10 Introverted Side Hustler Things To Do for Fun When You Are Spending Your Money Paying Off Your Debt!

Let me paint the picture for you: It is Good Friday. I worked a redeye from Cancun the night previous and we were mega delayed. Like mega, mega delayed – we were supposed to land at 5 am – we didn’t land till 7am. I had thought that what I would do was sleep for like 6 hours and go to this interview. But by the time I got home from work and got into bed it was close to 10am. But I made a commitment – so on 3 hours of sleep I decided against my better judgement to go this interview for a job that I seriously didn’t even want.

Now I am at a job interview for a place that I literally have no interest in working at … it happens. I want more money. The thing is they ask me what I do for fun. I froze. I literally had no idea what to say – like what do I do for fun these days. It got me thinking probably in a way that I shouldn’t be thinking but seriously it just made me assess what was going on with my life. What the fuck do I do for fun? Who the fuck am I these days …

I literally thought to myself – I don’t have money to have fun. I am that strapped for cash. That is why I am at an interview to work at a smokehouse as a vegan – because I need money so I can have more fun. But this also made me think what are the things that I do do to entertain myself while I focus on paying my bills.

Here is the thing – more than ever before, right now, my primary focus is to pay off my debt. I eat, breathe, sleep paying my bills. Even when I have no money to make the bill payments, I make them – and live off of practically nothing so that I can get myself ahead financially. If you are wondering – it fucking sucks. But I am banking on future me to be happy that past me hunkered down and paid off my fucking bills.

I mean telling someone that what I do for fun is sending hilarious memes to my friends because I can’t afford actual fun seems kind of pathetic but right now it is the truth.

So here are 10 thing I do for fun  – someone that is super introverted, looking for a side hustle and mostly into things that don’t cost me money:

1) Drink coffee or tea and walk on the Calgary/local trails: this is one of my favorite spring/summer/fall things to do. The city I live in is FULL of wicked trails on creeks and rivers and all nature like and honestly I am not tired of them yet. I make coffee or tea and home or bring a hydroflask of water and literally wander for hours. Good for the soul, good for the heart, good for the pocket book.

2) Hike in the Mountains: There are so many awesome trails in day trip proximity to Calgary. If you stay out of Banff you can hike for free. And if the word hiking sounds intimidating – honestly it’s walking in the Mountains. You can make this whatever you want to make it. Download the ALLTRAILS app – you can find all the cool trails near you and it is free.  I wear my thrifted flannels, my Blundstones and bring a backpack. Honestly you don’t need expressive hiking gear to do this and pack a lunch and snacks. If you are extra smart you might pack a few ciders and leave them on ice for when you are done the trail! You could make a small one-time per year investment and get a park pass for the Mountains – it would be worth your while!

3) Netflix: Yes this is a month expense but honestly, I am paying for it anyway so might as well use it. I went through a phase where I was all about watching documentaries. Now I am on a kick where I am trying to watch all the classic movies that I never watched when I was younger. I am embarrassed to admit there is a super long list. I was busy traveling and being outside and going to raves to care about movies back in the day.

4) YouTube: Watch and Create!! There has been a lot of years that I have wanted to be a YouTuber – vlogger. I just travel so much for work that I thought it would be interesting. I love Youtube is it so fun. There are lots of people I follow. It is honestly mega fun to make videos. Everyone that has some sort of phone – use the camera, make the videos, string them together. Just start. Anyone can do this and if you are good enough one day it might be your side hustle but mostly its just fun as fuck to create things.

5) Podcasts: Listen and Create. This is another platform that I love. It is something to do. Literally you can create voice recording on your phone and upload them. Interviewing my friends is super fun to do – just talking without having to actually look presentable is pretty wicked.

6) Take Photos: Instagram. I love taking photos. The camera on my phone is awesome. Why not just find cool spots in the city to take photos and go for it. It is totally free to do and to upload. I have 1000s of wicked photos – if you put in a little google search you can find the coolest places to take photos in most cities.

