Dream Chaser – Part 1

I wouldn’t call myself a “dreamer”. I’m not one that daydreams very often about going places or becoming things, and over the years I’ve even found myself getting pretty complacent when it comes to setting goals and challenging myself to keep growing as a person.

But for as long as I can remember, I have had one dream.


When I was 17 years old, one of the Les Mills instructors at my gym lent me some of her instructional DVDs for BodyAttack so that I could watch them and see how they learned choreography. I remember taking the stairs two at a time and sitting cross-legged on the carpeted floor in my parent’s bedroom (for some reason our only working DVD player was upstairs in their bedroom at that time), popping the DVD in and gaping at the TV as I laid eyes on the BodyAttack program director and master trainers for the first time.

They were perfect.


I remember being absolutely transfixed with the entire class; I sat there and watched it from start to finish. I drank in every detail: what the participants in the class were wearing, the lighting in the room, the water bottles off to the side. Everything. I had no idea at that point that I would ever succeed in becoming a Les Mills instructor, let alone that I would ever have the opportunity to be one of those people in the masterclass.

Fast forward a year later, and my then “dream” of becoming a Les Mills instructor came true. I went for BodyStep training shortly after my 18th birthday and received my own copies of the instructional DVDs to keep. I watched those things over and over; so many times I memorized the dialogue between the presenters. I knew every affliction of their voices, when they cleared their throats, when they were going to laugh.

A little creepy when I look back in retrospect!

My path with Les Mills continued onwards and upwards as I’ve described many times on this blog. I fell more and more in love with the company, with our programs and with the process with every passing month and year that went by. I started to feel like I had found my purpose; what I was put on this earth to do.

I’m not really sure when the dream to travel to New Zealand was born. It kind of emerged over the course of so many conferences, so many years of exposure to these amazing people and programs, little tidbits of New Zealand culture woven into trainings and workshops and presentations. When you factor in the vacation time, the costs and the registration for the filmings, the dream to travel to New Zealand and attend the quarterly filmings of our instructional DVDs seemed about as likely to happen as a trip to the moon.

We got close a couple of times. About two years ago, it looked like the trip may develop. A group of my friends and I got serious about looking into the costs and the time to make the trip. The travel agent was the bearer of bad news. It was thousands of dollars for the flights, and it would take over a week of vacation for sure to get down there and really enjoy the country. We seriously looked into the trip twice, but wrote it off each time because it just wasn’t feasible.

Fast forward a few more years, and in the era of social media, I was starting to see more and more instructors take the leap, get on the airplane and make the trip to New Zealand for filming. Every time that someone made the leap and went, my heart swelled for them. I was so happy to see our Canadian instructors go, and each one of them came back with the most full heart and happy soul. The dream was itching in the back of my mind.

I never in a million years considered going to New Zealand in 2016. It’s been a crazy year for travel. I’ve been to Vegas and on a huge 2+ week honeymoon all over Europe this year, so I definitely wasn’t planning on any more big trips. Until the Summer.

It was Sunday July 24th and Matt and I were on a Go Train into Toronto to watch a Blue Jays game with my mom and dad. We couldn’t get seats together, so my mom and I sat in one foursome and my Dad and Matt sat in a separate foursome talking about pumps (yawn). Out of absolutely nowhere, I found myself blurting out “I think I’m going to go to New Zealand this Fall. On my own”. To my absolute surprise, my mom wasn’t shocked at all; she nodded appreciatively and said “I would consider going too, if you would have me come with you.”

Just as quickly as the thought came, it was gone. Evaporated into an afternoon in the sun drinking Iced Capps and eating foot-long hot dogs. I didn’t think about New Zealand again for at least another month.

As Summer drew to a close, the thought bubbled up again. I (once again!) pulled up the accommodations and the flight information that I had looked at so many times. Looked at options to use my Visa and my Aeroplan points, looked at options to stay in an apartment-style hotel instead of a full-service one. And for some reason, this time, it seemed to make sense. We had some money from our wedding that Matt had earmarked for me to use on something or other (he bought a $3,000 canoe, don’t feel too bad for the guy!! ;-)), the flights made sense with when I needed to be in Auckland for the filmings, and the timing worked perfectly, being right over Canadian Thanksgiving weekend which gave me an extra day there.

I knew things were different this time when I actually booked the hotel. It was a Saturday morning before I went out the door to teach my BodyAttack class, and hitting “Book” on Expedia sent this huge rush of adrenaline through my entire body. It was probably one of the most energetic classes of all time!

There was full cancellation insurance on the hotel, so I wasn’t too concerned about changing my mind. It was the flights that really scared me. I got my Dad’s travel agent looking into options for the flights and anxiety started to set in. How could I do this? Me, the terrified flier. Sit on a plane for 13 hours? Surely I would die of a heart attack. I started to feel sick to my stomach whenever I thought about it.

I changed my mind at least 15 times. I actually sent an email to the travel agent telling her thanks, but sorry (once again), I can’t do it this time. Too much money, too much time away, too far to travel. My mom was all in to go; all she needed was the okay from me to book her trip. I couldn’t give her the okay, my anxiety was sky-high.

It was Matt that made the difference. He was all over me. “Why wouldn’t you go? For what reason? Because you’re scared of flying? You need to do this now, this is the time. Stop thinking and book it. Now.” I went back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

And then one afternoon, in a sudden rush of courage, I typed the email to the travel agent, closed my eyes and hit Send before I could change my mind.

“I’d like to proceed with booking – please go forward with charging my credit card.”


The second I sent it, I was flooded with regret, panic, anxiety. What have I done, I can’t afford this, I can’t survive the flight, I can’t afford the time away from home, from work. Mistake, mistake, mistake.

Before I could change my mind, the travel agent replied with my tickets. It was done, booked. I was going. My mom was shortly behind me. And then it was done. We were going to New Zealand for filmings. For filmings!

At some point, my panic and anxiety transitioned into jittery, nervous energy and excitement. I still had no idea how I was going to survive the flights. But I knew what was waiting for me on the other side, and I was flooded with hope that I would get there and get to experience it all. The hard part was over, now I just had to make it happen.

Stay tuned for Part 2 in this  mini “Dream Chaser” series!






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