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Travel goals fuel weight loss

This past summer, a whole new world opened up to me. I got a chance to experience things that at many points in my life, I figured were things I'd have to settle with in my head that only other people did.

This past summer, a whole new world opened up to me. I got a chance to experience things that at many points in my life, I figured were things I'd have to settle with in my head that only other people did.

I really began to believe that maybe I was destined to be overweight, and I had to find some way to be OK with it. I watched as friends and family went hiking and kayaking, bringing back spectacular photos of their experiences in nature, the places that you could only get to if you physically worked for it, places I couldn't get to. I'd make sure not to linger too long on the photos on Facebook, because each time it hurt to know that I couldn't do that, when in my heart, I so badly wanted to. Each time I thought about it, I would sink further into a depressed state, which I would try desperately to eat my way out of, because it was the only way I knew how to deal.

Travelling was something that I knew belonged in my life. I needed to see other places, and immerse myself in different cultures. My intense desire for travel has come from my parents, who have experienced tourist favourites like Mexico and Hawaii, to much more hard to reach places like Ethiopia, Vietnam and Thailand. I knew this was in my blood since my parents had brought me and my sister to Hawaii as kids and it left such a lasting impact. The world became so much bigger than I ever realized.

When I became an adult, I made trips to Mexico and Las Vegas, and then two years ago I went with my parents and boyfriend to Belize. They were all fantastic trips, but when my parents talked about the possibility of going on another trip together to some place completely exotic like Thailand, I knew it was something I needed to do, this was something I'd been dreaming of since I was a kid. After many months of research and planning, we booked our trip which goes like this: we arrive in Bangkok, then take an overnight train to the northern capital Chiang Mai. From there, we travel and stay in smaller towns (Chiang Dao, Tha Ton, Chiang Rai), and eventually make our way to a border town in Laos (a small country that borders part of northern Thailand) Huay Xai, where we spend a night before setting out on a two-night river cruise down the Mekong River taking us deeper into Laos.

Part of the river cruise entails staying overnight at an Eco Lodge situated in a sustainable village (where we will get a chance to really experience local culture), before we arrive in Luang Prabang. We spend the last several days in this city, before flying back into Bangkok and then home.

The only problem I knew, was with all the travelling around, with how much I weighed, it wasn't going to be easy.

I couldn't go all this way, and have the chance to experience all these amazing places only to get there, and have my weight get in the way. If travelling was what my soul really needed, then my body needed to get on board. This was exactly the push I needed to change my life.

We dreamed up this vacation over a year before our trip actually departs (Jan. 2), and I knew that I had enough time to get myself to a place where I could go, and make sure I could physically do anything I ever wanted while I was there. My initial goal was a respectable 50-pound loss before the trip, and I can now proudly say that I am almost double that! I am now 95 pounds down, with a new goal to hit the 100 pound mark before we depart.

For me, travelling was the catalyst behind changing my lifestyle, and because of this, I no longer view photos of my friends and family enjoying local scenic hikes with envy, because I have my own photos now.

I spent great amount of my summer kayaking and hiking with these same family and friends, and now I get to find new ways to enjoy the winter months in a far more active capacity.

For me, travel was what pushed me to make the change, and now I have the trip of a lifetime to look forward to, where I know, without a doubt, that I can enjoy anything I want when I get there.