Welcome to Probe around the Globe’s monthly personal space. I decided to start 2019 with a new project: more personal travel stories and ideas. As you might know, I like to write travel guides and itinerary, chock full with practical tips and useful information. But I realized, not everyone has immediate plans to go to the places I write about. But you might want to read about me, what I’m up to and what my plans are. So. Here we are. A small corner of the internet with my personal stories and ideas.
I can’t believe we already hit a dent into the new year. The month is almost over and it literally flew by. And I didn’t even travel! January is normally a very busy time at my full time job so I spent a lot of time there. But January also was filled with ideas, new plans and preparations.
SEO Edinburgh Boot-camp
The lovely ladies of Make Traffic Happen, Gemma and Laura, run a SEO business where they help other bloggers make traffic happen. I bought their SEO book last year and implemented some strategies and made traffic (and income!) happen via the blog. For Black Friday I purchased their other book and when they announced they would host a SEO boot-camp in Edinburgh I might have hesitated a wee moment, but I caved.
I told myself it would be good for the blog.
I told myself I could write it off as a business expense.
I told myself it would be a good investment in myself and the blog.
And so I booked a flight, hotel and a slot at their bootcamp. I’m super excited to dedicate that weekend to my blog.
Travel wise, I’m still not sure what to do with the extra days in Edinburgh. I have been researching things to do or day trips from Edinburgh. As I’ve been to Edinburgh before in winter, I’m a bit reluctant to spend the time in the city. But little indecisive me, can’t make up my mind (just yet) and I guess I’ll just go and see what the weather is like.
Read more: Looking back on 2018 and forward to 2019
Preparations: a new lifestyle
In November, my boyfriend and I decided to hike the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path in Wales in Spring 2019. 300 km (186 miles) walking along the coast of Wales. It will be a huge challenge as the trail goes up, and down, and up and up and up some more. Since November, I have taken a good look at my current lifestyle and decided now is the time to change it.
I mean, sitting behind a desk almost 16 hours a day is not healthy for anyone. Over Christmas I got a Fitbit Flex2 and wear it every since minute of the day. I absolutely love it, as it gives me good insights in how active (or not) I am, how much water I drink, how many steps I take and how long I’ve been sitting on my ass for. Turned out: concerning too long.
At the start of the year (just a coincidence, I don’t do new year resolutions) I started walking to work and back. This equals 2x 20 minutes of moderate exercise a day, 5 days a week. We also started walking on the weekends and last Sunday, we managed a 20k (12,5 miles) walk in the area (at minus 2 degrees Celsius), so I’m extremely proud of myself.
The goal for the next 4 months is to continue to walk to work and manage to walk 2 days consecutive of 30 km or more. And I need to find a way to be able to climb stairs and decent again.
Follow my preparations for the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path with this guide on best places to stay.
New diet and eating habits
At the start of 2018, I consulted with my doctor about my Crohn’s disease and my IBS. Basically, the two of them ruin my life and give me very poor quality of life. We decided I would try a high fiber diet to see if any improvement could be made. In general, this went quite well. The stomach aches and distress in my bowels vanished. But I got something else in return. A huge production of gas, enough keep a whole town warm in winter. For most afternoons, I felt bloated and I had to find ways to relieve myself of the excess of gas in my stomach. This coincided with bowel pain, awkward noises when keeping it in and still a rush to the toilet 5-7 times a day (on a normal day).
I decided at the start of 2019 to abandon the high fiber diet and try the IBS specific FODMAP diet. This is similar to the specific low carb-diet I tried successfully before. But where the low carb-diet is very restrictive and basically unmanageable when traveling, the FODMAP diet allows for more food items. I had to go through the list as some items on the FODMAP list are a no-go (like apples and pears) where they were allowed on the low carb-diet.
Read more: Flying with medication
But in general, it has been a very smooth transition. I emptied my cupboards and threw out any “forbidden” foods. I switched all the dried pasta for pasta made with spelt. As rice and potatoes are still allowed, this makes dinners a lot easier. I also found a type of lunch cracker with spelt to replace bread and whole wheat crackers. I decided to go back to an egg omelet for breakfast, alternate lunches between lunch crackers and salads and dinners will be salads or foods with FODMAP approved ingredients.
So far, I’ve been on the FODMAP diet for 4 weeks and it only took 1 day to see a huge change. No more excess gas, no more tummy aches and most importantly, 1 toilet visit a day seems to do the trick. Together with the exercise routine, I lost 3,5 kg in the past 4 weeks.
But most importantly, the back pain I have had since mid 2017 has decreased to a manageable level. I walk easily and I can move around more freely. Overall, I feel fitter and healthier and I can go walk in the countryside for 6 hours without having to worry about toilet breaks. So far, the diet and the exercise routine has been easy to follow (although it takes some time and preparation) and the results have been very positive. I’m excited to keep this up.
Business and taxes
The last month, I also dedicated some time to look at my blog and review some things. I haven’t really finished yet, but this personal monthly story is one of the results of this.
I also did my taxes, made spreadsheets and looked at the balance of blog income and expenses. So far so good, but I’d really like to improve month over month. At the moment, I don’t have any concise goals or plans though out to accomplish this (probably because I’m too busy with the food and exercise plans and spreadsheets).
Looking forward to February 2019
Ok, my goal with these personal monthly recaps was to keep it short, so I’ll try to wrap things up. I hope to be able to get some positive experiences with travel on the FODMAP diet, so I can write about it.
For February, I need to finalise my Lebanon travel plans in April and at the end of the month is the SEO Bootcamp in Edinburgh. In the meantime, I just keep on walking, working, eating healthy and clean out the house.
What have you been up to in January? Any exciting travel plans you’d like to share? Feel free to drop me a comment below, I always love to read them.
Interested in more monthly updates? Check out February 2019 and March 2019, and April 2019, and June 2019 here.
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I’m glad you’ve found a good way of managing your Crohns and IBS better. I too have a functional gut problem with my oesophagus and stomach following severe GORD and surgery I had last year. I have severe swallowing probs at the moment which makes life very difficult and complicated especially when travelling. I’m trying various methods to improve things some of which are food related too, and I also acquired a new Fitbit to start increasing my fitness. I’ve decided to do the #Walk1000Miles challenge this year so am trying to increase the length of my daily walks. Hope you enjoy Edinburgh. I’ve not yet been but really want too! Tilly xx
thank you Tilly. Swallowing problems sound like a nightmare! I eat way too fast but having problems like that is just scary! I hope you get to overcome those and become healthier too!