7) Volunteer (at music festival) – I used to be a mega festival go-er. Times have changes. Money is tight. So now I find a couple festivals I would love to go to and I sign up to volunteer. It keeps me busy AND I get a free festival pass for volunteering. I meet amazingly cool people, still get take in the music and get myself into way less trouble because I have festival commitments AND it just win-win in my mind. Volunteer (the animal sanctuary) – hanging out with animals, spending time outside, learning some new life skills – I think finding things you are passionate about and getting involved is so good for your mental health. If that is working with animals or volunteering with kids. The point of this on is basically just volunteer for things that you find interesting so you can meet people with the same interests. Get involved in your community.

8) Writing/Blogging. Free as fuck. It is just your mind. WordPress is free. You just need to sit down and hammer it out. I love working through my life by writing it out. I have been writing for as long as I can remember. The dream is to write a book – current mission write the plot summary and book ideas out chapter by chapter and then giver.

9) Read: I love non fiction. I really, really love self help. But that doesn’t mean I don’t read other stuff. I trade books, borrow book, use my library card, use the libby app to read online. There are all sort of ways to get free material. Sometimes it is really good to just shut the internet connections down and get lost in a book. Whatever your like.

10) Try new recipes!! I realize this isn’t free but we all have to eat. I love to cook. I love trying new vegan recipes. I love testing out things in the kitchen. This is a good excuse to find cool things to try online or in one of the many cookbooks that I have. Also a great excuse to have friends over – sharing food is the best.

Bonus) Have a few drinks with my friends, drink coffee with my friends – eat out with my friends, travel with my friends – while it is really, really good to stay on top of my finances – it is also super good to spend some money and to not always go the cheap route. It is super duper important to occasionally spend money on yourself. To treat yourself and to say yes to some of the social outings that are offered to you.

 

So here I am folks at the local Second Cup spending my early evening doing something that I find fun which is writing this blog post and think about what I am going to do for my next staycation day.

 

The Power of Habit

Literally for ages I have walked by this book in the bookstore, have been attracted to the bright cover and then thought nope – I am not gonna like it, put it back. For years I have been interested in how I might need to change habits because Lordy knows I am in a habit breaking cycle the last few years. But I still resisted. But then last pay day after I crushed out all my bills, I found myself in the book store looking in the small business self help section (because lately I have been a non-fiction whore) and I finally thought you know what, I am doing it. I grabbed and finally had enough balls to buy it.

Here is the thing – I am currently reading two other books

But once I picked this one up, I could not put it down.

Charles Duhigg is a phenomenal writer. His ability to capture a story and make a point is so eloquent and inspiring. But through out the book – as I weaved through the chapters I realized he was following a formula and I am not sure if I got sucked into the habit and reward of the formula or what happen – but whatever Charles was doing – it worked.
The truth is – I have lots of habits that I have worked on breaking over the years. Lots of habits I returned to. Lots of pressure I put on myself to accomplish things that I think I want and then get overwhelmed when I don’t see results. Maybe it is because of cell phone instant gratification maybe it is because I am lazy – maybe it just something that I need to dig deeper into and figure out, so I don’t go on repeating the same fucking mistakes. I’ll have to get back to you.

Today I had so many plans of things I think I wanted to do but it is cold as fuck outside. So instead of messaging people my boredom texts I took it upon myself to finish reading my pile of books. You know what feels super great, finishing a book. You know what feels even more great feeling like I am using my brain. Thinking about things, assessing things, introverted me is such a thinker – idea generator – and sometimes it just feels good to flex that muscle.

The Power of Habit is the book that I didn’t know I needed to read. But I couldn’t put down. Talking about how everything humans do is habitual and in order to break the habit we need to form new habits. Now I know that that isn’t new information. But sometimes old information presented in a new way makes information stick in a way that it didn’t stick before.

I mean I inherently know that in order to find financial success I need to break spending habits. In order to find weight loss success, I need to form new eating and non-eating habits. In order to stop myself from being lazy and requiring so much down time is to effectively understand my sleep cycles and find new at home routines. But the actuality of doing that is harder than it is so easily presented.

