When Nothing is Ever Good Enough for You

When Nothing is Ever Good Enough for You

 

Do you know that feeling of utter dissatisfaction?
It’s that feeling of… not good enough.
I know that feeling oh so well, and I think it’s an epidemic among travelers.

 

We’ve got this freedom to be anywhere, do anything, and yet… often it’s still not good enough. We so often compare a place or an experience to something from our past, and nothing seems to measure up. We lose our sense of wonder and gratitude. Yes, I have certainly felt this way.

 

 

But my dissatisfaction started way before that.

 

I remember in my pre-travel life, how dissatisfied I was with…. everything. My relationships were never good enough. My friendships were never good enough. My creative projects were never good enough. My home was never good enough. Restaurants were never good enough. Saturday nights were never good enough. Nothing was ever good enough.

 

When I left to go live in the jungle of Costa Rica, that did not change. I did not suddenly feel perfectly satisfied, even though I thought I would. I complained about basically everything the first week I was there. From our bad water pressure to non functioning wifi to how isolated we were to how seedy the bars were to how expensive the restaurants were.

 

But then… something changed. I changed. Suddenly, everything was ok. Everything was beautiful. Everything was enough.

 

 

Because I slowed down enough to witness the perfection of the way the waves turn lavender just after five. Or the way that the little beach crabs scurry across the shoreline and burrow themselves in the shoreline. The way that the monkeys howl when cars go by or it starts to rain. I slowed down, and remembered that everything is ok. All is well. All is perfection.

 

But see… I have forgotten that many times over the years. I have fallen again and again into the shadow of dissatisfaction. Finding every possible person or circumstance to blame for why I don’t feel the way that I want to feel.

 

So many moments I spent in paradise, living in a way that so many others fantasize about, yet feeling… bored. Disconnected. Antsy. Trying to fix it by shifting my location. By spending more money. And most of the time that doesn’t actually work. 

 

 

And while the danger of being someone who travels the world alone is that you can constantly feed this dissatisfaction by changing everything all of the time, the medicine of being someone who travels the world alone, is that when it’s just you and the wide open road, there’s no one to point the finger at except for you.

 

So I have learned again and again to turn inward. To stop expecting the world around me to be better than it is, and ask myself what within me feels lacking in love. ‘Cause that’s all it’s actually ever about.

 

Though, even that became a new path for dissatisfaction. An endless quest in fixing myself. In trying to make myself better so that life would be better.

 

 

Don’t get me wrong… dissatisfaction has granted me so many gifts. It has been a wonderful blessing.

 

Dissatisfaction is what got me out of my box traveling the world. Dissatisfaction is what helped me create my own business and transform and expand it all of the time. Dissatisfaction is what inspired me to serve others, to help them create a more inspired life. Dissatisfaction is what brought me onto the path of yoga, dance, tantra, lomi lomi, and so many other beautiful healing modalities.

 

Dissatisfaction refined me into the person I am now.

 

 

Yet… the seeking isn’t actually what ever brought me where I wanted to be.
You know what did?
Relaxation.
Slowing down.
Re-membering the rhythm of nature.
No matter where I am.
I can find bliss NOW.
By simply. doing. that.

 

Yesterday I came home fully to that understanding.

 

 

I left Puerto Viejo last week… from a place of dissatisfaction. I’m on my way to Hawaii. A place I thought might be more “perfect” than the place I’ve called home. A place I thought might satisfy the ache of longing that resides within me​. It’s been my dissatisfaction in my jungle home that no place seems to compare to, that has gotten me to go and have other experiences. To expand and to grow.

 

Before leaving Costa Rica, I decided to treat myself to a vacation, and a yummy relaxing retreat at a resort in Santa Teresa on the North Pacific Coast. Not to transform. Not to fix myself. Not to be better. Just to relax and enjoy.

 

 

Funny enough… what I immediately experienced was dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction over why the South Caribbean is more beautiful, more lush, the beaches are nicer, the vibe is wilder, and on and on. Dissatisfaction over why I don’t like resorts and how inauthentic they are. Dissatisfaction over the retreat itself, comparing it to the retreats that I’ve created and finding every seemingly logical explanation to justify why it wasn’t good enough. Dissatisfaction that I wasn’t transforming, fixing myself, and becoming better.

 

While I could justifiably judge and pick apart every aspect of my experience, the same way I did in so many places all over the world, the same way I sometimes pick at my skin, or dissect every mistake I make with men, or analyze all of the ways that I show up in the world as not good enough, having those reasons will never make me feel better. They will never make me feel safe.

 

 

They can show me what I value. What choices I want to make in the future. Where I want to aim. But the only thing that ever brings me the wholeness that I’m always seeking, is relaxing into my true nature, which is love.

 

Taking my own advice, I have been slowing down. Remembering to breathe more deeply. To do less. To share less. To contain more. To be present with my discomfort so I can feel safer with me.

 

 

Yesterday, with the stillness that tells me I am safe, I sat watching the firey red sun melt down into the horizon, something I never get to see living on Caribbean Coast. At the very moment that the tip of the sun became swallowed, a flock of pelicans flew across the sky. Everything in perfect timing. Perfect rhythm. The divine orchestration, the divine perfection, of nature.

 

I stripped off my clothes and walked down to the ocean.
“Nothing is ever good enough for you,” I said to myself.
“Can’t you see how hard I’m trying? I did all of this for you. I brought you here to make you happy. Can’t you see how much I’m doing to try to make you happy? Would you just appreciate it?”

I laughed and shook my head because I knew I was right.
“Look around you. What could possibly be wrong with this? Can this just be good enough? You’re staying in a beautiful room, you’re eating beautiful food, you’re with beautiful women, you’re held by beautiful teachers. Let it be enough.”

 

 

I laughed and I cried. Apologizing again and again to myself for not seeing myself as… enough.

I apologized to myself for being so uncomfortable recently, that I refused to be present with the man who simply came into my life to teach me and had to push him away instead.

I apologized to myself for thinking that the way I reacted was somehow wrong or that I could have or should have done it better.

I apologized for seeing anything about me or my experience as anything other, than the divine orchestration, the divine perfection, of nature.

 

And I decided.
To let it be good enough.
For now.

 

The Truth About Going Home

The Truth About Going Home

Puerto-Viejo

 

Did you know

that even if you fly home

return to your old job

fall into old relationships

and live out the old patterns that you thought you unlearned

you can never go back.

 

Ever.

 

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You can never go back.

You can never go back.

Seriously… you can never go back.

Even if you tried.

 

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But I know it can feel like you already have.

I know that feeling well.

 

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That feeling that the new you

that you worked so hard to become

has somehow returned to the old you

that you worked so hard to unlearn.

