Author Archives: kimvannie876

About kimvannie876

Jamaican living in Japan.

Keep Going…

It’s easy to back away from life and just allow it to drag you down. Stuff happens and sometimes they bring us to our knees or even on our faces sometimes. Resolve to keep going. Each time get up and get going.

This thought came to me today and I decided to share it here for those who might need to see this.

It’s interesting how we can be moving and doing things, like busy bees but just be buzzing around in circles accomplishing nothing. It’s necessary to stop, relax our minds and allow them to refresh. To keep going requires a healthy mind that is active and working for us.

When you are tired, take time to rest and do what recharges you.

Keep going when others say less than positive things to you or about you.

Keep going when things are not going the way you want them to. See how you can be innovative and push yourself to live your best life at different stages.

Life is worth living intentionally, so know hard times will come as will good times. Resolve to keep going regardless. Remember better days do come as life cycles through.

What do you Need to Stop Procrastinating about ?

Procrastination is really the thief of time as the adage goes. I mean there are so many sayings cautioning us not to procrastinate but alas we do it. What are you procrastinating about? Why do you procrastinate and what do you need to stop procrastinating about?

All of this is easier said than done. However, the first step begins with honestly facing up to what makes you procrastinate about that one thing? You know that thing that you want to do but leave it hanging…

Are you afraid of failing? Remember failure is a part of the process to learning and growing.

Are you afraid of being vulnerable. Pray about it and try to step out in faith.

Is it that you don’t have the finances necessary to bring this thing to life? How about sharing the idea with someone who may be able to help by investing in your dream?

Write the book, or finish it in my case.

Research, plan, save and go after the new job/career etc.

Do some free online courses to learn about how to run and manage a business if it’s your calling. Platforms like Coursera and Future Learn, offer loads of courses from different universities around the world for free in some cases. Spend some time investing in your dream in this way and less time on social media.

Sometimes you have to do some things without knowing how it will all end. This is faith at work. I remember a few years ago I was just not liking the atmosphere of one place where I was working. I took to applying for different jobs. interestingly, the job that on the surface seemed to pay the least worked out to be the best with a good salary. I am happy I took the leap. I caution you to save and have a buffer while enjoying life, to enable you to do something like this.

Some people want to travel but put that off usually because of money. This is valid. However, you can have a ten year plan where you save as little as $20 – 30 USD a month for a dream trip. Do the math. The trick is to think about how much a trip like that would cost in that period of time and start saving for it now. Have a separate account and let it mount up. Even if it takes more than ten years, your reward will be the dream trip.

You may be at the stage where your first step to stop procrastinating is to write down your ideas, goals, dreams etc. Put it somewhere so you can see it often and remember it. You will be more likely to do something about it. Also, don’t be shy to ask for help. Speak to people who can help and know that yes, someone may not be open to helping but keep knocking on doors.

Keep pushing and going after what you want. Life is best lived as an active participant in your own life. No one else can do your life like you can. Fix your eyes on your path and don’t be distracted by what others are doing. What’s yours is yours and vice versa. Rejoice with others and don’t cultivate envy… nurture positive thoughts especially when things seem to be falling apart. Again, this isn’t easy but it’s worth it in the long run.

Discovering the Beauty of Tea in Sri Lanka and Forming New Bonds

Sri Lanka is a beautiful paradise with lush scenery, wonderful people and scrumptious food. I can’t believe I had no plans to visit this awesome place, until I met a friend from there in Tokyo. When she returned home and told me to come visit whenever I wanted, I jumped at the chance. By then I had been to India and knew it was somewhat similar. Sri Lanka, has its own rich cultural traditions and has a warmth all of its own though. Let me wax eloquent about it all.

Jackfruit, my favourite fruit and mango my other favourite fruit are abundant in Sri Lanka. If I am able to gorge on these then I am happy. I was happy in Sri Lanka both times I visited. At my friend’s house, I enjoyed these fruits and others, as well as a smorgasbord of other local dishes that infused joy into my being. Food in Sri Lanka is spicy goodness, everything is delicious.

Learning more about Sri Lanka through its foods

I am always surprised at how common it is for people to eat their meals with their hands. It seems that eating with utensils (especially at home) isn’t as global as some of us practice/believe. It is something I do when I visit places where this is the norm. Since, I was staying with my friend and her family I considered it important to do this. One great aspect of travelling is learning about other cultures in real life. I am learning as I travel, to be more open-minded and respectful of the way other groups of people do things. When you think of it, it is quite eco-friendly to eat with your hands. Curried jackfruit was new to me. Though I enjoyed it, I still prefer eating it raw and ripe.

Seafood is quite tasty and varied in Colombo (this is where I indulged a lot so keep this in mind). We enjoyed eating at some world class hotels and the fare they served was worth every penny. You can eat good food for cheap and you can also splurge and enjoy good food in more classy establishments. It’s worth trying them, within your budget of course.

