I CAN DO IT !

It has been exactly one month and 5 days since I decided to challenge myself to a healthy lifestyle. So far so good.

After the raw challenge, I kept some good habits, I am now having smoothies including green smoothies From Monday to Friday for Breakfast, and the week end, I have Granola, Porridge or Cereals, dried fruits and nuts with  soy milk.

I have been able to fight cravings this way. And it has been a few weeks now that I do not have any cravings at all. The reason being, my need for sugary food which is my downfall is met by having a lot of fruits during the day; therefore I do not feel the need to have a bar of sneakers or bounty. Now if I fancy a bar, I bought “Fruit Slices” from Aldi, they are 55cal per biscuit; I usually have the pack of 3 which is 165 calories for a snack… It satisfies me and it is totally guilt free which is a plus and new to me.

The other change in my life is that I only eat vegan since the 1st of January. I do not miss meat, dairy or eggs at all; there are so many alternatives. And doing so, I have discovered so many different foods I would have never tried before.

Eating this way forces me to explore and eat more variety of food than ever; I eat way more fruits and vegetables than I ever did in my life and it is a pleasure. Eating vegan does a lot of good for my digestive system, no more bloatiness or heart burns. I feel light and generally more energetic.

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 I drink a lot more water and I exercise 6 days a week now.

Life feels good on that platform of my life, I feel empowered, I feel great and I feel with that mind-set I can achieve anything.

Life can be hard on us, life will beat us down and crush us time and time again; even when we think we have seen it all; life always surprises us. There is nothing we can do to predict all outcome of life but we can choose how we deal and react to it. We can let it define us and pity ourselves or we can decide to fight back, keep our chin up and smile…

If we look closely, no matter what the situation is, there is always something we can be thankful for and this is where our focus needs to be.

 

 

 

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By Jasenomade - The New Generation of Africans

Life and its dilemmas!

Should I stay or should I go?

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This trip has been a very long dream of mine; something that I believe in. But despite knowing exactly that this is the best thing to do for myself; I was about to throw my dream in bin. Why? Life!

Life has this way of playing with us, tempting us, challenging our beliefs and shaking our ground… it will throw at us candies filled with hidden poison to see if we will take a bite.

I have failed once again to recognize it, I bite hard full teeth on; and it is only after swallowing it that I realised it was just another bad apple.

I almost cancelled my trip for something I thought was the ultimate truth I needed in my life, I convinced myself that it was the best solution and that I was doing it for x y z “wrong” reasons.

It takes a very strong person to follow their dream even if no one else believes in it.

I love these lyrics from Alanis Morissette:

“I’m of service
I make sure your needs are met, I’m so selfless
I give hard and serve hard and now I, I need a break
I give in, I give all and now it’s time to regenerate

I give out, dedicate and now I need to acknowledge me

Today’s all about me, all about cup filling
Today’s all about me learning how, how to receive”

This post/rant/cry out… is just to say: live your own dream.

I am back on track, I will be listing 100s of items on eBay this week end; all the money will go towards  the trip.

We only have one life and it is a short one, if we spend all our time trying to please others; we will never achieve our own goals or dreams in life. Everyone  is after their own dream and will crush you down hard and anyone on their way in order to achieve their dream. Why should you sacrifice your own happiness for anyone else?

The truth is whatever is meant to be in your life will be no matter what. Don’t chase anything, know your worth and everything will come to you when you least expect it.

I will always value family and happiness over money and power anytime!

By Jasenomade - The New Generation of Africans

21 days fully raw challenge

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It takes 21 days to build a habit so I am doing a 21 days FullyRaw challenge with “fullyrawkristina”
I am eating only Fruits, vegetables, nuts & seeds for that period.

This is to help me incorporate more healthy foods into my lifestyle.

I began the challenge on January 5th and it will go thru January 25th.
Ultimate goal is to become a vegan for personal reasons.

I am not a huge fan of meat in general, I eat meat maybe 2/3 time a month. I have more difficulty digesting meat and dairies. I mainly have a vegetarian diet although I am not a vegetarian. I am not an activist of any kind. I love animals but I do not claim fighting for their right to live peacefully (although I wish them just that). But despite all of these, my goal in to adopt a completely vegetarian lifestyle with the intention to become vegan later on.

I am 6 days into the challenge and I can already feel the benefit. I breath better, I can perform better, my digestion has improved a great deal (no more heart burn), I sleep like a baby (no more insomnia). The list goes on.

I truly believe today that “we are what we eat”. My resolution for 2014 is to try my best to treat my body, my temple well starting by what I am putting in my body.

Stay tuned!

