How Solo Travel Changed My Life

In the begining of my traveling days, I never thought I would turn into a full fledge solo traveler and take the term ‘the world is your oyster’ to such great lengths that it became my lifestyle.

As I write this I am on a solo trip in Spain. Last year I did participate in my first group trip in about 10 years, and then of course in true Petrena fashion, after the group trip, I was off on my solo adventures once again. Previously to all of this, I backpacked all around Central and South America, and completed a solo trip across Africa, from South Africa to Egypt, carrying a portable massage table. As much as I love traveling with people, I also love traveling alone for so many reasons. Solo travel enriched my life in countless ways.

My passion for travel and adventure also has me incredibly excited for this travel event coming up in Calgary on March 19th, 2020, hosted by Nomad Junkies called #Nomadtalks, showcasing and inspiring others like you to travel further, longer.

It got me thinking of the ways solo travel have impacted my life.

1. Pushed Me Into Growth

There is nothing like showing up to a country that you know nothing about, do not speak the language and are not familiar with the culture. It is exciting, nerve wracking, at times mentally exhausting, and the best way to uplevel your mindset in a very short period of time. You are in charge of navigating, communicating, keeping yourself safe and also finding the most epic adventures that the destination has to offer. Your intuition will become sharper and shaper as you continue to use its guidance to get you places. You will be challenged in so many ways, and suddenly the comforts of home are not an option. Through it all you, you will gain massive leadership skills, and I mean leadership of self. Which is priceless, as you can not be a great leader of others if you are not first a great leader of self.

2. Got To Know Myself Very Deeply

The best way to get to know yourself is to actually spend time with just yourself. Put yourself in new and foreign situations and you really start to see what makes you react and also what makes you tic. You have plenty of time to just be in your head and in your thoughts. You begin to discover things about yourself that you never knew, or perhaps forgot about since your early days. Passions new and old will arise. It is almost as if epiphany after epiphany happens. You return far more grounded in yourself, your values and who you are then you could have ever imagined. For this relationship with myself, I am forever grateful to my solo travel experiences.

3. More Connected With People As A Whole

This for me was so amazing. There was countless times where I have been in very remote places, and also very metropolitan places that I do not speak the language, and they also do not speak my language. Yet, through alot of charades, broken languages and at times frusteration as we had so much we wanted to say, we were still able to communicate. I formed deep bonds with people all over the globe not speaking the same language at all. Nowadays things are even easier as we have google translate. Last year when I was solo in Zanzibar, I met another solo female traveler from Russia who didn’t speak a word of English, and my Russian is also non-existent. Thanks to google translate we had the best time and lots of endless laughs. Picture the two of us having a cocktail at the bar and passing a phone back and forth cracking up. My biggest lesson in this respect is that no matter where we are in the world, people are people. We can be very different in values and beliefs, but at the end of the day we are all the same. When you realize that, you can connect with virtually anyone, and that is a beautiful feeling.

4. Greater Appreciation For The World

Unless we get out from our little bubble, we will never see all the endless beautiful and amazing things this world has to discover. Alot of times we can get stuck under the impression that the world is a very scary place, so we play it extra safe and don’t venture off too far. For myself, the further I have gone the further I want to go and the more beauty I find, the more beauty I want to discover. Of course there are dangers, and we must use our wits about things, but we should never let fear take over and stop us from discovering all of lifes splendors.

I have had the pleasure of staying with locals in the townships of South Africa, to rural villages across the continent and likewise in Central and South America. Places where most other travelers won’t go because they are told never to visit there unless you are on a tour. I prefer getting the real experience, so in my solo traveling history I have always made friends with locals and families who invited me to come and stay. When you are there with locals from the community, you are always well taken care of. Many times people endlessly thanked me for coming as that never happens. I have gained such an apprecation for everything this world has to offer. There is so much heart opening beauty.

5. Proved To Me That The Only Cure For The Travel Bug Is To Travel More

Those of you who have gotten biten by it know – the travel bug is relentless. There is no real cure. You can simply put it into hibernation for a bit by giving it a taste of what it loves so much. I feel like I was born with the travel bug, it was engrained in my being. At times it calms down and I settle for awhile, but that never lasts forever as when he doesn’t get his travel fix he begins to awaken from his slumber demanding some adventure. The travel bugs appetite is insatiable. Of course I have also grown to love my travel bug, so I like to be a good host. I mean what else can I do, he seems to be with me for life. Plus, the cure also happens to be what sets my soul on fire. Why work against some things, when it is so much easier to work with them.

Has solo travel been something that you want to discover for yourself as well?

