- Travelled to 14 countries on 4 continents. (For an easy view of all the blog posts, check out this list on StumbleUpon.)
- Hiked in the Himalayas.
- Fell in love with Nepal and swore to go back there again some day.
- Hiked the Lost Coast in California.
- Rode motorbikes in Bali, Thailand and Nepal.
- Learned how to ride an elephant.
- Learned how to ride a motorcycle.
- Got in a cage with a (baby) tiger.
- Rode a camel in the desert in India.
- Fell in love with a Berliner at a street party in Rio de Janeiro. We never exchanged contact info and I’ll probably never see him again...
- Got a new job.
- Got my first motorcycle.
- Learned how to climb.
- Got really freaking good at bikram yoga.
- Spent quality time with my family in Romania.
- Started eating healthier.
- Cooked for over 100 people at a moped rally camp out in the redwoods.
- Went on many awesome camping trips all around northern California.
- Went sailing with my friend Elliot and his Hobbie Cat.
- Spent quality Thanksgiving time with my awesome group of friends in a luxury mountain cabin in Tahoe.
- Struggled with some health issues, (which I’ll talk about in more details later.)
1. Mens Sana in Corpore Sano
This old-timey Latin proverb literally translates “A healthy mind in a healthy body” - meaning that only a healthy body can produce and sustain a healthy mind. Earlier in this blog post I mentioned that in 2012 I struggled with some health issues. Upon my return from the trip I was hit with an intense explosion of anxiety symptoms. Everyone experiences anxiety during certain trying moments in life, but going through a full-blown anxiety disorder can be quite debilitating. Just when you expect it the least, your heart starts pounding uncontrollably, feeling like you’re on the verge of a heart attack. There are often week-long headaches, dizziness or claustrophobia in crowded or small spaces. Normal activities like driving, getting on a plane, being on a crowded subway train or in a packed concert venue, become daunting. Mind disorders are even more terrible because they are invisible.
Modern medication is often the worst solution to a problem like anxiety - and since I’m a firm believer in the above mentioned Latin proverb, I increased my weekly amount of physical exercise, changed my diet (more about that later), started taking B vitamins and other supplements rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (all things that are good for your central nervous system) and guess what ??? BAM! The anxiety symptoms gradually went away to the point that I’m now feeling almost back to my normal self. This blog post is more personal - and I’m sharing all this info because I really want to get the point across: exercise + diet = a healthy body; a healthy body = a healthy mind (for the most part, at least). 2012 has been a trying year for some of my closest friends, who discovered they had serious health conditions (cancer, diabetes, psoriasis, tumors). The bottom line for all of us (and everyone else out there reading this) is that regular exercise and healthy diet are the keys to enjoying a long, happy life inside a healthy body. I know I sound preachy, but this is so important and yet so overlooked by many people. And the saddest part is that most people choose to take up exercise or eat a healthy diet only after they’ve been personally affected by a disease; in other words as reactive measures, rather than as pre-emptive, healthy lifestyle choices.
2. You Are What You Absorb
I mentioned diet earlier and promised to expand on it later in the blog post. Another famous saying is “You are what you eat.” and to put it more accurately, you are what you absorb. I’m not going to go into too many details here, but I’ll instead resort to a quote: “The nutrients that we get from our food are only absorbed when interacting with other nutrients. It works a bit like the engine of a car. For that engine to work fuel alone is not enough. The nutrients we require need to be delivered in a way that encourages as many of them as possible to work together.” What this means is that it’s not enough to eat healthy or organic, but you also have to mix the items you’re eating in a certain manner to get the most benefits out of them.
What I’ve done is compiled a basic list of food items you should strive to eat as often as possible: nuts (walnuts, almonds), fish rich in Omega 3 fatty acids (sardines, mackerel), dark-green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, bok choi), yellow/red vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, beets), the good grains (brown/black rice, flax seeds), the good dairy (yogurt, kefir, ghee, butter), the good oils (coconut oil, olive oil), the good fruit (grapefruit, lemon, blackberries, blueberries, pomegranate), avocados, eggs and more.
I’ve also compiled a list of food items you should strive to avoid as much as possible, if not completely eliminate: sugar (so, so bad! - this includes all candy and all soda), the bad grains (anything made with white flour, bready things, white rice, pasta), the bad fats (corn and sunflower oil, cheese, and especially melted cheese), fruit rich in sugar, beer, potatoes.
3. Other 2013 Resolutions
- Get better at riding motorcycles.
- Go on a long road trip.
- Take a woodworking class.
- Take a pottery class.
- Engage in more crafty/creative projects.
- Go on at least 4 overnight backpacking trips.
- Surround myself with more outdoorsy/active friends.
- Run a half-marathon.
- Lose 8 pounds.
- Redo my photography website.
- Do more creative photoshoots.
- Get some paid photo assignments.
- Call my parents, brother and grandparents more often.
- Be better at keeping in touch with people I care about.
- Go to a new country. (Australia, Canada or New Zealand)
- Do some volunteer work.
- Get better at skiing.
- Get better at climbing.
- Read more books.
- Make a more conscious effort at buying environmentally-friendly products with least amount of packaging. Reuse, recycle and use second-hand items as much as possible.