 

It’s terrifying.

 

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I have felt that fear so many times over the years when I’ve gone back to the USA after traveling.

 

When I have a harder time feeling relaxed.

When I have a harder time feeling joyful.

When I have a harder time feeling free.

When I have a harder time doing the things that I know make me feel good.

 

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I get into my patterns of overworking and stressing, feeling disconnected from nature and my body, and falling into family dramas.

 

And every time I ask myself…

“Am I really the person I thought I was?”

“When can I run away again?”

“Did I actually grow at all?”

 

Laos

 

Then there are the times when that fear follows me out on the road. I feel trapped despite my physical freedom. It startles me and confuses me to the core.

 

When I arrive somewhere and I don’t instantly feel the magic.

When everyone I meet feels distant and shallow.

When my soul aches to feel alive and all I feel is antsy.

When I wonder, “What the fuck am I doing here??!”

 

This American Girl

 

It makes me fantasize about Costa Rica, or the last place I loved, or a better beach, or a town with yoga. It can even leave me longing for my family and my birth home.

 

And every time I ask myself…

“Am I really this traveler that I thought I was?”

“Do I even want to do this anymore?”

“Did I actually grow at all?”

 

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The worst is when the fear meets me in Costa Rica. When the “old” me who I thought I destroyed creeps in again… in the place I love most of all.

 

When I get bored of laying on the beach for hours.

When I feel frustrated that I can’t get anything done.

When it rains for days and I feel isolated and alone.

When I lose discipline in my yoga practice or I get sucked into small town drama or I return to unhealthy patterns with men.

 

Puerto-Viejo

 

I start to panic that every high was just an illusion. I start to worry that I’m forever stuck in my sadness. I want to move to fix it, but I know there’s nowhere left for me to go.

 

And every time I ask myself…

“Will I ever be satisfied ANYWHERE?”

“How can I get back to being the happy me?”

“Did I actually grow at all?”

 

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But then I remember…

My awareness of my old patterns is evidence that I am different than I was before.

My awareness that I want something greater is evidence that I am different than I was before.

My awareness is evidence that I am growing. No matter how I’m acting and no matter where I am.

 

Palenque

 

I know how it feels to see yourself blossom in ways you never knew possible…

and then watch yourself wither.

 

This American Girl

 

I know how it feels to soar into aliveness…

and then become dull and detached.

 

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I know how it feels to be happier, clearer, more empowered, more authentic, more driven, more aware, more purposeful, than you ever knew you could be…

and then wonder if you can ever get back there again.

 

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And the sobering truth is… you can’t.

 

Just like you will never go back to being the person you may be so afraid of re-becoming, you will also never go back to being the person who you idealized in a moment from your past.

 

Because all that you are is who you are right now.

 

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Who you are now is more than who you were when you worked at a desk job or when you took an adventure of a lifetime or when you felt trapped at home or when you had absolute freedom on the road. Who you are now is more than who you were when you were consumed with anxiety or when you felt perfectly content. Who you are now is more than who you were on that long bus ride, in that beautiful relationship, watching that epic sunset, taking that transformative retreat, and crying on the plane ride home.

 

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Who you are now is the wholeness that survived all of that.

Who you are now is the potential to evolve into something greater than all of that.

Because you have become and unbecome every moment of all of that.

 

Pai

 

In the highest highs and the lowest lows

in your best expression of love and your worst explosion of fear

your continuous transformation is happening right how

whether you recognize it or not.

 

That is the purpose of life.

 

Lake Atitlan

 

Our purpose is not to remain in the spaces where we feel best or most comfortable. Our purpose is to grow. Our purpose is to endlessly expand into the greatness of our unlimited potential. And the only thing that makes anything that we are “good” or “bad” or “better” or “worse” is the belief that we are anything less than exactly who we are meant to be. Right now. No matter where we are.

 

Puerto Viejo

 

When we accept that, we can see the truth about going home.

Which is that we can never go home.

We’re already there.

 

How to Find Your Soul Tribe While Traveling

How to Find Your Soul Tribe While Traveling

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When I first set off to travel the world on my own, my biggest concern was loneliness. I wondered if I’d be wandering the streets of a city, exploring deserted beaches daily, and sitting in a restaurant in the evening, all on my own.

 

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As soon as I showed up at my first destination, that worry was laid to rest. And after four years of solo travel, I can confidently say that the only times I have been alone on the road, have been by my own choice.

 

Thanks to hostels, tours, busy bars and cafes, curious locals, and the friendliness of travelers on the road, there’s always someone to pass the time with. I’ve been invited to tours and parties and excursions moments after checking into a hostel. I’ve been fed dinner by locals on the street. I’ve been engulfed in conversations as soon as I’ve sat my bum down in a café.

 

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Not to say that I haven’t been lonely. I certainly have. Because simply being around people doesn’t mean feeling connected. Just because you can find companions at the drop of a dime, doesn’t mean you find soul mates.

 

And quite frankly, the longer I spend on the road, and the more purpose I find in my life, the less I want to give my time away to anyone and any experience. The more I travel, the clearer I’ve become in how I want to use and share my energy. The longer I spend on the road, the more I’d rather be alone than engage in a shallow interaction.

 

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Though as much as I love my alone time, and as much as I believe that I am my own true soul mate, on long travel stints, finding deep connections with others is important. We all need to feel intimacy, love, and support, especially when we’re wandering the world and discovering our own depths.

 

So how do we find those people and make those connections?

 

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This is a question readers ask me often. They don’t ask me how to meet people when traveling or how to ensure they won’t be alone. They ask me how to make true, genuine friendships. Friendships that offer the same kind of fulfillment of loving supportive communities and families at home.

 

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While there have been plenty of times where I’m completely on my own, I’ve been blessed to have found so many soul mates while traveling the world. Like the travel writer I bonded with on the beaches of Colombia and her best friend who took me in a year later while I was traveling in Vietnam. Or the yoga teacher I met in Cambodia who I went deeper with than childhood friends. And the many many beautiful souls I have met and shared my heart with over the years.

 

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I’ll be the first to say that the connections I’ve cultivated on the road, even if brief encounters, go even deeper than the friendships I built over the course of years while living in the states. And it’s not by coincidence. It’s because since leaving to traveling the world, I approach life and relationships differently. Here’s my best advice, after four years of solo travel, to find your tribe while traveling the world.

 

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Become Your Own Best Friend

 

Yep, YOU are where it all begins. Most of the time when we’re feeling a sense of lack, it’s because we’re not giving enough to ourselves. If you want to cultivate a tribe of soul mates, you must first recognize YOURSELF as the soul mate.

