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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My dear friend Jolie Dawn just featured me as an “Empowered, Sexy & Free” woman in her book re-launch.

It feels inauthentic when I look at it. I have not felt any of those things lately.

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How fitting though, that Jolie was one of the key people who pushed me to begin writing more openly and honestly so here I am, challenging myself to share myself and once again feel empowered & free.

Its been very hard to write lately.

I take that back.

Its been very hard to share lately.

Not only because I have been so busy with my new project, a renovation of a run down beach house in Baja into a vacation rental, but for many reasons.

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My spirit has felt broken.

I feel like I have suffered some serious losses lately. I lost my passion project business, Givebackpackers to a lovestruck, obsessive computer programmer that stole the company by creating a competing website with the same name, to force me to work with him. I’ve been harassed by this “friend” who wanted more than friendship for months now, causing me to fear for my safety and my security.  

I lost my boyfriend of a year because of his health issues and have felt like I am constantly defending our mutual decision to people who just don’t understand how “love just wasn’t enough.”

I lost a lot more money than I anticipated on this Mexico house, discovering everything from the floors, kitchen, windows to the plumbing and electrical needed to be completely replaced before even beginning to furnish.

And besides just money, I have lost time and faith, hiring people who stole from me, took advantage of my kindness and lacked the support of the neighborhood that I was expecting going into this project.

Watching my stepmom’s health struggle to return with more chemo than was expected while my best friend is going through the same heartbreak of watching her mom fight cancer has been emotionally exhausting.

I am living in a constant state of defending myself, picking myself back up and forcing a smile.

I’m a strong person because of everything that I have been through my whole life, parenting myself from the time I was 5 years old to starting a business in a recession after dropping out of college to traveling the world alone.

There’s so much I can face without fear but being on the defense all the time is exhausting.

I can play offense. It’s easy to be the one running down the field but much scarier to have someone running at you.

I’ve defended my choices and my business, my house and my freedom. I’ve even had to defend my writing.

I’ve been hurt by the things people have said to me and behind my back. I’ve been tired of defending who I am, what I have created and why.

I feel tired of defending and tired of being vulnerable. I want to shut it all down and hide away.

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I’m afraid of being rejected or hurt any more. I’m afraid I won’t be able to be strong through any more of it.

I’m a strong person but I am sensitive. I know that I do not have to defend myself to the people who matter. The ones that matter already know me and love and support me and the ones who I feel defensive to, do not matter.

I have held off for months on sharing my writing and my thoughts and these insane experiences. I have been biting my tongue to feel safe and supported. I have been seeking comfort and stability and ways to nurture myself.

I am writing and sharing this because I find strength in my honesty. I am not a fake person. I do not need to be adored by the masses and make everyone else feel comfortable at the expense of my own freedom.

So if you are reading this with anything but love, why are you reading?

If you are reading this with love and support in your heart, thank you. You are why I share.

 

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The more I see of the world the more I fall in love with it.

Each time I fall a little more in love with the places I see, the people I meet and the tastes and smells of someplace new.

To truly love something is to let it be as it is, without trying to keep it or change it.

How could I truly love the world if I said to it “I want to keep you all to myself. I want you to spin only for me. I want you to stay exactly as you are. I want you to be what I need you to be.”

How could the world ever do that for me?

How could someone ask that of anyone?

So I just continue to love the world exactly how it choses to be.

I will close these thoughts with my favorite Osho quote from a book I reference a lot, Love Freedom & Aloneness I think EVERYONE should read and my favorite travel video of all time.

Happy Travels.

-Lindsiana Jones

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I love my relationship with Perry.

This is not a list of things I love about Perry. That list would be long and lovely but its important to understand the difference. 

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To love a person is so different than loving the relationship you are in with them. 

When you truly love a person, you appreciate them for all their flaws and quirks, whether they are here or there. As long as they are happy, you are happy. 

The relationship is the part I love that creates the memories, the milestones, the photos and road trips. A relationship is having a person who takes you away to the mountains for the weekend and is there when your car has to get towed home. The relationship is where we get attached. Its also where we get hurt, by our own expectation of what that relationship should look like or act. 

