Magic Moments

Choose Your Path

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

And my first retirement comes to an end…

It’s been a month since I’ve written here, and it should be no surprise…a lot has happened. I’ll start with just a series of photos from this past month. If I gave context to each photo, I’d be writing for hours (which I’m not opposed to, but I only have a little bit of time before I go to my first day of WORK!!), so here are a bunch o’ photos that make me happy.

(Was listening to the song “Dragonfly” and a car pulled in front of me with a dragonfly sticker… Loved the coincidence!)

So here I am now, about to begin a new chapter of my life. I’ve been reflecting so much on the past 6 months – sometimes I get really sad that I’m not still traveling and living in the lush culture of Bali; but like I’ve always believed, “Everything happens for a reason.” I’m so grateful for every experience during this ‘retirement.’ 4 wild months in Bali and 2 months of running around in the States. 

When I came back from California a month ago, I had set up several coffee dates/networking meetings so I could find a way to make an income. I was completely torn. Go back to a desk job – professional, stable, comfortable? Or move away from the corporate world and do something a little different that may challenge me a bit more? I was facing all sorts of paths I could go down, and I knew I ultimately had to walk down the path that made me *feel* the most. After a great meeting with some women that I’ve worked with before, I received a text a couple days later that got me excited for the first time when it came to looking for a new job. 

“My husband’s boss is looking for a nanny… Is that something you’d be interested in?”

In less than a week, I was offered the job and I was PUMPED. They’re very professional, the kiddos are adorable, and all the stars seemed to align. It’s funny how that happens when you follow your heart…

I accepted this position a month ago and today will be my first day with the Twins. Having so much time between accepting the job and actually starting has been an interesting journey in itself. Sure, I’ve worked with kids – babysat a ton – volunteered with many kids…but a full-time job with twins?! Doubt started creeping in… It was always so interesting telling people what I was doing and I felt like I could read their thoughts: “Are you nuts?! You’ve never been a nanny and now you’re taking care of two toddlers? Are you sure you don’t want a desk job?” One person even immediately said, “You’re going to die.” 

I started worrying that maybe I made a mistake. “What the hell did I just sign myself up for?! Am I living in this silly fairytale land – la dee da dee da – that isn’t reality at all? Mo! You’re in way over your head!”

But then there were the few people who immediately reacted by saying, “You’re going to be such a good nanny.” Yessssss…bringing back the thoughts that I had when I was ‘applying’ for the job. I know I shouldn’t care what others think, but I’m not going to lie…I couldn’t really help it. This is a HUGE change from what I was doing before, so every bit of feedback was swirling in my mind. 

But guess what? I’m ready for it… While this past month has allowed a bit of doubt to enter my mind, it’s also allowed me to mentally prepare for these next 6 months and kick that doubt outta here. I am fully aware that this will be a big challenge, but there will be so many great things that come from this experience. Guiding kids through this world, consistency with my schedule, purpose, finally a steady income, excursions/crafts/activities, learning and seeing life through the eyes of children. 

This ‘retirement’ has been an epic journey of self-discovery. Sometimes I felt guilty that I was out exploring the world and not working to save for real retirement – but this wasn’t really a 6-month vacation. Not at all. It was a time for me to learn about myself, to test myself, and prove to myself that if I set my mind to something, I can do it. At the end of this particular journey, the best thing that happened was I learned how to love myself. Sometimes I look back at my memories like a movie and think, “I did that?! Hell yeah!! Mo is pretty awesome!” I’ve never been able to think that about myself until now.

I want to thank everyone who has supported me and believed in me. I am blessed with so many loving people in my life that keep me going. I believe in all of you, too. Listening to your heart surprisingly isn’t the easiest thing to do, but when you do, you’ll feel on top of the world. The Universe is always on our side.

And thank you, Bali, for changing my life. Although it was only 4 months, the lifetime that was lived in them and the lessons I learned will guide me though every day of the rest of my life. “Mo Poppins” is ready for this new journey. Besides, I’ve even got the carpet bag ready to go…

Last night, I went to Modo Yoga because I wanted to end this chapter on a magical note. I’ll end this entry with how my favorite teacher ended his class last night:

“There is nothing you cannot do.”

Believe it.


Believing is Seeing

Friday, February 2nd, 2018

It’s funny how the Universe works… I asked for more kid time, and it was certainly delivered, much to my delight. My last post I wrote about how Claire and I pretended to be making ice cream. I thought about how much simpler life was as a child and how our hardest decisions were which flavor we were going to eat. While I was in Sebastopol, CA with my cousin and his family, I was faced with the idea cream challenge as an adult. I followed my own advice and went with my gut: Cookie Dough and Caramel Swirl.

Claire would have loved it… The week in California was a total blast. My days were filled with jumping on the trampoline, riding scooters, exploring the coast, looking up at the giant Redwood trees, visiting San Francisco, and spending time with some of the greatest people I know. I loved picking Harper and Max up from school then heading home and playing all afternoon; spending time with Corrine and Remy (not to mention watching Corrine making delicious meals from memory while Remy was hanging on to her – Supermom!); and coming up with crazy business ideas with Scott. I was certainly jumping for joy every day.

