Limited Time – Wanderlust and Lipstick Books Just $10

by Beth Whitman (January 22nd, 2016)

If you’re a newsletter subscriber, you already know that right now you can get any of the books in the Wanderlust and Lipstick series for just $10 (plus shipping).

Why the sale? With a house remodel looming in March and a new book coming out later this year, I simply need the room!

I do have a limited supply but hope to sell as many as possible so that I don’t have to move them again when we shift to an apartment while our house is being worked on.

Ahem, they make great gifts so feel free to order more than one. :-)

While I can ship books to Canada or other international destinations, you’ll need to contact me for shipping prices.

 

Solo 2nd Edition Cover
The Essential Guide for Women Traveling Solo – 2nd Edition!

The original in the Wanderlust and Lipstick series for any woman travel is now in its second edition. Packed with tips, anecdotes, website resources and travel ideas from dozens of experienced women travelers. Written by Beth Whitman.

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indiacover

For Women Traveling to India

Any woman headed to the subcontinent will NOT want to leave home without first reading Wanderlust and Lipstick: For Women Traveling to India.

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kidscover


Traveling with Kids

Leslie Forsberg and Michelle Duffy are the co-authors of Wanderlust and Lipstick: Traveling with Kids. The latest in the Wanderlust and Lipstick series of guides for women travelers.

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Be Bold,

Beth

Want to stay up-to-date on all things Wanderlust? Follow me on Facebook, Instagram or RSS/email.

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Marathon Running Music Playlist

by Beth Whitman (January 18th, 2016)

IpodI can’t run without my iPod. Well, I can and do. At least on some short runs. But for distance, I either listen to podcasts or a playlist of upbeat music.

I recently got this adorable iPod Shuffle (thanks, Santa!) and have been loading it up with podcasts, but until I figure out how to transfer my marathon playlists from my iPod Classic to the Shuffle, I’m using this big guy (which has something like 10,000 tunes on it).

If you don’t already know, once upon a time I was a DJ. That’s what I wanted to be when I grew up. After spinning tunes at and also managing my college radio station, I worked in radio for a bit after I graduated. That is until the travel bug hit and I realized you couldn’t make any money in radio. Well at least not enough to travel!

So, with my roots in music, I enthusiastically added songs to my running playlist throughout 2015 in preparation for the Honolulu Marathon (which I successfully completed in December). When it came time to finalize the music, I realized I was a bit short of tunes and didn’t have enough to get me through the time I’d be running: at least 4:30. So I needed to load up on more songs.

I asked my Facebook community to make some recommendations. You all came up with some fantastic suggestions. If I didn’t already have the tune, I listened to your ideas and added anything I thought would be a good pace for the marathon.

Loaded with enough tunes to last the duration of my marathon time, I couldn’t just have the music on shuffle. Like a good DJ, I had to plan it out song by song, estimating as best I could when I would want which songs during the marathon.

Marathon training side note – When you’re training for a marathon, you build up your miles during the months preceding the race. Then a couple of weeks out, you start to taper your miles, running less per week. This gives your body the chance to recover from your long runs and prepare it for 26.2 miles.

I used this philosophy with my playlist. In the weeks leading up to the marathon, I tapered my music and stopped listening to it on my runs. I figured that way it would all seem fresh to me and I’d be excited to hear music after a hiatus that lasted a couple of weeks. I think it worked! I was pretty stoked to be rocking out again.

So, here’s what I came up with (in order):

