March 2016 | Footnotes and Finds

Thursday, 31 March 2016

DIY at home pedicure

Going for manicures and pedicures wasn't my thing - in fact pampering myself wasn't my thing until recently when I realized the importance of self care.  Although it's fun to go for a manicure and pedicure here and there with my sisters, I prefer to relax at home for a pedicure.  With the right products a DIY at home pedicure is quite simple and a great way to enjoy a relaxing evening in the comfort of your own home.

As I have mentioned before, having become aware of all the chemicals that are in the products we use everyday, I have started to incorporate all natural and toxin free products into my routines more and more. This pedicure offered the chance to do just that!  I cannot express how in love I am with the range of Rocky Mountain Soap co. products, they have everything from shampoos, soaps, lotions, skincare and a little pedicure kit! Of course you can use other products than the ones I have used here for the pedicure, but I just wanted to share with you one product that you definitely should invest in from Rocky Mountain Soap Co. : their newly released Serious Scrub, which is perfect for polishing the rougher areas of your body to buttery smoothness. I mean, this is some SERIOUS stuff! It is made with pure volcanic pumice which is mined right here in British Columbia! How cool is that? 

all products C/O Rocky Mountain Soap co. 

Here are 5 Easy Steps to a DIY Pedicure


Remove all nail polish from your toes and clean your feet.  Fill a basin with warm water and add Foot Soak Salts.  Soak your feet for about 15 mins.  The Epsom Salts will relieve the aching feeling of being on your feet all day. What I love about the Foot Soak Salts is that the Fir Needle and Grapefruit Essential oils really help to refresh and deodorize your feet. 


Remove your feet from the water.  Then scrub your feet while they are still slightly wet (I use the Serious Scrub) - focusing on the rougher areas.  Once your feet start feeling like buttery smoothness dip your feet back into the basin and rinse off the scrub.


Clip and file your toenails. Push back your cuticles and then moisturize them with some cuticle oil - I use the Nail and Cuticle butter pictured below.  It's packaging makes it easy for application and keeps your cuticles from drying out.


Lather your feet with some Foot Butter and give yourself a nice foot massage.  Massaging the butter into your heels and the rest of your feet.  The foot butter is pictured below - it contains patchouli and carrot tissue oil - leaving your feet feeling really smooth and it's packaging makes it super easy to apply.  It's always a great idea to slip your feet into socks overnight to really moisturize your feet. 


This is a bonus step - for a quick refresh for your feet throughout the week - spritz your feet with the Cool Feet Spray and your feet will feel moisturized and will smell great! 

Disclosure: We received these products c/o Rocky Mountain Soap co as their Brand Ambassador.  We did not receive any compensation for this post and all opinions are our own.  

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

5 tips to make travelling on long flights easier

I am from Vancouver, which means that if I want to travel anywhere other than LA, Calgary or Seattle I am going to have travel a long distance. To put it into perspective:

  • Flight to Toronto: 5h
  • Flight to London, England: 10h
  • Flight to New Delhi, India: 21h

What you should also know is that we both are avid travellers, often joking that we live and work in order to travel. We have even gotten into the bad habit of motivating ourselves in terms of trip planning (there is just so much to see in this magnificent world!) and try to go on large trips every other year with short trips on the years we don't. Asia, Europe and North America, we've covered it or a part of it. Meaning, we have grown accustomed to long flights and so, these are our 5 most important lessons we have learned that we would love to share with you.

Long flights are hard to get through especially since airlines are opting to decrease personal space (leg room, elbow room, privacy know all that stuff that makes it a little less insufferable)...not to mention that they recycle air. How can you make things better for yourself? We've got you covered:

1. Meals

I usually get to the airport early enough that after I do baggage drop (having checked in online the night before and printed my boarding passes) and clear security I have enough time to eat a meal before I get on the plane. This is important because eating on the plane during a long flight is not enjoyable (lack of appetite, upset digestion, distasteful food). I also grab snacks I can eat on the plane throughout the flight because my stomach and plane food do not go together. And even if you do eat the meals on the just isn't enough. Keeping your stomach the right level of full on a plane is key to not having your stomach be upset both on and off the plane! A fuller stomach also helps you fall asleep.

2. Liquids: water, water and more water 

I can not stress how important this is. Many people get this one thing wrong. Make sure you drink water before your flight, during your flight and after your flight. Remaining hydrated is so important for overall health in life so nothing changes when you fly. This point is especially important when you realize that the cabin pressure dries out mucous membranes and causes headaches, congestions, and muscle aches. As an extra tip I would suggest to steer away from soft drinks and alcohol--they just dehydrate you and cause stomach aches!

