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What’s Your Super Power?

Super power on the AmaPrima ship

The ship we’ll be on. Not because we’re Prima Donnas or anything…..

“What is your super power?”

Have you ever considered where your powers excel? When guest instructing recently at Rancho la Puerta fitness resort, another guest posed the super power question to our tablemates and me at dinner. Pretty interesting conversation starter, n’est-ce pas? Nicht wahr? Si, como no? (You’ll find out in a minute why foreign phrases play out in this context).

What is your Super Power? Think you don't have one? Read this. Click To Tweet

The first respondent said she had no super power. Was that also your first mental reply? If so, reconsider once you hear the examples that came up. I’ll bet you are able to select at least one super power by the time you finish reading this post.

The next tablemate said her super power was being of service to others. She went on to clarify that she particularly excelled at caregiving. Turns out she was caring for both her aging mother and father and relishing the time with her father more than she’d expected.

The guest across from her decided her super power was a willingness to try new things. Being at Rancho la Puerta for the first time was an example she gave to back up her claim.

My Super Power(s) Revealed — to You and Myself

When it became my turn, I’d had time to think about the answer. Still, it was hard to refine my choice so I went with paired powers: Teaching and Learning. (Claiming two answers as one could be a secret power). After 35 years teaching fitness, English, writing, and more, I feel gifted with teaching skills. It’s always nice to have a match between what we love and what we do well, don’t you think? I thoroughly enjoy leading learners of all ages and types.

Which brings me to the Learning Super Power: I love acquiring new knowledge, skills, and experiences. Turns out I am pretty good at it too, which is quite fortunate since I am keen to keep my body and brain active and agile as I entrench myself in midlife. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, three of the top ten ways to keep your brain in shape  include:

  1. Being physically active
  2. Learning new things
  3. Challenging the brain

Learning a Language Leads to Learning Better Overall

Map for AmaPrima Super power

Look! A chance to speak German, French, English, and Dutch!

Most dramatically, learning a foreign language not only boosts brain plasticity, but also makes us better at learning across the board. As a Medical News Today article summarizing this new research from Finland and Russia puts it: “The more foreign languages we learn, the faster the brain responds and processes the data it absorbs during learning. In other words, the study suggests loading the mind with more knowledge boosts its ability to acquire more.” Language learners have an easier time learning altogether. Need more reason to travel if you want to age actively?

Why am I particularly excited about this confluence of Learning, Boosting my Brain, and Being Physically Active? Because my sister and I are about to embark on our first river cruise, thanks to Amawaterways.  After we ply the Rhein River from Basel to Amsterdam, we both decided to extend our stay and visit European friends and former stomping grounds. (DISCLOSURE ALERT: Yes, we are VERY fortunate that Amawaterways is sponsoring our adventure on the AmaPrima, though they did not ask us to write this post or any. We just want to take you with us on our journey in the ways we can!)

Talk about the ultimate in active aging! We will be taking advantage of the many hike, bike, and explore options the Amawaterways cruise offers. I will be able to relearn German (after living in Berlin for two years back in the 80’s teaching at the very first aerobics studio in Europe), practice my French which I studied for 11 years, AND gain new experiences. Nothing like building memories while boosting my memory!

Amawaterways scene Rhein

Images courtesy of AmaWaterways

Three decades from now I want to remember these adventures and languages and still have my Learning and Teaching super powers. What about you? What is your super power? Heck, make it plural and go for the gusto — what super powers do you claim? Tell us in the comments.

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Photo Credit for all three images goes to AmaWaterways.

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

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9

Nepal Adventure Travel: The Ups, Downs, Highs and Lows

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Winging our way to the Himalayas

Winging our way to the Himalayas

Apparently Kathmandu–gateway to the Himalayas–is one of the top travel destinations on the rise. I know I rose early and often to catch amazing sunrises. But I get ahead of my story.

