A Piece of Peace

Finding peace is one of the many facets of humanity that is necessary but can feel allusive at times. What is peace and why is it so important? Why should I care since life is zooming past me at a 1,000,000 miles per minute? Peace is something that happens even within the wakes of life; it never stops though it may feel diluted at times.

It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it.
And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.
– Eleanor Roosevelt –

No one said the process would be easy but it is a process necessary to foster growth amongst your peers, your community, and, ultimately, yourself. Peace is knowing there is always something bigger than you and smaller than you; that your hands are but a tool to lift and carry.

Peace is knowing that wherever you are is perfect for where you need to go. Enjoy the moment, a minute is only 60 seconds.

5 Simple Tips to a Successful Road Trip

The road trip; a great North American past time. It’s easy to see why: we’re glued to our desks, clothing racks, papers, and board rooms for 52 weeks of the year, expediently going from home to work.

We long to change the landscape that we are in (we are naturally nomads after all). To satiate this almost innate urge, a road trip is the perfect way to quench our adventurous thirst; it’s budget friendly and unbelievably involving.

It’s great to do with a couple of friends but what if your schedules don’t sync up? Go solo!

I relocated to BC from Southern Ontario in November 2018, driving across the beauty of Canada, completely alone. This was an amazing time to see the changing landscape of a country I’ve called home for the last 30 years. From the never-ending 20 hour drive through Ontario to the endless plains of Manitoba to the humbling and immense rockies bridging Alberta and British Columbia, it was an amazing 42 hours.

I arrived in one piece and this is how I did it:


1. Are we there yet?
Map out your daily distance goal

definitely lost map - gif
I mapped out where I wanted to be by the end of the day and how long it would take me. That way, I knew where I needed to be to stay on schedule. Plus, driving without structure or aim can lead to endless driving, becoming a hazard on the road – no bueno regardless of where you are.

I also booked all my AirBnBs the day before – I didn’t want to plan too far in advance because I know that circumstances can change, such as weather, unplanned stops, etc. It felt great to get to my temporary home for the night but also great knowing I was that much closer to my actual goal across Canada.

2. Black Gold
Plan out your gas stops

Black Gold. Petrol. Fuel. Gas.
Canada is a wild country, with many unknowns along the way. One of those unknowns is when your next gas stop is going to be.

The Trans-Canada / Hwy 1 stretches from coast to coast and some of it is just forest, mountains, animals, the blue skies above, and no cellphone signal… Beautiful sure but not somewhere you want to be left stranded, with no knowledge where the next town, Petro-Canada/Shell/Husky/Esso/Ultramar gas station is. 

What did I do to make sure I wasn’t stuck in the middle of Minnedosa, Winnipeg without any resources? During the first leg of the my trip, I tested to see how far a half tank of gas would take me. Then I would use that as my standard for how far I’d go until my next gas stop. Black gold issue solved!

3. Be Like Play-Doh
Stay Malleable and Make Adjustments
Be willing to make adjustments to your driving itinerary. Be self-aware and gauge to see how long you can drive for before fatigue sets in. 
 
I originally wanted to drive 10-12 hours per day when I set out on my journey but soon realized that was unreasonable. I settled on 8-10 hours per day.
 
Plus, don’t forget to factor in impromptu stops along the way! This is new territory and some of the most beautiful moments are unplanned like this gem below.
little joe lake - JCC road trip Canada
Little Joe Lake in Kenora, ON

4. Google Map Raps
Tunes and Dancing
Make a couple dope playlists. As humans, we have multiple moods and you WILL go through a bunch of them while driving. You’re left to you, yourself, and your own devises; shit can get dark but it also can get super light and happy. Which means you need multiple playlists!
 
And don’t feel afraid to bop, Harlem shake, herk-a-jerk, nay-nay, or whatever dance move you want. Your booty is stuck but the rest of you doesn’t have to be! Plus, this helps you to stay awake and aware.
 
Check out the Spotify playlists I made for my driving moods:

5. Snacks

Guys… let’s be real. There’s a real reason why “hangry” entered the Merriam-Webster dictionary… we’re an emotional bunch.

