A seven year anniversary and a big announcement

Mariellen Ward, Canada, Nova Scotia

Me standing on the edge of Canada. In Ingonish, Nova Scotia, 2016.

Celebrating seven lucky years of dreaming, travelling and following my bliss …

TODAY, AUGUST 23, 2016, Breathedreamgo turns seven. It was seven years ago today that I first hit the publish button on my professional travel blog. I chose August 23, 2009, Ganesh’s birthday, because the Hindu, elephant-headed god, beloved in India, is the god of luck and auspicious beginnings.

Photo of Ganesh by Danielle Winter

Image of Ganesh by Danielle Winter

And it worked, thanks Ganesh. I feel I’ve been very lucky. And I’m very grateful for the years of safe travels I’ve had, for the friends I’ve made, for the support I’ve received and for the opportunities I’ve been given. There have been struggles and obstacles along the way — frankly many more than I anticipated — however, I do think that’s all part of the journey. The lessons we learn from overcoming life’s setbacks are, in some ways, the most valuable of all.

What I’ve learned from following my dreams of travel and writing over the past 11 years is that … following your dreams is not as easy as it looks. In fact, like a “happily ever after” movie ending, it’s just the first step.

Happily ever after is just the beginning

The searing truth is that you have to walk the razor’s edge. You will be tested again and again. You will have seemingly insurmountable obstacles thrown in front of you. You will doubt yourself. You will get sick, you will get tired, you will run out of money and worse, out of hope. And … you will experience the best highs, the most satisfaction, the greatest rewards … sometimes from just simply knowing that you tried.

I’ve experienced all of this — with an especial helping of doubt over the past three years or so. But this year, 2016, has been my turnaround year. For many others, and for world events, 2016 has been horrendous. However unlikely, for me, it’s been one of the best years ever.

Don’t be afraid to start over. It’s a chance to rebuild things. This time better. The way you want it.

It all started last winter in India. First, I had a healing experience at Aurovalley Ashram that left me feeling calmer, clearer and more open to making necessary changes in my life. Then, I spent a month on the beaches of Goa and Kerala in December thinking and planning my new future. It really pays to take some time to just be, and to think about who you are, what you want, and what you want to contribute.

I came back home to Canada in February with renewed energy and a clearer focus about what I needed to do, both personally and professionally. I had a ” to do” list — a long one — and I’ve been working diligently through it. With a lot of help from seen and unseen hands, I’ve worked hard to put things back on track and bring my life back into balance. I set my intentions and found my inner determination — and learned that these tactics can go a long way towards manifesting what you need and want. Good thing I have ticked off almost everything on the list, as I’m about to start my travel season again: Embracing the world: Upcoming travel plans.

One of the many things I did over the past few months was apply for a grant from the Government of Canada to take Breathedreamgo forward. So without further ado, here’s my big announcement.

Mariellen Ward, India, Kerala, ocean, beach

Photo of me in the Arabian Sea, South India, by Andrew Adams 2015.

Announcing: The conscious travellers guide to adventure

I am very thrilled to announce that I was awarded funding from the Canada Periodical Fund Program, Business Innovation Component, Department of Canadian Heritage, Government of Canada.

With this funding, I will be transforming Breathedreamgo into a “digital periodical with multiple regular contributors governed by an editorial function.” In other words, over the next nine months or so, I will be overseeing the redesign of Breathedreamgo and writing a mission statement and editorial mandate, among other tasks.

I have always hoped that Breathedreamgo would encourage people to travel, get to know themselves and the world better, and be mindful of the impact they are having on culture and the environment. With this new evolution, and the help of some talented and thoughtful contributors, I hope to inspire more people to:

  • take a journey of self-discovery
  • learn about responsible travel practices
  • discover curated experiences
  • find out about recommended books, gear, travel & tour companies, and more

My goal is for Breathedreamgo to be THE go-to resource and guide for conscious travellers. I will still be focusing on India because I think it’s one of the best destinations for seekers – people who travel as much for self-discovery as for cultural discovery. However, I will be casting my net around the world to find other special places of inspiration, solitude, or cultural significance.

Steve McCurry, India, photo, photograph, photography, train

Photo by Steve McCurry, who brilliantly captures the mystique of travel in India.

Canada is becoming a beacon to the world

I’m thrilled to be funded by the Government of Canada. I’m proud to be a Canadian at this time in history. We’re becoming a world leader in progressive values and a beacon to the world for our tolerance, multiculturalism and attitude toward welcoming refugees. You can read my post about my visit to Halifax and the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 here. For more stories from my home country of Canada, please see the Destination Canada category of this blog.

Justin Trudeau, Gord Downie, The Tragically Hip. Canada

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau hugs singer Gord Downie, demonstrating a new model of masculinity.

I’m writing this the day after The Tragically Hip farewell concert united the nation. The Hip are an iconic Canadian rock band, together for about 30 years, playing a last tour, a last concert, because their front man, Gord Downie, is dying of brain cancer. The entire nation stood still on the night of August 20 to watch the band’s final performance. Even our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was at the show. We were united in our love of this nation, our humanitarian values and our support of a beloved artist, someone who is deemed the poet laureate of Canada — and who used his platform to talk about racism and humanitarian issues.

Canada, Canadian, luggage tags

The world’s most coveted luggage tags.

