Two Bits

We want to break down these internet barriers and invite you into our lives and we’re hoping you’ll do the same.  You are welcome to share a bit of your week or day in the comments, or if they’re better represented by a photo, tag us on instagram @liveseasoned.

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Sarah Here :

Happy Friyay! I’ve been having a week. It started off inspiring and productive as I worked through the whole weekend. I researched and formulated some plans for my Tulum retreat, I meditated more than usual and I bought myself a new camera, which means I have to update this post. Then Monday came around and I heard news that Otto Warmbier had died. This event led me on a dark spiral that continued through the week and culminated in me watching dozens of videos of black men being shot and killed by police. I don’t necessarily think my behavior is healthy, but I do think exposure to evil is a helpful way for me personally to cultivate even more empathy, compassion and love.

I’m hoping that I’ll find a way to make a meaningful difference, but for now I’ll just talk about my experience and feelings about Otto’s death. I wrote this immediately after I heard the news, before I had my morning coffee, while completely wrapped up in emotion, and now I’m hearing my college professor telling me to ‘take a seat,’ after having just explained so much about my writing before presenting it. Sorry Professor Trayes!

Walking up the stairs to my tiny bungalow yesterday, I thought back to a week previous when I had caught my roommate’s cat stealing a baby bird from a nest. I was mortified, I happened to look out the window at the moment when her mouth closed around the small bird. So upset with the cat, I stomped outside with rubber gloves on, picked up the tiny, mostly unharmed, chirping bird and returned it to its nest. I felt immense sadness for this single baby bird. ‘How could the cat do that,’ I thought, even though I’ve seen dead bird carcasses lying around for the past year and I’m well aware of instinctual nature.

Cut to ten minutes later, I wander into my room for something and again, looking out the same window, I see the cat steal the same baby bird. This time death was imminent. My heart felt tiny and hard. WTF. What the fuck. My friend helped rationalize it, commenting on the natural cycle of life, the food chain, the minute importance of a single bird when there are surely humans dying at the same moment… Yeah, I understand all that and yet something about this moment, about seeing the cat steal the bird, saving the bird and then seeing it being stolen again, I just couldn’t handle it. Wasn’t it enough that I wanted the bird to live?

It took me a couple of days to realize that really what I wanted wasn’t so much for the bird to live, but for me to not see the bird die. This cat has been murdering songbirds and small mammals its whole life and I knew that, never once did I feel such crushing sadness, it was only because I saw the suffering. I saw the momma and poppa bird circling overhead, chirping, terrified and angry that they worked so hard only for their baby bird’s progress to be stopped in an instant. I saw them return to the nest excited and squawking when the baby was replaced, I heard the shrieks when the cat came back.. I was a witness.

So often I try to act as a witness. Observing the present moment, aware yet detached and allowing each tiny event to flow by.. but the baby bird stuck. I was no longer in the present, it made an impact. I know this because I could not stop thinking about it and yet I knew it was uncommon for me to be that upset by the death of a single bird.

So back to yesterday, I’m walking up the steps, past the exact spot where I tried to save the baby bird a week previous and in an instant I thought, ‘okay, I’m finally over the bird incident, I set my emotions aside, I understand why I was upset and I’ve come to terms with witnessing suffering and the fragility of life,’ and it was as that thought was finishing that I see a fresh songbird carcass laying on the top step.  I let out a loud laugh from the bottom of my belly; the timing was amazing. At the instant I declared I was, over it I was challenged to face it again. Reality is truly absurd. Believe it or not, I felt better and I laughed a few more times that day about the second dead bird. It’s as if my self declaration of passing the test was enough for the universe to hand me another challenge, to ask, ‘are you sure you’re okay with it?’ And the answer was yes.

Then something else happened.. Otto Warmbier, the young American who allegedly tried to steal the propaganda poster from North Korea died. He’s dead. An American kid who might have tried to steal a poster is dead. Is it idiotic to steal something from North Korea?  Especially something with the dictator’s face on it? Yeah, duh, of course. Did an immature 21-year-old brain think for a second that it wouldn’t be such a big deal? Yeah, I’m sure. Was it? The biggest.

Even though we don’t exactly know what happened, I suppose the fact that an American abroad could be arrested, detained and returned home on the verge of death, is what’s absolutely terrifying to me. I understand what a privileged position I hold. There are citizens in our home country who worry about being potentially killed during routine stops and arrests on American soil. I get that and I don’t mean to minimize it.

Maybe Otto’s death scared me so much because I travel a lot. I think about being locked up abroad and I think about my poor parents. I think about the work they put in and how I could serve them a lifetime of grief with one stupid move, but I always imagined bribery, bankruptcy and jail time, not labor camps, comas and death. If nothing else, I expected accountability from one government to another. I expected my super power of a country to come to my rescue to at least ensure I wasn’t withering away in whatever imaginary jail I found myself in if the punishment didn’t fit the crime.

As an American abroad, I actually pretend to be Canadian. Seriously. I never offer up where I’m from and I’m the first person to criticize our country in a world that is U.S.A.-crazed. I always try to emphasize that America is not what everyone sees in the movies. I don’t live in Hollywood and not everyone is rich and beautiful, has a good education or even a full belly of food where I live. It’s a hard concept for some people to grasp.