Most of us don’t have a clear picture of what we want in a relationship, but a lot of “don’t wants.”

There’s a saying, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” I think this is true in relationships too. We fall for someone because we think they are what we want or what we SHOULD want. Instead of shoulding on ourselves we should be very clear about what it is we want in a partner and how that feels. 

In the last week I had one friend say she feels best sleeping with her man every single night, while another girlfriend had an epiphany that maybe she didn’t ever want to live in the same house as her beloved. “Why does that have to be a thing?” she asked, totally serious. 

Why does it? Its a good question. We just assume that it’s the way it is and has to be because its been that way? I know a cute newlywed couple who live in two different parts of LA. (Probably because their commute to work was more stress than a first year of marriage?) Whatever works for you! 

That’s what I am saying. 

That’s what my love and I have been so gracefully figuring out over the last 10 months. What works for us? We moved to Mexico together on a whim after two months of dating. We had a blast. We moved back to San Diego and I traveled while he worked on his booming business. We love and support each other with ease, because we have created a relationship that works for us. We love to hear what the other one is up to but we don’t stress out if we don’t talk all day. We make fun plans together and apart. We keep our friendships we had and make new friends together. We allow each other space as well as support. Supportive space. We trust each other completely. 

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It was so nice when I was traveling, to call my man and hear his happy voice and an “I miss you” without guilt-trip undertones. 

He did miss me but he was happy because he knew I was happy and doing what I love. I miss him too and I wish I could have my man by my side for the adventures I go on, but I don’t look at it as “He isn’t meeting my needs” but “I’m so happy he is meeting his needs while I meet my own needs.”  I also deeply respect and value his commitment to his business, his business partner and his health.

I’ve traveled with, worked with and been in partnership with people who had little follow through on those things and its definitely a sexy quality to me. It even rubbed off on me in the best ways. I had planned to be in Tulum and Playa Del Carmen a few weeks ago for BPM Festival with some friends but felt like it was best to stay in San Diego and work on some very exciting projects. It would have been very hard for me in the past to turn down a trip but I felt confident my time was best spent in San Diego and it has paid off already. 

My relationship inspires me to be better. 

He shares his favorite meditations and podcasts with me. He sends me articles about mindfulness and managing stress. He cooks me healthy meals and reminds me how much I love yoga and surfing. He doesn’t ever tell me “I dont want a wife that does this” or “Thats not what someone in a relationship does” like a ex of mine used to always say. Perry pushes me to be the best version of myself, not the best version of what he wants. 

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Those are all things he does, because he loves me and because we are in a healthy relationship. Its been eye opening for me to understand that those are different than who he is as a person. To love someone is to love them without expectation but I love the relationship and now I have the expectation that he is going to continue to share his insights with me, to motivate me and support me. That is my expectation on the relationship and if that were to change I would be sad but could I still love the person without attachment or disappointment that he wasn’t acting like I want? 

That is the goal and the key to having a happy relationship for life. 

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A few months ago I went through a visualization of ending my relationship with Perry. I wanted to feel it, to experience it emotionally and imagine my life without him. I was so depressed and cried and already missed him, but I knew that I could survive without him and take with me the great lessons we have taught each other and love him from afar, if I needed to. I could let him go because I love him without the traditional, clingy, attachment kind of “love” we are taught to think is normal. He is not my everything. he is wonderful but I am a whole person without him by my side. I have my own business and friends and hobbies. It feels good to be so in love without the anxiety. I could not have reached this state of bliss, ease and happiness with a partner without the hard lessons learned in the past and a lot of meditation and journaling about what kind of relationship I wanted. 

Now I have it and I wish it for everyone in the world. Whatever that looks like. 

Love to you. 

Lindsay 

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I jolted awake at 4am this morning with a million things racing through my mind and no chance of going back to sleep. So I do what any insomniac might do and troll craigslist for treasures. 

Craigslist Ad: “I have too many globes and my wife just kicked 4 of them out of the house. I have the three pictured plus a globe of The Moon – pretty cool. They are $20 each/firm with no volume discount. Preference to anyone that wants more than 1. Thanks again.”

