Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life ~ Amy Poehler


This past weekend I was at camp – yes, the second camp this month.  Kind of crazy for someone who barely went to camp as a kid! And it was even more uncomfortable than the first camp!  The cabin was not winterized, the windows were only screens and it went down to 1C at night… a little chilly.  I slept this time though – good news!  There were spaces in the floorboards so you could see the ground and there were apparently some mice visiting the cabins at night… I tried not to think about it.  When we were outside of the cabin it was totally worth it though.  As you can see from the picture above we had amazing weather in Algonquin Park.  Hiking, kayaking, yoga and I even went for a swim in the lake on Sep 26th!  I was in a cabin with 8 other people so when I woke up early I just had to lie there so I didn’t wake anyone up.  The thought going through my head one morning was around the people that we surround ourselves with.
There are certain people who give me energy when I spend time with them.  Just walking away from a conversation with them gets me excited for the future.  These people inspire me, they make me feel like I am capable of anything and everything.  They give me confidence. I appreciate the time that I get to spend with them… in fact I crave it!  Of course being this inspirational and awesome, they are busy people so getting time with them isn’t always easy.  I know what it does for me though so I make a huge effort to make it work, and perhaps I’m a little pushy 🙂
I started thinking about this the other morning because I recently met some people who had the opposite effect on me.  They are nice people but we have very different priorities in life. I found that when I was with them I just shut down.  I had no energy to talk about the things that I love and that inspire me because I knew that this wasn’t what they thought was important.  This was a really interesting realization.  I have always thought that everybody has to like me and I’ve always been very concerned about it.  But I wasn’t this time.  I thought, they have their thing and I have mine and it’s ok if those things aren’t the same.  This wasn’t a negative meeting, I just realized that these aren’t people who I would ever be close to.  This is a HUGE breakthrough for me.  I saw a quote that described the situation perfectly:
 I used to walk into a room full of people and wonder if they liked me… now I look around and wonder if I like them.
I will always meet people who have different priorities or who don’t get me.  I’m ok spending time with them but I need to continue to be aware, and not let my energy be depleted because of them.  I’ve got a good thing going and I need to always remember that! It doesn’t have to be a good thing for anyone else, it’s my good thing!
Do you surround yourself with people who give you energy and make you want more out of life?  Do you know who those people are?  Figure it out and spend more time with them!  It really will change your life.
Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself ~ Edmund Lee

No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted ~ Aesop


When you ask people what they wish for, a common answer is world peace. This probably seems like an overwhelming, unrealistic wish, something that we would ideally like but is not possible.  Maybe we will never see world peace but we certainly have it in us to make the world a better place.  There are so many things we can do everyday which will improve our lives and the lives of others.  I know this isn’t the first time that you’ve heard this but do you ever really think about it?  Do you think about the role that you play and how you can help?
This thought occurred to me as I was lying in a chair giving blood the other day.  All of the people in the room were there voluntarily taking an hour out of their day, getting pricked by a needle (which really doesn’t hurt that much) and giving one pint of their blood.  This really isn’t a big gesture when you consider the benefits.  They say that one donation will save three lives.  WOW!  One hour of my time and 10% of my blood (which I can live without, and will be replenished) and I’m saving three lives.  Seems like an easy decision to me.
Sure, it’s not the most comfortable thing to do, it might hurt a little, but consider the recipients.  There are people having heart surgery, people with leukemia and car crash victims.  The uncomfortable feeling of giving blood is nothing compared to what they are going through.  I realize not everyone can give blood – your hemoglobin is too low, you have a medical condition that doesn’t allow you to donate… you pass out at the site of a needle! I would challenge that most people who haven’t given don’t even know if they qualify or not.  Give it a try…. added bonus – they have Oreos!
Maybe giving blood isn’t your thing, that’s ok there are so many things that you can do everyday to make a difference in the world…
Hold the door for someone
Compliment a friend or a stranger
Write a note to thank someone who inspires you
Put money in an expired parking meter
Call / email / text a friend just to say hi
Double a tip for someone deserving
And my favourite – Hug someone (It said that each time we embrace someone warmly, we gain an extra day of life.  So please embrace me now. ~ Paulo Coelho)
You might think that some of these things are no big deal and they won’t make a difference.  You’re wrong – they will make a difference.  You have no idea the impact that a small gesture will make on another person.  You have no idea what kind of day someone could be having when you tell them that they have beautiful eyes. And the beauty of your small gesture is that it multiplies.  The recipient is now touched by your gesture and will in turn provide an act of kindness to someone else. And that is the ripple effect.  Powerful stuff!  Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people can transform the world.
The other benefit is that it will make you feel good.  Even without recognition of your kindness, it will make you feel good to know that you made someone’s day a little brighter.  Try it, you won’t be disappointed.
What will you do today to make the world a nicer place?
Go be EPIC!
A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions and the roots spring up and make new trees ~ Amelia Earhart

