Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Sweet Sixteen for Meh Meh !



Our Girl turned the big 16 today !!!!!!!
I honestly can't believe that my little Bebe is an sixteener now !!!

We had celebrated big time in September at Trent with a huge party at the cottage with 20 of her friends for the weekend so this celebration last night was a little more low key :) 

We had Her BF Simon over after school and for the first time ever they were allowed to hang out in the basement  alonetogether ( I was home working ) . This in and of itself is a big change as before 16 it is family spaces only . We have been very very strict on our rules 
Then appetizer of homemade   salsa and frozen virgin piña colada for all and Didi joined us and brought her a nice birthday bag with her fave : money for jeans and candy !
Dinner was Shepard pie and Cesar salad and then chocolate pizza for a late dessert . 
Beauty was so cute at dinner and sweet and I loved seeing her sweet little conversations and personality blossom .





Then the big finale Simon got to sleep over !! She tucked him in the basement and was allowed at 6am to go wake him . Then go cuddle in her bed with him until 6:30am when we came in with the birthday basket of little stuff for her . It was a shock to see two people in her bed but very adorable and also set a milestone of turning 16 in our house ( official dating age !! Even though they have dated a full year !! ) hahah . Basket c I guess !








A few things this year to remark :

Beauty has really matured like a lot 

Her grade point average went up by 10 percent this semester and she is has honors on many subjects !

She feel in love with chimpanzees and ourangatangs this year 

She has a little sister in Tanzania now that we are sponsoring for 3 yrs for vaccines and education . Nemai is very important to her and we spent a lot of time together she and I researching this and bonding over serving those in need 

She has been dating Simon for a year now and they are really a great and loving couple 

She is much much much closer to me than a year ago and shows it a lot more consistently ( was a hard 3 yrs !! ) it feels so good when she shows me how much she cares 

Her dad is still her hero and her number 1 ever !!


She is in competitive hip hop  different studio and new level with stronger team  . Also solo competitor for lyrical contemporary !!!!

She is loving her new program at CSA 

She is all around a super girl with a big heart and tons of light inside of her and beauty 


We love you so much Reneesmee , meh meh , emmabella , Beachy girl!!!!!!!!!

Happy sweet 16 !!!!!!


breakfast this morning!
snacks packed for two:)






Friday, November 24, 2017

Turks and Caicos 2017 in Pictures




Best Moments:

Having Friends there!!!

Living like in a Commune

Me asserting myself with my milk

The  Dougnuts the last day (inspired by savvy)

Michael interuppting our sentimental toast with a story

Hubby Catching SK around the waist on the tube falling off

Trying to understand how these two superhuman people choose to go to the gym daily at the beach!!!

Sweetoothes

Potcakes Debate

The Heated Discussion Night

Cards and Canasta

Ella sweet emails

Facetiming home

Getting licked out at night as too loud

Most Embarassing moments reveal

All the closeness and happiness with my Hubby

Being with SK Daily

Literally Everything!!!






















Saturday, November 18, 2017

Turks And Caicos with Buddies 2017

I really feel over the last six weeks I have been all over . For adventures , for work , for business , for wildness and wilderness and now some relaxation

Home has not been very common for me this fall !

Ending a whirlwind of events and travels and work with some now very spoily days in Turks and Caicos with Hubby and our Bffs in a beautiful condo on the beach

We feel so blessed as last year our other bffs came and we had an amazing some and was truly so precious and unforgettable . We decided to carry on the tradition this year and share these days with friends
We are cooking up a storm together and swimming in the evenings , walking to the grocery store and just really relaxing and enjoying each others company

Soulkeepeer ( SK ) believe it or not had a double mascetony just six weeks again and a restructuration and has been through so much over the last months that this time together here is even doubly precious as she is well enough to be here

She can’t go in water so we got her all set up with an Inflattable tube tonight and a glass of wine and we push her around the pool and ocean

Currently it is 10:30pm and we haven’t eaten dinner yet but it is just about ready . Fajitas and spinach almond apple salad and some exclusive coffee ( Tim Horton ) for afterwards with Cinny buns . They are very late eaters like us so this is kinda pretty cool . We are all starving but fun to just take the night as it comes . Jazz is playing in the background and we are all in our cozy pyjamas and will eat on the patio by candlelight and the sound of the ocean . Not too shabby eh ? It’s been our dream forever to have friends at a condo on a beach and we managed to make it happen two years in a row

We are all kind of night owls which is pretty funny . We all don’t get so much sleep at night and then tend to fall back asleep pretty much within an hour of getting up in the morning

Finishing dinner last night at 11:45 pm was pushing it a little . I puked twice in the night from pure indigestion of the blue cheese ! Hubby as usual was super nurturing and kept waking me up by feeling my forehead in the night for fever . My dad also used to do that when I was little and I loved the attention

Today rained all day but three of us took a huge walk to one tip of the island and did a ritual I made up in a circle to make wishes that always come true from there
We also had a big jacuzzi with a big black family here for their sons wedding and got ourselves invited to the fancy wedding Sunday by the dad of the groom ( who is not paying for the wedding )

Tonight is a huge fancy smancy celebration for my girl Sk who has been through hell and back and very very much on the mend . We are treating them to a very sparkly cool restaurent and made sure they filled up on lots of cheese and crackers here at the condo to alleviate the need for them ordering appetizers lol ! We also suggested in advance coffee and dessert at the condo after . Haha

We are going early to walk a pot cake dog tomorrow . Maybe convince them to adopt it and we could borrow it once in a while ?

We all get along so wonderfully . Like family . We are so blessed to have such great friends in our lives . I remember the same feeling last year in the condo with the savvy’s . Just joy and happiness and laughs and fun
We are blessed . Very very much so . For us great friendships and close ones such as these are something we have always wanted so much in our lives . It enriches our lives in such a way only special friendships can


Today was gorgeous sun ( while yesterday tons of rain and clouds ) and we took SK out in the ocean in a tube without getting her wet . It was awesome . Then I took her in the pool in the tube . Everyone must think that she can’t swim or something ! She is the bravest girl I know

We took long walks to hot tub and then the pita shack for dinner and SKs craving for ice cream .

Last night at the fancy resto it was so fun and we laughed about all sorts of crazy stuff . We had sentimental toasts to SK for her recovery and was hilarious as Michael interrupted with a silly story right in the middle of she and I misty eyed with tears

We clearly told him to shut right up :)

We are into a super good and relaxed pace now and kinda feel like we live in a commune . We have wanted to play frisbeee and cards and never seem to find the time to do these things that we want to do between all the relaxing and laughing !!!

Tonight the security guard Of the hotel actually had to come and tell us off that we are too loud as we were peeing our pants laughing . We decided to share our funniest most embarrassing moments of our lifetimes ( things i would never consider actually articulating ) and SK’s mascara actually ran down her cheeks for many many minutes .

We went back to the condo after got kicked out of the public pool chairs and watched a stand up comic on tv instead

They are both workout fanatics and two of the healthiest people who walk the face of the planet . Each time they pass us at the pool coming and going to the gym we are so embarrassed to be asleep yet again in the sun . While we eat Oreos for dessert they eat bananas with almond butter . It‘s all a new perspective that is for sure !! And inspiring to watch it all play out in front of us living together . It’s certainly making us reconsider our lifestyle habits !


That’s it for now ! Miss my beautiful kiddos at home but not enough to come home yet! We are all too busy here trying to figure out how to become millionaires :)



Glass Castle



I have had some favorite movies on my life
Glass castle is by far my favourite and saw this last night
Written by Jeanette Walls I had also read the book which was ok but the movie was even better which is a rare experience

It touched a cord in me that has not been touched for a long long time .
Very dissimilar to my own life for certain , but many shared emotions .

Trying to run so far from my dad and his mental illness that seemed to swallow me like a large whale and encompass me
His illness overriding all the amazing and happy times we did have together

WhAt touched me so much in this movie was that the grown up daughter did finally come to an acceptance of her dad and the peace that ensued . Her family pushing her outside of what she thought capable . She found peace when she accepted her dad and his limitations. The acceptance of it led her to great joy and freedom
Both the younger and older daughter actresses were brilliant .

I was also reminded of the strong bond between my own daughter and her dad . Last year when he held her hands and looked deep into her eyes and asked that she trust him which she did and which he has so dilegently protected her trust every moment of every day since . I see what she will have with her dad that I did not and makes me so profoundly happy for her .
It made me so desperately happy for both of them and also so desperately scared . Loving so hard is risky business sometimes isn’t it ?

I saw myself in that daughter in the movie so clearly in so many ways . She was the daughter in me , the mother , the wife , the friend . The girl inside my woman .

She had to leave her life to come back to herself . Thankfully I did not . At the end when she wore her hair down at the table with her siblings and laughed and laughed I saw Freedom , acceptance and peace . I saw where I am now . I also felt sad for my path and my dads path that was unable to be completed in life but has been so much more in death .

Him laughing and her looking up , him protecting her and telling her how beautiful she was to him and how special . Him getting to her on a way that no other man ever would . The beautiful bond between father and daughter , one that I had very small glimpses of for a very short while in very small doses but there nonetheless . I know this now as I can remember the glimpses . I have allowed myself

25 memories on a Paper feels good enough . Sharing it . Writing about my experiences . Remembering who I am . Putting pen to paper . Remembering love . Love that was there . Fighting for it for myself . Reminding those around me I need to remember as much as I may show I want to forget

Don’t let great be the enemy of good is what I often say .
I loved this movie with my heart and soul and will ask everyone who loves me to watch it . Even if it was completely different than my life and circumstances so many of the feelings in it were mine

It broke my heart and saved it all at once

Watch the Glass Castle . It is a masterpiece not to be missed



Friday, November 10, 2017

Cried of Joy



I am not sure if I have ever  done this before in my life ?
Maybe when got married walking down the aisle ( but maybe fear ? )Or when babies born ( combination of joy and fear and being overwhelmed? )

But last night for about 1 full minute in bed  as I tried to fall asleep I just cried of joy . Because of my beautiful wonderful amazing daughter .

She got me . I got her. Yay !!!!

It's like I was there in bed with a big smile on my face and a huge big secret in my heart . This is what I dreamt  of my whole life when dreaming of having a girl ; these kind of moments of inexplicable joy and closeness .

And I have had some moments like this for sure before  with her but not nearly  enough .  And for years I have not given up no matter how much she tries her hardest to push me away and I never cave in . Never . I never ever ever gave up on her and I most certainly never will .
I am her rock . I need to be strong for her .