Don’t let your stomach/emotions get the best of you and feed your damn self. You won’t be able to judge your driving ability properly and you might miss some sweet views because you’re looking for the next pit stop to satiate that munchie habit you don’t admit to.


And that’s it! It’s not a complicated process and though it may seem daunting on paper, it is one of the best moments you’ll ever live through. 
 
After doing it solo, do it with a friend, do it in a different season, do it with no pants on… just keep it interesting! It’s always great to experience things from multiple perspectives, so get out there by any means necessary.
 
If you want to see my journey throughout Canada, check out my Instagram highlight (#JCCtoBC). Let me know if you have any other road trip tips!
 
it girl road trip gif

Be Water

20181022_075719

Having practiced Muay Thai for the last 6 years – the martial art known as “the Art of 8 Limbs”  – I’ve learnt a lot about myself and the world around me.When we train, we teach and learn at the same time. Whether we know it or not, we are absorbing information. We hold pads and spar to practice what we have learnt and to hone in on our skills.

– Repeat into Reflex –

Life is a lot like pad holding or sparring. When we hold pads, we are practicing the routines needed to execute in a real fight situation; making each motion fluid and sharp, almost second nature. When sparring, we are applying the routines learned through pad holding but to a partner that responds, really seeing how ingrained our practice really is. In each case, it is up to us to adapt.

Even in situations that seem controlled, we must have confidence in our partners to hit on target and to control themselves. If they were to miss their target, your development is showcased in your reaction; either you react to avoid injury or resist the urge to explode, which could result in injury.

Many times in life, we get hit or derailed, not knowing what to do next but to explode in response, leaving more damage than good. By preparing for the worst, through practice, education, meditation, etc., you are able to react by the instinct of reflex, not sheer emotion. By thinking logically through the hardest of times, we can trust ourselves in all circumstances.

Learn the ebb and flow of everyday life much like the waves of a typhoon; to have the ability to destroy but also flow around objects that are unmovable. If we chose to attack all the time, we would run ourselves ragged and may destroy more than build. If we chose to defend all the time, we would not advance forward and stand still waiting to block the next hit. It is the perfect balance and unison of the two that create the beauty of life.

Once we apply this to our everyday practice, nothing will ever stop us.

As the great martial artist, Bruce Lee, once said, “Be water, my friend”.

 

 

 

Eat if You’re Hungry – How Community Gardens Grew My Perspective

 

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“I keep feeding you and feeding you and feeding you…”
Wu-Tang Clan

Okay, the quote was a little out of context but hear me out.

I am a part of a community garden that has been around for over 6 years, so we know a thing or two about feeding. It’s a place where we learn about food, sustainability and each other.

Our garden is located in Malvern, an area within Toronto (Canada) that has had a rather unsavoury reputation in the past.  Despite what labels may have been attached to the neighbourhood, the residents persevere and thrive within the marginalized circumstances that affect them daily. One of the ways they are redefining the community is through communal gardening.

Malvern is the most culturally diverse neighbourhood in Toronto with nearly 90% of the community being a visible minority, according to a 2006 survey. Many of these residents are newly emigrated or first generation Canadian, bringing their own stories, recipes and “backyard” innovations to the table. I grew up and lived in Malvern for the first 25 years of my life and it was through the garden I felt the most integrated into the community.

But what is a community garden?

It is a common space, which can be divided in two ways, allotments or communal. In the allotment system, plots are assigned to individuals while in the communal system, all crops are shared and the space is maintained as a collaborative effort. Littles community garden, the garden in which I am a member and coordinator, is mixed with roughly half of the garden being communal.

But it’s more than just growing and harvesting. We donate roughly 10% of our crop yield to local food services and participate in various community events, bringing community members together through the medium of food. Also being community-based and a relatively young concept, a lot of times the imagination is the ceiling and you can experiment with many skill sets. I took what I was passionate about and honed in my media communications and marketing skills. Now we are on our way by innovating new communication methods, outreach and rebranding! <<check out my Portfolio>>

If you have access to a community garden, I urge you to visit, ask for a tour or participate yourself. It’s one of the greatest places to access organic vegetables and learn about the food systems that affect our globe. Feel free to comment below with any questions!

If you are in Toronto, reference the Toronto Community Garden Network for more information on gardens near you!