Sri Lanka
Somewhere between Nuwara Eliya and Kandy

Exploring tea ‘country’ and making connections in Kandy and Colombo


Sri Lanka is a country where travelling on the beaten path still gives great rewards. It isn’t crowded and train travel or transportation is accessible. Also many people speak or understand English, so travelling around is relatively straightforward. I was fascinated by ‘tea country’ Nuwara Eliya, so I took the train from Colombo up there. It is freezing in summer. Thankfully, I had planned for this. I enjoyed a local tour around a tea plantation to see how tea is made. Phew! The thing that struck me was how hard the women worked to pick the leaves. I was left wondering how much money seeps down to them…

Sri Lanka

The entire area is lush and green. There are lots of picturesque spots for the instagram worthy pics. On the way back to Colombo we drove and those roads are winding…the scenery can’t be beat though. It was nice to see the loads of fresh fruits and veggies being sold by the road side. This brought up memories of familiar places in Jamaica.

In Kandy I spent time with my friend’s relatives and learned more about that area. For me though, just chatting with them about cricket and their lives were the highlights. We are still in touch and I visited them on my next trip, without my friend who had to work then. There is something about making real connections that crosses distance and cultures.

Sri Lanka
Royal Botanical Garden, Kandy

Back in Colombo it was time to check out my friend’s church. Can I just say it was the topping on the cake of my experiences in Sri Lanka. We worshipped, fellowshipped and had great fun. They have a lovely tradition of having Christmas breakfast. This was a special time. New Year’s Eve service was also lovely. Thereafter we set off fireworks and chilled into the wee hours of the morning. These people know how to live well. It reminded me of the joy and closeness of a small church, where everybody knows everybody.

I have nothing but warm memories of Sri Lanka. It’s one of the places I know I could visit again and again. It’s a blessing to have had the wonderful experiences I had there.

The Importance of Reflecting as you Look Ahead

As a teacher, I talk with my students often, about the importance of reflecting, as they go throughout their time in my class. There is often much focus on looking ahead to accomplish different goals and dreams. There is also merit in taking the time to reflect and look back as we prepare for what’s ahead.

What are some merits of reflecting?

One thing that reflecting does is to show us how we have grown. This can be physically or mentally; let’s focus on mental and emotional growth. I am gratified to see my growth in these areas. I can look back at past relationships, experiences and things that were very hard spots in my life. I have grown through them and learnt how to be a better me. I have developed and honed my critical thinking skills and effectively manage how I react to different people and situations. When you look back at your life, how have you grown?

I am learning to be content with where I am in life. I don’t have all the things I desire but when I see what I have accomplished in the last few years, I have peace. I am reminded that I have what I need and different things come at different times. This also reminds me that I will look back at where I am now and see some changes as time passes by. I tell myself be patient, remain hopeful and keep moving.

I also learn to value the people I have around me now because they may not always be here. I lost my mother a few years ago and I am glad I went to be with her often, though I live on the other side of the world. There is nothing like spending time with those near and dear.

Reflecting also helps me to remember that things may seem hard now but time will pass. Like the other unpleasant things before, they won’t last forever. My response to them and how I handle them is what is important.

I remind myself to be open-minded, flexible and positive despite what is happening in my environment.

Reflecting as you look ahead

Reflect to seek out the positives and negatives that you have learnt from life. Use this knowledge to prepare for the future. Know how you approach and deal with different situations and people in the past. Be proactive and think about how you can make necessary changes to benefit you as you look ahead.

Mistakes are great learning opportunities. What can we learn from some colossal mistakes to avoid pitfalls as we forge into the future? This can be anything from spending crazily at certain times of the year to trying different diets; just about anything. One mistake I made was to have developed the habit of buying clothes just because they are on sale. Have I learnt from the folly of my ways? I sure have. When you live in small Japanese apartments this can be quite a nuisance, so I have cut back on that.

From reading this blog, you have probably noticed that I am passionate about living on a budget and being debt free. I reflect quite a bit on how I spend and think about how I can save and reward myself more meaningfully. Travel is my extravagant hobby, so I make certain concessions for this. I travel differently now than I did a few years ago because though I enjoy it, I have other priorities like saving for retirement. You are never too young to begin saving for retirement.

Take time to reflect to understand yourself more, make some changes to benefit yourself moving forward and to see your growth. There are far more benefits to reflecting on your life as you plan for what’s ahead. I hope you’ll enjoy these as you reflect.

Have a Budget for the Holidays and Stick to it

The holidays are just around the corner. We all know giving gifts, hosting parties and or attending get-togethers is apart of the fun and merriment. Cheers!

It is easy for so many of us to slip into debt and head into the new year with that dragging us down. Oh how freeing it is to enjoy the holidays debt free and head into the new year that way. This is not a piped dream. It is something we all can do, if we plan and resolve to let it be that way.

First off put together a budget for the holidays and develop the habit of funding it throughout the year. This means putting a set amount of money away for the festivities and gifts you know you will buy. Giving is fun but no one is happy to go broke doing this.