Lindsay’s 5am email: “Hi! I am very interested in your globes, including the one of the moon. My boyfriend made me clear out a LOT of my stuff since we just moved in together so I feel your pain. I do not have a globe though and definitely need a few…  I will love them as much as you! Thanks!”

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I say “made me” but really, I was happy to see it all go. When we drove away from our house with a Uhaul full of crap to give away, I felt a thousand pounds lighter. It felt really freeing and made this all very real. 

We’re moving in together. 

Now this isn’t a crazy thing to happen now days. Its happening more and more with us, crazy millennials. Co-habitating before marriage. Its better for our budget especially since we’re already having so many damn sleepovers anyways.  Its a great way to “test out” our mate to see if they are the real deal. You get to know all their dirty little secrets whether its old hummus under their bed, or his old “sexy” home videos. You learn if you can juggle responsibility together. You see what kind of team you are when it really matters. You find out if you can even tolerate the person in large doses. 

Its much different than being on a vacation or trip. While I also require that while vetting any of my potential partners, there is still an eventual end date on any trip. Moving in together means there’s really only two possible outcomes. 

1. You can heart wrenchingly pack up, dividing belongings and co-purchases, super charged with emotion as you wonder what to do with the thousands of photos and feel like your heart is being torn from your chest while you are roasted over a pit of lava. 

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2. You see it through, with all the good and the bad, sometimes not even speaking or sleeping in the same room. Maybe you add a couple more young, messy roommates, and totally mess up the vibe you both worked so hard to create until they leave again and then one of you dies. Thus, leaving the other to possibly wake up to your cold corpse and have to arrange your funeral and then live alone and wait for your turn or go back into the DATING SCENE. (Worse than death in my opinion.) 

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So yes, I’m saying, either way, we are doomed at this point. 

I’m not saying it isn’t worth it. I’m saying either way we are doomed in life and love. There is no easy way out. If you chose to truly love, you chose to put your heart and your life, in someone else’s hands. You have to be all in or it doesn’t work. 

Confession: I have never gone all in before. Sure, I was living with my ex, I was ring shopping and wedding scheming and playing house but it was to make him happy because his happiness made me happy. Now was this self sacrificing and in some ways, disingenuous? Maybe.

In the past I had been too selfish. I wanted to keep too much of my life separate, keeping relationships private, off social media. I wanted to “maintain my brand” and my image. A big part of me was just scared. I was scared if it didn’t work out that I would feel the fiery heartache of removing that person from my life, embarrassed, explaining to people over and over, or, gasp….changing my Facebook status to single, OH MY! 

I was so angry after my ex cheated because I had felt like I had let him into my life. I was his biggest supporter, helped his business and brought him into mine. We loved each others families and had dreamed of our own. 

But I wasn’t always all in. For the first year I rolled my eyes or teased him anytime he brought up marriage. I told him it was over rated and put down his fairy tale dreams because of my own troubled family history. I held my ground on issues that didn’t matter to me as much as I thought. I kept my own Carrie Bradshaw apartment as (a pretty sweet Airbnb side business) but also a “just in case” backup plan. 

I was guarded and I didn’t really let him in. Maybe it was my intuition. Maybe my walls were too high. Either way, when I moved back into my backup plan apartment, I took a long hard look at myself and realized I had made myself right. What you fear, you create.

Time to change. 

Now I could write another novel about how easy things with my new love have been, how we share the same views and values and spiritual practices but I wont bore you. ;) 

What I will say is that it feels so easy and it is a stress free love. (Which is ironic for two business owners with anxiety.) 

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I feel like this is a real shot at true love, loyalty and equal partnership so I had to make the choice to grow out of my comfort zone. I have to be fearless. Either I am getting my heart ripped out or I am getting my heart ripped out, but I know that theres always lessons to learn and life goes on. (Unless I die first.) 

So I cleared out half of my collections (clutter) and artifacts (things left by half a decade of old roommates and guests) and made space in my home, my heart, my life, for my love. 

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We are keeping his place in North PB as an Airbnb rental (its too sweet of a gig not to) and not as a back up plan (lets be real, his king size bed and massive bean bag are never getting back out of here.) Its an end of an era, the JediLounge is no longer a youth hostel, a travelers pit stop, but a real home. Time to settle in. Here goes everything! 

