The Storm Chaser in Me

I have such diverse interests … although I love fashion, and makeup and dressing nicely in name luxury brand clothes, a huge part has “nerd” labeled all over me, and I’m most definitely not offended by it – I’ve embraced my inner nerdiness.  One of the things I am obsessed about are documentaries — other than true crime documentaries, I binge watch nature documentaries …. earthquakes, hurricanes, sink holes, volcanoes and of course the mighty tornado.

I already wrote a blog on how I was in a 6.5 magnitude earthquake which was an extra ordinary experience.  The other cool nature thing that I got to witness was the formation of a near tornado while I lived in Dauphin, Manitoba.

Me: The Amateur Storm Chaser

On that day they were calling for tornado watches … I was watching a tv show when it was interrupted by an emergency alert and 3 loud beeps …. this differs from Ontario where a ticker runs across the bottom of your screen.

*** It was a tornado WARNING, not a just a watch ***

The difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning means the difference between taking action or taking precautions.

  • A WATCH means that conditions are favorable for a tornado to occur.
  • A WARNING requires you to take shelter and brace for a potential tornado.  A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has actually been sighted or has been picked up on a radar in your area. This means that you need to take shelter immediately in a safe, sturdy structure.

Instead of heading down to our pre-designated safe room i.e. basement, I headed out to get my amateur storm chaser on to see if there was actually a tornado developing near town.  I hopped in my Land Rover and I set out in the direction of darkness … out toward the ball diamonds (btw, I wouldn’t advise to do this).

I watched the clouds move quickly across the sky, watched for any type of rotation.  Eventually, after 1/2 hour, I gave up deciding there wasn’t going to be anything developing but, on my way home, I spotted a wall cloud and pulled over to watch as it continued to rotate.

Screen Shot 2018-06-24 at 8.49.45 PM
Formation of a Tornado in Dauphin, MB

It was starting to develop and came pretty close to touching down, but, as quickly as it formed, it dissipated and was gone.   I was able to get these few pictures and short slow mo video.

IMG_3455 2
Facebook post warning for CKDM radio 

During my time living in Dauphin, these watches and warnings were fairly common.  The one time we had such an intense storm  – not sure if they classified it as a tornado or just strong down draft – but it caused such intense damage around town – trees snapping, my umbrella for the patio bent completely in half, advertising signs not only blown over, but actually bent. AND, the scorekeeping tower at the high school had blown over.

Meeting Chris Chittick of Tornado Hunters!

Later that Summer (in August) I further got my geek on when Chris Chittick of the TV show Tornado Hunters came to Kelleher Ford in Dauphin as part of their promotional touring — obviously for me that was a no brainer — I was there.  Chris has been tornado chasing for 15 years and has witness and videoed/photographed 423 tornadoes.

If you haven’t watched Tornado Hunters, you can catch it on Netflix. It’s about Greg Johnson, Chris Chittick, and Ricky Forbes. Outfitted with their truck, Flash and the best equipment money can buy; they target the biggest tornadoes in North America.

It was pretty cool to chat with Chris about some of the biggest tornadoes especially the Joplin and El Reno ones!

Me and Chris Chittick of Tornado Hunters

He also gave me a poster of Flash and signed it 🙂

Dust Devils Are Cool Too!

The other cool thing I was able to witness was a dust devil in the making. We were traveling home from South Dakota after a great time there visiting Mount Rushmore and The Crazy Horse Memorial.  I was driving this leg, from the corner of my eye, I saw a light rotation starting to the left of the truck on farm land. I literally watched the dust devil cross the road in front of me to the other farm field on the right. Since I was the driver, it took me a bit to grab my iPhone to capture the pic and video before it quickly dissipated.

Dust Devil in Rural Manitoba

I have been looking into a storm chasing tour for one of my next vacations – the price is about $2,900 – it’s debatable, because I also want to go shark diving in Cape Cod.

Has anyone been in a natural disaster?

There are two big forces at work, external and internal. We have very little control over external forces such as tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, disasters, illness and pain. What really matters is the internal force. How do I respond to those disasters? Over that I have complete control.

~ Leo Buscaglia

On Dreams: my plans to move to south east asia

If you’re new to following my blog (thank you for supporting my journey, I do truly appreciate each of my followers -and please feel free to tell a friend, I try to keep my topics relevant and authentic to me as a person and life), then you likely know that I am …. wait for it …. an empty nester (gasp!)

