PASEO Program Adventure- Day 5: Huanchaco, Peru

Today happened to be one of the calmer days in my schedule, so I’ll keep today’s post short, so as not to bore any reader more than usual. Today’s class focused on Spanish grammar, which I’m still trying to wrap my head around, so I’ll save that for another day. 

Upon waking up in the morning, I went to the local gym and purchased a month-long membership. I don’t know if there’s something in the food that’s promoting fitness, or the hard toilet paper that causes this motivation to be more active, but I promise I’m going somewhere with this train of thought. Self-care is an important facet of life that so many of us tend to overlook during our day-to-day hectic, jam-packed, stressful lives. (The list of adjectives could go on, but seeing as this is life and nearly everyone can relate, I think you get the point.)

If we don’t look out and care for ourselves, how can we expect to do so for others? If we are continuously running on empty each and every day, how can we realistically expect to give the most of ourselves to those around us? Think about it this way. If your child, parent, grandparent, significant other, or close friend spoke about feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, what would likely be your initial response? Probably something along the lines of, “You need to take some time for yourself to relax and do the things that you enjoy.” Tell me this. Why is this any different for us?

Why is it that more often than not, we are able to be a helping hand to those around us who are experiencing difficulties, yet we can’t find the means to give ourselves the same level of care and support? Granted, just about everything in life is easier said than done, but it’s truly interesting if we really take the time to think about it. If we can give such great advice to those around us, why can’t we do the same for ourselves? 

You’ll have to excuse the fact that this post is seemingly all over the place, but after testing out this new gym (which includes a personal trainer everyday), I feel sore in places I didn’t even know exist. Maybe that will explain the lack of organization and cohesiveness in today’s post, but there is a message (or at least I think there is). 

Think about advice you would give to a loved one. We each deserve that same level of care, support, and love in our lives as well. And somewhere along the way, it has to start with self-care and treating ourselves as well as we would tell loved ones to treat themselves. We need to make time for ourselves so that we don’t run on empty. Because as harsh as it may seem, no matter how hard we may try, we can’t be of any help to anyone else if we don’t help ourselves first. And with that, I’ll leave you with a picture of a dog sunbathing by the beach because even he knows the importance of self-care. 

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Simple Quote Sunday

“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.”
-Oprah Winfrey

Day 3 At Canyons Village In Park City, Utah

Upon waking up in the morning, we grabbed a quick breakfast, and headed back to the slopes. The sights were incredible, and the skiing was great. I was able to fare much better off than yesterday, but still managed to fall a few times.

By the end of the day, my uncles told me that there was one slope left for us to ski down, in order to get back to the base of the mountain. I noticed a caution sign exclaiming that only intermediate and advanced skiers should ski down this mountain, but they told me not to worry about that. With a great deal of anxiety, I skied down the mountain alongside them (falling plenty along the way), and when we made it to the bottom, they told me that I had just skied down a double-blue mountain (which was much harder than anything I had done in the past two days).

Having a newfound level of confidence (and thankful to have been back at the mountain-base), we relaxed for the remainder of the afternoon, and went back into town later that night. As you can see from the pictures below, it began snowing at nightfall, which of course, led to throwing around snowballs (something I don’t think I have ever said while living in Florida).

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Day 2 In Cartagena, Colombia: Mud-Bathing at Volcán de Lodo El Totumo

We had an hour or so of down time in between seeing Casa Azul and an afternoon excursion. For our afternoon excursion, we drove to Volcán de Lodo El Totumo, which is a mud volcano located in Santa Catalina, Bolívar, in the northern part of the country. The mud volcano is forty-five feet high, so it’s a small hill to walk up upon arriving. However, the volcano is 6,000 deep, but the catch is that the mud is three times more dense than one’s body density, so even though the volcano is so deep, you float in the mud.

Volcán de Lodo El Totumo has been around for between fifty to sixty years. Some individuals were claiming that the mud had healing powers, and since there was so much violence in the area, the government gave the land to locals and had the locals test the mud to see what was in it. Results showed that the mud contains sulfur and various other minerals, and it is said that the mud has helped people with different types of cancer, people with acne, and that it helps soften skin too. And if you’re concerned about the cleanliness of the volcano (as we were), there is constant circulation inside the volcano, so the mud used by a few individuals changes every few minutes with the circulation.