Last night we were going to sleep early after finalizing packing for Turks and Caicos and hubby and I were just lying in bed . She came into our bed and spent a long while there just talking and cuddling and hugging and even truly crying she wasn't coming with us . And very sad we were leaving and how much she would miss us .
And not just her dad .
Me !!! Me !!!!
Like in a big big way . Like huge hugs and love  and sincerity and empathy and love and kindness . And even tears . Because she was missing us ??? 
Omg . Miracle 
This was one of best moments of my life .   Maybe even the best . For real 

In that moment I saw everything so clearly . Like the past and the present and the future . Especially the future . Of the moments she and I will share . The special ones and the harder ones . The graduation and the wedding and the babies and the Sunday dinners . I always saw it all and knew it was there but this time I felt it in deep places 
We connected in a way that built a bridge between us and we will never go back . Never 
I saw her and she fully saw me . She felt me and felt for me . She was in that moment so incredibly and blissfully happy to be mine 
She understood just how much I adore her and always have 
She got that She is totally worth fighting for 
It was love at its finest moment And went on a very long time .
And made me not want to leave on vacation or leave her
Seriously I would have given up these two weeks at the beach to just hold on to all of that 

Chase joined in too in bed for a long while and then Bear .  My babies . These three kids are honestly my heart and soul . I am not prouder of anything in my life . It was all there in that bed saying goodbye last night ( ps  we travel a lot and usually it's a simple " love you ! Have a great time ! And big hugs )

Teens can be so hard and annoying but in a way it’s a myth as so much more of the time they are fun and nice and so cool to be around


(Won't even talk about the sweetness of the boys in this blog today as I have talked about them many many times  before - They were so sweet and kind too )

This blog is about Her 

Somehow we got to her  . Especially her . I  worked my butt  off to get where we are today . Last night I cried of joy . And I have never done that before . It felt amazing . 
I am completely and utterly and wonderfully in love with my girl . I seriously must have dreamed her to life many many years ago . 

She is a true Beauty inside and out . I adore seeing her grow into the girl and woman she is and  will become . It is a massive honour and privilege that I will never take for granted 

Love you forever and a day my darling Renesemee  . Thank you so very very much . 


Mommy 

Cortez Day by Day

First chance I have had to post my day by day experiences of Cortez . Very likely not interesting to anyone as too long but super important for me to remember every detail
Thanks to so many who made such beautiful comments by email on my summary of Cortez blog !


I am now believe it or not away again and working and will soon be enjoying some vacation time with my hubby in Turks and Caicos .  Here are the details of my Cortez trip !



Night 1 overnight travel 

I can be sure of one thing : I will learn a lot about myself in this trip 

It's not easy getting to an airport with a group of 6 others you don't know ! And know you will be with for 11 days . 
The first practical joke they played on me ( stealing my phone ) kinda broke the ice !
Nice relaxed pace and group so far . I was only one who brought a travel pillow so got to sleep an hour and a half on plane ( we had to transfer in Mexico City at 4am )
I felt a lot of anxiety when luggage was not arriving but quickly told myself I could manage with just Suncream and a bathing suit  if I had to ( ah probably not ! )

So far :
I  realize I was smart not to eat  cauchon Poutine  and octoberfest at airport !even though I am awake most of night . So many of them have cramps 

I am so much more relaxed and less high strung and less irritable than I am the last year than in my whole adult life . Finally :))
Paul is going to protect me the whole trip . He had taken me under his wing already and literally takes my shoulders and steers my body in the right direction and makes sure I put enough cheese in my bagel ( he is 73 ) 
I super want a Krispy cream donut right now at gate ( or a dozen ) but I settled for a bottle of water at 5am . Hmmm- hard decision. Jury is not out yet in this . Ok .. ok . I caved and was worth it . Yummy 

Day 1 l a Paz

Well it is in theory day 2 but feels like day 1 because have not slept ( nobody really has except for an hour on the plane )
We are now on la Paz and here 2 days before we take last flight to Loretta to start kayaking as our bodies have to adapt to the heat . It is not easy at all ! And I think I am doing pretty well compared to a few others with the heat . 
It is honestly hard to describe what we are living here . Massive sand dunes and large cactus and no greenery anywhere . We knew when we went on a dirt Cactus filled road to reach the " hotel " that this would be a big surprise and shock to our systems . And it was !
The Dunes hotel is an Ecolodge and no electricity and runs on solar power only . The shower is a tiny but welcome drip and the toilet a luxurious hole 
On the bright side it is one of the coolest things you can likely ever experience in your lifetime I am guessing . We all fell asleep for 15 mins in a big platform full of hammocks and then had an incredible Lunch of cheese and mushroom burritos at a communal table wearing our gifts of sombreros while fanning ourselves with our also gifted wood fans 

We live it true huts two by two that are not large enough to get a suitcase in so we use another room for luggage . 
One already got bit by jellyfish and we have to walk a certain way in sand to scare of the invisible sting rays 
There is currently a cooking class going in that a few are attending and a few of us just hanging or trying to sleep which is not working as so hot and no wind at all and large amount of huge flies ( one that fell in my plate and died )
It is an adjustment but also lovely too . It's a while other world and one I have never even come close to experiencing . 
I feel good in some ways and very scared in others . I think when I sleep it will help my mindset . There were times of today I felt very very happy and other times where each minute seemed like a lifetime 
The huts are so hot with no air circulation they say until about 3-6am ! They suggest we all sleep about 10 min walk away on the sand dunes under the stars with a breeze right beside the Kayote skeleton we saw today and large chance of many scorpions that " don't kill you but really hurt you "
I am excited to see how this all plays  out !!

At end of afternoon many of us were sitting around exhausted and complaining of heat and I suggested we go to the ocean for sundown and change mindset . Three of us went together and it was just what we needed as the water actually felt good and very slightly refreshing as the sun went down . Mind you a flying fish jumped right over my head for real which was very scary and I screamed profanities but it was good 

Fun part was when sun goes down and in shade ! We had margeuarirs and I actually had one with lots of salt and peanuts and then had another nice homemade communal dinner of tamales . Half is us skipped desert and left table at 8:30pm to try and go to bed . I am here now in the hut  having a near panic attack trying to figure out how I will ever sleep in this heat with snakes and animals coming in and out .
I think I am going to go have to take a cold " shower " ( aka a few drops of water on my head ) as this can't be ok to sleep ?

( ps trying to right this blog and felt extremely sick so went to throw up 7 times in a cactus and tried to cover with Sand in the dark . That chicken chocolate tamali with spicy salsa somehow didn't do it for me tonight . God I want to sleep . God I am proud of myself for doing this alone . Truly if I get through this I am a rockstar . And ps although soooooo hot and in a hot it is honestly so beautiful and cozy . The part that scares me is that this is kike a 5 star hotel compared to what we are going to live after tomorrow for 7 days . I am praying after a good sleep I feel up to the task !

Day 2 - I made it !!! I  rested for 10 hrs and slept maybe 7 of them !!! I don't seem to have a huge stomach ache and my head is clear and all the bugs I had to sway away that were crawling on my armpit last night didn't bite or kill me !
I haven't stood up yet but I think I feel ok :)

Maria is some weird kind of sleeper and gets up at 4am ( when you have a partner wearing a headlamp is it kinda wierd but you get used to light in your face ) she woke me up this morning by called my name ah 6:45 as I think she felt completely lonely and abandoned given that I told her everyday I get up as late as they will allow us ( sunrise ) and sleep every night as early as possible ( after dinner at 8:30pm )
When she called me name I seriously had no clue where I was or who I was or who she was or if I was in fact Alive 
Sea swim with sea Ottors . Ok so if yesterday was close to one of least good days Of the last little while - today was truly one of the best days of my entire life . I woke up refreshed and feeling g wonderful and ready to take on the day . We had to be out by 8:30 am for an all day excursion on an amazing boat . We were on that boat for hours and it was incredible and the captain and hosts were so sweet . We snorkelled at three different amazing places and the best was the island with dozens and dozens of sea otters :) I can't even describe my joy . At one point one  baby otter came up underwater and touched my nose ! 
I stayed with the guide and 3 of us chose to go all around the island so snorkel and swim for about 1.5 hrs And was so worth it . The pools and pools of fish was incredible . I swam and swam through thousands of beautiful fish swarming around me . No words can describe 
And then went to a beautiful island for lunch and hung out . Also saw up close a  huge whale !! It was amAzing and we followed it for miles on the boat in awe 
And I felt so incredibly alive today and really bonded with the group . Everyone is pretty laid back and relaxed and kind and we started today joking around all  more and being more comfortable together . We all had big sleeps so were all less grumpy and tired . 
By the end of that days we were even all insulting eachother and punching the guide and throwing jellyfish on eachother and screaming . We also so hundreds of blue jellyfish .

By the time we got back to the dunes lodge we all ran to the " shower " and I was first thank god . Then the hours of packing began as we prepared before dark for the  plane kayak trip that begins tomorrow ! As when get dark here there is no light . Try packing in 35 degree weather in a hut !

Today I am truly thankful that I am here and feeling great and so so so incredibly autonomous and proud of myself . I am doing this and kicking ass ! I was one of the half of gang who snorkelled with otters and swam the whole island ! I feel fearless and proud of me 

After a very cool evening where we seemed to all gel a lot as a group and bond by sharing our greatest fear about the kayak trip and also fears of our lives in general we ate a delicious Moroccan Stew by candlelight of course at the community table . We talked about the how our trip is so autonomous as only food water and supplies we have we have to bring in our own kayaks and be completely sufficient in nature for those 7 days . It was interesting  to hear a people’s  view about team work and insecurities and anxities too 
A few of us then went to the dunes in the dark with a big mat and looked up to the incredible sky for an hour . Sometimes in silence and sometimes giggling at whatever . Maria and I held hands as only have one headlamp tonight in the dark with likely many snakes potentially at our feet . A few of us did some yoga poses for our backs under the stars . Nature is seriously incredible here . Not much will ever compare when you see something like this . I felt completely relaxed and humbled by this very " thin moment " ( expression compliments of savvy )
Tomorrow the big adventure begins and we are all very excited but also very scared too of what is ahead as this simple lodge will seem like luxury as of tomorrow . I have already given one friend anxiety pills and one friend sleeping pills . It's no wonder I work on Pharma ! I totally believe in meds in times like this ( or anytime !)
Off to sleep ! A rare connection tonight as I decided to try the 3 g and it works in one part of one hammock in one part of the lodge . I texted with my guy for a few mins and got some nice news about what he and our baby girl are up to in Miami . Made me feel good to know they were having a great time with some great weather 

Day 3 

So . We are at our first island for kayak . But we cannot kayak as planned this afternoon as the wind is very very strong . Tomorrow we are crossing our fingers for calmer weather . It may not be good to kayak but certainly an improvement for sleeping . Still boiling hot As in I am nearly wearing nothing and lying on top of my sleeping bag sweating but I do feel some air and occasionally a little wind . 

I must admit I am in complete awe right now . With nature . With this trip and mostly with my self and my courage to do this . I mean people I don't even have a tent and I am sleeping in the middle of Mexico !!!  No makeup no mirror no clothes that really match given as of 7:30pm it is dark so I can't see and hardly much food I feel like eating . 
It's odd though - I feel good . Maybe I am made for simplicity ? Although I am petrified for my first night of snakes and scorpions and bats I also feel quite free . I had supposed I would bundle up in my mummy sleeping bag but I am way to hot so it is seving as a sheet .

The day passes quickly today . Just repacking for this part and unpacking and trying to figure out what goes where is a full time job . . We took a plane and a longer car ride and had lunch at a cute Mexican place and bought candy ( me ) some Tequla ( them)
We got in huge discussions led by me around the shade for hours before dinner . It's cool . And exhausting . And beautiful 
And my stomach is full even though I am guessing I only eat a fraction of what I eat at home ? Besides one Diet Coke at lunch all I have is water available for 6 days days now . It's amazing how much we complicate our lives with so much food is what I am realizing . This will hopefully take me on a new relationship with food ? We do snack though whonever has something in their bags in protein snacks so who even knows if I will lose or gain weight ? Will be an interesting experiment 

We did purple cow tonight ( I teach that ) and I got a lot  of empathetic , curious and scary smart . I will take that !
I got news today from hubby and all three kiddos and my mom and a few besties and felt so good at the airport . Then I was ready to shut it down and get back to being in the present here . And I did . I need both in my life connection and non connection and I have always known that for my weekends . I will explore my habits further on this trip and hopefully strike just the right balance when come home to my real life.
For now first night I go to bed without a stomach ache and I am mesmerized by the stars and the majestic nature around me . I am not sure I will ever be able to sleep again without the sound of the ocean just a few feet away .  Wish me luck that I can sleep as last night I had three hours . I need this tonight .

