October 12, 2015
by Sam

4 Lessons From Moving Across the Country By Yourself.

Hi there! Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends! And everyone else, I hope you’re having a fabulous start to the week.

I’ve been back home now for about 5 days – it hasn’t quite hit me yet that I’m actually here to stay! Since I had have a couple of 10-14 day long trips back here in the last year, it feels like another one of those – that this is a holiday and I’ll be heading back to Calgary in a week or two, which of course isn’t actually the case. I feel like it’ll take a few weeks for it to really sink in – I’M HOME.

Why do you go away

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Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on the major lessons I got from my move – from moving across the country by myself without a plan in place. Undergoing an adventure like that, you learn a lot about yourself, your needs and life in general. So today, I want to reflect on the four biggest lessons I’ve learned in the last year.

1. Work/life balance is so important.

Over my year in Alberta, I worked – A LOT. I usually worked around 50 hours a week (or more), I’d work 6-7 days a week, and I’d work weekends and holidays. Although I gained a lot of necessary work-related experience, I put myself on fast track to burnout. And I really started to feel it in the form of exhaustion, stress, and a few anxiety attacks.

I was in the position to work as little or as much as I wanted, and I definitely leaned towards the latter. I learned that making money is actually a little bit addicting – I wanted to work as much as I could and put as much money away as possible.

I think I was a little too hyperfocused on work and growing my bank account as opposed to having the adventures I went out there to have in the first place. I didn’t go on as many hikes as I wanted to, I didn’t learn to snowboard or rock climb like I wanted to. I didn’t get out and explore the surrounding area as much as I planned. 

I have no regrets, but I’ve definitely learned to put more effort into ensuring that I have a better work/life balance in the future, and not let work be my sole focus in life.

pay bills

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2. Trying new things makes you stronger and braver.

I always considered myself someone who would stay close to home, but I changed that.

I never thought I’d be a runner, but I ran 2 half marathons over the past year.

I didn’t think I could handle overnights/shift work again, but I managed.

I didn’t think I could manage a long-distance relationship, but I did.

I tried so many new things this year, both mentally and physically. Things that I didn’t know or didn’t think that I’d be able to do. And I’m a stronger and braver person because of it.

wanted to do

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3. Establishing independence is an essential part of growth.

Admittedly, I’ve always been someone that relied heavily on other people for happiness, usually in romantic relationships but in other facets of my life as well. And while connection with others is so, so important, happiness needs to come from an internal place. 

The last year contained some of the loneliest moments of my life. But it’s also when I learned to really confront that loneliness and learn to be ok with my own company. The first few times I had a night off, my place to myself and no plans, I was at a complete loss for what to do with my time. It was an adjustment, but eventually I learned to be comfortable when I only had myself for company.

In the past, I’ve let myself become a little too involved in my romantic relationships. Usually to the point where I would compromise other facets of my life and even little bits of my personality to focus almost entirely on the relationship. But you can’t do that when you only see the other person once every few months – you have to develop your own life and maintain your interests outside of the relationship, or else you’ll drive yourself crazy. As much as being in a long distance relationship sucked, it also encouraged me to maintain my life and my independence outside of my romantic life. I feel like I can keep this going now that my relationship is no longer of the long-distance variety, which is way better both for me and for the relationship in general.

After this move, I feel way more comfortable being my authentic self – which is awesome.

you will change

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4. It really is ok when you’re not certain of the outcome.

I had no idea what was going to happen when I moved out West. I wasn’t sure if I’d live there the rest of my life, or if I’d be calling my parents a month later telling them that I was on my way home. And of course, I was fine. I found a job, friends, adventures, growth, and all the things I went out there looking for.

I have no idea what’s going to happen now that I’m home. Where I’m going to work, how people and things will have changed, how long I’m going to be at my parent’s house – I don’t know.

But I’ve learned to be ok with uncertainty. I know what I want and I’m putting my intentions out to the universe, and now I wait. No matter what happens, for once I really am certain that I’m going to be ok.


It’s crazy how much things change in a year. But I’m ready for the next step.

<— No specific questions today, but I’d love to hear your thoughts/comments/experiences!

October 9, 2015
by Sam

Road Tripping.

Hi friends!

Currently writing this from HOME. It still hasn’t quite hit me yet, even though Chef-friend and I were able to have our first date night in, and for once, I didn’t have to think about a timeline or a “we only have a week of this and then I won’t see him for a few months again!”

date night

Vietnamese food, wine, and scary movies. Regular relationship > long distance relationship.

But since I did just spend a week of my life driving across various US States (Montana, Wyoming, back to Montana, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan) and going on a few adventures, I figured that today would be a good day for a recap/photo dump. I want to get it all in one post, so believe me when I say photo dump

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone was the first stop on our trip. We stayed two nights in West Yellowstone, a little tourist town directly outside the West Entrance. In Yellowstone, you can see wild animals (moose, elk, bears, and bison to name a few), tons of geothermal features, and amazing scenery. Dad and I drove through on our drive to Alberta last year and agreed that one day wasn’t nearly enough to see everything. Hell, two days probably wasn’t enough, but we did manage to see quite a bit.


Little mooses! (meese?)


Soooo many bison hanging around.


Elk hanging out across the river.


We saw bears!! If you look closely, there’s a mama and a cub up there (and I promise that we were faaaar away).


The Mammoth Hot Springs.

Lower Falls

The Lower Falls at Canyon Village.

