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?

What a Coincidence

Saturday, January 6th, 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Ahhhh, fresh start. I am oddly fascinated by New Year’s Resolutions – I also tend to take them very seriously. One of my resolutions last year was to step out of my comfort zone. Welp, safe to say I succeeded with that resolution! So now we embark on 2018. New Year, New Resolutions. 

Here are my resolutions for this next year…and life (writing them down here will help me commit and hold me accountable):

1. Drink more water.
2. Focus on dreams.
3. Write something every day…even if it’s just a quote in my notebook.
4. No drinking (unless event, limit to 1-2 drinks).
5. Most importantly: Trust the Process.

I may delve deeper into my resolutions another time, but for this entry, I really want to write about coincidences…

I’ve had a series of coincidences happen recently that are making me feel giddy and excited for each day. There are countless books and blogs that discuss the significance of coincidences (also: synchronicity, serendipity, providence, and fate) and when I started digesting the information, coincidences started popping up all over the place. One of the greatest books I’ve read on coincidences is “Sidewalk Oracles” by Robert Moss – it is like candy for the mind. Sure, you can shrug every coincidence off and use the negative connotation: “It’s just a coincidence” (i.e. It doesn’t mean anything). OR, you can look at each little coincidence and smile from it. Another book I’ve read about coincidences is called “When God Winks” by SQuire Rushnell. To sum this book up in one sentence: “If you experience a coincidence, it means you’re moving in the right direction.” Alright coincidences, bring ’em on!

So I have two coincidences that I’m still in awe of that have happened this past week.

1. On Tuesday, I visited Portland, OR and went to one of my all-time happy places: Powell’s – City of Books. My goal was to purchase one book recommended to me by my friend’s Mom, and also purchase another book that I would stumble across. I love to go into bookstores and follow my intuition – I’m usually drawn to a particular section, then I check out about 15-20 different books until I come across ‘the one.’ Usually when I pick out the right book, I just know it – it’s odd, but the same thing can be done picking out an outfit, a meal, or even a partner in life! So once I picked up the book recommended to me, it was time to let my intuition lead me to my second book. I walked immediately to the dream section and I’m pretty sure I looked at about 25 different dream books. “No. No. No. No. No….” None of them were speaking to me – and then I picked up a book called, “The Three ‘Only’ Things.” “YES.” I flipped through the pages and saw chapters on coincidences, dreams, and imagination. “YES YES YES.” Then I looked at the author… Robert Moss. The same man who wrote my favorite book: Sidewalk Oracles. Hmmmmm, what a coincidence! [big grin on my face]

Another minor coincidence regarding Robert Moss – I looked up his website to see if he was doing any speaking engagements anywhere near me. He’s from Australia and lives in New York, so I had a feeling I wouldn’t have much luck. Turns out, he must be very drawn to Washington, because he has several retreats (and Dream Teacher trainings) in DUVALL, WASHINGTON. What. Are. The. Odds?? 

2. Now this second coincidence still gives me chills. On my way back to Seattle from Vancouver, I wanted to do a driving meditation. I quickly searched on Spotify to see if there were any guided meditations on driving. Almost every single guided meditation instructs you to lay down and close your eyes. I wanted something that was specific to being behind the wheel. I happened to find one that is actually intended for use while on the road. It was a 15-minute meditation on the podcast called “10% Happier with Dan Harris.” I didn’t know this at the time, but Dan Harris happens to be an ABC News anchor who discovered meditation after he had a panic attack live on-air.

I’m so happy I listened to that meditation because it completely changed my 3-hour drive. I was driving mindfully, noticing all the rushed people zipping by me, feeling content with driving the speed limit, and relaxing my usually-tense neck muscles. I arrived in Lake Forest Park and realized that those 3 hours flew by.

The next day, I was talking with Kris in the living room and she mentioned that she usually catches up on The Daily Show the day after it airs to see the monologue and any guests she finds interesting. She said that the previous night’s guest was indeed interesting and that I should check out the interview. 

“The guest’s name is Dan Harris and he’s written a book…”

[I know that name. Hmmmm…The DaVinci Code. Maybe he’s written a new book.]

“…and he wrote a book on meditation called ‘10% Happier.'”

[WHOA. Whoa.whoa.whoa. Not Dan Brown, the author of The DaVinci Code…Dan HARRIS, the same guy I listened to a day ago in my car!!]

