The flow knows where to go

This week and weekend I experienced the feeling of flow so many times that I felt as if I needed to pinch myself. But when you experience flow.. you go with it. C’mon we learned that when we were like ten.  While I was teaching on Monday, a few of my students seemed to be showing tremendous progress from where they started. I felt excited for them and so proud. Hearing and watching someone transform their language, communication skills and confidence is incredibly rewarding. Not only did I feel fulfilled in my teaching job but I had an awesome week with my coaching business as well. I started a new fitness challenge and have another engaged and fun group of women who are making positive, sustainable changes to their health and nutrition. Guiding people through the process of change and believing in the power of their body and especially their mind is so satisfying. I also experimented with going live and sharing some of my thoughts to inspire those who follow along with my journey. It is incredible what a difference it can make for people to hear your voice and feel connected. I am excited to have yet another medium in which I can express myself and impact the lives of others.

Balance is a continual struggle for me and I think it is the true elusive desire of most people. This week the weather has been getting very warm in Australia, which is the complete opposite of the other side of the world. Not only does this make the balancing act of work an play more difficult but this serves as my humbling reminder that we are not all there is. There is  a whole other hemispheres, planets, galaxies and who knows what out there and we are just a mere blip in the radar. But in our day to day life we often get trapped into narrow minded thinking. We get sucked into feeling like our problems are certainly the end of the world and our successes are something that must be celebrated by everyone who knows us.

But here is the thing, although we think we matter a lot, in the scheme of things we matter very little. Some people use this as an excuse to live on a small scale. I view it as the opposite. I use this fact to propel me forward into my future with as much passion, action, adventure and chutzpah as humanly possible. In the end, the only one who knows if you lived the life you are capable of is you.

 You answer to yourself.Personally, I am a very harsh critic. I will be massively successful in all areas of my life.  I refuse not to be. Being mediocre is the most terrifying fate in my book. Sometimes I let this drive me to be a workaholic but thank god I have learned to channel both my workaholic and my free spirit simultaneously. It’s not easy to do this. I continue to struggle with balancing work and play.

But I try to break my life into 1 hour increments. What can I do for the next hour that will be the most beneficial for me? Now, beneficial sometimes means for my business, my mental health, my relationship, my blog, my sanity, my teaching job. If I don’t have an hour-I break it down into half hour segments. It is amazing what you can do when you utilize the time in your day the way YOU want to.

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Dear Sydney…

Dear Sydney,

The past week has been overflowing with more reflection than usual for me. If I gave you an hour inside of my brain I assume you would be quite exhausted and possibly terrified. I am celebrating a year of living here in Sydney. I moved to Australia at the end of July 2015 but I went backpacking for two months up the East coast and I landed in Sydney at the end of September 2015, for what I thought was a few weeks. When I moved to Australia it was my intention to live in Melbourne. My teacher besties I met in Thailand moved there and when I visited the fall before I fell in love. I came to Australia not knowing exactly where I would end up, but I had an open mind and an open heart. After a few weeks in the hostel I was running out of money, so I knew it was time to get another job. My job search began and I made the Library of New South Wales my go-to spot. Something about being in a library makes me feel safe and at home.  It was while I was living in this cheap hostel, searching for a job, checking my bank account after every purchase, exploring the city on my own, that I began stressing about the future and if I really made the right decision. I struggled with loneliness and intense anxiety.  I wrote in my blog a year ago how I took myself out to dinner for the first time at a fancy restaurant and forced myself to enjoy my own company, without my phone or any hesitation. It felt weird and uncomfortable but overall, it was liberating.

A year ago I had no idea that at this hostel I would meet the man that I am now in love and happily living with. I had no idea that my passion for health and wellness, helping others, and sharing my journey would turn into such a huge driving force in my career and my life. For all my travelers out there, I know you can understand why traveling makes you so reflective but if you don’t travel much, I would love to explain why. When you travel or live abroad, especially for long periods of time, your life goes into a time warp and months seem like years and days seem like minutes. It feels like you just left home but it also feels as if you have existed in this universe forever. You develop a routine in your new turf because despite the need for freedom and adventure, human beings are all creatures of habits. When you move away from everything you’ve ever known, you are left with yourself. You are left to define yourself, in whatever manner you desire. The people you meet may learn about your past from stories, photographs and Facebook stalking, but a traveler meets everyone at face value, as the person they are today. It’s a beautiful way to approach life and a particularly comforting way to approach people.