  1. Gonna Fly Now – Rocky Theme – Thanks to Matt Gibson for this recommendation. It’s so obvious but it was never on my playlist.
  2. Gonna Fly Now – Yes, I had this play twice. I wanted to be super pumped up from the very start.
  3. Firework – Katy Perry – I chose this because  the Honolulu Marathon begins with fireworks. Even though the song started after the fireworks were over, I still loved it.
  4. Waterloo – Abba – What is there to say about this awesome song? It’s great for running. Lisa suggested this on that Facebook discussion. She was spot on.
  5. Us Amazonians – Kirsty MacColl – this is definitely an empowering female-centric song. I’m always pumped up when it comes up in my usual rotation.
  6. Dreaming – Blondie – Another strong female.
  7. Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression–Part 2 – Emerson, Lake and Palmer – I grew up listening to this song. When I was much younger, I used to do gymnastics and when I couldn’t sleep at night, I would play this song in my head and do my own floor routine until I fell asleep.
  8. Oh Yeh Yai – Terrance Simien & The Mallet Playboys – I’m a huge Zydeco fan. It really gets me up and dancing and that’s just what this tune does for me. Watch The Big Easy for proof :-)
  9. Dog Days are Over – Florence + The Machine – More strong female energy that helped get me pumped up.
  10. Believe – Cher – enough said.
  11. I Choose You – Sara Bareilles – It’s really difficult for me to listen to this song and not sing along to it. Truth be told, it’s the perfect song when I’m driving in the car. Alone. I can crank this up and it makes me so happy.
  12. I Will Wait – Mumford & Sons – These guys are awesome and a nice change to all the female voices I’ve got on the list.
  13. Just the Way You Are – Milky – Upbeat, easy to dance to (um, that was a throwback to Mr. Singer’s 8th music class when we had to critique songs. That was always the fallback response.)
  14. 50 Ways to Say Goodbye – Train – See above.
  15. The Edge of Glory – Lady Gaga – More girl power. Like WAY more girl power. Although I’m not sure I was on the edge of glory at this point in the marathon.
  16. Hey Ya! – Outkast – This has been on my playlist for a long time but I never tire of hearing it.
  17. Brave – Sara Bareilles – Like I Choose You, this is another one I have a difficult time listening to and not singing along. Though the tempo is a bit slow for me, it’s still powerful. I’m definitely a SB fan so this was on my list, but Kattina recommend this.
  18. All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor – Just fun. Plain old fun.
  19. Happy – Pharrell Williams – I don’t need to tell you why this is on the list. I figured I’d probably need it at this point (maybe 1.5 hours in?).
  20. Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke – Another fun dance tune.
  21. Mr. Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra – I very distinctly remember cruising past a lot of people on an uphill portion of the marathon when this song came on. It really buzzed me. It was already on my list but Campbell suggested ELO. Totally with ya, man.
  22. Take On Me – a-ha – Another one of those tunes that’s been on my playlist for a really long time but I don’t tire of it and am always tempted to sing along.
  23. Only the Good Die Young – Billy Joel – Big Billy Joel fan I am. This is probably the best Billy Joel song for running but I’ll need to add more for the next marathon (Tokyo, February 28). Biggi, you were totally right, more Billy Joel is definitely in order!
  24. Booty – Jennifer Lopez – Definitely shaking the booty on the run.
  25. Burnin’ Up – Jessie J – Temps in Honolulu probably were high 70’s at this point so it was apropos.
  26. One Way or Another – Blondie – More Blondie.
  27. People Like Us – Kelly Clarkson – This song always gives me a little boost. I don’t think Kelly Clarkson is anything like “us” but still, it’s an inspirational tune.
  28. Crazy Love – Mara – A little Latino boogie woogie.
  29. Wake Me Up – Avicil – Like Mumford & Sons, it was great to mix in some male voices.
  30. Objection – Shakira – More international influence with this tango-inspired song.
  31. Sleepwalk – Ultravox – Remember this one?
  32. Idle Delilah – Azealia Banks – probably the one song so far that I would remove from this list.
  33. Call It Whatever – Bella Thorne – Total bumblegum pop.
  34. Turn to Stone – Electric Light Orchestra – again, so powerful these guys.
  35. Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Michael Buble – Another one I might remove for Tokyo.
  36. Hello – Karmin – Great hard-hitting beat, perfect for running.
  37. Lips Are Movin – Meghan Trainor – Too fun. One of those songs I have to move to.
  38. Story of My Life – One Direction – I can’t believe I have a One Direction song on my list but, yeah, this one’s pretty good for running.
  39. Love Song – Sara Bareilles – GIRL POWER!
  40. Never Gonna Leave Me – Sia – Wow, my list is good.
  41. Pump It – The Black Eyed Peas – This makes me wanna dance
  42. Locked Out of Heaven – Bruno Mars – Maybe not one of the stronger songs on the list but it is marathon-worthy.
  43. Whip It – Devo – Love Devo but this is another one I might remove for Tokyo.
  44. I Feel It All – Feist – I do love Feist. She’s not really conducive to marathons but this one made the cut despite the slow start.
  45. Tightrope – Janelle Monae – She so rocks.
  46. Too Many Fish – Karmin
  47. That’s Not My Name – The Ting Tings – Do you know this song? I love it.
  48. Toxic – Britney Spears
  49. I Belong in Your Arms – Chairlift
  50. Diane Young – Vampire Weekend – Another rare male voice in the mix.
  51. Shake it Off – Taylor Swift
  52. Make a New Dance Up – Hey Ocean!
  53. Single Ladies – Beyonce
  54. Be the One – The Ting Tings
  55. Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 – Like One Direction, I can’t believe I have Maroon 5 on this list.
  56. Fight Song – Rachel Platten – Christina (on Facebook) was totally right that this would help toward the end of the marathon (even though this came on closer to mile 17, it was still great).
  57. Budapest – George Ezra – I love this song so much.
  58. Fruit Machine – The Ting Tings
  59. If U Seek Amy – Britney Spears
  60. Blame it On Me – George Ezra jkjljkkkkkjlkjkljkjkljkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk jk jk Most of these next songs were ones I added kinda last minute. Well, I mean they were songs that weren’t in my regular rotation when I was doing my training runs so when I heard them during the marathon, even though they are older songs, they were all fresh to me.
  61. Boulevard – Jackson Browne – So glad I added this one.
  62. Second Hand News – Fleetwood Mac – Just awesome. Margaret suggested this on my Facebook page. Good choice, Margaret!
  63. Welcome to the Working Week – Elvis Costello – I’ve recently started listening to more Elvis Costello and this one was a good tempo for me.
  64. Goodbye Stranger – Supertramp – Can you believe it took until song 64 for me to add Supertramp? I love these guys! More Supertramp, please!
  65. Holiday – Vampire Weekend
  66. Crocodile Rock – Elton John – Barb, one of my West Seattle running buddies, suggested this. Good choice that I wouldn’t have thought of myself.
  67. Maniac – Michael Sembello – Jessica suggested this on my Facebook page and she was totally right. Don’t know how I missed this one.
  68. Hold on Tight – Electric Light Orchestra – More ELO. These guys so rock.
  69. Oliver’s Army – Elvis Costello and the Attractions – Another fun Elvis tune that worked well with my running pace.
  70. Mr. Saxobeat – Alexandra Stan
  71. Confident – Demi Lovato – Another suggestion by Christina. Thanks for the idea!
  72. Gonna Fly Now – Because I didn’t calculate out the exact times for these tunes and where they might fall during my run, I had to guess. I was thinking that when this came back on, I might be close to the finish line and would need an extra boost. I was right in that I needed the boost but this came on around hour four. I still had another 38 or so minutes to run. Still, it was good to hear again and get pumped up (again). For Tokyo, I’ll move this later in the list so it plays closer to my finish (which I hope will be 4:30).
  73. Uma Thurman – Fall Out Boy – This song just makes me smile because it conjures up Uma and her dancing in Pulp Fiction.
  74. Bulletproof – La Roux – a relatively new song to my playlist.
  75. Right Action – Franz Ferdinand – A little Buddhist twist to the list.
  76. Ojai – Joe Lutcher – Don’t know this song? You likely wouldn’t but you must at least give it a listen.
  77. Saffar – Kiran Ahluwalia – A little departure from the other songs but I love to run to this. Kiran is an Indian/Canadian singer and this is really beautiful.
  78. Spiritus – Lisa Mitchell – I hadn’t heard of this but Kelli thought it would be a good fit. She was right!
  79. Signs – The Vespers
  80. Stolen Dance – Milky Chance
  81. Gone, Gone, Gone – Phillip Phillips
  82. Five Hours – Deorro – This is some pretty good electronica.
  83. Girl U Want – Devo – Another tune I’d probably leave off for Tokyo. Devo just didn’t do it for me.
  84. One Last Time – Ariana Grande
  85. Somebody that I Used to Know – Gotye
  86. Calabria 2008 – Enur
  87. Sledgehammer – Fifth Harmony
  88. Good Luck – Basement Jaxx

