Traveling Solo Is The Best Way to See Yourself

Something pretty miraculous that I’ve really tuned into lately is how wonderful it is that I enjoy spending time with myself. This is a miracle. It used to be so hard for me to sit still and even spend a minute trying to meditate alone. For the longest time I simply couldn’t do it. I really didn’t like myself and found it much easier to criticize myself and focus on negativity than anything else – it was my default, unbeknownst to me at the time. For many years, the critical, afraid, negative voice of mine was the only voice I really knew.

Traveling alone is something I first did when I had about one year sober and I decided to book a solo expedition to Costa Rica for slightly over a week. It was right around the time of my one year anniversary of recovery so I wanted to do something really special. I booked a flight somewhat impulsively wondering if anyone might end up coming with me or if I was really going to go through with it and make the solo trek. I ordered a new backpack and everything – and started imagining how I would go about packing it up for the 8 day adventure. And a few months later, before I could back out or come up with a good enough excuse to not do it, I was off. I remember waking up in Tamarindo the first day and feeling really scared – like I was all alone in a new country and had no idea what I wanted to do to pass the day or even the next hour. I was overwhelmed with possibility and scared about what might happen if I ventured out all by myself.

I was mostly scared to be truly and completely alone with myself. I never really had to be after all. In NYC I always had plenty of distractions and could be surrounded by people every moment of the day if I chose to be. Being alone with myself and really having to engage and ask myself what I wanted to do was a huge challenge. I had to listen in and be pretty patient as I started to let my inner voice emerge, maybe for the first time. I never really gave it much air time back then and to hear it required a massive turning up of the consciousness volume – like that frequency hadn’t been used too often so it took extra care to attune to.

Eventually I got over the fear and went to the coffee shop next to my hostel where I ended up making friends with the owners who were long time Berkeley, CA residents. Of course. Leave it to me to find the Bay Area peeps anywhere in the world. We are like magnets for one another I swear. Not only did I end up having the best coffee (and would continue to everyday I was in Tamarindo) I also made some other friends who I started to see around town. It was a pretty small expanse after all. I went out to dinner with friends I met at my hostel, one of whom I even ended up hitching a ride with to Monteverde, high up in the mountains towards the middle away from the coastal beaches I had been enjoying. More than these fun little moments though was the cultivation of newly found self esteem and confidence – secured through honoring what I wanted to do and following my inner guidance. I was reaching out for guidance in a way I hadn’t done before because honestly it felt like I had no choice to do otherwise. I was granted so much relief and ultimately got to enjoy so much fun. If you missed this, read more about my Costa Rica adventure here – it was pretty magical indeed.

My next solo adventure was to Barcelona, which was a huge milestone for me given my long history of thinking that traveling to Europe simply wasn’t something available to me. I ended up meeting an amazing guy there who I ended up traveling around with quite a bit for about a year after – it was like a movie romance seriously. He just got a girl friend in Barcelona (yay for geographical convenience) and I’m so happy for him. It’s the first relationship I’ve ever had where I feel like we are truly friends and I can be happy for him that he’s so happy and found someone amazing close by to connect with. Another miracle – surely a result of developing this loving relationship with myself over the years, definitely.

Portugal was always on my mind since living in Brazil while studying abroad back in 2009. I was curious to see the land of tiled streets with the most epic conquistador rap sheet aside from Spain. I find it so hard to believe that such two small nations at one point controlled most of the known world – bizarre indeed and even more so that I think people are very proud of that history to this day. A few cab drivers in Lisbon swore to me that their Ponte 25 de Arbil bridge is older than the Golden Gate Bridge – perhaps even the inspiration for the west coast counterpart. The record was just set straight by this nice dude at the airport who assured me that the Golden Gate has a few decades on it at least and before the name change to the date of the revolution the bridge was named after the last dictator Salazar.

Did I mention my first day in Lisbon I went to a dance party in the forest on top of this big hill? Yes, and I got an amazing Ayurvedic massage mixed with some reiki vibes in this cool tent off to the side of the party – perfection. I’m so glad I started talking to the girl manning the tent, her Buddha statue caught my eye and I knew something good was about to unfold.

And each day in Lisbon was better than the last. I got to know this amazing woman who is part of my IIN group coaching call – she’s seriously a rockstar cellist, music therapist, surfer pro, teacher and super cool mom! I am so grateful to have connected with her, what an amazing friend indeed. I even went on a date my second to last night there with the best guy – a former tour guide and flight attended turned social media marketer who literally has the best stories I’ve ever heard. We enjoyed some sweet rooftop snack vibes and strolling through the windy streets and staircases of Bairro Alto followed by a drive through the city interior to make sure I got to see absolutely every part of town.