Harper and I became attached at the hip and it was so fun to see the world through her eyes. Her world is SO FUN. We took a day to go to the Redwood Forest and go on a little hike. One of my favorite activities with one of my favorite people in the most beautiful setting. The sun beaming through the trees was the cherry on top. 

We talked and talked and talked and I seriously wondered if I was going to lose my voice. We talked a lot about dreams and it was so fun to talk with someone so curious and get inspired by what I had to say. She became so excited when I told her about my life-changing lucid dream and she wanted to start a dream journal herself. I had purchased a tiny journal at one of the cute bookstores in Sebastopol for her to do so and the rest of the time I was there, she wrote down her dreams. Made my heart happy. I grew up having vivid dreams, but it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I really started paying attention to them and believing that they mean something. My dream journal is probably my favorite journal in my entire collection. 

This walk felt like a dream because it was so magical. A daydream come true. We reached the Armstrong Redwoods Amphitheater and Harper was in her element. We stood on stage with the trees as our audience and started belting out Disney songs. When was the last time you busted out in song at the top of your lungs outside of your home or car?? We danced and didn’t have a care in the world. One of the best trails I’ve ever been on, that’s for sure…

After the forest, we made our way to the ocean. Talk about a perfect day. We stopped and watched the ocean for a while – soaked up the sun like the seagulls all around us. I loved the time bonding with this little human and attempting to be a positive influence for her. More importantly, I loved how she brought out my inner child. She is such an energetic, thoughtful, and sensitive soul.

When I was a kid, for some reason, I was obsessed (emphasis on OBSESSED) with milk cows. In school, if there was a pottery class or an art class, you bet I molded or painted cows. I remember I found out a family friend had a milk cow and I was so jealous! I can remember wanting one so badly. Weird, I know. But it was my thing. As I got older, my obsession faded and I don’t remember the last time I’ve actually seen a milk cow. So imagine my surprise when we left the coast and ended up driving through the most lush, green pastures with the MOST BEAUTIFUL milk cows!! Harper thought I was so silly for getting so excited to see these cows all over the place. I guess my obsession isn’t completely gone… I must admit, even as an adult, they really are beautiful animals. 

Needless to say, it was a day well spent. MOOOOOO!

Onto the next adventure – San Francisco!

Remy and I went on a road trip down South and I was so excited to see the Golden Gate Bridge. My Mom and Dad lived in San Francisco in their early 20’s and I had asked them to send me lists of what I should check out. It was so fun to have them as tour guides. Remy and I pulled off the highway before we reached the bridge and made the trek to see the beautiful view. 

I went to San Francisco when I was a little kid, but I don’t remember any of it. So seeing the bridge on this day felt like it was my first time. It was really special to share that moment with baby Remy. I dropped Remy off to Scott and Corrine once I arrived in the City, and then I was off on my tour. I visited the apartment my parents lived in which was really special for me. I was too young to remember the time in my life that they were still together. So it was really neat to see a place that they shared before I was born. I continued on by seeing the hotel my Dad managed and visiting the Green Apple bookstore which was my version of Heaven. As I was browsing, I got a cute “hello” from my Grampa, Roy Nichols. What a coincidence…

I had some time to kill before I met with my friend Nicole, so I visited a coffee shop recommended by a couple different people: The Blue Danube. It was fun to watch the locals flurry in for their morning fuel, and I found one open spot by the bookshelf. There were dozens of notebooks that were all numbered. I picked up a random one near me and opened it up. There were hundreds of entries from patrons in the year 2008. A Time Capsule. It was ironic that the dates matched the time that I was in this coffee shop – I was reading these entries almost exactly 10 years later.

This entry stood out to me. I wondered if Ben was still happily married to his love and still enjoying his fulfilling job. I really hope so. It’s amazing what happens as you keep discovering layers of yourself. 

“(1/9/2008) – I feel so lucky to be able to say that this is not my last week in San Francisco. I love this city. I found myself and my true love here (we’re getting married in May!). I have a job doing what I love and enough money to eat at Q or Burma Superstar every now and then. I never thought that life could be this cool! – Ben” 

I then came across this drawing that spoke to me on many levels. I’m so fascinated by time and I love encountering moments when I’m reminded that I’m not the only one who feels this way. Time is always running, but this is why I love journals (and blogs!), because they make certain moments last forever. Thank you, Stranger, for creating this 10 years ago. Timeless.

Then it was time to meet up with my adventure buddy, Nicole. There is something about Nicole that makes everything extra magical when we are together. We used to always go on adventures in the PNW, but Nicole moved to San Jose last year, so it was extra fun to reunite and experience California together. 

We enjoyed a delicious burger (our tradition) and went on a two mile walk through the neighborhoods. We would look at our surroundings and often stop at the same time to admire anything and everything. It’s so perfect with her because we get excited about the same things – views, flowers, architecture, anything. Taking time to admire the whimsical colors…or completely black homes.