3. Pack layers

Sadly many airlines have also stopped supplying blankets and pillows so advise packing them for yourself. I usually pack a blanket scarf in my carryon. If you are someone that gets cold easily then you should also wear socks. I know many doctors advise not removing your shoes on flight as your extremities tend to swell up but I love taking off my shoes and curling up on the airplane seat while watching an in-flight movie so wearing socks help to fight the cold. In fact, pack a touque (beanie) it can act as a light blocker as well as keeping your head warm. 

4. Get up and walk 

This is something you hear all the time, but its good advice, especially if you have injuries. I love to get up and stretch, walk around get out of the airplane seat mentally and physically. Well, I mean, with all the water I am drinking the legs get a stretch by walking to and from the washroom anyways! But moving around during the flight helps to keep the blood circulating, the swelling down and aches away!

5. Don't forget these accessories

There are certain accessories that I find key for long-flights:

  • Gum: helps your ears during take offs and landing, also a good thing to have if you feel nauseous (but not if you feel gas-y or that your stomach is full of air) and if you want to freshen your breath!
  • Pen: Pens are so important from filling out tags to your landing cards--you don't know when you'll need a pen.
  • Earphones: some flights have started charging for in-flight dont forget to pack your own!
  • a book: if you get tired from watching movies or you're unable to sleep read a book for a bit!
  • Tums or other indigestion aids
  • an ipod or something to listen to your music on (I guess nowadays the kids just use their phones eh?): This may seem antisocial, but when I travel by myself I listen to music continuously except for when I watch movies. Basically, whether I am walking around the airport or seated in my seat I am plugged in and it makes flying easier for me.
I hope these tips help! I know flying can be stressful and we all have our own tips and tricks to survive long flights but I love sharing and hearing ideas to improve my flight game! So what are your tips? 


Friday, 25 March 2016

Friday Finds

Friday Finds is a series that Footnotes and Finds runs every friday where we share interesting, informative and fun finds/links from around the web. Follow along!

1. If you love poetry--and I mean modern poetry-- you should checkout this list of 9 young poets who are, in a sense, reviving the genre!

2. Staying on the arts, this brilliant article by Katherine Brooks summarizes and articulates what I have wanted to say but have failed to when someone has said to me "I could do that" when it came to a work of art.

3. Whether you watch Bollywood films or not, this film, Kapoor & Sons, is a must see. Go and watch it at your local theatre while its still playing (plays with English Subtitles). Its about family, love, friendship, sexuality, relationships, trust and

many other complicated issues told complexly through what appears to be a simple story line.

4. In love with this side table!

5.  Lastly, since travel is one of our passions and I have always wanted to do a massive roadtrip across the states, it would be amazing to visit some of these: The Most Beautiful Historic Neighbourhoods in America

This week on Footnotes and Finds

1. My March Playlist
2. Dark Florals

From the Archives

1. Top 5 Museums in Rome
2. 4 Easy Dessert Recipes
3. My November Playlist

Remember to follow along on our instagram,pinteresttwitterfacebook,and snapchat (@footnotesnfinds)

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

My March Playlist

Welcome spring! There is no better way to welcome the spring than with soft jazz/blues meets mellow hip-hop electronic-ish music and thats why this playlist starts with Marian Hill and ends with Petit Biscuit. This is--indeed-- a very mellow march (good alliteration!) playlist. We have many soft, melodious and cinematic players like Låpsley and the Broods. I hope you like these collection of artists, that work for any situation really: zoning out on public transportation, working out, studying, cleaning, walking, doodling, and cooking. Its the kind of music that fills up the space around you like the background score of your life and by doing so you allow it to--or at least give the illusion of--time slowing down enough to actually feel and see the bloom of spring around you.


Friday, 18 March 2016

Friday Finds

Friday Finds is a series that Footnotes and Finds runs every friday where we share interesting, informative and fun finds/links from around the web. Follow along!

1. This brilliant article criticizes the concept of "Indian Curry" that was created by and is still used by the British. It was something I struggled with when I lived in the UK since as a person with a South Asian background that consumed Punjabi food daily and other regional Indian dishes often, I found Indian food in the UK strange and un-authentic (honestly...I couldn't recognize half the stuff on the menu to the point where my British friend had to explain dishes to the bewildered me). 

This article actually helped me articulate what my struggle was, it was that the dishes in the UK were created for the British and their tastes and it goes beyond that actually. That is that the concept of "curry" and the un-authentic menus were created under colonialism and today, it continues to perpetuate colonialism through the generalizing, pick-and-choose and dont-actually-educate mentality when it comes to the cuisine of a nation whose regional diversity in food is unlike any other place I have come across. why did most of the "Indian" restaurants I went to have chips (fries) on the menu?

2. This campaign for #MoreWomen shows how empty the world's top tables would be if we were to remove the men out of the pictures...quite striking and something to think about for those that think our work in creating equality and gaining equal opportunity has been completed. 

