Gratitude

Recently I turned 28. It’s still difficult to keep up. Seems like my brain has stopped at 26. Why is the time flying so fast? Can it slow down a little bit? There’s still so many things to do, so many places to see, so little time.

I feel like I grown as a person a lot in the past year. My life changed for the better. I mean, my life wasn’t ever bad. Going vegan has had a massive impact on my life, I’m more compassionate, I see more, I understand more. Even though the world still needs to change, we’re on the right path.

What am I grateful for? Mainly for the amazing people I’ve met. Every single one of them have had an incredible impact on my life, teaching me something that makes me a better person. I definitely miss my friends that live in different countries.

My best friends from Poland, that I met as a teenager. Even though we don’t talk very often anymore, when we meet, it’s like nothing has changed, we become those young girls again. Thank you for being there in those though teenage years! And thank you for always making time for me when I visit!

Friends that I made in Ireland and Canada will always be in my heart and I believe, we’ll be meeting again. Our paths will cross again, for sure, and we’ll be drinking crazy amounts of coffee, just like years ago!

And friends that I made here in New Zealand, some of them still live here, some of them have left the country. There’s people that I’ve only known for few months but we just clicked, became so close that distance is not a problem. We’ll catch up again, probably somewhere in a different country.

We’re getting older but our hearts are staying young.

I’m so grateful for everything that has happened to me and really try to appreciate life every day. The past was great but there’s so much more to look forward to.

I need to keep reminding myself that life is exciting and future is looking amazing.

Love,

Paula.

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How veganism changed my life

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My whole life eating meat and dairy was ‘normal’. Traditional Polish cuisine is pretty much based on animal products, which is crazy with so many amazing seasonal fruits and veges. Beautiful and juicy fruits in summer and delicious root vegetables in autumn.

Over 4 years ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and Hashimoto. Basically, my thyroid slowed down the production of hormones needed for metabolism and energy, with Hashimoto being a reason of it. Autoimmune disorder that causes an inflammation of the thyroid gland. I was always tired, not happy, gained weight. Didn’t think much of it until I had troubles breathing when stressed and, to be honest, found myself stressed all the time.

I was told that will have to be taking pills for the rest of my life and I can’t do much about it. After my own research, I found out that diet has a massive impact on treating thyroid problems (quitting gluten, some starchy vegetables etc.). Stopping eating gluten helped a lot with bloating and feeling gross. Started restrictive dieting, very low carb, a lot of exercise. Yes, I lost weight, felt a little bit better. The pills helped with mood swings, my skin got a bit better. I was only eating meat, high fat foods, thinking that rice, potatoes and fruits will make me fat again. Didn’t have much energy working late shifts.

After about 2 years of taking hormones for my thyroid and birth control pills on top of that, I decided I want to stop. I wanted to stop taking any fake hormones. I did a lot of research, read a lot and knew I could do that. I wanted to treat myself naturally. Got rid of any toxins we had at home- cleaning products, cosmetics, make up- always tried to go for the most natural, paraben free option. Until then I hadn’t realised that what we put on our skin, what we breath in has such a huge impact on our health.

 

And then, one day, I thought… If I don’t want to be putting any fake hormones into my body why am I eating meat that is pumped with hormones. Chicken breasts for example, why are they so big? Because they are pumped with hormones to grow faster! If you compare a size of a chicken now and 50 years ago, you see a huge difference. That shit is scary. The same with dairy- full of growth hormones- just so calf can grow. Not us, humans. And why would we drink different species milk? That’s just weird.ย The only animal product I ate was egg.

Until the day Liam and I watched documentary called ”What the Health?”. 1st July 2017 opened my eyes and changed my life. Became vegan the same day. Mainly for my health but now it’s more about animals and environment. There’s no suffering, cruelty or death involved when we cook.

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My hormones got better, my thyroid is happy and I’m not an emotional mess anymore.

Both, Liam and I, have been eating wholefoods plant based diet and never felt better. Now we eat more food and have lost weight at the same time, have a lot of energy too. Carbs don’t scare me anymore! They shouldn’t! If anyone tells you carbs are bad and make you fat, stop talking to them. I’m talking about real food, of course. Fruits, vegetables, rice, leafy greens, beans, any grains- these are the foods we were always meant to eat! I could easily live off fruit but love rice and sweet potato too much ๐Ÿ™‚

New Zealand is full of amazing fresh fruits and veges and farmers markets get me super excited! I got a new appreciation for vegetables I wouldn’t even try before, also cooking is so much fun.

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Spring

It’s getting warmer, thank goodness! I’m tired of waking up with a cold nose. I don’t like having cold feet neither. So yes – excited about summer approaching very quickly!

I mean, hasn’t been that bad really! I’m from Poland so I should be used to cold temperatures, where in winter can get up to -20! But living here in New Zealand for about two and half years made me dislike winters. I think it is just about being uncomfortable, I don’t like being uncomfortable.

Summer is magical here. And I’m so ready for it!

Living in a motorhome in winter wasn’t that bad really, just mornings and evenings would get a bit chilly, with temperatures dropping to about 8 degrees sometimes. But we’re lucky to be living in Tauranga, a city with the most sunshine hours in New Zealand. I can imagine summer could be very hot and possibly quite uncomfortable inside our house, but that’s all to come. Need to wait and see.

Love,

Paula

It’s been a month already!

Can’t believe it’s been a month since moving into Jagoda! Time flies by!

I, honestly, thought it would take us ages to get used to tiny living but we’re sweet! ๐Ÿ™‚

Also not paying rent is showing on our savings account- seeing the numbers go up makes us excited about the future. The quicker we save good bit of money, the quicker we’ll get our tiny house built.

We went to view one recently and we fell in love even more! It assured us that the changes we’ve made are right.

We believe that the less you have, the happier you are. And that’s what life’s about- spending quality time together, collecting memories, not things.

What have we learnt in the past month?

  • Parking in a freedom camping spot in the dark could be a challenge
  • Don’t park by the trees- they’d block the sun well needed for the solar
  • Get the house organised before gets dark
  • Laundromat isn’t that bad- you can use that time to write your blog post ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Good communicating with and understanding the other person is very helpful in a tiny space

I think we both are just very lucky having each other, we don’t get sick of one another ๐Ÿ™‚

Love,

Paula

Changing my life, Love story and a Big world

How did a Polish girl from a small town end up living at the end of the world?

If you had told me 7 years ago that I’d live in New Zealand, I would have probably laughed and think you’re crazy! But here I am- living in the most beautiful place in the world!

Let’s start from the beginning…

End of October 2012, 22 year old girl from a small Polish town decides to move to Ireland. Main reason being saving money and improving English- that’s what I’m telling everyone but the reality is… I need to escape from my reality. After two difficult relationships I need to change something. I need to change my environment, work, mind set, country, everything.

After doing Bachelors in English Philology I knew I could take the risk and move to an English speaking country. It seemed easy but it wasn’t. Maybe I could communicate reading/ writing but speaking and understanding Irish accent was a disaster at times!

People in Ireland seemed happier and more relaxed than what I was used to back at home in Poland. Got my first job, made awesome friends. And because I moved with a mind set of ‘no boys’ I couldn’t notice that one guy really liked me.

Almost missed the love of my life.

Liam was the cutest. Went on a fist date but remember thinking to myself- there was meant to be no boys, just me. So no pressure, I just went with it, seeing what life was about to bring. And brought 5 amazing years of love and adventures. Also, he recently put a ring on it ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve got a fiancรฉ! ๐Ÿ’

We both knew we didn’t want to stay in Ireland forever, so in 2015 we went to Canada for a year (working holiday visa). It was great, British Columbia is absolutely beautiful, with hot summer and snowy winter. Made many amazing friends that we still keep in touch with.

After that year we came back to Ireland, visiting also families and friends in Poland. Applying for my New Zealand visa in the meantime. I should probably mention that Liam was born in New Zealand which made our move easier. Partnership based visas are generally not that difficult to get, they just want all the documents and details of the relationship to prove that it’s a ‘stable and genuine relationship’.

And here we are, two and a half years later, enjoying life in a beautiful place called Tauranga, New Zealand.

Engaged, planning our wedding, living tiny and hopefully building our own tiny house in about a year or two.

Life’s exciting.

Love,

Paula.

How I learnt to drive again!

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I’ve had my driving licence for about 9 years! Learnt to drive back in Poland as a 18 years old girl. – Still can’t believe how fast time goes! I’m getting old way too fast! – Then drove my mum’s car every now and then but never owned one. Since leaving Poland (about 6 years ago), hadn’t had a chance to practice driving. Lived in Ireland and Canada but never bought a car, didn’t really need it.

After moving to New Zealand we got a car but it was Liam who drove it. Until now.

When we got Jagoda we knew I had to practice driving again.We didn’t want to sell the car, cause it’s easier to drive around the city (going to work, gym, shopping etc.) with a car that a motorhome. So every time we need to move to a different freedom camping spot Liam drives Jagoda and I drive the car.

Before we moved into the motorhome our mission was to make me a comfortable driver.ย But the thing is… I learnt to drive on the right side of the road. Here in New Zealand we drive on the left side. I suppose, it wasn’t that bad to switch after living here for over 2 years and experiencing driving from the passenger seat. The problem was to feel were the left side of the car was, how much space I had on that side and how big the car was!

The learning process wasn’t the easiest!ย  Took a lot of stress, some tears and a good bit of frustration. I knew I could do it, I had to do it! Driving itself was great (our car is automatic!), but entering busy motorway and parking was a nightmare.ย  Liam and I would go for a drive at least twice a week, plus going for groceries and stuff, with me being the driver. And him telling me what to do/ how to do/ what not to do.ย  It was probably about a month or two process. I started to feel comfortable and learnt to ignore some of the rude/ bulling drivers.

It’s been now almost three weeks since moving in. I drive a lot and enjoy it a lot. But still don’t like motorways! It’s funny but I really don’t like driving fast, such an opposite of other drivers haha. And my parking got a little better, I can now fit into a parking space! ๐Ÿ™‚

Weekend Trip Away

Dotteral Point Reserve- what an amazing place!

Liam and I had two days off together, so decided on having a little trip. First time going away taking our home with us. So cool! No need to pack, no need to triple check if we didn’t forget anything!

We left on Saturday afternoon after work. First stop was dump station and filling up the fresh water tank. Because we left quite late, we were a little worried that there might not be any freedom camping spaces available. But we made it, fit in the last wide enough spot!

Woke up the next morning to next most amazing sunrise ever! Just imagine watching beautiful sunrise right on the beach, while lying in bed all warm and cosy ๐Ÿ™‚

The whole day was very magical! It was our first experience of being truly free. Enjoyed coffee by the beach while soaking in the sun’s rays, went for a few walks along the beach and just appreciated life and each other’s company.

#motorhomeliving #rving #homeiswhereyouparkit #rv #beachlife