It was somewhere toward the end of this list that I finished the marathon but I couldn’t tell you exactly when.

Often when I do my long runs at home, I have to take my earbuds out and just have silence, particularly toward the end of that run (at mile 18 on a 22 mile run, for example). But I needed all the music I could get for the Honolulu Marathon and appreciated the fact that I had all these great tunes lined up.

Hopefully you’ll find some workout gems here for yourself.

And I’m totally open to new songs myself as I’m always tweaking on my playlist. If you have some suggestions, please share them!

Be Bold,

Beth

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2017 Thailand and Laos Hill Tribe Tour

by Beth Whitman (January 15th, 2016)

Akha Woman ThailandOur women-only Thailand and Laos Hill Tribe Tour was so popular in 2014 (it sold out in very short order), that we’re offering it again in early 2017. I know, that sounds like a long way off, but time flies and tours sell out quickly. :-)

This tour is unique in that there’s a special focus on the hill tribes of Northern Thailand and Laos. The people from these ethnic minorities have settled into the region after leaving their home countries of China, Burma and beyond.They are often marginalized and don’t have the same access to education and healthcare that the Thai have.

They do their best to scrape by and some of their income comes from souvenirs and trinkets sold to tourists. Their circumstances are sad. But I feel good knowing that we’re helping them (often women) support their families.

During our visit to Chiang Mai, we visit an organization called WEAVE–Women’s Education for Advancement and Empowerment–and learn about the women and families that WEAVE Ko Yo Girl supports. Through our own non-profit, the WanderWorld Foundation (website coming soon!), we make a donation to support this program.

It’s always an emotional time for our group because of the stories we hear about the history of these lovely people and their families who are literally trying to survive day to day.

In addition to learning about the hill tribes, during the tour, we dive into both the Thai and Laotian culture and food. The food!!! Our tour participants take cooking classes, visit markets and experience some of the best regional food from Bangkok to the north and then onward to Luang Prabang, Laos.

Here’s what you’ll experience:

  • Tour the most popular sights in Bangkok including its famous temples
  • Visit hill tribe villages in Northern Thailand and also in Laos
  • Watch robed monks early in the morning in Luang Prabang, Laos as they receive their alms for the day
  • Overnight in a small village in the mountains of Northern Thailand and receive a Thai massage from a local expert
  • Experience the Mekong River in Laos on a wooden boat
  • Prepare and enjoy local dishes through cooking classes

And here’s a bit of a visual journey…

WanderTours White Temple Thailand

We visit the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) in Chiang Rai. This is a privately owned temple, designed and constructed by Chalermchai Kositpipat. It’s crazy intricate and like nothing you’ve ever seen. There’s so much going on in this sculpted temple that it’s impossible to take it all in.

Buddhas Luang Prabang

While our intention is not to overwhelm you with temples, we do visit a number of special temples throughout the tour. This will give you the chance to see various styles from Bangkok, to Thailand’s north, and then in Luang Prabang (where the photo above was taken).

Non-Buddhists will get a lot out of these visits, just as non-Christians can appreciate the magnificent churches of Europe.

Candles Buddhist Temple Thailand

As part of the tour, we overnight at a homestay in the mountains outside of Chiang Mai. This was a singularly spectacular experience for our group in 2014. Not only did we get to meet and stay with a family but we got to attend a very special festival that was taking place in this small village. We visited the local temple, lit candles and listened to a Buddhist monk chanting along with most of the community.

Khao Soi Thailand

I had never heard of khao soi prior to our 2014 tour when our guide took us to a restaurant that specializes in this amazing soup (which originates from Burma). I’m sure I’ve seen it on the menu at Thai restaurants but because I didn’t know what it was, I never ordered it. Blown away. That’s what I was. Not all Thai restaurants offer it but I am in search for the best in Seattle (haven’t found it yet).

Washing Elephants Thailand

One of the most fun things we do on our Thailand and Laos tour is to spend a morning at an elephant sanctuary. This facility rescues and rehabilitates elephants that have been injured, abused or are ill. We got to learn about, wash, feed and “pet” these huge, leathery pachyderms. How awesome is that??

*****

I love Southeast Asia so much. And I feel really fortunate that I usually travel there about twice a year (well, I’m usually in and out of Bangkok that often). Even though some areas have become really touristy, that hasn’t taken away from how warm the Thai people treat visitors.