3. This interesting video shows what the world would be like if there were only 100 people. 

4. Another big campaign this month was the unfair and lovely campaign. This campaign targeted the light-skin bias in media and fair and lovely products and ad campaigns. It was also tied into the #reclaimthebindi campaign. 

5. loving this look for Spring

This week on Footnotes and Finds

1. What to Look for in a Travel Companion
2. Tata Harper Replenishing Nutrient Complex Review

From the Archives

1. Myth or Reality? 
2. Como + Milan: Outfit Diary
3. Snickerdoodles

Remember to follow along on our instagram,pinteresttwitterfacebook,and snapchat (@footnotesnfinds)

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Tata Harper Replenishing Nutrient Complex Review

I have been blessed with great skin. It runs in the family - both my mom's and dad's side. I have always followed a basic routine of cleansing, toning, moisturizer and exfoliating with a mask here and there. But it's no secret that I am getting older. So as I have started to pay more attention to my health I have also decided to focus on my skin as well. I'm not one that is really into makeup products - but skincare products are my thing! 

I was on the look out for a good oil.  I am drawn to toxin free and natural products. I am also willing to spend more and invest in skincare products than other things.  Enter Tata Harper Replenishing Nutrient Complex.  This is a light weight face oil that acts like a multivitamin for your skin! It is great for Nourishment, Radiance, Hydration and Protection for your skin. 

The Replenishing Nutrient Complex comes in a 10 ml bottle with a metal rollerball for $48 USD & $66 CAD. Apply all over your skin and neck and massage in circular motion.

It leaves your skin healthy and protected from the environment. Along with this, it aids in transforming chapped or irritated skin into a radiant complexion. It is a blend of oils full of amazing ingredients: 

Rose Geranium is used to improve your skin tone
Jojoba which leaves your skin soft and is deeply moisturizing
Alfalfa nourishes the skin with Vitamin A, B, C, D, E and along with this oxygenates the skin
Arnica which encourages a balanced skin by reducing redness and inflammation

Pros/ why I love it

*full of nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins for the skin
*love the rollerball application
*natural and toxin free therefore no nasty chemicals!
*smells great
*leaves your skin glowing, radiant and nourished
*leaves skin feeling really soft
*Absolutely love what it has done for my skin in every aspect!
*absorbs quickly into skin, doesn't leave a greasy film
*especially great for sensitive skin - since it is full of natural stuff and not harmful chemicals that usually cause irritation

Cons/ you might not like it:

I really don't have any cons, but here are some that I can foresee for some people:
*it does have a particular scent - you might not like it (I really enjoy the scent)
*the price point - it is a higher price point - (this in my opinion is a very good product to invest in) 

Buy it again?

Yes! This is one of my all time favourite skincare products! 

Check out our other REVIEWS of products

*note this post is NOT a sponsored post. The opinions expressed are my own personal viewpoints.  source: Tata Harper website

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

What to Look for In a Travel Companion

Both me and Prabh have travelled a lot - 19 countries combined and much of that travelling has been done together or with our other 2 sisters.  We are so lucky as sisters, we not only get a long so well in everyday life but are actually each other's perfect travel companions.  Prabh being the history buff and me being a foodie means we usually split the planning along those lines. I get to plan all the food related aspects and prabh gets to plan all the important historical sites to visit.  We know each other's pace as well, usually a lotting some days to intense site seeing with intervals of amazing food. We also prefer spending the hottest part of the day -usually the middle of they day - taking a short nap or resting in our hotel room after spending the morning out. Then we get dressed up and go out for a nice evening out.

Having travelled a lot and with various people, let me tell you, half your trip experience is dependent on your company.  You really have to have the same idea and picture of what you both want the trip to be. Whether it be an exploring trip or a more of a relaxing/ lounging trip or bit of both.  So I thought I would put together a list of what makes a great travel partner, companion or buddy, a sort of checklist if you will!


Some like to spend an entire month in one country whilst others prefer to try 4 countries in one month.  Being on the same page as your travel companion thus becomes really important.  Some people love fitting in tons in one day others like to take it more leisurely.  Some people are really fit and can walk the whole day and go on those challenging hikes but some people, due to various reasons, are not able to do so. Thus, it becomes quite important that you and your travel companion are on a similar pace or have agreed to a particular pace for the trip.


I would say this is number one on the list of compatibility when it comes to your travel companion. You really need to be on the same page about budget because this affects the entire trip - from where to stay (hostels vs hotels), to what kind of transportation, what kind of meals, paying for tours or self guided tours etc.


Some of us are history buffs, others like to experience the culture of the city/place. Some may be up for more of a partying time, while others may want to explore nature or be beach bums. You need to make sure you and your travel companion have the same or similar interests with some diverging ones so you can try something new!

As long as your history buff travel companion is okay with having a beach day and you love visiting all the historical sites with your history buff.


