The Day I Met Fate

Your hands are full and someone appears to hold the door open for you. You feel underdressed and then a stranger compliments your outfit. A friend calls you and says the exact words you had been needing to hear. Sometimes people pass through your life leaving your soul feeling grounded and refreshed. I call these people angels. Whether they are in your life for a moment or a lifetime, they give you whatever you need and then go along their way.

These angels are everywhere. All you need to do is remember to slow down and see them.


I am in Las Vegas. It is the morning of day two of a work trade show and one of those days where it seems like everything that can go wrong does. From the second I step out of bed, nothing is easy. I am running late. I make my way down the forty seventh floor of the hotel to the bus stop out front, only to realize I forgot my project folder upstairs. Once I go and get it from my room and get back out to the bus stop, I realize I left my wallet upstairs. Back up to my room again.

When I am in my room for the third time, I decide to stop and reset my energy so that things don’t keep spiraling in the wrong direction. I stop, take a deep breath, and look into the mirror. I pray that things will start to go more smoothly today. I could really use some angels in my life to help me get through the day. A voice in my head says, say it out loud. I look into my eyes in the mirror. “God, please let me see the angels today.” With that, I grab all of my stuff and head back down to the bus stop.


I get to work and my feet already hurt from wearing heels on the concrete floor all day the day before. Today is going to be a long day. Once an hour, I sneak back behind our booth and take off my shoes to give my feet some relief. There are two security guards standing behind there for most of the day.

One of them is a well dressed gentleman about my age, wearing some thick framed stylish glasses. He looks over at me as I step behind the booth and take off my shoes. He laughs and says, “Feet hurting you?” I laugh and tell him yes.

He walks over and introduces himself as Fate. I look at his name tag which confirms this is indeed his name. He asks what I do for work. I tell him I work events for various companies like this one, but would prefer to spend more time on my social media business which I work on the side. He says maybe your feet are hurting so that you have enough of this and are more motivated to concentrate on what you actually want to be doing. I laugh and say, “Maybe you are right.” I tell him to have a good day and walk back to my booth.


Fate is back there all day in the distance. At the end of my shift, he is standing there alone. “I made it!” I tell him. He laughs. He says, “I hope your feet feel better tomorrow.” I tell him thank you and mention that I wasn’t trying to complain about my feet all day. I hope it didn’t seem that way.

He says, “It is okay to state when things are negative. You need the negative to keep balance. Life is all about balance. Negative things happen and they are necessary. Especially in love. Even disagreements, arguments, etc. The point is to let them happen and now dwell on them or let fear or worry or negative emotions blind you.”

He then tells me a story about how he likes helping people and really loving them. Sometimes people will tell him that if he keeps loving people like that then he will get taken advantage of. He shouldn’t keep giving to those who take take take. He wants to love everyone anyways and for some reason it bothers him that some people do not understand that. He ponders why it bothers him so much and realizes he just needs to keep doing what he is doing no matter what anyone else says.

I feel like he is telling my story. I can relate to this so much. I tell him “Yes, I can completely relate to that!” He says, “Well this story is about you.”

I pause.

He smiles and says, “We did not meet by chance. I am here right now because you recently prayed to hear me. You wanted to see the angels and I am a messenger.

I instantly feel overwhelmed with emotions that I can’t explain. He says there are things God wants to tell me. 

So, I listen.


He says, “Everyone has a gift. Your gift is to give. Like a doctor gives medicine. You give people love they need in different forms. Sometimes like medicine, people don’t want to take it. Give it to them anyways. That is your job. Sometimes people won’t even know they need it. But you have to use the gift God gave you. Do you understand?” I nod.

He says, “A lot of times there are things you need to tell people that can help them. You overthink it because you don’t want to make them mad or don’t know the right words to say. Don’t overthink it, the spirit will guide your words.

He continues, “You have prayed a lot and you need to now that you are not crazy. Just because people don’t understand you doesn’t mean you are crazy. You know who you are. Keep being you. A long time ago I would wonder why I had to be a messenger. Why couldn’t I be normal like everyone else. “Normal” people don’t know so they have no responsibility. Once you are aware you are assigned responsibility from God to do better and use your gift of knowing. One day I decided to embrace my gift and you need to embrace yours as well.”


He then says, “I can walk into a room and sense people’s energies. I want you to put your hands together. (Like praying but your hands are about 5 inches apart.) Start moving them like you are warming your hands but don’t touch them. Wait until you can feel something.”

I feel the tingle of energy that I describe as love. I tell him I can feel the energy. He tells me to now move my hands farther apart. I do. He asks if I can still feel it. I say yes. He says to move them further and asks again and we continue until my hands are all the way out.

