A big hello to everyone reading this from Montréal, Canada! I arrived last Tuesday night and have since moved into my student accommodation and spent the past week setting up our house and preparing for uni to start in a few short days. Thus far I am absolutely loving Montréal and practicing (to a small extent) my French conversational skills. It's been a pretty go-go-go past few days, so I am currently enjoying a little midday siesta to chill out in my room and write this WILW post for you. If my conversions are right, those of you in Australia should be arriving in your inbox nice and early on Wednesday morning! And thanks to Peta for the reminder that it was my turn to write this week. As always, I hope this finds you in good spirits and cruising through whatever day it is in your part of the world.


Reading:The Bulletproof Diet

I downloaded this book on my Kindle the other day, but since I am still finishing off another book I am yet to start reading this one. The Bulletproof Diet is something I've read and heard bits and pieces about, but I've always wanted to know more about the philosophy behind it. It is most famous for the recipe for Bulletproof coffee, which includes grass-fed ghee and a special kind of coconut oil called 'Brain Octane', that is supposed to enhance concentration and prolong a steady, caffeine-driven high in energy. My Dad has made me a few of these when I've been home and it is certainly the only coffee I've ever had that has genuinely had positive effects for me mentally (usually I just feel gross and crash really badly).

Listening to:'Summer Vibes' playlist

Despite my blossoming interest in music and my slow but steady journey to finding my own taste, I still rely heavily on my good friends Tyler and Gabe to hook me up with sweet tunes. These songs were the sounds to which I farewelled Melbourne last Monday night. Ever since I've been streaming the playlist to inspire me during my workouts and/or yoga practice.

P.S. Boys, you'll be glad to know my patience with ads is wearing thin and I'm mere days from growing up and getting Premium...

Watching:I Am Not Your Guru (Netflix)

I watched this a few days ago, and in doing so gave my greatly neglected Netflix account some love. The documentary follows motivational speaker extraordinaire Anthony (Tony) Robbins as he leads a group of 2,500 people through his 6-day 'Date with Destiny' program. The documentary producers also interview Tony, some of his followers and his team in order to give the viewer a 'behind the scenes' perspective and an insight into Tony's motivation, passion and drive. I have to confess that I cried three times whilst watching the doco, mostly due to the incredibly heart-wrenching nature of some of the issues that people shared in Tony's seminar, but also at Tony's almost magical ability to give his attendees exactly what they need, and lots of unconditional love. Despite the emotional roller coaster of stories shared, the documentary definitely left me feeling inspired and motivated, but most of all in awe of Tony and his amazingly unique approach and dedication to his work.

Quoting: Worrying will never change the outcome.

Upon setting up my room in my place in Montreal, this was one of the quotes I stuck up on my wall. I've had this quote with me since I was in Year 11 and it is still pertinent today. For me it is a simple reminder that there are some things in life that we simply have no control over, and as such expending energy worrying about those things is wasteful. Naturally, having thrown myself into the deep end of an overseas exchange my anxiety levels are perhaps somewhat higher than usual, so this quote is particularly relevant at the moment. Even more so as I have witnessed a good friend who is here with me struggle because she is constantly worrying about everything and trying to control everything. Whilst I've gently tried to hint to her that perhaps that level of anxiety is not healthy nor helpful, she insists that being in control helps her to feel calm. Each to their own I guess, but I am going to stick with the approach of worrying as little as possible. Life is more fun that way.

Eating: Plane food

On my rather long journey of 33 hours to Canada, I made sure that I took plenty of healthy snacks to ensure that I didn't have to sustain myself on the somewhat gross meals that are served when you are 30,000 feet above ground. For me, staying healthy and hydrated whilst travelling is undoubtedly essential and definitely helps to make the whole physically demanding task of international travel just that little bit more bearable. So I took with me a trail mix of activated nuts and goji berries, some natural snack bars (Emma & Toms), and lots of tea bags so that I could just ask for hot water. I was also delighted to receive some good fresh fruit on our flights, and whilst in JFK I had a desperate makeshift dinner of natural yogurt, GF granola and a banana.

I also found a cool fermented coconut water drink and 100% iced green tea in JFK.
I also found a cool fermented coconut water drink and 100% iced green tea in JFK.

Pondering: first impressions and judgements

Just before leaving Melbourne I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know a guy, who at first sight, would appear to be nothing like me. He is covered in tattoos, piercings, has a long beard, wears dark, gothic clothes and definitely parties harder than I do. The judgemental side in me would have seen him on the street and assumed we would never be friends. However, due to a fortunate series of events, I got to spend half a day hanging out and getting to know this guy, and it was AWESOME. We had several genuinely interesting and deep conversations, the kind that just completely skip over the small talk. We shared, compared and contemplated our similarities and differences. At the end of it all I was struck by the fact that if I had trusted my first impression, or my judgements, I would never have had this wonderful experience with this down-to-earth, friendly and generous human being. And how sad that would have been.

The age-old adage says not to judge a book by its cover, and for me this was a very realisitic reminder of this reality. After all, we are all humans. Let's focus on the beauty of connection rather than trying to group, separate and isolate ourselves from one another.

Moving: at the gym

One of the coolest things about McGill University that I've discovered so far is the student gym. It is amazingly affordable and so I've committed myself to a semester-long membership. Since arriving I've been four days in a row and despite thinking that I would never be a gym person, I've actually really be enjoying it! Although admittedly I am still an amateur, I've been loving the rowing machine for its combo of full-body strength, endurance and cardiovascular fitness. What's more I've been feeling incredibly energetic and vibrant, despite dealing with jet lag, a general lack of heat and very long and active days.

Aiming to: immerse myself

As some of you may be aware, I am undertaking an exchange to McGill University in Montréal this semester. Today marks the first day of O-Week, with classes beginning this Friday. From the moment I touched down in Canada I've been challenging myself to really put myself out there and meet as many people as I can (not always an easy task for an introvert). I've signed up for a "Frosh" camp, which means this weekend I will be embarking on a 3-day cycling adventure in the wilderness around Montréal, for which I am very excited! Although it is all a bit overwhelming, I am confident that I have done a reasonable job at immersing myself in the campus life here, certainly more so than I've ever done in Melbourne.

A pic of me on campus... I'm somewhere in the 0!
A pic of me on campus... I'm somewhere in the 0!

Whether it be immersing yourself into a new community, or anything else, I truly believe that having conscious intentions and challenging yourself is crucial for progress and evolution. Without progress and challenges, we become stagnant and I don't know anyone who likes feeling like they aren't going anywhere. So I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone, in some way or another. It is beyond that zone that the beautiful moments in life are created.

The view from the top of Mont-Royal, Montreal.
The view from the top of Mont-Royal, Montreal.

Grateful for: abundant love 

If there is one thing that leaving for exchange has already taught me, it is that I am really loved. Before my departure I had so many people wishing me a safe and enjoyable journey, I had a surprise farewell dinner thrown for me, I was given several incredibly thoughtful and beautiful gifts and letters. I got the pleasure of hanging out and saying goodbye to almost all of my favourite people in the world. I boarded my plane in Melbourne with a heart truly bursting with love, wondering what I did to deserve all this love.

But I believe that everything in our life is a reflection of ourselves, and that no one is "lucky' but that we deserve all the good that we have in our lives. So I am constantly reminding myself that I am worthy of this love, but I am so incredibly grateful for all the amazing people in my life who love me.

If you are reading this, don't ever forget I LOVE YOU, too.

Love Erica x