The whole concept of the travel bug sounded silly to me at first. It sounded cliche and overused and quite frankly, trite. But a harsh reality you face in this world, is that cliches only construct meaning in your life when they are relevant to you. The travel bug isn’t a creature you want to take lightly. Now that I have lived abroad for 2 out of the last 3 years of my 20’s, I am heavily addicted. I am in love with the way it feels to explore new cities and look at every minute moment as something special and worth remembering. I am in love with the feeling of coming and going because it constantly reminds you how good you have it. When I travel home, I see the same city I grew up in with fresh eyes. All my favorites of home become that much more divine and sacred. Even though I have lived in Sydney for a year now, it still feels fresh and exciting to me. When I got my teaching job, experienced a few weeks of summer in Sydney and met my handsome Englishman, I felt an overwhelming feeling of contentment. I felt satisfied, grounded and “home” in a way that is difficult to verbalize. I asked myself out-loud, and many of my friends, “Why would you ever choose to leave this?”

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Positive Pain

Pain is such a powerful emotion and one that fueled the beginnings of my passion for writing. Like many of us, creativity was something I always had as a child. I always loved to tell stories to my dolls, about my dolls and I could create alternate universes that I would get lost in for hours. I loved to read stories and then once I developed the ability to write I loved to write them, too. It wasn’t until I lost my best friend Corey in high school that I realized what a therapeutic experience writing was for me and I truly can’t comprehend what my grief process would have been like without this incredible outlet. For the past year I feel as if my blog and the stories I have crafted have given you a very uplifting and positive voice, one that I constantly strive for. I have mentioned before but I feel obligated to again, positive people are not happy all the time.

I repeat, I am not happy all the time. In the past few weeks I have been overcome with stress, anxiety and a multitude of confusing feelings. Instead of stifling them I realize that the only thing more powerful than an uplifting and motivational piece is a stone cold honest one. Usually, when I admit my struggles that is what people connect to. It’s almost as if by acknowledging my own pain I give others the right to feel theirs.

Luckily for me, I have learned and have crafted a lifestyle where I am constantly surrounding myself by positivity and agents for change. I surround myself with good people, motivating podcasts, inspirational books, the life-altering practice of yoga and now I am dabbling in meditation as well. In one my favorite podcasts Magic Lessons by the goddess Elizabeth Gilbert, I was single handedly talked out of my negative thought spiral by one quote from her, “The definition of responsibility is the ability to respond. The definition of responsibility is not how many hours you put into the work week but how well as a human being you are able to respond to life.” I sat there with a gaping mouth and  I dragged my index finger along my phone screen and played it again. Ms. Gilbert? Are you speaking straight to me? I replayed this quote six times until I wrote it safely in the quote section on my notepad and digested the relevance and the power in the simple statement. I am still digesting it’s power.

I am a worrier. I always have been and I am slowly learning that I don’t always have to be. I am a woman. I am a Gemini. I have ADHD and anxiety. I live life intentionally by the seat of my pants. I quit my job and move to foreign countries with my backpack and a dream. I believe so deeply in that fact that life will work out and the universe will send me in the right direction but that doesn’t stop the amount of time I spend worrying. My mind is moving and thinking at every moment of everyday.When I’m not teaching, I’m grading papers, researching lesson plans, creating materials or working on my business, talking to clients, working on my blog, helping people discover their goals, running challenges, reading personal development books, writing notes, creating goal charts, researching travel destinations, reading blogs, stalking puppies and/or food instagrams, are you tired yet? I haven’t even touched on my social life. The funny part is that my whole life I have chose to do this to myself. Since I know I run a million miles an hour, I think I can do a million things and I genuinely want to do them all. But I also can make myself crazy with stress and anxiety and to be honest the past few weeks, I have been fighting so hard to stay away from the constant pile of worries that are piling up in my brain.

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Go deeper

When I started this blog I had no idea what it would turn into or if I would even stick to it. I started it a month before I moved to Thailand as a way to keep up with friends and family and share my journey on the other side of the world. Today, my blog is a safe haven for me a place I go to unwind, reflect and make sense of the rapid paced world we live in. Since then I have gone from teaching in Thailand, backpacking South East Asia, teaching in New York and starting my own coaching business to teaching in Australia and growing and developing my coaching business and my writing career. Originally my blog served only as a spot of reflection but the further I advance and evolve as a coach the more I want to integrate my blog to be not only stories from my life but also a source of motivation for making a change in your own life and resources for living the life of your dreams. Before I dive into integrating coaching into my blog I want to explain my journey as a coach to my readers and followers who might see snippets on social media but don’t really understand what I am doing or why I am doing it.

I wholeheartedly understand that the fitness lifestyle whether it is Beachbody, Crossfit, yoga, spinning, BBG, Barre, etc. is taking over the internet and at time it seems overwhelming and maybe even “cult like.” I want to explain to you from my experience WHY I am sharing and what this community and these programs have done for my life. Like most things in life, we observe them at face value. But my words have always given me the ability and the calling to go deeper. The internal strength I have gleaned from committing myself to a healthy lifestyle is part of the reason I have been able to reconnect with my inner voice and I believe one of the tickets to making my writing what it is today. My goal is to use my passion for health and wellness and my passion for writing , connecting and expressing to better people’s understanding and ability to work on their health in all areas: mind, body and soul. Since I am a storyteller by nature, here is a glimpse of my journey into a healthy lifestyle and why it has become such a defining part of who I am.

In graduate school, a friend gave me a thumb drive with all of the Insanity workouts on it. Yes, I am a Beachbody coach who is fully admitting to obtaining my first program illegally. I was in the middle of student teaching(for non-teacher friends, that is full time unpaid teaching) and going to graduate school full time. I was waking up at 5 am every morning after drinking myself into a 4 glass wine coma almost every night. I physically could barely keep my eyes open until I chugged at least two cups of coffee. My stress levels and anxiety were at an all time high but I had tunnel vision for completing my MA in Secondary Education. I had so much built up stress that my temper was out of control and I could snap/ have a mental anxiety attack at the drop of a hat. Due to my schedule, I had basically cut out my exercise routine besides on the weekends but I usually spent those WVU weekends hungover and unable to exercise. This was the first time in my life I explicitly saw how intense the effect of exercise was on my mental health.
I was a former gym rat for most of college but I literally did not have the time to drive to the gym across town, workout for an hour and drive home. I needed something else. After trying Insanity once, I committed to the 60 day calendar and set off on a journey on my own in my kitchen every afternoon. I absolutely loved and hated Shaun T all at the same time. My roommates thought I was actually insane but I could not replace the endorphins and stress relief that program gave me. I could squeeze it in between the end of my school day and my night classes even if that meant going to class with slightly( okay, really) sweaty hair. Since I had the calendar hanging on my wall it was a mental game for me and I literally couldn’t miss a day. Everyone is different but for me, that was motivation enough to stick to it for 60 days. It was the hardest thing I had ever done physically but I was determined to make it work. My friend Amy was posting on social media about Insanity and this “coaching thing” and one post even said she quit her job to do her coaching business full time from home! I was intrigued so I messaged her and then realized that Insanity was part of one of the biggest fitness companies in America that also had so many other workout programs, a superfood shake and a whole WORLD to offer. Not to mention, this was also an opportunity to start my own coaching business helping other people commit to their health and fitness and transform their lives. Long story short, I started coaching just so I could get the new Insanity Max 30 program and Shakeology and wanted to help enough people per month to pay for my own Shakeology. I also had hopes that the second income could help with my student loan debt and measly teacher salary. I had no IDEA what I was in for.

Now, I’ve been a coach for a year and a half and my life has been greatly impacted by the community, the programs and the job itself. I have never been so motivated and dedicated to my health for so long. Sure, we can all go through stages of motivation, a vacation, wedding, reunion or special event that we “diet” for and crush it at the gym but how many of you actually sustain the type of healthy lifestyle you want year round? I didn’t before Beachbody and now I actually achieve that 80/20 lifestyle I desired and I feel happier and healthier than I ever have in my life. I don’t believe my challenges or our programs are the only way to see results or achieve a healthy lifestyle but I know how well they have worked for me. THAT IS THE WHOLE BASIS OF THIS BUSINESS. I have never “sold” anything  because I simply share my experience what I use and have used & believe in myself. I represent these programs BECAUSE I believe in them and I have seen them transform my life and the lives of thousands of coach friends, clients & strangers.

Why I am fascinated by our programs and our community is because the whole AIM of the challenge and my aim as your coach is to introduce a lifestyle that fits INTO your lifestyle. You do not have to be “into” fitness to join a challenge. You don’t have to own seven pairs of Nikes and know everything about macros and clean eating. The whole point of the challenge is to introduce a nutritional guide and simple portion controlled eating system and short but effective exercise into the lives of anyone who is not happy with their current fitness or nutrition level. Believe me, I knew how to exercise before challenge groups but nutrition, forget it. I knew what healthy food was but I had no clue how much I should be eating and of what. I was definitely under eating for a large portion of college and would turn into a junk food monster on the weekends once I had a night out at the bar. Not only does the eating guide give you an easy way to know what to eat and HOW MUCH to eat but the secret sauce of the whole operation, Shakeology, gives you all of the nutrients and vitamins you could possibly need. It isn’t a protein shake, it’s a superfood shake with over 70+ superfoods that gives you natural energy, curbs your sweet tooth and junk cravings and keeps you full. I never drank shakes before Shakeology and I was honestly very hesitant. But now I’m willing to pay 50 extra dollars a month to have it shipped to Australia because I simply can’t go without it. It takes 60 seconds in the blender and sets me up for a nutritionally sound day.