Day 4

I woke up to a beautiful incredible sunrise this morning . I am not Sure in my lifetime I have actually been awake to see the sun rise believe it or not ! I am glad I got to see this one . It was really truly a beautiful experience to sleep outdoors under the moon and stars . My only issue ? I never slept :( maybe for an hour or max 1.5 hrs but I was so uncomfortable on my mattress and pillow and sleeping bag that I just could not find a comfortable spot . And my  brain was turning and turning and I could not turn it off despite a sleeping pill even . I was not scared of being outside but yet was petrified of not sleeping and wondering what condition I would be in the next day .
And we woke up with the sun , began the huge massive task of cleaning up camp and packing up into the kayaks and then the guide made the decision there were too many whitecaps and that it was too dangerous to go out on the water again today . To say I felt disappointed would be the understatement . The water calls me . Sings to me . Is how I function . They are offering all sorts of alternate activities ( hike to the top of a mountain ( not for me in 42 degree heat and no running shoes thanks ) . Then there is visiting the community church and village and university ( no offence to Loretto but this will take all of 6 mins max ) 
So once again I have my sleepy self to rely on and decide how I will get through this day . I have seen tears in this trip and today even for various reasons from others . So far mine have not come . Last night I went to " sleep " under the stars with the intention to the next day figure out my career fully and that is what I will be possibly doing to pass time today doing  but I am too damn tired to even think  

And I am grateful for the sunset and the ocean and the hug I received this morning from one of my buddies this morning . I am grateful for my strength and for knowing the right now I need to be sitting here by myself writing this journal than standing in the group in the sun practicing packing the same bags in the same kayaks over and over and over again to make sure we know what we are doing tomorrow . If we are lucky enough that is after night to actually be able to paddle .
 I also realized last night how comparisons can hurt us . We set up a tarp on the beach for Maria and I . I settled in my sleeping bag 2 hrs before she did . Although I was not comfortable I was content with what I as and felt myself lucky to have the mattress beneath me and the mummy style comfort of my bag to embrace me and my cosy beach pillow . 
Then Maria came and laid out her inflatable 5 star mattress , her huge inflatable pillow that is bigger and better than anything I have in my bed at home and a luxurious big sleeping bag . Suddenly I felt suffocated in my mummy bag , and that I could feel rocks beneath my painfully thin mattress . My pillow all the sudden wasn't good enough and o started piling clothes underneath it to make it bigger . I felt not enough . And all I could think about was how the next time I do this ( still optimistic ! ) I would buy the better stuff too .

This realization made me keenly aware of how this happens  every day in our social media society with teens especially comparing to the next one . Realizing that their spot on the sand is not good enough only bc the person beside them apprears to be comfier . 

Since not much to do here for the moment except pack and unpack I have been finding my mind being obsessed with organizing the few possessions I have here . I pack and repack all the time and think about what I have . Anxiety ? Yup !
So after writing this part I decided that I needed to have a great day
So I did :)
I decided to take charge and took Antonio - one of the guides aside and asked him if it was really necessary to not kayak ? Were the whitecaps really that bad ? I suggested he take me out for 20 mins in kayak and he could assess further out . And he agreed !! Omg I am such a badass 
Many were kinda not happy with me as scared of waves and a few thought I was a rockstar . Antonio and I set out on our adventure and low and behold he assesses after 25 mins it is in fact safe to go !!

So we repack everything for second time in 2 hrs on kayaks and head out to begin kayaking . I remained with Antonio as although a good kayaker technique have less endurance that many of these young  guys of course . We set out to our next island and lots and lots of big big big waves .a couple very quite scared . I wasn't by my body hurt that is for sure . I kept up my game and I think I was even kinda average in the gang ( I think ! ) I can't believe it . So many seem petrified and kissed the sand on the island we arrived on. I was Plain fascinated my the waves and wanted more 

We our on  island and of course dying of heat and of course there is no break we had to unpack all kayaksand set up kitchen etc and put up tents . This is the part that kills me . I do it though . 
Rest of day spent swimming mostly and I took a siesta in the 2 feet of shade when they set out to snorkel a bit as I figured would be only time it would be quiet . I did sleep for 30 mins and awoke to realized I was alone on a deserted island in Mexico ! How did that happen ?
I tend to like the days better than evenings and nights as I feel tired and more anxious at night . I had some wine and ate tomallies again ( pls pls never serve me a tamalli in my lifetime back home again ). There are a ton of crabs and bugs here and super rocky vs sand so I almost slept in tent but it is literally about 2 feet wide and long and Maria and I have all our bags in there and have to share it .
Crabs and bugs it is as also very hot . I put my tarp as close as possible to ugo tent and he said if I came it it would cost 100 dollars :)
I have Paul to my right and possibly Maria later ( she stays up much later than everyone else doing her thing )
This island is even more spectacular than first one with caves and cliffs and coral and the most beautiful coloured water I have seen in my life ( and I have seen a lot ! )
Pray pray pray i can sleep tonight as can't go on without the sleep and the nights and days seem way too long without this necessary comfort 
Ugo had fun making fun of my pillow too . And here I thought I was all set 

Day 5 

I actually slept !!! Probably about 6 yummy hrs of the 10 we all lay down to rest ( pretty much a couple of hrs after sunset to sunrise ) so 6 of those hours I mostly slept which felt wonderful ( now of course in that time I woke at least every 15 mins to toss and turn and see  bugs but beggars can't be choosers ) I also had some help of a voltarin red magic pill . I think I will have a big medication dependency when I get home ! Maria opted for the tent last night too so that gave me a tarp all by myself right next to all the guys who I knew could handle the crabs and snakes if I needed them too 

It was an incredible mental strength excercise to get myself to sleep and stop thinking and stop worrying and just allow my body to relax despite all the bugs and unknown creatures . It was also the excercise of letting go of the notion that I could not control if I did not sleep again that night .

I have a 73 yr old man sleeping beside me who has big back problems and a deflated mattress who still sleeps outside and also last year climbed Manchu pichu with my hubby . It feels hard to complain next to him 
Another guy 23 in a tent away who has major intestinal digestive issue which cause him digestional issues and cramping often and he is finding a way to cope . What I am learning is that pain is very likely mandatory - suffering is not . 
And I know this for anything mental or any obstacle but I have not known it yet for things physical - pain frightens me and I want to get over that in my life . Frightens me for myself and for all the people I love around me . I need to figure it out as I see so many around me dealing so gracefully with pain in a way I can't even imagine 
I want to be able to feel pain but not suffer . I would love that .


The oddest things on this expedition is that three things in my life that I do so depend on are not here . 

-Good food ( sometimes no good it feels like here )

  • comfy sleep 

  • being connected with those I love 

Funny thing is I could be if I want for the last one as 3G here ! Most people here even speak on phone ! But i refuse to do that to my trip and experience and also the people at home who will just worry if I connect and pity party it all as most of it is wonderful 

I truly connect with all the people here but it's not the same for me . I am a loner at heart even though I appear as  super social and my connections are at their best with my besties and kids and hubby and mom and family . Here I feel very blessed to have a group I really like as a team and individually each person too but also feel like any team or group I can't interact with for too much of day and night . I like a lot of alone time and only one other person here is the same . It all works out well though . Very well . And everyone is super respectful 
I am always amazed how I am always the only reader . To me life is books . And so when I don't get to make that a big part of my day on a day where it is possible ( weekends and trips ) it just feels like something is missing . I need to integrate this more into this trip for myself as even this travel journal is good and healthy for me and just taking that space for me away from the group 
I love the sound of the water which is literally as I wake up her 10 feet maximum away from me . I love the cliffs and mountains and the birds songs . Mostly I love that I am surviving and maybe even thriving depending on which lens I am looking through . I love that I have white patches on my face and no mirror and that is ok . 

I love that I can live a simple life without the three things I really need above . I love to know it is possible 
Glad I write twice a day in this journal as the day progresses so differently it is good to catch my thoughts more often . This is one of my favorite times of day when I get to be alone at night and write . Also one of my most stressful as I am always scared of the night and what it holds .Today we left our beach for a nice long kayak ride but the beauty of it is that after the day we got to came back to the only camp we get to stay in two night ( I voted for this option for sure as so much easier not to have to pack the camp up )

The beach we went to was super pretty and had some amazing cliffs and caves and snorkelling . We got to eat lunch there and rest up and I read for a good hr and also fell asleep for about 20 mins until my spot on the shade turned to sun .
The kayak trip back was harder for me as my stupid sombrero kept blowing off . The sun was so hot and strong even late in the day that the minute I got " home " I went to the bushes and threw up . This is hard core  stuff here 
We then all proceeded to take" showers "which feel so good . Biodegradable soap in the ocean and washing hair and brushing teeth all together and laughing . 
Then everyone gets changed and heads to happy hour on the beach . I usually just take a sip and listen to the music on the speakers but it's a fun time and makes me feel much younger than I am . When they passed around the " weed " a certain flower on the island that you smoke : I happily passed . It's a good hour of the day until everyone gets in their phones and texts home and goes on Facebook etc . 4/7 are on phones and three of us have decided to disconnect until the hotel night before the trip is over .
It's hard for me . Especially with everyone on their phones connecting . But I didn't come here to do that and I won't in a deserted island . I can't .
I miss my family deeply especially my husband . I miss his hugs and chats and him not swearing every second word . I miss someone totally getting me and me him . I miss him 
Tonight after dinner when I headed to bed with 4 other guys ( 5/7 ) of is go to bed by 9pm - I gave everyone a hug and kiss and even the guides . Everyone thought I was adorable of course but it was truly a case of me needing human affection . I miss home 
Paul  and I decided this morning he would always give me a hug before bed ( we sleep right next to eachother ) and before he lay down to rest he asked me to come into his warm embrace . At 73 and a very strong male role model for me this was exactly what I needed . It's amazing how touching the kindness of human beings can be . Made me realize how sad I am to never have had a dad who's embrace could calm and comfort me 
We are all getting more comfortable here and getting into a more solid routine . Today even a couple of little tiffs between people ( not involving me but I tried to be the mediator ! what makes me happy about this group is that most are pretty calm and chill 

Paul - 73 retired principal . Went to Peru . Caring loving and directive . An inspiration and a leader 

Ugo -  50 yrs old Csa directeur general and eccentric to the max . From France . Kind and sarcastic and eccentric and cool . Also went to Peru 

Maria - 42 yrs old stay at home mom also went to Peru . Playful , outgoing , funny wild , big heart and doesn't sleep or relax 

Simon - 31 yr old financial controller with tattoos all over body . Kind gentle introspective and loving soul . Ex bouncer and big protector if needed 

Nicolas - 38 yr old incredibly successful
organization designer . Free spirit , Inspiring , motivating , smarty and funny and playful . We all thought he was 28 


Jonathon - 23 yrs old primary school teacher Csa . Very direct and assertive and likes his alone time like me . 3 yrs older than my son !!!! Loves his students 