What a coincidence!

So I, of course, watched the interview and loved what he had to say about meditation. The biggest takeaway: even ONE MINUTE of meditation a day can work its magic. I used to think that meditation can only happen in a dark, quiet room, with my legs crossed and my thumbs touching my pointer fingers. This isn’t necessarily the case. You can meditate anywhere, any time…even for a minute. You can even meditate in your car…

Can’t wait to see what other coincidences will pop up. I’m enjoying 2018 thus far and remembering to Trust the Process. I hope you’re having a great 2018 so far and you hold on to your resolutions. It’s going to be a good year…

Beauty in the Mystery

Friday, December 29th, 2017

I’ve mentioned a few times throughout this blog a service called “Notes from the Universe.” If you’ve never checked it out, I highly encourage you to. I woke up this morning to a message from the Universe that put a smile on my face. Since I’ve returned to the States, I’ve been very happy, but also a bit stressed if I’m being completely honest. What do I do? Where do I want to be? How am I going to make an income? Do I need to find a job that I may be unfulfilled in STAT so I don’t go broke? Where am I going to live?

It is very, very stressful not having a job and having bills to pay. It was easy in Bali because practically everything was cheaper than a white mocha; but now I’m putting off my white mocha addiction and pinching my pennies. While it’s stressful, I’m using this as a fun challenge for myself. I’m channeling McGyver, but instead of making a raft with paper clips, a door, and a balloon, I’m figuring out how to live in America with the resources I have at this moment. I’m reevaluating where I’m driving to save on gas, I’m making my food last longer, and I’m looking at my calendar like a Tetris game. With all the plans I have in January, I’m not overstaying my welcome anywhere, and I’m having fun at the same time. I know this phase won’t last forever, so I’m enjoying this strange period of unemployment. Weird, huh? Although it’s a stressful phase, it’s also very freeing. I can make plans for the middle of the day with friends – I can say yes to all dogsitting or babysitting jobs – I can AVOID TRAFFIC.

Back to the message from the Universe…it was exactly what I needed to read during this phase. Maybe it’s what you need to read, too:

Andrea, soon the new year starts, so now’s a great time to:

1. Wipe the slate clean.
2. Focus upon what you really want.
3. Chart your course.

Or is that a bit old school? Feels tiring! Ugh!

How about an adventurous alternative:

1. Give thanks that your life is exactly as it is.
2. Decide that 2018 will be the happiest year of your life yet.
3. Every day, follow your heart and instincts down new paths.

This will be your year, Andrea –
The Universe

Before I headed to paradise, I purchased a new pair of shoes. I wrote about these shoes and how they would be taking me on adventures that were a mystery to me at the time. That’s part of the fun in life…not knowing. Just being. Accepting the moment for what it is.

I had a fresh pedicure the day before I left for Bali and I intentionally didn’t get a pedicure in Bali (can you believe I turned down a $5 pedicure?!) because my nail polish was a weird kind of timeline. Sure enough, these shoes took me on a plethora of adventures that I’ll never forget. I had no idea at the time of purchase what these shoes would mean to me.

Now I’m back in the Pacific Northwest and my adventure sandals are packed away in my Summer boxes. Back to boots. Where will these shoes take me?? It’s a mystery.

I had a thought this morning about my desire to know. I’m extremely curious about everything – two of my favorite questions are, “Why?” and “How?” I’m constantly wanting to dig deeper and find the root of anything I’m learning about. So, naturally, I’ve been wanting to know what my future holds. Then I thought about how I’ve always been curious about how this world even began in the first place. (My coffee this morning was very strong…) Where did we come from? I grew up learning about the Big Bang Theory as well as the Christian belief that God created the world in 7 days. (Disclaimer: I know these are always controversial topics – this is my personal opinion and I respect everyone’s opinion. This is what I believe and don’t intend to change anyone’s mind…just talking my way through this!). But in my opinion, these are simply theories. No one actually knows 100%. This means anything is possible. We don’t know, and there’s a really good chance we will never know how the Universe was created. I don’t know why I was born a human in this body of mine in this part of the world. Is everything scientific and we are just molecules moving about on a giant rock being held down by gravity? Is everything completely random and nothing has meaning? We. Don’t. Know. So it’s up to us to decide what our truth, our belief, is.

