Journey to Better Self

Travel Lessons Learned: Less & More

In less than a month I'll be off again exploring new countries and cultures around the world, and I couldn't be more excited! This year has been a bit of a whirlwind - I moved back to LA after spending a few months abroad, traveled for a month in Central America, decided to move to North County San Diego and am about to embark on a summer of travel with Europe being the first stop! I'll be visiting London, Greece, Italy, France, Germany, Luxembourg and maybe more! 

As travel becomes a regular part of my life, I am becoming more intentional about how I plan and experience this beautiful world of ours. This is not a week break from my routine, but rather my every day, with a few more passport stamps involved. 

First of all, there are some things I'd like to do LESS of:

  • Pack Less - I'd much rather wear the same tank top twice in a row than have to lug an extra bag around Europe. Bye Bye unneeded items! 
  • Plan Less - I have my flights to Europe and home from Europe planned, the rest I have either a loose itinerary or just an idea in mind about where I might want to go. I am excited to see where the experiences take me, knowing busses, train rides and even flights between European countries are cheap enough that I don't have to overthink.
  • Worry Less - I've now been in enough hostels, coffee shops, etc. to realize that people are generally GOOD. I still carry my little travel locks for valuables and am smart and safe about who i trust, but in general, being aware is plenty, there's no reason to stress about the unknown.

And there are some things which I would like to do MORE of:

  • Connect More: Living in 3 cities for a month each gave me the opportunity to truly connect with the people and the culture which made all the difference. Even if I'm in a city for a day or two, I aim to connect more with the local culture. 
  • As I'm writing this, I realize it align's perfectly with The Greatness Foundation's Goal to Be More. Do More. Give More. and I intend to do just that while traveling:
    • Be More: Continue to work on me - start the day with gratitude, take care of my body and my mind, know when I need some me-time to journal or just sit in a park and take in the experience. 
    • Do More: Stay connected and accountable to my friends and support back home on my health goals, business goals, and contribution goals. Have meaningful conversations with new friends and old along the way to motivate each other to not only set high goals but reach them, no matter where we are in the world. (Side note: I'm part of The Greatness Foundation's Inner Circle and encourage you to check it out or find a mastermind that you connect with! I've found it helpful to set goals with intention, have witnesses and accountability to those goals, and celebrate wins - big and small!) I'll also be continuing to build and launch The Nomad Scout as I roam! 
    • Give More: We're starting our time in Greece by working with a Syrian Refugee Camp in Athens and my goal is to find ways to give in the various cities and countries I'll be exploring. If anyone has recommendations or organizations they can introduce me to, that would be fabulous!

What do your summer plans hold? It doesn't have to be a big trip or major life change, but I encourage you to set some goals of your own for this month or perhaps the next 90 days.

Big changes can be scary. Believe me, there are plenty of days that are not all rainbows and sunshine, but following your heart and your intuition and making small changes to your routine or mindset can make a big difference in your happiness. 

Love you all and thank you for your continued support on this adventure called Life! 

Nothing to Do, Everything to Gain

When first telling friends and coworkers that I was quitting my sales job in LA and taking three months to travel with a wellness-focused, remote work program I received varied reactions. Some jealousy, some excitement, but mostly concern.

“But what are you going to do?” they would ask.

I responded that I was looking forward to finding out exactly that.

I had often thought about what I would spend my time on if I stopped living up to expectations I had set for myself in the workplace and among my friends. I wanted to be at everything, be the best at everything and not let anyone down. But I had forgotten if I even enjoyed it anymore as it was so routine it wasn't truly a choice in my mind but rather what I was supposed to do.

For the first time since I can remember I have days, weeks, months with no deadlines, no competing meetings or dinner plans, absolutely nothing that I HAVE to do.

I have complete control over my day-to-day and as I predicted, it has been a welcome reprieve and telling tale of where my passions lie.

I am rediscovering my creative side - writing, photography, creating quirky names for group events or offering advice on projects.

I am spending time learning, researching service organizations or reading interesting articles I had “saved for later.”

I am making the group yoga sessions and heartwork sessions a priority, not because I feel like I have to, but because I WANT to.

I am making “me time” a focus and exploring different parts of town, eclectic cafes or new parks.

I am reading more for pleasure (currently “The Book of Joy” - look it up!) and watching less mind numbing television that I used to use as a distraction at the end of a crazy day.

I’m making Skype calls with family and friends become the thing I plan my day around instead of trying to fit it in.