The programs and the products I believe in 100% but the key to any successful fitness lifestyle is the community. The challenges I run every month keep me motivated, accountable and genuinely excited to stay on track and do my best with my health and fitness. This does not mean you need to be or I as your coach am perfect. I have cheat meals and days. I have alcohol. I still have dessert and I admit it to my group. We admit our successes and our failures. The goal is not to all of a sudden cut everything out that you enjoy, it’s to learn how to stick to a healthy meal plan that is sustainable for much longer than 21 days or the duration of the challenge. A little change goes a long way and people rooting for you, giving you awesome recipes and commiserating when your legs are so sore you can barely sit down on the toilet really is a game changer. Not only do you get a “fitness community” you get people who are positive, motivated, encouraging and want you to succeed in whatever you set out to do. Unfortunately, sometimes that is really hard to find. I love giving the opportunity to my friends, family, and new friends I connect to.

Before I was a coach I always thought fitness fanatics were a little vain or superficial and I remember thinking to myself I didn’t care enough to spend all that time to try to “perfect” my body. The more I have learned about health and nutrition the more I know that exercise and eating right isn’t some silly fad. It’s not superficial unless YOU make it superficial. My goals are not based on what I want to look like. They are based on my strength and quite honestly my willpower, self control and mental clarity.

Before I became a coach I didn’t understand the constant selfies that gym goers posted even though I was exercising regularly myself. Now I see that most of the time the selfie is not for the person posting it. It is for all of the people they hope to inspire. Sharing my fitness journey has become such a powerful part of my journey because it allows me to be transparent and vulnerable. When I receive countless messages thanking me for the inspiration or the motivation to get off the coach or cook something healthy or start to believe in themselves, I know sharing is beyond worth it. I am proud to share because I share to bring value to others in any way that I can. So next time you see a fitness coach on Instagram or Facebook, applaud them for lifting people up instead of rolling your eyes. Read the caption. I guarantee it goes deeper than you would expect. Fitness and nutrition is the actual key to LIVING a long and fulfilling life. Your diet affects EVERY part of your life including your physical health (on the inside), sleep patterns, physical appearance, stress levels, mental health and overall quality of life. Exercising shouldn’t be about what you want to look like but instead what you want to feel like. That phrase has become cliche, I know. But seriously, post workout highs and endorphins, you simply can’t replace that.

So please, ask yourself: How long do you want to live? Do you want to run around with your grandchildren? Do you want to go on hikes when you are retired? Do you want to be able to help your children move into their new homes? Do you want to bound up the stairs without breathing heavy? Do you want to look in the mirror without looking away? Do you want to step on the scale and not give a damn what the number says? Do you want to wake up feeling good and go to bed feeling satisfied? I do. I also want to feel purposeful, centered, positive, confident in myself not just in the way I look but the person I am. Committing myself to my health and fitness has been a catalyst for change in every area of my life. I feel like I would be doing a huge disservice NOT to share everything I have learned and experienced. Once I saw how sharing my journey, not just with health and fitness but with navigating life as a 20 something in our society, impacted others and inspired others I made a vow to myself to never stop sharing. I made a vow to myself to never be afraid to “annoy” people. If I annoy you at any time, I sincerely hope that you realize that my message is straight from the heart and maybe you don’t need to hear it all of the time but someone does. Someone needed that reminder on that specific day, that they are enough, they can start fresh today, they are worthy of happiness and of self love. You are enough. You can start fresh. You are worthy.

This fall we have an awesome line up of programs and opportunities because Beachbody as a company is continually striving to end the trend of obesity in America and unfortunately the rate of obesity is INCREASING. 70% of Americans are obese. 70 percent. That is absolutely heartbreaking and terrifying to me. I am doing everything I can to spread not only the message of my company but my own PERSONAL message. Coaching has taught me how important it is to share your journey and story, not just the triumphs but also the struggles. Not only has my business given me the platform to reach out and connect and talk to people every day but it has reminded me how badly I need to share what is within. And luckily for me, expressing myself in words is a talent of mine and one that I desire to pursue for my entire lifetime. I am just a girl who is trying to remind people that being healthy is so much more than having muscles or a flat stomach. Being healthy is a commitment to yourself from the INSIDE… OUT. You need your mind, body and spirit to feel healthy and each area deserves time, attention, relevance and respect. The journey takes so much self awareness, acceptance, actualization and confidence so no wonder we have trouble doing it alone. I am here to remind you that you don’t have to.


Now that you have a deeper look at why I got involved in coaching, I want to extend to you an invitation to be a part of my community. If you stumbled upon my blog or you have been following for a while and you don’t follow me on other social media sites, you probably don’t know how much time and effort I put into helping people achieve their goals but I would be honored and excited to share that with you. If you do follow me on social media and you’ve been tempted to get involved in one of my challenges before but never bit the bullet I have exciting news that you are going to want to get involved in next month’s health bet! Beachbody is so passionate about the mission of ending the trend of obesity in America and introducing this life changing community & program to as many people as possible, they are making a bet for anyone who joins a challenge group in September! The pot is climbing to 2 million dollars and will max out at 3 million!
Here’s how you play:
1. Commit to an at home workout program and join my challenge on our challenge tracker app
2. Workout 3 times a week & track in the app
3. Drink Shakeology 5 times a week & track in the app
THAT’S IT! Whoever completes this will split the pot! I am super competitive and love things like this so I am excited to share it with you. If you have already completed a challenge with me or are one of my coaches you can still participate!! I would love to discuss this opportunity further with anyone who wants more details. You can send me an email at susannahaobell@gmail.com, contact me via Facebook (my name on FB is Susannah Aimee) or any of my social media accounts (my details are in the contact tab).
Even if you are not interested, I genuinely hope that I can inspire you to make small steps and positive changes to improve your health. Without our health we quite literally do not have our life and I don’t know about you, but I would like to stick around for as long as possible. If you have any questions about how I can help you or just about your own journey in general please do not hesitate to ask! Many coaches on my team and I do exciting fitness & recipes groups absolutely free and the more people who join the merrier! Knowledge is power and there is so much out there to help get you on the right track. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope this gives you some insight into my life as a coach and why I am so dedicated to spreading this community to as many people as possible. Remember, like Mahatma Gandhi said, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” I’m trying to shake the world to go deeper and lead lives full of positivity, self love and the reminder that we all deserve to feel beautiful from the inside out.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to me, my ear and heart is always open.

Chasing Summer

I will spend my life chasing summer. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve checked in due to my crazy schedule for my holiday in America.  I escaped the Australian winter and took off to the US for a month of fun in the sun. It has been nonstop since I landed in NYC and reunited with so many sorority sisters and friends from college and apparently, believed that I could still party like my former sorority girl self. I spent many of my first days in America hungover until the afternoon when I could finally recoup, exercise and then get back at it again. This lasted for my first weekend and then my body rebelled. It was so amazing to see my friends and my family and even though I haven’t seen any of them in person for a while we just carry on the conversation like it never stopped. It’s pretty amazing how that works. It’s also crazy to genuinely realize that you are past the age where partying is worth it. I enjoy a few glasses of wine. I always will, but I wholeheartedly would rather stay in with friends and family, or even alone, than suffer through the misery and anxiety hangovers bring. Is this growing up?

Luckily, I also managed to have a few “touristy” experiences in NYC because even though it’s my favorite city in the world I’ve been to countless times, I still want to be a tourist because I’m rarely there anymore!  I walked the Brooklyn Bridge, went on a food crawl, did an amazing hot yoga class, took my first Soul Cycle class and spent time with so many people near and dear to me. New York is one of the few cities that I believe has a pulse. You can actually feel how alive it is. Before I knew it I was on a plane and off again to Nashville to attend my annual coaching convention. I experienced this event last year for the first time and this year did not disappoint. There is something so tangible about gathering together that many positive and motivated people for a fitness convention to celebrate our successes, attend seminars and trainings, attend live workouts with our celebrity trainers and just bond with our teammates that we work with predominately online. This time it wasn’t the city that felt alive, but the energy from the people in it. I lost my voice the first day from having so many heart to hearts and possibly from belting out country songs at the crazy bars on Broadway. Just because it’s a bunch of fitness coaches together for a work convention doesn’t mean we don’t have our fair share of fun! It’s an awesome balance and one I attempt to emulate in all of my personal travels… until someone introduces the idea of a tequila shot.

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The people I want to help

Today I hit a milestone goal in my business that I have been working really hard to achieve. Although it feels really good I can’t help but think about how much I still want to accomplish and how this is only the beginning of my journey as an entrepreneur and in fact my journey through life.

This week has reminded how powerful what I do is not because of the achievement I reached but instead what this business has done for me both mentally and spiritually( and of course physically. Two of my closest friends really needed my help this week. I was in a place where I could give them my full heart, attention, and advice. We discussed how easy it is to give advice but how difficult it is to take our own advice.

I realized how many people I have left to meet, touch, help and learn from. I realized how many mountains I have left to climb. I realized how important it is to extend your hand and your heart to those who need it and how that in turn helps YOU. I realize that I have the incredible platform in which I can do that, not just for friends in my immediate circle but for hundreds of people, friends and acquaintances old and new. Thanks to technology I have the ability to meet and be uplifted by so many beautiful, creative, inspiring souls around this big and beautiful world.

The people I want to help have open minds and hearts.
The people I want to help are always down for adventure.
The people I want to help may never like this post.
The people I want to help know they are made for something more.
The people I want to help might feel trapped, uninspired and stuck in a life that doesn’t make them want to spring out of bed in the morning.
The people I want to help feel a lot, have strong emotions and attach themselves to others.


The people I want to help have a spark in them that they may not even see yet.
The people I want to help CRAVE freedom in a way that can’t be fulfilled by being trapped in a cubicle or broken system.
The people I want to help may look beautiful and happy on the outside but have demons and pain past or present that hurts them deeply.
The people I want to help are ready for a change, ready to feel like they are a part of something and ready to take control of their own lives.
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QUIT, PACK, OPEN

When I started writing my weekly headspace pieces I had no idea how awesome this weekly release of my thoughts would be. I did know and have proved to myself how hard it is to keep up with your blog even if it is once a week. I see why people do this as an actual career in itself because it’s a lot of work and you truly have to carve out the time for it. I wanted my weekly headspace to be a concrete way for me to write more, even if it wasn’t particularly well designed or crafted pieces. These are my thoughts plain and simple. In this process I have realized that I have A LOT of thoughts in one week. I mean, like, A LOT. Sometimes it’s hard to decide what thoughts to synthesize and what thoughts to dismiss. I talk to hundreds of people on a weekly basis because my business is all about talking to people and connecting with them. It doesn’t matter if it’s people who have known me since childhood or high school or friends that I have connected to through common interests  like fitness and traveling via social media, almost everyone asks me the same question, “Australia? WOW! How is it living there?”

I had my friend and  fellow coach ask me a while ago,  “What is your biggest takeaway  from all your adventures? What have you learned about yourself, other cultures, and the world?”  I realized that I think about this almost every day for one reason or another. I have lived it and I am living it. I have watched my mind expand and my heart break and connected to people from all over the world for about 3 years now. But no one has lived it all with me. Luckily, I have many companions, especially Jackie, who have experienced a huge chunk of it and the bond we share because of it is truly something special.  Through my blog I try to convey what traveling has done for me but I love to pause and reflect for new followers and because I am not sure if I have ever answered that question explicitly, my biggest takeaway from all of my adventures. I am feeling quite nostalgic as my 26th birthday approaches at the beginning of June and  I keep thinking about how different my life was last June. I had high expectations for twenty five but my expectations have been blown out of the water. Because I believed that the best was yet to come… the best came and is still coming.

My biggest takeaway from all of my adventures living abroad in two radically different countries and returning back home to America in between, has been that the world is an absolutely captivating and magical place, if you allow it to be. Being open minded is the key to happiness, success, relationships and quite honestly, life.  I truly believe that for the most part people are their own worst enemies and let their fears hold them back from the life they deserve.

Despite the fact that I was living in a third world country, backpacking through many South East Asian  third world countries, prancing around the fancy beach clubs in Bali, eating traditional meals with locals, paying more for my brunch then I did for my hostel, hiking active volcanoes at sunrise, making friends from every country you could imagine and experiencing something new almost every single day I finally realized how similar we all are. I worry this sounds cliche but that has truly been my personal experience.  Human beings are so similar it is actually quite scary. It’s such a mind blowing experiencing because not only do you see how similar you are but you are forced to perceive the world in a totally new and unique manner.

Despite having similar cores, we do have so many differences in our life experiences, family upbringing, cultures, educations, work experience, travel experience, views on politics, religion, dating, happiness and success. Nothing is more thrilling to me than chatting with friends from Germany, Holland, Vietnam, Indonesia, Italy, England, Wales, France, Canada, you name it,  and learning things you never could find in a  history book or experience in a college lecture hall. Traveling has forced me to be okay with not being in control(which if you know me was a VERY hard lesson for me to learn.) Traveling has forced me to see how taking risks is worth the reward. Traveling has forced me to savor the moments as they pass because you may only have a few nights with these new friends who you feel like you’ve known a lifetime. Traveling has made me realize that you don’t need a lot of money to travel you need a lot of GUTS. You need a lot of resilience. You need the willingness to get out of your OWN way and take some risks. You have to be willing to go to countries you know nothing about. You have to be willing to sleep on overnight buses for 17 hours in Vietnam. You have to be willing to play charades and to point to random food and pray you don’t get food poisoning, or take it like a champ when you do. You have to be open minded in your approach to your traveling or you could circle the whole globe and not change a thing.

