How to Live More Intentionally

How to Live More Intentionally >> Life In Limbo

The theme of storytelling has been on my mind a lot lately. I’m finding it an especially interesting idea as I start to plan the next chapter in my life’s adventure. The phrase that keeps appearing in my mind, over and over as I think about the future, is:

Your life is a book. What do you want it to say? What do you want your story to be?

Since moving abroad, it’s become clear to me that it’s important to be intentional with my one wild and precious life. I’ve met people here from all over the world and their stories have inspired me to think differently. When I left Canada, I only intended to be away for one year: Korea was meant to be my one crazy adventure before settling down and starting my “real life”. But the longer I’m away, and the more people I talk to, I have realized that this is my real life, I am lucky to be living it this way, and I can do whatever I want with it in the future.

How to Live More Intentionally >> Life In Limbo

My word for the year was abundance, and one of the many important things it has taught me this year is that we have so many options. We all have more time and possibilities available to us than we’re led to believe when we graduate from university.

Contrary to what I thought before I left, since being here I’ve actually encountered more opportunities to grow my career, build my skills and make plans for the future. I’ve transitioned from an unpaid internship to a paid position, I’ve had time to work on my freelance writing, I’ve improved my photography, and I’ve begun to shift my blog in a direction I’m proud of. Through listening to my intuition and believing in abundance, I’ve encountered far more opportunity than I believe I would have, had I stayed at home.

How to Live More Intentionally >> Life In Limbo

Maybe your intuition isn’t telling you to leave your job and move to a foreign country: I don’t think that is the answer for everyone. What I do believe is that there’s always a third alternative. Life is not black-and-white. If you’re willing to explore new opportunities and possibilities, even those that don’t seem quite right at first, you may be led to things you never could have imagined. I truly believe if you do, you will encounter things you never expected to, better things than you ever could have predicted.

Life should be led with intention. If there’s one thing these nine months away have taught me so far, it’s that I’m going to need to choose. If I want to go on adventures, it’s up to me to make them happen. I recognize now that I am the writer, my life is my story and I get to decide what ends up in the book. At the end of my life, all I’ll have is whatever I chose to write on the pages. To me this means I can’t coast. I can’t expect anything to happen for me, an idea which is at once terrifying and empowering.

Perhaps that’s part of why I’m so excited to have my mom visit me here: I realize that Korea is a short but meaningful chapter in my hopefully long life. I’m so grateful that she will get to see what this part of my story was like.

So, as 2014 winds down, and you start to make plans for the new year, ask yourself:

What do you want your story to say? 

Seoul, Korea


It was a four-day weekend here in Korea, in honour of Children's Day and Buddha's Birthday, and I spent it in Seoul with friends. After our trip to Tokyo (a vibrant, colourful blur) I was a bit tired and was sorely tempted to stay home, watch TV and decompress. Fortunately I didn't, and those three days away were exactly the kind of break I needed.

Since I'm living in Korea for a year, I knew I'd probably be going back to Seoul a few more times and that took the pressure off. There was no rushing around trying to get everything checked off the bucket list. There was no agonizing over where to go and how much time to spend there. There was no real stress of any kind, except for the last mad dash to the train station and boarding the train back to Busan with two minutes to spare.

Instead, there were long talks about life on the sundrenched four hour train ride there and back. There was meandering down the streets of bustling shopping districts eating street food and ice cream. There was delicious food – Korean and Mexican in the same day. There was an afternoon spent roaming the grounds of a gorgeous palace. There was a full day spent with a girl I met while travelling alone through Madrid so many months ago. She showed us around her favourite parts of Seoul, took us for some of the best Korean food I've ever had, and happily, we got along as well as we had in Spain during the few days we spent together then.

And there was more! I had my birth chart read by a local tarot card reader. We hid from the rain in a cafe bordering the stream that cuts through downtown Seoul and drank hot sweet tea. I had iced mochaccinos every morning and soju mixed with Sprite in plastic cups every night. We wandered around the university district enjoying its lively energy, watching people boxing and others playing music side-by-side in the little park in the middle of it all. There were so many times we laughed until we cried.

I came home feeling recharged, not drained. I felt (and still feel!) blissed out and happy, alive and connected. It reminded me of how incredibly lucky I am to have this opportunity to live and work in another country, and to explore and experience such amazing parts of the world. It also reminded me not to take any of it for granted. Life is good.


  • Juno Guesthouse: While the facilities were nothing to write home about, it was in a quiet area and very close to a subway stop on one of the major train lines. But most of all, it had an absolutely incredible welcoming committee: a beautiful little Korean Jindo dog that brightened our day every time we left or came back to the hostel.
  • Vatos Urban Tacos: This restaurant in Itaewon made us feel immediately like we weren't in Korea anymore. Not that there's anything wrong with Korea, but it just made us feel transported to somewhere completely different. Amazing margaritas, perfect tacos, delicious salsa, some queso dip – we were in heaven.
  • Ssamziegil (in Insadong): We all agreed that walking through this shopping area (shown in the fifth picture from the top) felt like walking through Etsy brought to life. There were tons of stores selling adorable handmade or unique things like jewelry, stationery, and soaps.
  • Gwanghwamun Square: A gorgeous, open plaza leading to the gates of the Gyeongbokgung palace (another of our favourites). It's right in the middle of Seoul, framed by mountains behind, and is positively gorgeous.

