How I failed at being a Vegetarian

How I failed at being a vegetarian and what I learned from it.

You might think being a vegetarian makes a person “healthy” but that’s where you would be wrong. There is no such thing as a wrong vegetarian but there is such a thing as an unhealthy one. Let me tell you the story of how I failed as a healthy vegetarian.

I started out as a vegetarian in 2015 right after eating thirty chicken nuggets in one sitting. Most of the people I told about eating the nuggets seemed proud of me, or at least impressed, which is why I felt accomplished until I told a friend who replied with: “Wow, that’s unhealthy”. Hearing him say that made me think, not only about the choice I had just made but also how much we as Americans have normalized an overeating culture.

I told myself I was going to make a change. A few days later I made the decision to try being a vegetarian for an entire year. I had gone a month without meat before so I figured I could make it a year. I was also never a big fan of red meat so I didn’t think it would be too much of a problem.

I started this, not only as a challenge to myself but also as a way to make myself think about what I was putting into my body before doing it. Too often I would eat things that were not good for me just because I was hungry and the snack I chose seemed easy.

Fast-forward to nearly a year later, and I was failing. I had not lost any weight (not really a goal of mine at the time, but you’d think it would happen anyway) and I did not feel any healthier. My mistake? Being a vegetarian does not mean you are eating healthy, the only rule I had given myself was to not eat meat. There are so many other foods besides meat that are unhealthy.

I have a problem with bread. I love it. Ever heard the bible verse “Man cannot live on bread alone”? Well, I was living as though a woman could, you could have considered that my motto. I would find myself eating way too much bread and cheese for meals. Most days a grilled cheese sandwich would be my main course and I would have nothing else.

Let me tell you right now, bread is not all that healthy. I craved bread because of my lack of protein intake and would consume large amounts of carbs to combat that lack of protein. Carbs are a source of energy, just like protein but unlike protein, they are temporary. The energy we get from carbs is felt sooner but it also ends sooner.

Other unhealthy things included in my diet were lots of sweets I can have a terrible sweet tooth at times and it really shows. Many of my meals and snacks would include cookies, cakes, and chocolate. Working at Chick-Fil-A, with its readily available treats and sweets, probably did not help much with my cravings.

After about a year of eating like this and not becoming any healthier, I went back to eating meat for about three months. I was traveling abroad and thought it would just be easier. During that time, I gained about ten pounds because of all the delicious foods there were to try.

When I returned home I went back to being a vegetarian, not only because it was what I was comfortable with but because I was really going to try and be healthy this time.

I wouldn’t say that my life has entirely changed but I have been doing better about making healthier choices.

I’ve focused more on listening to what my body is telling me it needs and eating more healthy carbs and proteins. I’ve also been making a lot of smoothies which can have many of my needed vitamins and proteins as well as tasting really good.

Let me know in the comments what you think. Have any questions about eating more healthy?

Change of Plans

There are always going to be times when we make plans and they don’t go our way. This is something God has been teaching me in the last year. I had no idea at this time last year that I would be in Townsville, Australia doing what I am doing right now.

About this time last year I was planning on traveling to Portugal to become an English teacher, those plans were drastically changed when my paper work would not go through no matter how many times I tried. The deadline for applying to the teaching job came close and I decided maybe this wasn’t where I was supposed to go at this point. Right around that time is when I saw an ad for YWAM Townsville. I decided to give it a look, within minutes of asking for more information I had someone in contact with me about coming to do a Discipleship Training School. I decided I would apply and if I got in and things went well then I knew God wanted me to go there and not to Portugal.

A few months later I was prepared to come to Australia to start my school in April, but something didn’t feel right. I couldn’t sell my car and I had a strange feeling I needed to wait. I called the school and decided to wait until October to come to Australia. Not long later I was able to get more work that would help to pay for my schooling here. Then after listening to God and placing my car for sale one more time in the same place after it not working every other time, it had a buyer within days. I was able to come to Australia and start the school.

