is only when you have a way to pay your bills and extra to follow your adventures, or relinquish bills from your life, that you can stop being so worried about making ends meet and staying in work you dislike.

You see the many times I’ve been sitting hating my life in a job I didn’t enjoy just to pay the bills I would always think, “There’s got to be more than this. Life can’t be just following the motions and hating our days until we die”. I’ve never been convinced or even persuaded I need to work for the majority of my life just to get 15 years of “peace” at the end (on the contingent I am healthy enough or still alive) when I’m too old and unable to do half the things I want to achieve anyway. I’ve never believed in the American dream people are sold because it resigns you to a miserable life.

Like so many other free spirits and wild souls I crave to follow my heart, to venture after what makes me come alive, and to strike out on my own path set entirely and only by me. “Normal” people view it as unstable while the rest of us free spirits know it is the exact opposite – it is more stable because we are doing what we love and choosing exactly what we want versus doing what other people tell us to do. We aren’t sheep following a set out life plan. We are out creating our life to be exactly what we want it to be. It is a fulfilling and exciting lifestyle and one I wouldn’t trade for anything.

If I were to die today I would feel that I lived an amazing life because I sought out adventure. Are there more things I want to do? Absolutely, there always will be, someone like me doesn’t ever become complacent or fully settled. But that’s my ambition to constantly learn and discover new things. But despite the ever growing bucket list I know I have lived life to the fullest and continuously accomplished my dreams along the way. I began living a life with joy the moment I stopped living for anyone or anything else.

I always tell my friends that if I die on the mountains or out there pulling one of my crazy adventures, to know that I died happy because I died doing what I love. To me no cliff side, no body of water, no adventure could ever be more terrifying than the thought of leading a life I hate on the bet I’ll be able to do all that I want later in life.

We aren’t guaranteed more time. We are guaranteed right here and right now and what we choose to do with it determines our lives. It’s why I say how I feel, it’s why I do what I want in the moment, it’s why I ask myself “what can I do today to make tomorrow better?” because you never know if you’ll be getting a tomorrow but you do have today.

I want my days to involve things I’m passionate about. I want my days to feel fulfilling. I want to feel good about what I am doing and what I am putting out into the world. It’s why I don’t compromise and I certainly won’t walk away from my morals or beliefs for money or fame or superficial things. Does it make things tough and more complicated? Definitely. But it guarantees the work that I am doing is contributing to my happiness and putting good out into the world. It means I can sleep at the end of the night proud of who I am and the life I lead.

While having no debt is the key to the type of freedom I crave I have learned it’s not worth compromising my happiness to get out of that hole. In time, in the right way, doing what I love, I will be able to find a freedom where I can up and leave on any adventure at any time. Until then I still struggle against those constraints, but I find my own way to make it work for me.

I know that you can’t outrun your problems with travel or by buying things. I know that money can buy comfort, can buy a better lifestyle, can buy a fake look of business profitability but materialistic things don’t give long lasting sustaining happiness. It’s why I don’t seek huge monetary wealth, I don’t seek being wealthy or popular. I simply seek comfort to follow my dreams and that is all I want for my life because in my mind I am already rich – I am rich in my unconditional friendships, I am rich with my courage, I am rich with opportunities.

I know that I will achieve what I want to. I know I will find ways to get to those dreams that seem far off because I continually cross dreams off my bucket list every year. I don’t just dream I make those dreams a reality and I am confident that no matter how long it takes I will cross those things off my list. For now I am finding my way to chase what I love while also allowing myself financial freedom. Will I retire with a huge amount of money? No. Will I be an old lady with laugh lines and a lot of wicked stories to tell, still adventuring in my 70’s because living a life I loved contributed to good health? Absolutely.


Boating Around The Adriatic

I woke up early and headed out onto the barren early morning streets of Hvar – a stark contrast to the bustling crowded market streets later in the day and the partying streets by night. I had been told by a Scottish friend I met a few days earlier that I had to do “the blue and green cave tour”. Upon googling I found one that I thought would be great and a full 8 hours of adventures boating around the Adriatic and the islands of Vis and Biševo.

