The Year of Kicking Ass

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Each year I set a theme that guides the decisions I make for the year and helps me stay on track. Some would call it a mantra but I’m not so fussy, for me it’s more of a reminder of what I want my life to be. It’s so easy to get caught up and things other people think I should do and what I really want to do.

The first year I did this was 2010, the year I decided to quit my job, end my long-term relationship and sell all my things to buy a ticket to Mexico. In 2010 it was the Year of Being Fearless. I clung to that theme every time I was scared about leaving and it gave me comfort. 2013 was The Year of Less when I got rid of things that were getting in my way, and that year I also met Dave.

2014 was The Year of Focus, I spent time on things that I had forgotten I loved, and at the end of the year I encouraged Dave to leave a job that was robbing his soul and taking a gigantic leap to begin our Loka Life.

Dave and Ayngelina

I didn’t assign a theme to 2015 and it’s rather telling because our lives were monopolized by taking our pop-up Loka Snacks in the back of a dive bar to a bricks and mortar restaurant. It was The Year of Loka and in 2015 I was able to take everything I had learned from my unconventional life and help Dave follow his own dream.

On social media we probably looked like a great success, his instagram was filled with beautiful images of food, we were popping up all over the city at events, building our name and looking for an investor.

But it was hard.

There were many times Dave wondered if he was doing the right thing. Dark nights in February when no one showed up because of snowstorms and we would work all night to take home $19.

He was worried about money and bills, and during those times I had to step in and be brave enough for both of us, insisting that we would find a way. We met with investors who seemed promising but then wanting something different and making Dave feel like his vision was somehow flawed.

Dave Mottershall Instagram

In his moments of self doubt I dug deep, putting aside any worries I had because there was no room for them. In my heart I knew he deserved a restaurant, that he needed a venue for his perspective of Canadian food, that he’d never be happy working anywhere else.

That was unacceptable to me. All I wanted for us was just to be happy.

So we worked harder and longer. Every morning we woke up to errands for Loka and we ended every night talking about what needed to be done the next day. We took jobs we didn’t want to do so we could pay the rent and keep going. We stopped talking to people who didn’t understand the vision. It was about survival, knowing eventually it would pay off.

And it happened. 

In the Spring we found someone who wanted to help with our vision and in July we successfully raised over $40,000 on Kickstarter. And on November 18th we opened Loka to the public.

It will likely be one of my proudest accomplishments in life and when I see Dave in the kitchen I know that every single day in 2015 was worth it.

So now onto 2016!

We have an ambitious goal for Loka to be one of the best new restaurants in Canada, which means Dave will be at the restaurant every day it’s open. I’ll continue to be at Loka often but we also have ambitious goals for this site and continuing to grow. It’s also time for me to get back to my passion of travel, food and sharing stories from around the world. There’s a lot on our plate.

We have big dreams. 2016 is all about kicking ass. But that means we need to be as productive and prepared as possible. In 2015 we sacrificed our health, sleep and mental well-being and now we need to get back on track.

In order for us to achieve everything we want we need to be healthier, well rested and inspired.

Love this quote about new beginnings: every day is a new beginning. Treat it that way. Stay away from what might have been and look at what can be.

That sounds like a daunting task but I love the approach Betsy and Warren Talbot take from An Uncluttered Life. They choose two-week sprints to change a habit so instead of saying beginning January 1 we’re taking time to eat breakfast, go to the gym, eat more vegetables, sleep more, drink green smoothies, spend time not working every single day we choose one thing to focus on every two weeks.

I think our first week should be to make time to eat breakfast every morning. Sadly we often don’t do this and breakfast is so important. But to kick ass you need fuel so if 2016 is the year of kicking ass we need to start the day with breakfast.

Let’s start there and see how 2016 goes.

Join the Conversation

  1. Library Cate says:

    Six years ago on my first day on the job, at my first job in Nova Scotia, I was lucky enough to meet your wonderful sister. On that day she was wearing a cute pastel sundress. When I commented that I liked the dress, the woman who was showing me the ropes said , “You have to ask her where she got it!” . I was then told that she’d inherited the adorable dress when her adventurous sister gave away her clothing, sold all her belongings, left her successful job in the big city and packed up to travel the world. I was dumbfounded, curious and a tad envious. I had a million questions! Why would anyone do such a thing, and at such a young age, how random, and yet how exciting all at the same time.

    Over the years I have checked in with your blog and I always ask your sister how you are doing and where you have traveled. My curiosity about why you did what you did, how you made it work so successfully, and my fear for your safety while traveling alone, has gradually morphed into admiration and envy. While I have started to take baby steps outside my comfort zone, dipping my toes into waters I normally would avoid at all costs, I am still a newbie to following my heart and living the dream. The dream of selling the house and furniture, of leaving the daily grind to travel the world , learning new languages, writing more books, and house sitting as we go, is still just that… a dream way off in the future. Until then though, I will continue to follow your journey, be inspired by your courage and remind myself to change “I wish” to “I will”. Thank you, Ayngelina

  2. Seems like 2015 was a big year for you and Dave. If I lived anywhere near Toronto I’d definitely check out Loka. Here’s to kicking ass and more great travels and food in 2016.

  3. I really like the idea of ‘naming’ the year. I hope 2016 is gonna be a great year for you guys – it sounds like it will. And all the best with Loka. If I’m ever in the neighbourhood I’ll stop by 🙂

  4. Stephanie - The Travel Chica says:

    Have you read Gretchin Rubin’s book on habits? It provided a lot of insight and also pointed out that people are different so we respond to different things when it comes to habits.

  5. Ângela Goldstein says:

    Hey, my dear!
    I really do hope 2016 is your year of kicking ass, and wish you and Dave all the best and a lot of success!!! I also hope to have a chance to hop on a plane to Canada and that we can share a meal at Loka!

  6. So stoked for you two and happy that your positivity, belief, and fortitude paid off and you could open up a place of your passion to the public. Excited to see what 2016 holds!

  7. Ayngelina! This is such a great post — kick ass in fact. As a relatively new reader of your blog I’ve watched you guys focus over the past year and it looked glamorous with undertones of blood sweat and tears. I’m so glad all your work paid off. You guys rock and I’m stocked that you’ll start eating breakfast again. Let me know if you want any smoothie recipes, this is the easy/lazy way my partner and I ensure we eat a liquid breakfast every morning. Next time I’m in Toronto, I’d love to visit Loka.

  8. Wow.. Very inspirational. Taking a leap of faith and living your dreams is what it’s all about and you both had the courage to take that step! I love feel good stories like these. I wish your new restaurant a success and how can it not be when the owners have such great attitudes and work ethic. Good luck.

    P.S. I love the Idea about giving each year a name, like this year it’s your “Year of Kicking Ass.” It gives 2016 a mission. Sounds like it will be a busy year for you. Best of luck to you both.

  9. Serendipity Tess says:

    Freaky! I have just discovered your blog and stumbled upon this post. I name my years too. 2015 was the year of Change. And boy…it was. Year 2016 is the year of Authenticity. 🙂 Good luck with your plans for this year 🙂 I love your blog!

  10. Wow.. Very inspirational. Taking a leap of faith and living your dreams is what it’s all about and you both had the courage to take that step! I love feel good stories like these. I wish your new restaurant a success and how can it not be when the owners have such great attitudes and work ethic. Good luck.

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