I am using this time to get back to the things that make me happy, that light me up, that make me shine. I am letting my priorities plan my day instead of my daily plans becoming my priorities.

I realize this is a luxury and that not everyone can clear their schedule and travel for three months within a wellness focused, supportive community, however, I feel so foolish for not even trying to slowly incorporate this into my life sooner.

Why was I running around with anxiety trying to accomplish everything others had wanted of me before I took care of myself? Perhaps this is the reason for the burnout that occurred in the first place.

I know I won’t stay in this blissful bubble forever, and when I’m back in the States and in a routine, I am committed to finding balance and making sure that the most important parts of my day are reflective of the most important parts of my life.

We only have so many years, so many months, so many days and hours to enjoy and live life to our highest potential, let’s make THAT the priority.

Valencia - The Journey Continues

We’ve made it to Spain! While it was bittersweet to leave Lisbon after making it our home, Spain has been a welcome change. I’m in love with it all - the food, the people, the apartments, the lifestyle, the language, the siesta time and espresso mornings. 

Our first night here was truly exceptional as we were invited to attend the annual town dinner in an outside suburb of Valencia. We got in our taxi’s and headed in an unknown direction, the home of a friend of a friend. We were immediately welcomed with open arms, hugs and cervezas as the locals practiced their English and we practiced our Spanish to converse. 

When they said town dinner, they weren’t kidding! The village came together (~1200 people) to have a catered meal together, long tables filled with family and friends. The dinner started at 10 pm and after a few hours of food and wine running on little sleep from our travel day from Lisbon, I’m bummed I didn’t make it to the live music (went on around 1 am), but I heard it was a blast!

Everyone we met was so welcoming, their love for their community and each other was apparent, and although we were far away, it felt like home. 

Our host Suzi and her friends welcomed us and made us feel at home in Valencia

The next day the celebration continued with a parade and city-wide festival. Mary and I hit the streets and watched with the locals. We didn’t quite understand the history or importance of all the costumes, but they were beautiful, and the city was vibrant with culture and excitement. That day we became the best Valencians (pronounced with a bit of lisp - Balenthains. They also say gracia-th vs. gracias!). 

While the travel is fantastic and a physical form of my time here, I'm also on an internal journey growing both personally and professionally.
 
Personally, this experience has been eye-opening and having such a dynamic, supportive, loving community alongside me is making all the difference. By now we all know each other pretty well. We know who the communicators are, who likes to organize things, who likes their alone time and who loves to always be in a conversation. We know pet peeves and hot topics, favorite foods and drink orders. 

We are all learning from each other constantly, and there is a line that has been blurred between friends, roommates, travel companions, co-workers (in the sense that we share a space, not that we work in the same industry), dinner dates, workout buddies, and family. A line I didn't realize was so present in my everyday life. 

I have to credit my roommate Jessika (The Petite Nomad) for bringing the realization of this line, and the absence of it within this program, to my attention. I'm telling y'all - the conversations are real here! 

There are intentional times that we dig deep and explore topics such as authenticity, being present, community, etc. and being together for those times makes it so easy and natural to be our authentic selves at every moment of the day. Whether we’re grabbing a cup of coffee or working on our separate projects, there are no walls up, no having to be one person at work and another at home because our lives have blended into one, larger experience. 

Experiencing this is helping me be more present and authentic with those outside of the program. I am no longer different things to different people, but the same, dynamic, multifaceted person to all. The yoga, the meditation, the real conversations have all allowed me to take a different look at myself and be able to better communication who I am and how I’m feeling without judgment. 

Professionally, I am inspired and allowed to be free and creative! Woo hoo!  I’m learning and absorbing as much as I can from my travel mates as some have their own businesses as a result of pursuing their passions. Each day is a learning process. I came into this thinking I’d work solo, perhaps freelance my way for a bit or create my own site and soon remembered that I more so like projects and consulting and working with people - valuable information to have when making my next move. The true digital nomad life can be quite lonely without having a network or team. 

I love being a storyteller, both long form and short form such as pictures with captions or quotes. I’m enjoying the fact that I can be inspired by these people and places and share that inspiration with others and tell the story of that moment in a way that is unique and my own. If I can find a way to work this into a future career, I'd be in heaven.

I was also forced (in a loving way, by GlobeKick) to take a look at not only what I enjoy, but what I’m good at. What skills do I have that may come more easily to me than others? Here's where you, my loving friends and family come in, those that know me better than most as I would love any and all feedback on where you think I excel. I would greatly appreciate your perspective as I begin to focus more fully on my career. 