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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’ve dealt with anxiety as long as I can remember.
As a child I was a nail biting, thumb sucking little ball of energy who carried my teddy bear, Mr. Kamunka, with me everywhere I went. Growing up an only child of an alcoholic mother meant finding comfort in any way possible. My parents divorced when I was three, thankfully, because hiding in a closet from the fighting is still one of my first memories.

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I remember so many nights as a small child not knowing where my mom was or what kind of mood she would be in when she got home. Would she be sweet and wake me up with a surprise or would she be sick or would she be angry, looking for someone to take it out on? Often times she was just crying and sad and needed someone to listen to her. I was always all of those for her.
My childhood was a roller coaster and while she eventually gave up all parental responsibility to my dad, she still would show up randomly, outside our house, when she was needing someone to vent to. The neighbors didn’t appreciate it and I didn’t either. I never felt safe or secure. She would show up wasted or high to my school or soccer games and pick fights with anyone who said something to her. Once she locked me in a bathroom because I embarrassed her in front of the McDonalds clerk who she was probably trying to flirt with for free food during our first time together in months.
As a teenager, I desperately tried to connect with her during her sober stints, spending summers in Las Vegas with her and her new baby, my amazing little half-brother, Kellen. (I say “half” to explain the paternal difference, although he is very much my full brother by heart!)

IMG_3144 I wanted to be close with them but watching her put him through the same roller coaster and often times worse situations, was something that tortured my heart and made me angry beyond belief. I was experiencing panic attacks in school and doctors put me on xanax and ativan at 16 to keep my anxiety under control.
I eventually cut her out completely and focused on the things I could control in my life and vowed to never be weak like her. I pushed myself to start my own career and be reliable to the people I cared about. I kept everything under control, quit all medications at 18 and began treating my anxiety herbally. I learned that self discipline was key. I became very hard on myself when I made mistakes because I never wanted to be anything like my mother.

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Feature in LILY+JASPER when I was 23

I did my best to pick up the motherly slack she left with my brother, who like me, ended up bouncing around with his father and father’s family most his childhood. I resented her for not being there for him, for leaving me with the hole to fill but it motivated me to be better for him and to show him what the possibilities are when you work through the darkness.

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All of this has been like a shadow in the beautiful life I have created for myself. As a child I didn’t share it because cruel kids made fun of me. As a teen I didn’t want to seem weird or different. As an adult I didn’t want to share my story because I didn’t want anyone’s pity or to be defined by it. “Wow, you have come so far considering…” YUCK.
I worked harder to make the stories less powerful over me, yet the anxiety never subsided.working hard

I had to heal the root of the problem and I set out to forgive and set myself free. I went to workshops, personal development seminars, I wrote closure letters, I read books and joined support groups. I surrounded myself with positive people and created a community. I found myself no longer hating her, but feeling sorry for her that she was not a part of my life. I had created such amazing things and people around me but she was unable to share it with me.

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EvoRoom community in San Diego

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Full Circle Venice Beach community center

My brother and I became closer than ever and have had the most honest  talks about addiction and mental illness. I have been able to share the wisdom and the knowledge I earned on my own, with him. He knows I am always here for him no matter what and most importantly, I know it too.baby brother
Almost two years ago I saw her walking down the street in my neighborhood in San Diego and I pulled over and got out to talk to her. She was so high and angry and incoherent I couldn’t have a conversation like I had hoped but I gave her a hug and drove off, with sadness and love in my heart. I didn’t hate her. I wanted her to find peace, like I had.

A few months later, while planning what I thought was my next chapter in life, marriage and my own family, I learned my soon-to-be-fiancee had been having an affair, and my world came to a screeching halt. I had been betrayed and abandoned again. I wasn’t safe in my own home I had created with him and I could not trust him or myself. I felt all the same wounds open back up deeper than before.

What was wrong with me that the people I love and trust most, treat me like I’m disposable?