We started talking about daydreams and imagining our dream homes. Nicole dreams to be near the ocean and have a darkroom for her photography. I’d love a room full of bookshelves, twinkle lights, and space to create. I’d love a desk in front of window to write and daydream at. As we continued walking, we looked to the left and noticed a spiral staircase in a window – that’d be a nice addition to my dream home! We noticed the main door was open…. OPEN HOUSE! We had to go see the staircase for ourselves. We walked in and the agent immediately knew that we were not going to be potential buyers (For $6 million, maybe after we win the lottery! Ha!), so she didn’t wander with us. We happened to run into two other folks checking the house out and where were they from? Wedgwood neighborhood in Seattle! Another coincidence…

We found the spiral staircase and I wondered what it led to…

What was at the top? A teeny nook with two things: a desk and a window. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket!

Nicole and I continued on our walk and she would say, “We’re almost to the Painted Ladies!” I was too embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know what the Painted Ladies were. Nicole is really into art and museums, so I figured it was some famous painting and I’d recognize it when I saw it. So I didn’t ask her and I was waiting until we arrived at the museum to see it for myself. We were across from a park and she said, “I think that’s them!”

“Huh? But there’s no museum over there…”

“No, it’s the Full House houses!”


I had no idea that’s what they were called and I got so giddy! These houses were on my list to see, so it was extra special having it be a complete surprise (nevermind me feeling like a doofus.). I grew up watching Full House and wanted to be best friends with Mary-Kate and Ashley. So seeing these iconic homes with one of my closest friends was certainly a highlight of my life.

We sat and pretended to have a picnic like they do in the intro of the show and soaked it all up. Happy vibes all around. But our tour wasn’t done. Both my Mom and Dad recommended watching the sunset at The Cliff House. We set off and found the restaurant on the coast. Magically, there was a table at the window with a perfect view. 

I am so grateful to have spent this day with Nicole and experienced yet another beautiful adventure.

The rest of my time in California was spent wandering the little town of Sebastopol, meeting wonderful people, and checking out the coffee shops (SO CUTE). Amazing things happen when you wander…and live in the moment.

Rameh was a woman I sat next to at a cafe and we began talking about dreams, coincidences, and life in general. (Big surprise…) She told me about a man named Edgar Cayce who was a pioneer in America about dreaming. Rameh happened to miss her flight that afternoon and I smiled when I happened to run into her again the next day. By the time I bumped into her the next day, I had purchased a book on Edgar Cayce and was so grateful to have learned about him. We were definitely meant to cross paths.

I’ve visited California every year for the past 4 years. I tend to go after the holidays in the Winter months that are tough to make it through. My visits always kick-start my year with positive energy and enough Vitamin D to hold me through until Spring. This trip did not fail. Once I returned from California, it was a whirlwind and I was on a mission (which I’ll elaborate on another time). Spending time with kids, exploring, and having moments of tranquility with a good book are the cure for anything. Thank you to the Barrows family for hosting me – I love all of you!

Two weeks later, back in the PNW, and I’m feeling as good as ever. Right now, I’m at my favorite coffee shop in Marysville called The Living Room and the sun is starting to pour in. It gets really tough when Seattle is covered in a blanket of rain clouds for so many months. But since we don’t have sunshine every day, I feel like I have a deeper appreciation when the sun is shining. Yin and Yang. I feel like during the Winter months, we hibernate and take the time to work on ourselves; being inside sometimes makes it easier to turn inward. Then Spring comes and it’s our time to shine and show off what we’ve been working on. Throwing in a quick trip to California certainly helps to get a good dose of Vitamin D. If anything, it reaffirmed to me that dreaming is healthy and can lead to the greatest moments and encounters. 

Similar to what Ben felt 10 years ago in a little coffee shop in “The City by the Bay,” I also didn’t think life could be this cool. 

“Mind is indeed the Builder . . . what is held in the act of mental vision becomes a reality in the material experience. We are gradually builded to that image created within our own mental being.” -Edgar Cayce

Believe it. See it.

What’s on your mind?


Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Feeling stuck, lost, or confused with any aspect in your life? I have discovered the cure: Kids and a Retreat (obviously separate events…).


I was fortunate enough to babysit Claire Bear for a few days and IT WAS THE BEST TIME EVER. I honestly get a lump in my throat while thinking of her because I love her so much! Who knew a teeny little two-year old could have such a tug at my heart? First of all, she’s adorable. Proof: 

But not only is she adorable on the outside, her personality is precious. Her whole body tenses up with excitement when we play hide and seek, watch Frozen, or sit down to read a book. She pronounces pillow as “pillilow” and I almost thought she was saying a bad word when she asked for a fruit snack (“fwoo fak”). She loves to color and whenever she comes across the white crayon she holds it up and says, “Thisonesnotworkingthisonesnotworkingthisonesnotworking. It break!” She gets so proud when she makes a triangle out of her hands – then makes the triangle smaller and says, “Baby triangle!” She loves Dozy Bear and she loves being held (“Hold you! Hold you!”). She is not a fan of baths, but she is a fan of yoga and cheese. Atta girl…