 

Before I left to go travel, I didn’t really enjoy alone time. I scheduled up all of my free time with friends or my boyfriend. Though the initial phase of loneliness on the road introduced me to a very important relationship I had neglected. My relationship with MYSELF!

 

Make time for you. Get to know yourself. Sit with your own thoughts. Practice loving yourself. Begin to like yourself! Some of my favorite ways to build my relationship with myself include: journaling, taking long walks alone (especially in nature), meditation, and yoga. These are all opportunities to sit with your body, your breath, your thoughts and get to know who’s in there. The fun part is, there’s always new depths to uncover.

 

Once you recognize yourself as the soul mate, finding other soul mates is so much easier. For one, you know yourself better! You’re more in tune with who you are, what you like, what matters to you, and who you want to be around. You’re also less likely to spend time in relationships that don’t nourish you, because you’re not surrounding yourself with people out of fear of loneliness. And best of all, once you learn to really love yourself, you unconsciously attract people who reflect that love back to you.

 

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Be Willing to be Vulnerable

 

This, this, this, is what I believe to be the MAIN reason why many people feel alone and disconnected. They’re not showing who they really are! How can you expect other people to open up if you’re not open yourself? When you let yourself be vulnerable, you make it safe for other people to do the same.

 

I’ve learned consistently, that the more I speak openly and share my heart with strangers, the faster and deeper the connection forms. And the good news is, you’ve got nothing to lose! Most people you meet on the road will only be around for a few days anyway, so why not let it all out? There’s such freedom in expressing who you truly are, knowing that you can completely disappear in a moment’s notice.

 

These days, I connect with people very quickly. Whether it’s local taxi drivers or other travelers, I immediately take the conversation to a deep level. It saves me time and energy, but cutting through the small talk and filtering out the people who aren’t on the same wavelength as me. More often than not, I experience people from all walks of life opening up tremendously within hours (sometimes minutes) of meeting me.

 

A simple way to start is to set a goal for yourself, to take an emotional risk every single day. Say something that you wouldn’t ordinarily say. Approach someone you wouldn’t normally approach. GO THERE. Showing your heart and giving others the space to show theirs is a truly beautiful thing. You’ll be amazed with the connections when you let yourself be vulnerable. And if people reject you? There are so many other fish in the travel sea.

 

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Set Boundaries

 

On the road, it’s easy to give your time away to anyone. How can you attract what you do want, unless you make it clear what you don’t want? Honor and respect your own time and space by setting boundaries. You don’t have to say yes to everyone and every invitation. Respect your precious time and learn to say no when something or someone doesn’t interest you.

 

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Choose Where You Go Wisely

 

While I do believe that its possible to connect with anyone, you can make it much easier on yourself by choosing environments that like minded people gravitate towards. For example, if you’re a more mature traveler you may not want to stay in a party hostel. Choose where you stay and what you do wisely, to put yourself in situations where you’re likely to be surrounded by the kind of people you want to meet.

 

For meeting people, I highly recommend staying in hostels (not party hostels, but more mature/clean/quiet yet still social hostels) and social guesthouses as opposed to big hotels. Stay places with common hang out areas and social events that interest you. Yoga studios are also a great place to meet people who are open to connection. If you can find a yoga hostel, I highly recommend it! You can also look into some local events happening in the community like farmer’s markets, open jam sessions, drum circles, etc.

 

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Attend a Retreat

 

This one is an obvious one. If you want to connect on a deep level with a group of strangers in a foreign location, go on a retreat. Consider what it is that you enjoy doing, and seek out a retreat that offers that. You can find anything from a yoga retreat to a surf retreat to an outdoor adventure retreat. Focus on what you’re into and you’re likely to meet other people who are like you.

 

Many retreats are designed to facilitate intimacy and not only offer space to make new friends but teach you how to be more open after the retreat ends. It’s like showing up to a new place with an instant tribe. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll become best friends with everyone, but if you’re open to it you can connect at least on some level with everyone.

 

My desire to support other women in living more adventurously, open heartedly, and in honor of themselves and nature, inspired me to start leading my own retreats in my home base on the South Caribbean of Costa Rica. By living together in a big beach house, doing daily yoga, going on fun excursions, and participating in all kinds of exercises for building intimacy, we go very deep very fast. Consistently the women on my retreats tell me they leave feeling like they made lifelong friends. (You can get more info on my Jungle Bliss Women’s Retreats here.)

 

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Create What You Want to Attract

 

I’m a huge fan of this one, because once again it puts the responsibility on you. All too often we can complain that the community or connection or experience we’re looking for doesn’t exist. Ok, so what are you going to do about it? CREATE IT!

 

Last Halloween I was in Oaxaca, Mexico for Day of the Dead and went on a tour organized by the hostel. We all complained that it felt shallow and lacked the spirit of the holiday. So, rather than dwell on discontent, I invited everyone to join me in a ceremony. A few of us went to the main square and I guided us with songs and meditations to connect with the pure essence of death. We drew oracle cards, shared our feelings on death, and people opened up tremendously.

 

I’ve made friends with traveling yoga teachers who showed up to a hostel and offer to lead classes on the roof. Chefs who organized a huge communal dinner with all of the guests. Musicians who threw together a jam session. One of the beautiful things about travel, is that people are open and everything is possible. If you want something to exist, create it! Create a gathering that draws in the community you are looking for, and watch how quickly you find your tribe.

 

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Learn to Let Go

 

This is the hard part. The transient lifestyle living on the road means saying goodbye often and quickly. I’ve formed deep bonds with people who left a day later. Fallen in love with someone in a moment just before catching my bus. The remedy? Appreciate and honor the connections when they happen and be willing to let them go. Letting go keeps you open to meeting even more beautiful souls, here to offer you even more beautiful lessons.

 

It takes practice, but over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at letting people go. You become adaptable and accept the inevitability of goodbye. And for all of its downfalls, one of the wonderful things about the online world is that you can stay connected to people you meet on the road forever.

 

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Live Like a Gypsy… Without Going Broke!

Live Like a Gypsy… Without Going Broke!

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If money didn’t exist, there would be a whole lot more gypsies in the world.

 

Every day I receive emails from blog readers telling me that they want to live the way that I’m living, but they’re scared they can’t afford it. Every day I meet people on their one-week vacation who tell me the same thing. The overflowing quantity of sweet hopeful souls who express a deep longing to travel the world, but deem it impossible due to finances, never fails to astound me.

 

But for some crazy reason, going broke never held me back.

 

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I’ve run out of money while traveling so, so, so many times. When I ignored my budget in Colombia and wound up back in Costa Rica without a dime, sleeping on my friend’s couch. When I spent all of my money on a flight to Bali to see my heartthrob one last time, and realized I didn’t have enough in the bank to get off of the island. When I finished my yoga teacher training and could hardly afford a bus ticket. And oh my goodness many, many, many other times.