Mariana - 30 yrs old Mexican guide from Montréal . Sweet and loving and generous and strict and directive. Nurturing 

Antonio - my Mexican kayak guide partner so far and funny and gentle and helpful 
Joseph - 24 yr old assistant We hide my extra stuff in his kayak so I don't get yelled at too much and he always helps me with my kayak jupe :)

That's it for tonight ! To bed ! Maria is opting for the tent again so I have my own tarp next to Paul Simon and Nicolas 
I have officially not looked in the mirror or given a crap  for many days now 
Time is kinda going slowly as roughing it is not easy in the wilderness and neither is packing kayaks and setting up camp 
Although they try hard for food and do a great job you try keeping a tomato under the sun in good shape for 8 days 
And water is of course always boiling hot and there are no other drinks . Dinner is always some kind of stew I guess or tamales . They try really hard and do a great job with what they have 
For some reason I don't have an appetite here thank god . It is just so hot it's hard to think or eat here 

Day 6
I slept again without meds ! Miracle of miracles I may just be getting used to this . Now mind you sleep is every 20 mins at least tossing and turning and figuring out how to get sand out of sleeping bag and zipping up for bugs and zipping down for heat etc . But sleeping is being on this mattesss from 9pm to 7am . Not bad eh ?? 
The wierd part here is being 5 feet from water Is that all the sudden water and sun are so much a part of my life now that I am not sure I appreciate it in the way I always have . I am taking them for granted now ! Taking this beauty and splendour as if it will always be here ? I hope that I still love Turks !!!! This is my fear - how can I actually want sun from this point on ???? I hope this temporary infliction of insanity goes away soon . Really soon . What it has convinced me of is that I never want to live full time  by the water . I always want to have a condo in the city so that when we go to the cottage it is a huge treat . I want to spend 4 days a week at cottage and three at condo one day . At least I have that figured out 
Setting out bright and early today to a far away island to sleep and set up camp . Gotta get up now and force myself to go to bathroom with thousands of flies surrounding me as I do and then pack for a couple of hours and get onto that beautiful sea 
Apparently today is the hardest kayak day yet 
Wish me luck !

Night day 6

I am not sure for as long as I live I will saying " I can't believe I did Cortez " each time I stop to think about this I still can't believe it still 
One thing this trip has forced me to do is really live in the present . And most of my present in pure survival really . I barely have any thoughts if anything else but sleeping eating and packing and unpacking and kayaking and doing it all over . That seems impossible for someone like me who's brain functions 24/7 but it is true here .
Present .
This morning after I wrote we had a little drama . Mariana told us we were changing kayak partners and announced I was with ugo . I burst out in total tears and cried and cried and ugo was sitting right there as was the whole group 
I covered my face and buried my head and told everyone how damn petrified I was to be with the strongest most competitive kayaker for the hardest day . And he is the principal too of the entire 3 Csa schools !
Everyone was in shock as I have barely expressed any upset feelings in this trip while many others have . They see me as calm and cool and collected ( and sweet I think ) . Well today that persona was shattered ! Everyone was so surprised . Made me realize I will get my period in a day or two
Omg can't handle thinking of how I will handle that out here !
Felt good to let my stress out though 
Ugo feelings were hurt of course and we talked it all through and you know what ? Ended up being one of the best days of my trip and my best kayaks . I really pushed myself physically and got my paddling down pat and by the time it was break time for lunch I was one of the few who was not dying ! I wasn't dying to pee or dying to eat or dying be so uncomfortable . Even ugo said that if we didn't stop at the next beach he would " be in Collère " how did this possibly happen that I can keep up with such a mostly young and athletic crowd ?!!! How is this possible

We are lunch at a great beach and then had a paddle to our final destination after noon . So damn hot when afternoon . Got to camp and the routine of course of setting up and then throwing ourselves in water and staying there 
Happy hour on my mat tonight and we made a bonfire for dinner . Dodo at 8:45 for 5/7 of us ! I love this quiet time 
And man on man do Pauls hugs make a
Difference  to my quality of life here . Three times a day at least now warm big embraces . Many call me Tari too . Feels good


I am wearing my husbands Peru underwear tonight just to think of him :) it's cool that both of us have had these amazing experiences in our lives 

There was no wind at all today and was beyond beautiful . The sunset left the sky a pale pink pale Violet  and pale blue 
I convinced ugo to sleep outside of his tent tonight 
Very good day 
Great here but defiantly time to go home soon!
I am excited to finish the trip and say I did it ! I will also miss parts of it for sure but I do miss my home and life and bed and food . The astronaut food I brought bc of various food intolerances is coming In handy but soooo gross . The treat of the day was an apple 
Some minor drama going on here which is expected and hope all goes ok . Also Maria and I stole ugo tarp as bigger and he will not be happy !

Day 7 morning slept ! A lot ! Woke at 3am to find Maria not next to me as she had set herself out to do . Went on a little worried detective search for her . Found her .
Was the second to last to wake up this morning ( Nicola is always last ) and felt good . I sit there and brush my teeth near my mat and take my pills and then try and brush the tangled mess of my hair . Then I set off to go pee and put a bra on and always on my way Paul stops me for my huge hug and says " ca va etre Une autre belle journee ma belle " and that hug and that kindness gets me happily through another day . Towards the end of the day he always hugs me and says " je Suis fier de toi tari" 
I wish so much I had a father like that :(

Huge huge life lesson : always ask for what you need in life ( for me if was hugs from Paul this trip )

And always give people as much as you can what they may uniquely need . Take the time to be kind as there is no better use of your time in life 
Upon return I want to make sure that each and every single day I give huge hugs to each of my kids and husband . I do a lot but is it daily ? And with such deliberation ? Is that what they need or is it something else ?

My possessions here I love :
My headlamp 
My Birkenstock sandals 
My water bottle 
The way hubby and I organized me 
My sunglasses are the best purchase ever made ( and not for fashion ! )
My pepperoni sticks ( which I share always and last one finished today )
My  thermal water spray which we all discovered tonight as I shared it as coming up to end of trip . I forgot about it in many days and is awesome )
My tangerine towel that when combined with my fushia barhingsuit is bright and happy and like the designer said " pochahontas
My hat totally rocks 

The things I hate 
My pillow ( great for a nap on boat and sucks for a night )
My sleeping bag ( wish I had a liner as too hot )
Needed more short pyjama as only have one pair 

Afternoon day 7

Today was a very hard but magical day . We had our longest kayak in a row and was hrs in the boiling heat . The plan was to stop at 2 hrs and take a break but the beaches were too steep  to land the kayaks . So we continued . I was again able to keep up miraculously . I think I am better at kayak than I think 
We got to our beach and is the worst one we have been been at so far ( small and rocky and hardly any sand and ocean full of shallow rocks ) was hard to set up camp and we are all squished together sleeping in the little space that has a bit of sand . There are also bugs that are dead on beach everywhere that they call little cows as they stink like cows 
The positive part is that there is a small island right in front of us and has great snorkelling and very cool thermal springs . And some shade in the island ! I got Antonio to walk me over there over the thousands of rocks and read my book all alone there in the shade and wind . I even brought my chair and had a great couple of hours . Then a few others came and chatted and then Maria fell asleep on other side of the island . When she woke up we had some girl chat time which was nice as was haven't had a lot of Alone time . We had some good conversations about life in general 
Onto showers in the ocean with ugo and hair washing which is always fun . Some frisbee on the beach and some more reading and going around saying our favorite parts of the trip . 
TodAy was a great food day too exceptionally . Cold San Pelegrino lime ( aka hot water in water bottle with a wedge of lime Nichola shares from tequila ) and spaghetti !!! And the spaghetti tasted really good . My astronaut foods are getting more pathetic by the day ( ps Thai today was Inedible . We are all so tired of eating nachos and tortillas and dried meats and hot sauce . Sorry family may be a while before we eat fajitas again 

My clothes I think are getting looser on me maybe ? Maybe ? They are definitely getting humid and smellier ! What I love about the last couple of days is that we don't have to ration and save every little thing or care if this is wet and smelly or not as the end is coming up . Believe me in a trip like this the first days of making everything last is stressful since a self autonomous trip . Water is a huge issue and we have to make sure we have enough for whole trip . We get way less protein and fresh foods towards the end of course 
I haven't discussed the bathroom situation much as doesn't bother me much but is a big issue with many . Lots of constipation going I. Here . I don't use the crazy smelly toilets they try and set up - grosses me out way more than doing my business behind a cactus and then burying it . I can't say I like that but it is doable for me . The Hassle is that here with digestion systems none of us can predict it so sometimes at 3am we get up and go behind a cactus individually . It is so odd that I live in nature now fully 

The sea was harder to navigate today as more waves but nothing compared to our first day of waves but a harder workout than the calm seas of yesterday . I can't believe that tomorrow is the last day of the kayak part of this . Pretty unbelievable . We will have covered I think about 65 km and slept in more places than I can count . I have not once slept in a tent and at this point can pretty much sleep anywhere with no mask or earplugs or anything . Today I actually " slept in " and missed the sunrise and woke up at 7:20am . Don't get me wrong I barely sleep much as wake up constantly like everyone else from bugs wind birds smells bathroom headlamps in my face missing people and threat of murderers and snakes . But I manage to stay on my mat and get some rest in between it all 

Today was a good day . Better and better as time goes on as I know the end is near and that comforts me . It gets me through these rougher conditions to me able to see the end and allows me to treasure each moment a lot more knowing that soon I will be home with my family and back to my real life with this beautiful and crazy experience tucked in my back pocket forever 
The group is a really nice group and our guides our great too . Imagine 3 guides for 7 people and they do a lot ! A lot . And so do we . I can see why parents in the older days had no time to helicopter their kids lives . With less appliances and technology their days were filled with just surviving through the days i bet .
Our guides are really great most of the time and taking great care of us . Especially Mariana . I am so grateful for her care and attention ( today I had a diaper rash on my legs )
Goodnight ! 

Day8 

Ok so that qualified as the worst " sleep" of my life ( aka did I sleep ? ) on this particular island there were MASSIVE gusts of wind all night about every three minutes . Felt a lot like a hurricane . Seriously. The people in tents were up for hours trying to ensure their tents didn't fly away and those of us on the ground were searching for more and more rocks to ensure our tarps didn't fly up despite already 10-12 rocks as usual 
It was quite terrifying and really really frustrating . We all I am certain will be more than a little grumpy today . Worst part is I took a voltarin pill to knock me out as after 3 hrs I couldn't sleep and 10 mins later is when wind started . So sleeping pill and no sleep equals. Not a whole lot of fun 

Oh yes and last night the zipper on my mummy style sleeping bag decided to break . While I was in it . So meant I could not get out of it until morning when I could see how to fix it 

At least I got to see the sunrise !