I’m still technically unemployed and sometimes when I think about it, I tense up out of stress and start internally panicking. “I need to find a job quickly so I can start making money! People think I’m lazy! I need to figure out where I’m going to live!” Being unemployed certainly isn’t ideal, but I want to make sure that whatever I do next is the right thing, you know? I’m so happy I’m able to take my time, keep soul-searching, and carve my path. My hope is to find a way to make an income while doing something that I love. What a concept, right?! It seems like so many people are unhappy with their jobs and that marrying the two (income + passion) isn’t possible. That’s what we’ve been taught. Work during the week, live on the weekends… Maybe I’m an idiot and should start applying to all jobs I can find on – but right now, I’m so enjoying this freedom and I’m crossing my fingers that the right thing will come along. I have so many ideas of what I could do, so I’m working on narrowing it all down. Time will tell…

So here I am, 30 years old, figuring out my life and trying to not to let the uncertainty overwhelm me. So many questions – so many options – so many paths I could take. …And then I get to play with Claire Bear and she wants me to make some ice cream for her. She sits in front of the ‘counter’ and stares at all of the options available and takes some time to decide. I feel it, Claire. Tough decisions. Remember when the hardest decision in our life was which flavor of ice cream we were going to devour? Maybe we need to look at our decisions as an adult in a different way. Follow the gut. 

Claire ended up choosing a chocolate cone, strawberry ice cream, and chocolate syrup. Solid combo. I could go on and on and on and on about the things I love about Claire and how much she is teaching me. One of the greatest gifts she is giving me is a return to childhood. Memories of my childhood are coming back and when I’m with her, I get to be a kid again. I keep wondering if what ‘I’m supposed to do‘ as a grownup has something to do with kids. Something’s telling me that would be a flavor of ice cream that I’d end up loving…


After spending a few days with Claire Bear, I headed to a cabin in Leavenworth for a “Silent Retreat.” I’ve looked into several silent retreats before, but they are very expensive and they are a bit more precise with their expectations (zero speaking, no writing, no music, 100% silence). I decided to have my own retreat and the main challenge was unplugging my phone for 3 days straight. Not even checking my messages at the end of each night.

If you’re reading this now: GO ON A RETREAT AND UNPLUG. Seriously. It is the best and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Do it. Do it. Do it.

The last time I was going to truly unplug was in Bali for 5 days. The first day I turned off my phone, well that’s when the earthquakes began, which started my fear and stopped my freedom. I think the last time I had unplugged for a significant amount of time was at Priest Lake, Summer of 2016. I was long overdue.

For my retreat, I brought a bag full of books, journals, delicious food, and tea. I turned my phone on airplane mode and began my new sense of freedom. I was still in the habit of checking my phone ever 5 minutes, so I put it in a drawer and committed to only using it for photos. Then it was 3 days of bliss.

The cabin is secluded on a snowy road, surrounded by trees, and has huge windows that allow a flood of natural light to shine in. My favorite part of the cabin is the fireplace – I had a natural fire burning almost the entire time – I truly don’t think I love anything more than the sound and smell of a real fire. 

Each day, I journaled and read for hours. But that’s something I frequently do. What was even better about having a retreat like this is you can do whatever the heck you want. Did I sing at the top of my lungs? Sure did. Did I have multiple dance parties? Without a doubt. Did I feel like a teenager without a care in the world? Thank goodness, yes. There was no one to judge and I could be completely myself. I remember thinking as I put on my striped sweatshirt while I was wearing my tie-dyed pants, “If I wore this in public, people would think I’m nuts!” But I didn’t care – they were mismatched, but comfy as hell. I could listen to whatever music, watch any movies, and eat whatever I wanted. So did I make pancakes for dinner? Yup.

The best part of a retreat like this is that you lose track of time. I remember feeling like my entire world in those moments was right in front of me. Only Me. Always Now. Complete Freedom.

There were a few times I alllllllmost turned my phone back on, though. I had been disconnected from ‘reality’ for a couple of days and for some silly reason I kept wondering if something was wrong. “What if something bad happened and no one is able to let me know?” I came so so close to connecting again, but then I told myself that if I got back into service, it would stop the intention of this retreat. I had set out to last until 5:55pm Monday night, and I reminded myself of this goal. Maybe something did happen, but it’s okay if I go one more day without knowing. Besides, there was a greater chance that all was fine in the outside world. So, not surprisingly, when I did finally turn my phone back on Monday night, all was good. There was no reason to worry.

I can’t express enough how good this was for my soul. Maybe I didn’t come out of it with a concise gameplan for my future, but I became completely centered and that’s even more important. I took the long way home (Highway 2 is so beautiful!!) and have been so calm and happy. Nothing can really bring me down at this point [knock on wood].

Even the past few days since I’ve returned from babysitting and my retreat, I’ve felt so… peace. I am now in California staying with my cousin and his family for a while. I can’t wait to see what pops up while I’m here. Going with the flow like usual and maintaining my sense of peace…and child-like imagination. 

We’re all dreamers… Sometimes we have ice cream to choose or bills to pay, but we can always return to our daydream. When Claire makes us coffee with her playset, she is truly, without a doubt, making coffee. Dozy Bear is as real to her as the string cheese she eats every day. Imagination is a lot more fun than reality, so why do we stop visiting Neverland when we get older? Who knows? Maybe things we imagine can one day show up in real life. 