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The “meat balls” are actually mashed sun dried tomatoes, carrots and spring onions.

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This is an all vegetables burger… “bread” is mushrooms & “burger” is mashed sun dried tomatoes/carrots & spring onions. It was really tasty.

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Zucchinis “pasta” for lunch with grated Cauliflower to replace the cheese. It was really nice and had the pasta texture.

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By Jasenomade - The New Generation of Africans
Quote

Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation. They are teachers and coaches. They are mentors and role models. They are examples of success and the men who constantly push us toward it. But if we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that what too many fathers also are is missing – missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.
— Barack Obama

 “Family is everything. Family comes first”
“children need your presence more than your presents”

Of all the rock…

By Jasenomade - The New Generation of Africans
Quote

Christmas!!!
‘Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas . . . perhaps . . .means a little bit more!’

 

• From the 1957 children’s classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr Seuss

Christmas!!! …

By Jasenomade - The New Generation of Africans

China – The Karate Kid (2010)

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I know this has nothing to do with our trip but as I watch this movie for maybe the 12th 25th time (according to my youngest daughter); I wonder what drives me into this movie.

My kids can’t take it anymore, they just have enough. But every-time I need some distraction; I reach out to the sky remote to watch this movie which is recorded on my sky+ with a K attached to it. The K means “keep” which is password protected to avoid that the movie gets deleted by “mistake” by one of my kids.

Have you watched this movie? I just love it. From the scenes in the “China airlines” plane to the car ride into Beijing with beautiful views of the city; this movie gives us an insight of a typical Chinese living space and its neighborhood like I never seen in any other movies. Unlike the Hollywood movies which always show you either idyllic or worst places; this movie shows you how it could be like to live in China and maybe this is one of the thing that draws me to it.

The story is about a single mum moving to China with her 12 years old boy named Dre. I can easily relate to the mother as I will be traveling alone with my daughters.

Since watching this movie, one of the soundtrack became one of my favorite song: – Say – by John Mayer; here some of the lyrics:

Walking like a one man army
Fighting with the shadows in your head
Living out the same old moment
Knowing you’d be better off instead

If you could only
Say what you need to say (x7)

Jaden Smith (Will Smith’ son) plays so well in this movie, he is so convincing that no matter how many times I watch it, I always have tears in my eyes when he says “I wanna go home” :); you have to watch the movie to see what I am talking about.

Jackie Chan is excellent as always and Taraji P. Henson (Dre’s mother) although she has a small role in the movie, has Dre’s mother, she makes the story more credible.

I know the movie received mixed reviews with 3 stars out of 5. I give it 5/5; the only thing I would change is the violence, I still can’t watch the beating scenes, I have to look away. Maybe it is just because I am a mum and ultimately I react like one and want to protect him. But to me this only add credit to the actors as the fighting scenes are really believable.

Have you watched this movie? what did you think of it?

Did the movie like me inspired you (even more) to travel to China?

Is there any other movies that enhanced the travel bug in you?

By Jasenomade - The New Generation of Africans

WEEK END in PARIS

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This week end the three of us went on a week end in Paris for my youngest daughter Jennifer (JJ) birthday, she turned 11 on the 6th of December.

JJ is a fan of Asterix and Obelix comic books she has a small collection. We were meant to go to  Asterix and Obelix attraction parc in Paris on her 10th birthday last year but it did not happen. So I planned this trip for a year.

The night before we were very exited to be on the road the next day for this mini trip. My daughters had planned which attractions they will go on etc… everyone was happy. I had even managed to book a hotel only 3mins from the parc; HOORAY.

Just before I went to bed, my phone rang, it was my friend Isa who called to wish us a safe trip. While we were talking, she says something that caught my mind, I started panicking, did I or did I not check the opeening of the parc! some attraction parcs close during the winter months… oh dear panic; I tell her that I need to go to check the parc opening times… rush to the parc website; go on the parc opening times. OMG, the parc closed on the 3rd of November and we were the 5th of December… ARGH I did it again! NO NO NO; we are living the next day, the ferry, the hotel, everything has been paid for; too late to cancel the trip. Oh NO, I have to tell my daughters about their mother’s blond moment. I am lucky to have 2 very lovely and understanding children; although my youngest so wanted to go to the “Parc Asterix”; she was not too disappointed and we decide that we will still go to Paris and have a great time; there are so much to see there anyway.

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So we did. Instead of the parc, we went to visit “Le Musee Grevin” equivalent to Madame Tussauds in the UK. After the musee we went around Paris, to see the Eiffel Tour, we ‘ve been there thousands of time, but it never get old. We finished the day with a walk on the “champs Elysees” which is very beautiful at the period of the year with the Christmas market full of goodies and lovely things to eat. The smell of crepes, waffles, sausages, candy floss… is an invitation to buy and indulge ourselves; no one can resist, we bought 1 strawberry waffle, 1 waffle with sugar and 1 chocolate crepe… delicious. Image

If you are in Paris during the month of December, make sure go take a walk on the Champs Elysees, it is amazing, the whole avenue is full of stalls selling all sort of things, street food, arts, entertainment; we saw a great show: street dancers who would have a shot at Britain got talent; they were that good.

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One advice, take the metro instead of driving. We stayed stranded for 3 hours in traffic and made it to the hotel after midnight. But despite this little inconvenience, we had a fabulous time.

We are now due to go to the “Parc Asterix” in April when they re-open; I already checked the opening times :).

This mini trip gave us an insight of what it will be like when we will take that big trip around the world. We only traveled with 1 small backpack and just the clothes we had on us plus a 2 extra t-shirts and panties; although we did many of these short trips before; this time I paid attention of small details. I now understand the importance of travel clothing; if that was our RTW trip, we would have to wash our clothes in the sink in order to have clean clothes for the next days; the clothes we had were not made of quick drying material; I think it is important to take at least a few quick dry clothes for convenience.

Budget is another thing that scared me, we spent around £500 on a week end in Paris; £500 is enough to spend a month in some places in South East Asia. I will need to be very careful once on the RTW if we don’t want to find ourselves out of money half way through the trip. Children can be very demanding and might not understand budgeting; I need to have a proper talk with my two daughters.

After this little mishap, I need to make sure I plan our RTW trip well to avoid finding ourselves in a plane for Alaska instead of India :); although than can only had to the adventure right!

 

By Jasenomade - The New Generation of Africans

Do you have to be fit to go on a RTW trip?

By fit, I am not referring to weight but to general fitness level and this has nothing to do with how big or small one can be. This out of the way, lets dive into the subject.

I am what most people will call overweight; I am not talking about today standards where someone with a size 12 UK clothing (8 for US and 40 Euro) is considered fat; I refer to the “real world” women sizing.

I have been battling with my weight for as long as I can remember. But today, on the verge of taking the road for our big dream adventure; I am more worried about my fitness level in general than what the scale is telling me or my clothes size.

I do believe that I need to be fit to fully enjoy this trip. I want to be 100% comfortable with myself to be able to take on every challenge and opportunities that will come our way while traveling. I intend to do some light hiking and walk wherever possible and use very little transportation for our daily routine.

I will be traveling with 2 fit teenagers; therefore I need to be able to keep up with them and to enjoy the trip at the same pace.

Unfortunately, danger is always lurking anywhere in the world, but being in foreign countries where you don’t know the neighborhood and your surrounded well means you have to be more vigilant; being fit can help me to be more safe abroad. You have to be able to run for life right!

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To help me fulfill my optimum fitness level before the trip; I go to the gym minimum 3 times per week doing mainly Zumba. I started Zumba 11 months ago and have not stopped since: I am addicted and it helped me drop 3 sizes already. It is important to do a “sport” you enjoy; a Zumba session does not feel like exercising it is more like a party. Their slogan “Ditch the Workout, Join the Party” really live up to it reputation.

I am also working on getting my family to eat more healthy. More fruits and vegetables, less junk food; more vegetarian dishes, less meat. We are getting there but we really need to make more effort and by we I should say I; I am the parent after all. I would love to volunteer in an organic farm abroad during our trip, I am not sure how feasible it is for families but I will send some requests closer to our departure date; you never know. Such an experience will be a fantastic learning opportunity for all of us. We would be able to experience healthy and sustainable living.

Off to Zumba 🙂

By Jasenomade - The New Generation of Africans

RTW trip! WHERE TO START?

RTW stands for Round The World, many friends and family asked me the meaning. But if like me, you are planning or have done your RTW trip, you certainly already know that.

So planning a RTW trip! WHERE TO START?

All I knew when I started my journey into formalising into paper my dream of doing a RTW was just that: A dream.

I had no idea how to go about it or even where to start.

I had sleepless nights reading hundreds of blog posts on the subject; It became an obsession. Although I learned a lot; it also confused me as there were so many contradictory stories as everyone is different and has different means of going about it. But, one common thing that I could read on all these blogs is planning a trip of this magnitude is not an easy task. It takes time and commitment, some would have planned it their whole life, some less.

We were “fashion” victims consumerism family, new gadgets, new clothes, new everything every year whether we could afford it or not. Our house is filled with so much stuff; we could never use it all if we were to live until 100.