 

Yep, it was scary. Yep, it was stressful. Yep, it kinda sucked. So I understand why so many people are hesitant to live like a gypsy even when it’s what their hearts desire.

 

But I also understand why I had to go broke so many times. I understand how it helped me. I understand the lessons I needed to learn. I understand that I needed to go through it to see that I could survive it.

 

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And today, financially stable, living in paradise, and free to travel when I please, I am so grateful to have had those experiences, and be able to share them with you, so that hopefully, you never have to go through them yourself.

 

Here you have it my friends, my best advice for how to set a budget, travel on the cheap, and financially support a traveling lifestyle, for as long as your sweet heart desires. Yes, you can live like a gypsy without going broke, and here’s how:

 

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Have a Cushion

 

Would you believe that your greatest barrier in moving forward, is not feeling safe and supported where you already are? It’s not easy to free fall into the unknown when you’re fearful of where you’re standing. When you have a financial cushion, making decisions for your future feels so much easier, more stable, and more heart centered.

 

For this reason, I highly, highly recommend starting your journey with enough to fund at least the first few months of your trip, just in case. Even if you plan to work trade, work abroad, or work online, you can protect yourself from going into survival mode when you’ve got back up in the bank. It alleviates so much of the stress and the pressure.

 

That said, traveling costs significantly less than people often think. I traveled through Southeast Asia for 8 months with just $9,000 (including flights). That was with meals out, occasional splurges, and frequent massages. I know plenty of people who have done it on less.

 

Come up with a budget (we’ll cover that next) and save enough money to cover your budget for 3 months. This will give you time to get into the flow of earning money while you travel, and will help you feel secure in the mean time. When your balance dips below $1,000, let it wake you up to start earning an income on the road. It’s also good to have this cushion for the times when freelance work is low, payments don’t go through, or “life happens”.

 

Again, it’s not necessary, and I’ve done it plenty of times with waaaay less money, but you’ll feel far more secure and less stressed if you keep a thick cushion.

 

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Set a Budget

 

Unless you’ve got an unlimited cash flow, or you’re extremely frugal, if you don’t set a budget, you will go broke. Trust me, cause I’ve done it.

 

I spent $200 in one day in Spain without even being aware of it, when I would have been just as happy with a $30 day. And really, that’s what setting a budget is all about: bringing awareness to how you allocate your finances, so that you can reduce excess and have more money to spend on what you value.

 

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How Much to Budget

 

How do you set a budget that feels realistic, supportive, and doesn’t deprive you of what you feel you need? It’s an integration of how much money you have, how much money you can make, what things cost where you’re going, and how much you need to feel comfortable. The budget of a family traveling in Europe will be very different from that of a 19-year-old-backpacker in South America. This is why in my travel guides, I offer you ranges from backpacker dorms to luxury eco resorts, from street food to culinary heaven, in destinations across the world.

 

Ask yourself how you want to sleep, how you want to eat, how fast you want to travel, and how many tours you want to do. Ask yourself how important each of these things is to you, and how much you value them. Remember, money is simply a stand in for value, so try to approach your budget in those terms. The less you need to spend to feel comfortable, the less money you’ll need to save and the longer you can travel without working. However, you also want to enjoy your experience. Find the balance between the two.

 

I generally set myself a budget of $1,000 to $1,500 per month when traveling in countries that are less expensive than the USA (Thailand, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, etc.) Yes, you can do it for less, but sometimes I like to have my own private room and have a green smoothie at an organic restaurant.

 

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How to Stick to Your Budget

 

Once you’ve determined a budget that feels good, adhere to it! I do this by plugging in my daily expenditures (in the morning or the end of the day) into this spreadsheet which automatically calculates my remaining balance, whether I’m over or under budget, and get this, it shows me a NEW daily budget depending on what I’ve spent the subsequent days. For the full explanation of how the spreadsheet works, check out my post My Incredibly Geeky But Effective Travel Budgeting Technique.

 

And hey, give yourself a break! You are bound to over spend at some point, forget to track one day, and on and on. That’s ok. It’s all part of the learning. So give yourself a break, make an intention to do your best, and allow yourself to make mistakes. That’s what your cushion is there for, right?

 

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Spend Less Money

 

It’s funny that the easiest way to travel for longer, is also the hardest: spending less money. When I am aware of what I’m actually spending (by tracking my expenses in my budget sheet) I notice that above a certain point, spending more doesn’t contribute to much more to my happiness. Here are the ways that I’ve saved money over the years, that have helped me afford to travel for longer.

 

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Take it Slow

 

This is probably the #1 most effective way to save money while traveling. When you spend at least a month in one location, you can rent a house at local rates, cook your own food, and save on transportation costs. You will also have the time and space to find work, do work trade, or work on an online business.

 

On another level, it gives you the opportunity to get involved with the community, cultivate friendships, and find another place in the world that could become a second home. That’s exactly how I began my travels, in a beach house in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica for a month. Four years later and I still consider it home!

 

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Couch Surf, Hostel Hop, Home-Stay

 

I generally stay in hostels, which can be as cheap as $5 for a shared dorm room in Nicaragua to $20 for a swank hostel in Bangkok. If you can afford it, opt for your own private room, but no matter your age, hostels are the best place to meet other travelers. Another benefit is that they have many services that budget hotels don’t have, like shared kitchens, shuttle service, and laundry.

 

When a hostel isn’t an option, or I want some privacy, I stay in a sweet cabin or guesthouse. In Southeast Asia home stays are far more common than hostels, and I’ve managed to get my own bungalow with breakfast on the beach at a family run local place for $10 a night. It’s a great way to support the local economy, learn more about local culture, and save money all at the same time!

 

For the super frugal traveler, or anyone who wants to befriend a local, Couch Surfing is a great option. I’ve done couch surfing only a couple of times, once I had a bizarre experience in Munich and another time a lovely experience in San Jose. Be sure to check the reviews and speak to the person ahead of time, especially if you’re a woman traveling alone and safety is a concern. Generally people have great experiences and develop lasting friendships through couch surfing.

 

Ultimate Guide to Puerto Viejo - 085

 

Cook Your Meals

 

I not only recommend cooking for yourself while traveling because it’s good for your budget, I also recommend it because it’s good for your body. There will definitely come a time when you’re sick of eating out, especially when you’re eating cheap street food.

