I thought you moved to Florida?

The million dollar question!  Here are the answers to all of your questions:

Yes!  We sold our condo in Connecticut and bought a condo in Venice, Fl.  We did this for one main reason: WE HATE WINTERS!  We hate being cold, we hate driving in the snow,  etc.  Each year we would spend more and more time in the winter in Florida, and last year we spent 5 months down South.  We bought a camper and spent a month in the Blue Ridge Mountains, 2 months in Venice, Fl then another 2 months exploring in our camper (Jacksonville, Fl/Jekyll Island/St Simons Island/Savannah, Ga/Beaufort, SC/Charleston, SC/Southern Pines, NC)

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We work in the golf course industry and we would have our winters off, allowing us very little places to travel (again, we want to be WARM)  So, many years ago we had the idea of moving to Florida, saving money on taxes, cost of living, etc and having our Summers off instead.  Golf courses tend to die down Summers in Florida.  This would allow us so much more options to explore with the Camper and for Adventures.

When we decided this, we wanted to make sure we weren’t settling with Venice, Fl because that’s where we were comfortable. That is the reason we explored last year in the camper. We absolutely LOVED many of the places we explored, but even Jacksonville, Fl was freezing! So, Venice it was. Erik’s parents own a place there, and we bought in the same condo complex as them.

If you read this blog regularly, you know this winter was a tough transition for us.  We lived with my in-laws for 4 months while we waited for a current renters lease to be up then renovate the  condo.  That was a nightmare, but in the end we were settled and happy.

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People would constantly ask me if we were coming back to CT this summer and I told them I had no idea. That wasn’t a lie. We sold our condo and at that time the only thing we had planned was to spend the Summer traveling in the camper up North.  However, I always knew there was a chance we would find a place to stay in CT.  Here’s why:

Last year when we decided we would sell our place in CT, we had the thought of renting in CT for 6 months. I put the word out that we were looking, and we found out Erik’s friend from High School had a small cottage on Bashan Lake in East Haddam.  We checked it out and the place was gorgeous. He had completely renovated the whole thing, all top of the line. The yard was HUGE and it had amazing lake views.

Well, it was out of our price range, but while we were looking at it Erik’s friend (the owner) mentioned he needed help taking care of his properties (he owns 4 and constantly has projects going on) So, when Erik told him we weren’t going to be able to take the place, he mentioned he would love to help if he still wanted someone to help around the properties. He ended up doing about 25 hours a week and LOVED it. Outside all day, physical labor, not dealing with people, on the lake, etc. Well, his buddy kept bringing up, “next year” and Erik would say, “well, we have nowhere to stay so I may not be able to do next year” He made a comment hinting that maybe we can use one of his places…..So, there was hope of CT, but we weren’t sure.

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In March, Erik contacted his buddy, and it turns out the original (gorgeous) house we looked at was still available and he offered it to us and Erik would continue to work for him 30+ hours a week.  This was so amazing because now I was able to make some money at the Golf Course and go back to mission FITNESS, which made me so happy. Not that a summer traveling in the camper wouldn’t make me happy, but I didn’t work all winter and I really was ready to WORK!!

So, here we are. Living in East Haddam and happy as hell. We still plan to take the camper on weekend trips, but to be honest to have a house (not a condo) for the first time it almost feels like we are camping!

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This is what’s going on for this Summer. Who knows what next Summer will bring. That’s the beauty and excitement of it all. If it looks like we aren’t going to come back to this place next Summer we may take the camper out West and explore the National Parks.

 Life is good. However, I can’t say it enough that this life we CREATED was not luck. It was a lot of calculated, small decisions mixed with a lot of hard work and living very simply and below our means.

Follow your heart…take that leap. You will find your wings on the way down!

Create the Life of Your Dreams

I can distinctly remember not too many years ago feeling so lost and unhappy in my life I would regularly break into tears out of nowhere.  A time that I felt so trapped and confused that I couldn’t fathom a life of being content and happy.  Although I could understand there was a bigger picture I was not seeing, I couldn’t help but see a small tunnel of an anxiety filled life I was living. I was on anxiety medication, over weight, eating unhealthy foods and I constantly felt like crap. I had a bunch of personal issues, and a constant uneasy feeling of my future. I had no idea who I was, what I wanted, and I had lost my spark for life that I once had. I missed a life of teammates and competition and kept thinking this can’t be what life is.

I worked in a corporate office, surrounded with people living the same life. The only happiness came when we celebrated coworkers birthdays, which just meant a 20 minute break for cake. People all around me were living like robots, “surviving” or “hanging in there.”  I knew I didn’t belong. I didn’t fit this mold. However, I couldn’t see any other path in life.  All I saw around me (as well as all I grew up with) were adults who were just “getting through” each day, going to jobs they don’t like, losing all of the spark they once had for life. My chest felt heavy constantly, trying to figure it all out. I had the “Man In The Tiny Mexican Village” story hanging by my desk and it gave me hope that someone out there understood. Why are we slaving away at jobs to be able to afford “things” that we don’t need?  To fit into houses that we buy way too big to fit these “things”?  Working all week so we can go out for “happy hour” to relieve the stress of these jobs.  Happy “HOUR”?  Really!?!?!  An hour?  That’s what we work all week for?? I just kept thinking, why can’t we just make enough to afford the necessities and spend the rest of our time LIVING life!?!  The exact point of the story I had hanging next to my desk.  But, that was just a story.  It wasn’t real.

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In 2009 everything started to change. The first step was taking a big risk byfollowing my heart, and quitting my job in the corporate world.  I started a fitness business with my brother, and I suddenly looked forward to work every day. I was surrounded by like minded people who were inspiring me to be better every day.  Things we getting much better.  I was outside most of the day, and shedding those pounds I had gained in my unhappiness.