How well do you know each other? Are you comfortable travelling with this person? Have you been in difficult situations before with this person? Can you trust this person whole heartedly? Is this trip meant to be a test for your relationship? How much time consecutively have you spent with this person before? Is this a short fun getaway? Or is this a long trip or the trip of your lifetime? According to that you have to really assess your travel buddy.  This is after all the person who is going to share the memories and experiences of this trip with you.


Some people are introverted, wanting some time alone, others are extroverted making friends along the way and the need to be with groups or going out all the time. In general it might be difficult for introverts to travel with extroverts and vice versa. So it is key to assess - before going on a trip with your friend - your personality types. These are the kind of things that can sometimes ruin friendships or swear you off from going on a trip with that friend again.  So it's better to assess: How long will this trip be for? And will you genuinely be able to stand this person everyday for that amount of time? Also travel can throw lots of curveballs at you - different environments and sleep patterns and lots of different kind of situations that you might not have been in with your travel companion before. How does one react in those kind of situations?


Some people are Type A planners, that is that they plan every little detail and stick to it. They don't like deviating from it and feel less anxious and enjoy their time more this way. Then there are others that enjoy leaving space for some spontaniety or lots of spontaniety.  That is some like to book a hotel/hostel for destination number one and leave everything else open - destinations (not knowing where they will be going next), duration (how long they will stay in one place), and accommodation. Some like organized tours and some like to venture out on their own. Thus, it is key to assess where you and your travel companion are on this, because this sure can be the cause for many arguments if you don't agree!

Check out our Other Travel Posts!


Friday, 11 March 2016

Friday Finds

Friday Finds is a series that Footnotes and Finds runs every friday where we share interesting, informative and fun finds/links from around the web.  Follow along!

1. If you've ever been to India or Pakistan you will know that there is a lot of effort put into the decoration of commercial trucks and rickshaws. Now a Mumbai-based art collective "Taxi Fabric" is teaming young designers up with taxi drivers to transform taxis into travelling art pieces. Check out these amazing taxis for yourself! 

2. You dont have to be an avid film watcher in order to recount how badass Thelma and Louise are and what that movie meant for women and women in film. Unfortunately, as Geena Davis discusses in this article, not much has changed for women in film since. 

3. Stereotype: The Brits are obsessed with their tea. Confirmed personal experience: The Brits are obsessed with their tea. This cool collection of funny and legit charts discussing British tea etiquette is hilarious and insightful!

4. It is often times very difficult for society and, even more so, extroverts to understand introverts. Here are 6 really insightful illustrations of the differences between introverts and extroverts. 

5. Looking for a great way to make your workspace at home fun? Liven it up with some fun furniture! Like this desk or this one  (although i always gravitate towards the classic white ones - like this beautiful one! )

This week on footnotes and finds

From the Archives

1. all about comfort: my printed daisy pants
2. 5 ways to better sleep
3. spicy baby eggplants - Indian style  

Remember  to follow along on our instagram,pinteresttwitterfacebooksnapchat (@footnotesnfinds), and periscope (@footnotesnfinds)

Thursday, 10 March 2016

9 questions with tript & prabh

It has been amazing being on this journey with my sister and best friend. This blog has given us many opportunities and experiences that have been so fun to share with each other! We thought we would do something fun and share some fun facts.

want to know more about us? Here are some facts about Tript and about Prabh

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

handmade finds {march}

It's that time of the month! Time to showcase some amazing talented artisans and the beautiful products they create. The best part of the Handmade Find Series is getting to know each artisans story behind how they came about opening their shop.  Once again this month we have curated everything from jewelry to a crochet unicorn! Enjoy :)

JQ Vancouver was established in February 2013 by Chelsey Andrews who named JQ after her great grandmother Jane O'Quinn. Chelsey is a Fashion Design School graduate with a passion to create pieces with a minimal look yet with a touch of edge. JQ Vancouver's vision is to create jewelry that women love and name them their go-to accessories for every occasion!

JQ Vancouver is a line inspired by the effortless style of the downtown Vancouver girl. With a modern and minimalism approach to current trends, this line offers fashion forward pieces that are affordable, versatile and stylish with any outfit. 

The Double Pendant Necklace by JQ Vancouver is a simple and trendy necklace design that incorporates the layered look with one easy to wear necklace. Whether it be your favourite white tee or your go-to dress for the evening, the highly popular design is able to be worn with anything! 

Each necklace is handmade with shiny plated chain. This particular necklace has no closure, it simply slides over head. 
Chain Length: 30"
Disk: 24 x 19 mm
Tag: 48 x 12 mm

Mella Bella Designs features artisan jewelry, handmade by Melanie ~ a Ukrainian-Canadian teacher.  She specializes in beadwork and eggshell jewelry, inspired by her Ukrainian heritage.

