Over the past couple of years, I’ve made a habit of taking a little time to reflect on what I’ve gone through over the past few months. This started out with a list of my accomplishments during a semester at school. Since March 2016, when I moved overseas (practically on a dare), I’ve started doing a year in review. For an overview of what 2016 was like, listen to this audio post!
2017 has been a year full of changes. Going far beyond my comfort zone. Trying many new activities, travels, experiences, interactions and accomplishments.
It’s been another year of spiritual growth, learning, self-discovery, awakening, developing my writing, building this website, meeting new people and struggle.
Click “read more” to see what happened in 2017!
Below, I break down the major highlights of each month. Click on the month to see archived blog posts.
After an extremely frustrating process of getting my visa sorted out with the Indian embassy, I took my first real trip since move to China. A month in Northern India for Yoga Teacher Training. It was a great networking opportunity, my first real exposure to prolonged organic vegetarian food and not working for a month.
This incredible program was run by an instructor named Deep and philosopher, Guru Muhk, who took each of us apart, layer by layer, and rebuilt us from the ground up. Through practical knowledge, laughter, dancing, silence and meditation I emerged anew.
I met wonderful people, went through an intense personal yoga transformation, saw dramatic changes to my body and energy, learned an incredible amount of information about yogic science and philosophy and went through a number of crisis which changed several of my worldview paradigms.
The largest crisis being non-possessiveness. The right things happen at the right time. Romantically, I now trust this person “is the right one, for right now.” Thank you so much Chanika! Who knew bonfire conversations on the Ganga river could flip my world upside down?
Returning to China was a shock after such a wonderful time in India. The dramatically colder weather, substantial pollution, and life back in the real world was a lot to handle. Returning to work was extremely challenging, but something amazing happened.
I connected with someone who’s profile I’d previously seen online (just before going to India), but didn’t interact with. Somehow we connected in February, and this young woman gave me the most beautiful, intimate encounters I’ve ever experienced. We connected on a variety of levels, but most importantly she has an exceptionally strong yoga and meditation practice. We explored Beijing and Tianjin numerous times together, conversing for hours and hanging out with friends.
At the end of the month, I flew to Singapore for a few days because I found a direct flight for $100, who could resist? Being in such a developed city again, I felt how rigid and structured life there was, which I didn’t like. Tickets for j-walking, spitting, eating the on the subway, were several hundred dollars! It’s the definition of a golden cage. And no real beaches, what’s that about?
After a few days in Singapore, I flew to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. I explored the city and camped on an island smaller than a soccer field.
Back in Tianjin, I completed my contract at the language centre and decided not to extend my work there any longer. Too much happened in India for me to want to commit to such a strenuous schedule over the next several months. Working my other job at an elementary school was enough.
Mid-way through the month, the young woman I was seeing suddenly received a job offer from a company in England. One night, we go for dinner in Beijing, later that same night, she receives the offer, two days later she’s flying to London — welcome to global living and non-possessiveness.
Two weeks later, a dear friend of mine, Angie, moved to Tianjin from Toronto after nearly 8 months of planning and spending several months in South America. It’s funny how the world works out. We’d been so close for several years prior, and now, we lived together on the other side of the world! This is exactly what I was talking about in September 2016, in an audio post titled International Interactions, where I discuss living and travelling abroad and meeting up with contacts in new countries. The same happened while in Singapore, Hong Kong and Viet Nam later this year.
April was a very positive time for me in Tianjin. Having completed the contract at my first job, I received a large bonus, the weather really started to warm up and Angie and I moved from my apartment to her new one in the downtown area. Thanks to Angie’s support and the new location, it was much easier to start working on making healthier dietary choices.
During this time, momentum in my yoga teaching started to build, with the collaboration between myself, the students and WE Brewery (hosting the class location) all worked in great harmony.
Angie and I get settled into her new apartment. This was my first month going without soda, which caused me to get sick for a number of days as my body went through withdrawal symptoms. Interestingly, Angie and I often go through similar phases in life, despite which country we’re in.
Exactly one month after a friend gets in an accident on her bicycle, I get in one on my ebike, at the same intersection! I start purchasing the necessary equipment to trek/camp once I leave China. The school I work at takes me on a field trip to the Museum of Science and Technology.
I book the flight tickets for exiting China. First, I’ll spend several days in Hong Kong, then head over to Viet Nam. I set my online dating profiles to Hong Kong and meet locals ahead of time.
During my last month in China, my yoga practice and teaching reached a new high. I taught the regular class on Thursdays, and began a 6am practice down by Haihe river. Several Chinese locals randomly started joining.
I purchase all the remaining necessary equipment and finally get my Vibram shoes. I order a tent called Flying Tent. The company is in Austria, I pay with a Canadian account, place the order from China and schedule delivery in Viet Nam — global living in action.
I take a spontaneous trip to Long Tan Da Xin Gu, a beautiful park in Henan province that China says is a UNESCO world heritage site. The principle from my school takes me out for dinner and invites me to return to China in the future.
On June 30, I say goodbye to Angie and head off to the airport, departing for Hong Kong.
Starting out July with a few days in Hong Kong was wonderful. I hiked mountains, explored the city, met people from online in person, made new friends, and really appreciated being able to use 99% of the internet without a VPN to circumnavigate the Chinese firewall. I really missed the cultural diversity of an international city, and feel as if I’m in Vancouver.
I flew to Da Nang, Viet Nam for a couple weeks, then took a road trip down to Qui Non. I relaxed for a couple days then ride further South to Nha Trang with a new buddy, Tanner, to meet a friend I first met in Hong Kong. We toured around the area for two weeks visiting cafe’s, going to the beach, and climbing Ba Ho waterfalls.
I continue to stay in Nha Trang after my friend leaves. I start using MailChimp to manage the Solo Trip Report email campaign and take the Report public, for the first time, on this blog, by publishing an excerpt.
I visit Dalat, Viet Nam and explore a variety of hostels and climb waterfalls. I make some new friends from Germany and Thailand. I try to do some wild camping and my iPhone dies from liquid damage.
Back in Nha Trang, I move into a new loft nestled between the mountains and the ocean for an amazing price.
I make a considerable effort to start living by the Work Mobile. Consume Local. Live Global. mantra. I stop eating beef to work towards a vegetarian diet.
The email campaign for Solo Trip Report becomes significantly more polished, and I finish building a dedicated webpage with a subscription form built in. I make my first investments in crypto-currency in effort to divest from the fake money governments print. My lease for the motorbike finishes and I sent it back to the family in Da Nang on the bus, then purchase a new one.
With the rooftop of my building having open space and views of both the mountains and ocean, I get back into my yoga practice. I visit the Eastern most point of Viet Nam and watch a spectacular sunrise and camp on secluded beaches.
At the beginning of October, I take a quick road trip over to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. On October 05, I stop drinking soda. I take the next step in my diet and eliminate chicken.
My website continues to be an area of focus as I redesign pages and start a new project: align432YOGA. This brand will capture my yoga work, display student reviews, my yogic philosophy and catalogue related digital content. A group of expats in my apartment complex start taking classes.
Throughout the month I seriously question why I stay in Nha Trang, worry about my finances and wonder what I will do next.
November is a challenging month. It starts out with a severe tropical storm that devastates much of the city, and damages the apartment complex I live in. The constant heavy rain that’s been going on for weeks on end is depressing, grinds my yoga practice to a halt and I consider taking up job offers to relocate.
I add technical functions such as automation from IFTTT and Zapier, and an email campaign offering in-app yoga routines, a yoga playlist and a free class to those who sign up on my website. I get a new data plan: $5 for 60Gb of data/month. Nearly all aspects of my life support local women.
I get into my second motorbike accident of the year one night during a storm.
Pork is cut from my diet.
The rainy season lightens up. I start learning how to code a menu into my website. One of the restaurants I frequent serves me food which gives me food poisoning. A friend in the complex recommends a cafe called Rainforest which turns out to be a really unique experience.
I get a few days off work and head to a nearby province to camp on the beach.
As of this blog post, I stop eating eggs.
I finish this year with only $800 in debt!
2017, it’s been one hell of a year. From amazing people, paradigm shifts, travel in seven countries, yoga training, expanding my website, transitioning to a vegetarian diet, and a ton of personal growth.
I don’t know what’s in store for next year, but I have some initiatives in motion. I’ll be starting out with a vegetarian diet and a strong focus on expanding my yoga work and website.
When moving abroad, I named 2016: Rebirth
At the end of 2016, I dubbed 2017: LiftOff
I feel it’s appropriate titling 2018: Focus
Let’s see what happens!