Afternoon day 8

The day took a big turn !!! It is over 15 hrs earlier than expected ! We were heading for a pretty rough kayak to the last island and were told it was the least nice and couldn't really swim there or snorkel . We were only staying there for the night and leaving 9am and had to unpack and pack the kayaks for that ?????? We all started questioning what the hell we were doing and couldn't we drive the 6 hrs to la Paz tonight instead of all day tomorrow ? Have a last day in la Paz to enjoy and an extra night in civilization ? One of us went to ask the guide if possible 
A number of us agreed on this but not all had asked the group of everyone wanted this as involved one less night camping and one less wavy rough kayak ride . It involved paying for one more night each at hotel and each two more meals 
Clearly I was in the team who wanted this but I would have preferred that we took a vote 
The guide assumes we were all in agreement and made it happen with a call 

So the trip ended very abruptly . Very . Anticlimactic . With a two hr wait on the rocks on a beach . I hope with all my heart the three that were not asked are ok . They seem ok . I was surprised this important step of consensus was not done but went with the flow of the group and the plan 
I had wanted the hotel tonight but was also looking forward to the last kayak and reaching the last island as a summit to reach 
Oh well ! It's all good and looking so so so so so so so so forward to texting my family as soon as we have service on the phone on the long 6 hr car ride where hopefully we can sleep maybe a little ? ( could it be worse than the rocks yesterday and wind on ground ? )
I am also looking very forward to a good looooong shower and a good meal and very very not looking forward to myself looking in a mirror 
Texted kids and hubby in 6 hr car ride for many hours :)) stopped at awesome local taco resto 

Had a diet cold Coke :)
Got to hotel at 1am and took only 3 min shower as could barely stand up . Slept in a bed with sheets  ans pillows for 7.5 hrs uninterrupted :))

Day 9 

Woke up at 8:45 and was heavenly to be in a bed . Treasured every minute of my morning and free time in civilization . Such a cute local Mexican hotel in la Paz and all open space and nice and cozy . Went down for a quick breakfast by the pool and joined a few of the sleepin buddies at the pool . Came up to room and spent an hour on the phone with my husband which was so fun as he loves all the details and missed me a lot and me him so we talked and talked and forced ourselves to stop so there would still be more to tell when I get home . 

Then I took and hour at  sweet little pool with waterfall  by myself and read some blogs . Then afternoon was spent in the gang at a great seafood resto on the marina and then walking around the downtown area In la Paz right on ocean which was very nice . Long hour walk and stopped along the way for a couple of souvenirs and some great ice cream . I even shared some of Pauls ice cream espresso and loved if . Might get into that soon - yummy 

Had 2 hrs free before dinner and spent at pool with a great book and even snoozed and found myself snoring at the pool ! Got ready for dinner in a dress with some makeup on and headed to further downtown la Paz ( about hour walk ) to a super fancy nice modern cool international resto . Was very tasty and we shared a number of appetizers most Lebanese and then each had own plates and shared some really yummy desserts 
Had some wine and talked about our trip and some of the best and funniest moment and profoundly thanked our guide for taking such good care of us 
So many people expressed parts of trip that made them anxious and nervous and stressed . A couple admitted to being very apprehensive of coming and especially when we arrived for kayak part and ocean so rough how they wanted to turn back 
I realized then and there how much the ocean frees me . And how I am not scared of it at all . And even if it was a hard trip for me there was never a question if I would do it all or not do it all . I was doing it . And I did it 

A few of them told me they thought I was a great kayaker and adventurer and that made me feel really good :)

Once again what made these dinners so special is the human connection and team spirit . What was a downer was so many phones out . Nicolas got strict today and demanded everyone put in middle of table . Most listened but not all ! It's hard that part . We are all such a different and eclectic group of people with different needs and values and habits . It's a crazy thing to throw a bunch of strangers together and have them live on an island 
Coming back to civilization as a gang is also an adjustment 
Personally my fave part of night was when Simon explained in detail what he would do if on our long walk back to hotel late at night a guy came and took my purse or tried to hurt me . He is a past bouncer with a ton of tattoos on his body . After his description I felt safe .
Half of us went back to hotel to pack at 11:30pm and other half out to the bars in this very lively town .
Up at 4:30pm for flights !
It was a beautiful last day and night and so happy we had that last day and changed the itinary last minute 
I think we all knew what we needed and we asked for it . I think in the end everyone was happy with it 
Ugo gave a great toast and speech and was an all around amazing day . Really only day in a hotel as first two nights were in a Eco lodge with no electricity and hardly any water so was a great intro to the camping . 

Goodnight ! 

Day 10 - travel all day  since early morning 5:30qm and tonight at 10 pm hoping will see hubby and all three kids at airport 

Bye bye Cortez . Will never ever stop saying " I can't believe I did this !!! "

Got back to airport at 9:40 a bit earlier than expected and the best part of whole trip was the three kids and hubby there waiting for me . There is nothing like being greeted at an airport and welcomed home . We all hugged as a family all 5 of us and the kids looked so proud of me . I also love seeing them interact with new people as they are so kind and funny and engaging - it always amazes me how they go right up to adults and shake their hands and give hugs and kisses and congratulations . They make me so proud of them 

We all chatted as a group and with other people's families and then did our goodbye photo and we were off back to our normal routines and lives . Kids went off to bed for school and hubby and I stayed up late until my eyes couldn't stay open anymore . We both had a heavenly sleep for 9 hrs and took the morning off of work to enjoy eachother . Tonight is my little family dinner where I will share all my adventures and pictures and also hear all about eh daddy daughter trip to Miami too 

Feels really really good to be home . Happy to report I lost a few lbs too and even more importantly I think I look a lot more fit :)

Was strange today not to have contact with my kayak buddies but as they say friends are always season , purpose or forever . This gang was definitely a purpose gang with a shared goal - to stay alive in cortez 
Looking forward to see them all at reunion dinner in November ! Goodbye trip and hello reality .. so far I am loving my reality !!


Funniest moments 


Me seeing a guy in shower
Nicola and Maria stealing my phone at airport 
Simon saying that I had no thing in my pants that sticks out 
Me screaming at top of lungs bc of jellyfish and Maria chastising me for being so loud and there her doing same thing one second later and punching guide on the face !
Ugo catching me naked while changing to pay back 
Me crying about Ugo being  my partner and his hurt feelings 
Maria thinking that I seem so  sweet and innocent but how I really have no filter 


Aerobics on the terrace 
Bodyguards bouncer  story 
Mariana and said terrified of ugo 


Lessons : snorkelling push yourself around the corner and don't give up when tired as beautiful things await you 
Natural sporty girl really feels good to me 
I will need to do these type of adventure trips for the rest of my life to fully feel alive 
I am so so much more relaxed as a person and around a big group than I was for so many years . I have always been super social and outgoing but inside often irritated . Peace and freedom are finally mine in the last year 
I am petrified of feeling sick  ( either mentally or physically )and staying sick ( this is a hidden and new fear )( many reasons for this ) but this is interfering with my life 











First chance I have had to post my day by day experiences of Cortez . Very likely not interesting to anyone as too long but super important for me to remember every detail
Thanks to so many who made such beautiful comments by email on my summary of Cortez blog !


I am now believe it or not away again and working and will soon be enjoying some vacation time with my hubby in Turks and Caicos .  Here are the details of my Cortez trip !



Night 1 overnight travel 

I can be sure of one thing : I will learn a lot about myself in this trip 

It's not easy getting to an airport with a group of 6 others you don't know ! And know you will be with for 11 days . 
The first practical joke they played on me ( stealing my phone ) kinda broke the ice !
Nice relaxed pace and group so far . I was only one who brought a travel pillow so got to sleep an hour and a half on plane ( we had to transfer in Mexico City at 4am )
I felt a lot of anxiety when luggage was not arriving but quickly told myself I could manage with just Suncream and a bathing suit  if I had to ( ah probably not ! )

So far :
I  realize I was smart not to eat  cauchon Poutine  and octoberfest at airport !even though I am awake most of night . So many of them have cramps 

I am so much more relaxed and less high strung and less irritable than I am the last year than in my whole adult life . Finally :))
Paul is going to protect me the whole trip . He had taken me under his wing already and literally takes my shoulders and steers my body in the right direction and makes sure I put enough cheese in my bagel ( he is 73 ) 
I super want a Krispy cream donut right now at gate ( or a dozen ) but I settled for a bottle of water at 5am . Hmmm- hard decision. Jury is not out yet in this . Ok .. ok . I caved and was worth it . Yummy 

Day 1 l a Paz

Well it is in theory day 2 but feels like day 1 because have not slept ( nobody really has except for an hour on the plane )
We are now on la Paz and here 2 days before we take last flight to Loretta to start kayaking as our bodies have to adapt to the heat . It is not easy at all ! And I think I am doing pretty well compared to a few others with the heat . 
It is honestly hard to describe what we are living here . Massive sand dunes and large cactus and no greenery anywhere . We knew when we went on a dirt Cactus filled road to reach the " hotel " that this would be a big surprise and shock to our systems . And it was !
The Dunes hotel is an Ecolodge and no electricity and runs on solar power only . The shower is a tiny but welcome drip and the toilet a luxurious hole 
On the bright side it is one of the coolest things you can likely ever experience in your lifetime I am guessing . We all fell asleep for 15 mins in a big platform full of hammocks and then had an incredible Lunch of cheese and mushroom burritos at a communal table wearing our gifts of sombreros while fanning ourselves with our also gifted wood fans 

We live it true huts two by two that are not large enough to get a suitcase in so we use another room for luggage . 
One already got bit by jellyfish and we have to walk a certain way in sand to scare of the invisible sting rays 
There is currently a cooking class going in that a few are attending and a few of us just hanging or trying to sleep which is not working as so hot and no wind at all and large amount of huge flies ( one that fell in my plate and died )
It is an adjustment but also lovely too . It's a while other world and one I have never even come close to experiencing . 
I feel good in some ways and very scared in others . I think when I sleep it will help my mindset . There were times of today I felt very very happy and other times where each minute seemed like a lifetime 
The huts are so hot with no air circulation they say until about 3-6am ! They suggest we all sleep about 10 min walk away on the sand dunes under the stars with a breeze right beside the Kayote skeleton we saw today and large chance of many scorpions that " don't kill you but really hurt you "
I am excited to see how this all plays  out !!

At end of afternoon many of us were sitting around exhausted and complaining of heat and I suggested we go to the ocean for sundown and change mindset . Three of us went together and it was just what we needed as the water actually felt good and very slightly refreshing as the sun went down . Mind you a flying fish jumped right over my head for real which was very scary and I screamed profanities but it was good 

Fun part was when sun goes down and in shade ! We had margeuarirs and I actually had one with lots of salt and peanuts and then had another nice homemade communal dinner of tamales . Half is us skipped desert and left table at 8:30pm to try and go to bed . I am here now in the hut  having a near panic attack trying to figure out how I will ever sleep in this heat with snakes and animals coming in and out .
I think I am going to go have to take a cold " shower " ( aka a few drops of water on my head ) as this can't be ok to sleep ?

( ps trying to right this blog and felt extremely sick so went to throw up 7 times in a cactus and tried to cover with Sand in the dark . That chicken chocolate tamali with spicy salsa somehow didn't do it for me tonight . God I want to sleep . God I am proud of myself for doing this alone . Truly if I get through this I am a rockstar . And ps although soooooo hot and in a hot it is honestly so beautiful and cozy . The part that scares me is that this is kike a 5 star hotel compared to what we are going to live after tomorrow for 7 days . I am praying after a good sleep I feel up to the task !