Yes, at the ripe old age of 42, I was an empty nester – my youngest spread her wings and flew the coup in the Fall of 2016 when she decided to go to Ryerson University in Toronto (at the time we were living in Manitoba). And my oldest flew off to Ottawa for school in 2012.  So, for the last year and a half, I have been trying to “do me” … I’ve been trying to do the things I like and love to do, take up new hobbies and interests.  I’ve been catching up with old friends and making new ones, trying to travel more and have been thinking about what I want my future to look like.

Which was an interesting question, what did I want my future to look like?  When did I want to retire?  Where?  Is it a reality?

“Don’t live the same day over and over again and call that a life. Life is about evolving mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.”
Germany Kent

I’ve been working since the age of 13.  First as a Waitress in catering (I even served alcohol to the armouries – I don’t even think that was legal lol), then at a pizza shop where the Manager saw fit to leave the new kid in charge by herself on her 4th day – I was 15.  I worked as a Cashier at Canadian Tire through my high school years.  I went to College, and started working full-time by the time I was 20 at variety of law firms, the government, and insurance companies.

This brings me to June 2018 … I want to retire or at least semi-retire and I want to travel.  Enter, South East Asia.  Many of you are likely wondering why SEAsia and others of you are likely aware of the absolute wonders of living there.

Screen Shot 2018-06-09 at 6.07.56 PM

I have spent months (probably about 6-7 months) researching living and working as an ex pat there.  Reading every article, statistic, blog and watching many YouTube channels from those who are also living as ex pats in places like Vietnam, Cambodia, Bali and Thailand.  Not only are these episodes entertaining, but, they give you a real life peek into their everyday lives insofar as living in those places – the benefits of course and some of the struggles of being a foreigner.

FAQs as I have been slowly sharing this dream with ppl:

Which Countries comprise SEAsia?

Mainland SEAsia includes: Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and West Malaysia.

Maritime SEAsia includes: Indonesia, East Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, East Timor, Brunei, Christmas Island, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India, and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Taiwan is also included by many anthropologists.

What will you do your first year?

The first year I would like to do nothing but TRAVEL – I’m so excited to explore this part of the world, the culture, the people, but most of all the FOOD – I’m a huuuuge foodie ….  authentic Thai, Vietnamese and Malaysian cuisine got me like “let’s go”.  I’d definitely have no problem filling my first 12 months up with things to do and places to go … that is for sure not the problem – the problem would be knowing that I would have to stop the full-time traveling and put down a root or two so I can work.  My own kind of Eat, Pray, Love kinda deal …

Screen Shot 2018-06-09 at 6.18.14 PM.png

What would you do for work?

I’ve done tons of research, and to be honest, I’m not too concerned about finding employment once I’m over there – most countries are in search of native English speaking individuals to work at schools, businesses, online work and in the hotel industry – the best part is that I wouldn’t have to work full-time, so there’s still time to explore.

Where would you lay roots?

If I had a choice, I’d settle a root or two in Vietnam – likely starting off in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) but ideally ending up in Da Nang.  Da Nang especially appeals to me because it marks the halfway point between the capital city in the north, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh in the south. It’s the fourth largest city in Vietnam with about a million ppl.  Bordering the city are long ranges of mountains to the west and the East Sea to the East.  It’s also well known for its beautiful beaches. Plus, it has an international airport, so that’s excellent for flights back to Canada or travel to other countries.

How often would you come home?

Right now I’m thinking I would come back to Canada during the summer months (obviously while it’s hot here and to avoid rainy season there – which runs roughly between June and October), to spend time with family and friends.  See my rugrats and maybe do a bit of exploring around Canada with them.

Won’t you miss your family and friends?

What kind of question is that? Yes, of course I will, madly.  But with the advent of FaceTime and Skype I’ll probably talk to them more there than I do here lol.

Plus, many ppl do this everyday – move away from “home”, whether it’s to America, the other side of the country, France, Egypt, Japan, moving your consulting business to Mexico (yes, these are all ppl I know who’ve done it) so, if they can do it why can’t I move to  SEAsia? It’s a fact of life, it changes.

I’m hoping to rent a two bedroom apt, so I can host family and friends who’d like to visit.