Thank you, Claire, for inviting me back into my childhood. When I remember the world I created as a little girl, I feel all warm and fuzzy. Maybe I’m not a real-life mermaid, but when I snorkeled in Bali, I kept saying that I felt like one. When I was under water and swimming through the prettiest coral reef with rainbow fish, my imagination was right in front of me. If you take a few minutes now to be silent, think back to being a kid again and what you used to imagine – how does it make you feel?

So there it is, the cure. Time with kids and time to reconnect with your inner child. Life is meant to be fun and the world is our playground. Don’t get stuck in timeout before you’re out of time. 

We’re all kids at heart – anything is possible. If you don’t believe it, just ask a kiddo.

So…what’s your daydream?

Kite in the Sky Idea

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

I feel safe now…

I’m in Sanur now, which is a lot more touristy. I didn’t realize just how special Amed was until I left it to relocate. 

Mount Agung seems to have calmed down a bit. Some people are saying it’s probably going to erupt, others are saying it’s not. I’m in the “not” camp. Science says that if the tremors are slowing down, that means the magma is ready to explode out of the top…but it could also mean that Agung is cooling down. I’m not an expert, but no one knows what is going to happen. The morning we left Amed, Francisca and I walked on the beach and noticed all the smoke. My hope is that she has blown off the steam that she needed to. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m thinking positive.

During all the chaos with the earthquakes, I was convinced I was going to fly back home. I was scared and was making rash decisions. I was also on 3 days of practically no sleep. So when the sun came up and the car was ready to take Francisca and I to Sanur, I was at an all-time low. 

“Do I give up on this adventure? Am I going back now?”

But then as we were leaving Amed, the floodgates opened. My heart was broken and my intuition was louder than ever. 

“You can’t leave Amed like this. You will be back.”

I was balling and trying to hide all my tears. We drove by all the little restaurants I frequented, I saw the people I formed friendships with. We drove along the road that I walked miles on the first week and later learned how to get over my fear of my scooter on. The breakdown I had when I was homesick a while back was nothing compared to this burst of emotion.

This is just a temporary speed bump in this journey. Maybe Agung will erupt and everything changes. But maybe it won’t. Maybe in a week, it will have calmed down so much that I go back to the sweet town with one road and continue. [crossing fingers] I thought of my friend Rick and his comment on one of my posts: “Keep going girl!!” I was looking into plane tickets back to the States and “Keep going girl!!” kept running through my mind. I knew deep down that I am not supposed to leave. I am going to a safer place at the moment and seeing a new part of this beautiful island for now…

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

I didn’t finish my entry yesterday, so here I’ll continue…

I’m listening to my Bali soundtrack – all the songs that every single warung, bar, and driver plays nonstop – memories of the times when it was normal in Amed are running through my head and my heart aches that everything is different right now. However, an idea came to me in the middle of the night and I’m feeling energized and driven. I’ve got a fire list under my ass. Before I get to my idea, I want to give an update on Amed and Mount Agung.

I haven’t felt any tremors in the past two days. Some tremors in Amed are still happening, but they’ve slowed down (from what I hear). I have to be careful looking into the news because there are a lot of exaggerated and false reports. But what is true is that there are practically no tourists in Amed anymore. They have all gone South or left the island completely. There are still locals of course, and a community of expats coming together in Amed. I even saw my favorite yoga studio offering free classes to try to keep the energy positive.

Right now, I’m still in Sanur and I’m sitting at a Starbucks.

While I’ve been in Bali, I’ve been listing “Things Cheaper than a Starbucks Tall White Mocha” and here I am, drinking a tall mocha (they don’t have white chocolate here…). And yes, it is on my “Things Cheaper than an American White Mocha” – about $4. I’m happy to be in a place that feels familiar, but I am also very sad. My heart is in Amed and with the people near Agung.

My heart breaks because the locals are already living day to day to survive, and now, it’s even harder. With no tourists, that means no money. No money means no eating. Locals can’t tap into their savings or sell items on Craigslist to make a quick buck. The money they get each day is all the money they have. The mocha I’m drinking doesn’t taste as sweet as I used to remember. The amount of money I spent on this drink is 5 meals for a local.

I’m sleeping in a queen sized bed with 4 pillows while locals are sleeping on the floor in large groups, sometimes with no pillows at all. I get to choose what I want to eat while locals eat rice and meat for every meal. I’m by no means wealthy at all – but in Bali, I’m filthy rich. Filthy. Since I don’t have a source of income, I can’t give away all my money like I’d like to, but I want to try to help in some sort of way. 

My Idea

Ok, so I know there are some push backs to everything. These are some of the thoughts I’m having myself:

  • You’re on an island with a volcano that may erupt. Get the hell out of there, idiot!
  • The Balinese are poor and that’s the way it has always been and the way it always will be. No use in trying to change that.
  • Stop living in this fairytale of listening to your gut all the time. Life doesn’t work this way. You’re in over your head.
  • Come back to reality.

