Live More Happy
Living Loving and Traveling the World

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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WOW! What an honor! I was on a 48 hour wifi detox relaxing on the tiny island of Gili Meno in Indonesia when I tracked down some internet to Skype my grandma on Thanksgiving and Krissy had sent me this link: www.mappingmegan.com/sexiest-female-travelers-alive

I was listed in the Sexiest Female Travelers Alive list with some pretty amazing  world traveling women.

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The word “sexy” is used in many ways, obviously with its root word being sex, it usually implies exactly that, however when I see this list of women I see it as an empowering term and one that I am proud to be called. So what is sexy to me?

Sexy is not being afraid to head out on a journey into the unknown, with just a backpack and no cell phone service, relying on common sense, street smarts and a love of the adventure to navigate your way.

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Sexy is adapting and appreciating a foreign culture, learning to play the cajon in a drum circle at sunset, climbing a mountain or to the top of a temple to watch the sunrise.

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Sexy is having only a few functional items in your backpack but still pulling off a fashionable look for a night out for drinks in Bangkok and trekking through a jungle in Chiang Mai the next day.  Sexy isn’t just looking good in a bikini and nailing that perfect instagram shot, sexy is living a life full of passion and meaning and following your purpose. 

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That is why Krissy and I created Givebackpackers. We want our travel experiences to be more than exotic parties, photo opps and souvenir collecting. We want to make an impact with our travels, to inspire others to just book the ticket and go. We want to create a difference with the money we spend, the tours we book and the handmade cultural goods we purchase. 

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We want to give back to the NGO’s and community groups working every day to create sustainable change and alleviating poverty in the world’s most beautiful places. We want our journey to be one that makes us better people as well as improves the world we are so in love with seeing.

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This to me is sexy traveling. What is sexy to you?

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In 31 days I have seen nine countries and each time I have left a bit of my heart behind.

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Every time the plane lifts off the runway, my heart feels heavy, like a piece of me is still somewhere far off in the distance in the streets, jungles and beaches I have learned to love.

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With two weeks left on this trip, I am sad to see this adventure end, but excited for what is ahead for our company, Givebackpackers and my future travel plans.

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Traveling like this is a lesson in loving unconditionally and without attachment. Like a romance, you enter a foreign place with an idea of what you want, but are given so much more through excitement, mystery, adventure and also, the challenges. You throw yourself into the culture, wander the streets lost and open to discoveries of yourself and the city.

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Like a new lover, you clumsily learn your way around, marvel at the beauty of the new sights and allow your breath to be taken, unexpectedly. Your heart expands as you learn the pain in their history, feeling compassion and inspired by their resilience.

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Although you know it will not last, you spend each day with your new place, soaking it all up and wanting to learn as much as you can before parting ways. Your time together is short but you make it as sweet as possible, loving without knowing when you will visit again and leaving without holding on. 

lake como italy italia travel wanderlust adventure  Like with all love, you cannot keep it or own but the memories and the photos.

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Travel is my lover.

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Travel is one of the most rewarding experiences a person has in their life. Whether it is a family vacation, a semester abroad or a backpacking trip with friends, these experiences not only stay with us our whole lives, but shape who we are and how we see the world.

In today’s age we are lucky enough to have easy and affordable means of travel to just about anywhere in the world and with technology and the internet we can book these arrangements from anywhere with a press of a button. It is no doubt remarkable and in a lot of ways makes our planet a much smaller place. Where we could once only read about or see on a screen we can now visit ourselves, embarking on great journeys and having exciting adventures of our own.

It is a wonderful thing to see so many people of our time going out in to the world to see, touch, taste and experience first hand the wonders of different cultures and while it is breaking down barriers that once made us feel so different from one another, it is also an  opportunity for us to become better global citizens.

Our neighbors are not just the people on our street or in our city, they are in the bordering country or opposite continent where most of our products are produced and services provided. We depend on each other so much more than we realize, not just for business, but for assistance. There are so many organizations out there doing great things to assist our global neighbors in need and yet there is still a great need for more help.

Instead of just visiting these amazing places, taking cool photos in front of a monument or pristine nature scene, I have sought out to be an active assistant to the communities I visit. Even if it means collecting garbage from a popular hiking trail or beach, I want to be a positive impact, not just another tourist stopping by for a photo op. In each trip I take I look for a different cause I am passionate about and an organization I would be a good fit to volunteer with.

Dr. Interns is one of those organizations. With a mission of bringing sustainable healthcare solutions to very capable, developing parts of the world they are connecting college students interested in the medical field as well as travel to experiences in the world outside their own neighborhood. Dr. Interns is creating a new kind of world traveler; a traveler who is making a difference. I spent 3 weeks in India with Dr. Interns this Summer as their marketing director and was inspired to get even more involved with global issues.

I am excited to share my experiences around the world, assisting with the marketing and awareness campaigns for great causes, telling their story with the goal of inspiring many more to travel and to be active global citizens. Changing the world is easier than it looks. Don’t believe me? Try it.