It’s already quite late in the year already, so you may not be able to budget for all you want to do and enjoy. You can have a bare bones budget for November and December to free up some cash. A bare bones budget is one where you cover the necessities and pool everything else towards a particular event or thing. It’s temporary and well worth the sacrifice if one has a desire to spend (heavily) during the holidays.

It is also ok to say no to events that crop up unexpectedly. If you don’t have room in your budget for it, learn to say no and let some things go by. Stick to your budget because adding debt is digging a whole that you will need to dig out of later.

Don’t let the holidays creep up on you and you are not prepared. Budget for it, stick to your budget and enter 2020 free of debt from the holiday. I think the holidays are far more enjoyable this way.

How to Combat Information Overload, it’s Self-care

Combating information overload is a vital part of self-care. What we feed our minds often becomes what consumes us. The internet has allowed us to have access to news and other information from all over the globe. However, there is much sensationalism in how some elements are presented to us viewers. We need to be intentional about what we consume on the internet and how often we consume certain things, even if it is the news.

Does it ever feel like everything is spiralling out of control after checking out some news websites?

Is it important to know what is happening in the news all the time?

There are some people who can keep up with the news in the world, filter it and don’t get distressed by it. There are also others who are consumed with the seemingly endless travesties featured in the news. I am not saying to ignore them. Learn how much you can handle and proceed accordingly.

Combat information overload by Limiting the Time you Spend on Certain Things

It is important to be aware of what is happening in the world. I find scrolling through certain headlines on one or two news sites help with this. I then read one or two articles and compare how they are reported on the relevant sites. I also look for encouraging stories, to remind myself, that there are also good things happening in the world. I do this for about 30 minutes to an hour and then get on with other things.

This may seem a bit callous but many times what is featured in the news are things we have no direct control over. If it causes you to get into a funk that’s not good for you. Practice self-care and limit your exposure to that.

Balance who or what you watch or follow on Social Media

I balance my viewing of channels that discuss controversial issues with others that show lighter content. When I am watching YouTube to unwind after work, I don’t want to be worked up. This means I watch episodes of house tours and some family blogs which I find relaxing.

Twitter is great for information and some threads just rope you in. I only access it on my computer which stays at home. There was a time where I was on Twitter far too much on my phone. For my self-care, I limited myself and it was a good decision for me. The same can be said of Instagram. Exploring Instagram is a big time suck and if one isn’t careful you come away feeling less than the gem you are.

Listen to Some Music, Chill and Make Something to Nourish your Body

Put the mobile phone away, turn off the notifications and put some good music on when you get home. Make a nutritious meal or what you feel like eating and take your time savouring what you have made. If you live alone, like I do, enjoy the peace of being in your own space alone and relax. This is self-care. Unplug for the whole evening or a few hours before bed. Go for a walk and balance the day.

Here I am talking about information overload and sharing information, how ironic. There is nothing wrong with being informed and knowledgeable about a range of subjects and topics. Ensure that you are taking in what you want to learn and not what others are force feeding you, using different persuasive techniques. Be an informed participant.

If you find yourself feeling disillusioned with everything in the world, check what you are taking into your mind. We often forget to feed our minds with balanced and healthy fare like we should our bodies.

This is my little reminder, like I tell my students, balance what you watch, eat and do, to the best of your ability. It is all a part of self-care. Take care of yourselves.

Discovering the Richness of India on my first Solo Travel Adventure

Seeing the Taj Mahal up close in all its majestic pearl white splendour is surreal. It is truly a work of art.

It is easy to sit there all day and soak up its beauty. Thankfully there are quite a few trees around that offer shade and facilitate this. Of course, after travelling so far and paying a pretty penny to see it as a foreigner,you feast your eyes until you feel full.

Spend time people watching and coming to grips with the fact that you are here, in India, finally!

If you are of the darker hue like me, have people gather around to take you in like you are taking in the building. Suddenly, you are caught up in a group of youths who you chat with you about cricket and snap photos.

Take some time to see other places in India and experience its rich culture. One way to do this is to visit some other cities such as Jodphur, Udaipur or go to places in the south and so on. The magnificent structures that loom up in many places allow for learning more about India’s history. They too are worth the time and just a bit more money.

You can spend days just going from place to place and exploring these buildings to learn more about what the past was like. The fact that you can get around by train or bus makes this feasible even if one only has a week.

Travelling in India alone as a woman comes with its fair share of nuisances. We all know about the horrific things that have been done to some native women there. One needs to be on guard, especially as a woman. Unfortunately, some men think all women travelling alone are on the prowl. This is a reality. However, if a woman is careful and keeps her wits about her, travelling in India can be rewarding.

The poor animals, I tell ya

So, go to see the Taj Mahal if that is pulling you to India. Plan and explore other areas to experience different aspects of the culture. It is an affordable place to travel. The fact that many people speak English also makes it an easy place to get around. India is a vibrant place with many things for different tastes. Research, plan, budget and travel responsibly.