Plans being changed continued to be a theme for me throughout DTS. While my team and I were planning to go on outreach, all the rains came and delayed us by more than a week. We ended up staying in Townsville for the first week of outreach and then came out to the towns we were planning to visit later.

The biggest change of plans was still to come though, Corona Virus struck right around the time we were getting back from outreach. We had not really be in contact with the rest of the world, and it wasn’t really in the news much yet. Because of COVID-19 many of the people on my school have had to go home early, everyone’s travel plans have changed. I was planning on going to Papua New Guinea to help with the medical ship for two weeks but it was canceled due to the pandemic.

Each time my plans changed I didn’t see the good in it at the beginning but everything has always worked out according to his plan. If I had gone to Portugal, I never would have had the life changing expierene that has been DTS. If I had come to the April school, I wouldn’t have made the amazing friendships I have made while I’ve been here. If my team and I had not been kept in Townsville an extra week because of the rains, then we would never have gone to one of the towns where we made a huge impact with a large group of kids at a youth group and changed some peoples lives.

I have to believe that God has had a hand in all of this, He has continued to work good things out of the situations for me. Every time my plans have been changed, He has had something better and bigger for me.

So I’m not saying that Corona Virus is a good thing, what I am saying is that if I have learned anything in the last five months of being at YWAM, it’s that God does work everything out for the good of those who love him. (Romans 8:28) I know that this is scary but I believe that even though it is a terrible thing, He will make something good out of it that could change the world.

2020 Vision in Queensland

Outreach is only 11 days away and I am getting more and more excited about it as the date draws closer. We head out to Mount Isa, Queensland on January 26th.

We had a small taste of what outreach would look like, two weeks ago my outreach team and I (me and eight other girls, two of them are our leaders) traveled to Cairns to help out the community in any way we could. While there we were able to help out the street chaplains, a group of people who care for and provide water to the club goers and partiers. This was very interesting work and we were able to meet a lot of interesting people along the way. For the last two days of outreach we were able to work with some of the kids in the community of Yarrabah. The kids were a lot of fun, I’m pretty sure played more basketball in those two days then I have in my whole life.

We spent the entire nine days in Cairns sleeping in a friends backyard in hammocks, some of the girls may not have liked it so much but I was having the time of my life, living under the stars and showering outside. We made good relationship with our contact and friend there and we were all sad to go. Coming back to Townsville was like coming home and we had a warm welcome on our return, even though we had only been gone nine days.

Sleeping arrangements in Cairns

This week is our outreach prep week, so we are figuring out what places we will be traveling to during our six weeks away, and what we will be doing while there. As I figure out more about the places we will be going my heart is growing bigger for the people of these areas.

After our time in Cairns, I have become more prepared for outreach to the outback later this month, I am excited about what God has in store for our team and for my future in YWAM and missions. I have applied to go on a ship outreach from March 20th to April 5th as soon as DTS ends. I am still working on raising enough funds to be able to go but I am believing that God is my provider and I have no reason to worry about how I will get there or where the funds will come from.

I know God is calling me to longterm missions even though I am not sure where yet.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful new year so far! God Bless!

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit -Matthew 28:19


About two months ago, I left home to begin my journey to Townsville, Australia to join YWAM (Youth With A Mission.) This discipleship training school would be a big part of the next five months of my life. So far this journey has been filled with many adventures, ups, and downs, but I am loving what I am doing.

Youth With a Mission is an organization founded on christian beliefs, we offer training to young people all over the world equipping them to then spread the gospel to the nations. We go on trips to other countries, what we call outreaches, and help out the local people both physically and spiritually in any way we can.

Each week we have a new topic which we cover in lectures in a classroom setting. Last week was on lordship and it was probably one of the most challenging weeks for most of us, we dealt with a lot of things in our past and made a lot of decisions for our futures as well. Lordship is all about making Jesus Lord over your life and how you live that out everyday. Mark Parker was our speaker and he has so much knowledge and wisdom about the topic, it was awesome to see his energy and passion for what he was teaching.