This pendant is made from the shell of a Ukrainian Easter Egg (Pysanka).  It features a traditional star design, in orange and green on a white background.  The original Pysanka from which this piece of shell came was broken, which can be seen in some of the surface and edge imperfections. The epoxy clay in which the shell is set serves to stabilize and protect the egg shell, giving it strength and durability.  The laquer over top of the shell preserves the designed portion. The bezel setting, chain, and lobster-style clasp are antique gold tone plated.

Once upon a time, a bag of ‘jewelry junk’ fell into the hands of Jordyn. On a snowy winter evening, she took those broken pieces and turned them into something golden. Through the collection of vintage pendants from quirky spots around the Midwest, she created Striking Gold. Jordyn's inspiration come from her Italian grandmother; she was strong, smart and loving woman. Jordyn lost her grandma the summer of 2015 and now creates jewelry similar to the vintage styles handed down to her from her grandma. 

the necklace is a combination of a vintage geometric chain and olive green chain.  The necklace offers a rustic-chic look to any outfit.

Sarah Reimer has a passion for travel, photography, design, and all things creative.

In 2014, she left her home of Ontario, Canada, to travel Europe with her husband. Together, they adventured, finding a deep desire to see more of the world. Sarah began writing and photographing as a way to share her experiences with friends and family. She found her inspiration to begin Sarah Reimer Designs while living in Cambridge, England and hasn't looked back since. She now lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where she continues to pursue her love for travel, photography and the art of making while seeking out sustainable materials. She finds inspiration all around her, but especially in nature.

All of her cards tell a story. A story of adventure, passion, and creative endeavour.  

You can also follow along her travels and creative pursuit at

Ready to hang, frame, or send, this set of 4 Postcards will have you wanderlusting all the way to the hills of England and Ireland. Printed on handmade Mulberry (Saa) Paper, these products are eco-friendly and have a texture that is to die for! Set includes:

1: "Let's Take the Road Less Traveled" - Photo taken in the hills of the Peak District, England.

2: "Somewhere Only We Know" - Photo taken in Killarny National Park, Ireland. This road winds through the Gap of Dunloe (please go here if you ever visit Ireland!)

3: "Wild and Free" - Photo taken while hiking in Killarny National Park, Ireland. Purple Mountain route.

4: "(let's run away) To The Hills" - Photo taken while hiking the Peak District, England.

About the paper:

The mulberry tree (known as "saa" in Thailand) grows wildly and abundantly in Northern Thailand as well as neighbouring countries, Laos and Burma. Saa, or Mulberry paper, is made by hand from these trees, which includes shredding and boiling fresh organic matter, pressing, smoothing, and drying on large screens (or left in the sun to dry). This handmade paper is a sustainable and renewable source as no trees are cut down for this paper making process- the trees grow that rapidly. Thai artisans continue to produce handmade paper using the same technique they have done for centuries. 

As I am living in Thailand, I source this paper from a local shop, and have them printed here in Chiang Mai. The paper delivers a remarkable texture, but is smooth enough for writing/drawing. 

I started Captain With A Hook when I was 22. I am self taught and absolutely love what I do. I have a passion for creating handmade items. I love seeing the smiles my products create! We specialize in handmade, one of a kind crocheted stuffed animals. From unicorns to giraffes, to bunnies...oh my! 

This creation is 12 inches tall, and is a twist on the pattern by One Dog Woof. It can be created in the traditional rainbow or any fun variation! This little one comes with a heart on the foot to let customers know it was handmade with love.

We want to thank all the shops that participated in this blog post and partnered with us.  It was great getting to know and work with some very talented artisans! 
 If you have an Etsy shop or a Handmade items shop and would like to be featured in a blog post similar to this please email us for more information! 

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Montenegro + Croatia: Travel Round Up

We hope you enjoyed our travel series on Montenegro and Croatia. If you are still planning your trip for this summer, and are unsure of where to go and are looking for a destination with a combination of history, good weather, good food, amazing people, and nice swimming locations, then I would advise giving Montenegro and Croatia a real thought. Its not quite as touristy as other nearby Mediterranean destinations yet, so I would grab at the chance to go now rather than later! Also, there are other things that you can do that we did not cover like amazing hikes or visiting the many and lovely islands off the coast. 

So below we have provided links to all the things we have covered for your convenience:

We are also working with GPSmyCity to offer 20 of our lucky readers the chance to WIN a free download of a full-version city walk app to the city of their choice that is originally valued at $4.99. This perfectly in time for your Spring break plans or can be saved for your summer vacation!

This is what you have to do in 2 SIMPLE steps:

1. Follow us on instagram at @footnotesandfinds
2. Comment on the contest image (as seen below) on our instagram and state what city you would like to visit and would like the app for



Wednesday, 2 March 2016

how to deal with good and bad change

change: the two sided coin

Change is the only constant in life. Change means growth. Change can demand you to be patient or it can hit you suddenly.