Sam and Atticus

Dogs aren’t allowed on hiking trails or most of the paths, so Atticus had to sit out on most of the adventures.

Bison steak

After seeing bison in the park all day, I ate one for dinner with sauteed onions and peppers. Sorry buddy.

Overall, we all found the sights at Yellowstone amazing – and that’s without tackling any of the hiking trails. If you’re outdoorsy in the slightest, it’s definitely a place to check out.

Cody, Wyoming

After two days in Yellowstone, our next stop was Cody, Wyoming – just on the east side of the park. Cody is named for Buffalo Bill, so it’s a tourist town with a huge Western theme.


So this is definitely a foreign concept to me.

We ended up at the Irma Hotel for dinner, where there were cowboy hats and big belt buckles everywhere I looked.


I felt like I needed to eat red meat to fit in with all the cowboys.

Little Bighorn

After leaving Cody on Friday morning, our next stop was Little Bighorn National Park in Montana. Dad and I tried to stop here last year, but arrived just as the park was closing. Admittedly, I don’t know much about American history, so it was interesting to learn about the battle.

Little Bighorn

We had some seriously terrible weather that day, so we just did a drive-by of the monument.

Wall, South Dakota

After Little Bighorn, we spent the night at Wall, South Dakota. Wall is essentially made up of Wall Drugs (a tourist attraction/shopping centre) and a bunch of hotels. 

Wall Drug

I’m pretending not to notice how creepy the plastic cowboy is.

We wandered around a bit and I bought pumpkin butter, so my day was complete.

Badlands National Park

Badlands was a bit of a surprise – I don’t think any of us even realized it was a national park. But it was cool! 


Badlands NP felt like being in The Land Before Time…minus the dinosaurs. Or a Star Trek alien planet.


Ignore the pug mooning.

A surprisingly awesome stop.

Mall of America

When my dad was mapping out our route, the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota was (of course) my request.

Mall of America

We couldn’t stay very long because somebody had to stay on dog duty, but I bought important things.

camo pants

Like camo pants…

Dr pepper

And Dr Pepper candy.

We were there for about 2 hours which meant that I didn’t get to see too much of the actual mall – probably a good thing for my wallet.

Green Bay, Wisconsin

The most important thing about Green Bay was CHIPOTLE.


I’m pretty sure this was the first time I had had Chipotle in about 2 years. Soooo overdue.

Frankenmuth, Michigan

The final full day of driving took us to Frankenmuth, Michigan. There’s a huge outlet mall that I will have to check out when I have more time/money, but I got my final breakfast of the trip here:

Bob Evans breakfast

BOB EVANS. I love it so much. Even though everyone else there is at least 60. It appeals to my inner grandma, I suppose.

Then we had about 3 hours of driving and then we were HOME.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering…

Sam and Atticus

Atticus did awesome on the trip. He slept when we were in the car, and then I’d get him out for a walk whenever we’d stop for breaks. The little guy has now done 2 there-and-back plane rides and two cross-country road trips. He’s pretty awesome.

That’s all for me today – have a good one!

October 7, 2015
by Sam

Goal Talk: October.

Hi friends!

Today’s the day – the final day of the road trip. We’ll be rolling into London at some point today. The complete, final ending point of my move last year. Crazy to think that it’s now 100% over!

But for today’s post, we’re talking monthly goals.

October Goals

First up, a look at how I did last month:

September Goals:

1. Run the Canmore Rocky Mountain Half Marathon.

Done! And pulled off a new PR, despite less than ideal weather and a lot of rolling hills.

Post race

Definitely proud of myself for that one.

2. Work a maximum of 45 hours per week.

I’d say this one was successful. For the 3 full weeks in September, I worked 29 hours, 45.5 hours, 50 hours. I had one week where I went over, but a super short week kind of made up for that. So overall, I’ll take it.

3. Eat through the pantry.

I managed to compile all my leftover food items that I was bringing back with me into one bag, so I’d say that’s a pretty big success. I already had enough stuff to try and cram into both vehicles, so I’m glad I was able to minimize the food.


4. Do a clothing purge.

Yup! An organization in downtown Calgary got a full garbage bag full of clothes (but let’s not talk about how on this trip, I’ve bought 3 pairs of pants and 2 sweaters…)

5. Drink pop no more than twice a week.

The goal was once-twice a week, and I ended up drinking it 3 times a week on average. That’s still less than daily, so I’ll consider it a semi-success…

And now, what I’m hoping to accomplish this month:

October Goals:

1. Enjoy my birthday/birthday week/birthday month.

It’s my birthday month! It’s on the 24th, in case anyone wants to circle it on their calendars

I’m a huge birthday person – I’m pretty sure that I celebrate other people’s birthdays more than they celebrate it! I’m all for celebrating the entire month, even more so the week of, and of course, a ton on that particular day.


I celebrated in Canmore/Banff last year, so it’ll fine so celebrate this year at home!

2. Find a job.

Oh right – I’m back to funemployment. I’m hoping to rectify this as soon as possible.
get a job

3. Settle in at home.

While I’m excited to be back in my hometown and back with the boyfriend/family/friends, it is a change and it will require some adjustments. So, I’m hoping that this month I can get myself settled and feeling good back at home.

That’s it for me today – gotta finish out the last day of driving. Have a good one!

<— What are you hoping to accomplish in October?

<— Are you a big birthday person?

<— What’s your birthday?