To secure your spot, click on the Register Now button on the Northern Thailand Hill Tribe Tour itinerary on the WanderTours site or send in your registration form with a check. The tour will sell out. There’s no time to hem and haw about it. Just do it :-).
Be Bold,

Beth

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GSI Glacier Stainless Vacuum Bottle ~ WanderGear Wednesday

by Beth Whitman (January 13th, 2016)

GSI Glacier Stainless BottleMy office is in the basement of our home. In the summer it’s great because it’s the coolest location in the house. But in the winter, it’s also the coldest place in the house.

When I’ve got my groove on and am super focused with my head down, working for several hours at a stretch, I’ve discovered it’s really nice not to break that flow by going aaaaaall the way upstairs to refill my teacup.

What I now do instead is fill up my GSI Glacier Stainless Bottle and tuck in to some solid work, refreshing my hot tea without having to get up and go aaaaaall the way upstairs. (Don’t worry, I do get up to stretch on a regular basis.)

Maybe you’ve got a warmer work space than I do. In that case, this bottle will serve you well if you’ve got plans that require a warm beverage.

Skiing? Hiking? Camping? Taking a road trip to the mountains? Headed to the Superbowl?

Whatever it is that you’re up to, temps in most of North America have been pretty cold. You need something or other to keep you warm!

Whether it’s hot chocolate, coffee or perhaps soup, the GSI Glacier Stainless Vacuum Bottle is an excellent go-to carrier for your beverages.

GSI Stainless Bottle Lid off

This is the lid askew to show how far down it screws into the bottle to prevent spillage.

The most outstanding feature of this bottle is that the lid screws in super tight so you won’t have to worry about spillage. If you’re driving with it in the car, for example, you can toss it onto a seat without worrying about the contents leaking out.
GSI Stainless Bottle Top

The top, as with most thermoses, doubles as a cup. Of course I don’t actually use it in my office like this, but this is what it would look like if I did. :-)

It’s also got a no-slip bottom so it won’t scooch off your desk if that’s where you happen to be using it.

When I return to Bhutan this fall to do the Snowman Trek, I’m seriously considering making room for this. I’d LOVE to be able to arrive at a freezing cold pass (think: 18,000 feet) and break this out for some warmth (especially if it’s liquid chocolate!).

You can buy the GSI Stainless Vacuum Bottle on the GSI website for about $35 or at your favorite outdoor store. It comes in five colors including red, green, blue, white-ish and orange-ish.

Be Bold,

Beth

Want to stay up-to-date on all things Wanderlust? Follow me on Facebook, Instagram or RSS/email.

Disclosure: GSI provided this bottle for me to review. Regardless, everything I have said in the post reflects my honest opinions.

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

by Beth Whitman (January 11th, 2016)

Lao Tzu Quote

Updated: I wrote this post and the title before the news broke about David Bowie. He will surely continue to have influence over all aspects of our culture.

__________

Last week, I let our fabulous WanderBloggers know that the Wanderlust and Lipstick site would be going through a pretty radical design change in the coming months. As part of those changes, I would no longer be publishing the blogs on the site.

This makes me very sad. But ultimately I believe it’s the right thing to do.

So, how did I come to this decision?

It started with the need to update the website design because we were experiencing slow load times and site-wide crashes. I was told by both my web mistress (the lovely and talented Cathy from WP Barista) and my hosting service that the use of old plugins and an outdated design were the primary causes of the site’s issues.

When I started thinking about the redesign, I also started thinking about the direction of the site.

First and foremost, I’ve always wanted Wanderlust and Lipstick to be a place where women Oh the Places you'll gocould find inspirational and motivational information about travel. I think the site (and the WaL books) have been able to achieve this to a certain degree. But I think that in my desire to grow the site with a lot of contributors, my personal messaging has gotten watered down.

For sure, all of our bloggers and contributors (including writers for both Tips and Tales) have been instrumental in growing our audience and building an amazing community of Wanderlusters. But I feel like my voice has been lost. I’ve been told it’s difficult to find my writing on the site and that readers aren’t quite sure what our message is. On top of all that, a lot of my time is spent managing the site resulting in me not having the time keep up with my blog the way I would like (causing more lost voice).

With this new year, comes the new design and a more focused website!

While our bloggers had a mix of emotions (shock, sadness, relief, angst, nervous, enthusiasm, gratefulness), there has been an outpouring of support for me and the change. I wasn’t happy about being the bearer of such news. But I’ve appreciated the support from this amazing group of writers. Many have and will go on to do other awesome things with their own blogs/websites/writing. I know they’ll do fantastic things as they leave the nest.

Ultimately, it’s time for us all to move on and Be Bold.

As I mentioned in my 2016 Year Ahead post, I have many new projects in the works this year. You can expect to hear more about a Kickstarter campaign this spring as well as a new book (focused on Be Bold) that’s already in the works. Personally, I’m excited to write more, speak at more events, work on the book and just generally have the time and space to get my message out to a larger audience.

I hope you’ll join me in making this a year to Be Bold!

Beth

Want to stay up-to-date on all things Wanderlust? Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or RSS/email.

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Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card ~ Take Our Survey!

by Beth Whitman (January 7th, 2016)

Survey SaysAs you may have read in my post about 2016, changes are on their way this year!

In the coming months, this website will undergo a pretty major redesign.

I’m currently working with both my web designer and web mistress on these changes. In the meantime, I’d love to get your feedback on the current site: what you like, what you don’t like so much :-)

Please take a moment to fill out this very brief questionnaire so that we can best provide you with the information you’re looking for on this website.