For some reason, I’m always wanting to figure out how it all began. I research theories all the time; I read books on different ideas, and sometimes I go down endless rabbit holes. But why do I need to know? It’s a fascinating topic to contemplate, but it will never end with an answer. So I continued thinking about it this morning and told myself, “It’s okay to not know.” I don’t know the beginning and I also don’t know the end. What’s the fun if I did? Life is meant to be unknown – anything could happen at any moment that could alter the course of our expected life…so go with the flow.

Every day, every second, is a new journey for the soul inside of our body. I want to make sure it’s a positive and fun journey, so even though I am in a stressful point in my life, I know there are lessons to be learned, challenges to be conquered, and adventures to be had.

As I reflect on the most incredible, most life-changing, year of my life, it feels as if 2017 will be impossible to top. But someone very wise told me: 2018 will be the happiest year of my life yet. I believe it.

Where will my feet take me next? I can’t wait to find out…

During Home

Sunday, December 24th, 2017

Merry Christmas Eve! 

This past week has been a complete mix of emotions. I have the urge to write and write and write, but I’ll keep this entry short. Oddly enough, what I want to write about is how I’m going to continue this blog. I’m finding it interesting the tiny things that are making me think so much. So much of my adventure was captured in this blog, and in a lot of ways it is what kept me sane during all of the ups and downs in Bali. My writing has become a consistent part of my journey through this period of life.

Whenever I post a new entry, I include a category. The past 9 months, I’ve used “Before Bali” and “During Bali.” Now I’m selecting the category “After Bali.” I can’t help but wonder, what is my Before category now? What’s coming next? The rest of my life can’t be known as “After Bali.” Even my subtitle, “An American Girl in Amed, Bali” will need to change. But to what? I’m sort of in this limbo place right now where I’m home for the holidays and adjusting back to the Western world – it’s a holiday for everyone. But I don’t have clear direction anymore; I’m feeling a bit lost. So once I get back to Seattle, it’ll be time to focus. I am reminding myself to trust the Universe and know that everything will work out, but it is a bit scary. And that doesn’t mean I can just sit on my ass and see what happens. I need to get out there and discover for myself what my next “During _______”  category is. 

I’ve had people tell me they can’t live vicariously through me anymore and that maybe it’s time to find a new place to live and get another job in the city. A big part of me agrees with all of that. I mean, I’m not in paradise zipping around on my scooter anymore and now I need to find a way to make an income. Will I have anything worth writing about anymore? Well, that little voice of mine is telling me my adventure isn’t over…

So my “plan” is to look into organizations that align with my passions, keep having conversations (so many of my experiences in Bali spurred from random conversations with strangers), keep writing, and keep trusting in the Universe and myself. 

Before I get into hustle mode, I’m going to keep enjoying this incredible time with my family. I am so grateful to be home for my favorite holiday and be able to do a little bit of yoga with Claire Bear. Everything will work out – it always does.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas full of joy and love. 

Life is good.

New Reality

Sunday, December 17th, 2017

Back in Seattle…

My tourist visa was up on the 15th, so I had to leave Indonesia once again. I had grappled with what I was going to do – Singapore again? A new country? Back home? And then an image of a face came into my mind…little Claire. I have been watching her grow up the past 4 months over FaceTime and I knew I had to come back to see her in person. So I booked my ticket back to America and enjoyed my last couple of weeks in Amed. 

I ate all my favorite meals (bakso soup and nasi campur), kept volunteering as much as I could, and rode my scooter everywhere. I soaked up the energy until the very last minute. 

I was required to leave Indonesia by December 15th, so I managed to find a flight out at 11:55pm. I was going to stay as long as I humanly could. But the day before I was supposed to leave, I received an e-mail telling me my flight has been changed to 5 hours earlier. This cut my last day in half, but I did my best to not let it get to me. Oddly enough, my very last day was one of the most peaceful days of my entire trip. You know those warm, Summery days when kids are on school break, everyone seems to be outside, birds are chirping, and everyone just seems happy? That’s what this day felt like. Perfect last day. I was terribly sad to leave Amed, but as my driver was exiting the little town, my gut was telling me I’d be back. I don’t know when, but I knew it wouldn’t be the last time I’d be in Amed.