I’ve become very well adjusted to how we are doing things here, even the Australian heat has become familiar to me now. Our days are very busy, filled with worship times, classes and working duties. We might be busy but it is also very fulfilling and character building work we do. I have seen myself grow as a person as well as as a christian.

This week we are talking about missions and the kinds of things we will be doing during our six -week long outreaches in different parts of the world. These start in early January. Most of our class will be going to Papua New Guinea, my team will stay in Queensland Australia and I am honestly so excited. We will be experiencing the outback and traveling by van for our entire outreach as well as getting to sleep in hammocks at night. I am still unsure about the exact towns we will be going to but I believe we will get to talk to kids in schools about God and just be there and hang out with them.

I can’t wait to see what God will do through our lives over the next couple of weeks and months.

Dreams Can Be Scary

When Following Your Dreams is Scary


When I first set out to start a blog, I had no idea what I was doing, honestly, I’m still unsure, but I knew I wanted something different. I noticed my life and what I was currently doing and thought to myself, why not write about it? This is how any dream starts.


I wouldn’t say I’m anything like a professional, I’m still a beginner honestly, but I’ve come to see the dream I have as something I can achieve, rather than just a dream. I also feel like some of these thoughts could be pretty motivational for someone out there, so I figured I’d send them to ya’ll rather than just keep them for myself.


Following your dreams can be scary, I freak out about one dream or another at least twice a week. I think to myself “Heather, do you have any idea what you’re doing?”. Truthful answer: Maybe. I have a list. One thing I’ve learned about following your dreams is that they need a mission statement or a vision if you will. This needs to be written out so you can come back and read it often, whenever you are feeling doubtful about the journey you have begun.


This vision statement needs to be clear. Outline all of your specific goals so they are laid out neatly. I don’t know about you but I like everything sorted into neat little sections so I can see it all, not as one big mess but as many little steps, or pieces, of the big picture. Once I have all the details outlined, it becomes much easier to see my goal in front of me, and what I need to do in order to reach that goal.


I used to be afraid to follow my dreams because of what others might think, and I won’t lie to you, I still struggle with this at times, but I’ve found that it doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks. All that matters is that I’m trying and I’m moving forward. My writing may not be so good or I may not have all the skills I think I need to run my own business or run a blog, but I had to start somewhere.


My skills can only get better than they are now. I like to think of it like this: Each time I make a grammar mistake or fail in a cringe-worthy way, I can look back at what I’ve done, and know what I did wrong, I know what not to do. Thomas Edison, when asked about his process of making the light bulb said this: “I have not failed 700 times. I’ve succeeded in proving 700 ways how not to build a light bulb.” If we do not consider our failures to be failures, but rather stepping stones toward our ultimate goals, then maybe our dreams will become that much more attainable.

What You Need to Know About Living in Quito, Ecuador

About a year and a half ago, I went on a study abroad trip to Ecuador, this was my first long stent trip and first time in a country other than Brazil or the good ol’ USA.

Although I would never consider myself an expert in travel or know everything a person should know about Ecuador, I hope that my experience has some good learning points which can be of use to others. So here are some of the things I learned while living in Quito for three months.

Bring an umbrella

Upon arrival to Quito, the first thing I noticed was how green it was, it was winter back home during the time, and it was raining and somewhat warm here in Quito. This is definitely something to keep in mind because IT. RAINS. OFTEN.  It rained nearly all day every day during the entire month of March, with only a little sun right at noon.


Like most countries in South America, the water pressure is very poor, so you are not able to flush toilet paper. This is why you will always find a small trash can next to each toilet and in every stall. Also keep in mind that toilet paper is not cheap, it’s a good idea to keep extra with you at all times as many public restrooms charge for paper.

Tour Packages are a Joke!

During my last month in Quito, I went on a three-day trip to the Galapagos islands with two of the girls I was traveling with. The tour we booked had us doing specific things each day and staying in specific places each night, which would not have been so bad if we had at least been able to choose where we could eat. We had booked our travel with the school and didn’t know what to expect until about three days before our trip. So we aren’t really to blame for our poor experience whilst on the islands. Don’t get me wrong, the Galapagos are wonderful and everyone should see them at least once, but our trip was over planned and we had little free time to do the things we wanted. I recommend taking tours but planning your own stays so that you can choose when to do the things you want.