I boarded a little speed boat and made new friends with three other girls from North America. Even the view of Hvar as we left was stunning (the feature photo on the article). I knew the day would provide quite an amazing adventure and some beautiful photos. Despite the packed itinerary I really had no idea then just how amazing it would be. It ended up being one of the best days of my life and the happiest.


As we got further out from the harbour we came upon our first stop which was actually an unplanned surprise. We were greeted by a family of dolphins which our skipper told us were often around. It was the second time in my life seeing dolphins so close. They stayed around for awhile and we all sat and admired them. Once they had gone we sped off to Vis to see the Green Cave.



The Green Cave seemed like a popular spot.DCIM101GOPROG0741892. Despite it being earlier in the morning there were still quite a few boats around waiting their turn to head inside. Once we got into the cave we learned more about it and got the chance to jump in and explore. Our skipper offered some goggles but I definitely recommend bringing your own snorkelling gear to be able to really see these caves for all of their beauty without worrying to wait your turn.

We were a bit early for the full green cave glow – which happens from the sun hitting the bottom of the cave and illuminating the colour of the ocean floor below. But as you can see from the picture here it would be quite a sight to behold when it’s fully lit up.

The task of getting back into the boat itself was hilarious and provided many laughs for the group itself. At times the skipper had to help lift people back in. Putting one leg and the opposite arm on the side of the boat we had to try to lift our body weight up and in. After a few tries of it you start to get the handle of it.

We all got back in safely and headed on our way to our next stop. We weaved our way through many different geologically fascinating places while being told the history of the area. He pointed out holes in the mountain side which were from World War II and told us about the intricate tunnel system that was created through the island. We learned about the local vegetation that thrives in the area and about the Croatian culture on the islands we were experiencing.


Our education part of our tour led us to our second stop at the edge of a cliff where we were shown sun pools. If you’ve never seen these or heard of them they are little naturally occurring round pool spots where the ocean waves wash up into them. When the tide is low it gives the sun time to warm them up. When we stopped here we were given the time to explore and relax in the pools or we could also do some small cliff jumping. I love cliff jumping and although this wasn’t anything huge I thought it was a great addition. It is a safe jump and one that is easier and more welcoming for a beginner.

After we had our fun in the sun we went into our second cave of the day which was a giant vertical slit in the side of the island. It was a dark one, with light only streaming in from the opening. It offered a huge contrast to the rest of the caves we would get to experience that day. Not just from the lighting and the shape but also because of the experience inside. It was easy to notice how the temperature changed much cooler in it’s dark depths. This was just one example of the many caves that lay along the islands on the coast and are waiting to be explored responsibily.

Next we were taken out to a piece of rock that comes so close to the surface that you can take pictures as if you’re walking on water. For mine I didn’t get exactly onto the spot

adriatic-7closest to the surface. But if you do it looks like your feet are standing on the surface of water. This was an awesome unexpected addition to the day. It was great to be able to be in what looks like the middle of the ocean and to be standing like you’re on the shore. This part was slippery and provided entertainment for everyone as we watched people try to catch their balance. Many of us, including me fell over a few times trying to stand up. Water shoes would definitely help you with this one as it definitely was tricky.adriatic-8 You also have to dodge the sea urchins (as you’ll become aware swimming anywhere along the Croatian coast). These are black spiky sea creatures and I was forewarned by an Aussie friend that it hurts a lot to step on one.

Surprisingly as little effort as the adventures seemed, when it was announced we were headed for lunch I was excited and starving! Our skipper told us we were going to Biševo, an island with a population of 8 people, with a small local restaurant on its shores. I was so excited to experience this small communities way of connecting with those wanting to visit their beautiful shores. It was fascinating to imagine what life is like for the local people running the restaurant. And I am sure they meet many amazing people with interesting travel stories stopping in for a bite to eat while off on their explorations.