Change is something we fear, and something I have always had difficulty with. It is something I have always craved for yet was afraid to take upon.  A desire for change pushed me to reach outside my comfort zone and move many miles away alone for grad school.  Big life changes have also come with lots of turmoil but have provided an understanding of the inner-workings of life - like the passing of my grandparents.

It is indeed important to realize life is full of changes. That is how life unfolds and so, change is an integral part of life. Through change opportunities are created, friends are made, relationships end, careers moves forward. Thus it is through Change that one develops as a human being.

So as we have discussed thus far:
Change is synonymous  with life
Change can demand you to be patient or hit you suddenly
Change often invokes fear but it also brings great things and moments in your life
There are also some changes that might not be so positive but sometimes essential

Thus it is important to realize the type of change and the dose of change which is healthy for you. In doing so you will be able to recognize what type of change is not for you.  Sometimes there is a certain change in your life that might set you back.  This is manifested in various ways - maybe you are not ready to move across the world, maybe you are not ready to be in the relationship, or maybe this might not be the right time to make a career change. In today's world we are quite obsessed with doing everything at once or taking upon too much. Often times this is influenced by the false reality presented by social media. It presents a false image of all these big changes happening in others lives that seem to be lacking in ours. So we seek constant change and the idea of busy.

Tweet: Our dilemma is that we hate change & love it at the same time;what we really want is 4 things 2 remain the same but get better -Sydney J. H. 

Change can be good, but change can be bad, so it is up to you to figure out in which type of changing situation you strive in and which one stunts you.

An example of this is when I moved away for Grad School:

All my life I wanted to go away for school, experiencing living away, new place, new people, and new experiences. But as I grew older, with my anxiety really taking a toll on my health, the fear of moving away became bigger and bigger. So after my 2nd undergrad degree I decided to apply for grad schools and so I applied all over the country, the continent and across the pond in England. I got into every school I applied to - except for one - the one that was here, in my hometown. I received a scholarship to one in my home country but on the other end and was accepted to another program just a few hours away in the states.  To add to this I got into one of the best/competitive schools to get into in my field - and it was in England. 

I had taken a year off after undergrad and did not apply to grad school because I wasn't ready to move away. But here I was a year after faced with really hard decisions.  I took my time to think and I decided it was time to get out of my comfort zone. It was time to take the leap of faith.  I gathered all my courage and thought it was time - time for change - how could I let such a wonderful opportunity go? So I moved across the England. 

I enjoyed my Masters program and made some great friends. But it was one of the hardest years of my life. My anxiety and depression hit me harder, I ended up in the ER twice ( I have a legit fear of hospitals). I was so sick at one point that my mom had to fly in to be with me. My professors had me wanting to put my dissertation on hold for a year. But I somehow pushed through, upon reflection I honestly feel it was because of the unconditional support of my family. I came back home early and finished my dissertation on time from home. And finished with good marks. 

Am I glad I went? Yes. Am I glad I got to experience going away for school and meeting wonderful people? Yes. But in hindsight, I wasn't ready. And that resulted in my depression hitting me mid way through the year, which coupled with my anxiety and being so far from my emotional support system, resulted in me being in the ER in a foreign country. Till this point in my life I had not really dealt with or tackled my anxiety + depression. I had just pushed through (the only way I knew how to cope) and naively thought I would be able to do the same this time. But I wasn't able to and the consequences were not so great.  

Thus, taking upon this change of going to Grad School and moving so far away was probably not done in the right time in my life. Meaning, it was not the right dose of change that I could handle at that point in my life. In fact, it stunted me in some ways. I have been traumatized about living alone and so far from home ever again. The good outcome was I learned a lot about myself and have decided to focus on dealing with my anxiety and depression.

An example of a good change for me is taking on a healthier lifestyle:

Health has been a constant struggle for me since I was an infant. I have had to deal with many health complications and visits to the doctor and specialist offices, making it a routine for me. But as I mentioned in this post, being proactive about my health has always taken a back seat for me. I was too focused on my academics and moving forward to become "successful" in life that I didn't realize that without good health none of that is possible.

My biggest wake up call was going away for Grad School and realizing I couldn't ignore my health anymore. Before leaving for Grad School, when I was starting to realize that I needed to pay some attention to my health in a proactive manner, I had seen a naturopath and had been on supplements and a strict no gluten/wheat diet.  But it was honestly once I got back from Grad School I decided that this was it, I need to make a CHANGE. A change in my lifestyle and needed to live a more healthier lifestyle. Whether that was sleeping at regular time, going for walks, going to yoga consistently, eating in a healthier manner or just taking time for myself.  This change was needed in my life in order for me to live a positive life. I also decided to tackle my mental health issues as well.  This was a scary change for me, but it was something I had to tackle head on.  