Basically I feel so blessed to witness how magically things seem to unfold particularly when I don’t over plan. This is something I desperately want to integrate more of into my everyday life – which I don’t want to be much different from my experience traveling and adventuring in other countries. Might I please remember this time that everywhere I go people are amazed to hear that I live in NYC? Their excitement makes me want to take more advantage of the city and its true spectrum of activities and fun. I also want to intend on having more down time so I can spontaneously allow happenstance fun into my life and run ins with incredible people I might not otherwise meet. #notetoself

So I have a week in Berlin and I’m excited to see how it all unfolds. I’m definitely going to get into some yoga, cook more for myself (so much bread and cheese in Portugal, I need some veggies yo!) and work at some fun co-working spots. You know how WeWork is a thing in the US? Well apparently that whole co-working scene has been a thing in Berlin specifically for much longer! I’m going to get all up in it and pretend like I’m in Silicon Alley: Berlin. One of my clients cracked me up yesterday on the phone when he started dropping the most stereotypical lingo of all time, to which I had to respond: “we are streamlining so many synergies!” True story. Love my life. And more than anything I am reminded of how grateful I am to love spending time with myself – I am the coolest person I know, what a miracle <3

Oh Hay July

But really – SUMMER? I’m feeling you. The JAM right here. So what’s really good? Here are some faves, mark your calendars, spread the word – hope to see you real soon! xx

  1. Cache: Output Rooftop Sunset 7/7: Free disco house [music] partay affair on the Output roof just in time for sunset – hosted by Cache crew. Just RSVP for free entry and enjoy the chillest summer vibes all evening long. Same night as The Get Down (aka high vibe dance party with Tasha Blank), also happening downstairs around the same time.
  2. Uplift Project 009 7/12: Breath-work with Erin Telford + the Uplift ladies – hosted at Modo Yoga, one of my new fave hot yoga studios in Williamsburg, its beautiful! Breath-work with Erin is famously magical, I’m looking forward to experiencing it for the first time!
  3. The Big Quiet 7/13: Come meditate in Central Park with 2,000 of your new best friends. We’ll share some special silence and enjoy a sound bath plus some other special guests – we’re going big for the Big Quiet’s one year birthday!
  4. The Numinous Presents: Rewriting Your Love Story 7/15-17 UPSTATE @ Maha Rose North: This is happening at my favorite place ever, right outside of Woodstock in the beautiful Maha magical land, hosted by The Numinous crew – it should be absolutely EPIC. Think: love-centered astrology, meditation into the heart space, water ceremony, creative writing, crafting, sharing, and play. YAASS, please.
  5. Collage with Caris 7/28: Caris Reid is a beautiful artist, reiki practitioner and facilitator of [super dope] super original collage workshops! She provides all the beautiful vintage materials and even does a guided meditation to get everyone in the zone. Everything’s included – just show up ready to tap into your creative vibes and connect with lovely likeminded magic makers.
  6. Kundalini Disco 7/29: Umm, need I say more? Kundalini is one of my fave types of yoga – involving less downward dog and more mantra, meditation, pranayama (breath-work) and kriyas (rapid movements that help focus the mind and breath). DISCO is..well..you know..the best? Put the two together – you have a recipe for a spiritual experience and then some (WERKout for the body mind and soul, hello). I would be here dancing the night away if I wasn’t going to be lounging around in Portugal, but hay, next time!
  7. Startup Island Summer Camp 8/26-28: Looking forward to August? Plan ahead for an epic entrepreneur pow wow upstate with me and a bunch of your new buddies – we’ll be enjoying inspiring workshops, yoga, meditation, coaching and innovation collab’ing – it’s going to be REAL! I can’t wait. It’s not too far away but just far enough to feel like we’re really escaping the city, and there’s a sweet lake and other fun camp-y past times. If you’d like to attend let me know and I can give you a special discount #hookup <3

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On Commitment

I’ve been thinking a lot about commitment lately. There are so many things I want to do – sometimes I don’t even know where to begin, or other times I don’t begin at all for fear that I might not finish or, worse, I might not do it perfectly.