-Lindsay M Hawley

 

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I knew my trip to India would not be a vacation by any means, but nothing could have truly prepared me for the sights, smells, intense heat and humidity and most of all the extreme differences in culture from what I have grown up with.
I have traveled all over the world and experienced the poverty in which much of our world lives in and it is never easy to stomach, especially when you realize the cycle in which it continues. However, for me, the most unsettling part of this whole trip has been the serious social issues and lack of equality amongst the people, both because of the caste system and the serious sexism.


Being raised by a liberal, single father I grew up being told I could do anything and that not only was I equal to every man, but every human is equal and deserves the same rights. It has been drilled in to me from the minute I was born and so it is still so appalling to me to see the way other cultures view and treat other humans. In a few occasions I have lost my cool and have been fed up with the constant sneers, awkward and intimidating stares and most recent invasion of privacy by one of the male staff at our “safe & secure” ashram where we are staying. I realize these things are harmless and comparatively speaking, laughable, considering not too far from this part of the world women are still being stoned to death for “disobeying” their husbands. I have to remind myself that Ghandi, this nations peaceful leader in freedom and human rights did not achieve his dreams through rage and outburst but by compassion, tolerance, resiliance and perseverance. My passion must not be misguided but focused on the solutions that will bring a balance to this world.


As I sat in the tiny one room medical clinic/elementary school in the slums of Barota, India, I watched as Dr. Mistry wrapped a little girls arm in an ace bandage while he questioned her father as to why the 9 year old had never been to school. He was mostly blind and the mother worked full time to support the four children so the little girl had to work cutting vegetables in a local restaurant. I thought about what this little girl’s life would be like. It was almost too easy to predict and the doctor later confirmed it was all too common that these girls worked from the youngest age until the time they were married off around 14 or 15 to then continue the cycle.


Later in the day more little girls showed up to the doctor’s office, peeking their faces through the door way, shyly spying on me, curious to this strange looking visitor but too shy to enter or speak. The doctor told me that the girls attended the classes that he and his wife ran at the clinic every morning and they were avid learners. The girls are the most passionate about learning, he told me. The young females seeking education are the moving force to building up the country to be strong and healthy he said.

This is why he has left his private practice of 21 years in New Jersey, to return to the slums of his home town of Barota in Gujarat, with his wife, educating the children and providing affordable and available healthcare.


It was such an inspiration to meet someone who walked away from their comfortable lives in the US to return to where the help was needed, where it will make the biggest impact and where it is much appreciated.
The next time I returned to the clinic/school I brought a group of college students, members of Dr. Interns summer medical internship program who I have come to India to help support through marketing and program expansion.

The students were as excited as I were to hear Dr. Mistry’s story and I was most excited to see the little girls who had gathered the courage to come sit by me and even posed for pictures for me and with me. They mimicked my English and were obviously hungry to learn anything I had to teach them. I was excited to meet these girls who’s situation seemed grim but who’s futures looked bright.


The next time I returned with an even larger number of excited students and arms full of school supplies including all my favorite things: crayons, colored pencils, markers, coloring books, chalk, UNO cards, notebooks, pencils and erasers. We were happy to contribute to the Mistry’s school/clinic and I was excited to speak more about expanding our program to assist with their work. This is what I came to India to do. This is what I am on this planet to do.
The little girls ran from their houses to greet me in the street with cheerful “Hi’s” and hugs with huge smiles on their faces.

As we sat around Dr. Mistry’s office/clinic/school the room quickly filled with small children who were all excited to see strange new faces in their neighborhood. The energy in the room was amazing and even though the little children had trouble keeping quiet while the doctor explained his story ( now for the third time for me, yet still as genuine and full of passion) it was sweet to see how much it meant to them that we had come and with supplies for their school.

I wanted to hug each one of them and tell them I was so proud of them for getting an education and to stay with it. I wanted to let each one know that they were special and worthy of having a better life, one of opportunity and freedom but with the little Gujarati I knew I was stuck with formalities but the love and compassion was felt between both the children and us.

We poured our love on to them with smiles and photos and laughter and found a renewed purpose in our work here in India, something that is easy to lose sight of when faced with the giant hurdles of social issues. However, like when we spent the day delivering reusable waterbottles to the children enrolled in school in the rural village of Ratunpura we realized with every act of love and support, regardless of how small, making a difference in the life of a child is the greatest action a person can take in life.

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Our mission has been completed. We finished the 4 day Inca trail to Machu Picchu and spent yesterday, Christmas day at the Hogar (orphanage) with the girls who we spent so much time, money and effort to fundraise for. (To help these girls get to college you can still contribute here)
Getting there was a complete nightmare. Our host and one of the directors of Peruvian Hearts was aware we planned to visit the Hogar onChristmas day for weeks, yet when it came time for us to leave we ended up standing in the freezing rain for almost an hour, changed taxis 3 or 4 times and still paid for both our taxi and hers and the teens accompanying her. We would have easily paid for a van to comfortably take us all and it would have cost the same had there been any planning by our “guides.” Instead, much of our day was spent freezing, wet, standing on the street hailing cabs or ANY car passing by and now we both have sore throats and very possibly colds.