Through these two examples, that are in actuality linked, I wanted to demonstrate, firstly, that change can be good. Secondly, that change can be bad if you do not realize that the timing of the change or the dose of the change might not be right for you right at that given time. Lastly, that a single change, so in my case going away for Grad school, can produce many other changes that can be both positive and negative, making change a constant part of our life.

Get out of your comfort zone? YES! Take that leap of faith? YES .....BUT at the same time assess before doing all that. Really assess.  I'm sure we all want to drop everything and go on a crazy adventurous year long trip like the ones that our social media is flooded with, but really assess if this change is something you really need right now. If so, then you just need to GO! But if it realistically wouldn't be the right thing right now in your life as in you might not be mentally or physically ready for it then it can in turn have many adverse effects on your life moving forward. For example, a trip taken at the wrong time for you may become a negative experience because you're not in the right frame of mind or you're not physically fit enough to participate and may end up ruining the idea of travelling for you in general or travelling to that particular area etc.

At the same time we must remember that if change is a constant then we can retain the hope that if something is not for you right now in life, like that amazing trip, then it may be in the future.
We must learn to view ourselves and our lives in a more flexible manner and not be so rigid. This means, that although identifying what changes may be bad for us in the present is a good thing we must not deter ourselves from thinking that that means that particular change is now and forever impossible for you, because that is simply not true. Another important thing to remember is that even bad experiences from changes you were not ready for have some positives to them, you just have to learn to see them and this way the bad changes wont have an entirely negative impact on you.

So, do I regret any of my experiences brought through by change no - because to me that is part of my life's journey  and you grow as a person and I can look back and learn.


Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Montenegro + Croatia: Travel Diary part 4

If you want to refresh your memory on what the other 3 travel diaries covered here they are:
travel itinerary
travel diary 
part 1part 2 and part 3

Day 10: 2 buses later we are finally in Split!

We started our journey from Herceg Novi really early in the morning and stopped over in Dubrovnik to have lunch and switch buses. The bus ride itself took altogether about 7.5 hours, but was broken up in the middle a few times (once in Dubrovnik and once in Bosnia for a washroom break). We had more time to spend in Dubrovnik, which we gladly took and found a place to quickly eat pizza and stock up on other food/refreshments for the rest of the journey.

View of Dubrovnik from above, taken on the bus so this is the best that I could do!

We got into Split in the evening and were received by Tia's cousin. We took the local bus to her apartment complex which was an under 10 minute bus ride or a 20 minute walk--so it was close to the central part of Split. Tia's Aunt made us delicious homemade food for our whole time in Split (they were just the loveliest people I have ever met!) and we went for drinks afterwards. After concluding we were too tired from the journey to do anything else, we decided to watch Zoolander and go to sleep so we would have energy for the next day in which we would do most of our Split sight-seeing!

Day 11: We walked and walked: sight-seeing extravaganza in Split

This day that we spent in Split will sound ridiculous to anyone who reads the following, but in all honesty we thought we were only going to be in Split for this one full day, which didn't end up being the case. Split is a peninsula on the Adriatic Sea and its earliest date is associated with the construction of Diocletian's palace (~305 CE), although there is evidence for earlier settlement in the area.

We started the day early by walking into central Split. It was a really warm day BUT it was REALLY windy. And I mean 70 km/hr windy! We strolled the Riva waterfront first and then continued walking in and around Diocletian's palace and managed to see most of the gates. The Riva waterfront is bustling with locals and tourists. It is neatly packed with restaurants and shops on the exterior walls of Diocletian's palace on one side and the Adriatic on the other with a row of Palm trees dividing the wide promenade. 

We ventured inside what was Diocletian's palace and into the winding shops, squares and restaurants. This led us to the Cathedral of St. Domnius, which we opted to climb for a fee. The stairs are also (surprise!) winding and difficult but not even that difficult even at a low fitness level like me! Its worth it for the view of Split. Its by far one of the best views I have ever seen in my life. Yes it was windy and yes it took me a while to catch my breath but I would do it again!

Cathedral of St. Domnius

View of Split from the top of the Cathedral

It was so windy that yes, I took time to take a wind-flustered selfie!

Tia and her cousins going down the winding stairs of the Cathedral

We then visited the Temple of Jupiter and went into the basement of Diocletian's palace. Since Tia and I both are Classical Archaeologists we were beyond excited with what we got to see in the basements even though other people have described it as empty rooms (they are so not!). 

