Port Renfrew, Vancouver Island

When I feel the need to flee the city, unplug, relax, be immersed in the wild and just let myself breathe, there is no better place to travel to than Port Renfrew.

A sweet little hamlet of a little over 200 people surrounded by the rugged beauty of Vancouver Island’s west coast, this part of the world is a pretty magical place. Let me show you a few reasons why:

Beaches with hidden caves and crashing waves..

The magic of old growth forests..

Sweet BC sunsets..

And places to swim..

Who could ask for a better place to recharge your batteries?

Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us. — Maya Angelou

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California

My little furry sidekick and I just got back from a week of sun, sand and surf in California.

It was just what I needed with a ton of beach time, listening to the waves and feeling the amazing power of the ocean, a couple of days in Malibu with my friend, Tammy, and a lot of eating and drinking (I had my must-visit restaurants and farmer’s markets all lined up). I met up with one of my favourite food bloggers, Sue of Birgerbird, for lunch. And I even spotted Gene Simmons of Kiss, filming an episode of Family Jewels on the rooftop patio of my hotel. Since Kiss was the first rock concert I ever saw, when I was 14, I was maybe a little overly excited to see this now reality tv star.

Another thing I did on this trip was continue to unplug from my beloved Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Instagram, and Pinterest (whew!) by leaving my laptop at home. Although I could still access my social media loves from time to time via my iphone, I was hardly online at all for the whole vacation and it felt amazing, like a true break. I spent my down time reading (no kindle, just old fashioned books) and writing (old school, with a pen and paper journal) and daydreaming on my balcony, watching the waves of the Pacific crash against the shore.

So, now I’m back home sweet home with a bunch of photos, a recipe or two and a few stories to tell…

pacific

the pier

sand in your toes

pink hibiscus

Beast the chihuahua

El Matador Beach Malibu

A Life That Feels Good: Step One

 

Create a life that feels good on the inside not one that just looks good on the outside. – Unknown

Step One: Unplug

Ever since I started my Online Marketing studies last fall, I’ve been hyper-plugged into the internet and spend hours and hours online every day. On top of working on a computer most of the day at the office, I go home, walk the dog, eat dinner and then turn on my laptop and TV around 7:30 or 8pm (with my iphone resting right beside me, beeping periodically with notifications). I try to turn both off at 11pm but, more often than not, it’s midnight by the time I shut everything down. I usually plan on being online for maybe an hour or so and then I get sucked into Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and, of course, our wonderful WordPress. Before I know it, it’s 11pm and I haven’t even started my homework, so I do an hour of work online and then finally off to bed, with my eyes burning and brain racing.

Since I’ve started this routine, I’ve noticed my sleep has become, well, let’s say not restful at best and often I wake up exhausted. So, what do I do then? I make a ridiculously strong pot of coffee that gives me a quick, jarring boost of energy (with some jittery anxiety added in) and, boom, I’m stuck in a vicious, energy-draining cycle.

And, maybe even worse than my tired, bleery-eyed mornings, I’m worried that with all of my social media activity, I might eventually become one of those people who put more effort into their online image than their real, honest to goodness, life. You know, the ones who post constantly, usually about the fabulous places they’re going and amazing things they’re doing with hourly selfies to chronicle their adventures. Do we really even enjoy those amazing experiences if we’re almost compulsively concentrating on facebooking and tweeting and instagramming our every move?

I know it’s been scientifically proven that we all get a big hit of feel-good dopamine with all of those social media “likes” on our posts but we also get that hit of dopamine by connecting with the flesh and blood people we’re hanging out with too. But that only happens if we actually stop checking our smartphones and give ourselves a chance to connect with them (I’m really guilty of this bad behaviour too).

Anywayyy, I’ve decided it’s high time to take a step back and tackle this internet dependency of mine.

How will I do it, you ask? Like this:

  1. One hour of laptop time in the evening.  No matter how enticing Pinterest and Facebook are, one hour only. No excuses. I’ll remind myself that social media sites will continue to thrive without my constant input.
  2. Put my iPhone in a kitchen drawer. No social media/internet surfing allowed after 8pm. The phone will only be taken out of the drawer if someone calls and then put right back in again.
  3. For the moment, no TV. I binge watched three hours of the Kardashians last Sunday and then watched a new show about horrific plastic surgery mistakes and addicts (the people who just won’t quit no matter how big their lips/breasts/cheeks get) called Botched and, by the end of the evening, I think I felt my IQ drop a couple of points. No more reality TV for me. My goal is to keep the television unplugged for the summer and, in the fall, decide if I plug it back in or not.

And what will I fill all of my “unplugged” spare time with? Music, reading, daydreaming and much, much more, of this:

dog at beach

couple at beach

heron

beach sunset

vancouver twilight

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt