What will you offer in the name of balance?

Sweeping, sweeping, sweeping...the swooshing sound of sticks and dried palm fronds on Mr. Gede's handmade broom begin before the sun rises, and never truly ends. 

One of my most visceral memories of this island will be the sound of rough brooms scraping stone sidewalks. Walk down any street at any time of day and you'll see shop owners sweeping the corner of the world carved out for their livelihood. Even the woman who sells sarongs at the beach, in a Sisyphean display of resilience, sweeps sweeps sweeps the encroaching sand. 

A disastrous snorkeling adventure highlights the kindness of strangers.

I love snorkeling. Like, a lot. I've been snorkeling all over the world for years and have never had a thrashing like I had yesterday. 

The correct question to ask me would have been: "We are going to extremely rough, extremely open waters. You will not float around in a coral reef while we go off and dive. You'll bounce around getting clocked by giant swells, focusing too hard on staying alive to even bother sticking your mask in the water to learn what's lurking below your feet. Now, do you want to snorkel with us?"

They did not say this. So we loaded into the seat-less, door-less vantruckcar and headed to the beach.

Life Interrupted: A radio interview.

Before I boarded my one-way flight to Bali, I was interviewed by Sharon Sayler on her radio show Life Interrupted. Sharon's show is all about giving you tools that help you thrive after the unexpected happens in your life (whatever that may be). 

Look at it this way - it's basically a free coaching session! We covered a lot of ground in our 40 minutes together. Listen in now...

Shameless Travel Porn: Beach day in Sanur, Bali

The following are instructions left by my Airbnb host:

"The map below shows the quickest route to the beach (via the cow field). This walk takes approx. 3 minutes. The resident cow living in the field is not a problem to walk past (if he is not hassled). Gates open to a dirt field with a dirt track off Jalan Danau Tamblingan. Follow the track to the beach. Do not hassle the cow."

What Bali's offerings taught me about letting go

They're everywhere.

You can't walk a more than a few feet in Bali without needing to navigate around an offering. They're on the ground, in the road, on top of shop signs, teetering on the handlebars of a scooter, stacked high on temple steps, spilling out of cubby holes cut into the black stone buildings, giant statues all decked out and dressed up with fresh flowers and colorful fabrics...everywhere.

Are we there yet? Staying grounded in The Now.

The problem is in thinking... "it's so so close" as opposed to knowing... "it's all happening right now." 

I don't wanna blow your mind, man, but it's all here now. Like right now. My obsession with The Destination has been so totally misguided. This fixation is why I'm feeling off kilter. I'm traveling right now. I'm living out of my backpack right now. I'm a self-employed online entrepreneur right now. I'm in it. It's time to finally check in.

The messy middle: Working with the tension of transitions

"Transitions" refer to the messy middle.

You enter a transition once you make a decision and you've stopped or started whatever it was that needed stopping or starting but you haven't yet launched into your new reality. The untethered limbo of time between a decision and a new reality is a transition. Decision > transition > new reality cycles last for two minutes ("I want pad thai for lunch..."), while some can last for two decades ("I'm not in love with my husband anymore..."). 

On the one-year anniversary of my Hashimoto's diagnosis, I'm homeless, jobless, car-less, and blissfully happy.

I'm celebrating my anniversary today! One year ago today my doctor looked up slowly from the lab reports, put her hand over her thyroid in her throat, and said to me: "Your body is attacking itself, love." Until that moment, I'd never heard of Hashimoto's. 

This past year has taught me a few hard-fought lessons. Please borrow as needed.

What I learned from my intimate experience with strangers at a Cuddle Party

The petite lesbian is sitting crosslegged behind me, rubbing my back, while the bearded man I met three minutes ago rests his head in my lap. I'm massaging his scalp and tugging his hair while we chat about his two teenage children. Two people who also just met are 20 feet away, spooning and making small talk. There's a foot rubbing circle of sorts in the back corner. A couple people choose to linger near the veggie tray and lemonade for now.

And my ex-boyfriend just walked in.

The identity + ego wrapped up in our possessions

"You are not your degrees," I said as I took my diplomas off my wall.

"You are not your 11 bookcases + all the books on them," I said as I ransacked my living room.

"You are not your four over-stuffed closets, you're not that dress, you're not those boots, " I said as I took a solid month to get rid of all my clothing.

We can so easily wake up one day at the point that we believe our stuff defines us, that it says something about who we are as people, that it demonstrates how smart or creative we are.

Stop apologizing for who you are (I keep saying to myself).

Own it already. 

It's been interesting to watch myself, feeling a bit out of body, talking about the woman who has deconstructed her entire life and booked a one-way flight to Indonesia. It's interesting to watch myself tell some people every detail and then to others I simply give a generic "Thanks for asking. I'm leaving to focus on my health." 

I'm challenging myself to lean straight into this adventure with no more apologies. No more downplaying to make other people feel comfortable. No more acting like it's just another trip I'm taking. It's not. 

I'm trance dancing in Bali as a way to emotionally heal. Because of course I am.

So I’m scheduled to do a little trance dancing in Ubud. Not a typo.

I realize most of you don’t know me personally, so let me explain that I’m primarily an introvert. I’m not keen to draw attention to myself, particularly in situations where I feel uncomfortable. Let's just say I'm working on my relationship with public displays of vulnerability. The moment I was presented with the opportunity to trance dance in Bali, I had hilarious and horrifying visions of Bridget Jones caliber. The degree of potential embarrassment is staggering. 

A few things I know for sure...

I'm fortunate to be friends with some of the most amazing women you'll ever meet. A group of us had a conversation recently about what we know for sure. It was so powerful and I can't stop thinking about it. I decided to share with you a few things that I know for sure. 

Life is not meant to be lived in boxes.

 I had my first-ever session with an intuitive energy healer this week and I want to share a lesson that's coming through loud and clear to me: 

We're meant to live whole, beautiful, messy, graceful lives aligned with our highest self. We're not meant to parse ourselves into restrictive boxes.

RTW Destination Announcement: Sanur, Indonesia

Just go with it.

When I first started dreaming of my solo 'round-the-world (RTW) trip, I pictured my first locations as Iceland, Greenland, all over Scandinavia, Ireland...anywhere cold and comfortable and easy. You know, cute scarves and all. Yes, I know most people fantasize about leaving their jobs for life on a tropical beach, but heat and humidity are difficult for me. I was planning to save SE Asia as my last pit stop, once my solo travel moxie was firing on all cylinders. Well, so much for that.

Redefine Adventure

My guiding philosophy has always been that adventure is what you say it is.

This online community is called A Series of Adventures because I want to inspire you to shake it up a bit. I want you to see your life as a fun game...as a series of adventures.

My current adventure happens to be quitting my job at age 34 and backpacking solo all over the world. However, less than a year ago I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's, an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid. 

Answers to questions about me quitting my job to travel the world

A memorandum to many well-intentioned inquirers:

Yes, I'm traveling solo. No, I'm not afraid. Yes, I enjoy being alone. P.S. Alone is not the same as lonely, though there will inevitably be a lot of that, too. I'm okay with it. 

No, my Hashimoto's is not in remission, my PCOD is not resolved, and my adrenals are still failing. No, that doesn't make me second guess my decision, it makes me re-commit. P.S. 25% of my 46L backpack will contain 6 months worth of 9 different medications. It is what it is. It's not stopping me.