Companies wanted to buy the land and build hotels and restaurants in the area to increase tourism and bring in more money, but the community said no because it’s their land and they take great pride in it. The land in the area is all very natural, and only locals or relatives of locals are allowed to work here.

When we arrived to Volcán de Lodo El Totumo, we were quite skeptical about what we got ourselves into. We climbed up a small hill with steep steps and a wooden railing on the side that we held onto for dear life. Once we got to the top of the volcano, we looked down and couldn’t believe our eyes. We had to climb down a small, and also steep ladder into the volcano, where we drenched ourselves with mud. From there, a local who works at the volcano took us and moved us to the corner. While in the corner, we were passed off to another individual who works here, and received a mud massage, alongside fifteen other individuals who can fit into this mud bath at the same time. After our five-minute massage, we were passed off to a different corner of the mud bath, where we had ten to fifteen minutes to float and relax, while continuing to cover ourselves with mud.

Once we got out and climbed down the hill, we were told to walk to the lake behind the volcano. When we got to the lake, local women held our hands and walked us into the lake. From there, we were instructed to remove our bathing suit (while under the water), as the local women scrubbed the mud out of our clothing. They also helped get the mud out of our hair and from behind our ears. Once we redressed under the water, and returned to the bus to leave, I noticed just how clean my bathing suit now was, and was extremely impressed with the abilities of these women!

To say that this was quite the experience is an understatement, but it just goes to show, you can’t judge a book by its cover. Although we were iffy about getting into the mud volcano at Volcán de Lodo El Totumo, we ended up having a blast, and knowing that we were able to help support a local, hard-working community and participate in something they take much pride in, was great, too. Besides, we came out with a fun story to share with others!

Just Take A Moment

It wasn’t until just recently that I thought to myself, “Holy crap.” I’m sure you must be thinking that if that’s the only thing I ever think to myself, then I might as well be better off not thinking. But give me a second to explain.

These last few days have been jam-packed with activities going on. Between class work, work for my internship, and other obligations I’m required to attend to, I feel as though I’m drowning in to-do lists. At this rate, you would never think that I had just had a week vacation, and believe me, this recent vacation is a mere memory fading away much faster than I could have ever expected.

Even before my break, I was feeling a little stressed and overwhelmed, so when I went back home, I visited a friend of mine who happens to be a certified hypnotist. She helped me forget about the world around me, put me in a great state of relaxation, and really stressed the importance of taking a moment to ourselves each and every day to meditate and feel tranquil. I even put a reminder in my phone that goes off everyday in the morning and at night to meditate.

So when I say meditate, what exactly do I mean? Great question. Of course I don’t expect you to whip out your yoga mattress while driving to work or in the middle of a business meeting, and begin feeling calm. Meditation can happen at any given point if you just give yourself a few seconds, while disconnecting from your surrounding environment. At any given point in the day, I would highly suggest taking a deep breath in through your nose, holding it for three seconds, and releasing it through your nose, while saying in your head, “Deeper Relax. Deeper Relax.” Really try to concentrate on your breathing, and when you do the above actions, you’ll begin to feel fresh and rejuvenated.

When you begin to feel like a big wave has just crashed over you and you’re trying as hard as you can to come up for air, it may be tough, but take a second to meditate. Really work on putting your mind at ease, and even do so before these feelings of exhaustion take control of you. I know life can be difficult at times, but nothing is more important than our well-being, so take care of yourself and just take a deep breath. The stacks of paperwork will always be there awaiting your time and effort, but your sanity and health won’t, if you don’t look out for your well-being. Remember: you owe it to yourself to take a moment to relax; so do just that.

Take A Breath

When did you last have a moment for yourself?
A moment to relax; a moment to unwind;
Time put aside to release what’s on your mind.
When did you last have a moment for yourself?

Do you recall last taking a breath of fresh air?
Enjoying your surroundings and smelling the flowers;
Not dwelling on the past or the upcoming hours.
Do you recall last taking a breath of fresh air?

When have you ever really opened your eyes?
Seen the sunrise and then watched it set
No worries at hand and no need to fret.
When have you ever really opened your eyes?

Let’s freeze the clocks and pause the time,
Breathe in then out; enjoy our prime.
Remember you need to often relax,
And cherish each second; before they slip through the cracks.