I have realized I have bad habits. I have also realized I need change. When this happens I try and do all the big projects all at once. I try and change everything because I get so fucking excited about new beginnings – then I get tired and stop doing all of it – I let myself down and spiral. And then around we go again.  I know that tackling to many projects and making to many changes at once is a recipe for failure in all areas. So really this book confirmed what I have been telling myself for months. Actually I have been giving myself a hard time about this stuff for years and what needs to happen is I need to pick one main focus or habit to break. Currently the forerunner is finances. Spending habits – what I need to continue to work on is my path to financial freedom and stop putting so much pressure on myself to also see success at weight loss and figure out some sort of crazy online business/social media take over to generate something that I literally just don’t have the energy to focus on. The Power of Habit is really taking a look at what our habits already are and showing us that we can indeed form new habit.

Since I have admitted that I am hyper focused on my finances right now it is best for me to really look into my spending habits. What kind of reward am I gaining from spending? What kind of reward might I gain by saving?

I like to think I am pretty self aware but maybe I am just living in the looney bin of blissfully unaware. And perhaps that is where a lot of people live – I have no idea. But what I can do is focus on me, and what I am trying to do and that my actions have consequences both good and back and learning to understand that my decisions are the reason I am where I am in life.

Some of you may know that I have a script tattoo on my arm that reads: “No One is Coming to Save You” – some people read that and look at me like I am either in the depths of depression in a way they can’t understand or that I am totally fucked (I mean those things maybe true) but ultimately that tattoo got permanently etched into my arm to remind me all the time that all the work needs to come from with in. No one person or one thing is going to pull you out of the mess you got yourself in. No other human is the answer to anything we are fighting. Inner turmoil is solved by you. Weight loss again solved by you. Money problems also solved by you. The only thing that can change me or my habits is a cold hard look at how I got myself into this situation and how I need to gruelingly pull myself out.

The thing is maybe you don’t have any bad habits or habits that you would like to change. And I commend you if you’re that person. But if you are like me there are lots of things, I need to continual work on to watch myself grow. So really in theory if you follow these 4 steps you should eventually get to where you want to go:

Identify the routine
Experiment with rewards
Insolate the cue
Have a plan

Sounds simple, right?! The Power of Habit isn’t a step by step problem solver it really is just the tool you need to know that you can change. Sometimes we just need someone to tell us that in words we didn’t hear before.

If you need me, I will be working on breaking some habit cycles, working on crushing out those student loans – probably drinking free coffee at ‘40 000, reading something else to pass the time.

Happy Habit Changing,
XOXO,
C

Things I Think About: Burnout & Life Trajectory

 

It is my morning off. I am in Calgary, drinking my very large McDonald’s coffee in my bed watching Youtube – because I have next to zero responsibilities until 1135pm when I need to check in for work. It is a rare occasion I am home alone; the weather has broken its unbearable cold snap to a balmy -4C and it has been a mega mood shifter. Things today seem like they are a -ok. However, the last month or so things have been far from okay.

The truth is – I have been crying a lot lately. And I think we don’t talk about being sad enough. People get sad and it is okay.

I have known for many years that I struggle with winter depression and this winter hit me hard – like really hard. I don’t know if it is the extreme cold the last few weeks, or so much other chaos in my life. But seriously I haven’t cried this much in years. I know it is healthy to let out the frustration but LORDY it has been a lot. Feeling this way always leads to me over committing and under delivering in my life, to my friends, to my family and to basically anyone – I then over-work to deal with all my stress. Because I am a grown ass woman and dealing with stress by working too much is obviously the way to handle life.

One of my biggest, crippling life stressors is finances. I have a lofty goal of crushing out my student loans in the next couple years and I literally have a plan and I am sticking to it. But fuck me it is hard to stay on track and literally limit social interactions just so I can pay off my debt. I am literally barely dressed drinking my coffee reading up on side hustles and wondering if I had an online business what exactly would I sell?! I would love to just get all those bad ass brand deals by posting videos of me drinking umbrella drinks on my overnights in warm locations, but I do actually think it is more work than that. ‘Cuz well imagine if it was that easy? Why would any of us have Monday to Friday jobs?!

Yesterday morning while I was in Puerto Vallarta, I was recording an episode on my podcast about feeling burnt out. I actually found a Forbes articles detailing signs of burn out and I think I hit all 10 of them with a ‘bang on – ya, I sure am’.

See I think that the first part of fixing any sort of life problem is actually realizing you have the problem. Then the fun part begins and that is figuring out  how to solve the problem – like what do I do to stop the burn out from happening because girl needs a payday and also a vacay (that rhythmed and I am very okay with that).