The time we spent at the Hogar was worth any cold or cost since our simple gifts of hot chocolate, panetone (traditional sweet Christmas cake) and the packs with goodies from GUESS were more than those girls had expected for Christmas. They referred to us as their “Papa Noel” (Santa Claus) and knowing that we literally provided them with a Christmas was more meaningful than anything imaginable. We were constantly getting hugs and pictures painted for us and their gratitude was immeasurable. They had never had an art project like the one we brought and although we simply provided 5 colors of fabric paint and a variety of brushes the girl’s creativity was so impressive. It was the greatest Christmas gift to me to see my idea and hard work pay off as they went nuts over the different colors and ideas they put onto the fanny pack or paper.

“Kristina and Linda’s Spa” Giving the girls mini manicures of Nivea hand cream to treat their chapped and cracked hands and Sally Hansens Hard as Nails to help strengthen and grow their nails.

 

A friend we made at the hostel, Garreth, who happened to live on the same street as me back in San Diego is living in South America now, working through his travel blog and volunteering with an organization to build libraries down here. He also came with us to the Hogar and was an awesome addition. He was playful with all the girls and very funny. He and Kiersten even had a very spectacular dance showcase for the girls while we learned to salsa to Columbian music and played musical chairs. We certainly had a great time and will remain in my mind a success.

Now all we need is a successful rest of our South American tour. Thanks to a couple random California girls we met at the Taca ticket line who let us take photos of their vaccine records and some photoshop skills we have two “Yellow Fever Vaccination Cards.” We might actually finally leave this country and continue on to Costa Rica for the “fun” part of our journey. We are both more than ready!! Luckily we are the two smartest, fearless, travel savvy females we know so I am not too worried, just frustrated that no one, including the airline or travel service that booked our tickets from here to Costa Rica mentioned a specific card we needed. It’s all part of the learning experience. Lets just hope it doesn’t cost too much to change our flights and we can get on standby tomorrow morning or our next fundraiser may be to get us home!

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This past weekend I attended a Business Breakthrough seminar hosted by Rize Global where we learned about turning passion into profit. Seeing as my passion lies in philanthropy I have had many moral issues with pursuing a profit from purpose driven promotions and hoped the seminar would help me clarify my vision. I jump at opportunities to donate my company’s skills, promotions for non profits and volunteering at fundraising events weather I am stuffing gift bags of school supplies to underprivileged kids or MC for a dance off at a afterschool program, I love to help good causes.

I also like to help those I deal with most, my friends and colleagues. I enjoy chances to help promote a friend’s brand or event, to give advice or constructive feedback when I can and to show support to all the hard work I see around me all the time. CHEERS to the many inspiring people who surround me. In honor of those people I am writing this blog in hopes to share some of the inspiring ideas I heard during this workshop.  My favorite part of the workshop was the guest speaker, Simon Mainwaring author of  New York Times Best seller, “We First” about how brands and consumers use social media to build a better world.

He opened with a powerful question about the new marketplace we are looking at today.

How are you world?

1 in 6 are below poverty line. Due to the recent scandals, the banks, the media, there  is no trust in big brands.  4.5 billion in assets changed from banks to credit unions in the last five weeks. Our quality of life is becoming difficult so people are reacting and citizens are connecting. People are starting to look at what is meaningful in their lives and it is starting to be apparent values lay in creating trust in their companies, treating employees fairly and their quality of life.  People are connecting and wanting to help each other and volunteering and charitable work is on the rise.
As amazing as that sounds, being well intentioned is not enough. We must articulate our message in a way that will be affective. Melinda Gates said to “stop acting like missionaries and act like marketers” and I agree with her. To reach a large audience we must build a brand that is larger than ourselves and instead a community. We must use the tools at our fingertips to create a self outside ourselves on social media platforms. Blog!

The most effective part of his presentation for me was the “Social branding blue print” outline he gave.

 Craft a story to define a brand
-Define purpose and core values
-Distill into emotional terms
-Craft a manifesto
-Write a vision statement
-Commit to a purpose
-Align internally

Be culturally specific, community focused, generate content & Get Your Story Straight!

Key social strategies / tactics
Crowdsource
Collaborate with competitors/cross sectors
Build contribution into real/virtual consumption
Launch/partner w employee volunteer programs
Use social platforms to trigger donations/actions (I use facebook and StayClassy.org most for social fundraising)
Use online platforms/mobile apps for credibility /reach

To sum up the key points I took away from this helpful workshop:
1    The future of profit is purpose
2    Brands must become community celebrants not celebrities
3    Marketers must become day traders in social emotion

25% of all kids worldwide are without electricity. Most of them play soccer. Soccket is a soccer ball that stores kinnetic energy and has a outlet so people can cook food and have light to study by.  Fifteen minutes of play can power a light for 3 hours. It was invented by 3 girls in college.

Get inspired, get your story straight and get moving friends. The world is waiting. 

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