I smiled as we docked the boat and walked along the path toward the little wooden “Restoran” sign. Me and my new friends took a seat to relax at the restaurant. I ended up ordering their special for the day which was calamari. I had been so use to the deep fried cut up pieces at home I was slightly surprised when two full squids were on the plate in front of me. But I am always up for experiencing different things and it ended up being delicious.

I enjoyed my wine and meal, with some chats with my new friends, and then I went off to admire the beach and to see the surrounding area. This beach was the clearest water I had seen anywhere and I spent quite awhile admiring it. I also spent some time taking in the small community they had built in this part of the island. I day dreamed about hiking to different areas of the island and wondered what it looked like beyond the hills. I have to admit I could have relaxed there all day. When I return to Croatia I would love to come back here with a book and just relax in the sun or go hiking on the island.


It was one of those places where although there were lots of tourists it didn’t feel packed or overwhelming. Everyone was off doing their own thing. Some were enjoying their meals with a view and others were out in the water or on it’s shores. The stop helped to recuperate at just the right time. I think we were all feeling we needed it because it gave us the energy boost for our next stop – the main event which I think most people book the tour for: the Blue Cave.

IMG_3906This stop took up a chunk of time because we had to dock, line up and get tickets, and board another boat that was with a specific cave tour (I don’t believe they allow outside boats inside). This cave was spectacular and unlike anything I had ever seen before but the boat went through it so fast you didn’t really get time to enjoy it.

If you go to this particular one (yes there are more than one of these caves in the world), remember that it goes by quickly so forget about taking photos – your phone or camera won’t focus properly anyway. Sit and enjoy the amazing natural feature of the deep blue glow in the pitch black cave.

To be honest, as amazing as the Blue Cave was, it was probably my least favourite of all the stops. It took out a big chunk of the day due to switching boats that could have been better used elsewhere and I think it would have been more spectacular to swim within it versus doing a quick float through. That being said our skipper did get us there at a quiet time so there were no line ups. But I personally would have rather have just taken a boat to see the cave on a different day or saved the experience for another one of these caves in the world where I could swim.

Afterward we continued on and got shown some more interesting geological features of the type of rock style in the surrounding area. While this type of thing may be boring for some people it was immensely fascinating to me. I think even people with no interest would find it unlike anything they’ve seen before. The whole coastal scenery was stunning. He educated us on the natural processes at play and got us to interact by guessing what we thought was natural or manmade.


Our next stop was getting to see the harbour city of Komiža on the island of Vis. Just like Hvar, I was blown away by it’s beauty as we came in. A little church stood out from all of it sitting higher up from the rest of the buildings on the side of the island. I could have sworn I took pictures of this but when I looked back I couldn’t find any which shows me that it was so beautiful I was too busy admiring it to remember to pick up my camera.


We only had 45 minutes here which I felt wasn’t enough time. It was a small community but there was still so much that I wanted to explore and I would have loved to go see the small church at the top of the hill. Most of us used this as a rest stop because of the shorter span of time. Per the skippers recommendation I went to a restaurant and tried their local island wine called “Vugava”. I loved that the day contained so many opportunities to experience island culture. And before getting back on the boat we cooled off with some gelato.

After departing this beautiful small community we headed off to see our last cave of the day which we were told was one that no other tour does as they don’t know where it is. Sure enough there were no other boats in sight and we had this awesome place to ourselves. Our skipper took our boat close to the island rock face and most of us were confused as to where the cave was. He then explained that to get into the cave we need to swim under the water, through an opening subtly hidden by the height of the water. When he told us this all my adventure senses were tingling.

I didn’t have goggles with me and others were using the few the boat had to offer. So with one hand plugging my nose and the other hand above me to feel the top of the cave opening I closed my eyes, dunked down, and swam fast. When I no longer felt rock on my hand I popped into this beautiful little cave which I feel was the true “green cave” of the trip.