To, uh, bribe you into spending a few minutes to provide your input, we’re giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card to one random winner who fills out the survey (and includes their email address so we may contact you). The survey closes at 11:59 p.m. PST on January 31, 2016 and a winner will be chosen on February 1, 2016.

Here’s the link to take the survey.

Thank you in advance for your valuable input!

Be Bold,

Beth

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2016 ~ Looking Ahead

by Beth Whitman (January 6th, 2016)

Napa Balloon RideI do love this time of year. Fresh start. Clean slate. A world (literally) of possibilities.

As I mentioned in my 2015 Year in Review, I’m off to a slightly slow start in terms of my planning this year. I usually have time just before Christmas and then through the days shortly after New Year’s for some serious thinking time about how the upcoming year is going to look.

This year I was traveling for much of December (Honolulu, Kauai, New Jersey, Cleveland) and didn’t return home until the 28th. Before I knew it, it was January. And here we are!

When this time of year rolls around, I can feel and visualize the…hmmm…what to call it. The white space? The creative space? It’s the time when my inbox isn’t overflowing and I don’t feel the pressure to respond to messages which now come in emails, texts, phone calls, Viber and Facebook.

Not that I don’t appreciate these messages from family, friends and business associates. But the break from the bombardment while people are in holiday mode is priceless. It allows for some downtime. That white space.

What do I do? I read. I meditate. I make lists. I organize. I clean.

One thing I’ve noticed over the past couple of years, however, is that this time for white space has gotten shorter and shorter. It seems like I used to have a couple of weeks for this reflection. Now I’m lucky if I have a day or two. I’m talking about the amount of time without emails that need to be answered quickly. It’s not because I’m all important and stuff now. It’s just that people are always connected. We’re always connected. So our down time has all but disappeared.

Have you noticed this?

In any case, I have been making my way through a couple of books that I think will help me create more white space, focus and just be a better person in general. These are:

  • The Tools: 5 Tools to Help You Find Courage, Creativity and Willpower by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels – Believe it or not, I learned about this book on Goop (yes, Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog). I was intrigued by the idea of having a set of go-to tools as a resource for finding inspiration and focus. While the book doesn’t present a lot of new ideas, it does package them in such a way that makes problem solving seem rather accessible.
  • The Inner Gym: A 30-Day Workout for Strengthening Happiness by Light Watkins – I regularly meditate already and that is what much of this book is about. But it does go a couple of steps further by reminding us to be grateful and compassionate on a daily basis. There are “exercises” outlined for this 30-day program. It’s an easy/quick read and a really good starting point for anyone wanting to start a meditation habit.
  • How Not to Die by Michael Greger, M.D. – I’ve only just begun reading this book but I’ve listened to interviews with the author and he’s got some pretty powerful messaging around how we can stop the common causes of death by making changes to our diet. Imagine reversing heart disease, diabetes and cancer by eater better? Radical 😉

So…armed with information and inspiration, I’m ready for a kick-ass 2016. Here are a just a few things that I (and you!) can look forward to this year:

Survey SaysNEW IN 2016
.

  • A completely new design and a new direction for this website. I’m still working out the details but I do know that it will be a drastic change from what you’ve seen here since we launched in late 2006. Take this survey to provide some feedback and direction and you could win a $50 gift card from Amazon.
  • I’m starting work on a new book. It will likely be more of a memoir than anything else I’ve written and will be based on the Be Bold theme. See, I’m being bold with this one :-)
  • Coupled with the new book will be a Kickstarter campaign. This will include discounted pricing for book orders as well as some pretty cool perks. Right now I’m thinking product discounts from some of your favorite gear companies, discounted opportunities to travel with me on a WanderTour and the ability to book me for speaking gigs!

TRAVELS
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In February, Jon and I are headed to Japan. Mainly just to travel and see the country because it’s long been on our wish list. But the driving factor for the timing is that I’m running the Tokyo Marathon on February 28!

April will likely take me to Ireland and Scotland. I’ve had a lot of requests to run a tour there so am going to do some research for that tour. I’ve never been so it’ll be quite an adventure (especially if I can find another marathon to run while there!).

WanderTours LogoThen I have a string of tours that I’ll be leading including the New Orleans Culinary Tour in May, the Santa Fe Culinary Tour in early June and the Seattle Culinary Tour in late June. I’m off to Papua New Guinea in August and and then doing the Snowman Trek in Bhutan again in September/October.

There are always other surprise trips that pop up here and there so we’ll have to see what else unfolds for the year! If you want to stay updated, friend me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram. I’m most active on those two social platforms. (Pssst, part of my 2016 plan is to be done with Twitter.)

DIET AND EXERCISE
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I don’t start and stop diet and exercise programs. Instead, these are important components of my lifestyle that I pay close attention to. My sister-in-law, Lynn, says I have a lot of willpower. But I think that when you’re armed with knowledge about how both diet and exercise affect your health, well-being and headspace, you can’t ignore them. And I feel like this is a topic that’s getting a lot of attention lately so YAY for that! More info = more healthy people. I plan to be part of that movement with the new design/direction of the website.

So, in 2016, I will simply continue with my mostly plant-based/vegan way of eating. I’ll continue running and training (for both the Tokyo Marathon and for the Snowman Trek). I’ll do P90X workouts and yoga on my non-running days. And I’ll continue to educate myself on how I can continue to improve in both of these areas.

*****

My most immediate goal is to figure out how I can recreate the feeling of that white space that has slipped out of my grasp. I think more contemplative time is in order. Less iPhone. Less social media. More staring out the window.

What’s your plan to Be Bold in 2016?

Be Bold,

Beth

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2015 Year in Review

by Beth Whitman (January 4th, 2016)

Instagram Best 9I’m a bit late this year on my New Year’s Resolutions and my look back at 2015.