These are all valid. I mean, the volcano could seriously erupt and everyone is in danger. And yes, the Balinese will likely always struggle to make money. But the thought about my gut? I’m choosing to listen to it no matter what.

Amed has a special place in my heart. I’ve grown some roots there and I’m directly seeing how much tourism helps the locals – and keeps them alive and healthy. People aren’t going to Amed right now and likely won’t for a long time. So right now, I want to try to shed a positive, magical light on the “hidden gem of Bali.” I’m not rich so I can’t donate a ton of money or buy supplies for them. But what I do know – which I cringe saying this because I feel like it’s such a weird, millennial thing to so – is social media. This is where I have experience. 

Hear me out…

When I came to Bali, when I was trying to decide where to go on my excursions, I turned to Instagram. I looked up hashtags and Bali-specific accounts to get ideas. It was because of Instagram that I visited a beautiful waterfall near Amed and experienced a truly magical moment. I can’t be the only one who turns to Instagram to get their travel ideas. It’s a lot more powerful and influential than I think it gets credit for. It’s not just an app. It’s a very valuable resource. Man, I sound like such a millennial…

“Keep going girl!!”

So I created an account for Amed. I’m going to curate beautiful photos of Amed and surrounding areas and build a following. You never know, someone could see a beautiful picture from this account and put Amed on their excursion list. Even if one person travels to Amed because of coming across this profile, it will have been worth it. Back in the States, I grew KOMO’s Instagram account from 8,000 followers to over 30K followers in 12 months. Did the pictures and the profile mean more people were watching the news? Ehhh, I’m thinking no. Will this profile mean more people visit Amed? Maybe not, I have no idea. All I know is that I’m jazzed up about it, so I’m going to follow this energy.

When (not if) I go back to Amed, I’m going to keep my creative juices flowing and keep going with my passion of photography and special moments. I’m going to keep exploring Amed and show people that it is a must-visit town. There is no other town like it in Bali…or the world. My time in Bali is not done. Besides, my Mom made me a beautiful sarong that I haven’t worn yet and I’m determined to wear it to a ceremony. Oh yeah, and I borrowed a book from WaWa WeWe that I need to return…

This is definitely a pie in the sky idea. It was funny when I was coming up with a vision, I thought of the phrase “pie in the sky.” Last night I went outside with Francisca to get a bite to eat and I looked up. Kites in the sky. Not quite pie…but I’ll take it.

Why not try? I have the time, I have the experience, and most importantly, I have the passion. 

If you have an Instagram account, give it a follow: @visitamedbali

Love you all. ❤


Sunday, September 24th, 2017

I managed to get some sleep last night…until another big rumble around 1:45am. Right after the shaking, I heard Francisca’s door open and I got up to check on her. We decided to venture out and walk up the hill to see if anything was visible on Agung. We walked up the hill and into the Sunset Point sitting area, but was greeted by the guard dog. The barking started and we knew we weren’t going to be able to sit at the top of the hill. So we decided to walk along the beach instead.

We found a point that had a perfect view of Agung. The night sky was black and the silhouette of Agung was a shade darker. We could see a haze that appeared to be smoke, but we weren’t too sure. So we sat down and just…watched. We weren’t anticipating anything, we just felt safer on the beach than in our rooms. And, to be honest, we were damn curious, like everyone else on the island is.

I’ve seen a lot of people with their cameras set up just in case she blows. Sunset Point was packed last night and nobody’s eyes really strayed from the volcano. No one seemed afraid, thankfully. It was quite beautiful.

So there we were, laying on the beach at 3 in the morning. It may have been the most peaceful couple of hours I’ve had while here. I was laying on a bunch of stones and using my backpack as my pillow, but I was so comfortable and I felt safe with Francisca by my side. We were silent for almost two hours and I used the time and the sound of the waves to meditate. It’s wild what your mental path is when you’re in paradise and there is a threat of a volcanic eruption. I still feel safe and am truly enjoying the stillness that follows each rumble.

The sun slowly started coming up and we could see the fishermen going out to sea. We walked back along the beach and decided to sit some more and watch the sunrise. Why not?

I’ve always stumbled across cairns on my hikes…but I’ve never actually taken the time to create one. So during the sunrise, I sat on the beach like a kid with building blocks and built my first cairn. I didn’t realize how much fun…and difficult it is to do. It’s all based on a feeling and sensing the center of balance…plus, a solid foundation. Next time, I kind of want to try it with my eyes shut because it’s more about feeling than anything else. I’m curious if all the rumblings today have knocked this entire cairn down…

I haven’t left the warung today because there’s a different energy today. Even less snorkelers and people lounging on the beach. I’ve spent the day reading, snorkeling, and spending time with the folks at the warung. In the book I’m reading currently, there was a passage that really stood out to me. It reminded me of the cairn that I had built this morning. It talks about the process of awakening/enlightenment (yeah, it’s a pretty intense book, but I knew I had to bring a deep read if I’m going to be living in Bali!!).