Befriend a local

During my three months in the city, I met and became friends with many locals. Having a friend who can explain the culture and give you rides (I had no car, and am not confident enough to drive in South America) can come in handy often.



 Maybe this is just my opinion because I’m from a small town, but traffic in Quito is crazy. It seemed like every time I tried to cross the street I would almost get run over. Also, people in Quito don’t wait for the crosswalk jaywalking is very common.

Casa de Arbol. Baños, Ecuador

There is so much to do

There are many wonderful trips to go on and lovely small towns to adventure in. I recommend going to Baños and Mindo for sure there are also trips to the Galapagos and rainforest to consider.

Living in Quito was an amazing experience, one I will never forget. I hope my future holds more trips back to see the people there and the city I’ve come to consider my second home.

How to survive in Rio when you’re broke

Ah Rio, of all the places I’ve traveled, and they’re not really that many, I love Brazil the most, and Rio is one of the most lovely places I’ve been to in this country.

View of Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro

I like to consider myself someone who keeps good track of my money and how I’m spending it… just kidding this is a total lie! So let me tell you how I ran out of money while spending a week in Rio de Janiero. And how I made it to the end of the week with just enough money to pay an uber for a ride to the airport.

First of all, I went into this situation knowing I didn’t have much money. I had just spent three months in Ecuador and had no way to make extra money, but my flights were already booked so I figured, hey I can survive a week in a hostel with not much food. Thankfully, said hostel provided breakfast each morning giving me one less meal to worry about during my stay.

All that being said, I’ll share with you some the things I did to keep from spending what little money I did have.

Book and pay for your hostel ahead of time. Arriving in Rio and already having a place to stay was really nice. I like to use when choosing where to stay, they usually have really good deals, and let you compare places to stay. It’s also a good idea to choose a place that will provide breakfast at no extra charge, like I said before it was nice to have one less meal to think about.

If you enjoy the beach, you can spend most of your time at the beach laying out or swimming, this is what I did, the beach is free and it’s beautiful.

Do a lot of walking. The majority of the most famous attractions in Rio are accessible by foot, with the exception of Christ the Redeemer which you can get to by bus or train. I went to Sugarloaf by foot and had no trouble walking. Just plan ahead as it can take around 45 minutes depending on what part of Copacabana beach you start. (I was staying two blocks from the beach so this may not apply to you)

Two of my roommates from the hostel and I in front of a sandcastle

Stay away from the restaurants and bars right on the beach. These places tend to be more expensive as they have the view and beach access. I tried to stick to places a few blocks away from the beach, or I just bought things from grocery stores I could prepare in my hostel.

Find the discounts. When visiting places like Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf it’s a good idea to check the websites first as they offer discounts to students no matter your citizenship and to Rio’s locals.

Christ the Redeemer

The only other advice I can give is to be watchful, Rio can be dangerous if you get into the wrong neighborhoods. The majority of the time through the people you will meet will be some of the nicest you’ve ever come in contact with so enjoy your time, have fun it’s Rio!



What is home?

Having trouble adjusting to the new normal is… well normal. After returning home from a long trip it’s hard not to go through culture shock, or feel as though no one wants to hear about your trip anymore. Didn’t I just travel to another country? Why is my life still exactly the same as before I left?

After returning home from my last trip, it was hard to get back into my old routine. My life went back to the way it had always been despite my having copacabana beach or the Galapagos Islands. My work routine became the same, my routine at home became the same. I felt as though I needed a change.

Now I know my life will always feel different each time I return from another country. The choice is mine wether or not I notice that change and decide to live with it.

First Solo Trip

Well here I am in Brazil! I am finally back to this beloved country after almost a year, man I love it here. I love the people, the views, and the defiantly the weather. After spending three months in Quito Ecuador, where it rained everyday the past month, it is nice to be somewhere hot and sunny. This current trip is going to take me to three different cities within three weeks, Campos, São Paulo, and finally Rio. Thankfully I already have places to stay in each of these places, and friends to meet with most of the time.