He says, your energy is so strong. I have only met about five people in my lifetime with energy as strong as yours. 

He continues to talk to me about more personal matters and there are times when the things he says are exactly the things I have been praying about. I get a little choked up. He says, “You know, it is okay to cry quite often. For you, you need to get the negative emotions out this way in order to make room for the good ones.”


He then says, “I have one more message for you. I teach meditation and other related courses and last week I was working with a bunch of Marines. I told them, what you do doesn’t take all that much strength. Anyone can get angry and fight and want revenge. It takes a real soldier to stay positive in the presence of negativity. To keep your peace within and continue to spread love is tough.”

He then says, “You need to remember what your gifts are and use them. Will you?”

I tell him that I will try.

He says, “Then you missed the moment. God works in moments. Moment by moment. You must do it, not try.” I say that I will.

“It was nice to meet you. Enjoy your evening, Jill.” I tell him thank you and to do the same. With that, we go our separate ways and never meet again.

Fuck Goals, Focus on Feelings


My favorite kind of days are the ones that start out like any other. You wake up. Get out of bed. Drink some coffee. Eat breakfast. Maybe go for a walk or a stroll along the beach. Then out of nowhere, a random person crosses your path. Smiles and says hello. Starts talking to you. The next thing you know, you are sitting on the beach, watching the sun come up, sharing a bottle of Konyagi with a bunch of Tanzanian prostitutes. Or sitting in the middle of the jungle under a banyan tree, smoking a bowl with an Indian baba and a ripped, shirtless Russian dude.

The type of experiences that leave you looking around and wondering, how did I even end up here? If you would have asked me this morning what I was going to do that day, I never would have even come close to guessing this.

Some of the best experiences in life are often not the ones you plan for, but instead, the ones you just find yourself ending up in. They are things that you could not plan for even if you wanted to. Because you weren’t even aware that they were a possibility. When you are open to anything and not set on a particular destination, you can end up anywhere. This is the main reason that I love traveling. You never know where the day will take you.

This is not only possible when traveling. I am learning to approach life in the same way, no matter where I am. Instead of having fixed plans of what I need to do and things I need to accomplish, I am trying to focus on flowing with life and going in whatever direction it may take me.


Many of us become incredibly focused on setting specific goals and have a clear picture in our heads of where we want to be in life. Then we focus all of our energy and daily plans towards doing things to get there. We even make daily checklists of what we need to accomplish that day to stay on track.

There is nothing wrong with working hard to get where we want to be. This may even be beneficial for short term projects at work. But I honestly believe that setting specific goals when it comes to planning the direction of our lives, limits us. It hinders our open mindedness and flexibility. We often become too focused on staying on track to achieve something that we lose sight of other opportunities that are presented to us along the way. Or even worse, something outside of our control prevents us from reaching one of our goals and we are left heartbroken.


I am sure you have been asked the question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Let’s say you are asked that right now. Before answering, you might take into consideration where you are in your life currently. What you feel is missing. What you hope to accomplish. You might even think about what the person asking you would be satisfied to hear.

Looking back, if I had been asked this question at various points in throughout my life, I would have had completely different answers.

Fifteen years ago, I had never even stepped foot outside of North America. I was in a serious relationship. I worked for a newspaper’s non-profit program. At that time, if asked this question, my answer would have been something like. In five years, I will be living in Missouri. Married. With one kid. Using my degree, with a career in marketing. Because that is both the direction I was headed, and what I thought would be satisfying to me in the future.

Flash forward five years later. Am I where I said I would be? Not at all. I am a promotional model. Traveling around the United States. Working events for hundreds of companies. I am in a brand new relationship. Definitely not married. And not even close to having kids. If I had been asked this question again, then, I would have answered something like. In five years, I will be starting my own promotional staffing agency. Living in St. Louis. Marrying this guy I had just moved in with. (Thank the Universe that didn’t happen, no offense.)

Five years go by. How close did I come to achieving my dream five year plan? Not even. I am living in Los Angeles. Less than a mile from the beach. Working at a tech startup on data analysis projects. Traveling overseas in my free time. With a group of amazing friends who I didn’t even know five years prior. I must say that this ended up being way more exciting than what I had envisioned for myself.


You get the point. So much can change in five years. Had I stuck to my five year plan at any of those points in my life, my life now would be incredibly different. Not bad. Just different. But also not as incredible.

So fifteen years ago, when working at the newspaper, why didn’t I answer the question with, “Jobless. Traveling the world. Experiencing life to the fullest that I am able. Completing a ten day silent meditation. Doing ayahuasca in the middle of the Amazon. Or sitting on the beach in Zanzibar sharing a bottle of liquor with five Tanzanian strippers. (Had to throw that in there again because life is so crazy, right.)