Vancouver, BC


I really and truly fell in love with Vancouver during my weeklong trip there. I went because I'd never been and because I wanted to visit my friends and because I was sick of winter in the greater Toronto area and because I wanted to see beautiful things. I went because I could afford to and because I wanted to. It was an awesome choice.

I couldn't get over how gorgeous the scenery was surrounding Vancouver. I kept feeling like I was on an exotic vacation getaway and then remembering that this was just home for the people of Vancouver. Having never lived in a city surrounded by so much beautiful nature, that was an incredible realization. I loved waking up and seeing all that water and all that sky out the window. I loved walking around downtown and getting glimpses of mountains from between two apartment buildings. I loved that you could turn off a main road onto a path and suddenly be surrounded on all sides by enormous towering trees covered with moss and silence.

Plus, can we talk about the fact that I didn't have to wear a winter jacket in February? That in itself should be mentioned. Sure, it wasn't always warm – though there were a few days when I sat outside in the sunshine without being uncomfortable – but it wasn't really cold either. And while it did rain a few days I was there, I still saw plenty of sunshine and blue skies.

I felt very comfortable in Vancouver. I was lucky enough to experience many different situations while I was there (including a swanky dinner event, a cool launch party, and a night at a lodge in Whistler) but universally felt right at home because the atmosphere was always welcoming and low-maintenance. I remember going out for a late dinner at what I thought was a casual pizza place with a friend of mine. When I realized it was a pretty fancy bistro-type place, I was a bit embarrassed by my jeans and quarter-zip athletic sweater…that is until I spotted about three other locals there in similar outfits! I felt like I connected well with the vibe of Vancouver.

It's a gorgeous, vibrant city, and one that I am really looking forward to spending more time in.

Paris, France

I wound up having some truly amazing adventures in Paris, but I have to be honest and say that some of the days were hard, especially the very first one. After my trip, I'll write a post about my reflections on solo travel (for the most part, great so far) but I think these posts with all the pretty pictures tend to glamorize my travel a little bit. Which is not to say that I'm not having a really amazing time, most of the time, but I'll also try to be honest when it's not as easy as pie.

My first day in Paris was a toughie. Going from travelling with your best friend to travelling alone is HARD, man. It didn't help that Paris was sticky and very, very hot. Plus, lets not mince words: Paris, while beautiful, can also be very overwhelming. Luckily, Snapchat! Honestly, I can say that snap chatting with my friends and sisters was a lifesaver when I felt really lonely that first day, and other days since. But that first evening I dragged myself out to Sacre Coeur, the gorgeous cathedral on the hill with views of Paris spread out in front of you, and ate a horrible tourist sandwich (it had fake eggs in it, I'm not joking..) and drank Fanta (which I had never been fond of before Paris but which I drank an obscene amount of while there…so refreshing!) and felt a little better but still lonely. Then I stumbled onto an absolutely amazing soccer juggling and acrobatics street performance that I can hardly describe (see the second photo from the top) which I watched three times and inexplicably made me feel much better.

And not all my days in Paris were as hard. My French exchange student from high school lives in Paris now and we had a lovely evening drinking rosé and eating gazpacho and zucchini gratin in her tiny, adorable apartment. I caught the end of the Tour de France with a few Australians I met on a tour, which was busy and fun. I wandered around by myself and had the best fallafel, and then sat in a park and figured out the rest of my trip. I knew two coworkers from Montreal, and met up with both.. it was so lovely to see a friendly face both times. I got to get driven around in a car and see lots of different castles around the outskirts of Paris. I tried macarons from two different shops and a croissant from one. I had a lemonade at the cafe Les Deux Moulins from the film Amelie and it felt so cool! I got to (sort of..) learn how to dance West Coast style swing on the quais of the Seine. On another night I felt a bit lonely (ironically the night I got upgraded to a hotel room from a 12-bed dorm due to an administrative error..ironic because it was so cool at first! And then I felt isolated..) I did what I do best: sought out food. This time from a very popular food truck that serves, strangely. burgers and fries. I figured I'd eaten enough Camembert sandwiches and French picnics, plus I was in line among exclusively Parisians, it was not a tourist attraction in the slightest (so I must have been doing something right).

So I got to make a lot of really fantastic memories. I got to talk to real Parisians in French. I got to experience solo travel while I still had friends nearby. I slept in my first hostel, and in my first hotel room alone. I made friends. Even though there were lots of ups and downs, the general trajectory was up, and it was the perfect place to start my trip.

I am now in the absolutely stunning San Sebastián, Spain and loving it completely.


  • L'As du Fallafel: I don't even like fallafel normally, but this one was so good I went back the next day. So tasty, not expensive (for Paris), and tucked onto this adorable street in Le Marais neighbourhood. Can we talk about how their caramelized eggplant was the first eggplant I think I've ever enjoyed??
  • Pierre Hermé: I tried both this shop and Ladurée, and although I think I was more charmed by the actual shop of Ladurée, I think I liked the macaron from Pierre Hermé better. It was a close call though, so you'd better try both just in case.
  • Shakespeare and Company bookstore: an adorable English bookstore close to Notre Dame, it is so quaint and has such a rich history. Despite my tiny bag, I bought a souvenir. (I am officially much too much of a sucker for books..)
  • Place des Vosges: the perfect little park in Le Marais. It's clean and quiet with beautiful fountains and is the perfect place to eat some fruit and enjoy la belle vie.
  • Montmartre: the most charming area of Paris in my books. Just wandering down the streets or checking out the amazing street art, or exploring the big, old, beautiful, creepy cemetery, it's just wonderful.