Then the anxiety came back and the nightmares began to get worse. I felt like I was starting all over and then some. I was determined to heal as quickly as possible, to get back to the peace I had felt before learning the truth about him. I went to women’s groups, energy healers, seminars, workshops, tropical getaways and still, no matter how packed my schedule was with positive productivity, I could not shake the anxiety and nightmares.

yoga lindsayI would replay scenarios and lies he told me over and over in my head. I couldn’t stop trying to “solve the case” even months after I had “moved on.” Desperate for answers, sitting on a beach in Bali, staring off into the gorgeous sea and feeling anxious in paradise again, I searched for alternative therapy in San Diego. I was going to give it a try as soon as I got back. I couldn’t deal with another beautiful morning wasted, waking up in paradise, from a nightmare, about some douche bag thousands of miles away. ( Apparently, spending years dealing with a sociopath can cause PTSD. )

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Luckily, a trusted friend recommended her closest friend, Kristyn, a hypnotherapist in San Diego and I booked four sessions right away. I went into each session with a very open mind and willingness to absorb my own insights and to heal. I was ready to release and forgive and feel peace in my heart. I finally finished all four within a few months but the improvement was apparent in the first few weeks.

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The nightmares stopped, my nail biting subsided to where I was able to quit getting fake nails and finally wear my natural nails with out shame.

healthy nailsBoth of my businesses took off in a really big way and I suddenly was not angry at my ex anymore. I found my old blackberry full of messages and photos from our first year together and I was not sad or angry, but nostalgic for a happy time in my life and I felt excited for what was ahead and having that kind of happiness again, but for real this time. I was finally free and even my best friends said they could see a difference in me.

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I’ve been able to take my meditation practice to a new level. Before working with Kristyn I could never quiet my thoughts, especially before bed. Now I put on a guided meditation almost every night and morning and can find myself at peace. Even the one time I dreamed about my ex since our sessions, instead of there being a altercation or argument, I just kept on walking past our house. I just kept on walking. It felt good to wake up from that one. I had found the release I needed.

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As I sit on another beach in paradise, writing this, I am grateful for the difficult people and the pain they caused because I have learned to over come the struggle and abandonment and feelings that I am not lovable. I have learned to forgive and find peace in my heart. Without drugs, with out alcohol, without sex or shopping or any other crutches. (although I admit I have a travel problem, hee hee) I have found the healing I needed right inside myself. Its been there all along and its up to me to keep it.

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Suffering from a broken heart, anxiety, depression or just lost in life?

My favorite books: Love, Freedom & Aloneness by OSHO, Power of Kindness by Piero Ferrucci, & A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

My Love, Life & Self Expression Coach: Jess Johnson

My Hypnotherapist: Kristyn Caetano

Connect with your community! Get involved, give back and donate your time to those that need it. Nothing makes me feel better than helping others.

akumal mexico tulum mayan riviera travel explore wanderlust backpack adventure

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.

akumal mexico tulum mayan riviera travel explore wanderlust backpack adventure

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.

akumal mexico tulum mayan riviera travel explore wanderlust backpack adventure

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.

akumal mexico tulum mayan riviera travel explore wanderlust backpack adventure 

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.

akumal mexico tulum mayan riviera travel explore wanderlust backpack adventure

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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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.

hawleyween flier

In ten days I will be flying all the way around the world, stopping in at least 8 different countries, without any real itinerary or schedule to follow. I am traveling with a few girlfriends at different times, meeting up with different friends all over the world, and working on my newest project, Givebackpackers.

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The givebackpackers kickstarter is in full swing, with 17 days to go, and the goal of raising $8,000 so my partner, Krissy and I can effectively create sustainable business solutions to artisans in poverty.

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I will also be working on several new social media campaigns for brands I really love, building the givebackpackers blog, and Krissy’s new website and the ecommerce shop for the goods we find around the globe.

To top it off, I am coordinating 20 volunteers to visit Baja Mexico and volunteer at the Door of Faith Orphanage with Fortune 421 for our Share The Fortune program in December, the week I get back from the trip.

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We had the best time visiting Mexico last year, delivering our donation of 5k raised from the parties and clothing sales Fortune did throughout the year.

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This year, we have stepped it up, with the goal of raising 7,500 to remodel the teenage boys dorm, putting in a kitchen and new furniture for them to comfortably live in their space.

