If We Went on a Hike Today

If We Went on a Hike Today...

Hi friends! Once or twice a year, I like to share a list of general updates on my life and business. I used to call them our virtual coffee dates, but in line with the fact that I’ve been trying to get outside again more recently, I thought I’d take you on a virtual hike instead. :)

If I’m honest, I’ve felt a bit all over the map lately – ever since losing the girls. I’ll have a productive day followed by a day where I can’t seem to cross anything off my list; a happy day then a sad day. It comes in waves, like everyone said it would (and I’m so grateful to everyone who has helped walk me through this).

So, I’m writing this list for both of us. By giving you a glimpse at what’s been happening in my world, I hope to also get more clarity around what it is that I’m working towards. So many my ideas have been born on trails. I’m excited to share this virtual one with you.

If we were on a hike today:

I would pack a peanut butter sandwich, carrots, an apple and some trail mix, along with 1L of water with big slices of lemon and lime in it.

I would tell you the slow food experiment has been my favourite slow living experiment so far this year. I feel healthier and am sleeping better, and it’s also come with a number of non-health-related lessons. For example, cooking isn’t hard and it doesn’t have to be time-consuming. It takes trying a handful of new recipes to realize this, but it’s been so rewarding and now I feel genuinely excited to cook again. Oh, and compared to when I was a vegetarian in 2009-2013, it is so easy to switch to a vegan diet now! There are so many more options at grocery stores and restaurants. It’s been awesome to see. :)

I would offer to share a few of the recipes I’ve tried and enjoyed this month:

I would tell you that, aside from eating fish once, I’ve eaten a vegetarian (and often vegan) diet since June 30th – and I don’t see myself going back to eating meat anytime soon.

I would share that I’ve had to talk myself out of a lot of impulse purchases lately. I’m not entirely sure why I’ve been wanting to buy things, but I’m in a place where it’s easy to almost sell me on “needing” things. The good news is that even after submitting a couple orders, I’ve realized I don’t need those things and cancelled them. But I’m still journalling and trying to figure out what’s going on in my life that is making me want to shop at all. Stay tuned. I’ll write a post about it, once I figure it out.

Along that note, I would tell you I finally bought a desk! Or rather, I bought the base of an adjustable stand-up desk. This was definitely not an impulse purchase, as I’ve been living without a desk since March and was waiting until I found what I wanted. I’m still on the hunt for a tabletop but I have half a desk – which means I’m 50% closer to finally having an office at home! Hooray!

If we got on the subject, I would probably tell you I have finally started a more regular journalling practice. I currently have two going. The first is one I’ve modelled from the Five-Minute Journal, after Tammy told me how much gratitude it was bringing into her life. (Side note: I just wrote the prompts on the first page and follow them on regular lined paper after.) The other is just another regular journal that I’ve been writing some thoughts and observations in all year. It’s incredible how much this + therapy have helped me so far in 2017. It’s been a tough year, but I’m learning a lot about myself and can see how I’m changing every week.

I would rave about a podcast I just binge-listened to: Terrible, Thanks for Asking. The episodes are all interviews with people who have gone through tough things in life and who are willing to honestly answer the question: how are you? It’s hosted by Nora McInerny Purmort who is the author of It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too), which I am now listening to the audiobook version of. I would warn anyone who considers listening to the podcast that there could be some triggering language in it. I cried while listening to a few episodes. But it’s real. I can’t recommend them both enough.

Speaking of podcasts, I would also tell you about a few episodes of others that have been meaningful for me:

I might also remind you we’re halfway through the summer season of Budgets and Cents! ;)

On the business front, I would talk about how I’ve made a number of changes in mine. Aside from quitting freelancing in May, I also made the Mindful Budgeting Program FREE (it used to be $20). It feels odd to have intentionally removed two sources of income from my life, but the decision was exactly that: intentional.

For the rest of this year, I’ll be working on three big projects.

  1. The book! The Year of Less comes out January 16th, and even though the actual writing and editing part is done, there’s a lot to do on the promotion side of things.
  2. A program + community! Some people might call it a course, but I’m looking at this differently. There won’t be any quizzes or tests. Instead, there will be lessons and space/time for reflection. I’ll share more as I’m working on it, but look for this in October. I can’t wait. :)
  3. A NEW podcast! Of all the things I’m working on, this is the one my friends have had to listen to me go on and on about. (I love you for listening, friends! And I will love YOU for listening when it comes out.) I’d love to launch this TODAY but am currently planning for it to start on January 2nd.

And finally, if we were on a hike, I would tell you I’m taking three days off this week while my adventure partner in crime and her two kids (my “niece” and “nephew”) visit me in Squamish! We plan to spend most of Tuesday up in Whistler, then will have a day in Squamish before they head back to Victoria. I can’t wait to see them all and explore more of my new home together. :)

What would you tell me if we were on a hike today?

  • Oooh, I like this concept! I actually have “virtual walks” set up with several co-workers from my former office (I now work remotely) for a similar reason!

    If we went hiking, I’d be telling you all about how Mr. Adventure Rich and I are trying to “level out” over the next few months. We just went through a whirlwind year that consisted of Mr. AR taking a new job, moving across the country, my transition to working full time remote, our son going from 1 to 2 years old and buying a house. We are now trying to become more mindful and intentional, slowing down and enjoying the incredible gift we have been given recently. We are also working to explore our new home and take advantage of all the amazing adventures it has to offer!

    I’m looking forward to your book and new podcast, enjoy your family visit!

    • “and enjoying the incredible gift we have been given.” I love this. Happy exploring!

    • Haha, you and me both! I’d love to launch it sooner, but it’ll depend on when I get the new program completed. Trying to put all my energy into one thing at a time. :)

  • What a nice post! Thanks for sharing – I always enjoy your book and podcast recommendations.

    If I was on a hike with you, I would be gawking at the beautiful scenery, likely. ;-) After I got over that, I would maybe tell you about dealing with older parents and in-laws and what to do with their “stuff” when the time comes to downsize – some stuff has wonderful memories and the majority that is not to the taste of younger generations. Also, related, how I cracked up my 16yr old nephew by telling him that I was willing him all of my horse stuff! (Now there is a hobby where minimalism is tough!) I’m working hard at trying to find a balance having a home to my tastes, without too much clutter. I would tell you how I really like how on your site/blog/fb etc, you explain that minimalism means different things for everyone and there is no right way to do it. I would also mention how excited I am about your book!

    • Those are tough conversations to have, Laura. Good for you for starting them now, and for also thinking about what it’ll mean to pass your own things off one day! PS thanks for all the kind words. What you said about minimalism is exactly what the new podcast will be about. :)

  • If we were on a hike, I’d tell you that grief is a real son of a gun, and that you’re doing amazing- even when it doesn’t feel like it.

    I’d tell you about my own struggles with anxiety lately and how I’ve been dealing with them (I.e. Some days are easier than others). Finally, I’d tell you about my upcoming big move and pick your brain on how to move mindfully, without going ‘off the deep end’.

    Sounds like a pretty great hike to me!

    • Yes, I’d want to hear all about the move! That’s something I certainly have a little experience with ;)

  • Hikes are the best, even just virtual ones. I’m glad you are taking the time out to look after yourself and figure out what is happening in the background noise of the mind, Unfortunately, personal growth and development never tend to come easily…. Started your mindful budgeting for the month of July so thank you so much :). Love the writing prompts at the end of each week. Looking forward to the new podcast, some new listening for 2018. Also, I just want to say don’t be too hard on yourself about the spending. I was listening to your last podcast on Budgets and Cents and it makes total sense – that would shouldn’t feel guilty about spending on things you ‘need’. I guess you are trying to figure out if it really is a need or a want. Hope you enjoy your few days with your friend and niece and nephew.

    • Thanks, Sharon! And I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying Mindful Budgeting so far. :)

  • Aww so many of my favourite bloggers are doing podcasts now. That’s no good for me as I am profoundly Deaf. Aww, I will miss reading your posts! Wishing you best in this new endeavour! <3

  • I have The Power of No downloaded but haven’t had a chance to listen to them. Today I have 2 long flights and am excited to fit them in. :) Being a long distance hiker, I loved the book Wild (movie was ok too) but I didn’t fall in love with Cheryl until I heard her on the Tim Ferris podcast in March. If you haven’t given that episode a listen, I implore you to do so. As a writer, it is often hard to be raw and exposed to the complete unknown – who will read it? Who will take it wrong? You do a great job of showing all sides and I try my best to do so as well. After hearing that episode it gave me the boost I needed to say who the fuck cares?! I can stop trying now. This is my life, my opinions, and though I never set out to hurt anyone, sometimes you can’t guard against it. Sometimes you can’t keep up with the expectations others have given you or, worse, that you have given yourself. But it doesn’t matter. One day you will reach them, some days you will exceed them, and others you will fall short. Regardless of which day it is today, you will have another chance tomorrow. Your writing is you, your experiences are yours, and this post is every bit YOU as if we had gone for an actual hike today. :)

    In regards to the pups, you (and they) are right – grief comes in waves. I read this a while back and found it to be calming in some way. I hope it can help you too… http://www.tickld.com/x/old-man-explains-death-and-life-to-grieving-young-man

    • I’ve listened to that invu between Cheryl and Tim TWICE. Loved it! And thank you SO much for that link, girl. I bookmarked it and sent it to my family. <3

    • HA! That gave me a flashback to when I was in high school and a friend said to me, “I see you having your own TV show one day. The Caitlin Flanders Show.” Does this mean her prediction is coming true!?!?

  • Oh! I love this post & like the virtual walk indeef.

    If I am on a hike with you, I will tell you that it’s 23.20 local time in this part of the world. I will share that I can imagine both of us hiking on a different mountain and yet feels the same wind blewing again our face, watching the swaying tree lead and listenning to the sound of inserts around us. i will show you my favourite tree among all the many trees.

    I will share that I will probably stop talking along the way but will stand next to you silently looking at the horizon at the peak.

    I will share that your post have always provides a positive energy of a better tomorrow.

  • If we were on a hike I would tell you I appreciate your company as much as I appreciate the honesty you bring to your blog. I would tell you that we all grieve in our own time and way, and that I find it helpful to “sit” with my grief feelings as a meditation practice. It has helped me put it all in perspective and accept that suffering is a part of life and it’s okay to let the tears flow when you need to.
    I would tell you “good for you!” for recognizing the shopping impulses are stemming from something else. I have been struggling with the same issue lately and am glad I am aware of at least that much so I can keep to my budget. I would also say on that subject that I have stuck to my plan to bring my lunch to work for the last two months solid so I avoid impulse junk food and keep my food budget in check. Every month I complete encourages me to continue for the next one.

  • I love this hiking thing. If we were on a hike today, I would want to hear more about the sources of income you kept. I’d also ask about how much each source of income creates an identity for you. I’ve been thinking about that lot lately. I have a lot of exciting things happening, but my worlds are sometimes at odds. Between teaching, writing, blogging, volunteering and living, I feel pulled in too many directions. Yet, there’s nothing I want to give up at the moment. Except some clutter.

  • I’d pack peanut butter oat bars, homemade lara bars, and blueberries. I’d pack water, but depending on the temperature I might pack also pack a cup of tea.

    I’d introduce you to my munchkin. It seems like just yesterday I told you on the phone I was pregnant (12 weeks along?), and now he’s over a year old. I’d bring him with us. I’d carry him for the hike and let him practice walking when we stopped for lunch. He would probably flirt with you and ask for some of your peanut butter sandwich.

    I’d talk about Squamish. I’d tell you my memories of living there in early childhood. Hopefully you’d tell me about some of your more recent adventures. I miss living there.

    I’d tell you I wished I had taken a break from writing about money instead of quitting altogether. It really was more my speed. I’d tell you about my plan to pay off our mortgage in the next 3 years and move somewhere with a slower pace of life. I’d tell you how we’ve been looking at passive housing design and how we’re talking about going off grid.

    I’d tell you that I’m absolutely blown away by the changes you’ve made since starting your blog and how far you’ve come. I’d also tell you that the next time someone asks me what I want for Christmas, I’m telling them I want your book. I’d also offer to lend you my slow food cookbook.

    Mostly I’d just tell you I miss you and wish that we lived closer. Time is flying way too fast.

  • Nora is awesome! So glad you found her stuff! I’ve taken to journaling while at work. it only take a few minutes, and it actually gets done. And in one month my mba will be complete, and hopefully I can be more strategic in cooking dinner and having lunch leftovers for myself.

  • Love this post…I can really understand you about waves in your life only time helps… I’d like hiking but for the moment I’m been able to convince my best friend to attend watergym course:P…however I’m trying to eat vegetarian most often is possible and I don’t miss meat…I tend to find and try at least 3 new recipes every month …Enjoy the visit and time with your family. God bless you daily!

  • If we were on a hike, I would confess that my strong preference for solo lady hikes is related to a wee bit of remaining social anxiety but good company makes me happy that I get over it sometimes and enjoy the outdoors with friends. I would make you email me all those things you just recommended because they sound so good, but I wouldn’t want to pull out my phone to make notes while outdoors. I would talk about how I’m a ball of nervous energy this week because upper-management has invited me to a meeting on Friday that is rumored to be an opportunity for me… and for the first time I feel more worthy and ready for a big new thing than nervous. I would talk about how sharing on my blog has been a big part of what has made me feel that way, and I would want to know if that is the same for you as well? xo.

    RE: impulse purchases — I started reading The Power of Habit recently. It is related to our cravings and how we can replace them with healthy choices (work you’ve already largely done, I know), and it’s been asking me to rethink how I came to change my old spending habits with better ones. I feel like I might be closer to the root of things when I’m done with it.

    Big hugs for those hard things. <3

  • I have been a listener of your podcast with Carrie for a few years now and am still loving it, especially this past season. I anxiously look forward to each week to see what you guys have talked about. And I find myself nodding my head, saying “yes, yes, yes, yes!!” to so many of your and her thoughts.

    I find that when I get into those modes of wanting more, it’s usually because something is off balance with, or in, me. It’s when I feel like I’m lacking something. And just like you, I find that journaling helps. (Or, I write on my blog and that is a way of journaling for me as well.)

    I CAN’T WAIT for your book to come out!! I’m so excited for you.

  • Hi Cait – I downloaded the Mindful Budgeting Program and just read through it this morning – I wanted to say THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! I really needed someone to walk me through this process of tracking spending and budgeting, and remind me that a budget will help me have MORE freedom, not less. Your directness and the simplicity of the worksheets really got to me, and I’m excited to try this with my husband. Thank you for making it free! I didn’t know it used to cost $20 until reading this post, but I’m not surprised because it’s such good quality. Thank you again. Look forward to your book!

  • If we were on a hike today, I would complain about the weather. It feels like 13 is 14 in the Gatineau Hills today. I would say how grateful I am to have a quiet day at home to catch up on blogs, and other life things. I would say while I am glad I had time last week to spend with my family, it was a challenge. I would talk about my dad’s slow recovery from an aneurysm 9 months ago (he had a 1% chance of living) and now is disabled. I would mention the health challenges my mom faces. I would talk about my moody 3 year old niece, my sweet 1 yr old nephew, and the issues my sister is dealing with. I would say time with my family is a reminder to take care of your health. I would say I look forward to working at home tomorrow and catching up on work and how excited I am for a real vacation later this month when I go to Oregon to meet some blogging friends. I would say I am lucky to have a wonderful husband who I just celebrated 21 years of marriage. I have now been married to him half my life. I would tell you I raided the family bookcase last week and brought home so books that were my great-aunt’s, given to her in 1915. I am currently reading the new Arabian nights by R.L. Stevenson. I am desperately behind on my podcasts but totally loved Sugars ‘No’ ones and will be trying to apply it. I would say life is hard but good.

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