Then I came across the So Many Places blog.  As I read her words out loud to Erik I would break down and SOB to the point I couldn’t read anymore.  He would come sit next to me and hold me as he read the rest of the blog and promised me that one day we will do it.  We would escape the rat race and live our AUTHENTIC lives.  I would chase after that burning fire in my chest to see this world and live. I had finally found a “real” person doing what I dreamt of.  From that day forward my life started to change.  I spent the last 6 years surrounding myself with only positivity.   I gobbled up every Blog and Instagram account of people like Kim, living their dreams.  I read The Secret, The Alchemist, The Four Agreements, and every self help book I could find.  I started to truly believe and LIVE a life of sending out positivity and receiving it back.  I life of living with intention and changing my THOUGHTS, therefore changing my LIFE!! I took up Transcendental Meditation.  I started doing Yoga.  I replaced the hip-hop music for soothing music and even country, which just delivered a more positive message.  We canceled cable and stopped watching the negative, depressing, news. Instead we watched tons of Documentaries like Food Inc, Vegucated, and Forks over Knives, which would change our diets dramatically, changing to a Vegetarian Clean Diet. I found a whole new type of running, TRAIL RUNNING that I fell in love with.  I found competition again, and started to compete in Endurance Races such as Adventure Racing and Ultra Marathons with some of the best in the world.  I discovered Motivational Videos and would (and still do) listen to them religiously. My mind, body, and soul did a 180 in the past 6 years.

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Today, I had a moment where I broke into tears out of nowhere. I don’t even know how it happened. One minute I was fine, the next I let out a literal sob.  I started to assess the situation.  PMS?  Nope. Over tired?  Nope. Sad? Nope. Then I figured it out. I became overwhelmed with how happy I am with life right now. I can distinctly remember my old self and I am overwhelmed by how much has changed since then. Since those days that those daily sobs were tears of fear and anxiety. Those days that I couldn’t see past the unhappiness and weight gain and general feeling of crap. Now, I feel my possibilities in life are endless. I am living a life not far off from that story I had posted at my corporate desk for so many years. However, this life did not come to me. I went out and chased it. I studied it. I was open to it. And now I am living the life of my dreams. If you can only see through that tunnel of life right now, take it from me…there is hope, you just have to be ready for it.

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The Power of The Universe

alchemistFor several months now, maybe even over a year, I have been intrigued with Transcendental Meditation.  By no surprise to those who know me, this interest began from my Man…my Buddha, my Leader: Howard Stern (many of you will change your opinion of me based on this knowledge.  Some for the better, others for the worst.  I could write a whole blog on this contraversy, but just know that if you hate him, you probably haven’t spent enough time getting to know him)

Anyway, Howard is one of the biggest promoters of TM, and draws in more people to the process than almost any other.  After several months of researching and talking to other TMers, I decided to finally take the plunge and start my process of learning the technique.  I started last Thursday with an Intro, followed by (what will be) 4 straight days of learning and practice.  I am currently on Day 3.

I will not go into too many details of TM and my experiences, as I am still learning and trying to figure it out myself.  However, I do want to share a story.  I will not relate it to TM, but rather the power of putting your intentions out there and following your heart.  (those who have not read, The Alchemist, I suggest you do!)  The first day I started TM, my instructor heard what I do for a living and my hobbies, and asked if I knew “Sarah”.  Apparently, we had a lot in common (personal trainer, triathlons, racing, yada, yada, yada) and she recently started TM.  I told her I knew “of her” and we were mostly Facebook friends, only bumping into eachother a few times at races.  However, I added that since leaving Facebook, she is one of the people I miss “keeping in touch with” (this reminds me, I need a “Why I left Facebook” blog)  She always posted beautfiul pictures in the woods, followed by great quotes…posts that I would do myself.

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Fast Forward to Tuesday, my first learning day of TM.  I drove from TM to my studio thinking, “I need to find someone who knows “Sarah” or will see her (she works at another Gym right down the road) to get my her info.  The fact that she did TM was just confirming to me what I thought several times when seeing her posts on Facebook, “I should get together with this girl for coffee”.  I put it out there…to the Universe: find a way to contact “Sarah”.

The next morning I decided to leave for work early to go for a trail run.  I went to a location that isn’t my first choice, but it is right on the way to work.  Convenience won.  I enjoyed a great run, completely by myself in the woods, as this is not a popular area.  A.) Not too many people know about it B.) It is really just an out and back…not many options C.) It starts at a shooting range, which has been active with military/police my last 2 runs there.  Lots of gun shots.  Not very welcoming.

I did my “out” and made my way “back”.  As I got closer to my car, I see a person with her phone out, looking like she is taking a picture.  As I get closer, I see a very recognizable hair style and right away I knew.  Probably soone than I should have….IT WAS “SARAH”!!!  I was so excited and blown away that I was seeing her that she probably thought/thinks I am a nut bag.  She had no idea of the process that lead me to her, but after telling her she said, “make sure you share this with our teacher.  This is stuff that happened to me when I started TM”

Come to find out, she had not been to those trails since she was 8 years old.  She got lost then, and felt a need to come back and explore.  It was only my 3rd time there.  Again, these are NOT popular trails.  This was the first time I have seen her outside of races.  Come to find out she likes trail running and has the same availibility as me (before 3pm).  We were both looking for running partners, since it isn’t the safest being a female alone in the woods!  I got her digits, and I will text her soon about running together and maybe coffee.

This is the power of intention.  The power of energy.  The power of the Universe.