Day 2 - I made it !!! I  rested for 10 hrs and slept maybe 7 of them !!! I don't seem to have a huge stomach ache and my head is clear and all the bugs I had to sway away that were crawling on my armpit last night didn't bite or kill me !
I haven't stood up yet but I think I feel ok :)

Maria is some weird kind of sleeper and gets up at 4am ( when you have a partner wearing a headlamp is it kinda wierd but you get used to light in your face ) she woke me up this morning by called my name ah 6:45 as I think she felt completely lonely and abandoned given that I told her everyday I get up as late as they will allow us ( sunrise ) and sleep every night as early as possible ( after dinner at 8:30pm )
When she called me name I seriously had no clue where I was or who I was or who she was or if I was in fact Alive 
Sea swim with sea Ottors . Ok so if yesterday was close to one of least good days Of the last little while - today was truly one of the best days of my entire life . I woke up refreshed and feeling g wonderful and ready to take on the day . We had to be out by 8:30 am for an all day excursion on an amazing boat . We were on that boat for hours and it was incredible and the captain and hosts were so sweet . We snorkelled at three different amazing places and the best was the island with dozens and dozens of sea otters :) I can't even describe my joy . At one point one  baby otter came up underwater and touched my nose ! 
I stayed with the guide and 3 of us chose to go all around the island so snorkel and swim for about 1.5 hrs And was so worth it . The pools and pools of fish was incredible . I swam and swam through thousands of beautiful fish swarming around me . No words can describe 
And then went to a beautiful island for lunch and hung out . Also saw up close a  huge whale !! It was amAzing and we followed it for miles on the boat in awe 
And I felt so incredibly alive today and really bonded with the group . Everyone is pretty laid back and relaxed and kind and we started today joking around all  more and being more comfortable together . We all had big sleeps so were all less grumpy and tired . 
By the end of that days we were even all insulting eachother and punching the guide and throwing jellyfish on eachother and screaming . We also so hundreds of blue jellyfish .

By the time we got back to the dunes lodge we all ran to the " shower " and I was first thank god . Then the hours of packing began as we prepared before dark for the  plane kayak trip that begins tomorrow ! As when get dark here there is no light . Try packing in 35 degree weather in a hut !

Today I am truly thankful that I am here and feeling great and so so so incredibly autonomous and proud of myself . I am doing this and kicking ass ! I was one of the half of gang who snorkelled with otters and swam the whole island ! I feel fearless and proud of me 

After a very cool evening where we seemed to all gel a lot as a group and bond by sharing our greatest fear about the kayak trip and also fears of our lives in general we ate a delicious Moroccan Stew by candlelight of course at the community table . We talked about the how our trip is so autonomous as only food water and supplies we have we have to bring in our own kayaks and be completely sufficient in nature for those 7 days . It was interesting  to hear a people’s  view about team work and insecurities and anxities too 
A few of us then went to the dunes in the dark with a big mat and looked up to the incredible sky for an hour . Sometimes in silence and sometimes giggling at whatever . Maria and I held hands as only have one headlamp tonight in the dark with likely many snakes potentially at our feet . A few of us did some yoga poses for our backs under the stars . Nature is seriously incredible here . Not much will ever compare when you see something like this . I felt completely relaxed and humbled by this very " thin moment " ( expression compliments of savvy )
Tomorrow the big adventure begins and we are all very excited but also very scared too of what is ahead as this simple lodge will seem like luxury as of tomorrow . I have already given one friend anxiety pills and one friend sleeping pills . It's no wonder I work on Pharma ! I totally believe in meds in times like this ( or anytime !)
Off to sleep ! A rare connection tonight as I decided to try the 3 g and it works in one part of one hammock in one part of the lodge . I texted with my guy for a few mins and got some nice news about what he and our baby girl are up to in Miami . Made me feel good to know they were having a great time with some great weather 

Day 3 

So . We are at our first island for kayak . But we cannot kayak as planned this afternoon as the wind is very very strong . Tomorrow we are crossing our fingers for calmer weather . It may not be good to kayak but certainly an improvement for sleeping . Still boiling hot As in I am nearly wearing nothing and lying on top of my sleeping bag sweating but I do feel some air and occasionally a little wind . 

I must admit I am in complete awe right now . With nature . With this trip and mostly with my self and my courage to do this . I mean people I don't even have a tent and I am sleeping in the middle of Mexico !!!  No makeup no mirror no clothes that really match given as of 7:30pm it is dark so I can't see and hardly much food I feel like eating . 
It's odd though - I feel good . Maybe I am made for simplicity ? Although I am petrified for my first night of snakes and scorpions and bats I also feel quite free . I had supposed I would bundle up in my mummy sleeping bag but I am way to hot so it is seving as a sheet .

The day passes quickly today . Just repacking for this part and unpacking and trying to figure out what goes where is a full time job . . We took a plane and a longer car ride and had lunch at a cute Mexican place and bought candy ( me ) some Tequla ( them)
We got in huge discussions led by me around the shade for hours before dinner . It's cool . And exhausting . And beautiful 
And my stomach is full even though I am guessing I only eat a fraction of what I eat at home ? Besides one Diet Coke at lunch all I have is water available for 6 days days now . It's amazing how much we complicate our lives with so much food is what I am realizing . This will hopefully take me on a new relationship with food ? We do snack though whonever has something in their bags in protein snacks so who even knows if I will lose or gain weight ? Will be an interesting experiment 

We did purple cow tonight ( I teach that ) and I got a lot  of empathetic , curious and scary smart . I will take that !
I got news today from hubby and all three kiddos and my mom and a few besties and felt so good at the airport . Then I was ready to shut it down and get back to being in the present here . And I did . I need both in my life connection and non connection and I have always known that for my weekends . I will explore my habits further on this trip and hopefully strike just the right balance when come home to my real life.
For now first night I go to bed without a stomach ache and I am mesmerized by the stars and the majestic nature around me . I am not sure I will ever be able to sleep again without the sound of the ocean just a few feet away .  Wish me luck that I can sleep as last night I had three hours . I need this tonight .

Day 4

I woke up to a beautiful incredible sunrise this morning . I am not Sure in my lifetime I have actually been awake to see the sun rise believe it or not ! I am glad I got to see this one . It was really truly a beautiful experience to sleep outdoors under the moon and stars . My only issue ? I never slept :( maybe for an hour or max 1.5 hrs but I was so uncomfortable on my mattress and pillow and sleeping bag that I just could not find a comfortable spot . And my  brain was turning and turning and I could not turn it off despite a sleeping pill even . I was not scared of being outside but yet was petrified of not sleeping and wondering what condition I would be in the next day .
And we woke up with the sun , began the huge massive task of cleaning up camp and packing up into the kayaks and then the guide made the decision there were too many whitecaps and that it was too dangerous to go out on the water again today . To say I felt disappointed would be the understatement . The water calls me . Sings to me . Is how I function . They are offering all sorts of alternate activities ( hike to the top of a mountain ( not for me in 42 degree heat and no running shoes thanks ) . Then there is visiting the community church and village and university ( no offence to Loretto but this will take all of 6 mins max ) 
So once again I have my sleepy self to rely on and decide how I will get through this day . I have seen tears in this trip and today even for various reasons from others . So far mine have not come . Last night I went to " sleep " under the stars with the intention to the next day figure out my career fully and that is what I will be possibly doing to pass time today doing  but I am too damn tired to even think  

And I am grateful for the sunset and the ocean and the hug I received this morning from one of my buddies this morning . I am grateful for my strength and for knowing the right now I need to be sitting here by myself writing this journal than standing in the group in the sun practicing packing the same bags in the same kayaks over and over and over again to make sure we know what we are doing tomorrow . If we are lucky enough that is after night to actually be able to paddle .
 I also realized last night how comparisons can hurt us . We set up a tarp on the beach for Maria and I . I settled in my sleeping bag 2 hrs before she did . Although I was not comfortable I was content with what I as and felt myself lucky to have the mattress beneath me and the mummy style comfort of my bag to embrace me and my cosy beach pillow . 
Then Maria came and laid out her inflatable 5 star mattress , her huge inflatable pillow that is bigger and better than anything I have in my bed at home and a luxurious big sleeping bag . Suddenly I felt suffocated in my mummy bag , and that I could feel rocks beneath my painfully thin mattress . My pillow all the sudden wasn't good enough and o started piling clothes underneath it to make it bigger . I felt not enough . And all I could think about was how the next time I do this ( still optimistic ! ) I would buy the better stuff too .

This realization made me keenly aware of how this happens  every day in our social media society with teens especially comparing to the next one . Realizing that their spot on the sand is not good enough only bc the person beside them apprears to be comfier . 

Since not much to do here for the moment except pack and unpack I have been finding my mind being obsessed with organizing the few possessions I have here . I pack and repack all the time and think about what I have . Anxiety ? Yup !
So after writing this part I decided that I needed to have a great day
So I did :)
I decided to take charge and took Antonio - one of the guides aside and asked him if it was really necessary to not kayak ? Were the whitecaps really that bad ? I suggested he take me out for 20 mins in kayak and he could assess further out . And he agreed !! Omg I am such a badass 
Many were kinda not happy with me as scared of waves and a few thought I was a rockstar . Antonio and I set out on our adventure and low and behold he assesses after 25 mins it is in fact safe to go !!

So we repack everything for second time in 2 hrs on kayaks and head out to begin kayaking . I remained with Antonio as although a good kayaker technique have less endurance that many of these young  guys of course . We set out to our next island and lots and lots of big big big waves .a couple very quite scared . I wasn't by my body hurt that is for sure . I kept up my game and I think I was even kinda average in the gang ( I think ! ) I can't believe it . So many seem petrified and kissed the sand on the island we arrived on. I was Plain fascinated my the waves and wanted more 

We our on  island and of course dying of heat and of course there is no break we had to unpack all kayaksand set up kitchen etc and put up tents . This is the part that kills me . I do it though . 
Rest of day spent swimming mostly and I took a siesta in the 2 feet of shade when they set out to snorkel a bit as I figured would be only time it would be quiet . I did sleep for 30 mins and awoke to realized I was alone on a deserted island in Mexico ! How did that happen ?
I tend to like the days better than evenings and nights as I feel tired and more anxious at night . I had some wine and ate tomallies again ( pls pls never serve me a tamalli in my lifetime back home again ). There are a ton of crabs and bugs here and super rocky vs sand so I almost slept in tent but it is literally about 2 feet wide and long and Maria and I have all our bags in there and have to share it .
Crabs and bugs it is as also very hot . I put my tarp as close as possible to ugo tent and he said if I came it it would cost 100 dollars :)
I have Paul to my right and possibly Maria later ( she stays up much later than everyone else doing her thing )
This island is even more spectacular than first one with caves and cliffs and coral and the most beautiful coloured water I have seen in my life ( and I have seen a lot ! )
Pray pray pray i can sleep tonight as can't go on without the sleep and the nights and days seem way too long without this necessary comfort 
Ugo had fun making fun of my pillow too . And here I thought I was all set 

Day 5 

I actually slept !!! Probably about 6 yummy hrs of the 10 we all lay down to rest ( pretty much a couple of hrs after sunset to sunrise ) so 6 of those hours I mostly slept which felt wonderful ( now of course in that time I woke at least every 15 mins to toss and turn and see  bugs but beggars can't be choosers ) I also had some help of a voltarin red magic pill . I think I will have a big medication dependency when I get home ! Maria opted for the tent last night too so that gave me a tarp all by myself right next to all the guys who I knew could handle the crabs and snakes if I needed them too 

It was an incredible mental strength excercise to get myself to sleep and stop thinking and stop worrying and just allow my body to relax despite all the bugs and unknown creatures . It was also the excercise of letting go of the notion that I could not control if I did not sleep again that night .