For a quick overview, this is my Instagram best 9 <<. If you’re on Instagram, you can follow me at Wandergal.

I blame my tardiness on the fact that I was traveling for most of December. And while I definitely had some downtime–like sitting poolside at the Grand Hyatt Kauai–it was difficult making that poolside time reflective. After all, when I was sitting in 80 degree sunshine watching the palm trees sway, it didn’t exactly feel like the end of the year or like it was time to look back at what I accomplished in 2015.

Instead, I discovered how easy it was to conduct business poolside. With my iPhone as my computer, I answered emails and worked on docs in Google Drive and Dropbox.

The realization that I could get so much done while sunbathing had Jon and I seriously contemplating a move to Hawaii. (See my Facebook post with that lively discussion.)

Ultimately, we decided we’d move forward with our house remodel and Hawaii would have to wait. But hopefully not for long!

All this is to say that I’ve given myself a grace period in terms of catching up on resolutions and planning for 2016. While I will technically be working this week (there’s plenty on my to-do list to keep me busy), I’m going to take some extra time to finish up my yearly planning and resolution making.

But, before the planning, I wanted to look back at 2015:

Travel

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It goes without saying that my year was filled with fantastical travels. This included trips to Chicago, Salt Lake City, Cabo, San Francisco, Portland, Maui, New Orleans, Santa Fe, London, Papua New Guinea, Java and Bali, Napa, Honolulu, Kauai, New Jersey and Cleveland.

Most of these trips I knew about at the start of the year. Others were a bit more impromptu. All were awesome. And I just received Platinum status on Delta as a result of all the travel. Whoo hoo!

Business

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I think I find myself in the company of a lot of people whose businesses have done well in the past couple of years as the economy has made a bit of a comeback. As a result, I came to the conclusion in 2015 that I didn’t have to say yes to every project that came my way. This is a theme I’ve heard from many people. Truthfully, I feel fortunate to be in this position.

As you know, I run a couple of businesses–specifically, overseeing both Wanderlust and Lipstick and WanderTours. In addition, I started the WanderWorld Foundation (website launching soon!).

I’ve always been a firm believer in multiple streams of income so that if one was affected (by a down economy, for example), hopefully the others would pick up the slack. I do still believe that. But with one additional caveat. You gotta make sure you’re heart is in each of those streams.

When you say yes to something because you’re lured in by the money or you feel guilty saying no, you’ll pay for it in other ways. I realized I had several projects on my plate that became weights holding me back from doing things that would allow me to soar. In some cases because they were too time consuming. In other cases because the relationships were toxic.

I’ve shed a couple of those projects and will be making more changes in 2016 that will get me and my passions back on track. Details coming soon but just suffice it to say that I’m very excited about the year ahead!

Health

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I think it’s fair to say that I’ve never been healthier. I trained for most of the year and then ran the Honolulu Marathon on December 13. I also got really hooked on the Rich Roll Podcast. Rich hosts guests each week in which they discuss a variety of topics including health, fitness, nutrition, entrepreneurship and spirituality. I never cease to learn at least one brilliant thing Wonder Womanfrom his podcasts.

Not only has this podcast inspired me to believe I can do most anything in terms of my fitness, it’s also caused me to re-examine my eating habits. I now eat mostly plant-based/vegan. Yes, I’ve been vegetarian for ages. But now, with the exception of a few indulgences here and there (pizza in New Jersey, for example), I’ve cut out dairy, cheese and eggs.

I think becoming a mostly plant-based eater has helped me become a much better athlete, but you don’t have to be athletic to reap the rewards of a healthier diet!

Life lessons

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I lost a couple of friends this year. Well, they’re still here on the planet, but they are no longer my friends. In looking back, frankly, I’m not sure they ever were.

I won’t rehash the details but, in short, it had to do with a lie and then a disappearance. Or a dismissal. In other words, I’m not sure they disappeared or I was dismissed. The result was the same. I have no contact with them.

This hurt my heart. These were people I considered friends. And I’m scratching my head as to how I could have been so wrong about people whom I knew well enough to invite into my home for celebrations and parties.

There’s always something to be learned from even painful experiences. In this case, it’s made me very aware of how I treat others. I hope I can always maintain enough maturity to never hurt friends (or even foes) in this way. So, thank you, former friends, for that life lesson.

I did experience another kind of pain in late 2015. The death of a colleague.

Though I didn’t know him well, Keli’i Brown, the Director of Public Relations and Promotions of the Maui Visitors & Convention Bureau, passed away just before Christmas. I had spent some time with Keli’i when I was on Maui early in 2015. I had also met him several times when he visited Seattle with his team. Keli’i always had a big smile on this face and was always laughing, singing and trying to make other people feel good.

His death really bummed me out. I haven’t been able to understand how someone who brought so much joy to people could just be gone. And way too soon.

Keli’i was a huge presence in Hawaii and will be greatly missed. For those who knew Keli’i far better than I, my heart goes out to you.

_____

Overall, it was a great year. But in retrospect, I have to admit that I probably allowed others to have control over some things in my life (projects, scheduling, travel, etc.) that I should have been more on top of. Sometimes we get into a groove and forget to question things. Or we take our foot off the gas because things are going so well.

In 2016, I look forward to being in the driver’s seat with the pedal to the metal :-)

Be Bold,

Beth

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Completing the Honolulu Marathon

by Beth Whitman (December 22nd, 2015)

Beth Whitman Carmyn HonoluluYeup. I made it!

My friend, Carmyn, also ran the race and (YAY!) she also finished–not too far behind me. :-)

My time: 4:38:55

That’s in the top 10% of all the runners!