Screen Shot 2018-06-09 at 6.29.42 PM

When is this happening?

I’d like to leave tmrw, but, reality dictates in about 3 years – which is longer than I’d like – but you know …. cash is King and I gotta keep saving,

Why are you doing this?

At the end of the day, you can’t deny yourself your best life or your dreams for fear of upsetting other ppl.  This is YOUR LIFE.  YOURS and nobody else’s.  Don’t let other ppl tell you you can’t do it or it’s not a good idea – because they’re afraid to fly.  No one is holding you back. You are the only one that is responsible for what you can and cannot do.

People think those who achieve their dreams are special people who have a certain formula. Truth is when you pursue your dreams, sometimes formulas work. Sometimes they don’t. That’s how new formulas are created. That’s how you improve. Create your own formula to achieve your dreams.

IF you’re thinking of doing something like this, just remember, NOTHING is permanent, you can always come back home. But in the meantime … fly 🙂

Anyone out there right now living abroad and have some insight to share?


T xo




On Health: Why I’m Choosing Complimentary Care

It’s been a while since my last blog entry, I’ve been feeling so many different things lately, and as I started to type I thought I was actually going to talk about empty nest syndrome, or my plans to move to South East Asia in a few years … but as I started – I realized … “I’m really f@cking tired, but can’t sleep, so why don’t you write about your struggles from a health perspective”?

IMG_1682 2

The biggest thing I’ve been struggling with is profound fatigue – as in fatigue that isn’t relieved by rest – and being in a state of constant reduced energy, motivation and concentration.

I’ve been working on replenishing my iron counts (for nearly 2 years now with no success) and my adrenal levels (most recently) which to be honest for the most part, until that happens, leaves me spent by the end of the work day – who am I kidding – I’m spent the minute I open my eyes in the morning.

As a point of reference, I had lab work done 2 months ago, my iron/ferritin count was at 13 —- 13, when the max range is 250 – I was a 13 – and this was taking 2 ferrous gluconate tabs per day – imagine if I didn’t take any at all?  I’d need a blood transfusion!  No wonder I was dragging my butt around!

I went back to see my new GP, whom I was excited to see – we knew the issue, my iron counts were low (again) – he’d make some wonderful new recommendations and after 2 years of struggling with this – I’d be on the road to recovery  …. ahhh not so fast ….. as if it would be that easy … during my 15 minute slotted appointment with him, he seemed to not hear me and how I was telling him I was feeling (I know my body, its been mine for 43 years – and he’s known me 5 whole minutes).  His  response was that my counts are low  (thanks Captain Obvious) and to take iron supplements – I remind him that I am – 2 per day – already – and my counts are still this low – and I’m still struggling – his solution is to tell me to remain on the 2 iron tabs and he referred me to a Gynaecologist and for an ultrasound because I may have additional bleeding causing my iron levels to drop …. that’s it – no immediate recommendations, no take more of this or add this to your diet or take this supplement — as swiftly as he came into the room, he was gone 😦

So, off I went, had the ultrasound … as an aside he has not called me yet to review the results (I need to call their office) and I’m still waiting for this specialist appt – dollars to donuts – his office has forgotten to follow up, they’re not the most organized of offices – sigh. This was all over a month ago, and I have continued to drag my butt around with no relief in sight. In fact, I felt it was getting worse because my sleep was poorer than usual – the feeling of being utterly exhausted and then not being able to sleep is one of the crappiest things I’ve ever experienced – I actually started to feel intoxicated and couldn’t complete sentences.  I caught myself making mistakes at work and would come home after work most nights and crawl into bed.  It literally felt as if I was wasting my days away because I couldn’t function normally.  I don’t know why I am speaking in the past tense here, this is still the case, despite my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts telling you contrarily.

Today for instance – I started actually writing this last night (and by last night I mean Wednesday lol) – I couldn’t finish because I was exhausted and had a headache. Came home from work at 5:10’ish and have been in bed completely spent since.

It wasn’t until about 2 weeks ago that I was at work assessing a claim – so for background purposes I work as a Disability Claims Adjudicator for an insurance company – the claim was for an individual who was experiencing similar signs and symptoms as I was i.e. chronic fatigue, loss of energy, headache, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, leg cramps, insomnia, low blood pressure, intolerance to heat or cold, weight gain (abdominal) and a few more I may be forgetting.  I was quite literally at my desk saying to myself “omg, this is me” — I scrolled down to the diagnosis section – she had Addison’s Disease – I wondered – could I have Addison’s?