 

Having a shared kitchen is one of the biggest benefits of staying in a hostel. You can shop at the local markets and prepare fresh salads and veggies for dinner, and even pack picnics for the day. If you don’t have access to a kitchen, you can still cool meals for yourself, which is how I did it in Southeast Asia and Morocco. I would shop at the local markets and get fresh greens and avocado to make myself salads in my hotel room and I’d snack on nuts and fruit. Whenever I found a health store I’d stock up on dry goods like oats, superfoods, nuts, and seeds. It definitely helps to have a tupperware container, some good quality salt, and a set of cutlery.

 

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Take Public Transport

 

How do local people get around? By bus of course! You can save a lot of money by opting for the slower, more local transportation option. For instance, a taxi from the airport to the city center in San Jose, Costa Rica costs $20-$40 depending on your haggling skills and traffic. Whereas a local bus costs less than $2. A bus is usually less convenient and takes longer, but it provides the opportunity to meet local people. I’ve taken 30 plus hour buses through Southeast Asia, and while uncomfortable at the time, some of my favorite memories and funniest stories come from those rides.

 

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Fly in and Out of Hubs

 

Suppose you want to fly from Seattle to Bali, but you don’t think it’s possible because a one-way ticket costs $1000. Did you know that with some flexibility, you could get there for only $550 instead? Singapore, Bangkok, and Kuala Lumpur are all popular airline hubs with reasonable flights to the USA. You can fly one way from Seattle to Bangkok for $500, for example. Once you’re in Southeast Asia, you can fly on a low cost airline like Air Asia for around $50 from any of those hubs to Bali.

 

Similarly, in Europe, you can fly into London for much cheaper than you could fly to Athens, and get a flight with Ryanair (local low cost carrier) sometimes for as low as $10!

 

Research the airline hubs in the general part of the world where you’re going, and see if you can get cheap local flights from the hub to your desired destination.

 

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Be Flexible

 

I can’t stress enough how helpful this is. If you can be flexible with your dates, flexible with where and when you go, and flexible with how you travel, you’ll save a ton. For instance, you can save hundreds on flights, simply by being flexible with when you leave.

 

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Haggle

 

In many countries, everything is negotiable. This is particularly true in Southeast Asia and Morocco. In Bali I haggled for my bungalow down to less than half of the original rate. In Morocco I bought textiles and jewelry for one tenth of the starting offer (still crazy to me!) Do your research first to make sure that haggling is appropriate and respectful where you are, then let the games begin!

 

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Go in the Low Season

 

Typically everything is cheaper when less tourists are around. Flights are certainly cheaper and I’ve negotiated for rooms at a rate of less than half of the asking price. When the place would sit empty otherwise, you have much more room for negotiation. For example, the house I am staying in now in Costa Rica has a nightly rate of $80, but because it’s the low season and I’m staying for the entire month, I’m paying a quarter of that price.

 

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Travel With a Friend

 

As much as I love solo travel, it’s definitely less expensive to travel with a friend. Most notably when it comes to saving money on your room. You can often share a private room with your own bathroom for the same price you would have paid for your own bed in a dorm. In Nicaragua I traveled to an island with only private bungalows, and I would have paid half had I been with a friend. You also save on private transportation and tours. Don’t let this discourage you though, it’s very easy to meet and make friends on the road who you can travel with for short stints.

 

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Work Trade

 

Admittedly I’ve never actually committed to doing work trade, because I’ve always wanted that time to invest in my blog instead. However, I have tons of friends who have done work trade, and had phenomenal experiences. Work trade enables you to sleep and often eat for free, and sometimes you earn income on top of that. For more info on Work Trade, and working overseas in general, check out my article How to Travel When You’ve Got Absolutely No Money.

 

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Create a Job You Can Do From Anywhere

 

If you want to quit your job and sustain a life of travel, you can’t live on savings forever. Eventually the money will run out and you’ll find yourself back home, trying to save all over again. Or, you’ll bounce around volunteering from place to place, living on a shoestring, and eventually get burned out.

 

Many people I meet on the road have chosen to focus on careers that they can do while traveling. Working on cruise ships, teaching English abroad, and teaching yoga are all great examples that I highly encourage people to try. However, they typically require working for someone else, in a set location, for a set period of time.

 

For lasting freedom to travel when and where you want, and the time to focus on your true purpose, you need to create a source of income that flows no matter where you are.

 

When you’re getting started, don’t worry if this revenue stream doesn’t feel like your true calling. The key is to find something that doesn’t take a lot of time, but earns you enough money to travel and explore. It should support you, but give you the space to start building a business that does align with your passion.

 

For my advice on creating a job that you can do from anywhere, read my article How to Travel and Work From Anywhere.

 

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Celebrate Your Success

 

When I started traveling to places with heartbreaking poverty and socializing with backpackers on a shoestring, I noticed that I felt guilty for having money. My rejection of money as something that made me unhappy and destroyed the earth caused me confusion and frustration. Further, I wondered why I deserved to afford a beautiful meal in an organic restaurant when there were children who went without any meal at all.

 

I believe it’s the single reason why I went broke so many times. As soon as I became financially stable, I judged myself, and consequently slowed my momentum with earning money. I feared that having money meant I’d be back in the cycle of consumerism that had never brought me fulfillment in the past. But running out of money and worrying when my next paycheck was coming didn’t feel good either.

 

Over the last year I decided that things needed to radically change. Through many experiences, many moments in quiet with myself, and even a few breakdowns, I healed my relationship with money. (One of the ways was by watching this video: It’s Spiritual to be Rich.)

 

I accepted that I do not understand why some people are born into poverty and others into privilege. I accepted that it’s not my fault, and feeling guilty doesn’t change it. I also accepted that while money doesn’t buy happiness, when used with love, it can be an incredible tool for making the world a happier place. Most importantly, I accepted that the work I do has tremendous value, and allowing value to flow back to me acknowledges how worthy I am.

 

Celebrate every dollar that comes in and every dollar that goes out. Celebrate how fortunate you are to be traveling. Celebrate how powerful and courageous you are to dare to do it. Celebrate you. You deserve it.

 

How to Go Home After Traveling… Without Going Crazy

How to Go Home After Traveling… Without Going Crazy

Little Corn Island

 

Sometimes I wonder how I’ve had an easier time adjusting to living in the remote jungle, or eating unidentifiable street food in Asia, or navigating the hectic maze of Morocco, than I have simply coming home.

 

I wonder how the shock of what’s familiar, can sizzle my brain with a force far greater than a cockroach the size of my fist or a street congested with motorcycles and donkey carts. I wonder how despite the many comforts, a world that I once lived in, can feel so devoid of what I’ve grown to love.

 

Little Corn Island

 

I wonder, how does reverse culture shock bite sharper than culture shock?