One aspect of the process lays the foundation for the building of a solid concept upon which to base one’s newfound awareness. Much as when constructing a building, the ground must be cleared, old structures must be removed, carted away, and the area smoothed over to make preparation for a new structure that will stand fresh and firmly constructed in its place. The new structure does not emerge in its entirety on day one. But is formed, brick by brick, layer after layer, each level dependent upon the solidity, or lack thereof, of the layer upon which it rests. If care is taken with every stage of the new construction, the resulting structure has an excellent chance of standing and serving the purpose for which it was intended.

As I was reading that passage, I was envisioning my cairn. I also thought of my process of getting to Bali. You know how you go on vacation and the day or two beforehand are the most productive days at work? I always crossed so many things off of my list right before I left for vacation. Well, leaving my job entirely and moving to a foreign country made me productive in all aspects of my life. It was like a cleansing, mentally and physically. Shedding things that I no longer need and having meaningful moments with people I care about.

I feel like I have such a strong base now. It’s amazing how being so far away can make you feel closer than ever to the people you love. If you are reading this, you are a part of my base.

Sending my love across the big, blue sea.


Disconnecting to Connect

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

This past week has been equal parts busy and calming…

I had to go back to Denpasar to keep going through the Visa process at immigrations. Luckily, I spent less than 5 minutes in the immigrations building, had my fingerprints and my photo taken and the rest of the day was for adventure. Our first stop was Tirta Empul. This is a picture of a holy water pool – it was so fascinating watching the bubbling water. It was so clear and pristine. You can walk into a large pool and bathe yourself in this holy water.

I didn’t do the cleansing this time because there were so many people and I can’t tell you how many people were standing in large groups taking pictures and selfies everywhere I looked. I wasn’t in the right headspace to really feel the intention of the cleansing. I’d love to go back on an early morning when it is quieter and a bit slower. Really take my time with it.

Next stop was brunch. An all-you-can eat buffet…with the most incredible view of Mt. Batur. Mt. Batur is a smaller volcano on Bali that last erupted in 2000. It was amazing seeing the scars of the lava from way back when.

One of the most memorable and delicious lunches I’ve ever had.


After lunch, I walked through Pura Batur. I’ll let the photo speak for itself…

In the afternoon, we drove along a road that I don’t think any tourists go on. When the locals saw me, they looked at me like they had never seen a white person before. It was such a cool feeling being somewhere that was true, authentic Bali. At the end of the road is where I think the color green was invented.

Sunset Point has the best seats for the nightly show. The ladies of my warung walked up the hill to enjoy a drink and the sunset. It was such a sweet view.

Everyone has nicknames in Bali and at our warung. Here we have Mo, Mom, and Mama.

Months ago when I was telling people I was going to Bali, I heard the same phrase over and over again: “It’s your Eat, Pray, Love journey!!” Truth be told, I’d never read the book and I saw the movie when it first came out in 2009. It was a little surreal watching the movie while in Bali. It was so funny how my life paralleled this story, in a slightly different way. I’m sure it’s a common theme in many people’s lives.

You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control. – Eat, Pray, Love

The cherry on top was having this cuddly kitty hang out with me during the movie. Love, love, love.

I looooove peanut butter and there aren’t a whole lot of peanut butter items in Bali. I decided to get my own little jar of peanut butter and use it when I see fit. Like on this coconut pancake…

One of my all-time favorite meals is chicken piccata. When I saw it on a menu here, I immediately ordered it, but was kind of nervous about what would actually show up on my plate. You never really know what you’re going to get. Like when I ordered my first “burger” here…I wouldn’t have necessarily classified it as a burger. Much to my delight, the chicken piccata was AMAZING. And also, an addition to my list: “Things Cheaper Than a Starbucks Tall White Mocha” (about $5).

While at this restaurant, I saw the owner of Diver’s Cafe and had a nice talk with him. His daughter is actually the one who cooked my chicken piccata. This little town is very little. Ketut and I talked about the way Amed used to be and how it’s growing. One of the things that stood out to me is that he said people in Bali are very lucky because of the weather. “Always sunny and always happy.” Then he said, “Americans are lucky because they are very smart. Very advanced. We are not lucky in the head.”

The thing is, after so many conversations with so many different Balinese locals, they all have a similar thought process. It’s all focused on happiness and no worries. I’ve heard several Balinese say out of the blue: “Happy life!” I’d say they are smarter than they give themselves credit for.

Yesterday, the wi-fi dropped for a good amount of time. It ended up being one of the most lazy, relaxing days I’ve had yet. I sat on the beach the majority of the day and snorkeled a few different times. I love going into the underwater world at different times because each chunk of the day brings new fish and new lighting. It’s absolutely incredible that some of the best snorkeling in the world is right outside of my home.

I frequently swam to the underwater temple and watched all the different schools of fish. There are 4 large fish that all float in perfect alignment in front of the temple…it’s like they’re the guards. I loved diving down and being on the same level as them. As I stayed in the water longer, schools of these beautiful purple fish would all swarm around me. I loved feeling like a fish.