One of my main reasons for wanting to stay active and fit is to be able to travel the world. Recently my mom invited my daughter and me to join her in Nepal on a 10 day adventure organized by the Sierra Club. Nana is paying? Works for  my daughter and me!

3 Generation Swingers

3 Generation Swingers

Low Down on the Lows

Let’s get the negatives out of the way first: the itinerary the Sierra Club set up was sucky wucky big time. Too much sitting in buses, planes, waiting rooms, and restaurants. Not enough time actually doing stuff. Yeah, surprised us too, given that our group was comprised of people who like to get out and about.

High Fives for the Ups

20141114_063613On the upside, the hikes, climbs, animal encounters, and land were breathtaking (literally in some cases when you consider the altitude and steep grades of this mountainous country). Other positives included the new travel clothes Lorna Jane Activewear provided us and the shoes from Ahnu Footwear. Our group may have arrived to places late and left early, but we were perfectly attired for the activities we squeezed in between!

My favorite adventures involved:

S-Elefie!

  1. Riding an elephant into the forest on a two hour journey that allowed us to see a rhino in the wild up close, plus peacocks, elk, and deer. Did you know elephants not only trumpet and huff, but also purr like a motor? Our elephant was the best and chattiest one of all!

 

Miles to go before I sleep, though I woke early.

  1. Hiking straight up an hour at a fast pace to beat the sun coming up over the Anapurna peaks. Twenty five of us set out; eighteen of us made it. Pant pant sweat sweat. I passed a teen girl in stilettos and a dress, a grandma with a big basket on her head, and young schoolboys in uniform. Yeah, I felt pretty good passing them. And only them.

hiking to sunrise

  1. Shopping in the historical district of Bhaktapur with its small stalls and colorful shops loaded with interesting, handmade items. My daughter bought a gorgeous, hand embroidered, midnight blue sari made with yards of material that is stunning. My mom and I found some masks and temple dragons we loved in the shops near our hotel.
  2. crocodile on canoe tripRiding a canoe down a foggy, quiet river past crocodiles, birds, and more peacocks followed by a two hour hike through a pristine forest. Spotted rhino number two on this walk, which we would have seen closer and longer but some people in our group had to keep yakking and scaring away the wildlife Please don’t hunt rhinos; Instead hunt down that one person in every group who can’t follow hike directions. Snipe snipe.

Speaking of yakking, Nepal is not the land of yaks, but of goats. And honest, nice, hard working people who take pride in their country and sharing it with travelers.

Last, but not least, we got to meet in person a young Nepali man whom I knew via social media. He spotted my #Nepal hashtag postings on instagram and offered to meet up and escort us about. Not only did he teach us more about Nepal’s culture, history traditions, and modern aspirations than our official guide, but also we now have a lifelong friend we hope visits us in California. Who couldn’t help but like a guy who cracks jokes in two languages, holds my mom’s hand to steer her through fast scooters and careening cars, and finds us the hidden gardens and restaurants in the busy, bustling, crazy city of Kathmandu?

Flying High in the Garden of Dreams: Jan and Sujan

Flying High in the Garden of Dreams: Jan and Sujan

Here’s to Sujan (forever Mr Nepal in our hearts and memories), my knees that held out on ever changing terrain, my mom for taking us to exotic lands across the globe, and to an unusual, interesting, country that dares you to define it.

What inspires you to improve or retain your fitness level? If it’s to travel, where do you want to go?

Now sit back or stand up and enjoy some travel pics.

Hiking through Chitwan National Park

Hiking through Chitwan National Park

 

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Rhino in the background; one of my new Lorna Jane outfits taking front and center

 

Chitwan NationalPark

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Lake Pokhara

Lake Pokhara, my Ahnus, another perfect Lorna Jane outfit, and a bit of upper body strength

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Temples at Bhaktapur

Prayer flags at Buddha's Birthplace

Prayer flags at Buddha’s Birthplace

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Need event speakers? We travel to you. Book us to present at your events: (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

Want to see more of my Nepal photos? Check out my instgram feed at Kymberly’s instagram.