Since last year, DOFO has expanded and improved their orphanage so much, by adding a computer lab for the high school students to work separately from the young children after school. They moved the toddler girls’ dorm from a difficult upstairs location to a ground floor, easy to access room. They put in a soccer field and have continued to feed, clothe and provide love and support to over 120 kids who have been abused, neglected or abandoned by their parents.

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This Friday, 10/10 I am helping to host a fundraiser for DOFO at Duck Dive in Pacific Beach, to help us reach our goal by December, as well as my annual Hawleyween fiesta and now also, my “going away awhile” party. I would love to see you all before I take off on this epic adventure, and hopefully I will see your name in my email when you sign up for our Mexico Trip on December 7-9!

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Remember, its a Hawleyween party so wear something funky and festive and get your face painted like a Dia De Los Muertos skull by my talented friend Nicole who is donating her time and collecting donations for DOFO!

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As I wrote all of this I felt a little bit overwhelmed with how much I have on my plate, but I wouldn’t change a thing. When you are following your purpose and doing what makes you most passionate, it feels less like work and a lot more fulfilling.
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Coachella fashion style music festival thrift

No doubt Coachella is now just as much about the fashion as it is the music. Suddenly everyone is a boho hippie, which luckily for me, is my everyday style.

Your Coachella outfits need to be stylish but also realistic. You don’t need to spend as much on your outfits as you did on your Coachella ticket. Everything in this blog and video were purchased at Thrift Trader, my favorite resale shop in San Diego. Everything at Thrift Trader is 5.99 or 4 for 20.

I have found more than enough stylish clothing to attend both weekends with multiple cute outfits, for the cost of one Urban Outfitters outfit.

Watch my video for even more Coachella style and tips.

Free flowing clothes are great because they are in style like this blouse or this tunic.

They are also great for layering, going day to night and wanting to cover your shoulders from the harsh dessert heat and sun.

Speaking of, its also great to hide those sweat stains!

You can cut up a vintage tee like this one I found at Thrift trader and give a boring tee a boho flare.

Vests are always fun and can make an outfit.

Shorts are great because they have pockets, perfect for keeping things you need to get to often like phone and chapstick.

High waisted shorts are super cute and bright colored denim is hot. I cut these from capris I found at thrift trader.

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Lacey tops are everywhere now too. I cut this vintage one into a crop top and will wear a bandeau underneath.

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Bikini tops are always great to wear under for when you feel like really being free and work on that tan. Just remember SUNBLOCK! Nothing kills your vibe like being in extreme pain and looking like a lobster.

Hats are also cute and perfect for keeping the sun off your face and the wind can do a number on your hair. Its also great for day 2 or 3 when you just didnt get around to styling or washing it.

coachella fashion style thrift shopping outfit hippie boho

Headbands and head scarves are a hippie accessory that also work great for hair control.

Long crocheted skirts are in style right now but are not good for Coachella where it is dirty everywhere and you will definitely find yourself sitting on the ground at some point. If you must wear one of these uber trendy skirts make it a light fabric with a color that hides dirt like this.

A cross the shoulder bag or fanny pack is a great purse because you can dance and enjoy the show hands free. I personally love the acid washed denim fanny pack I got at last year’s Guess Hotel at Coachella, filled with all the necessary Coachella survival needs.

Fanny packs and Coachella go hand in hand.

I also love my water bottle holder I picked up in Peru. You can refill a water bottle for free at any of the refill stations or purchase a new bottle every time you are thirsty for $2. That really adds up!

Bring your own water bottle with a clip to attach to your bag if you dont have one. You will be glad you did and the Earth will thank you too.

Shoes are the most important part of your whole outfit. If your feet are hurting it could ruin your whole day. It is dirty and crowded and you will probably get stepped on. I like little canvas tennies or comfortable sandals with a cushion.

The most practical and fashionable is boots. They protect your feet and look cute with any Coachella outfit and you can wear comfortable insoles and socks to prevent blisters.

Watch my video for more information and suggestions for outfits and do’s and don’t for planning and packing for your Coachella weekend.

Happy Coachella!

 Coachella fashion style music festival thrift

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