International Love For Your Traveling Heart

Do you love traveling abroad? It's hard for me not to fall in love with new places. There is something spectacular about exploring, seeing things for the first time and feeling captivated by the unfamiliar. If you ever happen to fall in love with more than just the place, like perhaps someone from another part of the world, it's a pretty good idea to familiarize yourself with their cultural upbringing. Although this may not pertain to you, may I inspire you to read on anyway?

Yoga Instructor Andrea Bogart shares time with Erik Almas traveling around Norway, blogger for Inspirational Addict. 
Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime
— Mark Twain

After living in Japan in 1999-2000 I increasingly became curious about how to absorb more as I ventured through various parts of the world. Typically you snag your Travel Guide Books, head to Pinterest for how to pack, download your Duolingo and boom you're on your way. You never know when an opportunity may rise for adventure or you become goo-goo eyed and end up sharing your life with someone from a country you’ve never been to and know very little about. How fun is that... and slightly intimidating. 

This is my third winter bundling up and heading to my mans home town of Trondheim, Norway where the night falls nineteen hours of the day during this time of year. For three hundred delicate minutes the sun dances on the rooftops in this storybook town and we hurry out to frolic like school kids at recess in the crisp, fresh air. It reminds me of the perfect scene that once upon a time, only sat beneath my grandmas Christmas tree with little colorful houses and towns people arranged flawlessly amongst the marshmallow puffs of snow. Twinkling lights glimmer from everyone's homes as if stars laid upon the peaks and valleys of the city. The winter wonderland we sing popular holiday carols about... well it truly exists. My bare eyes can hardly believe I get to visit here for the rest of my life. 

After twenty seven hours of travel, four flights and one rock-star five-month-old baby we are welcomed with open arms and brought into Eriks families home who’s bustling with holiday cheer– it's so koselig (cozy). The first two years I did the travel on my own and I wasn't sure what to expect. He sent me this video to prepare me for my arrival. I was nervous after watching it, to put it politely.

Americans try traditional Norwegian Christmas dishes.

Needless to say Erik's family has never made me try anything too crazy and we always have exceptional organic home cooked meals. It's a special part of being in Norway with them for sure. I was also gifted “The Social Guidebook to Norway” that has been quite helpful in my understanding of some differences between American and Norwegian expressions. 

I’ve found this language even more challenging to try to learn than what little Japanese i picked up, so there’s been some resistance. While I often still sit quietly at the table, yet intently watching everyone's mouths as Norwegian dialogue flies rapidly from mouth to mouth and laughter often bursts from a story just told, I wonder, how will I ever learn this?  I’m guilty of not putting enough effort into it yet and shame on me for that... I’m about to marry this man! I do plan to learn with our babygirl and get back to my Duolingo practice so I can at least say a few of my wedding vowels in Norwegian, wish me luck! 

The amount of time you're traveling in a place will often dictate how much you immerse yourself in the culture. No matter how brief or long your stay may be... here are a few very simple tips of mine. 

Find a Gallery

While you peruse a bit ask the employees for their favorite coffee shop or where the best place is to get an organic meal. Gallery peeps are in the know. They will send you to the most superb spots. 

Be Active

I often take a yoga class in whatever city I'm visiting. If not that... rent a bike, go for a walk or run. I love to just feel like a local and doing any of these activities will put you there and familiarize you with the area you're staying. 

Get a Little Lost

I love knowing where I'm headed but being able to wander around without relying on my google maps guiding me every step of the way is kinda great sometimes! Don't be afraid to get turned around and head the opposite way you meant to. Ask around to find your way again and explore the places you stumble upon. (Choose wisely when to do this, don't get yourself in a pickle)

If you're anything like me you can always prepare before you go... research on-line, look at pictures, seek out the cities top 10 things to do and so on. Just make room for some spontaneity and excitement to ensue so you can come home with little gems. Moments that took you by surprise. 

Personal_Norway_Christmas2015__MG_3018.jpg

I hope to keep traveling the world and bringing you guys with me. I love hearing from you and by all means share some of your favorite places you've been with me. Hope you are rocking 2018 so far and thank you for stopping by. 

XOXO ANDREA

 

 

My Younger Self Would Have Greatly Benefited From Mindfulness, How About Your's?