I hear it again and again: just start right from where you are. Today I’m remembering to listen to my instincts and intuition which tell me to put some footwork into my dreams. That means I need to study, learn, meditate, reflect, write and practice. I haven’t written in quite some time I think because I’ve had a tough time figuring out where to start. It’s funny how having to think something all the way through before even starting can prevent you from taking action at all. Self-sabotage for me is the fear of not being perfect or not having something I’m super proud to share and broadcast to my network. Not everything has to be perfect. In fact, so many things worthy of sharing and discussing rarely are. It’s the imperfection in things that we relate to that creates community, encourages vulnerability and fosters strong connections. Perfection might be something to strive for, but I have to remember it’s not something I can actually ever attain.

I’m inspired by the recent news bites surrounding Essena O’Neill, the famous insta-model who recently caused a major uproar by posting honest, critical messages across her wildly popular Instagram account exposing the truth behind her modeling career. She, like so many others of late, is sharing honestly about the fallacy of social media and how much tireless work goes into creating a facade of effortlessness in beach-laden imagery and seemingly happy-go-lucky smiling photo spreads. I love everything she’s saying – and just as I was about to suggest you check out her feed, true to her announcement earlier this week, it looks like she’s officially taken it down. Her website, ingeniously titled “Let’s Be Game Changers” ignites a call to action for her fans and onlookers alike to share from the heart, be real, support ethical brands and causes and mostly, connect authentically.

In our hyper connected age of digital everything, it’s too easy to connect with one another at a second’s notice. But are we really connecting? Perhaps the contrary is true. Social media has made it all look like we’re uber-connected but really we’re overwhelmed by options for connecting and in the distraction of choosing the best way to get in touch, we’re excluded from real connection. We’re texting, Face-timing, liking, commenting, scrolling, quoting and tagging but are we really having genuine conversations? Are you asking your friends how they’re really feeling and being open to helping out those in need? Are people sharing on social media what’s really going on or simply putting their best face forward since that’s the image that looks like it will get the most validation? I’m totally a victim of this current paradigm, but I think it’s important to bring to light. After all, it’s what’s kept me from sharing lately even though I’ve felt a definitive pull towards writing and sharing.

Here’s where commitment comes into play. I’m committing to sharing honestly and being vulnerable as a way to inspire others to feel similarly comfortable with being themselves. I’m excited about the current discourse around connection, vulnerability and imperfection, especially the inspiring pieces from Elizabeth Gilbert (amazing podcast inspiration for her book “Big Magic”) and Brene Brown (if you haven’t watched her TED talk on vulnerability, hop to it). I’m thankful for all the people in my life and networks that are doing similar work encouraging people to connect authentically and demonstrating how doing so can be incredibly healing in so many ways. We have so much good work to do!

Commitment to your dreams is an act of Self Love

Commitment to your dreams is an act of Self Love

Epic Adventure Time

It was all a dream..I used to ready WordUp magazine..is the song that comes to mind! But in truth, it wasn’t all a dream, even if it still feels like it. I love vacations where you just miss 7 days of work but it feels like you’ve been gone for months. It’s like time traveling or close to it. I just got back from a magical adventure to Spain (for the second time) and France (new country in Europe for me!).

Let’s just say, I ate pretty amazing food every day, got used to a weird schedule for waking, sleeping and eating and saw some of the most beautiful beaches and countryside imaginable. Meat and cheese are serious endeavors in both countries – like professional grade serious. Breakfast on most days consisted of bocadillos, AKA fresh baguette with squashed tomato spread inside and jamon serrano with brie or some other kind of decadent queso (translation: cheese). No wonder the siesta is so necessary (siesta: an afternoon rest or nap, especially one taken during the hottest hours of the day in a hot climate).

Here are some snaps from my adventures – picture yourself full of delicious cheese, pastries and fresh coconut or mango juice or cafe con leche (only the best espresso, always), then snorkeling, hiking, dancing, eating some more and waking up to do it all again. For fully immersive experience, try listening with this on in the background: my new favorite song <3

Barcelona Night
View from the terrace – Barcelona at night <3

Carcassonne River
Carcassonne River, strolling through this super ancient Medieval town on the way to explore a castle.

Carcassonne
This castle is possibly one of the oldest structures I’ve ever seen

Dali Arte
The Dali Museum in Figueres, Spain.

Dali Chillin
Hanging with my homie Dali in Cadaques.

Cadaques
Cadaques – beautiful Catalonian seaside town with all white buildings, delicious seafood and perma-summer in the air.