I truly don’t believe everyone should quit their job and travel the world. I honestly do believe it is the single best decision I have ever made. Quit.. Pack… Open..Not only did I  find a way to make my career work in two new countries I gained the confidence to follow ANYTHING that tugs on my heart strings. Traveling wasn’t an option for me, it was a calling and a voice that needed to be answered. Wanderlust is not going to Disney World twice a year and on a cruise every five. Wanderlust is sincerely wanting to experience a new culture, a new way of life and a willingness to learn that everything you have ever thought could very well be wrong. Traveling forced me to get in touch with my truest self and make some huge sacrifices along the way. It is a whole different level of commitment when you decide to live abroad and become a permanent adventurer. You no longer are someone who leaves and comes back with cool stories to tell your friends and family. You are someone who leaves. You are someone who has to miss important weddings and special occasions. You have to construct dysfunctional holiday celebrations that show what the true spirit of those holidays actually mean.  You are someone who decides that the desire to see the world is stronger than any other guiding factor.

This is a terrifying inner voice to listen to. But when you do, it shows you why being open minded is so important. I know that all people have their opinions about other people’s life choices and many times people like to judge a path that is different from their own or the norm. I think that the 21st century has developed a whole generation of dreamers, doers, seekers and people who very well might quit their job and travel the world. That scares the HELL out of close minded people. It always has and it always will. But traveling teaches you to focus on the good. You don’t look back and dwell on the moments you missed your ferry, were hungover puking on your ferry, nearly died in traffic in Bangkok, got hit on by men, ladyboys, women, or anything with two legs. You look back and remember the people, the laughs, the views, the kick ass food and booze and experience that you simply can’t just look at photos of you have to EXPERIENCE yourself. I think that is the most special part of traveling. Even in today’s world of Instagram, blogs, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, any other social media site that people use to document their every move on a trip; pictures, videos, words, and blog articles can NEVER replace experiencing it for yourself. It never has and it never will. Every traveler holds those stories in their memory, some to share and some to keep, but no two people will see the same world twice.

You learn more about yourself traveling than any other life experience. You form bonds with your traveling companions that can’t be put into words. You are forced to coexist with people you have never imagined you be in the same room with let alone getting naked in front of and sharing a wall socket for your chargers. When you are traveling you  see humanity in such raw form, the good, the bad and the ugly. So when I try to reflect on my biggest take away from my adventures I have to say that it is so complex but actually pretty simple; being open minded is the key to life. It can be applied to every situation across the boards and it is a lesson I continually use in my classroom, my business, my friendships, my relationship and my life. You can see a big and beautiful world or you can see a world full of pain and darkness. That is totally up to you.

Good and evil have existed since the beginning of time and will continue to exist. Traveling has reminded me to be open to the magic that this universe has to offer. Not just when you feel like it. Not just for a week or a stage in life. Be open to what the world has to offer you and see the magic in everyday life. Don’t ever stop seeing life as an adventure and that mindset will manifest your reality.  Leaving home does not mean that I never look back, I look back all the time. But my eyes have changed, my mind has expanded, my heart has opened.  I take life as it comes and I take people for what they are. I control myself (this is without a pitcher of sangria in my blood) because I know that’s the only thing I can control. I EMBRACE uncertainty because instead of holding myself back or being afraid of it, I am learning to celebrate the fact that I have no clue what’s next. None of us do. The more authentically you open your mind and your heart to the world around you the more the world around you opens. Allow the world to be the magical and captivating place that it is. Get out of your own way. I’m not saying everyone should quit their job to travel the world but DAMN, I am glad that I did. 

MOST

Disclaimer: I think A LOT. That’s why I love to write. I want to make an effort to make one blog post a week that is just my THOUGHTS! Call it a rant if you want, but hey, it’s my blog I can do as I please. I’m trying to think of a clever name for my weekly thought post, On my Mind.. (so boring) but I just want to have an outlet and less formal way to post on my blog instead of writing the post in my head for days/weeks sometimes! So, if you have any ideas drop it in the comments below.

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Here is what is on my mind today. Honestly, before I was a coach I thought it was quite strange how people who are into fitness always posted photos of themselves at the gym or their muscles so frequently. I remember thinking “we get it you like to work out” and apparently you love yourself a lot too. Fast forward to now my perspective and perception has shifted. We live in a world that is driven by images. We are attracted to things we look at. As a health and wellness coach, I can talk about my programs all day. I can show how they have changed my life and my perspective. I can talk about how coaching has impacted my ability to dream big and seize opportunities . But people are people and they are the most attracted by that before and after photo. It’s just the way it is.