Something I didn’t have when I began my global travel was tools. Tools and knowledge that would have made the whole process even more smooth. I just jumped right in and went for it, which is also great. I love learning as I go, but it is even better to have some mental preperation and also know your options.

If you dream of traveling for 6 months or longer, then knowing your options and how to make it happen, will help immensely. If you are interested in learning more about the nomadic lifestyle then I definetely suggest checking the #Nomadtalks event that will be happening in Calgary. Nomad Junkies will be hosting their first ever event in Western Canada presented by International Experience Canada, and in partnership with Tourisme Alberta on March 19th. I am super excited to also announce that I will be a guest speaker at the event.

Tickets are available here.

I will also be hosting a giveaway on my facebook page, so go give that a follow if you want to be kept upto date on how to win your seats!

The event will consist of three talks, all of them travel related, and all full of amazing tools to get you on your way to treking the globe.

The first talk will be by David Xiao of Trailing Adventures. His talk is ‘Hiking from Mexico to Canada: Everything You Need to Know to Trek the Pacific Crest Trail‘. David is an adventure blogger and has great inspiration to share. This is an amazing trek that I would even love to do one day. I am very excited to learn about this.

The second talk will be by Safia & Emilie from Nomad Junkies. Their talk is ‘Work Your Way Around the World: How to Make the Most of Your Working Holiday Visa‘. Being the founders of Nomad Junkies, these two ladies have done loads of traveling and have a wealth of knowledge about how to work and travel. Working holiday visa’s are amazing. I have had one myself before. It is such a great way to travel further, longer. So if that is what you want, this talk will be for you.

The third talk will be by none other then myself! My talk is ‘ The Ultimate Guide to Solo Travel: Wild Stories from a Woman Who Travelled the World‘. Solo travel is my jam. I have had some insane and also completely magical experiences. I have learnt the right and wrong way to do things, and I am excited to share all the knowledge I have gained on my global adventures.

The MC for the event is Rudy Desjardins of Radio-Canada’s Le Cafe Show.

There is an incredible giveaway too!

You could win a 1 week surf & yoga retreat in El Transito, Nicaragua.

The winner will be randomly picked on stage at the event on March 19th. So get your ticket!!

See you there!

Massive thank you to Nomadjunkies for collaborating on this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own and I share from personal experience.

Time to pack our bags!

I Tried Six Forma Facial Treatments And Here Are My Results

Touted as a ‘non-invasive’ facelift, the Forma Facial is a favourite of many A-list celebrities. It uses radio-frequency to target deep in the layers of the skin to improve skin elasticity and help build collagen. Recently, I received 6 forma facials in Calgary, Alberta at Rejuve Your Body which is in Kensington. Rejuve is exactly as the name, the most amazing place to rejuve your whole body.

I was on the search for something that could help with the loose skin under my chin. I like to keep things as natural as possible, so the less cutting or injections was what I was after.

I actually had no idea what to expect when I headed in for my first treatment. Forma was something I had not even heard about prior to this. However, when Rejuve owner Elanna Halisky explained to me about it, and how it was non-invasive and simply assists your skin to tighten, tone and produce more collagen – I was in.

From the first time I walked in the doors, every person I came in contact with was incredibly welcoming at Rejuve. To me it makes a massive difference walking into a warm environment. The treatment starts at the doors.

Before you begin the treatment you use a cleansing cloth to clean off all of the makeup and dirt.

And then it’s go time.

The wand of the machine used to do the treatment heats up and a large gob of gel is placed on the end of it and on your skin. This gel barrier is what makes it possible for the laser to be on contact with your skin and then also gives it the ability to penetrate deep into the layers of your skin.

The treatment itself actually feels very warm and relaxing. The temperature strength is adjusted for each individual person’s needs. As I laid there with my eyes closed melting into the treatment, I felt a sense of relaxation over my whole body. It really does not take long at all, it is about 30 – 45 minutes, depending on the areas you are getting done. This is why the nickname is the ‘lunch break’ facial.

After the treatment your skin is slightly red, simply due to the heat from the machine. However, there are no other side effects, and you can immediately notice a tighter smoother look to your skin. Depending on your personal goals a series of 6 – 8 sessions is recommended for the most dramatic and long-lasting results. Luckily, Rejuve has packages that make this a much more doable process. I did 1 treatment a week for 6 weeks, and my results blew me away.

One thing I noticed after a few sessions was a renewed self confidence. Not that I lacked confidence before this, but it definitely brought it to another level. I never imagined a facial would do that for a person.

It has now been a month since my last treatment and my face just continues to change for the better. The forma facial tightened all my loose skin and as I am working out and eating healthy to transform my body, my face is following suit. I feel the forma facial gave my skin a massive boost which has enabled it to continue to progress and change. I am definitely a believer thanks to Rejuve Your Body.