Cala Futadera
Actually #nofilter. See-through water plus we saw a live octopus swimming beneath us while snorkeling! Then this older dude came into catch it, possibly to cook for dinner?

Barcelona Lurking
Love getting lost in the Gothic Quarter’s old windy narrow streets.

Cala Futadera
More Cala Futadera, close to Tossa De Mar – so beautiful.

Blai tapas
Necessary. Lots of Tapas in Poble Sec – super cheap too and amazingly delicious.

Cala Syd
I was really there!

Secret Cala
I was really there!

Borne
I was really there!

Cap De Creus
Cap de Creus – a tip top point in Catalonia with views for days.

Via de Canes
At Ferias (party night) in Via de Canes – a bit south of Barcelona. Check out the jamon leg – gimme some of that!

Cadaques
More Cadaques – hiked out to a ridge view and couldn’t get enough of this beautiful ocean inlet.

Sant Feliu de Guixols
Walked around the entire border of Sant Feliu de Guixols and Sa’ Agaro – beautiful beachy towns with cute seafood spots and of course old medieval fortresses/castles. There were Cami de Rondas all around the coast – little staircase paths to go down to swimming holes (calas) all around the town. So breathtaking.

Dali Museo
Dali Museum courtyard.

Dali Surreal
Super surreal at the Dali Museum

*As originally seen on the Praytell Blog <3

Going With The Flow, Ultra Dreamy Style

     Just this past April I went on my first trip ever to Europe, first to visit a friend in southern Spain then to Barcelona solo! I love traveling alone, it’s honestly the best way to get to know yourself and really get in touch with what you truly love. At least for me this tends to be the case. My first solo trip was to Costa Rica for a little over a week. I went without a plan other than just the hostel I would spend my first night in. The rest I figured I’d leave up in the air – see how I feel and then go from there. What a refresh from my seemingly overly planned scheduled life in NYC. The first day waking up in Costa Rica, if I remember correctly, was kinda terrifying. I was along in another country. I could do whatever I wanted and no one would really know. I felt overwhelmed and scared – what should I choose? I suddenly felt nervous about going out of my hostel room into the shared kitchen where other visitors and their friends were all hanging. Would I look lame because I was alone? Where did this high school nervousness suddenly pop up from?

I ventured out anyway and realized a ton of other people I thought were all friends were actually solo travelers just like me. Of course. One dude from Chicago invited me to check out the best coffee spot and then suggested I venture to the beach. Once I got to the ocean I realized – this is what I had come for. I let go of the anxiety and pressure to plan out the perfect trip so I could get the most out of my experience and started meditating, asking for guidance and support in letting it all go to be open to a whole new experience.

Long story short I had the best time. Like, literally. The guy from Chicago with the coffee recommendation? He ended up inviting me to hitch a ride to Monteverde, the most beautiful mountainous rain forest area a couple hundred miles away from the Pacific coast. I was only there with him for a day and solo for a few days after, where I went on an epic 10 mile hike and saw a hidden waterfall, a butterfly preserve and met this awesome magical psychic lady who I got to help with her shop’s Facebook page in exhange for a massage! Needless to say my trip worked out better than I could have even tried to plan. As usual.

I’m writing from JFK about to depart for Moscow then Barcelona. Super weird itinerary, I know. I jumped when I saw a super cheap ticket, realizing only after the fact that the layover was almost half a days travel out of the way. Whoops! My first thought: cool, I’ll check out Russia, especially on the way back during the 12 hour layover from 9pm-9am! I’ll go to DA CLUB or who knows what. No sleep till Moscow. Then I realized the visa process was intense and expensive plus I would need a formal hotel invitation to exit the airport, real serious like. Then I caved again and bought a direct flight back from Barcelona to NYC, paying about the same cost of a direct round trip flight in the end. Lesson learned I hope.

So what brings me back to Barcelona this time? I still haven’t been anywhere else in Europe after all. Well, on my third to last day in town during my solo adventure I decided to mix it up and go on Tinder to see if I could find a new friend to holler at some dinner and maybe, if we hit it off, a fun Flux Pavillion concert I had tickets to. First of all, Tinder in Barcelona is just better than NYC. Everyone is gorgeous and has way more game. Not in a creepy pretentious way though. Game in the authentic, romancing type way. Some kinda way!

After some banter back and forth about “necesito un guía de turismo” (I need a tour guide aka my suave pick up line) – I was on my way to meet this guy for dinner. Since I didn’t have cell service, just what’s app on wifi, we made an old school plan to meet by an ATM outside of the train. I could only keep thinking, God how did people used to live without phones? Showing up on time to a specific place never seemed so incomprehensible. Sure enough, there he was! Just when I thought we lost each other, he turned the corner, mentioning there was another ATM of the same bank at the other trains entrance. Thankfully he didn’t think I had stood him up.

We had an awesome dinner and luckily he was into the concert idea too. I could tell he thought the venue was funny – reminiscent of study abroad bars I think, and sure enough when we got there it was bro overload. I almost felt like I was in San Diego again circa 2008. We proceeded to dance the night away and I created my own movie moment on the roof of Razzmatazz – we were deciding what we wanted to do next, to which I replied, “Quiero besarte!” Translation: I want to kiss you. Then it was game over, the chemistry I had felt earlier at dinner was more than confirmed and suddenly I was lost, lost in the heat of the moment (queue Frank Ocean in the background).

The next day we checked out the beach, rising over on his motorcycle through the bustling Barcelona streets. I got the best tour of the city I could have hoped for. We fell asleep on the beach, talking about astrology or something spiritual in Spanish – but it gets better. We had another awesome date that night, checking out the magical dancing fountains of Montjuic and then enjoying a delicious sushi dinner (like really good). I had been on quite a few Tinder, Hinge, OkCupid, blah blah dates over the years but nothing ever materialized into anything serious except for a few cool new friends (no new friends). Something was different now. I felt like we were on the same level, in a cool way where he would say what I was thinking, more than just a few times. It was striking and really refreshing at once. I also just felt really good about going with the flow and not being in my head about the usual questions – where is this going? Are we a good fit? Are we going to date? But I live far away. Is he successful? What does he think of me? And on and on and on literally forever. This time there was none of that. I was just me and it was all good. Maybe it was a case of ultimate freedom and surrender to vacation vibes in the most romantic place maybe aside from Paris (or so I’ve heard). Regardless, I was all about this life.

 Time flies when you’re having fun. He came with me to my Airbnb apartment to help me pack the ridiculous amount of stuff I had brought with me and even saw me off as I led with this ridiculously old, quite possibly blind retired taxi driver my Airbnb host hooked me up with for a mega deal. I didn’t have huge expectations of what was to come but felt really happy with how we parted ways and knew I would always have a friend in Spain no matter what.

After I got home I was amazed that he was eager to keep in touch. It felt easy to, not calculated or ripe with any ulterior motives like other post-dating comms can sometimes feel. I was going with the flow and loving it. We Skyped and texted a lot on What’s App and before I knew it, I was booking my weird flight to Moscow, I mean Barcelona, for a few months later. We started planning an awesome adventure together that somehow morphed into a road trip up Costa Brava from Barcelona into Southern France. I forget who suggested it but in any case it reminds me of the California Pacific Coast Highway but even more beautiful if that’s even possible. And the water is more green and swim-able. Dreamy.

So here I am, waiting to get on this epic flight to Russia aboard (no lie) “The world’s most improved airline.” This is a real marketing tag line for Transaero by the way, although their website might be fake, which is surprising because there are so many other people waiting for my same flight. Maybe I’m just late to the Russia flight game. I’m excited and also nervous! I haven’t seen him in a few months and I’m going to see him in the airport looking super haggard after nearly a day of traveling – cute. But this time tomorrow, after a long nap, I’ll be on vacay and living the dream. I’m unplugging except for snaps for that Gram (duh) and maybe some inspired writing. Going on vacation always inspires me to write, and not just write – but share it too. Sharing what’s going on is a big part of self love for me. When I put myself out there for everyone to see I am saying – “what I have to say is worth sharing and my experience is valuable to others, and maybe I can help!” It feels all warm and fuzzy when people resonate with me too, and since I’m totally a connection/feelings junkie, I’ll keep doing it! Bon voyage beautifuls 💜

The 27 Best Things I’ve Ever Done

Today’s going to be a monster. I know you know what I mean. We all have days like today. A program I am working on was supposed to launch a month ago and is only now finally arriving in stealth sprint mode, which means I’m going to be a busy bee the next few days. Only thing is, a few weeks ago I planned a trip for my younger bro to come visit me – his first time ever in NYC! I thought this week would be relatively chill, but life is full of surprises and this week is certainly a great reminder and challenge to rise to the occasion.

Brooklyn Sibs

I read this amazing note by none other than Danielle La Porte (I always want to call her Daniella, maybe because that sounds more magical) last night that helped me shift my perspective from clouded with worry all the way closer to an optimistic “I can have it all and then some” vibe. Then I promptly passed out only to have awesome vivid dreams about crafting (weird pieces of cut-up t-shirt collages and glitter, of course) at a table full of friends, a visit from an ex-boyfriend and an adventure in a really cool old house with weavy, windy staircase mazes. I woke up refreshed and even made it to spin before I tackled the inbox full of questions I’m not sure I have all the answers to.

I try to write a daily gratitude list but today, before diving in full force, I’m feeling like a more reflective list is in order – Danielle-style, if you will. So here are the 27 best things I’ve ever done:

  1. Started meditating to get more in tune with my mind, body and spirit. This is a huge part of why I am taking time to free-write and share what’s going on as opposed to keeping it all in and just going into the day like a stress ball.
  2. Investing in my health via natural avenues such as acupuncture and naturopaths. Following direction to naturally help my body heal and come back into balance.
  3. Waking up early so my natural body clock is up and ready to go around 6:15am. Going to bed earlier and powering down my phone and other screen stuff at a reasonable hour.
  4. Writing morning pages when I can – doing a brain dump or writing a blog post first thing in the AM to get out whatever is on my mind. Sharing it with others as a form of self-care. Sharing authentically as a way to validate to myself that what I have to say matters.
  5. Investing in trips back to SF to visit my parents, spending quality time with them perusing the streets during epic urban hikes. It’s been the best way to really get to know them now that I’m not an angsty adolescent bent on getting them to let me go to concerts and stay out late.
  6. Stopped drinking almost 4 years ago. Hands down the best thing I have ever done to take care of myself.
  7. Started this website/blog to share, market myself and use a new platform to connect with likeminded people and communities.
  8. Sat with my dad for 3 hours to help re-do his entire resume and cover letter after almost 20 years of no job searching and certainly no internet. He starts his new dream job in about a week!
  9. Investing in my spiritual growth through Reiki and life coaching. Working with a coach for 6 months was the best thing I did for myself at a time when I really needed grounding and support.
  10. Working with an astrologer who I trust to help keep me accountable to my intuition and spiritual principles.
  11. Going to Costa Rica by myself a few years ago. The first time I had ever traveled internationally alone, it was both terrifying and incredibly liberating. And suddenly I just wanted more.
  12. Going to Spain this past Spring and going again in September.
  13. Running the Brooklyn Half Marathon and meeting my goal of simply not walking throughout the entire thing.
  14. Joining the team at Praytell, a job that feels like a dream where I get to work with fantastic people who inspire me every single day.
  15. Getting laid off from an agency that was a terrible fit for me – which lead me to freelancing, and eventually lead me to the job I have today. Mostly this experience taught me that I never have to be unhappy or feel uncomfortable at work ever again and if I do, I’m not in the right place and it’s time to go.
  16. Joining the board at United Women in Business as VP Philanthropy. Volunteering is the sweet spot of my life most days – and I get to meet such fantastic, inspiring women on the regular.
  17. Participating in Momentum basic and advanced trainings this past year, treating myself to such incredible gifts of personal growth, community and love.
  18. Tracking my spending using a mobile app and using it to inform a spending plan I created to keep my finances on budget. Otherwise I can easily fall into vagueness and lose track of what I have, what’s coming in and what’s going out.
  19. Drinking more tea, less coffee.
  20. Cutting sugar, gluten and dairy way, way down.
  21. Making my lunch most days then buying it out.
  22. Practicing saying “No thanks, but I appreciate your invitation” so much more so I can leave time in my schedule open for fun, rest and being spontaneous.
  23. Contributing more money to my investment account on a regular basis via auto-pay.
  24. Starting an auto-pay travel account that helps me fund my vacations so I’m not constantly scrambling to pay expenses at the last minute. Capital One 360 baby.
  25. Going on a 4 day silent meditation retreat and meditating for over 2 hours in one sitting. Experiencing equanimity for what felt like a real eternity or possibly just a few seconds.
  26. Moving to NYC almost 5 years ago, where my life would change forever and really take root in a way I never thought possible.
  27. Studying abroad in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil for a semester in 2009 during college. Volunteering as a teacher in 2 schools there, seeing how much I identify as a global citizen and how the world really is much smaller than I think. Inspired by people with so little living such full, abundant, joyous lives.

