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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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.

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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.

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Relationships seem to be the most complicated part of being human, yet it is the most important thing we have. As I caught up with my first love last night, sharing funny memories and reflections on who were were 9 years ago, so young but so full of happiness and dreams, I thought about how at one point, our hearts were so broken over each other it was hard to eat or sleep or dream of going on without each other. Yet there we were last night, laughing together and being truly there for one another and I was genuinely so happy to hear he is happy and in love. My love for him has changed but still remains, the kind of true love that has no attachment but an appreciation for the person as they are.

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A few days ago I learned my second real love and longest relationship of almost 3 years, is going through a really tough time. My heart hurts for his struggle and I pray his happiness and strength every day, while also grateful we still can connect and I can be a person of support and unconditional love for him. He has always been that for me and while I wasn’t always deserving of that love and support from him, he gives it to me, unfaltering.

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While my third and most impactful love and I don’t speak and definitely don’t have the kind of friendly relationship I have with all my other exes, I am so grateful for all the lessons he taught me. For once, I allowed myself to be swept off my feet into the fairy tale he created for us. He taught me photography skills and got me into building websites. (He even helped me turn LiveMoreHappy.com into a reality) He made me believe in happily ever after, gave me the dream of having a family, something I didn’t believe in before. He showed me that the worst possible thing I could imagine would not destroy me, but create growth and opportunity in my life I couldn’t have believed possible. Last week I found my old blackberry full of photos of our first year together and instead of being sad or angry, I was filled with happiness and gratitude for the memories of total joy. (I had deleted ALL photos off my hard drive in a fit of rage, so recovering these over a year later was an even more of pleasant surprise.) I find myself in a new place, not angry at him for the lies and deceit, but happy he has found someone who is a much better fit for his fairy tale life than me and excited for when I get that happy ending with a real prince charming. I’m grateful for the lessons and happy memories and new skills that have catapulted me further into who I am today.
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The last man I was with showed me compassion and patience for my broken heart and reminded me of how I deserve to be treated. Even though we are not meant to be together as lovers, we are still close friends and continue to support each other in our dreams, passions and goals. (He just sent me the new logo for Live More Happy that we designed together!)
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I have shared my story of heart break and my struggle to over come the betrayal, however I want to share the other side, the stories of positive transition from lovers to friends. A romantic relationship does not have to end as “someone I used to know.” It takes patience, compassion and maturity but these relationships can transform and be positive parts of our lives.

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We can get so bitter with our own disappointment in how our expectations didn’t work out. If we can view heartbreak with a positive light and not focus on the hurt, we can be grateful for the growth we experienced during the relationship even after it is over. If we are lucky, we end up with lifelong friends who know us at our best and worst and still love and appreciate us for all our beautiful and ugly parts. I am so grateful to have exceptional exes like mine. And if any future ex boyfriends are reading this, I hope this goes for you too. ;)

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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.

September 27, 2014

I’ve had a lot of bad days. We all have. Contrary to what our facebook profiles might reflect, life is hard and sometimes it knocks us down so hard, no status or instagram filter can even begin to express how we feel.

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I scroll back through social media history, my timelines, messages and photos and see so many amazing memories, adventures, trips and friends, its hard to even believe the pain I have gone through the last year. You probably wouldn’t believe it by looking at my profiles or blog either. Here’s the truth, without shame or fear of what you might think, because the ugly parts are just as important.

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A year ago today, September 27th, 2013, my heart broke. I think it cracked right down the middle.

As I was flipping through photos on my boyfriends ipad, in our beautiful house by the beach, that together, we made a home, my stomach dropped as I saw photos of girls I recognized, models he had shot for his clients’ photoshoots the last few months, but they weren’t from any photoshoot. There were dozens of  photos of different girls, shameless selfies, photos of him in our bed he had definitely never sent me.  Even screenshots of naked pics from Snapchat. (Yeah, you think its a safe route, ladies?)

