Thursday, December 28, 2017

Why Now?

Recently I've been getting a lot of "...huh....", "why?", and "where will that get you?" I generally spew the same rehearsed answer for these questions, something along the line of my career goals but in all reality, I don't know. Life is full of ups and downs and sometimes you just have to go with your gut, do something that pushes you outside of your comfort zone. Not having a set in stone plan is part of the journey. I am flexible to whatever opportunities come my way.

I am nowhere near perfect. I do not live a 100% eco-friendly lifestyle; I love my horses, I drive a car, and I like going to the gym. Those are some of the things that make me happy, that add value to my life. But what I do try to do is live a conscious lifestyle, making better decisions and trade-offs where I can. My goal is to leave the planet in a condition where others can still enjoy it, love it, and appreciate it like I do. Whether that means buying less, using less, recycling, or just picking up the garbage I see on the side of the trail, I want to make a change. 

Society seems so focused on the consumer lifestyle, the idealism that bigger is better and your belongings define who you are. Thoughts like "I need that to be happy" or "oh look at the new..." go through our heads every day, they are programmed into us as North Americans. 

Growing up I was just as guilty as the next. Although I loved nature, our family outings consisted of trips to the mall and the newest computer game was a priority. I soon realized home much time I have lost worrying about what pair of shoes looks best or which game I should spend my money on. Everything is disposable, if we don't want it anymore then there is no consequence to us getting rid of it, on the contrary, there is often a reward. Unfortunately, this consumer-driven and disposable lifestyle we live can often make us forget what's important, the people and planet that matter most.

I honestly believe in sustainability as more than just a buzz word, where social, economic, and environmental components of life can coexist. There are many ways we can change our lifestyle. Taking time out of your day to do something for someone else, or to live for more than a Black Friday sale would be a shift for many people. 

I care because this is the place that makes me happy; the mountain views and rolling prairies are more than just a place I live, they are my home. I respect nature for the services it provides and everything it has to offer. I don't want my lifestyle to dictate future generations ability to enjoy this land but to ensure this is possible society needs to change.

The past few years  I have committed to one "New Years Resolution". Sometimes they are goals which are difficult to measure, three years ago I was set on "being happier". Other times these resolutions are more set in stone such as last year when I intended to summit my first mountain. I think it is safe to say that I have been successful in achieving these goals. Keeping with the trend for 2018 I have set 4 goals for myself, one of which is a big change for me, attempting to live a more sustainable life; My resolution is to go a whole year without buying any "stuff" for myself.

Recently, I watched the documentary Minimalism and it got me thinking, do these things really add value to my life? The answer is often no. Although, some of my possessions add considerable value to my life many of them do not. Removing the purchase of unnecessary "stuff" from my life doesn't include food but I hope to eliminate the purchase of new consumer goods such as clothing or household items. If there is something I consider necessary I will try to purchase it second hand and any items I do purchase I will document. 

This is a social experiment to see what I really need and what I am capable of. I am not changing my lifestyle, attending university, or reinventing myself for anyone else. Instead, I want to spend 2018 focusing on experiences rather than things. Not only do I hope to save money but I hope to create habits I can bring forward with me, helping me set priorities and achieve my goals.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Read of the Week - Find a Way

One quote stuck with me after finishing the novel, "What will you do with this one precious life?"

At the age of 64 Diana Nygad swam from Cuba to Florida. Through shark and jellyfish infested waters, she found a way to swim from coast to coast at an age many would never think possible. This book is an inspirational novel covering the highlights of her journey from start to finish. I had a hard time putting the book down so I would defiantly recommend it to almost anyone. Below I have attached the link to Diana's website. I listened to the book on audible where she narrates her own story in a way I don't think many others could. This is by far the best book I have read (or listened to) in a long time!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Peyto Lake and the Bow Summit Lookouts, Banff National Park AB

This is a very popular hike on the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park. You are likely to experience hordes of people at the parking lot for Peyto Lake so I would advise going early. The trail begins on the interpretive path which leads to the popular lookout platform looming over the top of the lake. If you continue up the interpretive path you will eventually leave the pavement to a well worn former fire road. Continue south on the gravel to reach the views of Bow Lake or turn right on the trail and head up a small hill for a different view over Peyto lake. 

The hike is just shy of 6 km round trip with minimal elevation gain. At most it takes a couple hours to complete the hike. On a sunny day this short hike is extremely rewarding. The trail offers stunning views and gorgeous flowers surrounding the path. The hike to the Peyto Lake look out can also be done in winter as a snowshoeing opportunity. Continuing further would cross avalanche terrain so it is important to know your abilities and be aware of the conditions.

Difficulty: Easy
View from the South end of Peyto Lake
"Help maintain this fragile alpine ecosystem by staying on the trail." - Parks Canada

Monday, December 11, 2017

Voices of the Week - Podcasts for Running

I have mentioned on previous posts that I am regular listener to both the She Explores and Wild Ideas Worth Living podcasts but this week I also found something new. A post in the Run Like A Girl Community got me thinking about good podcasts to listen to while running. So I started putting podcasts I like to the test. Recently I found three episodes that kept my attention and got me thinking while running. I really enjoyed all three even though each of them is very different and only one actually has to do with running. So here is goes....

1. Where is Wilderness? - She Explores

This podcast is about a social science thesis topic touching on the American perception of Wilderness. It gets you thinking about your own perception of the topic and the complexity of the term.

2. How are We Physically and Emotionally Connected to the Ocean - Wild Ideas Worth Living

I loved this podcast, It gave insight into science combined with some traditional knowledge and and experience related to our connection with nature. A relationship or connection to the ocean from a Surfer and Scientist than my own connection with nature being from the Canadian prairies. The podcast covers a variety of topics for everyone.

3. Cycle Your Training to Get Faster - Real Life Runners

This podcast is a new one for me. I can't vouch for the rest of the episodes but I did enjoy this one. The podcast is about stages of your running plan and adding some variety to improve provoking thought about your own routine.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

One pan Sauteed Onion with Zucchini and Chickpeas

Lately I have been on a chickpea kick and basically eating them by the can. I love baking them and they are great in salads but I had never fried them before. This recipe consists of a handful of ingredients but is still flavorful. Zucchini is a low calorie option that soaks up the flavor of what ever you cook it with so it adds substance and texture to the recipe. 


  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 can of chickpeas (540 ml)
  • 1 white onion
  • 1/2 clove of garlic
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar (or to taste)

First get your oil hot in a large skillet. Slice your onion and add it to the pan. While the onion is cooking slice your zucchini. Let the onions cook until transparent, add the zucchini, crushed garlic, and cover. Once the zucchini starts to soften remove the lid and add the can of drained chickpeas. Allow the pan to cook, stirring occasionally until the contents start to brown. Turn off the burner and add the sesame seeds and balsamic vinegar and serve.

I have also made an alternate version of this recipe using spinach instead of zucchini. The only difference is I add the chickpeas and spinach at the same time.