As an American girl abroad, I’ve had at least a dozen serious marriage proposals and hundreds if not thousands of conversations about our politics and presidents. Traveling during Bush, Obama and now Trump, has opened me up to a range of discussions and reactions from folks on five other continents. After rolling my eyes and shaking my head and basically crushing the idea of the American dream to whomever I’m talking to, my cynical side starts to melt away, I back pedal and I admit that America is alright. I remark on our freedom speech, fair elections and general permission to do whatever the fuck we want, including buy assault rifles.. hopefully my foreign counterparts detect my sarcasm on the last bit, but even if they don’t, America doesn’t sound too bad. Apparently most people think it sounds pretty great (No need to make it great again, we’re already there!) and at the end of each of my trips, when I finally land back on American soil, I too agree. It’s good to be home. It’s nice to know I have this amazing country to be apart of, a place where I’m mostly free to be me without persecution.

I suppose I always assumed that being an American abroad insulated me as well. That I would always be saved by my country. I think Otto’s death rocked me because it flipped the script of what I knew to be true. If you’re an American, America has your back. Everything will be fine. The world is watching, but just like the baby bird, it doesn’t matter who is watching.

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Seasoned View : Vol. 26

Each month we share our Seasoned View.  Snapshots of nature and daily life taken by the Seasoned sisters. Find our archive of past months’ views here.

Happy Monday! Welcome June – so glad you’ve arrived. As I look through my photo archives, I see a trend. Spring and summer, especially May and June tend to be about road trips. I’m always trying to skip away even for just a night or quick weekend trip. I’ve spent the last six out of eight weekends away from home, boppin’ about. Tomorrow I’ll set off once again on a week jaunt around Virginia and West Virginia. At this time last year, I just wrapped up a three week east coast road trip. Here are a few film images from my time down south last spring.

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You can upload one or all of these photos to use as your desktop background or even as phone and tablet wallpapers.  Simply click on the download link below each photo and save the image.  Enjoy!

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Sweat Lodge Experience in Ecuador

So sorry about the cell phone quality images – I didn’t want to leave my DSLR outside the lodge, exposed to the elements, for four hours.. kinda wish I did though. Headed to Ecuador? Here’s what I packed.

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I’m finally sitting down, sifting through photos and beginning to mentally unpack the year I’ve had thus far. An experience I keep coming back to is that of the Andean sweat lodge in Ecuador at SachaJi Ecolodge and Wellness Center. I had never participated in a sweat lodge ceremony before and I had no idea what to expect before entering the small tent where the ceremony would take place. Once I saw how squat and confined the lodge was, I certainly felt a twinge of apprehension, but after spending a few moments in the tent with our ceremonial leaders, I felt at ease.

In all cases, the sweat experience is intended as a religious ceremony. Participating in a sweat is likened to entering earth’s womb, it’s a prayer for healing and should only be undertaken with experienced leaders or elders who know the language, songs, and traditions of the sweat lodge otherwise the practice has a potential to be dangerous to both your physical and spiritual being. Entering into a sweat lodge should not be taken lightly. It’s a sacred space of respect and ritual.

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A Day Trip to Cheyenne, WY

We love to travel. If you’re interested in more adventures in the Western US, check out our Colorado hikes.

If you follow us on Instagram, then you saw that we got up close and personal with some buffalo. That experience happened at the end of a day trip that we took to Cheyenne, WY on a whim. And what a great whim it was!

When leaving for the trip, we knew nothing about Cheyenne, other than that it was only an hour and a half drive from Boulder, and that it was in Wyoming. Sarah and I are always up for any adventure that takes us somewhere new, so with excitement in our hearts and two crazy kids in the backseat, we set off.

First stop, coffee and egg sandwiches for the drive. Next stop, the Cheyenne visitor center.

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Seasoned View : Vol. 25

Each month we share our Seasoned View.  Snapshots of nature and daily life taken by the Seasoned sisters. Find our archive of past months’ views here.

Sup pups? It’s been a year, yuuuuup, an entire year since we’ve come at ya with a seasoned view, but boom! Just like that we’re back. I spent the evening researching and pricing out yoga retreat packages for Tulum, Mexico and now I cannot stop thinking about the beach. Warmth, coconuts, waves, sand, books, sunglasses, beer, sunsets, all the other island buzzwords you can think of, that’s where my head is at right now. Throw your towel down and enjoy looking at the horizon with me, this Seasoned View takes place on the tiny island of Koh Kood, Thailand.

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You can download any or all of these images to use as  backgrounds and screensavers for your computer, phone or tablet.  Simply click on the photo or the link below each photo then right click and save it to your device. While you browse, learn to count to four in Thai.

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Koh Lipe & Thai Islands Packing List

18015712_10155074277711217_653301825_o Happy Monday fools! I’m back with yet another packing list post. What can I say? I know how to fill a bag. Packing for a trip to a Thai island is pretty simple, you don’t need too much since you’ll likely be lounging in your bathing suit most of the time.