Is there an activity in your life today you would have greatly benefited from in your adolescences? What are some of the most essential things you'd share with your younger self in today's world?

For me that is answer is YES. Especially now that I'm a mom, it's got me thinking about my youth and how I can raise this little person to be a strong, compassionate and loving human.  A desire commonly shared in parenting, I have no doubt.  

If I knew how much yoga and meditation would have impacted my life for the better, you bet I would I have grabbed on to the practices sooner. I didn't get committed to either until my 30's. I was incredibly dedicated to being a dancer and tumbler as a young girl. With that came discipline, hard work, developing a passion, busy schedules, tons of joy... and let's not leave out anxiety, nervousness, failure and thoughts about never being good enough. Although these things help shape us at a young age, isn't it equally important to learn how to cope, manage and understand the more difficult emotions we encounter? It would be incredible to see more effort focused on acquiring self-help tools and practices and less on dramatic labels and prescriptions in my book. There is so much going on in the world today. We are more and more inundated with information coming at us, sharing our lives in a fantastical social-media manner, stripped of the simple things and horrified by devastation time and time again. Mindful practices continue to bring me back to gratitude and compassion and that always provides a shift into something great. 

While I am thankful for great parents who did a tremendous job guiding me, not everyone grows up with such direction and support. And even if you do, sometimes outside sources, pressures and the circles you fall into can have a negative impact. I know yoga and meditation would have only strengthen my mind, body and spirit connection, complimenting my active and competitive lifestyle all through my youth. We only have so much time for our extra circular activities outside school when we are younger, which is why I find it inspiring to see more and more school systems implementing yoga into their curriculum. It's truly more than just a physical practice when guided by skilled, trained, passionate instructors. Children are beginning to learn yoga and mindful practices in pre-school now. Some schools are using meditation during detention and evolving the mindset of troubled kids. Not to mention companies like Google, Apple, Time Warner, YAHOO and AOL offering meditation and wellness programs on-site for employees. How amazing is that? If we are continuously seeing the scientific benefits of mediation, yoga and mindful practices significantly making a difference in the work place, I sure hope we unite as a society and encourage more of this for our youth. The same goes for nutrition, but that's another blog. 

I share my enthusiasm for these things because of the exponential growth and transformation I've experienced from consistently practicing them for years. I am a mom now, I have a responsibility and desire to be a great one who's full of vitality. Helping our baby-girl see how important wellness is; mind, body and spirit is a gift I simply want to pay forward and educate her with early on. I believe that proper nutrition, the power in breath work, regular stretching and being able to sit with ourselves quietly, are a key elements that will encourage awareness of our health, continuous growth and expansion with-in. I'm excited to be a part of a wellness shift I feel happening in the U.S. and pray we as individuals care enough about our wellbeing and that of our families, we learn as much as we can so we can make wise choices.

Sonoma Mom Inspirational Addict Blogger and wellness influencer Andrea Bogart with Daughter and Erik Almas Photography

If any of you are curious about meditation there are wonderful apps out there you can get started with. I personally love Deepak Chopra and Oprah's 21Day Meditation Experiences they offer several times a year for free. The next one, Making Every Moment Matter starts Oct. 30th if you want to join me? 

As a fun exercise, try writing a letter to your younger self sharing the lessons that have impacted you the most so far. This can be incredibly therapeutic and give you some clarity about what you really appreciate and serves you well today.

If you have great resources you love, share them with me. I'm all about creating community and helpful tips for one another! Have a beautiful week. 

XO ANDREA 

 

Inspired To Finish The Year Out Strong?

Happy Monday! Are you inspired to finish the year strong & healthy? Last call to join the 4th annual “Get My Body Back” by @TNHWomen. As one of your leaders watch for some INSPIRATION every Sunday right here, to soothe your sassy soul! 

Together, we're going to create more awareness and propel forward... MIND BODY & SPIRIT.

Photo by Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

You're ready, push through that resistance! Shout it out, write it down, share it with a friend, comment here, I'd love it... what's one thing you want to change in your life that you know you'll benefit from? 

When you get honest with yourself, accept where you are and believe in your undeniable courage & strength to grow... You WILL be a better YOU! 

You're UN-STOP-A-BULL... Yes, you see how I did that? I hope you're smiling, let's have some fun. 

Photo by Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas