Well in the Wild
If I had to sum up the past year of my life in a word or two, it’d be ‘finding alignment’. And the year before that, it was simply ‘getting to know myself’.
Intentional or not, I’ve been shifting in directions more true to me since 2017. This journey started with a solo trip to Bali in 2017, and has unravelled into a wild and rewarding experience ever since. I guess I was always just so concerned with what I thought I should do that I got away from what I would have wanted to do, if free to be.
It started with a summer off, which turned into pulling the plug on life, travelling Asia solo, becoming a yoga teacher, moving across the country, quitting my hgtv job, and returning to my roots in graphic design, illustration, branding and writing here on the blog.
It sounds like a lot all at once, but it occurred over the course of three years. Plus, I’ve always experienced life at a quick pace. Hence my need and want now for calm.
In any case, this year was filled with change, but instead of feeling frazzled, I’ve been calm and feel more rooted than ever. For the first time in my life, I’m not worried about what the future holds or preoccupied with forecasting. It hasn’t been easy though.
Learning how to trust myself and live in harmony within my world without compromising myself in any way has been tough to figure out.
Not only is it challenging to connect with yourself that deeply, but add to that letting down or hurting people in the process and you’ll find yourself pretty discouraged from wanting to engage with it further. But in the process of living, you will disappoint people—including yourself. And I’ve learned that it’s important that you should be the first (and sometimes only) person you aim to impress.
We need to fully trust and remain in-tune with who we are, how we feel and what we want. Above all else, we should operate as our authentic selves in this wild, wild world. Within a rigid societal system, that’s the least we can do!
Because when we trust ourselves, we receive the best guidance we could possibly ask for. Nothing else will resonate that true…
Looking back on my early twenties, I was confident and paved my own path in many ways, but I was still operating from a place of compromise. I was disconnected from my real wants often, and doing things the way I knew others would want me to. From a young age, I learned to see this validation and praise as good, and I saw it led to open doors, so I learned how to do what the world expected of me. And I did it well, while still adding my own flavour. But the problem was that I believed that my value was working hard and being good. Instead of doing what I wanted well, I was doing what I thought I should be doing well. With hard work, I could climb up in life, so to speak. And I did–I bought a house at 22, worked as an art director and in tech, had my own hgtv show, etc.–but in the process, I neglected to ask myself what I really wanted. I never even indulged the question because I was on a “good path” and why should I throw a stick in the spokes?
Finding a clever work-around to avoid walking your path is not a healthy way to operate. And eventually, it caught up to me. Not in a massive way, but in a million, tiny misaligned ways, and each needed untying.
But if you just start in one area and move to the next, it’s easy to align these million tiny ways. It just takes time.
At times this past year, it’s felt as clear as though I’m hovering above myself, zoomed out and looking at my world for what it is. And from this new perspective, I’ve been able to clearly see, appreciate and file away all of the learnings of my life so far to make room for new. At other times this past year, I felt confused and stumped on what to do. Getting clarity from my own self has been more frustrating at times than simply asking someone else’s opinion.
Back here on solid ground, I’ve been able to integrate new learnings with old, and I feel strong. I’ve built true stability—not in the form of a good job or title, or a house, but through truly rooting down, through and within myself. I’ve learned to see stability as a state of operations: it’s creating a home base that supports your dreams and growth; it’s taking care of your self; it’s loving relationships that expand, not shrink you. It does not matter what you do for work, or at what life stage you’re enjoying, if you can learn how to respect yourself and fill up your cup, everything else will fall into place to assist and support you.
Before, all of the things I love to do and am passionate about didn’t combine to create a whole. Each facet of my work operated separately and put pause on or squeezed out the other. But finally all of the parts of me feel like they’re combining to slowly reveal what it is I’m meant to do here. And despite feeling like I wasted time not living this way with myself, I’m really proud of the results of the labour of my previous self: I’m proud of the family I have and where I come from; I’m proud of my hard work and dedication to my work and career; I’m proud of my relationships; I’m proud to have my own home; I’m proud to have had the nuts to speak in front of large audiences and travel solo around the globe; I’m proud to have had my own HGTV show; I’m proud that I pursued my passions and became a yoga teacher. But what I’m proud of most is the love that I’ve found and the life we’ve carved out here on the coast. I’m proud of Piper, I’m proud of my partner, and I’m proud of myself. Not because of my accomplishments, accolades or the things I have to show, but because at 27 I heard a little voice inside of me and, for the first time in my life, I stopped to listen to it. I haven’t always loved what it had to say, but boy am I grateful I did!
As for what I’m doing out here when I haven’ been preoccupied with self-transformation? Well, I’m diving back into design and creative arts. I’m simply passionate about aesthetics, visuals, writing, creating. And sharing all of that! I think it’s why my work brought me to television. I’ve always felt comfortable on a stage, both literally and figuratively, and combining that inclination with art in a way I can help people—creatively or otherwise—feels natural to me. It’s why I like and enjoy social media. I love sharing my thoughts with you guys! I don’t talk about it a lot, but the community I’ve found online and through my blog and Instagram has been truly amazing, and I know whatever I do will be of my own creation and shared with you all… Vis a vis a broadcast of some kind? A traditional tv show? A book? A podcast? A Netflix series? A flippin’ yoga class? I really don’t know how it will come together yet, but I know I’m on the path to figuring it out…
I’m also making new friends, which is kind of awkward as an adult. But here in Squamish, it hasn’t been that hard! This town is filled with friendly, like-minded people, and I’m lucky to have already met some gems.
I’m also prepping to speak at The Vancouver Home Show this fall. I’ll be talking all about how to create a happy, holistic home that supports your lifestyle and wellbeing, encourages growth, and aligns with your interests, values and dreams. (All these lessons? Yeah, they’ve made it into my home design work as well, haha). I’ve always believed that just like we ebb, flow and grow, our homes should too, so I’ll be sharing some thoughts and tips on how to design a home base that’s beautifully you…
And, last but certainly not least, I’m exploring the wild! Overlanding has become our new obsession, and nearly every weekend is spent on the road exploring the backcountry of the Pacific Northwest (so much so that we made a separate Instagram account for it). To close this post out, I’m sharing a ton of photos from a recent trip below.