So today I am just being a social media whore. I am writing, I am searching, I am signing up for freelance work websites – I am literally doing all of this from my bed because it feels like I am kind of resting all while getting shit done. Is it the dream? I am not sure but today it feels right!

I am actually curious what the rest of the world does to deal with burn out. How do you deal with that stress of it all? The stress of life? I mean as I approach 40 things seem to be so different than before, life is different – I actually started worrying about different things like retirement funds and buying property and if I will ever be able to retire. I wonder if I will eventually need to settle for a man that is ill suited to me because I long for some sort of companionship that I have yet to find. I think about all sort of things that on the surface seem really, really sad but are just a harsh truth. These are things I think about.

We all get there in life. It happens. We need money, we work too hard, and then we negate all the other things in our life that create balance. I am well aware of the fact that I have lacked balance in my life for a long ass time because I over work ALL THE DAMN TIME. But the truth is it is all on me to fix. There isn’t another person that can fix my trajectory but me. Being aware of your situation certainly helps in the process – because we all know you can’t fix something you don’t know is broken. So it just leaves me with this isolated feeling of what my next steps should be. Am I paralyzed in my own fear? yes – it is hard to make decisions when you feel stressed and burnt out.  It’s so easy to shut the word out and just focus on pushing through and not really thinking of anything else but making it to your end goal. But that just leads to all sorts of questions about what life is really for, right?! like am I having a good enough time? am I laughing enough? do I have enough people around me that support me? Am I enough?

Anyway – here I am just thinking about things – lots of things – am I the only one?


 

 

COOL PEOPLE I KNOW: Rosanna, Rosie, Ro

Awhile back I had a phone conversation with my long-time best friend Rosanna. She had called to tell me that the course that she had purchased online for Yoga teacher training had actually turned out to be a bit of a sham. The issue was that in the end the teacher (her friend) had duped them all and that at the end of the course after paying thousands of dollars – she would not be getting her certification. As we were chatting on the phone I kind of had this brilliant idea that I should make my baby podcast into a series of interviews. I had actually wanted to talk about the scandal that happened, but it turns out what I really want to talk about is the cool people I know and why I find them interesting.

Rosanna has wanted to be a yoga instructor for the better part of a decade, and I have thought she would be amazing at it for about that long. We sat down and started this free flow conversation with the idea that I wanted to talk about yoga but what I actually think is most interesting is our perception of todays society and the journey we have both taken to get to be the badass women we are today.

Sooooooo here is the podcast in all its glory:

https://castbox.fm/app/castbox/player/id1412402/id133234443?v=4.1.0&autoplay=0

Some random footnotes and thoughts to go along with this podcast:

I actually don’t know who she is talking about me dating from Sears. But I thought she was talking about my old friend Ali who I backpacked around Canada with, then I thought she was talking about this other guy I saw on occasion – but turns out I actually have no clue who she is remembering.

Our other old friend she is talking about – we almost drove off the Memorial Street overpass on one of our many drunken adventures to the BackAlley. He still lives to this day and if you are reading this – Hey Buddy, How are you?

I grew up in a family where I was surrounded by small business. My Dad had plenty of random small businesses. I think I was always attracted to the idea of running my own thing way back when I was young. I actually remember at one point telling a career counsellor in Halifax my business plan for my own business and she literally just looked at me and said she thought I was in the wrong space. I think I literally wanted her to help me build my business and she was there to tell people what trade schools they could get into and what programs were offered for their free training after being on pogy. I think one of the issues that I have had long term is that I have had zero confidence in creating my own business. That lack of self confidence has permeated my entire life not just a business life. I mean at this point I am not even sure what exactly I would sell – I just like the idea of not being responsible to anyone else but myself.

I think that really you need to find your power and you really need to understand not following the grain of life – and not letting fear stand in your way, putting yourself out there in a public platform is really hard. Like seriously have you ever read the comment section on any given Instagram post or YouTube video? Like these people have balls of steel putting their work out there for the savage keyboard warriors to pounce. I mean the truth is that getting your dream is a whole lot of hard work. Over night success is a myth and you really need to stay focused on your own path and not get derailed by all the dream zappers that are out there. They are busy being to scared to put themselves out there so they are trying to shatter your dreams because they are to scared to work on their own. Building your business or any online platform (blog, podcast) is all about hustling. Hustle, hustle, hustle. You need to use the platform of people you know and grind it out for years before the success starts to happen.