Planning this trip, helped me to look into my finances and spending habits very closely, I discovered that I had next to 90 pair of shoes and many that I never even wore…. Ridiculous; but that another blog post for later.

So in order to fund this trip, I first started planning where I wanted to go in the world; we already visited many countries on vacation such as India, Australia, South Africa, Many countries in Europe, USA (DC, Miami, Key west, Florida….), Africa (Gabon, Cameroon, Morocco, Ethiopia…), Middle East (Bahrain lived there for 3 years, Dubai, Oman…). Because we had already visited these countries, I did not include them in our itinerary.

As I am traveling with my daughters, I want my girls to finish this adventure with a skill for life: among everything else long time traveling can teach us, the Spanish language is the one skill I want us all to master.

 

Our itinerary:

South America for one whole year, we will slow travel and spend months in one single place to learn the language and the culture.  I am planning to stay 3 months in Bolivia, 3 months in Chile, 3 months in Mexico and 3 months in Peru. We will be visiting other neighbouring countries along the way.

Then 9 months in South East Asia in particular Thailand but also South Korea, China and Japan.

To finish we will return to Europe with Italy, Germany and East Europe (Poland, Slovakia…).

I am planning to travel for 2 years.

Funds to travel:

“Travel is never a matter of money but of courage” Paulo Coelho, Aleph

You don’t have to be a millionaire to travel the world.

There is no magical way for organising a trip of that scale, unless you win the lottery, most people had to make serious sacrifices in order to realise their dream; we are not different.

I don’t have a big pay job, I am actually self-employed, and I live on a budget. Like everyone else, the only way for me to be able to accomplish this dream is to SAVE SAVE and SAVE some more.

So how on earth I am going to fund this trip (I hear you ask). I started selling everything I own which is also part of our minimalism journey. I opened a “travel account” where I deposit every month some money. I cancelled every luxury items like cable TV, expensive mobile/Internet contracts etc.; we eat out less and everything we don’t spend goes on that account. I will be selling all my furniture and my car three months before we leave.

I started an online business six months ago which I can operate anywhere in the world; it is building gradually and this business will be my main source of income when we will be on the road.

I also work freelance as French/English Analyst/Translator. I will continue this job while on the road as it is all done online.

To Finish I have under my belt years of experience in teaching French as a second language abroad to adults and children. It is a job that does not require a work visa in many countries and I also give online French conversational session via Skype.

 Above anything else, as Paulo Coelho states: “Travel is never a matter of money but of courage”

I agree with this saying, it takes courage to do something out of the ordinary, when I told friends and family of my plans; I faced consternation and disbelieve. Most people are afraid to travel not because they can’t afford it but mainly because they are afraid of the unknown and also for safety reasons. But who can blame them, you just have to ON the television to see how wrong our world is going but is it enough to no travel? Not for me; although I am very anxious and at the same time very existed to the prospect before us; having already traveled in different countries, I know what this world has to offer and there is so much more I want to experience; and, to share these experiences with my girls make this trip extra special.

“Whenever we take a chance and enter unfamiliar territory or put ourselves into the world in a new way, we experience fear. Very often this fear keeps us from moving ahead with our lives. The trick is to FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY.”

Susan Jeffers

Like everywhere in the world, we have to use common sense regarding safety.

How it all started!

I want more out of life like most people.

I live in the UK and unless you earn a six figure salary; all you do is surviving. All your salary go to pay bills and at the end of the month you have hardly anything left to enjoy life. All you do is work work and work some more.

Many people are not able to retire at the legal age, they have to continue working after retirement in order to make ends meet. I do not want this for myself or for my children.

Having an almost 16 years old made me want to take this trip even more; the reason being; soon she will be an adult and live her own life. I wanted to use the last 2 years before she turns 18 and goes to university to be meaningful. I felt like this was my last chance to try to teach her that there is more to life. I want to my daughters to know there is an array of possibilities out there.

Furthermore, I wanted them to learn about the “minimalism” concept; the concept of “less is more”. I do not want my kids to be caught up in a consumerism life style which goes hand to hand with burden and debt in my opinion. What better than show them.

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When I told them my plan to travel around the world for 2 years, my youngest daughter who has my adventurous personality was straight away on-board and ready to jump that same day on a plane. My eldest was more reserved and concerned about her friends/life – which is normal at that age. She takes more from her father; she is intelligent, very logical and so mature that it sometime cares me :). She, eventually came around and embraced the project.

Once everyone was on board; we went on sorting out everything we own and only kept the “essential”. This is when our “minimalism” journey started.

By Jasenomade - The New Generation of Africans