Stuntin’ is a Habit (Get like me)

Be all there

Love this song. Right now I’m taking it as a reminder to make new habits – consciously form new habits, especially the ones that feed my soul. For me, traveling is just that. Last week was my first week back a 10 day blissful adventure in Spain, which actually felt like a month away. Time slows down maybe everywhere else in the world outside of NYC.

I started by adventure in Cadiz, where time literally slowed down, spread out and morphed in ways I still have trouble understanding. The sunrise is earlier and sunset is way later than anywhere I’ve ever been (9:30-10pm in summer or maybe always) and it’s the norm to eat weekday dinner at 10pm. Siestas are brilliant although my first day walking around I didn’t quite get why there wasn’t anywhere open to eat. Siestas are such a real thing in Cadiz that the town literally shuts down for a few hours between 12 and 4pm to give people a chance to literally and figuratively chill (so hard).

Barcelona offered more of the familiar NYC city vibe with a certain SF swagger I couldn’t help but feel was familiar. I felt like I had been there before, quite possibly in a past life. Most importantly I realized the root of the restlessness I was feeling for quite awhile. After all I hadn’t taken a real unplugged vacation (for longer than a long weekend) in a couple of years!

Here’s what I’m taking back with me from my recent escapade – new habits with intentions to match:

1. Plan more weekend getaways, get out of town, get a fresh perspective. Get into gratitude for how awesome my life is in NYC. Remember 5 years ago when I dreamed of moving here and I went for it, without a job, or anything? Yeah, that happened. What a ride.

2. Treat the day like an adventure. On vacation I love waking up without too much planned and just seeing where the day takes me – spontaneity in its purest form. Instead of planning the week with back to back commitments and activities, how about going with the flow and seeing what I actually feel like doing throughout the day. Adios FOMO. 

3. Go on solo adventures walking around NYC, visiting spots I’ve never visited before. Where would I go if I was a tourist visiting NYC for the first time on my own? There are still so many places I haven’t experienced here – I’m excited to venture out into the great beyond with a renewed sense of wonder. Hiking along Appalachian Trail, The Cloisters, Brighton Beach, Hudson Valley spots, Fire Island, NJ hiking and beaches…and much more.

4. Eat amazing food, adventure to far away neighborhoods to experience famed cuisine only available in NYC. Dim Sum in Flushing, Indian in Jackson Heights, soul food in Harlem, Dominican in Washington Heights.

5. Run around with no schedule in mind and no limit on time. Stop to take pics and bask in the beauty of Prospect Park, Central Park, the city, the Brooklyn Bridge and the loop around Battery Park up the Westside Highway.

6. Write about my experiences. Remember why I moved here, what I thought would happen and what actually transpired. Tell the story of how it’s all unfolded.

So much awesome change is in the air lately – I’m excited for more of it to unfold in the coming months! But as always it all starts with today.

BK Bridge

Daily Dose: Truth + Travel

barcelona

Don’t downplay your abilities now, Libra. You’re on the brink of greatness, so act like it. Things should go quite well if you let them. Don’t clog up the works by thinking that you’re unworthy of the good luck that is sure to come your way. If things don’t work out exactly the way you want them to, take it as a sign that the situation wasn’t right for you anyway.

Sometimes it’s as simple as subscribing to daily horoscope updates to remind you of the truth.

I’m going to Barcelona in less than 2 weeks and it feels like a dream. I’ve always wanted to go to Europe and I’m finally making the trip! Truthfully for a long time I believed that there were many things preventing me from going – namely student loans, living in one of the most expensive cities in the world, an inability to save consistently (for a long time), and my healthy budget for self care and entertainment (gotta be healthy and have fun, duh!). Somewhere along the line my old frame of mine shifted into a new plane wherein I am no longer waiting for something to swoop in and save me from student debt and expenses. Instead I simply started saving and took responsibility for making my dream happen – and it wasn’t even that hard!

I’ve found a few tools incredible helpful in the process – including Mint.com, regular check ins with my checking account, and using a CaptialOne 360 savings account to auto-save each week towards my goal. Oh and definitely Hipmunk for my flight alerts – always my go-to for finding great flight deals. It only took a few months and I’m off to an incredible adventure!

What Ever Happened to Field Trips?

I can’t remember the last time I went on a real field trip – maybe back in college? It seems like it all happened a long time ago. Back in the day at Hoover Middle School, me and 800 of my closest 8th grade friends were taken to the Exploratorium on the free day as our 8th grade graduation field trip. Classic SF middle school jam if I do say so myself. In high school I went on solo lead field trips to visit my friends at other schools down the block and sometimes as far away as Lowell, which was all the way across the city. Anything to get my Sunset snacks at Victor’s Bakery, Panda Express at Stonestown or UCSF on Parnassus. So many memories.