I mean all this stuff leads back to intention or goal setting (whatever verbiage you like). And not giving a rats ass what other people think. Information is at our finger tips. You want to learn a new skill – all the information you need is online. You want to get education in something new – start reading, watching and listening. Connect with the people. It sounds so easy right?!  I feel like there is a popular quote out there about some law of 10 000 hours. Anybody can learn anything as long as they put in the time. People are their own brand and really we just need to learn how to brand ourselves.
Authenticity is what attracts people and what brings them back for more. You are amazing just as you are, and people will like or dislike you for exactly who you are so embrace that and move forward with your dreams. My dreams are so different from your dreams but, in the end, I think we all have our eyes on the prize of feeling some sort of success in our lives. We want to create something good (whatever that looks like for us). We want to live within a more intentional space and take steps to be in a place of growth.

Anyway, our conversation vibration got derailed a bit in the end, so we wrapped it up.

As always – thanks for listening, reading and supporting my creative endeavors.

More to come,
XOXO,
C

PLANNING

  • Current Location: Calgary, AB
  • Currently Drinking: Diet Coke from my Girl Boss Mug
  • Current Mood: I did one productive thing … 

 

 

I finally got around to recording that pesky podcast – listen below:

https://castbox.fm/app/castbox/player/id1412402?v=4.0.29&autoplay=0

Carol’s Log: January 09-13

  • Current Location: … in bed, in a hotel room with no pants in Prince George, BC
  • Current Eats: Starbucks bbq kettle chips & cheese strings (vegan fail) and a Diet Coke
  • Current Feels: exhausted but determined to be productive today 

 

Somehow it is like basically the middle of January – how the fuck did that happen?!

Alright buckle in because here we go! Things, Friends, have been random as fuck and since I decided I needed to start writing more here is a little encounter of some random ass shit that had been going on:

I decided in an attempt to restore some balance in my life that I needed to figure out a way to pick up some secondary work. Work that I can do from my computer with out investing to much money. This has lead me to venture into the idea of teaching English online. Teaching online only so I can bring it on the road with me. So I have spent most of my afternoon on YouTube watching hilariously bad, overly animated teaching videos and I am still torn if I want to actually do it – but the videos are entertaining. I mostly just wanted to see if the company was actually viable and that they paid there teachers. But also to see if that kind of schedule would work with my currently life schedule which is pretty much all over the map.

I have been having some issues in my mouth.  I had a tooth pulled in October of last year that I thought was going to fix the problem buuuuut just on Monday of this week I had to pop into the dentist which lead to a scalpel and bone files and stitches. It has been less than a week and it has already started to grow back …. the dentist said if it keeps growing I’d need to go and see a bone specialist. I just need the problem to go away with out spending months trying to figure out why bone is growing in the wrong direction in my mouth. I also cannot afford some crazy ass dental procedure right now. But also – what the actual fuck?!

Today I got pulled into secondary in PRINCE FUCKING GEORGE BRITISH COLOMBIA for a “random check” and the customs guy freaked out on me about some watermelon cigarettes I bought in Mexico like 3 pairing ago … that were half gone – he then went on a tangent about how crew are the worst and then I watched him dig into my dirty underwear … how do you even take someone seriously when that is happening.

Yesterday in Puerto Vallarta while chilling by the pool we were talking to this man and his husband and at one point one of the guys just swims up to me and says: “You have the biggest tits I have ever seen” … ummm, thanks?!

On a bright note we got free drinks by the pool all day because the Mexicans are the sweetest!

I legit bought a Coconut La Croix and felt hipster AF doing it and I am going to drink that shit while I am editing this blog – probably after I drink craft beer and eat pizza with my crew because what the hell else are we going to do in PG, BC!

That is mostly the randomness of the last two days, I need some pizza, a shower and to sleep … then back off into the sun tomorrow.

