My Journey

Tanja KnappNo more excuses

The only constant in life is change.

This was the hardest piece I ever had to write at least that’s what it felt like. How do you convert a journey of 38 years into a reasonable length and interesting website post? The first version was kind of boring and did not represent the excitement in my life at all. The second version was 4.000 words long and caused a cramp in my hand after scrolling thru it on my laptop. I figured you are a busy person and will not likely put the time in to read it. I had to get rid of the adventurous part where I describe how my siblings and I perfected the skill of splitting a bag of potato chips into three equal parts. What bribe was acceptable to me so that I would ride one of my sisters strong-minded horses. So here are the answers to some of the questions you might have about me.

Where does your journey start?

On a farm in Germany. Farm life was not always easy. Instead of buying the fancy stuff from the supermarket, my grandfather urged us to eat the vegetables and fruits from his garden, get preserves from the cellar, eggs from the hen house and meat from the freezer which was stuffed with cuts of our in house slaughtered pigs.

A farm adapted exercise program consisted of collecting and lifting rocks onto the shovel of a tractor while my younger brother was driving it (to be honest my parents made sure that everyone got their fair share of driving time). We were separating seedling potatoes that had grown germ buds in pleasant anticipation of the approaching spring, and compressed the corn in the silo by trampling and sliding on it with plastic bags.

We had compost in the garden and an old bathtub barrel to collect rainwater (which was turned into a nursery for polliwogs in late spring). We had a barn full of straw. Cats, dogs, horses and a family of four generations under one roof were all part of the reality I grew up with.

Where did your path take you?

My parents never made plans for their children’s life. With such a solid family as an anchor it was only a matter of time when I asked where the airplanes high up in the sky could possibly go. Somehow the brilliant idea settled in my mind that working in the hospitality industry might be a great way to explore the World while earning money as I went. And then the magic took place. Coincidence after coincidence washed me ashore the greatest places. And every new destination would open the door to the next destination. I learnt from the best:

  • How to make people happy at Disney World in Florida.

  • Excellent guest service skills at the Carlton Hotel St. Moritz.

  • Time to give up or you never gonna learn to speak French in Montpellier in South France.

  • Endearing, unique and high quality gourmet catering with Lufthansa and Kaefer Gourmet Catering in Germany

  • The secrets of successful marketing and communications at IMK Berlin

  • How to acquire sponsors and conduct travel shows at n-TV Berlin

  • The creation and organization of kick-ass events and promotions at BeFrank in Berlin, FCBi in Hamburg and ARD Programmdirektion in Munich

What brought you to Canada?

An early mid life crisis. I had everything a valued member of the German society needed. Job, apartment, car and a well constructed insurance package. I was able to pay my bills but couldn’t afford to travel. My itchy feet struck again and made me quit my well-settled German life. In Vancouver I caught the laid back West Coast bug, discovered that my soul mate was already waiting for me and learnt the most important lesson of my life.

What life lesson did you learn in Canada?

Health and happiness are not a given right. Abnormal cells call my cervix their home. My doctor eases me with the words: “Take good care of yourself and your immune system might take care of the issue.” I couldn’t have been more confused. I was aware that my body has the ability to heal minor cuts and bruises even repair a broken bone over time but abnormal cells?

I analyze, gather and investigate. I learn that some cancer cells feed on simple carbohydrates. Suddenly I realize, that my abnormal cells might like the way I eat. I summarize and commit to new health goals. I exercise, eat well, cook and bake my own food.

Where did your journey take you from there?

And you just might suspect what happens next. Coincidence strikes again. The hotel I work at closes down. If I want to stay in Canada I’m “forced” to apply for permanent residency. Fortunately my working experience in the hospitality industry makes that quite easy and all of a sudden I am allowed to study. That is where my life takes the path to become a R.H.N. (Registered Holistic Nutritionist). I enroll at CSNN Vancouver, Canada’s largest and leading school of holistic nutrition.   After a comprehensive natural nutrition diploma program I’m now certified to educate individuals about the health benefits of natural nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

Where are you now?

Everyday that I am in Canada I think it can’t get any better than that. My life is about to peak. I’m happy. All the teachers in my life made me the person I am today. I think we should look at life like the game Super Mario. Every level is teaching us a lesson and when we got it right the door to the next level opens.

  • I grew up in the Garden of Eden with the most nutritious food. But only today I see the value it has to health and appreciate the work and commitment it takes to be a farmer and gardener.

  • I gained 20 pounds when I was 21 years old due to a processed food diet in Florida. Fifteen years later I finally understand what was happening and lose 15 pounds after I was alerted to think about nutrition and health.

  • I travel the World. I’m always amazed at how many different ways of living a perfect life exist. There is no wrong or right. It all depends on the point of view.

  • I experience that happiness requires health. Health depends on many things and I have to explore what is good for me. What’s good for others, might not work for me. I realized that milk promotes mucus, that I drank coffee out of habit, that high carbohydrate meals made me tired and caused brain fog. Now I am on my very own quest to find out what makes me stronger so I can run faster. There is no diet that fits all. We are all unique, so our diets should be.

  • If something doesn’t make you happy or healthy than you have to change it. I’m tired of excuses. My own and the excuses of others. Don’t complain about things if you’re not going to make it better. You have to take your health into your own hands. To spread ideas and suggestions based on my own experience, education and knowledge gained, I created MakingErnst.com.

Where are you going from here?

Who knows what life brings? For now I am new to athletic swimming and Word Press. I will run my third half marathon this year. If I get my hand on a road bike, I might think about taking part in a sprint triathlon. I still have to figure out a lot of things. For instance what does it take to kick abnormal cells out of my cervix? Why are my sinuses blogged? Why do my taste buds get so excited in anticipation of cinnamon buns or poutine? Does my cat think I am a cat, too? The universe is full of new things to explore. Let’s get to the next level of our own Super Mario Land (or should I call it Ms. Ernst Land?) – Autumn 2013

Ms. Ernst Land Update Autumn 2015

I have a road bike. I participated in three sprint triathlons so far. In the last one I came in first in my age group (WHAT? I know, hey?). I also made it to the finish line of my first full marathon with exhausting 42km. I evicted the abnormal cells in my cervix. What made them leave? I can’t say for 100%. I feel it was a combination of all the positive changes I made. I had my first free sinuses experience during my first juice cleanse and the second one over a year later during an Ayahuasca retreat in the jungle of Peru, which was amazing and life-changing.

Top priorities on my bucket-list  

  • Getting stronger – finishing a half-ironman (June 2016)
  • Personal growth – discovering more mysteries of life
  • Taking responsibility – becoming a change role model
  • Traveling, traveling, traveling – Call me if you need a partner in crime for exciting self-experiements
  • Re-connecting to old friends and making new friends
  • Becoming an inspiring blogger