How can you become a better person? Well, first, we need to understand our definition of good: we believe we are good when what we do is aligned with what we think is right.
To me, respecting one's body and mind is right. And so is practicing happiness and gratitude through meditation and activities that make us feel whole, like traveling.
However, some days, not doing much, being still, or perhaps simply listening to the sounds of nature and sounds that usually go unnoticed, is what really helps us become better. Because it encourages us to disengaged from our everyday problems and all the noises in our heads, responsible for stress, anxiety and other undesired emotions.
This morning, after my healthy breakfast, I went to the garden to enjoy the sunlight. Three puppies waddled over! What a joy! They were so sweet! The connection with those small creatures gave me so much joy!
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
―Thich Nhat Hanh
The rest of the morning ran smoothly; albeit, it seemed a bit wasted. But, really, I was actually building momentum.
Society has taught us to move and to accomplish things fast by utilizing the technologies available to us. To abstain from wasting our precious time. What society doesn't teach us, thought, is how to be still. How to enjoy the moment without feeling pressured. How to be aware of the perfect creations that surround us.
Monotony can dull our senses. It is a distractor, a dream killer. Traveling, on the other hand, for example, rescues us from this vicious circle, helping us focus our attention onto new things, and therefore – making us better.
We don't need to travel across the ocean. It's enough to get out of our routine: walk down a road we've never walked before; go shopping at a grocery store we've never visited before, go visit a family member out of town.
There is nothing greater than seeing true beauty, the simple things: birds singing, dogs playing, the ocean calling, the smile of a baby, a blooming flower.
Today, I remained still the entire morning. I do have my goals and challenges, of course, so this is not about being lazy. It's about finding balance.
I've taken up aerobics and will devote this next hour to that. I have committed to being happy, everyday. Do you think it's impossible? Try!
“Nothing is impossible to a willing heart.”
Those hours of stillness, I believe, made me a little bit better because they made me smile. I was in contact with nature and my own self. I approved of myself; I loved myself a little bit more. I felt grateful for being in Costa Rica and being able to experience its unique nature. I felt, and still feel, alive!
After all, this is the reason I travel - for my dream, which is simply to be happy!
Have you ever tried stillness? How have you challenged yourself today?
As usual, I would love to hear from you! Thank you so much for passing by and leaving your comment. It's important to both me and other readers.
Tons of love,
Do you know that feeling, when you ache all over but you welcome it, because you know it's the result of a great experience? That's how I feel today, after the terrific adventure I had yesterday visiting Poás Volcano in Costa Rica.
I am not the best plan maker in the world, and I have my reasons - I don't do a lot of research before going on a trip, because I don't want the spark of anticipation to vanish. I love the feeling of getting lost for awhile and the pleasure of discovering something new, preferably, a happy ending. Just like yesterday.
I left home at 7 am; I knew I had to take 2 buses. The first one was from home to Alajuela Center, where Buses to Poás Volcano depart. The bus to Poás cost ₡1,090 (Colones), which is $2 (useful to know if you're a tourist).
Because I got there early, I had to wait a whole hour for the bus to come. It was a rather windy day, so each time the wind blew, the dust covered everything and everyone around, including me – I got showered by dust. It didn't seem like the day was going great but as Anna Frank once said - “As long as this exists, this sunshine and this cloudless sky, and as long as I can enjoy it...”
The bus departed at 9:15am. My whole body was buzzing with the thrill of the upcoming adventure. I took my camera out and started making videos and taking selfies immediately.
The road became greener and greener, my eyes almost forgot how wonderful nature in Costa Rica is. The next hour was music to my spirit, sweetness to my eyes. Hills covered by exotic trees, the view of the volcano in the far distance, the distinction of the different green tones.
The bus stopped for us to have breakfast exactly after one hour on the road. I got my Gallo Pinto (traditional Costa Rican breakfast) to takeaway, because I was busy taking photos. No time for coffee neither.
Five minutes later, back on the road, we saw a group of tourists taking pictures. Our bus driver stopped so we could check what it was they taking pictures of. It was a three-toed baby sloth, so cute and lazy! He was moving graciously. I managed to film him and to take pictures. A girl called Sophia, who was sitting next to me on the bus, asked if I was a reporter. I said no, I am a blogger, and we struck a conversation.