A personal record for me. HA HA. My first marathon, so of course it was a PR.

I don’t think it’s bragging to say I knew I would complete it. I mean, you have to go into something like this with complete confidence, don’t you? That’s how I knew I would make it through the 25-day Snowman Trek last year. A bit of doubt and your sunk (IMHO).

So, what was it like?
..

Well, I have to say I felt pretty well-prepared for the 26.2 miles. I had already run 22 miles during one of my training runs and had also run a number of 16-milers, an 18 and a 20. Not to mention all the interval training which prepared my heart for bursts of faster paces, ultimately helping me to run faster over time and distance (much faster than I could have even six months ago).

My biggest concern going into the Honolulu Marathon was the heat. Training in Seattle in November and early December meant rain. Lots of rain. And temps in the mid-30’s. Though the Honolulu Marathon started at 5 a.m., even then the temps were already in the low 60’s. By the time I completed the race around 9:45 a.m., it was probably in the low 80’s.

According to people I had spoken with who had done the Honolulu Marathon previously, they said this one was really difficult because of the heat and humidity. I looked up the 2014 results and found that about 900 more people had run faster than I did last year than this year. So it makes sense that the heat was what slowed people down so much (last year it rained).

Honestly the heat wasn’t as bad as I had expected. I drank lots of water (maybe even too much as I felt a bit of stomach cramping in the last five or so miles) and took electrolytes Beth Whitman Honolulu Marathonthroughout the race. I fueled with Gu gels, one serving (100 calories, lots of carbs and sugars) every three miles. And I used the water at the aid stations to cool my neck, arms and head.

While I would have LOVED to clock under four hours and 30 minutes, ultimately I don’t think it was the heat that slowed me down. I think the main thing that prevented me from a faster race time was a super long hill toward the end that I wasn’t mentally prepared for.

What would I change?

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Carmyn and I had the foresight to drive the course three days before the marathon. This allowed us to get familiar with the twists and turns. And the hills. There was one hill in particular that concerned us. So we ran it two days prior to the race so it wouldn’t be so intimidating on race day.

I was so focused on this one hill, that I totally missed the fact that between miles 17.5 and 22, I would be staring at a steady uphill climb on a long straightaway.

On race day, I had been running at a pretty steady rate until about mile 17.5. But as I started up the hill, the hill that I swear wasn’t there when we did our pre-race drive, I began to realize that what I thought was just a long steady stretch was a long steady stretch uphill.

In looking back, the only thing I would do differently would be to drive that road a couple of times and maybe even run it uphill at least once. That would have made it a lot less intimidating. It would have allowed me to take some mental notes on where certain markers were along the road (the big blue house, the gated community, etc.) and have a better handle on how long this stretch was.

It’s really amazing how much your head has to do with your success (in running, but also in life) and if you’re better prepared for what’s ahead of you, you’re more likely to succeed.

Jon on BikeSupport crew
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Sure, I trained and ran the marathon on my own. But I had a tremendous amount of support from my one-man support crew, Jon.

He has been there for me throughout my training this year. He picked me up at the end of my long runs. He rubbed my feet and calves when I got home from those long runs (and a lot of my short runs, too!). And, he waited for me to finish those long runs on Sundays so we could go out to brunch together (probably the most heroic gesture of all!).

These might seem like minor things but they are a huge deal to me. When you have someone cheering for you from the sidelines before there’s even a sideline to cheer from, you know you’re in good hands.

Jon had the most fun, however, when he crewed for me and Carmyn during the actual marathon. He rented a folding bicycle, tracked us using the Honolulu Marathon app and raced to catch up with us to deliver ice cold water along the route. He also held up signs to encourage us to keep going.

But Jon wasn’t the only one on the sidelines.

Many of you have been following along on Facebook during my training. THANK YOU! I was truly humbled by all the well wishes before and after the marathon. And believe me, I thought of all those comments during those last miles when I started to question what I was doing. I knew there were a lot of people rooting for me and that I better finish because you were all watching!

Lastly, I should mention that there were people lined up on the actual sidelines of the marathon route. The people of Honolulu came out in full force to share their Aloha spirit. They sprayed water on us with the hoses from their homes. They cheered, banged drums, played music and, toward the end, handed out band-aids, bananas and Starburst candies (Note so self: bring Starbursts on your next marathon!). They wished us well and told us when we were two miles, one mile, a half mile from the finish. Thank you Honolulu! I might have been able Diamond Headto do it without you, but you sure made it a lot more fun.

Where to Stay

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We rented my friend’s lovely AirBnB house with an amazing view of Diamond Head in Honolulu. It was really nice to be away from the downtown area but it was still a pretty quick ride when we wanted to get to Waikiki, Diamond Head or downtown. If you’re looking for a place in the city, let me know and I can send you the details because you, too, should stay there. (LOOK >> that’s the view you could have!)

What next?

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On to Tokyo. I’m running the marathon on February 28. :-)

Stay tuned as I continue my training, figure out how Jon is going to rent a folding bike there, and make sure that I drive the course multiple times as I look for all the twists, turns and hills!

Be Bold,

Beth

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Training for the Honolulu Marathon

by Beth Whitman (December 11th, 2015)

Beth Whitman Honolulu MarathonI’ve been training for the Honolulu Marathon for about eight months now and the time has come to finally run this baby! The race is on December 13. Two days from now.

I know some of you have been following my training runs and races via Facebook. But if you haven’t seen my updates there (why not? please friend me if we aren’t already), here’s a bit of a rundown on how I’ve trained for the past eight months or so after I made the decision to run a marathon.