I swam for so long that I completely lost track of time. I can’t remember the last time that has happened to me. Not knowing if it was noon or 4pm. Based on the sun’s placement, I was guessing 3pm or so. I decided to take a nap since a lot of my energy was drained (who knew relaxing and swimming could be so tiring?!). I woke up and remember thinking, “This is heavenly.” I grabbed my phone off my nightstand and took a picture of exactly how I woke up. I wanted a picture of my version of Heaven on Earth.

Back to the beach…

I was looking at the line between ocean and sky and thought about the language here. Water = Air. Makes sense…

‘In the Wind’ by Lord Huron was on repeat as I zoned out. This song has some of my favorite harmonization and as I looked at the harmony between water and air, I took many deep breaths and felt complete relaxation.

I don’t think I would have had this relaxing of a day if it weren’t for the wi-fi going out. So I started reflecting (it’s easy to do that here)…

The woman that I mentioned at the shell museum who had said, “This is a place for healing” after I asked her about wi-f instantly popped into my head. I also remembered a time when a friend posted about how her phone broke and she traveled all around Seattle to get it replaced and went through all these hoops to get connected within hours of losing her phone. It amazed me the troubles we go to if we don’t have easy access to e-mail, texts, social media, etc. If you really think about it, we’re creating a world that’s nearly impossible to live in without some sort of internet connection. I also cringed a little bit because of my huge mission to find a room that had good wi-fi. Maybe I need to be healed…

So I have a challenge for myself. I’m going to go 5 days with no technology. I’m going to put my phone on airplane mode and only use it for pictures and music. I want to go back to a time when all the answers weren’t at our fingertips. When we weren’t hunched over our phones, looking at minute-by-minute updates. It was funny when I talked to my Mom about my little challenge, when we said goodbye, it was like this drawn out, “Ok, good luck…talk to you in a while.” It was funny that 5 days with no technology seemed like such a big deal. This shouldn’t be a big deal, but I don’t think I’ve gone 5 days unplugged since I was a child. One time in college, I did an assignment which was a day without any technology. It was such an abnormal thing to do that I was invited to do an interview on the radio about my experience. When was the last time you fully unplugged for an extended amount of time?

5 days doesn’t seem too long, but since time moves sooooo slowly here, it will feel much longer. I’m so excited for it.

Oddly enough, I just remembered the very first photo I took once I landed in Bali…

My friend Tane said it best: “Goodbye to the internet world. Welcome to the real life.”

Talk to you in a while…


Monday, September 18th, 2017

I know why I’m doing what I’m doing. Why I’m in Bali. Why I left my job, my city, my life as I knew it and set off by myself to the other side of the world.

It’s because of the way I shifted my way of thinking.

A few years ago, I became a bit more self-aware and started being more observant of my surroundings and how certain things made me feel. I started noticing patterns I’d get myself into. I started listening to my gut. I paid attention to signs and found meaning in everything. I read book after book after book. I slowly stopped caring about materialistic things, hashtags, and fitting in. I began to think a bit deeper.

I started looking at my life as if it’s an unfolding story that I am internally writing at all times. I am the main character and the storyteller. I stopped going through every day blindly, waiting for things to come my way. Instead, I began to dictate the story of my life. I asked myself, “If my life were written out in a book, would it be a story worth reading?”

For quite some time, I felt I was leading a life that was simple and…expected. And that was okay. Single female with a busy social life, a good job, and an apartment in a growing city. But deep down, I wanted to make a change.

I started journaling in a way that I’d never done before. I started journaling from the voice of my intuition. It was as if I was having a conversation with myself, but on paper. At first, I felt like a lunatic. Not writing in first-person was a bit odd and crazy. But I really started tapping into my inner voice and writing became a constant companion. It was like a friend I could turn to at any moment.

You know that little voice in your head? That’s your intuition. I started really paying attention to it, because it’s surprisingly really easy to ignore.

For example, if someone hands me a menu and there are three sandwiches listed: Chicken Sandwich, Pulled Pork Sandwich, and a Reuben, I will feel very torn. Do I get the Pulled Pork or the Reuben? I love both so much. Decisions, decisions. But my little voice, my intuition, is saying, “Duh, you know what you’re going to order. Don’t spend any more time looking at this menu trying to decide.” And then I order a Reuben. Duh.

Obviously, my intuition helps with more things than ordering a sandwich…

At the beginning of this year, I started writing more and more from this positive voice in my head. Nearly 70 pages in a month. Maybe I am a lunatic, but it seemed to work.

In March of this year, this is what I wrote:


That’s a word that you love, but also terrifies you. Change is coming up. Big changes. You know it and you can’t run away from the change anymore. You will be moving somewhere and you will be changing jobs. Everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. Trust me. Trust yourself.

It has been really incredible looking back at what I was journaling and seeing how it is now coming true. A month after this entry, I was vacationing in Bali and it was the start of my big change. The shift in my story.

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

I left everything to come to Bali to start a life worth writing about. This is what motivates me.

Will I stay? I don’t know the answer yet. Did I make a mistake like I’ve sometimes wondered? No. Do I miss Reuben sandwiches? Hell yes. Am I happy? Very much so.

Am I doing something worth writing about? I’d like to think so.