 

Little Corn Island

 

Over the last three and a half years, I’ve returned to my hometown of Seattle seven times. You’d think that at this point, the shock would wear off. You’d think that it would no longer affect me. But, it still does. I still experience reverse culture shock, every time I come home.

 

And from what I hear again and again, from friends, readers, and travel bloggers, is that I’m not alone in this feeling. For those of us who have the travel bug, going home feels hard.

 

Granada Nicaragua

 

But this past year, coming home has gotten easier for me. And not because I’ve gotten my travel fix or finally satisfied my wanderlust itch.

 

It’s gotten easier because I’ve decided to approach my life differently. I’ve decided that the answer isn’t always running away to the next tropical destination. The answer is making peace with where I am, wherever that may be.

 

Granada Nicaragua

 

So how do you do it? How do you make peace with where you are, when it’s not all that awesome? How do you go home after seeing the great big beautiful world with more freedom than you ever knew possible… without going crazy?

 

Little Corn Island

 

Stop Comparing “What Is” With “What Was”

 

I know how dull the city streets and skyscrapers can look in comparison to golden sand beaches and vibrant jungles. I know how empty the suburbs and shopping malls can appear in comparison to beehive communities and bustling artisan markets. I know how boring routine can feel in comparison to life on the road. I know that when you compare climax to stasis, stasis falls flat.

 

But the only thing that makes one experience better than the other, is your perception. And in truth, magic lives everywhere.

 

Try experiencing this time and place without applying it to a background of other experiences. Try to feel it exactly as it is, unaffected by what else you’ve done and what else you’ve seen. Try to appreciate where you are right now, rather than comparing it to what in retrospect seems “better.” This present moment, is the only thing that actually exists, so you might as well enjoy it.

 

Granada Nicaragua

 

Radically Accept

 

Many times I struggled when coming home (read my post The Hardest Part About Coming Home) because I couldn’t accept the image I had of the person I was when I lived here. In turn, I judged myself when I noticed those old behaviors arise, I judged others when I saw my former self in them, and I judged my environment for being the driving force behind all of it.

 

But last winter I decided to actually step into the shadow of my former self and fill it with light. Since then, everything has become easier.

 

So you came home and you started acting like less than your best self. It happens. Own it. Allow it. Maybe you had a mind-blowing experience on the road that changed you forever, and come home to find your friends and family haven’t changed at all. You can get frustrated over the fact that they don’t “get it,” or you can accept them for who they are, redefine your relationship if necessary, and move forward. Maybe where you are physically isn’t as beautiful, or interesting, or laid back as life on the road, but you are here now. And this present moment is the only place to find real happiness.

 

Accept others, yourself, and your environment, and you will breathe infinitely more joy into your experience, whether you’re traveling or not.

 

Granada Nicaragua

 

Talk to People Who “Get It”

 

You wouldn’t expect an alcoholic to quit the bottle without the support of others, would you? So why would you expect that when you go cold turkey off the travel drug, you can do it alone?

 

And I don’t mean spending time with friends and family from home. I mean talking to people who have been through reverse culture shock and have found a way to handle it. Talk to other wanderlust friends, people who are out on the road, and particularly those who have also recently come home. Even if it turns into a bitch fest of why you hate the United States, it’s helpful to remember that you’re not crazy. Other people go through this, you’re not alone, and you will survive.

 

Little Corn Island

 

Make a Gratitude List

 

Yep. Do it. Do it now. Write out everything that you’re grateful for, and any struggle you may be experiencing will lighten. I promise. Do this daily and watch your life transform.

 

Granada Nicaragua

 

Embrace the True Meaning of Adventure

 

I heard a wonderful quote the other day that went something like this, “adventure is life reconsidered.” Adventure is taking a step into unknown territory. And if you’re actually living in the present moment, that means you’ve always in the midst of adventure. But living in the present moment is surprisingly difficult to do.

 

One of the things I love so much about world travel, is that through adventures and misadventures, I find myself pulled into the present. I find myself so immersed in what is happening now. That makes life feel so much richer.

 

How can you bring that essence into the way that you do everything? Can you make even your daily practices and your interactions an adventure, by pushing your own boundaries and comfort zones? What happens when you start saying yes to things that scare you, in an exciting way? What happens when you start sharing parts of yourself that want to come out, but you’re afraid to express? What happens when you start setting boundaries that feel uncomfortable, yet so relieving at the same time?

 

Travel is a beautiful adventure that I would never trade for anything in the whole world, but the journey of the self, is the greatest adventure of all.

 

Granada Nicaragua

 

Do What Makes You Happy

 

Pretty much every time I come home, I notice myself creep into old patterns and habits that don’t make me happy. I stop doing yoga as often, I lax on my daily meditations, I get lazy about going out and exploring. It’s like the simple act of being home leads me to stop doing all of the things that normally make me happy.

 

Anyone else with me on this one?

 

I’m willing to bet that a lot of the routines and habits that we have when traveling, could in fact be replicated at home. No, it won’t be same, but it will certainly make the transition easier.

 

Instead of falling back into an old routine that seems “natural” in this environment, consciously make the decision to set a new one. What are the things that you know make you happy? How can you bring them into your life at home too?

 

If you need some inspiration, read my post 24 Ways to Find Happiness No Matter Where You Are.

 

Little Corn Island

 

Remember Why You’re Here

 

In most cases, I’ll assume that coming home, for whatever reason, was your choice. You decided that this was what you needed to do at this given time. Though despite the fact that you chose to be here, it can often feel like you’re trapped. That’s why you need to remember why you’re here to begin with.

 

Are you here to make more money so you can get back on the road? Are you here to have the time and space so that you can develop a business that you can do from anywhere? Are you here to spend time with people you love, who are important enough to stop traveling for? Are you here because your body and your spirit told you it was time to take a rest?

 

What are you ultimately hoping to create or experience? How can being home help facilitate that? Can you set some goals that help you stay motivated and focused, even through the challenge?

 

Little Corn Island

 

Be Patient

 

It takes time. Be patient. Lighten up. Smile. Know that like all things, this too shall pass.

 

Taganga Colombia

 

Allow Yourself the Space to Grow

 

Sometimes the struggle you feel is more than a transition that you need to just breathe through. Sometimes the struggle comes from living in a way that doesn’t express what you feel in your heart. Sometimes the struggle comes from realizing that you don’t belong here anymore, no matter how much you think you should.

 

Allow yourself the space to grow. Even when the growth comes with pain.

 

Absolutely find peace, contentment, and happiness in this moment. But also find the courage to do whatever it takes, to follow your bliss. Life is too short, and too long, for anything else.