Less than an hour later, we were at our destination. Because I am a Costa Rica citizen, I only had to pay ₡1,000 entrance fee. But if you're not, you'd have to pay ₡8,000. Such a big different! I consider myself fortunate to be able to see so much beauty without having to spend a fortune.
We didn't have a guide. Everyone got divided in groups. Sophia and I joined two other guys, one from Spain and the other one from Venezuela. We were concerned wether to take the first entrance, where there was a café, or to take a little path that read 'Laguna Botos trail'. A local man advised us that both options were good, but that the Laguna Botos trail would be his personal choice. It didn't sound too bad to us, in fact so we went for it.
The view was mind-blowing, the smell of mud and trees agreeable. It was also windy, very windy, so windy that even though I was wearing a jumper, I still felt the wind in my bones. We were hiking, all the way up. Fifteen minutes later I felt my heart racing; I stopped to catch my breath and to have a sip of water; then I realized that my group had left me.
I was there, alone, in a jungle - home for while snakes, frog and other animals. It wasn't the animals that I was so afraid of to be honest, it was not making it to the end. I hesitated whether I should continue or go back and take the other route. I saw 3 guys were coming back already, so I asked them how much more there was to walk before the Volcano View. “Two kilometers,” they said, “but you can't see much.”
I then felt discouraged and wanted to join them on their way back. After all, I didn't want to be in the jungle alone and have to walk 2 more kilometers with my heart racing. It was there when I realized that I urgently needed to start going to the Gym. Another challenge!
I followed the 3 guys for a bit until I saw a woman struggling like me. Her husband wanted to go on, but her body didn't respond well to the exhausting trail. I decided to join her. This lady needed support as much as I did. So I told her, “I am here with you, let's do it, step by step.”
Her husband left us behind. It took us more than 1 hour to reach the top. Those were the longest 2 kilometers in my life! I couldn't feel my feet anymore; they were so cold. My companion, on the other hand, native to cold Canada, was boiling hot. Our only moment of pleasure during the trip was when we saw beautiful plants and took pictures of them.
In general we were regretting having chosen that trail. Just as we were arriving at the top, we realized that the idea was to follow the short road towards the cafe, see the volcano, and take the trail on your way back. We had done it the wrong way round! How silly we where!
I found my group on the top of the hill, hiding in a small wood house. Sofia, who frozen and disappointed because the view had been hidden by fog.
It was a good opportunity to socialize. We chatted and made jokes, never loosing faith that the fog will clear and we will eventually see the crater of the volcano. It was midday and the bus was coming to pick us up at 2:30pm. At 1 o'clock, we decided to go for a hot chocolate and to return back to the spot to see the volcano.
The truth is, I broke my sugar-free routine and for a good reason - I was frozen and desperately needed that hot chocolate. Actually, those 2 hot chocolates. And the banana cake. (The cafe didn't have any proper food.)
We all felt better. Still dreaming about the volcano, we suddenly heard someone saying that the view had cleared. We ran! We had less than 1 hour. We jumped laughing, with the greatest excitement! We saw it, it was magic! I am talking about the largest active crater in the world!
I took sooo many pictures! I wanted to share it with you. Perhaps you may want to visit it one day. All I can say is – it is worthy. Just one advice, if you are not very fit, don't take the trail Laguna Botos up. Is a killer, unless you want to sleep like a baby that day.
Because of my trip to Poas I challenged myself to train my body more.
Have you ever visited a volcano? How was your experience? Did you learn something from your experience?
How have you challenged yourself today?
Leave your answer in the comment section down bellow, I would love to hear your story.
Thanks for passing by and for your words, they mean a lot to me and to other readers.
Tons of love,
Have you ever seen a deep blue sky and thought to yourself - this is the bluest sky ever?
This is what the sky looks like today in Costa Rica. It's been 5 days since I arrived in this little paradise. I've been planning my life and my projects, which is a difficult task for me, 'a creative soul'. It means that sometimes chaos is my comfort zone.
I have also been planning my upcoming trips. I'd love to wander the entire country again, one place at a time, but I am not in a hurry. Today I was going to visit the Poás Volcano. It was the first Volcano I visited back in 2003 when I first came to Costa Rica. It offers an exquisite view, you can see the turquoise hot water in the eye of the crater.
Unfortunately, I missed the only bus that goes there. It comes once a day, in the morning, departing from the city.
I would also love to travel the beaches of the Pacific Coast, where you can find the magnificent Montezuma falls. I won't say, thought, that it's the most beautiful part of Costa Rica, for every single tourist destination in Costa Rica is a gem.
There is only one small obstacle: transportation. Unless you rent a car or spend lots of money on a private driver, you will need to accept the reality: public buses have limited schedules. It's important to plan everything in advance.
If you read my previous post, then you know that I am on a challenge. My goal is to become stronger, mentally and physically.
From day 1 in Costa Rica, I cut the sugar I consume down to 60%. This morning I had my favourite Costa Rican breakfast - Gallo Pinto, which is the traditional breakfast for Ticos (native Costa Ricans).
I also went from going to bed at the small hours, a sleeping pattern I picked up in Moscow, to sleeping from 11 pm to 5 am. I guess it is the weather, the sun, the healthy food and the consistent lifestyle that I lead nowadays.
I must mention that I live with family and this makes the process easier; they help me a lot! I am pretty blessed!
Life is wonderful! But guess what? I still have my fears and doubts. But I also have love, and as long as I have love, I will continue trying my best to become the best version of me.
Tomorrow, I'll share photos from my trip to the Poás Volcano on my Instagram. I believe the day will be as bright as today. I hope yours is too!
Now my questions for you:
How have you challenged yourself today?
If you had the opportunity to visit Costa Rica, which part of the country would you explore and why? Beaches? Waterfalls? Volcanos? The jungle?
I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to write to me in the comment section bellow. I will always take the time to reply. Together we are better.
Tons of love
Traveling for a dream
I haven't spelt in the last twenty-four hours. I took the most important decision of my life: to travel for my dream. This time, though, I am doing it alone.
I left the man who loves me more than anybody else, and my crazy but adorable cat Fifo, back in Moscow
I am afraid, I won't lie. I will be facing a significant lifestyle change, again.
I have countless reasons to be afraid, and yet, within me resides a helpful little voice repeating - Move! Move! You must move!
The voice continues to tell me that there is something big waiting for me, but to win it, I must cross the ocean. It's a test. Perhaps temporary.
Some days I wonder if I am crazy. My answer varies according to the weather, yes! Then I think, wasn't Christopher Columbus crazy when he took his first voyage that evening of 1492, intending to discover new lands.
Some days I wish I could live in a world inhabited by crazy people like Columbus, or like me. People who despite fear, continue the journey, trusting their heart. Because deep down, we know it has the answer to our existential questions. It's faith.
I've always known that I want to inspire others. I didn't let anyone force me into wearing masks. I wanted to be myself: rebellious, honest, and real.
My concept of inspiring implied sharing beauty, as beauty brings positive emotions. I was wrong! It's not enough to show beauty.
We all need to relate to other people's problems, to feel understood or less lonely, in order to learn to address our own problems and to finally take action.
After all, our problems are ours to solve, they are part of our personal story. This is when the beauty comes. We appreciate beauty, peace and light because we know the opposite.
“Every problem is a gift - without problems we would not grow.”
― Anthony Robbins”
I am starting a new life, seeking a deeper connection with myself, the peace I haven't yet found. I am not pretending to reach Nirvana; I want to feel a stronger faith, the one that doesn't leave space for much doubt. Is it possible? In a way, it sounds like a paradox, because I believe doubts sustain faith.
People who love me, my family, they will still be there for me, and I will also be there for them, but with my freedom. They allow me to follow my own path. This is love.
I've committed to inspiring others through the examples of my struggles and solutions, faith and self-esteem. Showing you that it's possible to become a better person regardless of your circumstances. We choose who we want to be and how we want to see the world that surrounds us. What happened to us yesterday doesn't equal who we are today.
We can be happy today, in fact, we must cultivate happiness every minute. Life is today. We are our own creators. Let's change anything that steals our peace. Let's take decisions that will contribute to our well-being.
Here is my new challenge: I am starting it in Costa Rica, with the help of the sun, which I missed so much during my days in cold Moscow.
I challenge myself to be a better person and I invite you to try as well.
How are you challenging yourself today?
Feel free to add something to these thoughts by commenting in the section bellow. Together we are better!
Tons of love,
Traveling for a dream
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