I have a 73 yr old man sleeping beside me who has big back problems and a deflated mattress who still sleeps outside and also last year climbed Manchu pichu with my hubby . It feels hard to complain next to him 
Another guy 23 in a tent away who has major intestinal digestive issue which cause him digestional issues and cramping often and he is finding a way to cope . What I am learning is that pain is very likely mandatory - suffering is not . 
And I know this for anything mental or any obstacle but I have not known it yet for things physical - pain frightens me and I want to get over that in my life . Frightens me for myself and for all the people I love around me . I need to figure it out as I see so many around me dealing so gracefully with pain in a way I can't even imagine 
I want to be able to feel pain but not suffer . I would love that .


The oddest things on this expedition is that three things in my life that I do so depend on are not here . 

-Good food ( sometimes no good it feels like here )

  • comfy sleep 

  • being connected with those I love 

Funny thing is I could be if I want for the last one as 3G here ! Most people here even speak on phone ! But i refuse to do that to my trip and experience and also the people at home who will just worry if I connect and pity party it all as most of it is wonderful 

I truly connect with all the people here but it's not the same for me . I am a loner at heart even though I appear as  super social and my connections are at their best with my besties and kids and hubby and mom and family . Here I feel very blessed to have a group I really like as a team and individually each person too but also feel like any team or group I can't interact with for too much of day and night . I like a lot of alone time and only one other person here is the same . It all works out well though . Very well . And everyone is super respectful 
I am always amazed how I am always the only reader . To me life is books . And so when I don't get to make that a big part of my day on a day where it is possible ( weekends and trips ) it just feels like something is missing . I need to integrate this more into this trip for myself as even this travel journal is good and healthy for me and just taking that space for me away from the group 
I love the sound of the water which is literally as I wake up her 10 feet maximum away from me . I love the cliffs and mountains and the birds songs . Mostly I love that I am surviving and maybe even thriving depending on which lens I am looking through . I love that I have white patches on my face and no mirror and that is ok . 

I love that I can live a simple life without the three things I really need above . I love to know it is possible 
Glad I write twice a day in this journal as the day progresses so differently it is good to catch my thoughts more often . This is one of my favorite times of day when I get to be alone at night and write . Also one of my most stressful as I am always scared of the night and what it holds .Today we left our beach for a nice long kayak ride but the beauty of it is that after the day we got to came back to the only camp we get to stay in two night ( I voted for this option for sure as so much easier not to have to pack the camp up )

The beach we went to was super pretty and had some amazing cliffs and caves and snorkelling . We got to eat lunch there and rest up and I read for a good hr and also fell asleep for about 20 mins until my spot on the shade turned to sun .
The kayak trip back was harder for me as my stupid sombrero kept blowing off . The sun was so hot and strong even late in the day that the minute I got " home " I went to the bushes and threw up . This is hard core  stuff here 
We then all proceeded to take" showers "which feel so good . Biodegradable soap in the ocean and washing hair and brushing teeth all together and laughing . 
Then everyone gets changed and heads to happy hour on the beach . I usually just take a sip and listen to the music on the speakers but it's a fun time and makes me feel much younger than I am . When they passed around the " weed " a certain flower on the island that you smoke : I happily passed . It's a good hour of the day until everyone gets in their phones and texts home and goes on Facebook etc . 4/7 are on phones and three of us have decided to disconnect until the hotel night before the trip is over .
It's hard for me . Especially with everyone on their phones connecting . But I didn't come here to do that and I won't in a deserted island . I can't .
I miss my family deeply especially my husband . I miss his hugs and chats and him not swearing every second word . I miss someone totally getting me and me him . I miss him 
Tonight after dinner when I headed to bed with 4 other guys ( 5/7 ) of is go to bed by 9pm - I gave everyone a hug and kiss and even the guides . Everyone thought I was adorable of course but it was truly a case of me needing human affection . I miss home 
Paul  and I decided this morning he would always give me a hug before bed ( we sleep right next to eachother ) and before he lay down to rest he asked me to come into his warm embrace . At 73 and a very strong male role model for me this was exactly what I needed . It's amazing how touching the kindness of human beings can be . Made me realize how sad I am to never have had a dad who's embrace could calm and comfort me 
We are all getting more comfortable here and getting into a more solid routine . Today even a couple of little tiffs between people ( not involving me but I tried to be the mediator ! what makes me happy about this group is that most are pretty calm and chill 

Paul - 73 retired principal . Went to Peru . Caring loving and directive . An inspiration and a leader 

Ugo -  50 yrs old Csa directeur general and eccentric to the max . From France . Kind and sarcastic and eccentric and cool . Also went to Peru 

Maria - 42 yrs old stay at home mom also went to Peru . Playful , outgoing , funny wild , big heart and doesn't sleep or relax 

Simon - 31 yr old financial controller with tattoos all over body . Kind gentle introspective and loving soul . Ex bouncer and big protector if needed 

Nicolas - 38 yr old incredibly successful
organization designer . Free spirit , Inspiring , motivating , smarty and funny and playful . We all thought he was 28 


Jonathon - 23 yrs old primary school teacher Csa . Very direct and assertive and likes his alone time like me . 3 yrs older than my son !!!! Loves his students 

Mariana - 30 yrs old Mexican guide from Montréal . Sweet and loving and generous and strict and directive. Nurturing 

Antonio - my Mexican kayak guide partner so far and funny and gentle and helpful 
Joseph - 24 yr old assistant We hide my extra stuff in his kayak so I don't get yelled at too much and he always helps me with my kayak jupe :)

That's it for tonight ! To bed ! Maria is opting for the tent again so I have my own tarp next to Paul Simon and Nicolas 
I have officially not looked in the mirror or given a crap  for many days now 
Time is kinda going slowly as roughing it is not easy in the wilderness and neither is packing kayaks and setting up camp 
Although they try hard for food and do a great job you try keeping a tomato under the sun in good shape for 8 days 
And water is of course always boiling hot and there are no other drinks . Dinner is always some kind of stew I guess or tamales . They try really hard and do a great job with what they have 
For some reason I don't have an appetite here thank god . It is just so hot it's hard to think or eat here 

Day 6
I slept again without meds ! Miracle of miracles I may just be getting used to this . Now mind you sleep is every 20 mins at least tossing and turning and figuring out how to get sand out of sleeping bag and zipping up for bugs and zipping down for heat etc . But sleeping is being on this mattesss from 9pm to 7am . Not bad eh ?? 
The wierd part here is being 5 feet from water Is that all the sudden water and sun are so much a part of my life now that I am not sure I appreciate it in the way I always have . I am taking them for granted now ! Taking this beauty and splendour as if it will always be here ? I hope that I still love Turks !!!! This is my fear - how can I actually want sun from this point on ???? I hope this temporary infliction of insanity goes away soon . Really soon . What it has convinced me of is that I never want to live full time  by the water . I always want to have a condo in the city so that when we go to the cottage it is a huge treat . I want to spend 4 days a week at cottage and three at condo one day . At least I have that figured out 
Setting out bright and early today to a far away island to sleep and set up camp . Gotta get up now and force myself to go to bathroom with thousands of flies surrounding me as I do and then pack for a couple of hours and get onto that beautiful sea 
Apparently today is the hardest kayak day yet 
Wish me luck !

Night day 6

I am not sure for as long as I live I will saying " I can't believe I did Cortez " each time I stop to think about this I still can't believe it still 
One thing this trip has forced me to do is really live in the present . And most of my present in pure survival really . I barely have any thoughts if anything else but sleeping eating and packing and unpacking and kayaking and doing it all over . That seems impossible for someone like me who's brain functions 24/7 but it is true here .
Present .
This morning after I wrote we had a little drama . Mariana told us we were changing kayak partners and announced I was with ugo . I burst out in total tears and cried and cried and ugo was sitting right there as was the whole group 
I covered my face and buried my head and told everyone how damn petrified I was to be with the strongest most competitive kayaker for the hardest day . And he is the principal too of the entire 3 Csa schools !
Everyone was in shock as I have barely expressed any upset feelings in this trip while many others have . They see me as calm and cool and collected ( and sweet I think ) . Well today that persona was shattered ! Everyone was so surprised . Made me realize I will get my period in a day or two
Omg can't handle thinking of how I will handle that out here !
Felt good to let my stress out though 
Ugo feelings were hurt of course and we talked it all through and you know what ? Ended up being one of the best days of my trip and my best kayaks . I really pushed myself physically and got my paddling down pat and by the time it was break time for lunch I was one of the few who was not dying ! I wasn't dying to pee or dying to eat or dying be so uncomfortable . Even ugo said that if we didn't stop at the next beach he would " be in Collère " how did this possibly happen that I can keep up with such a mostly young and athletic crowd ?!!! How is this possible

We are lunch at a great beach and then had a paddle to our final destination after noon . So damn hot when afternoon . Got to camp and the routine of course of setting up and then throwing ourselves in water and staying there 
Happy hour on my mat tonight and we made a bonfire for dinner . Dodo at 8:45 for 5/7 of us ! I love this quiet time 
And man on man do Pauls hugs make a
Difference  to my quality of life here . Three times a day at least now warm big embraces . Many call me Tari too . Feels good


I am wearing my husbands Peru underwear tonight just to think of him :) it's cool that both of us have had these amazing experiences in our lives 

There was no wind at all today and was beyond beautiful . The sunset left the sky a pale pink pale Violet  and pale blue 
I convinced ugo to sleep outside of his tent tonight 
Very good day 
Great here but defiantly time to go home soon!
I am excited to finish the trip and say I did it ! I will also miss parts of it for sure but I do miss my home and life and bed and food . The astronaut food I brought bc of various food intolerances is coming In handy but soooo gross . The treat of the day was an apple 
Some minor drama going on here which is expected and hope all goes ok . Also Maria and I stole ugo tarp as bigger and he will not be happy !

Day 7 morning slept ! A lot ! Woke at 3am to find Maria not next to me as she had set herself out to do . Went on a little worried detective search for her . Found her .
Was the second to last to wake up this morning ( Nicola is always last ) and felt good . I sit there and brush my teeth near my mat and take my pills and then try and brush the tangled mess of my hair . Then I set off to go pee and put a bra on and always on my way Paul stops me for my huge hug and says " ca va etre Une autre belle journee ma belle " and that hug and that kindness gets me happily through another day . Towards the end of the day he always hugs me and says " je Suis fier de toi tari" 
I wish so much I had a father like that :(

Huge huge life lesson : always ask for what you need in life ( for me if was hugs from Paul this trip )

And always give people as much as you can what they may uniquely need . Take the time to be kind as there is no better use of your time in life 
Upon return I want to make sure that each and every single day I give huge hugs to each of my kids and husband . I do a lot but is it daily ? And with such deliberation ? Is that what they need or is it something else ?