 

24 Ways to Find Happiness, No Matter Where You Are

24 Ways to Find Happiness, No Matter Where You Are

Find Happiness - 01

 

Have you ever noticed how much easier life feels when you’re laying on a tropical beach? Or watching the sunset from a sailboat? Or sleeping in the mountains under the stars?

 

Have you ever noticed how there are places that instantly, magically, seem to pull you into the moment? That allow you to relax? Places that just feel naturally easy to be in? Where you feel effortlessly happy?

 

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I’ve felt this while traveling so many times. The first time I walked down the golden sand shores of Costa Rica. The first time I drove a motorbike through the hills in Indonesia. The first time I went snorkeling in caves in Mexico. The first time I walked into a gilded temple in Thailand. And so many other first times.

 

Life felt perfect. Life felt easy. I felt alive.

 

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I’ve also experienced the flip side.

 

Where, suddenly I find myself in a very different environment, and that happiness fades. In a smoggy, dirty city in a country where no one speaks my language. Or in traffic on a highway in the pouring rain. Often the most difficult shock, is when I find myself in the old familiar place I once called home, seeing happiness as a distant memory.

 

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No question, our outside environment can profoundly affect our experience of happiness. It can instantly create bliss as easily as it can lead us down a tunnel of depression. It can remind us how perfect we truly are, and it can leave us questioning if we’re actually as awful as we feel. And when you travel the world, those rollercoaster experiences can become even more poignant.

 

Have you ever felt that way?

 

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As someone who is constantly traveling, I know how tempting it can be to chase happiness as something that exists in certain geographical locations or experiences. I know how tempting it is to get up and move the moment things feel uncomfortable. I know how tempting it is to judge what’s outside of you as the problem.

 

But the thing is, happiness can only live in turquoise oceans or in colorful countries or in lush jungles, if it also lives inside of us.

 

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Happiness lives at the heart of each of us, and it’s within our power to awaken that happiness. We must choose happiness, especially when it feels hard. After all, happiness is not where you are, happiness is who you are.

 

Like the wise poet Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

 

Find Happiness - 07

 

Easier said than done, right? We can intellectually know this truth, yet still find ourselves spiraling into depression and frustration once we leave the loving container of our most nourishing environment.

 

While I genuinely believe that the surest way to experience true, lasting happiness, is by following the path that brings each of us our greatest bliss, sometimes the path gets rocky. Sometimes we take detours. Sometimes we get stuck in the mud.

 

24waystofindhappiness

 

That’s why I’ve put together this list of practices, that I’ve found to consistently lift me out of a funk, and remind me of my inherent joy, no matter where I am. I hope they help you at least as much as they’ve helped me.

 

Find Happiness - 09

 

1. Go Outside

 

So, maybe you’re no longer in tropical paradise or completely off the grid. Maybe it’s cold or rainy or gray. No matter. Get outside. Feel the sensation of fresh air on your skin. Listen for nature and focus on those sounds above the rest. Seek the essence of life no matter where you are.

 

Battambang Sunset

 

2. Wake Up Early

 

There’s a special quality that exists only in the early hours. A feeling of quiet. Of peace. Of newness. Of possibility. Motivate yourself to get up early to experience those special moments. I’ve noticed a direct correlation between how early I wake up and how healthy, productive, and happy I feel. Experiment with getting up just an hour earlier than you typically do, and fill that hour with a sacred ritual to set the tone for your day.

 

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3. Move Your Body

 

I’ve noticed in my own self, that if my body becomes sluggish or stuck, my mind follows suit. The more I get into my body, with movement, exercise, and stretching, the easier it is for me to work through and release whatever I’m struggling with. I notice that if I start my morning with a run, I literally burn off the excess mental energy that often leads to anxiety. Oh ya, and endorphins. Those things make a difference.

 

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4. Make Art

 

Few things are more healing, and more fun, than pure artistic expression. Check the perfectionist at the door, and create for the sake of creating. Grab a brush, a pencil, some clay, sticks, whatever you’ve got, and play. Get back to the child state where you smeared your fingers into the paint or built a castle made of sand. Creating without worrying about the outcome pulls us into the present, the place where happiness actually lives.

 

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5. Celebrate Your Life

 

Sometimes we get so hung up in the “work” of life, and in personal progress, we forget to celebrate the fact that we’re actually alive. This moment, this breath, this thought, this sensation, this sight, this experience, this existence, is a mother f*&king gift. Whatever’s going on, take more moments for celebration.

 

I celebrate my life in many ways. Most of which I express through music and movement. I put on an inspiring, uplifting playlist that makes me want to shake my booty. I dance first thing when I wake up in the morning. I hula hoop in the grass after going on a run and sing at the top of my lungs. I put on awesome music while I’m working at my computer in a café and literally dance from my seat.

 

How can you bring a greater level of celebration to everything that you do? Even the tasks that seem boring or mundane?

 

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6. Host a Dance Party

 

Take it to the next level, and invite some friends over for some ecstatic dance. Crank up the tunes, close your eyes if you’re self conscious, and dance your heart out.

 

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7. Take a Yoga Class

 

Yoga classes are typically designed to help us get out of our heads, connect with the present moment, and most importantly, relax. It’s a sacred space and time to focus on your body, your breath, and your experience. It bridges the mind body connection, to reprogram the way we think in ways that promote lasting happiness. If you’re not familiar with yoga and want to learn more, check out my post How Practicing Yoga Changed My Life. Also, consider attending a yoga retreat (FYI I’ve got two retreats coming up in Costa Rica. Get more info here.)

 

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8. Meditate

 

I won’t lie, when you’re new to meditation, it can be scary. You may worry that it’s boring, that your mind will wander, and that you might even go crazy. And you probably will. You probably will get bored. Your mind will most certainly wander. And when you begin to notice how much your mind races in circular patterns, you might in fact think you’re crazy. But to actually decide how you want to think and feel in your existence, you must cultivate the awareness of where your mind goes in moments of stillness.

 

Once you’re able to let that chatter go, you experience a level of happiness and bliss that I can honestly say far, far, far transcends the happiness of anything that can be seen with the eyes. In meditation I’ve achieved the all-illusive “Nirvana,” a state impossible to describe but one I best liken to becoming stardust. If you want to start meditating, I recommend attending a retreat, taking a class, or beginning with guided meditation videos. I love Deepak Chopra’s guided meditations.

 

Find Happiness - 16

 

9. Use Essential Oils

 

I’ve been using essential oils for the last year, and frankly, I don’t know how I ever lived without them. Just like sight, touch, and sound, smell can profoundly affect our energy and our mood. Inhale or diffuse uplifting oils like Lemon, Peppermint, and Frankincense for an instant mood boost. I use Young Living essential oils, and they even have a blend called “Joy,” crafted to cultivate feelings of happiness, gratitude, and of course, JOY! If you’re interested in finding out more about essential oils and ordering your own, check out my page Why I’m Obsessed With Essential Oils.