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures ~ Thornton Wilder

This past weekend I was at a Warrior Coaching camp.  It’s an intense weekend.  It’s mentally tough, it’s physically tough. It is literally a camp, kids stay there in the summer.  I like to be comfortable.  I like my queen size bed, my 600 thread count sheets and 4 pillows… yes 4!  I like 8 hours of sleep.  So when I show up at this camp in Southern Alberta with a  sleeping bag and a travel size pillow to set up on a plastic mattress of the top bunk I am out of my comfort zone.  The first night the camp finished at 11:30 pm after an 11 hour travel day.  I climbed up into the top bunk and tossed and turned.  I was overtired and uncomfortable.  I eventually fell asleep only to wake up at 3:30 am unable to fall back to sleep.  As I laid there all of these negative thoughts were running through my head (not to mention things at 3:30 am always seem a little less rational than they really are).  I was miserable.  I wanted my own bed, I wanted sheets, I wanted proper pillows.  The longer I was awake the more agitated I got.  I knew we were going to get a knock on the door at 5 am and I was going to have to get up and do a workout, a workout which I was dreading.
Then I thought – what if I think about what I am grateful for instead of dwelling on all of these negative thoughts?
So I started to list the things that I was grateful for.  I thought about how grateful I was that we had all arrived at the camp safely from all over Canada and the U.S.  I was grateful to be there with these amazing people, who I had been looking forward to seeing for months.  I was grateful that my 11 hours of travel were part of the fun of the weekend as I got to spend them with my brother and a good friend – great conversations and lots of laughs. I was grateful that this weekend was going to provide me with learning and fellowship that were going to make my life better.  That was the last thing that I remember before the knock at the door at 5 am.  Being grateful put me at peace, calmed me down and allowed me to get an extra (much needed) hour of sleep. (Oh and the workout that I was dreading – I rocked it!  It was an incredibly difficult 38 minutes but such an amazing feeling of accomplishment).
I spend time every day being grateful.  It is an important exercise that allows me to appreciate what I have and not take the people in my life and the things that I have for granted.
To name a few (but certainly not all), I am grateful for:
My family who love me unconditionally and who support me immensely
Living close to my brother and his family
Being born in a free country with access to everything
My friends that I have had for over 20 years who have shared so many great adventures and memories
My new friends who have confirmed that moving to Cobourg was the right decision
My Warrior family who, even though I’ve only known them for a short time, truly feel like my family
My colleagues who always keep things interesting and allow me to have a career without it feeling like work
My health and a strong body which does things that it sometimes hates me for 🙂
My ability to help people which brings me joy
My sense of adventure which allows me to live this EPIC adventure
And all of you for reading this blog!  I appreciate you more than you know
There are so many more things that I think about on a daily basis.  I am truly blessed and grateful for it all.
Finish each day with 3 things that you are grateful for… you will be a happier person for it!
I cursed the fact that I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet ~ Ancient Persian Proverb
*While at camp this weekend we were fortunate to see the Northern Lights.  I had never seen them before… AMAZING!  A fellow Warrior is a professional photographer and captured the picture above.  I am grateful to him for sharing.  It is amazing to have this as a memory from camp.  Four Degrees Photography (