Self care is always a good idea.

The Must-See Sights When Fall Makes A Brief Appearance In Calgary

Fall is such a spectacular time of year. With the leaves changing to hues of yellow, orange and red. The cooler crisp temperatures meaning more layers of style – which is always exciting. Plus Calgary’s skyline looks pretty picturesque from all of its colourful angles.

The only problem with fall is that it is far too short. It always feels that no sooner does it arrive, does it then finish. I make it a point to always be very mindful to get out and take it all in while I can. Especially being in Calgary, and knowing potentially fall will literally only make a peek-a-boo appearance.

The great thing about the city of Calgary is there are plenty of stunning spots to enjoy. It is so easy to take a leisurely stroll in the various areas of the city only to find yourself to get lost in it all and have suddenly spent the better portion of the day basking in its ambiance.

It is also very easy to take a couple short drives in a day to enjoy plenty of Calgary’s breathtaking beauty all in one go.

A great place to start is up at Cresent Heights. The view is spectacular.

You can park your car there for up to two hours, and then, take the stairs down, cross the bridge over the Bow River, where I highly suggest you stop for a moment to appreciate its beauty.

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Then you can head straight into Prince’s Island Park.

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I absolutely love Prince’s Island Park.

It has such various charming factors to it, and when you are strolling through you suddenly no longer feel you are in the middle of a city. Rather you are transferred to a magical little naturistic getaway.

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The architectural masterpiece the Peace Bridge is a short walk through Prince’s Island Park.

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It was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Perhaps the fact that he is Spanish makes me a bit bias as to my grand appreciation for it. Spain is my other home.

That aside, it is a nice bridge to meander across.

While you are admiring bridges here in the city. It is also an easy and short trip to East Village, where there is another unique bridge surrounded by bike paths for you to cross.

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Climbing mountains and crossing bridges, that is what we do in life. Metaphorically speaking.

So go on then, what are you waiting for? Cross a few bridges in Calgary. You will not be disappointed.

From there it truly is only proper that you end the adventures by putting a cherry on top of your sightseeing day.

Or perhaps I should say a saddle. I mean this is Cowtown we are talking about.

Just another short jaunt from East village you will find yourself in the historic area of Inglewood. Where you will also easily find Scotsman’s Hill.

Here you get an unbelievable view of the Saddledome and Stampede Park, not to mention another angle to the shimmery city line.

The feeling up there is lush and serene. A whole mix of incredible things.

This is an extraordinary day of fall sights to take in, in Calgary. Believe me, it was a feast for the eyes the whole time.

Now let’s get back to the point about taking it in while you can. While it lasts. Within 24 hours of this day, winter arrived. With bountiful and colourful leaves still on the trees and fall begging to stay around longer. The snow just couldn’t resist flying.

It is amazing, in two days we experienced two seasons. Mother nature just loves pulling fast ones on everyone here in Calgary.

What can I say? Rain or shine, fall or winter – this city is a stunner.

9 Round – My Newest Workout Addiction

Happy endorphins, a good detoxing sweat, working your muscles, torching fat and getting your blood pumping. That is what a good workout is all about.

No matter where I am in the world, I love working out and keeping my body happy and healthy. We only have one body, and I intend to keep on adventuring the heck out of life, so my main source of transportation needs to be in tip-top shape.

I recently joined 9 Round at the Varsity location here in Calgary, Alberta. It is all about kickboxing, and up until this point in my life I had never done kickboxing, and I do love trying new things.

The best part is, is that it is only a 30-minute workout. Don’t let that fool you though, it is tough. You will get your butt kicked.

Every day the workout changes so you never plateau, the staff are phenomenal at this location(which is why I chose this location), and as per the name, you do 9 rounds, and each round is 3 minutes.

You can also wear a heart rate monitor to track that you stay in the fat burning zone, so you will then also know you will get the afterburn where your body will continue to burn extra calories after your workout.

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It is amazing how long 3 minutes can feel when you are pushing through some of the exercises.

Another realization I had was that I never knew that kicking and punching a bag could be so much fun! Seriously if you are feeling any sort of stress, then this is the best way to get rid of it. It is so satisfying.

Before you get going you have to get geared up.

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I feel so cool and badass when I have all my gear on.

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It’s the simple things in life really. Like wearing a pair of boxing gloves.

There have been days since starting that I have not been able to walk the day after. Which is awesome! And because you are having so much fun doing it you don’t really notice how hard you are working.

So many people get these incredible results from doing this workout, I am excited to see what my progress will look like.

Yes! To awesome gyms and always striving to be a better YOU today than yesterday.