 

Find Happiness - 17

 

10. Get a Massage

 

Touch heals. Treat yourself to safe, loving touch by getting some bodywork done. Personally, I love Thai Massage, Shiatsu, and Deep Tissue. While not technically massage, I find Reiki even more restorative and relaxing, a form of energy work that changed my life.

 

Find Happiness - 18

 

11. Create Your Own Retreat

 

Why not completely pamper yourself with an at home retreat? Collaborate with friends or do it on your own. Start your morning with an invigorating yoga practice (if you don’t feel comfortable doing it on your own, I love YogaGlo for at home yoga videos) and end your evening with Yin or Restorative. Eat healthy and delicious foods like vibrant fruits and vegetables, take an Epsom salt bath with Lavender essential oil, give yourself a manicure, and read a great book.

 

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12. Read Something Inspiring

 

When we can’t find the inspiration within ourselves, it can be helpful to receive inspiration through someone else’s words. Over the years there have been quotes, poems, books, and the words of friends that have lifted me out of even the most challenging situations. In fact, I’ve noticed that when I’m reading a really great book, my life takes on deeper meaning.

 

My favorite transformative reads include A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, anything by Paulo Coelho, The Celestine Prophecy, The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, and The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. Some of my favorite sources of inspiration on the blogosphere include Elephant Journal, The Freedom Experiment (read From My Heart to Yours – You Are Not Alone) and Danielle LaPorte (read The Manifesto of Encouragement.)

 

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13. Write

 

It can feel difficult to move beyond something that causes us unhappiness when we don’t fully understand it. Something I discovered when I started blogging, was how therapeutic it is to write. If I can just put my pen to the paper, especially through journaling or writing poetry, the feelings often reveal themselves, pouring from places I didn’t even realize existed. As they unload onto the page, I suddenly become released from them and can let them go.

 

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14. Cook a Meal

 

There’s something inherently joyous about creating a beautiful meal. Look up a recipe that excites and nourishes you. Go to the farmer’s market and gather the most beautiful ingredients you can find. Cook slowly while listening to music and having a glass of wine. Invite a loved one to enjoy it with you, or make it a special ceremony to experience alone.

 

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15. Jump Into Water

 

If you have access to a river, a lake, the ocean, hot springs, or any form of water in nature, head there immediately and immerse yourself fully. Be sure to dunk your head. Jumping into water instantly revitalizes and purifies, especially when done with intention. When I’m away from the ocean, I miss it terribly. So I look for other bodies of water in nature. If there aren’t any, at the very least, I set the intention when I step into the shower for a “rebirth” similar to what I feel when I jump into the sea.

 

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16. Connect With Like Minded People

 

As a fiercely independent solo female traveler, sometimes I get caught up in the mindset that I can, and have to, do everything on my own. But this mentality is limiting. We are social creatures designed to crave community and support from others. If you already have a strong support system, turn to it. There’s no weakness in that. If you don’t have that support group, create it. Seek out people who are living the life you want to create for yourself. Seek out others who understand what you’re going through. Ceremonial circles, special interest groups, yoga events, and even Facebook groups are all places where you can meet people who can support you on this journey.

 

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17. Plant Some Seeds

 

While happiness may live here in this present moment, it can be easier to recognize when we see the possibilities that live in our future. Planting seeds, literally and figuratively, is all about connecting with the earth, and offering it our hopes for creation. Get your hands dirty in the garden and over time, watch your seeds sprout and one day grow. Or offer your dreams to the universe during new moon and see them blossom with the full moon. Plant your hopes into the realm of possibility and notice how it makes everything look a little brighter.

 

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18. Map Out Your Dreams

 

Go beyond planting the seeds, and envision the growth of your idea. Create a vision board of what you’d like your dream, your project, your life to look like. This opens your mind to the possibility of how good things can be, no matter what may be going on right now. Focus your energy on that goodness, and you will feel it right now in the present.

 

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19. Spend Time With Children, Animals, and Flowers

 

What do children, animals, and flowers all have in common? Innocence. An innocence that makes them easy to adore, love, and cherish. When we treasure them for how beautiful and wonderful they are, we cultivate those feelings within ourselves. Simply being in the presence of such joy, reminds us of our own inherent joy.

 

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20. Watch the Sunset

 

Every day, no matter where you are, the sun sets. The sun sets no matter what’s going on or how we feel. In this sense, the setting of the sun, is the perfect reminder, that everything is going to be ok. Everything is going to be ok, because life will go on. Life will go on, as long as the sun continues to set, and the sun continues rise. Watch the sunset, appreciate its beauty, and notice how your worries disappear. ‘Cause babe, life will go on. Life is going on.

 

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21. Practice Gratitude

 

More than any other practice that exists, gratitude is the surest way to experience happiness. Gratitude turns not good enough into enough. Gratitude turns lack into abundance. Gratitude turns dissatisfaction into joy. Experience more gratitude, by making a practice out of thanking. Wake up and say aloud “thank you for this day.” Tell the people in your life how grateful you are for them. And when you find yourself in a moment of frustration, sadness, or negativity, say “thank you.” Shift your perspective to gratitude, and you will discover the gift in the present.

 

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22. Tell Someone You Love Them

 

Without expecting them to be anyone but exactly who they are.

 

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23. Make Peace With Discomfort

 

Many of us spend our lives chasing pleasure and avoiding pain. We go to great lengths to avoid discomfort, even if it actually comes at the cost of our own happiness. Over the years I’ve learned, through many many moments of extreme discomfort, that uncomfortable sensation is always a request for healing. It’s something shouting, “pay attention to me, work on me, because that’s the only way you can release me.” If you fight the discomfort you will struggle. This I promise. But if you can just be with it, try to understand it, try to love it, surrender to it, melt into it, eventually, you will release it. Eventually it won’t trigger you anymore. And if you can choose love and understanding, even in the most uncomfortable situations, you can find happiness anywhere.

 

Find Happiness - 31

 

24. Take off the Pressure

 

As hard as it can be to accept, in life there are bound to be lows. We can’t always be on the highest high. We can cultivate practices to help us raise our vibration to new levels, but the nature of life is that it moves like a wave. The suffering comes not from where we truly are, but rather from us comparing it to a fantasy of what we once had, or a fantasy of what we wish we had. Take off some of the pressure, and accept that perhaps you’re just on the hollow part of the wave. Stop comparing it to what was and just feel it, as it truly is. The time will come when you rise to the peak again. Accept where you are and what you’re going through. It’s perfect. And so are you.