Live More Happy
Living Loving and Traveling the World
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I needed a break.

I took a break from blogging and from social media. I deleted the apps from my phone and made all of my accounts private.

I thought I needed to be public in order to keep myself employed. Working for myself the last 7 years I have relied heavily on social media as the main way I have marketed my services, my company and kept a steady stream of clients and freelance work.

I am happy to say that taking a break has allowed me to build my business bigger and better. I have more clients and work than I know what to do with.

With the free time I have saved from being on social media and working on my profiles, I have read more books, listened to more podcasts and had more real conversations with friends.

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Instead of being on my phone, feeling the need to post at peak posting times, I am present in conversations, actively listening and not so obsessed with needing to be engaged with the community I worked so hard to build.

I love the community I built online! I love every single one of you who read my posts, visit my blog and give me so much in return for my open hearted sharing.

I am in awe and complete gratitude every time I open up and receive an outpouring of love and support. That is why I am sharing this with you now.

What I am trying to say is that it is nice to step away once in a while and realize its a bonus, but not necessary.

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I see the travel blogger who spends more time taking the perfect selfie for their instagram than enjoying the magic of the moment they are in.

I see the girl with a yoga clothing company who spends more time picking the perfect filter and hashtags than doing yoga or meditating. #Integrity #LiveAuthentic #Namaste but #CantTouchYourToes

I see the picture perfect couple who set up a tripod on their date night and photoshop their tender moments so they can prove to everyone online how special and romantic their relationship is.

I see the coach who has something powerful to share but can’t post just words without an attractive selfie to go with it.

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I’m not trying to say I’m better than anyone, in fact I am admitting I have a social media problem too, which is why I wanted to take a break and put energy into BEING what I want to be, not just posting about it. We are NOT who we post we are. Our online personas are just that.

So give yourself a break.  Don’t stress about the gram, about the tags, about your followers or if you are looking or sounding as good as someone else because chances are they are trying much harder than you to look that way. Just enjoy YOUR life. Put the apps away and be present in your life.
No one really wants to see a photo of your tacos anyways.

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Giving back is so hot right now. Seems like some of the biggest brands out there are making it big off their claims of giving back and making a difference. 

I love this change in marketing trends, especially since my company, LMH Promotions focuses on social good business and for-purpose marketing and branding campaigns. (Fundraising, cause awareness, community building) I love seeing the consumer demand to see the impact their purchase is making. I love knowing that people really care. 

Of course there’s the brands that take advantage and claim they are making a difference while selling a totally toxic product (*cough cough*, Ronald McDonald, PEPSI Refresh, Coke RED, all the cancer causing products that rep PINK RIBBONS?)

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Now we are seeing a whole bunch of companies that “give back” because, lets face it, they have to now! (Woo hoo!) 

But does that mean that companies should be promoting their product and pushing it with a purpose just because its catchy or it fits their product or message? 

Many of the brands I have helped launch or support have started their product BECAUSE they saw a need. TOMS started because Blake saw the children in Argentina needed shoes. Anna Dodson started Peruvian Hearts scholarships for the orphanage she was adopted from in Cusco. I started hosting fundraising campaigns after seeing firsthand the lack of educational resources while traveling through the gorgeous, developing world. 

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I’m feeling hopeful for the future of consumerism because brands are being forced to give a shit and give back. 

Lets just not forget to hold these companies accountable. I know from first hand experience of a give back company that claims all over their site that their products are made in Costa Rica but sent their photographer to El Salvador where they moved their production years ago to save on costs. I saw the photos of their production facility and it was pretty grim. 

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There’s companies that come up with a product to support a popular cause, even though they have no personal connection to it. 

Where is the integrity in these situations? 

Does it even matter? 

If giving back is trendy, then does that mean we are becoming better as a whole society? If the good is being done does it matter why? 

Maybe not.

Just sharing my observations. Lets hear yours.

How Do I afford to travel?

I get that question often and Im sure people wonder it a lot more than I hear.

To sum it up, here is a conversation I had tuesday night.

Facebook Friend: What is the secret? How do I get to be like you and travel all the time.

ME: Lots of sacrifice!! No secret

FF: Ok. I want to do the same. I’m ready to flee!!!

ME: Don’t you have a dog? That’s a serious travel killer. My pets are low maintenance.

I rent my place on airbnb when I leave so it doesn’t cost me to be gone. And I don’t have stability. Never have so I don’t need it now… Most people need to have comfort and plans and nice things, I only need adventure.

FF: I do have a bulldog. Yeah I hear you. May I ask a personal question? What do you do for income?

