Shine Time

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.

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. 

Loving Lisboa - First Reflections of GlobeKick Taurus 2016

We have arrived in Lisboa! As excited as I was to join the GlobeKick program, after meeting the people who lead the team, those taking this journey alongside me and the orientation into why we're all here and what we hope to gain - I know without a doubt that I am exactly where I meant to be. 

The values and goals of GlobeKick perfectly align with where I am in my life right now - having open eyes, open heart, and open mind as we approach this experience with enthusiasm and curiosity. We're all getting out of our comfort zones in order to see the world from a new perspective and to learn more about ourselves. 

To risk is to grow, to grow is to learn, to learn is to know yourself, to truly know yourself is to be happy

We're being challenged to spend time focusing inward - through yoga, meditation, and heartwork (questions and themes to personally ponder each week). 

Being with a group of 20 other people who are all focusing on bettering themselves and the world around them has already led to some great conversations and newly-formed friendships. It definitely takes a certain kind of person to pack up and move across the world and I feel honored to be among them, to learn from them, and to surround myself with creativity and positivity.

Now, more about the city and our setup here - 

Lisbon is the oldest city in western Europe - even predating Rome! It fully engulfs you - the arches, the castles, the cobblestone streets, I step out of my doorway and I'm transported back in time. It's breathtaking! It reminds us a bit of San Francisco being on the water, lots of hills and steps and even has a very similar bridge.

We all live in different apartments throughout the city that we share with 1 or 2 other people, I have an adorable apartment that I am in love with in the Alfama district - the oldest district in Lisbon. There are 2 other apartments in the area and the 6 of us have formed a little Alfama family - figuring out how to navigate to and from and the best restaurants in town.

We have a coworking space within the LX Factory called CoWork Lisboa. We have a dedicated room where we have 24/7 wi-fi, printer access, espresso and more. I'm excited to learn more about what everyone does - so far we have everything from working with BitCoins, grad school students, healthcare workings, many entrepreneurs running their own various businesses, freelance photographers, video editors, and bloggers. The CoWork space is in an artsy, reconstructed warehouse part of town - it reminds me a bit of Durham! There are shops and restaurants close by and we intend to try every one.

There's so much to learn, about this city and about myself. This is just the beginning of something truly great.

Some pictures of the apartment and strolls through the neighborhood below (many more to come!) and I'd like to leave you with this week's heartwork. These are the questions  we're reflecting on this week and I invite you to take some time to apply them to your own, personal journey, wherever you may be:

  • What is your intention for the next 3 months?
  • What does transformation look like for you?
  • What are you wanting to grow in yourself?
  • What are you willing to commit to and/or let go of in order to get there?

Love & Light to all and I look forward to sharing this journey with you!

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: 

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.

Beauty in the Beads

Everything about Vietnam was perfect from the very beginning. We entered the country by boat, at sunset - anyone who knows me knows this is pretty much my heaven. Growing up on the water, the 5-hour boat ride down the Mekong was a welcome departure from the hot city of Phnom Penh. I was so far away, yet cruising down the river felt like home.

I also discovered my new favorite way to enter a country - how cool to have to walk up a dock to get your passport stamped both to exit Cambodia and then a half mile later to enter Vietnam. I'll take that over a busy airport any day!

We arrived in Chau Doc at dusk, taking in the homes and people living along the river. We were quickly taken to our hotel up the mountain in the hopes of also catching the sunset over the rice fields which was a wild success. The hotel in Chau Doc was hands down our favorite. Individual terraced rooms overlooking the rice fields and the city below with the best view around. I loved my room - and so did my little gecko friend that would end up staying with me during my time there.

Our project in Chau Doc was to deliver a few more water filters and to supply materials and instructions to the women of the floating village to make and sell bracelets to earn extra income. A bit of background - when the projects first came in from Simla and Hands on Journeys she asked that I take the lead in learning the unique bracelet knots to teach the ladies. I'm not the most crafty person but how hard can knots be, right? HARD, well for me at least. I practiced and practiced and just could not seem to get it! So I made everyone else practice and luckily Shara and Natalie were able to get a few and Mick and Mike each made their own version of the knots with varying techniques. When I finally got my knot to stay during our training session I was overjoyed - you would have thought I won the lottery! Lucky for me, the ladies of the floating village have much more skill at knot tying than I do and they started whipping out bracelets right and left.

Sitting on the front porch of Nam's floating home, surrounded by friends that had become my traveling family and the ladies of the local village was much more than the craft time I had envisioned. These women had extra time and a yearning to provide for their family.

All it took was a few beads, a piece of string and a helping hand to empower this community.

Simla had told us that during the last trip, the materials provided $1,940 in profit from sales at the market. For comparison, most make $1-$2 a day in this village. The true pride came from creating and selling the product themselves which was much more powerful than anything we could give.

Chau Doc was where we had our first authentic Pho experience, and it didn't disappoint. We climbed mountains to watch the sun rising from the Pagoda and mountaintops, we toured the town and explored caves and local landmarks. We had a welcome break from the heat and enjoyed the infinity pool and also learned that little geckos can make a lot of noise. We learned new card games, and the losers did a few more pushups.

From there we ventured north and had a stop along the Mekong Delta, which was much more touristy than most our stops, but it was fun to see the gimmicks! Coconut Island which made delicious candies, a horse and buggy ride, authentic lunch and a boat ride down the river where poor Holden got stuck with the girls, and we sang everything from Spice Girls to Hakuna Matata. 

Chau Doc was the perfect introduction to Vietnam. From sunrise, to sunset we took in every bit of the beauty as we continued our journey.

What Happens When You Say Yes...Mexico House Build Part 1

What Happens When You Say Yes...Mexico House Build Part 1

A few weeks ago I packed by bag, drove down to San Diego and met a group of people who I would spend the weekend with in Mexico building a house and participating in community outreach programs. I only knew one other person (the trip leader Mike Sherbakov and I crossed paths in Cambodia while traveling) and I was excited to meet this new group of friends that had also said "yes!" to this opportunity...