*** While reading this to edit I just all the sudden thought my life sounded cooler than it is – I mean Coconut La Croix, who am I?

Catch you on another random afternoon,

xoxo,

C

 

 

 

2019: Bucket Lists & Tangible Goals

  • Location: Cancun, Mexico
  • Currently Eating/Breakfast: Mexican Doritos with cilantro guacamole and a light coke (weight watchers fail)
  • Smokes: Zero (but it is still early)

It is actually really nice in Cancun today. It is 27C but the sun isn’t shinning bright and it doesn’t really feel like a beach day for me today. I am not overly sad about that but mostly because I am exhausted. After a few drinks last night I literally slept for 13 hours. I absolutely had to have the melatonin to sleep because my anxiety has been so bad that I literally cant get more than 3 or 4 hours at a time lately.  My body clock is off and I am ready for a few days off.

This week I actually got into a conversation with someone about top 10 bucket list items. I literally rattled off a few things that have been on my bucket list for YEARS … like I am talking a decade – that I have actually never done and always thought – one day, one day I will do that. I wrote down a list in my bullet journal of bucket list stuff and realized that I needed to make some tangible goals about actually achieving some of the items.  I mean it is a bucket list so there are lots of items on there that are massive undertakings and require a certain about of money to make happen. This time I actually added to the list things that I never had before like … PAY OFF MY STUDENT LOANS  … things like that are seriously a slow progression and not happening without hard work and a whole lot of budgeting.

In the spirit of “its the end of the year and I should makes goals for 2019” – I actually thought it would be fun to list out some of my bucket list items and to actually try and accomplish one of them in 2019. I haven’t decided completely but honestly if you don’t take a dream, analyze it to death and start with small steps to the bigger goal it’ll never get done.

So here is my top 10ish list as of today:

  1. Take the train from Beijing to Moscow via Mongolia

  2. Stay in an ashram in India/travel India

  3. Travel through the ‘Stans – but mostly Uzbekistan 

  4. go to Rythmia healing centre in Costa Rica

  5. Write & Publish a novel

  6. Become a successful content creator on youtube or a blog or podcast or some combination of all of the above

  7. Open a vegan coffee shop/café/ sustainable food place

  8. Make a vegan cook book

  9. Pay off my loans and have a moment to understand what debt free feels like

  10. Buy a Sprinter Van (or something similar) and convert it into a living space – tiny house life

 

Now that is a list Friends – The thing that I have learned over the years is that if I set myself unrealistic goals then I will surely never accomplish them. But if I am truthful to myself about things I can actually accomplish I am more likely to see success and keep going.

Lets break down the things I think I want to work on in 2019:

Goal 1: Paying down my debts. This has been something I have been working on for while now but I actually made a practical debt repayment plan in the spring of 2018 that I am still following and if all goes to plan I will be completely debt free in 2.5 years. All the hard work I have been doing with actually start to slowly show its efforts this year but I do owe a chunk of money to student loans and when you compare that to my annual income  – it is a lot for me. So I guess without going into to much detail on that bucket list item  – just know I am working on it and I won’t see the end of that for a couple more years.

Goal 2: I would like to do one of my travel bucket list items this year. If I am being truthful the train trip is gonna be super expensive and I just don’t have the money for that right now  (see goal one) …  And I don’t actually want to take that much time off of work just yet – so that leaves me with Uzbekistan and Costa Rica – both on the list, both take less time. So I will spend the next couple of weeks researching and seeing what I actually need to make those trips happen, look into cost and visas and all the things and start planning that for one of my holidays this year. Small goal, easily accomplished.

Goal 3: The vegan eBook. I get people asking me all the time for recipes and if they can come over for food I have prepared. I love cooking. I have a vegan Instagram right now that I have been building followers on. I just think it would be super fun to figure out how to actually put together and ebook or cookbook of all my favourite recipes.  Maybe just one recipe a week for the year and get it published for Christmas. We will see – also something that needs to be planned out and researched and photographed and edited and all the things.

So here I am, December 30th, in Cancun I have a few more hours to soak up the warm weather and then off to Vancouver.  What is on your bucket list? Have you been trying to break down some of that list into things you can actually accomplish? Leave me a note below sharing your top 2019 must do!!

All the Love,

C