Just the other day the special place I get to show up at every day (Praytell) turned two! For a happy birthday adventure we all took an afternoon stroll up the block to our neighboring Brooklyn Museum. How lucky are we? I forget how peaceful and inspiring exploring the ins and outs of an epic museum can truly be – I want to do this more often. I took a few snaps, mostly of colorful paintings emulating the style and energy I’d be proud to hang in my own home. What can I say, I like what I like. I could have spent way more time in the Egypt exhibit – I even took a meditation break to take in some of the majestic history I sensed surrounding me.

I only go to museums now, for the most part, when people come visit me. Then we’ll go to the Met or the MoMa, walk through Central Park or Prospect Park, or maybe take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. A long time ago when I first visited NYC I remember taking a day to myself while my friend had class at Columbia to walk all the way downtown from Harlem. I stopped inside the Museum of the City of New York and even ran into Julia Stiles in the entrance – such an NY moment. Reading about the city’s history and Robert Moses’ vision for development was electrifying. I knew I had to live here one day. And here I am, nearly a decade later, still seeking museum dates and long adventurous strolls across Manhattan with no particular destination in mind.

Below:

  1. Georgia O’Keeffe – Brooklyn Bridge
  2. Jarrell A. Wadsworth – Revolutionary
  3. Kehinde Wiley – Saint Remi (check out more of Kehinde’s work and upcoming exhibitions on Artsy)

IMG_8238 revolution

Kehinde Wiley Saint remi

Expect the Unexpected

A friend of mine sends out an email blast at the beginning of each week, sometimes missing weeks here and there. These aren’t just any old newsletter notes. He sends a collection of empowering, inspiring quotes and overarching positivity-laden reminders of everyday wonder. Unrelated to this but perhaps not at all is my bus ride last night. Waiting for the B67 to take me up Park Ave to Vanderbilt so I could quickly make some salad for dinner before heading to my friends house for our second DJ lesson felt pretty normal. I got on the bus, an ordinary situation filled with other passengers eager to get to their respective destinations. It was, after all, still cold out – where is spring these days anyway. I think I see it creeping up!

Suddenly a voice sounded over the bus intercom. At first I thought it was someone’s cell phone blasting YouTube or some kind of audio book turned all the way up. To my surprise it was the bus driver. He started telling a story about how his daughter called him last night, and at first he thought she was just calling to ask for something. She went on to explain that you never know when everything could just simply stop, in a flash, in a moment where everything ends. Boom. You’re gone. She called to say she loves him and she’s grateful for everything he does for their family.

Next we heard about his six year old grandson whose teacher called one day to say, “Excuse me Mr. Campbell but did you know your grandson was praying in the cafeteria at lunch? We don’t pray anymore in public school but he was praying,” as if to elicit some kind of Pauloconcern. The bus driver retorted, “That’s all fine and well, what were you doing while this was happening Miss?” “I was praying alongside him,” she replied.

I don’t know if this bus driver shares these kinds of messages on every bus or on every day he’s driving, who knows. Maybe he’s a preacher by day and driving the bus is just his side hustle. Or maybe driving to him is the same as preaching – in doing so he’s helping to spread the gospel of love and gratitude to people who need it most. Sometimes I can get caught up in the distracted and stressful energy of NYC life, wherein everyone is moving so fast you can hardly tell where they’re headed anymore. Sometimes the rate race can feel normal when really its not even a race, since races usually have destinations or end points.

The bus driver reminded me to stop and take a moment to be where I am. Suddenly I wasn’t on my way home to rush through dinner and get through my nightly activities. Instead I was making eye contact with those around me similarly amused by the surprising outburst from our transportation provider. I conversed with a fellow rider on how awesome it was to be sharing in such a fun experience. We smiled at one another as we parted ways. I thanked the bus driver so much for his kind words. Could everyday be like this? Could each bus ride emulate the camaraderie and positivity felt on the B67 that night? I want it to not be so hard to remember these simple truths.

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It is within yourself that you will find strength. When we are broken wide open is when we are given the pivotal choice of tapping into our power.
– Odette Artime
“Getting it” means getting out of your own way.
– Chandra
“I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”
― Maya Angelou
Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.
~E.B. White