As a writer, I try to paint a picture with my words but many people are too lazy to read them. No hard feelings, to each their own. When I post a photo of my results and my hard work it is to promote physical fitness and exercise but the purpose is really the message behind it. When you simultaneously work on your mind, body, and spirit at the same time your physical results also represent your mental expansion and your spiritual elevation. I wish I could show you a picture of my brain and the “transformation Tuesday” that is currently happening inside but instead I rely on my words to depict this growth and the work I physically put into my body consistently.

We live in a world where what matters MOST does not matter to most.

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This is Happier

“Life is too short to be in a hurry.” If we are always on the go, we are reacting to the exigencies of day-to-day life rather than allowing ourselves the space to create a happy life.”  If we simply react to life, how can we possibly feel satisfied? How can we ever feel happy and connected to the present moment? For me, reading is a wonderful way to focus on the present moment. I have so many things to juggle  currently my teaching job at an English language college here in Australia , building my online coaching business and supporting the coaches that I mentor to start their own businesses, running my challenge groups and connecting with people to help introduce them to the programs that have changed my life, teaching classes part time in Korea via Skype, not to mention trying to save time for my blog, my own fitness, my personal life, keeping up with cooking healthy meals and squeezing in fun time, too. As I have mentioned numerous times before, no matter what stage of life I am in, I’ve always been someone who fills up their life with TONS of responsibilities, activities, commitments, and people. “We must simplify our lives; we must slow down. The good news is that simplifying our lives, doing less rather than more, does not have to come at the expense of success.”

Keeping things simple in the 21st century seems like an impossible feat. Since I run an online business which is based out of America and there is a 15 hour time difference I often feel like I have to be constantly connected to properly stay in contact with my coaches and my clients. For someone who is an extremely outgoing, social person and someone who is building an online health and fitness coaching business; it seems crazy to think that I hate being so connected, but I do. I have many aspects of my personality and passions that lend me toward the hippy free spirit life. Being free is my absolute favorite feeling. But, the old saying “with freedom comes responsibility” proves itself to be true time and time again. You can’t be free without taking the time and effort to allow yourself that luxury. Luckily, I have learned to satisfy my desire for freedom through more immediate avenues; like traveling the world, moving abroad, hiking near the ocean and doing yoga. “Being enslaved by the exigencies of life and by our constitution does not preclude the possibility that we can feel free. We experience freedom when we choose a path that provides us both meaning and pleasure.” Although life itself is full with responsibilities (especially this whole adult gig) when we are choosing what life we make our own it is much easier to feel free and satisfied.

Since we live in a world that is constantly connected, one of the most pure and surefire way for me to disconnect is to read. Reading requires all of my attention and focus and I really feel like I can get lost in good book. The most recent book I read was “Happier” by Tal Ben-Shahar and it was one of those books you read and want to shout from the mountain tops so that everyone can read it and be enlightened. Ben-Shahar tackles the monumental question, “Can you learn to be happy?”  For someone who has been actively pursuing happiness for as long as I can remember, his message and research really hit home for me. In this piece I have included some of my favorite quotes because I simply could not have said it better myself. I had so many “Ah-ha” moments while reading this book and I felt reassured that my desire for happiness, meaning, and purpose are something to be celebrated not chastised. “Time is a zero-sum game, a limited resource. Life is too short to do only what we have to do; it is barely long enough to do what we want to do.”

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Earn the Donuts

February is known as the month of love. My month was filled with tons of love, new beginnings, a new apartment, and a lot of hard work teetering on the tightrope of finding a happy medium in life. January was just about as strict and regimented as I can get with my exercise and nutrition. This was an amazing way to kick off the year and promote good habits. Once February rolled around I felt a tad bit of relief since the second half of my 60 day fitness challenge I was allowing myself to be more lenient with my cheat meals and my alcohol. I am an all or nothing type of girl so “cheat days” are awesome for me. They usually include donuts or some type of naughty dessert, wine and probably pizza. Making fitness a part of your routine and lifestyle requires a lot of sacrifice but once you get in the habit I PROMISE it becomes much easier. But old habits die hard so make sure you are weary when you turn back to old ways… even if it is just for a day. Donuts taste so much better when you earn them. Both figuratively and literally. 

February was a month full of adventure and new friends. Due to my more flexible schedule this semester I have had more time to work on my coaching business which is amazing because working on my coaching business consists a lot of working on MYSELF.  I read professional development every day, connect to positive hardworking people, workout, eat healthy and share this journey with others through social media. It sounds really simple, but there are a lot of little daily tasks you must complete to grow a successful business. I am the type of person who can give my ALL to one thing but the nature of my personality, my ADHD, my current schedule and life has me spread a little thin. I’m not sure if I know any different. I ask myself why I do this but I know I get bored so easily I need A LOT to keep me busy and entertained. As usual,  I refuse to use that as an excuse… people always say to “enjoy the journey” but I find so many people really don’t. I can tell you I really do.

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