ME: I have multiple airbnb properties I manage now

And I do marketing consulting

So I can work abroad

Writing, photography, video, social media, branding

And I will trade those services while I travel at hotels and stuff

FF: You rock!!!!! I want to be you when I grow up!

ME: Awww you can do it! Start Tomorrow!

Couchsurfing and airbnb is great for finding places to stay with locals for cheap. Skyscanner is a great place to find cheap flights as well as  blogs for finding flight deals or airline glitches. (Had an around the world ticket for $300 last fall!)

FF: That is amazing. Since I started my jewelry line I’ve decided I want to travel the world to find ocean makings for my jewelry.

ME: What a great idea!! DO IT!

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That was the exact conversation. As I wrote it out to her I thought to myself, I should blog about this.

This conversation just shows that travel and freedom and abundance is totally available. I am not wealthy or from money, I have no “sponsor” and I have a lot of responsibility and relationships in my life. It is a juggle and it is not for everyone but it CAN BE if that is your choice.

My friend didn’t write me because she was really that curious how I made money, she wanted to get confirmation that she could do it too. 

Maybe you need that confirmation too.

Go do it.

Find a cheap flight somewhere you have always wanted to go. Read a few blogs while you pack and just GO. You will feel so uncomfortable and out of place in a city where no one speaks your language. You have to figure out a map to find the right train to your cheap hostel for the night where you might meet some cool Germans who heard about this waterfall that isn’t on any tourist maps but apparently theres a rope swing and a rad view. You will have an amazing time but wont instagram it because you don’t have service and you are having too much fun anyways. Until later you are on the train again by yourself, on to the next town, feeling lonely and uneasy and the bread roll you bought to last you the day is starting to get stale and you wish you at least had wifi so you could instagram how much fun you were just having. You think about the past and home as you look out the window and see a totally different world outside rushing past you.

Its a completely different world and it creates a completely different you.

That is the adventure and the type of travel I love.

So what about that sacrifice I mentioned to my friend? The lack of stability?

Its true. The travel life costs more than money.

I have to work twice as hard when I am home to catch up with meetings, with friends, with family, with myself. I am always in a state of playing catch up. It costs me a lot of free time. I think most people take that for granted, not realizing that the hours spent shopping or on Netflix or on games, could be spent scheming your next adventure or the way to pay for it.

Travel can cost you relationships. I am always missing something, someone, somewhere. The first month of my new relationship was long distance because I was in Colombia and Nicaragua, two weeks after we got serious. Good thing he likes me!

I’m always living out of a suitcase, sometimes between two suitcases. One will be packed with regular every day clothes with a nice outfit for dinner and meetings and looking professional, the other one packed with hiking boots, bikinis & those zip off shorts/pants (yes, I own those.) This might sound awesome but it can feel like my life is in compartments and I never feel settled. I’ve had to create a lot of systems and stay very organized. 

For business abroad, I use the organization, communication and productivity tools like Google Drive, Rescue Time, Alfred, Trello and Skype. I have a plan with Boingo, a premium global Wi-Fi provider so I can work between adventures, especially airports and layovers. I have learned to be self disciplined and get stuff done wherever and whenever possible.

Okay I promise not to talk about the boring logistics in the crazy tight rope walk that can be my travel lifestyle if you promise to stop making excuses for yourself and just GO. 

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I haven’t been home in San Diego a full month and here I am in the Mayan Riviera in the Yucatan,  Mexico, on a completely spontaneous and unplanned trip.

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Monday I was heading to Vegas, working as a social media and event coordinator for a client at the Consumer Electronics Show for four days, when my friend asked me to come to Playa Del Carmen with her for the BPM music festival. It was way too last minute, way out of my budget and totally inconvenient.

She promised a free place to stay and the flight came from her stockpile of air miles from her even busier travel lifestyle. (Can you believe I have friends who travel MORE than me?)  I had no choice but to say yes.

Then panic hit me. Its always there, the anxiety and racing thoughts of all the shoulds and the responsibilities I am constantly taking on.

“I have so much to do.”

“I just got back from a major trip”

“I’m being irresponsible”

I had to answer all of these questions and doubts in my mind with what was being said in my heart.

“Just Go.”

I truly believe these opportunities open up for a reason. There is no accident my friend was in need of someone to come with her at the same time I was feeling the most pressure I have felt (from myself) in years.

Launching my second business, Givebackpackers, has been one of the most exciting and terrifying experiences of my life.  I am not just a consultant for a project or working for a specific campaign or event. Its entirely on me. However, its the first time I have had a business partner, and so its not entirely mine.

Working, traveling and having a very close friendship with someone is a wonderful and delicate situation. I love working with Krissy, I love traveling with her and seeing our dream come to life. We are living our purpose together. Helping people, while sharing the stories and creating a community of travelers with purpose, is the most rewarding thing either of us have ever done. Its also the most challenging.