First thing’s first

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I hired a running coach. I’m sure I could have prepared for the race without someone providing me with a weekly running schedule and suggested paces, but the truth is that Coach Michele did much more than that for me. In her quiet way, she held me accountable for my runs and guided me through the times I shouldn’t run because I was injured or tired. She set my weekly running mileage, my paces and through track workouts and tempo runs, has me running faster and farther than I would have had I not had her gentle hand pushing me.

Immersion

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As most of you know already, when I make a decision to do something, I go all in. I figure go big or go home. So training for a marathon wasn’t just about the running for me.

I now subscribe to running magazines (Runner’s World and Running Times), read books about nutrition for runners, listen to podcasts (mainly, Rich Roll) about optimizing my body and mind and talk to lots of other runners and athletes who are on the same wavelength as myself.

While I think my actual running was important to getting to this point, learning about running Honolulu Marathon Logoand tuning into my body before, during and after runs was equally as important. By doing so, it allowed me to understand what was working for me. This included consuming recovery drinks post-run, eating Gu gels every 30 minutes during a long run and making sure I am hydrated enough throughout a run, no matter the distance.

I also learned what didn’t work. This included running the following day after a long run (I needed that time to recover) and doing a P90X legs workout the same day I had a difficult track workout scheduled.

I took notes, mentally and literally, and tried to do more of what worked and less of what didn’t. For anyone who is thinking, “Duh, of course you should do that!” This strategy is easier said than done. Just think of all the times you started and abandoned a diet – LOL.

All the right stuff

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You don’t need fancy gear to be a runner. But I discovered that treating myself to some fun new running tops and accessories (such as a running belt for water bottles and loading up my iPod with some awesome music) made the medicine go down a bit easier. :-)

I also played around a bit with finding the right running shoes. I started out with Vibram Five Fingers, which I really did/do love for shorter runs. But when I got into doing longer runs, I found that my feet were getting tired. I then moved over to Pearl Izumi’s and have stuck with them ever since. These are zero-drop/neutral shoes which are pretty much the next step up from the barefoot/five finger shoes which seem to have fallen out of favor for many people. I have to say that I am intrigued by Luna Sandals created by Seattleite, Barefoot Ted. I will get to his store at some point to try these on and check them out. Perhaps for my shorter runs.

As far as what goes into my ears during a run, I usually listen to podcasts on shorter runs, either Rich Roll or Marc Maron’s WTF podcast. I know a lot of people run without listening to anything and say that ideas come to them during these quiet moments. For me, I always glean insight from these two podcasters which spurs on my own creativity.

For long runs, I must listen to music. I’m a big music nut and love to dance so listening to fast-paced tunes during a run just makes me feel like I’m dancing. (I’ll share my playlist post-race.)

Recovering from runs

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Earlier this year, I was running into all sorts of issues including ITB Syndrome, plantar fasciitis and and some MCL pain. I won’t go into the details of what these are but suffice it to say that at some point, I thought these were going to sideline me from running. Not only the Honolulu Marathon but running in general.

I managed to get through these issues with some aspirin and rest and am happy to say that I haven’t felt any aches or pains in the past six weeks or so.

But I should note that I started doing a number of things that I think helped limber me up and aid in recovering from these issues. Now, before I head out on a run, I do some PT exercises that help strengthen my glutes. I also foam roll my IT band (the exterior of my upper legs), my thighs and my calves. I also do yoga about once a week to help loosen things up.

Oh, and I regularly get massages. At first it was every other week but now I’m down to once a month.

A friend (thank you, Jan!) also introduced me to the MELT Method balls which I use for my feet and which, I swear did away with my plantar fasciitis.

After my runs, I drink a recovery drink to help replenish my body with needed carbs and protein. Specifically, I drink a shake that includes almond milk, a half of a banana, strawberries, protein powder, spinach, maca powder, turmeric, cinnamon and, sometimes, a dash of cloves.

After a long run, while drinking my shake, I put my feet up and put ice on my knees to help keep the inflammation down.

There were a few times when my knees were sore enough that I needed to take some aspirin during or after a run, but in the more recent months that hasn’t been an issue (I attribute my lack of pain to the foam rolling and massages).

The reality of running

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While I admit that I put a more money into my running habit this year than I anticipated I would, it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s possible to prepare yourself for a marathon by reading books and websites and following one of the many formulas out there for weekly mileage.

Massages are not a requirement but helpful. My insurance does not cover massages so I joined a membership club in my neighborhood where I pay a monthly fee of $60 which gets me one massage and additional massages (for both me and Jon) at $50/each).

No runner should be without a foam roller. This is the singular item that really saved my legs, feet and knees this year.

As for the clothes? I have found some great deals for items on sale in stores and find that consignment shops can be a great place for tops and shorts.

It takes a village

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Despite his slight jealousy that I can run and he can’t due to some bad knees, I would not be as avid about this sport without Jon’s support. He wishes me well when I walk out the door, he picks me up at the end of a long run (and I buy him coffee!) and rubs my feet and legs when Beth Whitman and Carmyn HonoluluI get home. He also came to Hawaii with me (poor guy!) to crew for me here at the Honolulu Marathon.

Having his support as well as a coach and a group of runners that I train with each Tuesday night, has made this a really fun time for me.

And, I get to run this race with Carmyn who has taken several WanderTours with me and is now a dear friend. So glad you made it, Carmyn!

I can’t wait to find out what next year has in store. That is, beyond the Tokyo Marathon which I’ll be doing in February. :-)

WHOO HOO!

By the way, if you’ve made it this far in the post and it’s before December 13, you can follow me during the marathon on the Honolulu Marathon app. My bib number is: 12788.

Be Bold,

Beth

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