I flew from Bali to Jakarta, then on to Beijing. Beijing was a tough layover – extremely rude people (very hard to transition from the nicest humans ever in Bali to people who just seem angry all the time). Managed to make it through 7 hours without wanting to die, and then it was my 12 hour final flight to Seattle. I barely got sleep, watched 4 movies, and sat next to a really cool 12-year-old who has traveled all over the world. He kept tapping me on my shoulder to ask random questions (“Ummm excuse me, what’s your favorite cola?”) and he actually kept me sane while the baby 4 rows ahead was crying every hour. 

And then finally. Off the plane, through immigrations, and baggage picked up. Mom and Jay picked me up and thankfully my Mom packed a few sweatshirts for me to wear. I was expecting a huge culture shock upon my return, but being back in Seattle was like riding a bike. Got right back into it and it felt like I hadn’t even left. The biggest shock was the coldness.

Of course I had to do a few of my favorite things now that I was back. We enjoyed Starbucks White Mochas at Pike Place Market, eggs Benedict at Pesos, NAP, cheese and crackers, and dinner at Dick’s. Ahhh, Seattle.

So now what? I wasn’t afraid to go to Bali and see where life would take me, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous at all to be back. “Back to reality,” everyone keeps saying. So what’s my new reality? Do I hunt for a full-time, corporate job? I need to make an income if I’m going to travel again. Where will I live? CAN I even live in Seattle anymore? I have a bazillion questions and only one answer: go with the flow. I’ve promised myself to maintain the spirit that I had in Bali. Just because I’m in the Pacific Northwest, doesn’t mean I have to “get back to the grind.” I’m going to still explore, find joy in every day, and follow my intuition. 

I’m at my favorite coffee shop next to Greenlake now (yessss, I’m back at my happy place!), and they’ve since remodeled and renamed it to “The Retreat.” How fitting… It’s seriously odd how it feels like I was only gone a week. Feels like I’ll be waking up tomorrow and getting ready for work. Was Bali just a dream? It was as quick as a blink! When you’re there, time slows down. Everything that happened made it feel as if I was there a lifetime. But now I’m back and cars are driving faster, people seem a bit more agitated, and everything is expensive as hell. The prices are going to be a hard adjustment – I’m going to miss my $1.50 full tank of gas!

But just like my favorite coffee shop has remodeled, so have I. I noticed I was driving slower on I-5 (if you know me, that’s a big deal), and nothing is bothering me. Granted, it’s only been a day… But even though it feels like I was barely gone, my body went through many seasons and emotions. Out of all the times in a lifetime, I happened to be in Bali while Agung was erupting for the first time in 55 years. That volcano shifted everyone that was in Bali whether they realized it or not. It made me look at life in a whole new way. 

In the first week of landing in Bali in August, I found a perfect white sand beach that felt like was meant for me.

Just a few days ago, I went back to the “Stairway to Heaven” beach. It had completely changed. I couldn’t really believe it and I checked my map to make sure I was at the same beach. Within 4 months, a white sand beach had completely been turned into a stone beach. There was clearly a lot of work happening on this beach while not looking. It’s so representative of my time there. I know my brain has shifted and I know my heart has grown. I feel like a whole new person.

While I was in Bali, I was unemployed. But I could play the whole, “I’m traveling” card. But now that I’m back in America, I can’t play that card anymore. Now it’s reality – I’m unemployed and there’s a tinge of embarrassment. Now the pressure of ‘figuring out my life’ is becoming a bit stronger.

I’ve had visions of a few different scenarios. One of those visions has me turning into a lazy, depressed, jobless person… But I REFUSE to let that happen. I could also end up getting back onto the path that I was on before, which seems to be what everyone sort of expects. Or I could keep going with my adventure – see where life takes me… I’m extremely curious to see what I’ll end up doing. If it were up to me, I’d love to dogsit, babysit, keep writing, and not feel the chains of societal expectations again. I want to keep listening to my intuition, follow the signs, and trust that I will end up in the right place. I felt so free in Bali – I intend to keep that sense of freedom. It wasn’t just a vacation like so many people think. It was my new way of life – it was training for a new reality.

So it’s decided, isn’t it? Keep going. Adventure in the Pacific Northwest. No concrete plans…going with the flow like usual. 

Let’s see where this road goes…