I think this little cave stop was a overall favourite of the day – which is hard to say since it was all so much fun. There is so much I love about Croatia and it’s coastal scenery. These experiences were unparalleled to anything else in my life. Even just being able to swim in such clear and beautiful water was an experience I cherished. The adventurer and earth science nerd in me absolutely adored what we got to see and experience.

When we left the cave all of us swam around in the ocean for a little while just enjoying the beautiful area and trading off goggles so we could all take a look around. But even without them the water is so clear you can see pretty well anyway. This area would be a divers paradise.

After this we were exhausted despite the time we got to rest while visiting Komiža. We knew we only had one stop left which was Stiniva Beach; voted the best beach in the world for 2016. It’s exclusivity is what brings a draw. No motored boats are allowed in past that rocky edges protecting this beach. You’re only option is to anchor and swim (or paddle a smaller boat) in or to hike from the other side. Those of us who wanted to decided to swim in. I would love to return some day to hike into it as the pictures looking down to the beach are stunning.


The beach was a great end to the adventures for the day. I didn’t check out the cafe there on the beach but I think if you were to hike in it would be a great area to relax for the day. We just sat on the shores, took pictures, and chatted with our skipper. We ended up learning that he learned how to speak English (which was very well spoken) simply from watching shows and movies in English until he knew the language. It is quite amazing story to hear and all of us were extremely impressed. Once the sun no longer touched the area we swam or were paddled back in a little boat.

We headed back on the speed boat to Hvar exhausted in the best way possible. We were all silent admiring the beauty and I knew that it was one of the most epic days of my life. There was so much packed into those 8 hours that were unbelievable and just trying to explain the day doesn’t do it justice. The tour itself was an amazing combination of information, rest spots, and adventure and all of it was optional whether you got off the boat or simply enjoyed the views. I usually don’t like to take tours but as tours go this is by far my favourite that I’ve done and so well worth the cheap price! (And this isn’t sponsored – I am saying this because I was genuinely given one of the best days)

Since this visit and my time spent on the coast the Adriatic Sea is now my favourite body of water in the world and Croatia is my favourite country. Spending the day jetting around the Dalmatian Coast, experiencing Vis and Biševo, was such an amazing gift. Something spontaneous that I happened upon but which became of the best days of my life. I am so glad that my friend had recommended it and that I had chosen the specific tour that I did. I will absolutely never forget this day. It was the perfect mix of everything I love and the experiences I had were ones I would have never had the chance to do otherwise.

I know that I will be back to experience some of the same places in a different way in the future. Some of it will be spending a day on the shores relaxing, to fully exploring Komiža and hiking into Stiniva. I also can’t wait to explore more of the islands along Croatia’s coast. It’s called the Dalmatian Coast for a reason because of the spots created by the various islands. I would recommend Croatia to anyone because of the enormously friendly people, the amazing natural and architectural beauty, and the safety!

Bonus Travel Tips

Want to do this same tour? Support this local Croatian company (which you can find near the main market in Hvar if you’d rather book in person).

• You can also do the same tour from Split – just plan for a longer day. And it looks like they offer many other island tours as well. It’s totally worth giving yourself a few days in Hvar which is a cheap ferry ride away from Split and you save yourself some time while also getting to experience another amazing place in Croatia.

• If you’ve got any sort of back issues I highly recommend boarding the boat first and sitting in the very back. The back has a full bench to sit on where as the other seats need to be straddled like riding a horse which can be painful on the lower back when you’re doing it for a full day.

• I highly recommend bringing snorkel gear. You can buy this anywhere at the little market stands in Hvar (as I am sure you can also do so in Split). It’s cheap and well worth it to be able to really see the ocean floor and sea life! After this trip I learned my lesson and got myself a pair of goggles.

• Swimming shoes are also a great option to help yourself grip climbing up the rocky sides and also to protect your feet from sea urchins.

• Almost all of these stops require cash! Although most travellers don’t like to carry cash Croatia is one of those places (especially in the smaller communities) where cash comes in handy!