2015: New Year, New Goals

Welcome to the new year! January always brings a feeling of freshness, rebirth, and opportunity regardless on your feelings towards new years resolutions… Or crankiness at the sudden influx of New Years Revolutionaries at your gym. I’ve certainly spent the past few days reflecting on the year and thinking about what 2015 will bring. Instead of rigid, structured goals, this year I will be more mindful of what I’m consuming and creating.

Less plastic consumption and overall waste

Plastic is poisoning our oceans and our bodies. It puts a demand on increased oil production and releases a slew of chemicals when it finally – after years and years – breaks down. I’ve taken small steps to decreasing my plastic consumption, like using canvas bags, solid soaps, and aiming to buy less packaged products. Still, my plastic use has been shocking and I haven’t been as committed as I could be. In restaurants, I’ve been forgetting simple and easy things like asking for no straws and leaving my own takeaway container at home. In 2015, I want to be a more mindful consumer, buying package-free, in bulk when possible, and overall reducing waste. I’ll track my usage in January to see on paper where I could make the most cuts. I expect that food shopping will be the hardest part – the organic fruits and veggies at my local grocery store are all individually wrapped in plastic! Venturing elsewhere and hitting up the Sunday farmer’s market will be my solution to that.

Some resources I love about this topic are Zero Waste Home and Trash is For Tossers.

Indonesia EOS 100 2014 095

Write more frequently

I purchased the domain chantae.com simply because who wouldn’t want their own name as a website?! I have suffered long enough for having to repeat my name multiple times, being called any version of Chantal/Chanel/Shanae/Shainqua to not have a unique name pay off for it. Good luck trying to get your own, common named people. Not knowing what to do with the website, I turned it into my own personal blog documenting my backpacking my journey through Europe for friends and family to keep up with if they wanted. Most importantly, I wanted a place to be creative that didn’t take up a lot of space or require a million supplies. Alas, this blog was born.

Now, I’m going to take this website further than that. Chantae Was Here won’t just be a place for me to talk about my travels — though there will still be a lot of that — but a place to talk about action sports and adventure as well. In my mind, all of these things mesh together better than peanut butter and jelly. After all, doing awesome things often requires going awesome places. Expect posts about action sports like surfing, kitesurfing, wakeboarding, scuba diving, and snowboarding to make frequent appearances here. Fellow yogis, there will be stuff for you on a regular basis. I want to explore what it means to be an adventurer in this modern time and document my journey on how I’m able to be one.

Aside from this website, I will expand my freelance writing and handwritten journaling as well.

Enjoy being instead of having

One of the biggest things I’ve learned while living out of a backpack off-and-on the past few years is that I don’t need many material things to be happy. The more items I own, the bigger the anchor is that I have to those things. I tend to hold on to items for sentimental reasons, so I really need to do an assessment of what I truly need and what I am hanging onto just because. Also, who am I kidding – less items equal less time spent cleaning. Last month I cleared out a huge selection of toiletries and replaced them with natural basics. Already, I feel like a weight has been lifted. And that was just my bathroom! I want to focus on investing on my experiences, rather than physical objects that I don’t need or will weigh me down.


Drop the need for approval

Traveling has taught me so much about beauty standards and commercialism. Companies make money off of tanning creams in America, while the same companies profit off of whitening creams in Asia. The perfect body according to the world — is the one you don’t have. This year, I will focus on being healthy, strong, and flexible instead of being stick thin, tan, and perfect according to the culture that surrounds me. The acts of catching a wave or doing a headstand have brought me more joy than a number on a scale ever has. Is it so wrong to think that our bodies are perfect? I can see amazing views, climb trees, and taste incredible foods. I’m capable of feeling happiness and sadness, gratitude and greed. My body is doing everything it’s designed to do. Beyond superficially, I will stop excusing my career choices and belittling my dreams. Funnily enough, my family and friends are so diverse that I’ve learned that they’ll stick around to love and support me – even if I get called nuts from time to time. So, I think the need for approval stems more from personal insecurity rather than actual outside influence of my network.

Smelling flowers, downward dogs, and laughing until your belly aches. This is what an ideal body looks like.
Smelling flowers, downward dogs, and laughing until your belly aches — This is what an ideal body looks like.

Learn German

Hallo Leute! I love Germany. The people, the culture, the (vegetarian) food, but I haven’t been able to communicate beyond the bare basics with Moritz’s family and friends in German – which means I’m missing out on truly getting to know some great people who I’ll be seeing more and more of as time goes on. I want to gain more confidence in speaking and writing, even if my grammar and pronunciation aren’t perfect. A minimum of ten minutes a day should have me rapping along to Cro in no time… right?!

First step: Understanding a German menu
First step: Understanding a German menu

Some great resources I’ve found so far for this are Duolingo (add me! username: chantae ), Deutsch für Euch, German short stories for beginners.

I think that’s enough to keep me focused for the year! What do you think about new years resolutions? Are they stupid or satisfying? Do you have any?