Me so interested in the Roman architectural ingenuity

Tia at the other end
At this point we went back home for lunch as Tia's aunt so kindly had prepared it for us (seriously the kindness level was unreal). And after we rested for a bit Tia's cousin told us that her friend was willing to drive us up to the Roman site of Salona. It is 5km outside of Split and overlooks the city. It was once the Roman capital of the province of Dalmatae. It is a phenomenal site and if you are in the area, with a car and into your Roman stuff this is a must visit! It was a very scenic site and there weren't any guards on site or a fee to get in. There were a lot of locals out for their evening stroll with their children or walking their dogs. 

Tia doing what we archaeologists cant stop ourselves from doing: jumping right in there 

We waited at the site for about 20 minutes for Tia's cousin's friend to come and pick us up. It didnt feel too long since we waited with two grandmothers who had come with their grandchildren. One of the grandmother was very active and even told us about the amphitheatre nearby, drawing a map to it in the dirt. She then also named me Svjetlana because of a miscommunication that led to her believing that it was the nearest translation of my name. But it didn't matter, the name stuck and all of Tia's family jokingly called me that for the remainder of the trip.

So we embarked on an adventure to find the amphitheatre off of the grandmother's map. After many dead ends we finally found it and felt very accomplished. By the time we reached the amphitheatre the sun was setting...and guess who we bumped into there? The same grandmother who told us how to get there!

We went back home exhausted. Tia's aunt informed us that her brother wanted to take us to visit Šibenik and that Tia's grandmother was also going to make the trip to Split to meet us. This meant that we willfully extended our stay as we were already enjoying ourselves so much that we honestly didn't feel like leaving just yet. 

Day 12: The day we were supposed to leave but ended up in Šibenik aka King's Landing

We were picked up by Tia's uncle after breakfast and drove about 1-1.5 hours to reach Šibenik. We stopped over at Tia's uncle's house where we met Tia's aunt, cousin and her cousin's wife. After enjoying some tea and light snacks we were then taken into Šibenik itself by Tia's cousin and his wife. Šibenik is located where the Krka River flows into the Adriatic and it is also the oldest native Croatian settlement along the coast, so it was unique in many respects. It is also the set for King's Landing from Game of Thrones along with Dubrovnik, something that came up quite a lot as Tia's cousin, cousin's wife and uncle were extras in the last season. 

We walked around the city itself and let me tell you it was the warmest day out of all the days we had been in Montenegro or Croatia ( 20 + degrees celsius). We saw the Cathedral of St. James and all of its Gothic and Renaissance glory and then we walked along the marina and port. We then went to a Cafe called Banj on the Marina where we had coffee/tea/refreshments. We sat outside and just from sitting outside for that hour I got a tan--it was that warm! We then decided we were hungry and ate pizza along the marina before being driven back to Split. 

The drive back to Split was scenic as usual and we even stopped to take pictures at this high point. The geography and urban planning of this area never ceased to amaze me no matter how long I spent in this area. The islands, the mountains, the water, the foliage, the buildings, the history, the modernity all collided into this wonderful and breathtaking landscape and experience. We returned home to yet another warm home-cooked meal by Tia's aunt and watched another movie. We were again convinced to leave the day after tomorrow, so we spent Day 13 with family and relaxing at home. 

Day 13: A nice relaxed last day in Split

We took this day easy and spent time with Tia's aunt and grandmother. We visited Tia's uncle's grave and had coffee with a few of Tia's cousin's friends. We then stayed in, ate, talked, watched another film, sadly packed and went to sleep. 

Day 14: The day we finally had to leave Split and return to Herceg Novi

FACT: If we didnt have a flight the next day, we probably would have stayed in Split longer. So as you can see, we really tried to extend our time in Split to the last day as possible. Tia's aunt made us lunch and snack for the way that we then consumed on a bench in the old port of Dubrovnik. We then ventured around Dubrovnik one last time and could tell that things were beginning to change with the tourist season approaching. We had ice cream and headed to our bus back to Herceg Novi. 

Upon our return to Herceg Novi, Tia's cousin from Serbia packed his things as he would be returning home with the 9pm bus, we took Tia's family in Herceg Novi out for dinner one last time and then Tia and I packed and called the amazing taxi-driver we had met upon our arrival to drive us back. We were beginning to realize that our amazing trip was ending and it especially felt real once Tia's cousin left us at 9. 

 We walked around Dubrovnik again

Climbed halfway up the fortress at Dubrovnik

Day 15: The return to Oxford

We woke up and had our early breakfast at Gradska Kafana. The taxi driver was on time and we drove through intense thick fog which scared Tia for her life (but she has never been to Punjab in the winter...that is the scariest fog in life). We were on time for our flight and upon arriving in England had an excruciating 4.5 hour bus ride back to Oxford.

I hope you have enjoyed my travel diary for Montenegro and Croatia and will put it on your travel list. I have left out a lot due to bad memory or because there is far too much to include from a 2 week trip that I just couldn't fit in.

Note: A few pictures were taken by Tia

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