Even writing about it now makes me shake and feel sick.

I was in disbelief. I completely lost my mind that day, and while he was giving his Oscar worthy performance to prove his love for me and his “commitment to living a life of integrity,”

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I was getting all the details from the girls who I easily identified and were already fed up with his lies and manipulation.

One girl told me she felt terrible when she realized he “still” had a girlfriend and ended things with him after months of dating. He continued to pursue her until the day I caught him. She said he had convinced her we were done, that I had moved out but my stuff was still there. (He forgot to mention I was also paying rent.)

Live More Happy cheating breakup heartbreak photographer David Manning Photographers  DMP photography San Diego Red Photobooth American Idol Morgan Leigh Boberg Band cheater

She sent me the letters he sent her with the same things he told me, showed me cards and photos of coffee and flowers he delivered her while I was away, working.

She even told me the day he had flown to Vegas to surprise me, picked out an engagement ring and even discussed the story we would tell our grandkids about “this day,” he had woken up in her bed.

Live More Happy cheating breakup heartbreak photographer David Manning Photographers  DMP photography San Diego American Idol Morgan Leigh Boberg Band cheater

From the day he surprised me in Vegas to take me ring shopping. I was so fooled.

Devastated is a word that is commonly misused, but I think it is fitting to describe how I felt.

I loved him and was not ring shopping and building a life and home together because I enjoy playing pretend. I was in it for real and I was in deep. I loved so hard that it hurt me and my individuality. I gave up parts of myself and my life that I loved because I wanted to sacrifice to show I cared. I lost a lot of who I was and it has taken me a year to regain a lot of it back.

I threw myself into work. I “picked myself back up” instantly because I didn’t want people to think I was weak. I wanted to get back to being happy because, well, I am Miss “Live More Happy.” I didn’t want to be depressed over someone who didn’t value and respect me.

A week later I was giving a talk to 100 entrepreneur women about overcoming obstacles at Inner Goddess Unleashed, and the following weekend I was hosting a fundraiser and coordinating 25 volunteers on a trip to Mexico to visit Door of Faith Orphanage.

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I put my happy face on and got into “do” mode, so that I could avoid “being.” Just being me, being still, being here, meant I had to feel the pain and face the reality. No matter what I did, where I flew off to, I could not escape what I felt inside.

I kept my heart completely guarded. I decided men were of no interest and the ones I did spend time with were distractions, remaining completely unattached and closed off to anyone that could mean anything.

I joked that I built a wall of smart, beautiful and inspiring women around me, but it is true. The kindness, patience, support and love that has poured out of my friends on to me has been the most beautiful acts of friendship I have ever seen.

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Because of this situation, I now feel more connected and loved than ever before in my life. You ladies tolerated me at my worst and loved me even harder. I’m crying for the first time while writing this because of how deeply you have touched my heart.

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In a very “The Other Woman” kind of way, I even have bonded with several of the other girls he was seeing. We have chosen kindness and to support each other, looking past the negative common denominator and have become honest friends over our other common interests. (Let’s face it, he has excellent taste in women.) I had to learn to remove my own insecurity, jealousy and anger and feel empathy for their hurt and frustration as well. (Happy Anniversary to you too, ladies. I love you.)

I have learned more about compassion and self love this past year than in 25 years of being alive. I had to have my heart and trust completely broken. I have shared more about myself, become more vulnerable with the people I know and with people I don’t. I’ve had people I’ve never met reach out to love and support me, tell me they knew how I felt.

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I have attended the School of Inner Beauty, created my own sisterhood retreat centered around community service and purpose, and recently joined the Free Your Voice coaching group where I am stepping outside my comfort zone even further to express my heart through song. I am even shifting my blog from a “database of events and causes” to my personal story with my first person voice to share my journey through the struggle to live more happy. I realized I have been hiding a lot of who I am and by sharing more of myself, my “weakness” and my heartache, I have become closer and more connected to people I never knew were even listening.