Solo travel can be a bit scary, especially when you don’t know the language. I’ve also heard it can be dangerous for women, but so far I have not had many problems. Thankfully I happened to already have friends here in Brazil, who speak English, from my previous travels here with groups. When I first arrived in Rio on Sunday, I was defiantly a little overwhelmed, I had never been in another country completely alone. But I managed to find a taxi, though I am still not quite sure if I was cheated on the price or not, then the right bus station and was on my way to Campos dos Goytacazes, a small city about four hours north of Rio. I spent a week there with my friends I had met two years before, seeing familiar faces was good, especially after the long trip and not being able to really have a conversation with anyone because of the language barrier.

Campos is defiantly not a tourist attraction, but I enjoyed it none the less. The city is about a forty-five minute drive from the beach. The weather is extremely hot during the day this time of year, but the evenings are perfect with a cool breeze, and the city is small enough you can see the stars at night. My first three days I stayed in Jardim do Allah Flat Service a nice hotel-like apartment place with a pool and free breakfast, the coffee was really good, my stay was totally worth the price. The people of campos, like most of the people you will meet in Brazil, are incredibly kind and hospitable. A friend of my friend let me stay in their home for three days without even knowing me. I am so thankful for the time I spent their, and can’t wait to go back. If you should find yourself in Campos for some reason, I recommend going to a park called Jardim São Benedito Praça Nilo Peçanha they have the best acai juice I have tried yet. If you don’t know what acai is then you are missing out, come to Brazil, try it.

While in Campos I had the chance to join my friend, who is an English teacher there, in his classes. Helping kids learn English is one of my dreams, and I believe what I will be doing the next time I come to Brazil.

Here are a few tips, with my limited experience, about solo travel in a country where you don’t speak the language:

If you don’t have uber yet, download it. I didn’t before because I grew up in a very small town and had my own car, uber was never useful for me. It’s nice because you can give directions without having to speak the language at all.

If you have to get a taxi, watch out for unmarked ones. I was in a situation with one of these, the taxi driver met me at the exit of the airport and walked me across the street, this should have been the first sign, then we got into a black car, by this time I was not very trusting of this guy, but I had been traveling for hours so I really didn’t care. Thankfully nothing bad happened, but it was an experience I will avoid in the future now that I know the signs to look for. Make sure the taxi you take is standing next to his cab and that it is yellow, in some cities white (São Paulo) or grey (Campos), and that it actually says taxi on it somewhere.

Book your hotels or hostels ahead of time, this is also mostly for language reasons. Also booking ahead of time when you about to head to a popular place, Copacabana for example, is a good idea as the hotels close to the beach fill up fast.

When traveling through Brazil it can be hard to determine the time needed sometimes buses take forever, and sometimes they are right about on time. This is why whenever I take a bus I will allow around two hours extra for travel, especially if I am on my way to the airport. This may mean you will be waiting in the airport extra time, but it is worth it to not miss your flight. 

When traveling in general I recommend taking as little luggage as possible. For this particular trip I am traveling with one backpack and a knapsack. I only use carry-on, which means I always have a backpack with me, but this also means I don’t have to worry about losing my stuff because it is always there with me. While I was living in Ecuador the past three months, I had a lot of clothing, probably too much. I sent my luggage home with a friend of mine so I wouldn’t have to carry around my entire life while I’m here. Turns out I had collected so much clothing and gifts for friends and family that I couldn’t pack everything I had. I ended up leaving about six outfits at my host family’s house. Right now I have about five outfits and one swimsuit, and I think I could have gotten by with less.

I am currently in Sao Paulo, the largest city in Brazil, spending time getting to know the city before heading a little further north to spend the week with another friend. I was fortunate enough to land a place to stay with a friend of a friend again, this time they are americans which is cool, no language barrier. I have not had the chance to see much of São Paulo as of yet, but today will be my day to explore one of the biggest cities in latin america.