Since I was getting no immediate help from my family physician (and listen, I get it, they’re crunched for time, don’t have the time to spend with each patient that they really need to in order to best understand their history and active symptomology – I work in disability claims – I see this on the daily), but in this case – it’s ME.  I decided to advocate for myself and for my health and decided while my GP was barking up one tree, I was gonna bark up another.  I decided to visit a Naturopath last Wednesday – so 1 week ago today (assuming I finish this blog today lol)  Update: no I didn’t, it’s now Saturday lol.

Screen Shot 2018-06-09 at 2.57.11 PMShe spent an hour with me going over my personal history, my life, what I had/have been going through in my life the last few weeks and months, prior health issues, family history etc … she performed a Postural Blood Pressure test (when we stand up, those of you who are in good health experience an almost immediate rise in blood pressure. In contrast, adrenal fatigue sufferers will see no change in their blood pressure, or even a slight fall. In very general terms, a larger drop in blood pressure signifies a more severe case of adrenal fatigue) – my systolic fell from 110 to 90 in that split second!  The thing is when your body isn’t producing enough cortisol, it does’t respond properly.

The first thing I was glad to hear is that she could help me (yes!) and that she felt in addition to severe anemia I was suffering from adrenal fatigue.  This was new to me and news to me.  Why had my MD (medical doctor) not suggested this as a differential diagnosis?  Well … it seems that the vast majority of MDs don’t believe the condition is real.  Yet, if you see a naturopath or a complementary (non-mainstream) medicine doctor, they might suggest that you have adrenal fatigue.

So What's The Theory Behind It?

Your body’s immune system responds by slowing down when you’re under stress. Your adrenal glands (which are small organs above your kidney, respond to stress by releasing hormones like cortisol). They regulate your blood pressure and how your heart works.

According to the theory – as per James Wilson, PhD, a naturopath and expert in alternative medicine who coined the syndrome in ’98 –  if you have long-term stress your adrenal glands can’t continuously produce the extra cortisol you need to feel good. So adrenal fatigue sets in.  There’s no approved test for adrenal fatigue. Blood tests can’t detect a small drop in adrenal production.

More and more, I have been seeking out traditional, natural alternatives to healing my body (massage, acupuncture, cupping, chiropractic and reiki).  For thousands of years, we’ve been doing this – the use of herbs, for example, vastly pre-dates modern pharma therapy. The use of body therapies like massage and acupuncture goes back for thousands of years – plus, I want to fix the issues not simply mask the symptoms.  So, I was agreeable to taking Adreset® which is designed to support resilience and stamina in individuals who are feeling mild weakness and fatigue due to stress and a tincture called St Francis Femance Excess Flow (Capsella Combo) which is a formula for individuals who experience excessive menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia) or irregularity in their menstrual cycle – so my MD was in the right area thinking this – cause clearly the ND (naturopathic doctor) thought the same thing.

I started taking them the following morning (2 Adreset capsules and 30 drops of Capsella tincture three times per day).  We are now at 9 days post-commencement and I can honestly say that I am starting to regain some of my energy, the operative word here being some – but, the way I see it, it’s better than none.  She told me to would take about two weeks to start feeling a significant effect.  I feel more refreshed upon waking, I don’t feel like I’m in a constant haze/brain fog – I have more clarity, I have enough energy to come home from work and rest but not actually have to take a nap and to get suff done on weekends as supposed to resting for two days straight – today I actually cleaned my whole condo from top to bottom 🙂

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” ~ Thomas Edison

So, so far so good … I am liking the complimentary medicine approach.  In my experience, many don’t understand the positive aspects of choosing natural treatments and alternative medicine over conventional treatment – it’s a shame that Western society has taken this approach.  As part of my work, I often see/hear physicians instructing their patients not to use complimentary services. People in Western countries like the United States and Canada mainly consider these treatments outside the mainstream, or “alternative.”  Which is truly a shame, they should want the best for their patients regardless of treatment modality – we’re just a part of big business, I suppose.

Do many of you seek alternative treatments?  What are your thoughts?  Do you suggest any that I haven’t yet tried?