I’m certainly closer to myself, and in fact, got engaged to me during a wonderful heARTists way workshop hosted by Debbie Lichter and Jess Johnson.

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Thank YOU for being apart of it. Thank you for reading this and weather you can relate or just think I am crazy, thank you for being here and now, sharing with me in my moment of truth and honesty, regardless of how scared it makes me.

There you have it, my ugly truth. It has been the best year and the worst year, but as much as I used to wish I could go back and somehow change everything, I wouldn’t.

 

One of those girls I discovered in that ipad is still with him, and they just publicly celebrated their year anniversary in July. If they are proud enough to share it, so am I! ;)Live More Happy cheating breakup heartbreak Red photobooth photographer David Manning Photographers  DMP photography San Diego American Idol Morgan Leigh Boberg Band cheater

Live More Happy cheating breakup heartbreak photographer David Manning Photographers  DMP Red photobooth photography San Diego American Idol Morgan Leigh Boberg Band

 

Well, if the rest is history, here I am! ;)

I am proud to celebrate my year anniversary with myself, my true, honest self, today, September 27, 2014.

*** UPDATE: To read HIS side of the story for an interesting perspective, visit his site***

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Oh, and HelloAmanda, you were right. ;)

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Burning man has been over for a few weeks now and our newsfeed is flooded with strange pictures of dusty characters with bug eyed goggles and status updates about the magic of the playa.

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Burning man was an incredible experience full of surprise and adventure around every corner.

Burning Man Did Not Change My Life.

I have heard, like many of you, that Burning Man is “Life Changing” and being the thrill seeking, life expanding, adventure junkie I am, I had to see for myself what all the hype was about.

I saw the most amazing costumes and theatrics, art and technology explode out of no where in the middle of the desert, with no other purpose, other than to enjoy the moment. That is the true magic behind burning man.

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With a lifetime of events and parties already under my belt it would take quite a bit to “blow my mind” so the first day during my first burn, I was surprised to find myself speechless. I was an observer of the radical and my mind simply flooded with thoughts and ideas and all I wanted to do was write about it.

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My marketing mind searched for a reason WHY all of this energy, time and money was dumped into this. There was no branding, no sponsors or even signs of what or where anything was going on. I felt like I was in an alternate universe where time and days no longer mattered and it was just about staying hydrated, sleeping a few hours at a time but waking up before sunrise to make it to the best parties. Everything was dirty and everyone shared without a care of germs or disease. Its like everyone felt immune as long as we were on the playa. We were all one big happy family.

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Parties were stopped for “moop” collecting and although I am always collecting trash in nature, I was delighted in seeing all the “cool kids” suddenly give a shit too.

Then I realized WHY Burning Man is so unique and special. Its the only place in the world I have ever been where everyone acted like friends, everyone respected their environment and everyone wanted to have a good time while finding any way to make everyone around them have a good time too.

The social norm called for it. It was still the peer “pressure” of wanting to be accepted into the community, of not being the odd one left out. Radical Inclusion, they call it. Everyone is IN.

(As long as you follow the Burning Man ethos!)

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As I was waiting for my luggage at the Reno airport, a healthy, safe, 4 feet from the carousel,  (so I could see when my bag was coming but not block anyone else,) I was excited for all the fun and cool people I was about to meet, some of which were standing all around me, embarking on the same long journey “Home.” No ones eyes met mine, no one hugged me or even smiled at me. Then, one obvious “Burner” shoved himself and his large luggage cart right in between me and the comfortable distance I was leaving between the carousel.

So what is the difference between Burning Man and the Reno Airport? Its certainly not the people. It is the social pressure. No one expects you to be loving, giving, considerate and friendly at the airport.

I am. I love making friends, smiling at strangers, at TSA agents and helping people with their luggage. I do not need to go wear my underwear in the desert to feel the joy and freedom of being self expressed and happy to help others. I can be that way every day and everywhere if I chose, and so can you.