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Having a business partner is like getting married. Both of those things have terrified me more than anything because of the risk of loss, heartache and betrayal. You have to trust completely, be open and honest and WORK on the communication, with patience, love and commitment.  I was finally willing to give the marriage thing a try a year ago and the whole thing crumbled around me leaving me with this feeling of absolute loss of control over my own life. It’s been an interesting year of examining my broken heart, my loss of all trust and what I learned from it. I want to throw myself back into that space of being open and trusting and glad I have a “wife” like Krissy to live this amazing life with. ;)

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I’m the kind of person that pours my heart and soul into something, weather it is my work, my volunteering or my partner, I want to give the best and deepest parts of myself but find myself hurt when I don’t get the same in return or things don’t work out like I planned. Thats one reason my new years resolution for 2015 was No Expectations.

This brings me to the Yucatan. While I was in Bali last month I kept thinking to myself, “This place is great, but its so far away and so touristy. I really love the Yucatan best.”

I thought this several times, knowing that I wanted to come back here and revisit the place I spent a few weeks backpacking in 2013. It was calling my heart and then the opportunity arose, completely unplanned and unexpected.

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I haven’t planned out the next week. My girlfriend only stayed the weekend and went back to LA for work commitments. Here I am now, “alone” but surrounded by amazing, intelligent, fun and spontaneous travelers from around the world. I’ve got my new amazing camera and laptop, a shitty rental car that makes my 98 ford escort seem luxurious and a week of no expectations.

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I need this week of unplanned, solo adventures. While on our trip around the world I was completely consumed by Givebackpackers, the kickstarter campaign, updating the site, creating content, working with artisans, touring non profit projects, sleeping a few hours to make the most of the daylight and work hours and while I enjoyed the trip, it was definitely a lot of work. When I got home I didn’t slow down for a second. I had fundraising events and a volunteer trip to Mexico the same weekend. I went to LA for a GUESS event and developer meetings, then Palm Springs for a Givebackpackers photo shoot and every minute in between was meetings and working on the website I am building for Givebackpackers and other website projects for LMH Promotions clients. 

I spent Christmas alone, working. While I am not a big Christmas person at all, I still realize how much I have been pushing myself to achieve and accomplish too much, too quickly, under too much pressure. Last week I spent 3 days straight at my desk without leaving or eating. My friends were worried and would come by to get me out of the house for coffee or make me dinner so I ate. I realize I am an intense person and sometimes, you just have to take a break.

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No expectations. Just taking a break to breathe and get back to me. Thanks for reading. While I am not publishing this to justify to you why I am here, I am doing it to justify to me, while hopefully inspiring you to see where you might need to lessen your expectations of yourself and others as well. Take a breath, you deserve it.

P.S. If you need a real break, Tulum is Heaven on Earth

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Traveling can be such an adventure, but it isn’t a vacation, especially this trip. Krissy and I left New York for Milan, Italy with one week left still on our kickstarter campaign for givebackpackers, our new company, creating revenue for small business and non profits through travel and fashion. The entire first week of our trip was full of sleepless nights working and delirious days trying to make the most of our time. We felt incredible pressure to beat the clock ticking down to the final cutoff for kickstarter and juggling the expectations of our hosts and friends wanting us to have fun with them during our short visits.

I want so badly to turn off the technology or connection with the rest of the world and be completely present to the experience I will only have once in my life. I want to go where the flow takes me and feel the freedom I crave and love so much from this kind of travel. However, I made many commitments during this trip, to people, to causes and to myself and my business partner. I’m so grateful the kickstarter was a success and to have so much support but now I feel like I owe everyone an explanation on how I spend my time on this trip.

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I haven’t even touched my journal or my book. My spare time is spent creating spreadsheets, setting up meetings and writing emails and website content. Every spare second I am awake my thoughts and efforts are all on our business plan, and Europe was supposed to be “slower” than Asia! I can’t believe

Time has gone by so fast but it feels like ages ago we were leaving Italy for Turkey and it has only been two weeks. 

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I realized yesterday, while staring into the massive golden astronomical clock in the Prague square, that time is a game we cannot win. If I could turn back time, relive special days, or even press pause, to hold the best moments with the people I cherish in the places I love, it would be the greatest super power of all time. We continue to spin around the sun, even if we sit still on our planet, or fly around it in the opposite direction. You cannot hold time, you can only cherish it.

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We are so pleased with our full page article in the San Diego Union Tribune’s Night & Day section in February.  The title was “Model Behavior” and we are so tickled to make the news for doing positive things in the community! Click the image below for the full story online.

 

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