Doing Pushups and doggo decides to rub her body on the mat. Read on. Towards the end you’ll know why I chose this photo.

Travelling, Snowboarding, and Personal Development in the Time of Quarantine

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Ah yes. If your hair’s too long and it’s getting difficult not having a gym…yes yes, we’re all in the same boat. It’s quarantine/lockdown time (depending on where you are) and hey, let’s just make the best of what we have and then do everything right, get this over with properly so we can all go back to all the fun stuff we all wanna do! If you’re interested in this article it’s probably because either you’re genuinely curious or you’re bored out of your mind and you’re looking for fresh ideas to make better use of your time. Either way, this is the perfect article for you: what’s a guy like me–into travelling, snowboarding, and personal development–doing in the time of quarantine 😁

Addressing the Snowboard Side of Things

This one’s the easiest and probably the most obvious. When it comes to snowboarding, there’s nothing to do, with or without coronavirus (because it’s spring, and it’s off season).

It was actually a bit tough because as an east coast North America person we don’t have much snow to begin with; then add on climate change on top of it and then add on adult responsibilities to it…it’s just tough to find time and opportunity. East coast Canada and US are the same, same goes for west Coast Canada and US, at least in terms of ski resort/terrain: west is all beautiful, dry snow, bright skies, etc. East being so cold and icy.
I got a new snowboard and even if it was towards the end of the season, I was still willing to go, practice, and enjoy snowboarding. I was even about to go to my first snowboard social!

It’s not just me that got cut short. Actually it’s even more tough for west people or anyone with access to great snow since it’s hard to hear “you’re in quarantine, stay inside” when there’s beautiful pow (powder type of snow) happening outside.

Anyways, enough about what happened. I am mentioning those though because I, and probably ski/snowboard enthusiasts will double down and go crazy in ski trips next season. I know me and my friends are planning already. It just got cut short, it would be normal to get two servings next season.

Re: Travelling

This one’s a bit easy and hard ish. Easy because most countries are in quarantine or lockdown anyways so you can’t go anywhere. Hard because…well, I’m not travelling.

The golden (not just silver) lining to this is one is forced to save money (or any resources: vacation days, income, etc). I don’t really need to ‘force’ myself since I’ve been on this journey for a while. This quarantine situation definitely optimizes and pushes it even better for me. No gas expense, lesser expenses in general. I guess I should be writing this down under the next category…

Anyways, going back to travelling, I’m sooo ok with it. I have tentative plans with friends later this year and assuming the world’s back to normal of course. The aggressive traveller I was before would do 3-4 big trips a year. The realistic me would do 1, max 2 big trips a year. The “regulated” me would do max 1 a year and then some domestic ones. My definition for domestic is 4hours or less. Technically it means within your country but like…Boston is a neighbour and 1 hour or less away, so US territory is included. Maybe also very cheap deals to the Caribbean or South America would constitute as a med-large-ish trip.

Anyways, my point is my new norm is the “regulated” version but given our circumstance, let’s say the world goes back to normal Q3, there really isn’t that much slot in Q4. Plus the world’s still reeling and licking wounds around this time too, I’m thinking I’d probably do 1-2 medium trips towards the end of the year. Then yey, next thing you know, snowboard season again!

The time at home really helps in planning, not just (travel) planning, but resource planning too. “Yes I want to travel relatively soon when it’s safe to do so but with the limited funds and remaining months of the year, I’ll have to be selective. And if I want it to be as early as possible, it’ll be risky, so I’ll have to be extra selective on the destinations.”

Overall, I’m really not in a rush to book flights at this point. Travel industry is hurting a lot but pff, I know it’ll rebound back with a vengeance. The thirst for travel will never go away from people. At most, this virus is just a “big pause” for the industry and for travellers. The more time that passes by, the resources I have to go travel and/or snowboarding later.

The takeaway for you is, plan nevertheless! I think I mentioned that to a friend on how to focus/work from home and I think he just laughed at me. “wow, plan my fun”. Nothing much really you can do right now, so your best bet is to plan it out so that it’s epic later and you go yolo with having way less things to worry about right?

Personal Development

This is the part of me that’s really happy and taking advantage of this whole quarantine / work-from-home situation!

As mentioned and of course, the finances are definitely the ones getting the vacay and recovery here. My wallet and bank account are happy. It is ‘personal development’ because it’s financial literacy and actually improving your money habits. What I’ve realized in dealing with money was that…when you think of money, it’s the moooost materialistic thing in the world. You wouldn’t think of personality and attitude when you mention money. Turns out, it speaks volumes on those things too. Money shows you how good you are with restraint, self-control (delaying pleasure/expenses), patience (saving up for something big), and how you handle and deal important assets in this world. It’s something I just learned in what, the past two years? Better late than never I’d say.

This is big and I think it’s worth it for you to read this if you also think you can have a little bit of improvement with your money relationships 🙂

Apart from money, health and fitness are my next ones in the list. When the quarantine / mandatory work-from-home started the first thing I did was give myself permission to make mistakes (read: let go). “Support local businesses!” they said, “Support local businesses” I did oh hell yeah. I gave myself two weeks, maybe three? After that it just shows up big time in the bank account.

More importantly, it was transforming my body again to that “downward spiral” state. There’s that point when you let go that it’s like the event horizon of a black hole or the compounding interest in finance. After this point, it becomes extremely difficult to get out of this zone. In order to ‘get back on track’ you’d have to do drastic changes, but in order to do intense activities you need to be fit…which you’re not, so you just end up not doing anything and you continue with the bad diet and then the cycle repeats.

I entered that state but I made a U-turn right away. It was not easy, but it also wasn’t like last time where I’m undoing years and years of bad habits. A summary of my process is:

  • first, lessen the intake (portioning); small increments in (very) long amounts of time the better (no meal change or workout)
  • second, do the meal change WHILE continuing step one. This means doing step 1 plus maybe adding some salads on the side when you can, or eating a chicken-based meal than pork/beef, etc (it doesn’t need to be just ‘going vegetarian’)
  • third, continue the two, then add in physical activities (it doesn’t have to be gym, but walking instead of driving, or running, or sports/social activities). This is best done last because if you do step 1, you shave off more weight, which makes it easier to work out. Also after you do step 2, it becomes easier for you to feel good/better and naturally commit your body to exercise. It also makes it easier for your body to show results due to step 1 and 2 which then ends you in this positive, accelerating loop.

And then on top of all those, give yourself permission to fail. Chomp like crazy, don’t deprave yourself. Depravity is kind of a resistance with the path to progress. Also, it leads to my next point: Mental health or overall happiness.

You want to give yourself permission to fail not because you want to be fat, but more so because you want to be happy. The world’s crumbling and here you are self-inflicting a totally avoidable mental stress right? You’re not helping yourself. Just be real and be smart. For example, I had this internal dialogue with myself before: “what is cheap is usually not healthy and what is healthy is not cheap. Times are tough lately and the problem’s all economical so later on if it becomes a question of cheap or healthy, I’d go with cheap.” . I’d prefer healthy as much as I can sure but it’s the wallet that’s dictating the menu today. No point wanting abs when no one g.a.f about your abs and everyone’s just focused on the next meal right? It’s called priorities.

So I give myself that permission.

Apart from that, there’s something I have that it’s hard to transpose to other people: I tend to be optimistic (realist), so much that in times of intense dread, I can laugh it off. It’s not that I’m dismissing or taking it lightly, it’s just….~that’s my personality 😁Maybe that’s my coping mechanism.

No lie, it got to me and this virus almost shattered my being. With the negative things going on, especially around March, there were so many things going down: economy, finances, health, trust, order. Match that with uncertainty, the one thing us humans are naturally not ok with (we like control and predictability)…oh man. I can’t recall exactly how I did it but I just dealt with it.

That was my priority number one back at that time. Forget money, forget health, I need to find my balance again before I can do…anything really.

One thing I can tell you was the uncertainty of job security. Surely this was a concern for everyone. How did I find my center in this issue? Well it’s easy to say now, but what I thought of in my head was: I was already furloughed/let go even before the company announced anything (I’m still employed but we all got reduced hours). So even before town halls or company announcements, I was chirpy lool. Because in my head, they were going to tell me something I know already.

A colleague asked me how I was holding up and I said all those: that in my head I’ve been let go already. She took it the wrong way and I probably freaked her out even more. She probably thought I heard something and we WILL BE let go. Sorry.

Again, it’s not because I’ve dismissed it or I’m oblivious to the gravity of the situation. It’s actually the opposite, I’ve absorbed the gravity of the situation and I’ve ran the worst-case scenario in my head already. Turns out, you’ll live:

“Ok so I get let go. There are government assistance to help. Not enough? Live with ‘austerity measures’. Not enough? Give up rent, move back to parents. Basically you wanna balance the income (however small that is) with the expenses so burn it at both ends. You’ll probably have to do some things you’d be ashamed / not be proud of but hey man, you’re jobless in a recession at this point, you still have space for pride?”

Going through this thought exercise actually lets you discover that things most essential and valuable, and above all, things you have that you should be grateful for.

Basically if you fast-forward it even at the worst-case scenario, in the end, you’re still alive. Beg if you have to, sleep on the streets if you have to. I guess for most of my comfortable friends here in first-world countries, it sounds shameful and difficult to go down certain energy levels (electrons reference) with quality of life. But if you get to/have to live with that life…you’ll find out that it’s not as bad as you were expecting. You’re alive, you have health and well-being, fam and friends who love you, food in your stomach (no matter how small that is). Life is “good”.

Need something relatable? Think of Rachel in Friends (daddy’s girl to coffee shop), that girl in Eat Pray Love (everything to nothing), even Two Broke Girls LOL. BRUUUHH Pursuit of Happiness. HOOOOLY. That broke my heart but that’s gold in this example. That’s legit a good example. Point is, in their shows they make it casual and easy but the reality of it is, you’ll survive. You actually won’t be living with regret, dread, and demotivation, but rather with vigor, determination, and finding happiness in the smallest things. I tell you my brothers and sisters, it’s a great and glorious feeling. That when you get to that level, you’ll be like a dog with an indestructible happiness: “Oh you have a Porsche? Cool, happy for you. I just want my tennis ball though. Can you give me butt scratches please?”

“A dog doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his.”

-Marley and Me

…and just like that, you know you’ll be fine. Focus on the important things in life…THE TRULY important things in life then you will find peace and happiness.

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