Burning man is a place where this reality is actualized, where humans agree to create a happy world of peace and unity. Its possible, but only if we make it cool.

Burning man did not change my life because this is my life. I’m hoping its yours too.

Love, “Flamingo”

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My third time on Necker Island has been more special than any other visit. I was here twice before with different groups of entrepreneurs to learn from each other, from Richard Branson and his team and to “relax” with every water sport, themed party and hilarious adventure imaginable.

It’s true, Richard is quite the prankster, myself falling for his tricks, sending me in the completely wrong direction during a hike, challenging me to climb straight up a cliff, daring me to jump in the jacuzzi with my clothes on or pretending to be a masseuse and whispering sweet nothings in my friend Steve’s ear. He has a sense of humor to match his big business sense and getting the personal time with him is always exciting, eye opening and inspiring.

temp-post-image Most people know of his business accomplishments, his funny antics and cheeky personality but few know that his main passion in life right now is saving endangered species.

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My last visit I had several meetings with him about our shared passion for nature, conservation and species preservation. In the two years since my first visit in Necker in June of 2012, I had put together a nature education project for the island to inspire and educate guests about the passion and hard work Richard personally does to rescue and revive species that are rapidly disappearing. Richard loved my ideas and gave me his support to pursue my passion.

The last week was so special to me because I had the opportunity to experience the island and all its magic through the eyes of 5 incredible children who had never been to Necker and were in awe of the unique and exciting experiences available, especially the animals. I had planned activities for them that included a walk around the island, observing plants and animals and exploring parts of the island that have been left untouched and still look like what the island looked like when Richard first purchased the land. We discussed what plants and animals are native to the Caribbean and what were brought in from places losing habitat, like Madagascar.

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Nature hiking and bird watching!

temp-post-imageLindsay and Alex, age 4 observing the Scarlet Ibis on Necker Island.

temp-post-image   We even had a scavenger hunt for animals around the island!

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The lemurs and the giant tortoises are always the favorite. We got to feed the lemurs everyday and interact with these hilarious primates with soft little hands, furry bodies and the funniest personalities. A few species of lemurs on Necker are endangered and are having more success on Necker with breeding than anywhere else in the world. 

temp-post-image The tortoises are so big and ancient looking it is no surprise they have been around as long as dinosaurs.

 

temp-post-imageRichard loved the Nature Explorer Journal we made for him. Each page was a different animal that one of the children drew with some fun facts we learned together about the different species. It was the high light of my week seeing the kids work so hard to present such a thoughtful gift to our host and friend, Richard.

temp-post-imageSince my visit and consultations with Richard and Necker management in April they have produced several new videos and blog posts about the Nature on Necker as well as began using hashtags #NeckerAnimals and #NatureOnNecker for sharing their photos and progress. Here is the most recent video with Richard and the nature director, Vaman.

Be sure to follow @NatureOnNecker on Instagram!

 

Animals of Necker Island

 

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In 2013 Live More Happy &  Fortune 421 has raised enough money, through parties and fashion sales, to provide school supplies to 100 orphans and children rescued from abuse in La Mision, Mexico, just about 30 minutes south of San Diego in Baja.

Click the image to watch the video of our trip to Door Of Faith Orphanage in October, 2013.

In 2014, with Fortune events and clothing sales, we raised 7,000 to help remodel the boys dorms and put in a new bathroom and a kitchen at Door of Faith.

We led numerous groups of volunteers last year and already in 2015 and are excited to announce that with our new venture, Givebackpackers, we are raising money for DOFO through the sales of handmade accessories from Mexico.

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003IMG_0368-La Mission Goddess WeekendBuy a backpack, headband, bracelet, anklet and help supply kids in need at DOFO with school supplies.

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If you would like to apply to attend one of these incredible trips, send us a message here

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