Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How and Why

This is an idea I have been thinking about for a while, but did not have my head wrapped fully around it or maybe did not know if this was something I would need to explain to friends, family myself and new acquaintances. But when you plan to go abroad (for me this is to Senegal from the United States) for a few years people start to wonder why, if you are right in the head, and think that 2 years is a very long time.
Baobab Trees in Senegal

The article "Regrets of the Dying" written by former palliative caretaker Bonnie Ware helps sum up some of the reasons I am doing this. Some people look back at their lives and have regrets. I hope to not be one of those people.

Serving in the Peace Corps will be a life changing experience in ways I can not even start to comprehend at this point, but living abroad and being immersed in another culture for a few years is, I think, a whole other bag of worms. Good or bad, you learn more about yourself and other human beings (good or bad) on this planet by living within non familiar culture for a few years. You are able to build bonds, understanding and a life that being there for few months you might not be able to do.

2012/02 Gagan Diesh - I'm not a creative, I solve problems creatively. from CreativeMornings/Vancouver on Vimeo discusses the difference between what you do, why what do you do matters, and how does it impact the people's lives that it touches. With my degree being in design, I think about these things. Frankly I have a hard time creating things because of this. Fashion design is one of the most wasteful industries which makes if difficult for me to work in an industry that is slowly making a better way of making things.

How am I going to do this?
This statement makes me think of the phrase "Even the dumb squirrel finds a nut". Life is what you make of it and I think that life can be as difficult or as easy as you want it to be. I am not saying that everyone wants an easy life has it and that hard life is brought on it by yourself. But many people have more choice than they know and I think in many cases they simply do not exercise that choice.

Author Martha Beck writes about how many people "[n]ever ask themselves why" what their consistent purpose of doing the things they do is in her book Finding Your Way in a Wild New World. Her way to solve this is ask the purpose for what your doing and then ask the purpose of that until you find a consistent answer.  Interestingly enough my answer is because it's something I have wanted to do all my life. This is coming from a girl, that for the life of her, can not remember what she wanted to do when she grew up. Go figure.

It's not hard to take a leap of faith if you are naive enough to not know what your doing before you actually get there. I have done that before with a few projects. By the time you are knee deep in it, there is simply no turning back and it's better to cuss your way through it than to loose face by giving it up. Right, I'm sure I'm not the only on that has been there. Am I crazy? Maybe. But that's okay. I might just find my nut.

Why am I doing this?
Why not? The U.S. economy isn't exactly the greatest right now. After graduating college in 2006 I was laid off not once but twice within a few years. Honestly I am more than happy to go to a country that living off a few dollars a day is being rich. I'm not saying that it will be easy. But show me a place that there isn't something to complain about. It's all relative and depends upon what you are able to tolerate.

That being said, 2 years is a long time, if you are counting the days as they pass and looking forward to going home. I think of all the things I could have done n 2 years if I knew I had the time and foresight to plan ahead. In some ways preparing to leave for this trip makes me think of even more things to put on my life list not only because they are things I want to do, but frankly, handy when traveling. Teaching English as a foreign language certificate, paramedic training, writing a book and interviewing more people about their adventures are just a few.

I am doing this because if I didn't I would have wished I did. I'm doing this because a few people didn't think I could and others want me to stay. I'm doing this because I can and sure I will be a better person for doing so. Hopefully.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

And while you're at it...

change your diet. Not the easiest thing to do but better to do it now rather than later when I have other things to worry about, right?

While talking to my very friend about her recent dietary certification, I was interested to hear about the details of what her and her husband were doing. My friend, Ami Mackey, is awesome!! After talking I was convinced that a plant-based diet would not only help psoriasis (that I have tried various diets-some helped) but also detox my diet of sugar (which I've read alot about from  aussie Sarah Wilson ) and also so many processed foods I eat.

I'm sure I will not have access to these things in Senegal and I have heard next to drinking the water, eating the meat is best way to get sick. So why not start now, I have just over 3 months. It only takes 28 days to create a habit. So here I go.

You can read more about plant-based/whole food/Engine 2 diet from Ami's website. But the basic idea is to eat whole foods, minimally processed, nutrient dense food.

So what can't I eat?? Good question
No dairy or animal products, oil, salt, sugar, caffeine. What's fun about that??!

Well what about after the 1st week, waking up with more energy, spending less on groceries, learning actually how to cook things and use spices. All the things I kinda wish I did (lets be honest) more often.

I first purged the house of things I would knowingly crave, make sure to pick out TONS of recipes that would work and have various cookbooks available AND THEN go shopping. It's actually nice to not go shopping for bar codes. I hit up the weekly farmers market and get some staples from the bulk areas now.

So a week later I was a little bloated and gassy (sorry t.m.i) and with friends from out of town visiting, I was only to keep it up for a week before I was forced to eat the most amazing food ever (honestly amazing Italian food-how could I not eat that?!) but felt great on top of still getting immunization shots. Next week I start the malaria pills to try :)

Have you ever changed your diet completely? How did it go?