Looking for ways to change your life and try new things?

The Cumulative Impact of Trying New Things

SAM_4981I left work a year ago and at first, I was unwilling to do anything.  After waiting and planning all the things I would do when I was no longer working, I finished work and did nothing. For about 3 months. It must have been a needed transition time. I felt like I was wandering in a corridor that had lots of doors but that I could not make a choice.

And then it was over. And my year of adventure began.

I rode on an elephant and he went swimming while I was on his back. His baby romped around in an unruly way, given his size. Ironically the baby’s name was Lindsey. (Think Lohan :))

On Mother’s Day, I rode an ATV through the backroads of Mykynos with my older son. What a great way to spend that day.

I sold my big house and moved into a nice townhouse. I am still working to purge the many boxes that are waiting to be sorted.

I went to cooking schools in Bali, Vietnam and Thailand and learned some amazing traditional dishes from each country.

I drank wine with new friends while sailing in Halong Bay in Vietnam.

I work out every day and I love it because now it is not just another item on the list but instead is a feel-good thing and the results are showing in small ways.

I learned how to make my own wine although I will always prefer the kind that I don’t make!

I went to the cottage and worked for 2 weeks, sitting on the deck overlooking the lake.

I wrote a book for a company in California and I write blogs for several different companies and I have learned that I can love the thing that earns me a living.

I have started to do yoga and it brings me to a happy peaceful place when I do it.

I went back to the lodge where I spent three summers working as a bartender when I was eighteen. It is a Fairmont property (Jasper Park Lodge) now and it is stunning in a way I did not recognize then. They upgraded us to a lakefront suite!

I drank Canadian wine in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia at the most beautiful winery I have ever seen.

I rode my bicycle through Myra Canyon in British Columbia.

I visited the temples at Angkor Wat in Cambodia and I can still feel the awe that I felt when I was there. Of those who walked those halls before me.

I sat in the background of a Buddhist ceremony while the monks chanted. And on another day, I sat with a monk and chatted.

I skied in Banff Alberta in Canada on the most gloriously sunny warm day that you could hope for when you are skiing.

I visited the long neck hill tribes in Thailand with four amazing women.

I ate at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant in Greenwich in London England.

I drove a standard transmission vehicle through Croatia and I only stalled it twice.

I wandered aimlessly on the Promenades in Croatia drinking in the sights and sounds of a culture so different but the same,

I spent three days running and eating around Bangkok, solo.

I went water skiing and tubing for the first time in many years.

I received my certification as a Personal Trainer.

I received my certification as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist.

I read about 60 books this year…lots of time to read is one of the great things of being retired.

I hung out in Greenwich in London for two weeks pretending that I lived there because I love it that much.

I snorkeled in Bali, rode a bicycle through Vietnam, and swam on amazing beaches in 6 different countries.

I listened to the sounds emanating from the Sea Organ in Zadar, as it groaned it’s symphony to those who had come to listen.

I wandered around England, Croatia, the Greek Islands, Bali, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand….and Western Canada and Florida!

I met dozens of amazing new people, many of whom I am still connected to.

And I have many old friends, who have, in different ways, been part of this incredible year too.

I arrived at my 1 year away from work anniversary and realized that I definitely made the right decision. Life is good.

And now I need to start creating 2014. Because that is what this is. Creating moments that add up to days and weeks and months and years….and they add up to a lifetime.



  1. OMG Kellie!!! You did all that in just one year (actually nine months if I’m counting correctly) ! I’ll bet many people never accomplish that much in their entire lifetimes. Of course I live in a retirement area and one thing I hear over and over again is that many retired people are actually more busy now than they were when they worked. It sounds like you are having an amazing time and trying lots of new and wonderful things. The gift is you are sharing them with all of us.

    AND…Thom and I will be picking your brain when we start planning our trip to Vietnam/Cambodia. I LOVE the ride on the elephant and one of these days we will sit down and have a glass (or two) of wine together! ~Kathy

    • Kelly says:

      I would be happy to share anything you wish to know about Vietnam and Cambodia. Can you fit in a trip to Thailand while you are there?

      I hope this did not look like a brag post…I too was amazed at the list when I went to write it because my life feels normal and ordinary. But good. :)

  2. Maureen says:

    This is Kelly and I am so happy you have found time to explore the world! I cannot wait to have a glass of wine with you to hear your stories and feel your peace!

    • Kelly says:

      I will love to do that…being with you is inspiring to me…you are so full of energy and the stuff that makes it happen. Thanks for coming by and commenting on my blog!

  3. Lara ralph says:

    So glad to see that you are happy and loving life Kelly! Can’t wait to read what you make of next year!

    • Kelly says:

      Hello Lara. So nice of you to read and comment on my blog. I have some amazing plans for 2014. I noticed by your last name change that you have celebrated a big event also! Congratulations and keep reading.

  4. What a wonderful year! Wishing more of the same for the upcoming year to you Kellie!

    • Kelly says:

      Hello Sherry…thanks for your good wishes. I saw on your blog that you hiked Machu Picchu and it is on the list for 2014. Would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations.

