In JANUARY we lived in Victoria, down the street from my family. I worked as a Christmas light de-installer and had a daily physical yoga and Vipassana meditation practice.
In FEBRUARY we left Canada and travelled through Germany before settling in the Czech Republic. We started a month long course in Prague to become certified English teachers. (TEFL) As we travelled and studied I kept an art journal full of train stubs, museum brochures, paint and doodles.
Our TEFL course was intense. I felt stagnant and distant from my body. In MARCH I started going for walks. Walking as art practice and meditation practice. I explored our neighbourhood in Prague early each morning before class.
Jon and I accepted the first teaching jobs we applied for and moved to VIETNAM halfway through the month. My daily walks took me through different neighbourhoods of Hanoi, got me lost in markets and helped me discover my new city.
In APRIL I made a pair of sock poi and followed youtube tutorials. Everyday I practiced spinning on our rooftop. Our jobs didn't officially start for a month. We bought motorbikes and took trips to Ninh Binh and Sapa.
In MAY I accepted a promotion just as we started to work for Apax English in Hanoi. I was given a management role before ever having taught and was tasked with leading a team of teachers. I gave myself the free-form intention of self care to make space for the demands of work. I wanted to take very good care of my mental health while trying to do it all. My final big act of self care was to step down from my promotion and just teach.
In JUNE I started an online intensive in Yoga Philosophy offered by YogaMaze. The course covered the origins of yoga. I studied Hindu and Buddhist philosophy and read key texts.
In JULY I continued studying. I gave myself an extra month to complete the course so I could go back, read deeper and write about what I was learning. I also read Autobiography of a Yogi.
In AUGUST I joined other Canadians in pledging to read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 400 page report on the history and effects of residential schools. My mother and I both completed a cultural competency course designed for public health professionals working with/ in collaboration with indigenous peoples.
In SEPTEMBER I went on social media blackout. After a decade on facebook I signed out. I blocked myself from netflix, pinterest, instagram and a handful of other websites.
Jon and I travelled to Cambodia and spent four days in the ruins at Siem Reap.
In OCTOBER I came back online and created a new profile and deleted my newsfeed (Kill My Newsfeed). I started Vietnamese lessons twice a week.
In NOVEMBER I wrote a love letter to someone new every day.
In DECEMBER I went back to visual art and drew everyday.
Jon and I spent Christmas at an ashram in Bali.
COUNTRIES VISITED IN 2016
BOOKS READ IN 2016
My Life on the Road – Gloria Stienem
Konglish – Matthew Waterhouse
The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kinsolver
The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Satchidananda
Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
The Desire Map – Danielle LaPorte
The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
Autobiography of a Yogi – Paramahansa Yogananda
Birdie – Tracey Lindberg
Perfume – Patrick Suskind
Sidhartha – Herman Hesse
All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doer
The TRC Report of Residential Schools
Not That Kind of Girl – Lena Dunham
The Bhagavad Gita
Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins
Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism – Chogyam Trungpa
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
Walking After Midnight - Katy Hutchison
21st Century Yoga - Carol Horton
Homegoing - Yaa Gyasi
The Wangs vs. The World - Jade Chang