Thank you all for your thoughts, texts, messages and for being wonderful you! I hope you are finding parts of my journey applicable to your every day. 

I challenge you to explore authenticity, to be the best version of you at all times - at work, at home, with best friends and strangers. 

Until next time - adios amigos! 

Finding Comfort out of my Comfort Zone

“Not all who wander are lost”

I am not lost. I’m quite the opposite actually, for the first time in a long time I am living my life with intention. I may not have a firm plan, and that scares a lot of people, but what I do have is the ability to learn and grow and create a life that is beautifully my own.

I could not have asked for a better program or place to be at this point in my life. When signing up for GlobeKick I knew it offered yoga classes, personal and professional development opportunities and a community that was all choosing to say yes to a brand new experience (even more so that this is GlobeKick’s first program). That was enough for me. I knew I needed a change and if I stayed in Southern California the chance of me taking the time I needed to rediscover who I am and what I want was slim to none. I would be in the same routine, with the same job offers tempting me to continue down that path.

Traveling overseas was intended to take me out of my comfort zone, but a funny thing happened. I’m in a new city, with a new language, with new food of course, but within this community, I am more comfortable than I’ve been in quite some time. 

I’m surrounded by authentic, motivated, intelligent, adventurous souls all here to learn and grow. We are in an environment that is allowing us to unapologetically be our true selves. 

The program is designed to intentionally foster this type of community. We’re asked the tough questions about ourselves, our intentions, our hopes and our dreams and challenged to give authentic answers. These conversations have traveled out of our co-work space and yoga dojo to restaurants and bars, living rooms and river walks. We’re challenging ourselves and each other personally and professionally and it’s a beautiful thing. 

I’ve been here just over two weeks and I’ve had more meaningful conversations than I can count. I’ve been held accountable to honestly think and speak about who I am and what I want my future to look like. Oh, and I just happen to be living in a beautiful country experiencing new adventures daily.

Many have asked me why I chose to travel with GlobeKick rather than travel on my own. At first, I didn’t have an answer other than it was way easier - they set up housing, co-work space, yoga classes, some sightseeing etc. I saw it as a soft-launch to solo travel.

What I now know is that I came here for the community, both the wonderful community of GlobeKick founders and staff that have intentionally formed a program to help others become the best versions of themselves and the community of GlobeKickers who said yes to this wonderful adventure and have reignited positivity and light to my journey.

Thank you all for the love and the continued support to follow my shine. 

But what is Greatness?

As part of my mission to Shine - to spend my time on things that light me up and to be able to share that light with others - I've been working on a few passion projects lately that I believe will truly make a difference. One of which is The Greatness Foundation! 

The Greatness Foundation has the mission to positively impact over one billion lives through three core values: we educate, we inspire, we empower.  

Since my post last week I've had several conversations around the word greatness.

I struggled with the word greatness for a LONG time. Even when helping proofread or come up with content, I understood the foundation's mission and goals, but I just couldn't wrap my head around what exactly greatness IS

When checking links for the site or an email or something or other, I came across the video labeled "The Secret of Greatness" which I strongly urge everyone to watch as it was the moment the lightbulb went off for me:

After watching the video I realized that I had been experiencing that space between settling and greatness in a big way. I had an amazing job working with my best friends, yet the more I traveled and met people doing extraordinary things, the more I felt like I too could, and should, be doing something more. 

Greatness isn't a level to be achieved based on a lifetime of actions, rather it's in those everyday actions that we can choose greatness.

The once overwhelming word is now present in my everyday decisions. Do I snooze the alarm or go for a walk to start my day? Do I watch TV or spend a few hours calling my relatives or visiting friends to make those relationships stronger? Do I say no to a new opportunity because it takes up a weekend with a bunch of people I don't know or do I commit knowing it will help change lives? 

By creating greater moments and intentionally elevating each day, I am creating a greater life - and man, does it feel good! 

What could we do in this world if we all lived up to our full potential? If we put our energy into what lights us up and we, in turn, share that with others?

I encourage you to visit the site - a work in progress with content and programs continually being added - and to take the pledge: http://thegreatnessfoundation.com/inspire/ 

Let's start the conversation, let's live with intention, let's #choosegreatness

 

 

Shine Strength

I let others get to me this week, the ones who don't understand and don't support that I am choosing to follow my heart and intuition and see where it leads. I thought I was prepared for the doubt, the questions insinuating I was foolish, but the more darkness that came my way, the less I sparkled with the light I am so longing to permanently possess. 