  5. DJan says:

    Fantastic, fun-filled year. I get tired just reading about all your adventures, but they have definitely changed you, become part of who you are now. Thanks for sharing that year with me. :-)

    • Kelly says:

      Your blog was part of my inspiration. You have more energy than anyone I know and I love how you, almost daily, participate in inspiring hikes and activities. Thanks so much for the good wishes.

  6. curvyroads says:

    Kelly, What a wonderful summary of an incredible year! I hope that I can do even a fraction of that when I am able to retire from my 9 to 5 and do what I love! you mention Banff and Jasper…I just re-blogged some incredible photos of that area yesterday. We are planning our motorcycle trip there next September, and this blogger captured so many wonderful suggestions in the area.


    Cheers to an equally fulfilling 2014!!!

    • Kelly says:

      I went by your blog to see the pictures and loved them! I have a place in my heart for Alberta and spent my summers there when I was in University so going back this year after 35 years, was a seriously fun flashback…the good kind! Enjoy your ride and post about that ride with pictures.

      • curvyroads says:

        Kelly, you and your blog have been such an inspiration to me, that I have nominated you for an award. :-) Check it out when you have a chance!



        • Kelly says:

          Hello Lynne and thank you so much for nominating my blog! I am honored that I am a role model for this stage of your life. I liked your last post where you ask what is your favorite age and you chose your current age! I will second that…it doesn’t get any better than this!

          • curvyroads says:

            Kelly, I agree…this age is wonderful! The only thing that will make it even better, and I have this to look forward to, is finally leaving corporate life and doing what I love on my own schedule! :-)

  7. curvyroads says:

    Fab cover photo of you in the vineyard, by the way. You look so happy! :-)

    • Kelly says:

      Funny, I do not involve my family in my blog (could be life-threatening :)) and normally I do not post pictures of myself so this was really stepping out!

  8. You list is worthy of anyone’s “bucket”! While I have done many things you mentioned the list of things I have not done is much longer. Good luck with 2014…you will never run out of adventures. Enjoy!


    Thank you for stopping by my blog. I love your comments.

    • Kelly says:

      Hello Barbara. Thank you for stopping by and joining in the conversation. You are right that the possibilities to experience things are endless. I like to try to distinguish trendy things from the things that I really want to do and see. Sometimes these are the same thing. Sometimes not. My plan in January is a little off the trendy track but it qualifies as ecotourism and that is on trend. So sometimes it is hard to distinguish which is me and which is the cultural influence of my age and time.

      I like how you use Google plus as your platform. I am still learning about that. It is quite aesthetically pleasing to look at and to move about.That will be my next online discovery.

  9. Nita says:

    What a wonderful life! Gives me the happy shivers at what is in store for me, too, as I embark on this next chapter :)

    • Kelly says:

      Hello Nita. I stopped by your blog and it looks like you have a very full life already. So early retirement will just let you slow down and truly enjoy all the things that you do.

      I was so excited when I left work last year to do all the things I dreamed about. And I have only just begun. It sounds like you have that same excitement. I want to watch your blog and share your adventures and thoughts as you enter into this great third phase of life. I cannot decide which phase was sweetest because they all seem so sweet.

      Funny, though, as the past year unrolled, it seemed so normal and ordinary, and then to compose that summary of the year reminded me of how amazing the year had been.

      Stay in touch and we can share our journeys together.

  10. Retired Syd says:

    Wow, what a list. And in just ONE year???? I’m feeling like a retirement underachiever! But you have made me look forward to our trip to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos in April.

    • Kelly says:

      Hello Syd. I am honored that you joined in the conversation. Your blog has inspired me from the moment I decided that I would find a way to retire early. As far as you being a retirement underachiever, I think that you are the opposite of that whatever it is. :)

      I also think that after planning to retire for five years, I had some clear ideas on what I wanted to do and in this past year, I tried to see as many as I could. Secondly, I think that there is an early retirement honeymoon period where you are so excited that you might overdo it, and then you settle back in to real life.Not sure yet as I am still in honeymoon stage.

      Everything about your destination ahead will be amazing. People ask me all the time, what was my favorite part of that trip and you know, I cannot answer because it was all so spectacular and stimulating. Have a great time and make sure to update on your blog so I can see your experience.

  11. Bethan Pinto says:

    I had a certain energy buzzing through me as I read this post. What absolutely wonderful adventures! There is nothing better than enriching life experiences. I’m thrilled that I feel the delicious euphoria of having experienced each of these thrills myself just from reading your post. Thank you for sharing!

    • Kelly says:

      Thanks for those warm thoughts Bethan. I checked out your blog as well. You are right though that rich life experiences add color and excitement. This was less of a recounting of my experiences and more of an illustration of what is possible when you say yes to trying something new.

  12. PCgal says:

    Kelly, love your list. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to 2014. Suzanne

    • Kelly says:

      I am looking forward to 2014 also. I find that making a rough list of the things I might like to do or see in the next year gives me guidelines to go forward into the year. I tend to get started more easily when I have those guidelines.Thanks for dropping by.

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