My possessions here I love :
My headlamp 
My Birkenstock sandals 
My water bottle 
The way hubby and I organized me 
My sunglasses are the best purchase ever made ( and not for fashion ! )
My pepperoni sticks ( which I share always and last one finished today )
My  thermal water spray which we all discovered tonight as I shared it as coming up to end of trip . I forgot about it in many days and is awesome )
My tangerine towel that when combined with my fushia barhingsuit is bright and happy and like the designer said " pochahontas
My hat totally rocks 

The things I hate 
My pillow ( great for a nap on boat and sucks for a night )
My sleeping bag ( wish I had a liner as too hot )
Needed more short pyjama as only have one pair 

Afternoon day 7

Today was a very hard but magical day . We had our longest kayak in a row and was hrs in the boiling heat . The plan was to stop at 2 hrs and take a break but the beaches were too steep  to land the kayaks . So we continued . I was again able to keep up miraculously . I think I am better at kayak than I think 
We got to our beach and is the worst one we have been been at so far ( small and rocky and hardly any sand and ocean full of shallow rocks ) was hard to set up camp and we are all squished together sleeping in the little space that has a bit of sand . There are also bugs that are dead on beach everywhere that they call little cows as they stink like cows 
The positive part is that there is a small island right in front of us and has great snorkelling and very cool thermal springs . And some shade in the island ! I got Antonio to walk me over there over the thousands of rocks and read my book all alone there in the shade and wind . I even brought my chair and had a great couple of hours . Then a few others came and chatted and then Maria fell asleep on other side of the island . When she woke up we had some girl chat time which was nice as was haven't had a lot of Alone time . We had some good conversations about life in general 
Onto showers in the ocean with ugo and hair washing which is always fun . Some frisbee on the beach and some more reading and going around saying our favorite parts of the trip . 
TodAy was a great food day too exceptionally . Cold San Pelegrino lime ( aka hot water in water bottle with a wedge of lime Nichola shares from tequila ) and spaghetti !!! And the spaghetti tasted really good . My astronaut foods are getting more pathetic by the day ( ps Thai today was Inedible . We are all so tired of eating nachos and tortillas and dried meats and hot sauce . Sorry family may be a while before we eat fajitas again 

My clothes I think are getting looser on me maybe ? Maybe ? They are definitely getting humid and smellier ! What I love about the last couple of days is that we don't have to ration and save every little thing or care if this is wet and smelly or not as the end is coming up . Believe me in a trip like this the first days of making everything last is stressful since a self autonomous trip . Water is a huge issue and we have to make sure we have enough for whole trip . We get way less protein and fresh foods towards the end of course 
I haven't discussed the bathroom situation much as doesn't bother me much but is a big issue with many . Lots of constipation going I. Here . I don't use the crazy smelly toilets they try and set up - grosses me out way more than doing my business behind a cactus and then burying it . I can't say I like that but it is doable for me . The Hassle is that here with digestion systems none of us can predict it so sometimes at 3am we get up and go behind a cactus individually . It is so odd that I live in nature now fully 

The sea was harder to navigate today as more waves but nothing compared to our first day of waves but a harder workout than the calm seas of yesterday . I can't believe that tomorrow is the last day of the kayak part of this . Pretty unbelievable . We will have covered I think about 65 km and slept in more places than I can count . I have not once slept in a tent and at this point can pretty much sleep anywhere with no mask or earplugs or anything . Today I actually " slept in " and missed the sunrise and woke up at 7:20am . Don't get me wrong I barely sleep much as wake up constantly like everyone else from bugs wind birds smells bathroom headlamps in my face missing people and threat of murderers and snakes . But I manage to stay on my mat and get some rest in between it all 

Today was a good day . Better and better as time goes on as I know the end is near and that comforts me . It gets me through these rougher conditions to me able to see the end and allows me to treasure each moment a lot more knowing that soon I will be home with my family and back to my real life with this beautiful and crazy experience tucked in my back pocket forever 
The group is a really nice group and our guides our great too . Imagine 3 guides for 7 people and they do a lot ! A lot . And so do we . I can see why parents in the older days had no time to helicopter their kids lives . With less appliances and technology their days were filled with just surviving through the days i bet .
Our guides are really great most of the time and taking great care of us . Especially Mariana . I am so grateful for her care and attention ( today I had a diaper rash on my legs )
Goodnight ! 

Day8 

Ok so that qualified as the worst " sleep" of my life ( aka did I sleep ? ) on this particular island there were MASSIVE gusts of wind all night about every three minutes . Felt a lot like a hurricane . Seriously. The people in tents were up for hours trying to ensure their tents didn't fly away and those of us on the ground were searching for more and more rocks to ensure our tarps didn't fly up despite already 10-12 rocks as usual 
It was quite terrifying and really really frustrating . We all I am certain will be more than a little grumpy today . Worst part is I took a voltarin pill to knock me out as after 3 hrs I couldn't sleep and 10 mins later is when wind started . So sleeping pill and no sleep equals. Not a whole lot of fun 

Oh yes and last night the zipper on my mummy style sleeping bag decided to break . While I was in it . So meant I could not get out of it until morning when I could see how to fix it 

At least I got to see the sunrise !

Afternoon day 8

The day took a big turn !!! It is over 15 hrs earlier than expected ! We were heading for a pretty rough kayak to the last island and were told it was the least nice and couldn't really swim there or snorkel . We were only staying there for the night and leaving 9am and had to unpack and pack the kayaks for that ?????? We all started questioning what the hell we were doing and couldn't we drive the 6 hrs to la Paz tonight instead of all day tomorrow ? Have a last day in la Paz to enjoy and an extra night in civilization ? One of us went to ask the guide if possible 
A number of us agreed on this but not all had asked the group of everyone wanted this as involved one less night camping and one less wavy rough kayak ride . It involved paying for one more night each at hotel and each two more meals 
Clearly I was in the team who wanted this but I would have preferred that we took a vote 
The guide assumes we were all in agreement and made it happen with a call 

So the trip ended very abruptly . Very . Anticlimactic . With a two hr wait on the rocks on a beach . I hope with all my heart the three that were not asked are ok . They seem ok . I was surprised this important step of consensus was not done but went with the flow of the group and the plan 
I had wanted the hotel tonight but was also looking forward to the last kayak and reaching the last island as a summit to reach 
Oh well ! It's all good and looking so so so so so so so so forward to texting my family as soon as we have service on the phone on the long 6 hr car ride where hopefully we can sleep maybe a little ? ( could it be worse than the rocks yesterday and wind on ground ? )
I am also looking very forward to a good looooong shower and a good meal and very very not looking forward to myself looking in a mirror 
Texted kids and hubby in 6 hr car ride for many hours :)) stopped at awesome local taco resto 

Had a diet cold Coke :)
Got to hotel at 1am and took only 3 min shower as could barely stand up . Slept in a bed with sheets  ans pillows for 7.5 hrs uninterrupted :))

Day 9 

Woke up at 8:45 and was heavenly to be in a bed . Treasured every minute of my morning and free time in civilization . Such a cute local Mexican hotel in la Paz and all open space and nice and cozy . Went down for a quick breakfast by the pool and joined a few of the sleepin buddies at the pool . Came up to room and spent an hour on the phone with my husband which was so fun as he loves all the details and missed me a lot and me him so we talked and talked and forced ourselves to stop so there would still be more to tell when I get home . 

Then I took and hour at  sweet little pool with waterfall  by myself and read some blogs . Then afternoon was spent in the gang at a great seafood resto on the marina and then walking around the downtown area In la Paz right on ocean which was very nice . Long hour walk and stopped along the way for a couple of souvenirs and some great ice cream . I even shared some of Pauls ice cream espresso and loved if . Might get into that soon - yummy 

Had 2 hrs free before dinner and spent at pool with a great book and even snoozed and found myself snoring at the pool ! Got ready for dinner in a dress with some makeup on and headed to further downtown la Paz ( about hour walk ) to a super fancy nice modern cool international resto . Was very tasty and we shared a number of appetizers most Lebanese and then each had own plates and shared some really yummy desserts 
Had some wine and talked about our trip and some of the best and funniest moment and profoundly thanked our guide for taking such good care of us 
So many people expressed parts of trip that made them anxious and nervous and stressed . A couple admitted to being very apprehensive of coming and especially when we arrived for kayak part and ocean so rough how they wanted to turn back 
I realized then and there how much the ocean frees me . And how I am not scared of it at all . And even if it was a hard trip for me there was never a question if I would do it all or not do it all . I was doing it . And I did it 

A few of them told me they thought I was a great kayaker and adventurer and that made me feel really good :)

Once again what made these dinners so special is the human connection and team spirit . What was a downer was so many phones out . Nicolas got strict today and demanded everyone put in middle of table . Most listened but not all ! It's hard that part . We are all such a different and eclectic group of people with different needs and values and habits . It's a crazy thing to throw a bunch of strangers together and have them live on an island 
Coming back to civilization as a gang is also an adjustment 
Personally my fave part of night was when Simon explained in detail what he would do if on our long walk back to hotel late at night a guy came and took my purse or tried to hurt me . He is a past bouncer with a ton of tattoos on his body . After his description I felt safe .
Half of us went back to hotel to pack at 11:30pm and other half out to the bars in this very lively town .
Up at 4:30pm for flights !
It was a beautiful last day and night and so happy we had that last day and changed the itinary last minute 
I think we all knew what we needed and we asked for it . I think in the end everyone was happy with it 
Ugo gave a great toast and speech and was an all around amazing day . Really only day in a hotel as first two nights were in a Eco lodge with no electricity and hardly any water so was a great intro to the camping . 

Goodnight ! 

Day 10 - travel all day  since early morning 5:30qm and tonight at 10 pm hoping will see hubby and all three kids at airport 

Bye bye Cortez . Will never ever stop saying " I can't believe I did this !!! "

Got back to airport at 9:40 a bit earlier than expected and the best part of whole trip was the three kids and hubby there waiting for me . There is nothing like being greeted at an airport and welcomed home . We all hugged as a family all 5 of us and the kids looked so proud of me . I also love seeing them interact with new people as they are so kind and funny and engaging - it always amazes me how they go right up to adults and shake their hands and give hugs and kisses and congratulations . They make me so proud of them 

We all chatted as a group and with other people's families and then did our goodbye photo and we were off back to our normal routines and lives . Kids went off to bed for school and hubby and I stayed up late until my eyes couldn't stay open anymore . We both had a heavenly sleep for 9 hrs and took the morning off of work to enjoy eachother . Tonight is my little family dinner where I will share all my adventures and pictures and also hear all about eh daddy daughter trip to Miami too 

Feels really really good to be home . Happy to report I lost a few lbs too and even more importantly I think I look a lot more fit :)

Was strange today not to have contact with my kayak buddies but as they say friends are always season , purpose or forever . This gang was definitely a purpose gang with a shared goal - to stay alive in cortez 
Looking forward to see them all at reunion dinner in November ! Goodbye trip and hello reality .. so far I am loving my reality !!


Funniest moments 


Me seeing a guy in shower
Nicola and Maria stealing my phone at airport 
Simon saying that I had no thing in my pants that sticks out 
Me screaming at top of lungs bc of jellyfish and Maria chastising me for being so loud and there her doing same thing one second later and punching guide on the face !
Ugo catching me naked while changing to pay back 
Me crying about Ugo being  my partner and his hurt feelings 
Maria thinking that I seem so  sweet and innocent but how I really have no filter 


Aerobics on the terrace 
Bodyguards bouncer  story 
Mariana and said terrified of ugo 


Lessons : snorkelling push yourself around the corner and don't give up when tired as beautiful things await you 
Natural sporty girl really feels good to me 
I will need to do these type of adventure trips for the rest of my life to fully feel alive 
I am so so much more relaxed as a person and around a big group than I was for so many years . I have always been super social and outgoing but inside often irritated . Peace and freedom are finally mine in the last year 
I am petrified of feeling sick  ( either mentally or physically )and staying sick ( this is a hidden and new fear )( many reasons for this ) but this is interfering with my life