What was happening? My light is supposed to shine so bright that it lights up others! Why did I feel like I was burning out and shutting down? I had a mini-freakout. 

So what did I do? Well, I took a mixed (and maybe not the best) approach:

  • I had some wine and a good cry while texting a lifelong friend who was reminding me that it is hard, that many people won't understand, and we have to be OK with that. He also told me to snap out of it - I'm one of the lucky ones to have the courage and foresight to take this leap and to live my life with intention. I needed both the understanding and the tough love.
  • I surrounded myself with people and messages that light me up and bring positivity. I reach outed to my best friend who came over to laugh and help me pack, I read books with positive messages that encouraged this life choice and choosing happiness and I turned on some of my favorite tunes.
  • I spent some time in thought and wrote in my Gratitude Journal reminding myself of all that I have to be thankful for, past, present and future. My life is amazing. 

Before long, I felt so silly for letting myself get affected by the doubts of others. 

What I've learned this week is that it's a battle out there - a battle that I need to know how to arm myself for. I need to make sure that every day I am prepared to shine bright and share that light no matter what happens to come my way. 

The things I did to recover should be the things I do every morning to prepare. Read positive, encouraging messages, spend time in some form of thought and meditation being grateful and setting intentions for the day and surround myself with people and vibes that make me shine. 

Pushing Past the Fear

Y'all, it has been a WEEK. A week filled with laughter and tears and emotions of all sorts as I shared my decision to take a step out of my 9-5 life here in California and travel in pursuit of what makes me shine.

I'm a planner, I'm a do-er, and I'm having to intentionally stop myself from thinking too far ahead into the future because. For the first time in my life, I have the chance to just be and to live with intent. I want to treasure this gift, to fully appreciate that I am choosing my own path towards happiness. But deep down, I have a confession -  the fact that I don't know exactly what that path looks like and where it will lead is mildly terrifying.

I came back to one of my favorite quotes today and it helped ease the fleeting moments of fear:

Maybe the journey isn't so much about becoming anything. Maybe it's about unbecoming everything that isn't really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.

It is much less terrifying when I realize that I am not responsible for becoming anything other than my true self. Already this year I have had moments of clarity where I remember - this is who I am, this is what brings me joy, this is what I love to do, this is what makes me shine.

This journey is about continuing to find those moments and to use them to build a life that I LOVE. To surround myself with others who share that light, and to pass it on to those who don't.

Thank you for the support as I continue this wild adventure into the unknown.

 

Taking the Leap

This year has been the year of saying “YES” and letting my heart and soul guide me towards what bring me joy, towards the people and experiences that make me truly happy. It all started with “Do More of What Makes you Sparkle” which has developed into my mission to Shine: to live a life that lights me up and to share that light with others.

I’ve come to realize that we have this one life in a big beautiful world and that there’s no guarantee that we’ll have the time later to do all the things we really, truly want to do right now. I started to ask myself what was holding me back from traveling more, writing more, telling more of the world’s stories of the beautiful people and places that I encounter, and the answer was absolutely nothing.

And so, I am taking the leap. I’m resigning from my job and I’ll be going overseas with a program called GlobeKick to travel, write, learn and most of all LIVE. I’m expecting nothing and accepting everything that comes my way as I continue to follow my heart and take advantage of all that this life has to offer.

I don’t know exactly how my story will unfold, but stay tuned, this chapter is going to be pretty spectacular.

Do More of What Makes You Sparkle

Do More of What Makes You Sparkle

My sweet friend Jordan gave me a valentine card this weekend with the simple message "Do more of what makes you sparkle" which is exactly what I intend to do.

There is so much that this world had to offer and you don't have to look very far to find a new adventure, to find something that makes you shine.

This weekend I'm so excited to participate in a House Build in Ensenada, Mexico...

The Start of Something Good

The Start of Something Good
“In a moment, everything can change and in a moment, you can change everything” - Daniel Wallace  

Have you ever had a moment that shifted your entire perspective? Like in the movies where the character finally catches on to something the audience has seen the whole time - a love they almost let slip by or a decision they should have made long ago. ("Notting Hill" anyone?!) In real life, these moments have much less dramatic background music and if you're not careful, can slip by unnoticed.

For me, that one moment happened a few weeks ago.