Category Archives: Travel

Sunday haiku

Ah, Brussels airport.

Nice quiet haven for me.

Introverts unite.

introvert chair Brussels airport

Taken by mexi minnesotana in Brussels airport May 19, 2018

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

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Transatlantic

I am on my way home from Belgium today. So I will not have the ‘net time to pick a Saturday Share blog.

I will share instead a low-res photo of the goose family I watched on the day that I was able to get some alone-time to flip the scrip on the attitude that was dragging me down. It is a reminder (to me as much as to anyone else) of the privileges I have in my life, and the gratitude I feel for them.

goose family la rameee

Sometimes all it takes is a change of perspective to change my whole week. Especially if I am sleep-deprived. Hope you have an excellent weekend, amigos.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

 

 

When in Belgium

Yesterday I made an exception to my usual no alcohol rule and had a “Pink Killer” Belgian beer which had grapefruit juice and a lovely fruity finish. It was on the lighter side in terms of alcohol content, and I enjoyed it.

Pink Killer

Taken in one of the “Delirium” bars near Jeanneke Pis statue in Brussels.

This was during a walk around the historic downtown area with two colleagues, one who had arrived a few hours earlier than me on Sunday. He had headed straight out to explore, as it is his first work-paid trip to Europe, and he does not want to miss a minute of the experience.

I used to do more of that, but this time, when I arrived after no sleep on the overnight flight, I treated myself to an short nap and some quiet and solitude during the afternoon my hotel. While I felt a little guilty about not making use of the sight-seeing time, I know it is a necessary part of centering myself for a busy and people-filled week.

I realize now that my choices reflect a feeling of sufficiency instead of scarcity in my beliefs. I do not feel a desperate and grasping sensation of never having this opportunity again. Instead of telling myself that “I’m missing out” I say instead “I am taking care of myself.” That makes a huge difference in the way I show up and honor my needs without guilt or shame.

Granted this was not an automatic process, and involved a little self-coaching when I started feeling bad about not getting out. It was a conscious choice to tell myself a different story, to help take a perspective that is nourishing to me. It takes practice, and requires patience with old patterns. But the more practicing I do, the easier it gets.

Have a great week!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Sunday haiku

Overnight plane flight:

Pack the coziest sweater.

You won’t regret it.

mm la fleur o keefe sweater

My favorite travel sweater the O’Keeffe (but mine is black/taupe): MM LaFleur. A bit pricey but worth every penny if you travel a lot & need to look professional.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Chocolate and waffles?

On Saturday I will leave for a work trip to Belgium for the upcoming week. I will spend a day in Brussels before heading to La Grande Abbaye de la Ramee for meetings.

All I know about the Belgians is that they make the best chocolate in the world. My husband argues that the Swiss make the best chocolate, but I am pretty sure I am right on this one. 😉

The other thing I know about the Belgians is that they invented the Belgian waffles, which I also enjoy. I do not eat waffles so much these days, since cutting down the flour and sugar seem to help my brain chemistry.

I think they have really good beer too. Too bad I do not drink anymore…

Have you ever been to Belgium? What did you like most? Any advice if I have only a Sunday and perhaps a Friday to sight-see?

I appreciate your advice as I get my packing list together. Cheers, friends!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Out of office

Hubby and I are traveling for 4 days starting today to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.

My “out of office” notification is on, and my cares about work are off.

We will get exposure to sunshine, 90 degree weather and time on a Fat Boy motorcycle. It may not be the Honda VTX 1800 that my husband usually rides, but it is a chance to be outside and away from the chilly April in Minnesota.

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to attend a seminar with Liz Gilbert and Martha Beck. I will also have quality time to hang out with hubby. Poor guy had to work an extra day during Easter weekend to deal with the extra snow. He’s totally overdue for a warm weather vacation.

So here’s to Friday and to weekends and to escaping now and then when we need a breath of fresh air. Skymiles, baby! Cheers!

 

Post trip caffeine detox

I write this from the Caribou Coffee near my home. Fittingly, my drip coffee maker decided to stop working, and is no longer pulling the water up. I am not sure if it is the hard water coating the mechanism or what. Ugh. Maybe I’ll get a french press for a while and just us my water heater to make the coffee.

In any case, the only solution was to find another source. Going without coffee is not a viable option for me. I’ve done dietary detox “cleanses” before, in which I have given up gluten, alcohol, sugar, caffeine, and animal products for a period of 14 days or 21 days. Both times I struggled most with giving up the caffeine, and also dairy.

As someone who both thrives and struggles with a.d.d., I have taken a stimulant medication to help with focus for about 14 years. There are biochemical reasons behind why this has been helpful for me, and why I tend to get addicted to caffeine very quickly. A lot of people with a.d.d. struggle with nicotine addition for this reason as well – it helps with focus.

While this may seem counter-intuitive, if you think of it as stimulating the “brake center” or the executive functioning center of the brain, it makes more sense. People think that stimulants should make you hyperactive, but the opposite is true. They tend to calm down an attention-challenged person. The exception for me is that when my synapses feel “burned” from too many days on too little sleep, typical for me after more than 3-4 days of a work trip.

When the body and brain need rest, they need rest. There is no substitute. In the two years I have really worked to make sure I get better sleep, take care of myself physically and focus on dietary factors which help me sleep better. I weaned myself off full-strength coffee on a day-to-day basis at home. I typically make myself a half caf blend in the morning and I savor it slowly with full fat cream, Putting a shake of cardamon and cinnamon in the coffee maker is delicious also.

Now that I am home again after 7 nights away, I know I will have to detox from the higher amount coffee I consumed in Argentina and Brazil. Coffee is a larger part of the culture, and it is absolutely delicious there, though the Argentinians frequently leave out milk or cream, so I find it’s too acidic for my system to overindulge too much on coffee.

Caribou

Caribou Coffee this morning, not too crowded at 7:30 a.m.

It doesn’t change the fact that I am, in effect, “double dosing” when I travel, since the half caf option doesn’t really exist on the road. I limited myself to 3 a day (which is usually 3 half-cafs at home). People looked at my strangely in the past when I’ve asked for decaf espresso or cappuccino in a restaurant. My Argentina colleague has an espresso after dinner at 10 p.m. at night and I tell him I’d be up all night if I did that.  He reassures me: it doesn’t even affect him.

I disagree, it probably does. Though the brain and body have a way of down-regulating hormones and neuro-chemicals when we have become accustomed to too much. When we allow ourselves to scale back on a stimulant substance like caffeine, we start to realize how much we had been depending on it, and our body adjusts back to a more normal baseline.

I like to allow myself a couple of days to gradually scale back the caffeine, while getting juicy, wonderful 9-10 hour nights of sleep. I log my sleep daily (clinical researcher here). When I looked at a stretch of 4 days in which my average sleep was 5.75 hours, I realized that I will need to allow myself at least an equal period of time to restore the balance. If I do not, I will suffer. Pure and simple.

I also notice my weight has been up a bit this month, and that’s typically an indicator that my body is stressed. But I know that when I give my body what it needs: rest, good, healthy food, lots more salads (god, I hate what they feed us on airplanes, that’s a post for another day), time to relax, yoga practice 3+ days a week, solitude, good time with my hubby and my kitties, my body returns to normal.

So while a detox can be challenging, filling my life with all the good things that keep me vital and happy also feels really, really good.

Happy Thursday, peeps!