Go for it now. The future is promised to no one. ~ Wayne Dyer

Lisa (2)
People often comment about the cool things that I do and the number of places that I travel to.  I’ve learned from other’s misfortunes.  I have heard too many stories about people who went to work every day for years, worked overtime and saved their money to travel in retirement. Within a very short time after retirement these people passed away never getting to experience their dream.
We really have no idea what the future holds for us.  We don’t know how long we will live or what our health will be as we age.  Having heard these stories I’ve built “retirement” into my life! 🙂
Every year about this time I start to decide where I want to go and what things I want to accomplish in the following year.  Last night I met with a friend to plan our trip to Bali in 2016.  This friend, by the way, is the same one who asked me if I wanted to do the Tongariro Crossing… what do you think she’s going to suggest this time??  Something just as amazing I hope!  So I set a plan for the year… and I JUST DO IT!
I often hear “I would love to go here or there but I just don’t have the time / money / childcare / insert another excuse / all of the above”.  Guess what… nobody does!  If you wait for the perfect moment to do things, you’ll never do them.   There are no perfect moments.  Work and life are always busy, nobody ever has enough money.  Make a plan.  Start saving, rearrange a work schedule, get creative with childcare.  If you really truly want to do something… FIGURE IT OUT.  My parents traveled when we were young and found neighbours who were willing to take care of us.  Worked out great for us too.  They are a very loving Italian family… and the food was amazing!
About 11 years ago I decided I wanted to travel.  Not just a week in the Caribbean, I wanted to really travel.  I wanted to go to far away places and really enjoy the countries, not a 15-countries-in-12-days Contiki tour (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  I made a plan, 5 countries in 4 months.  Here’s the problem, there’s never a perfect moment right? I had a job with 3 weeks of vacation.  I was determined to do this though so I got creative.  I figured out a time that was beneficial for the company and I pitched the idea.  They didn’t have to pay me while I was gone and there was someone coming back from maternity leave. The naysayers told me that the company was never going to give me a 4 month leave of absence, it would set a precedent they said.  Well if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.  I asked and they said YES!  I’m not at the company any longer but to my knowledge nobody has ever asked for a 4 month leave of absence since, so setting precedent wasn’t an issue.
The trip was worth every penny!  I spent a night on a felucca on the Nile, climbed down into the pyramids in Cairo and visited the Valley of the Kings on a donkey.  I got my SCUBA certification in the Red Sea, which I proceeded to put to good use on the rest of the trip.  I saw the amazing Victoria Falls and white water rafted down the Zambezi River. I did an 18 day overland tour in South Africa including viewing 4 of the Big 5 in Kruger National Park. In Thailand I rode on elephants and sat on the very beaches that were destroyed by the Tsunami only 5 weeks later.  I dove the Great Barrier Reef and visited a ranch in the town of Dingo, Australia where I used a whip, a boomerang and learned how to line dance!
I should also mention that I did this trip SOLO!  So if I can do all of that, you can book you trip to France or Italy or wherever you dream of going.  This idea doesn’t only apply to travel though. Do you really want to try surfing, have you always wanted to learn to play tennis, is your goal to run a 5K race?  Whatever it is – JUST DO IT!  Make a plan.  Set a timeline.  Make it your reality.
*Added bonus* Once you fulfill that dream, you can move onto the next and the next. And that is how you make your life an EPIC adventure!
Stop wishing, start doing!
Quote from my friend Dave as he went on a similar round the world trip – I hope it doesn’t get out how great this traveling thing is, or there will be nobody back home working!