This is the kind of event, the kind of words and actions, that the “new” Canada is becoming known for. In fact, these are the Canadian values that I grew up with when Pierre Elliot Trudeau (Justin’s father) was prime minister. It is the Canada of Lester B. Pearson’s Nobel Peace Prize winning peacekeeping forces, P.E. Trudeau’s just society and Tommy Douglas’ universal health care. It is the Canada that became one of the first countries in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. The Canada that did not take part in the misguided Iraq war. The Canada that has welcomed 30,000 Syrian refugees since November 2014. And the Canada that has a cabinet comprised of 50% women “Because it’s 2015,” as PM Justin Trudeau famously said last fall as he was forming his government.

Canada, Heritage, fundingI will be very proud to say, when the Breathedreamgo transformation is finished: “This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada.”

Thanks so much to all my friends, family and followers for coming along with me on this unfolding journey.

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29 Responses to A seven year anniversary and a big announcement

  1. Leon Taylor August 23, 2016 at 12:43 am #

    Congratulations Mariellen. You were a key inspirations to finally realizing my dream of travelling to India. The expansion seems a very organic outgrowth of your prior work. I look forward to seeing where this takes you, and us.

  2. Gurvinder Singh August 23, 2016 at 1:46 am #

    Congrats on your completion of seven years. Keep providing excited stories.

  3. Buzz Burza August 23, 2016 at 4:21 am #

    I’m truly speechless at the magnitude of your success…

  4. Bret August 23, 2016 at 8:11 am #

    Congrats on seeing the fruits borne by all your years of hard work. Let us know if/when/how we can help!

    Love always,
    Bret & Mary

  5. Vinayakan August 23, 2016 at 9:07 am #

    Always a pleasure reading your blog! Totally moved by words on how Canada is going back to what it means to be Canada. Hearty congrats for completing seven years. See you in Asia or India soon. All the best!

  6. Betsy Wuebker August 23, 2016 at 9:54 am #

    Hearty congratulations on your many accomplishments as well as refining your path! Best of luck and lots of love as you embark on this new iteration!

  7. Yashy Murphy August 23, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

    Congratulations!! Thrilled to hear about your new jouney

  8. neha August 23, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

    touched my heart…your stories are an inspiration to me as always…may breathedreamgo shine in its new avatar like never before 🙂

  9. Lori Henry August 23, 2016 at 6:22 pm #

    What a beautiful post, Mariellen! I am so excited for you to begin something new with this site and know that it will continue to be something special. Thank you for inspiring so many to travel with a level of awareness beyond just seeing something new. All the very best and I look forward to following along.
    Lori Henry recently posted..Celebrating Ramazan Bayramı in Mardin, TurkeyMy Profile

  10. Janice Varuna August 24, 2016 at 8:57 am #

    Yes Mariellen, the universe knows all about our tour in this body and if we knew the hardships and joys that were to come from going forth and doing what we know to be the right thing to do for us we may never take the first step. We often have this notion that life is supposed to be easy if we are doing what we love however maybe it is just supposed to be fulfilling everyday and then we move on to the next day. To be full each day with whatever it is we have put forth into the world is the gift.

    I too am a PROUD Canadian and love that you have found a new way to express your voice and that your fellow Canadians are supporting you through this grant. Money well spent I am sure. I look forward to your work and you moving forward and take other writers with you on this new and exciting journey. omjv

    • Mariellen Ward August 24, 2016 at 9:04 am #

      Thanks so much Janice. The world changes when we see ourselves on a soul journey, rather than trying to acquire, achieve or reach a destination. The lessons seem more poignant, meaningful and fulfilling.
      Mariellen Ward recently posted..Namaste India, The birthplace of YogaMy Profile

  11. Punita Malhotra August 28, 2016 at 3:17 am #

    Many congratulations, Mariellen! Your blog is one of the most inspirational and deep-thinking based on the internet…stands out unique in the crowd.
    It must be so heartening and fulfilling to see your hard work reaping big rewards 🙂

    Would love to some comments on my travel blog from an accomplished writer like you.

  12. Greg Rodgers September 1, 2016 at 1:07 am #

    Congrats on the big success!

    Many exciting things to come!
    Greg Rodgers recently posted..A Close Call: Big Trouble in the HimalayasMy Profile

  13. Journeys September 2, 2016 at 11:26 am #

    Congatulations on your blog… I really enjoyed reading it. Also, you have an awesome pictures. It really hits the eye. More power!

  14. mariko September 3, 2016 at 3:50 am #

    Wow, congratulations! Can’t wait to see what the next chapter brings, best of luck to you 🙂

  15. Mark September 3, 2016 at 7:32 pm #

    Congratulations. You should be so proud of this accomplishment. As a regular reader, I look forward to BreatheDreamGo becoming even better!

  16. Rock Vandal September 28, 2016 at 4:30 am #

    Congrats Mariellen! This is indeed a very exciting announcement and planned transition. India is next up on my “Go to” list so the new breathedreamgo will be very welcome from me!

  17. Phyllis Stoller September 28, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

    Congratulations. India was always my dream trip also. We actually went for the anniversary of the birth of our first son. The trip was to Kashmir and since then I became a tour operator which partners who are the Top Incoming Operator to India! We run women’s trips to india
    India can change your life.

  18. Candace Glenney @ Travel Masters October 1, 2016 at 7:30 pm #

    What an interesting blog! I’m looking forward to reading more about your adventures!

  19. Katrin November 16, 2016 at 5:23 am #

    Considering the new president-elect in the US, your aim with Breathedreamgo is of utmost importance to all of us. We cannot advocate tolerance and multiculturalism enough in the aftermath of the election. Let the voices of humanity and love be heard all aorund the world <3

    And of course, congratulations!
    Katrin recently posted..5 Essentials For Getting Your ZZZZZ Onboard – Travel Sleep AccessoriesMy Profile

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