Forever In Ink: Free To Be

February 10, 2014 § 3 Comments

I awoke with three words on my mind: Free to be. I shook my head to clear away the confusion I was feeling from waking up in a new place. My eyes focused on the waves crashing against the sandy beach… a dream? No. That is actually what I was waking up to. We were on a private beach in Uluwatu and I had falling asleep in the sun. The words in my head, free to be, would become my next tattoo.

Last April, on a trip to Hawaii, I bought a piece of driftwood that someone had burned “Free To Be” into. I had intended the driftwood as a gift, but the more I looked at it, the more I connected with it. It came home with me and spent the next 9 months on my bedside table. I awoke every morning to it.

Last summer, I remember heading out for a walk and watching a couple of dogs running as fast as they could through the park. Carefree, ears flapping in the wind behind them. I wanted to feel like that, energized and happy to be running as fast as I could for no other reason than the sheer enjoyment of it. But even the walk was work at that point. It just seemed so far away.

You know my story from following previous blog posts. I worked my ass off, settled the rest of my commitments and set off on my travels. I found myself in Bali with a group of women I had never before met, only been on conference calls with prior to the trip and stalked them on Facebook. We were all participants in a trip called the Magical Bali Bucket List tour with Spices Tours. Two weeks in Bali together. It could be a wonderful experience or a terrible nightmare. It was a wonderful experience.

My tattoo in Bali from Sailor July at Lady Rose Tattoo.

My tattoo in Bali from Sailor July at Lady Rose Tattoo.

I wasn’t planning on getting a second tattoo–at least not in Bali. But, one of the gals on the trip and I got to talking about tattoos–she’s a vibrant canvas of so many beautiful ones! One thing lead to another and soon there were 5 of us who all signed on for a Bali tattoo. Now the hard part… what do I get? I do what I always do when I don’t know an answer yet. I slept on it… in the sunshine on the private beach in Uluwatu.

Two tattoos. On the same arm. Not small. Extremely prominent. Two tattoos that are just so… me.

Free to be. It’s about many things. It’s giving myself permission for this journey I’m on. Even though I’ve gone ahead with it, there’s still a part of me that feels guilty for not taking the path more travelled by. The path so many others take. I tried it for a long time because I thought I was supposed to, not because I ever really wanted to. This tattoo is about following my heart and being whoever it is I want to be in any given moment.

We're all free to be.

We’re all free to be.

It’s also about reminding myself that if this is a principle I’m living by, it applies to everyone else too. Every friend who may or may not see what I see; loved ones who struggle with my alternative lifestyle choices; past, present or potential partners… everyone. We’re all at where we’re at and we’re free to be there as much or as little as we want. Whenever I find a monologue in my brain that’s anything other than cheering somebody on in the choices they’re making, all I have to do is look down at my arm and remember, “Oh right… we’re free to be.”


Right after I scheduled this post to publish, I came across this TED Talk about modern slavery… obviously I have some opinions there, unfortunately that discussion didn’t quite fit into the flow of this post.


They Call Me The Wanderer

September 23, 2013 § 4 Comments

Photo credit: divadsci1

Photo credit: divadsci1

There’s something about being on the verge of the next big thing that gets my blood pumping. Three years ago it was launching an incredibly vibrant community of urban explorers when I began my adventure as the Yelp Calgary Community Manager. Now, I find myself saying goodbye to the community I’ve built of some of the friendliest and coolest people I’ve ever met and embarking upon a new journey, one I’ve been dreaming up for more than a decade.

I’m a wandering spirit. I have been ever since my first trip overseas to Indonesia when I was 14. Multiple trips throughout my teens and early 20s shaped my young world views and inspired me to achieve my Bachelor of Commerce in International Business from the University of Alberta. I wanted to travel.

Many twists and turns and detours have brought me to where I’m at. Deaths in the family; the thrill and naivety of my youth that subsequently had me spending the last four and a half years paying off nearly $72,000 in debt (final payment last week!); various people and positions and jobs that have shaped my views on how the world works and brought some incredible people into my networks along the way…

David and I talk a lot about following our passion. I love to inspire people to choose their dreams and live them. The only effective way I’ve found to accomplish this is to follow that same mantra myself.

And so last week, I tendered my resignation in pursuit of my big hairy dream. Come January, I’ll be a wanderer, a wayfarer. I’ve fulfilled any commitments that once prevented me from going. Now, I wander.

It’s fitting that the first trip on my books is back to the land that first inspired my desire to travel. I’ll be headed on a “bucket list” trip to Bali as I do some work with a local tours company, Spices.

Stay tuned… I’m sure I’ll have many insights and inspirations to share as I make my way!

Where Am I?

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