Most recently I visited Koh Lipe, Thailand’s southern most island. Wow. Koh Lipe is pure magic. I’ve been to a number of Thai islands during my time as an English teacher, but there is something really special about this particular island. It’s really tiny and therefore easy to explore by foot and that’s what I did most days when I wasn’t lounging on one of the pristine beaches.  If you’re visiting Koh Lipe, here’s a short list of what you’ll need. I linked to the exact products I use – enjoy 🙂

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Packing for the Annapurna Circuit Trek

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Namaste, I’m leading a trek on the Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal this November. If you’re coming with me, here’s a quick list of what you should bring and why. If you’re headed down up the trail alone, stay tuned for a more comprehensive Annapurna Circuit trekking guide to be released here this summer. You’d have more fun with me though, check out the details of my Meditation and Trekking in Nepal trip here.

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My 200hr Yoga Teacher Training Experience with Rishikul Yogshala in Pokhara, Nepal

I first published this post a year ago, but I woke up dreaming of Nepal this morning, so I wanted to share it again.
Want more yoga and exercise? Become a woods warrior, try this lower body workout, then end the day with bedtime stretches that relieve lower back pain. Check out my 200hour yoga teacher training experience and read about the school I attended here.

live seasoned yoga teacher training rishikul -1-2 PEOPLE! I’m officially a yoga teacher. What does that mean? Well, last night I registered and paid my dues with the Yoga Alliance.  The Yoga Alliance is the largest nonprofit association representing the yoga teaching community. Basically registering with the Yoga Alliance gives one credibility because they review the certificate of completion from your yoga teacher training course work and all that other good stuff.  It’s a seal of approval and something to make you sound super official when you prance into a studio looking for a job.  I haven’t started that part of the process yet, even though if you recall, one of my New Years resolutions was to teach a class by the end of January.  Lay off, I have one more week!     live seasoned yoga teacher training rishikul -2-3live seasoned yoga teacher training rishikul -12

Should I pursue a yoga teacher training?

With that mini hurdle (shelling out $105.00 for a figurative stamp of approval) out of the way, I’m feeling pretty official over here and I wanted to share my experience beginning to end with you just in case you’re contemplating a 200 hour course.  First you have to ask yourself all those hard questions like, “Am I willing to put my body through mild forms of torture for 28 days?” “Am I that into yoga?” “Do I plan on teaching?” “Do I value my self practice enough to pay upwards of $2,000-$4,000 to improve it?” All these extremely valid questions that honestly, I did not ask myself until after I put down the $200 deposit with my school. I just went for it and then my mind threw all these questions at me immediately after I confirmed my payment method. That’s how I handle life altering decisions, you too? Continue reading

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Bangkok Airport Transfer

DMK —> BKK ? NP!

Need to transfer from Don Mueang Airport to Suvarnabhumi? No worries. The transfer is painless and free. There’s no need to make arrangements before hand, just show up at the ticket desk and you’ll be directed onto the next shuttle bus. While the transfer is reliable and easy, there isn’t a single sign to point you in the right direction. Let me do that for you.

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If you’re picking up baggage :: get your stuff from the carousel, head out the main doors (there is only one set) and turn right.

If you didn’t check luggage :: take the escalators down into the baggage claim area and walk straight through the main doors (there is only one set) to leave the baggage area and turn right.

As you head down the corridor, you’ll see escalators heading up, walk to the right of them and keep going.  Then you’ll pass a bunch of counters for cell SIM cards and you’ll see no signage for the bus. At this point, you’ll think you’re going in the wrong direction down a deserted hallway.

You’ll come to a wall and the only way is left. Once you turn the corner you may be overwhelmed by the amount of people. They’re all waiting for taxis, keep going, veer to the right and head out either door 7 (right by the bottom of the escalators ) or the next one to the right, door 6.

Once outside you’ll see a small bright blue counter and a long row of chairs. The counter says AOT (Airports of Thailand). You must get a stamp from this counter or you won’t be allowed on the shuttle. Show the worker your boarding pass or some confirmation number for your upcoming flight and he’ll give you a stamp. Since you probably won’t have a physical boarding pass or access to a printer, simply screenshot the flight and confirmation number from your email or airline app. I do this every time.

 Shuttle buses leave from directly in front of the counter. If there isn’t one waiting already, you’ll know when it arrives as everyone with a stamped hand will board. Buses leave every 15 minutes or so.  If you want a good seat and you have time to spare, wait for the next one.

Just so ya know :

Seats in the back row have an attractive amount of legroom, but do not sit there. Machinery under the rear of the bus makes those four seats overwhelmingly hot. You’ve been warned.

Beware that Bangkok traffic is insane and it could take you up to two hours to reach the airport as it’s quite far away. Think about rush hour, timing, days of the week and holiday madness while concocting your plan. That being said, most times it’s a quick 40 minutes.

You Should Definitely Take the Shuttle Because :

It’s free

It’s reliable

It’s convenient with about four buses leaving every hour

It’s free 🙂

Good luck & safe travels!

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