I think because I didn’t even know these things were possible for me. I was just a girl living in the small town of Columbia, Missouri. If I had stayed stuck on my original plan of being married with kids with a 9 to 5 job in Missouri, I definitely wouldn’t be the same person I am today. There is nothing wrong with the life I had envisioned for myself back then. I probably would be incredibly happy had I ended up there. It just wasn’t the direction life took me.

Sometimes when we don’t end up where we thought we would, we think we have failed. We have regret and feel bad about ourselves for not accomplishing exactly what we said we would. I strongly believe there is a balance between knowing what you want, working hard to get there, and being okay with ending up somewhere else.


I am all about vision boards and acting in alignment to manifest what I want in life. Which in another language, may translate to “setting goals and working towards them.” But I think the key difference is that when manifesting something, you envision the end result you want and focus on feeling how you would feel as if you already had it. You don’t plan step by step what you will do to reach that destination. You simply trust and allow the Universe to guide you there. I think it is time we use this approach when planning the path of our lives as well.

Think about where you see yourself in five years. That is where you want to be now, but as you grow and embrace the path of your life, you really could end up somewhere completely different. And that is okay. Life can take you anywhere. So instead, I want to propose a different question. How do you want to feel in five years? In what ways do you want to grow as a person? Who do you want to become? Now instead of deciding exactly what path to take, open yourself up to all of the experiences that can possibly take you there.

As much as this cheesy saying makes me cringe. Don’t worry about the destination, embrace the journey. And hopefully, in five years, you will too look at where you are now, and smile. Because not sticking to the plan can lead you to a better place that you never even imagined.

It is the Feelings You Are Attached To, Not the Things

After traveling for seven months, I finally stopped back home for a few weeks in Los Angeles. While I was there, I went to visit my old office to see some of my coworkers. Immediately, when walking into the building, I felt butterflies and sort of a sense of loss in my stomach. It was the same feeling I had carried with me for the first few months of my trip abroad. The same kind of feeling you feel when you see your ex for the first time since you broke up and you still aren’t over them. Or when you move to a new city and feel homesick because you miss your family and friends.

If you don’t know me, before I left, that office was my home. Really. You don’t understand, I pretty much actually lived there. I pulled many all nighters there, took showers there, got ready for first dates there (well more like fifty first dates), ate most of my meals there, laughed there, cried there, and developed some of my deepest friendships there. It wasn’t just a job for me. It was my life.

focusing on the rearview

When I decided to leave, it was the hardest decision I had ever had to make. But I felt that it was time. I knew there were bigger and better things waiting for me on the other side. But still, for months after I left, even while halfway across the globe, there were times when I would sit there and wonder if I made the right decision. I longed to feel the same feelings I felt while working there. The excitement and the intensity. And walking back into that office building seven months later, these are the feelings that came rushing back and filled my soul.

In the beginning, I had contemplated ending my trip early and going back to work there because I missed it so much. I even talked to recruiters a few times while I was on the road. It was not until coming back that I realized for the first time that it wasn’t the actual job I missed. Or the building. It was everything that happened while I was inside of that building. The challenges I had faced. Both personally and professionally. The struggles I went through and how I overcame them. The friendships I made. All of the feelings I associated with the job and the building. That is what I was really attached to.

It is similar to how I feel about Los Angeles in general. The memories of weekends spent sitting on the floor at a friend’s house, everyone playing instruments and jamming out together. The late nights spent sitting on the beach by the lifeguard stand, smoking a joint, and having deep conversations about life with my best friend. The kind of moments where you stop, look around, and think, ‘Man. Life is good.’ The moments where your heart feels happy.


We often become attached to certain people, places, or things because we associate them with the feelings we felt while we were with them. The comfort or confidence or joy we felt in their presence. We can’t let go because we want to feel that way again.

This happens in many relationships. One or both of you agree that it is time to move on, so you do. But you just can’t seem to let go. Even if the relationship was shitty and you know it isn’t good for you, you hang on. You miss the intensity of it and all of the feelings you felt while in it. The comfort. The growth you experienced while being with that person. But then you go back and it isn’t the same. You thought you missed the person, and of course maybe you did, but what you missed more was how you felt during that time in your life when you were with them.

For me, I know deep down that if I went back to my old job, it wouldn’t be the same. There are only a few people I know left on the team and the job has completely changed. But it was still hard for me to let go of because of how much it shaped who I am today. While I sat there at my old desk and relished in the memories, I realized that they are still mine. I will always have them with me no matter where I go.

The feelings are what our heart really longs for. And these feelings are created by moments. Now. In the present. It isn’t the place. Or the person. But the moments. Once we realize that we can and will continue to have more of them, and that we can have them anywhere, with anyone. It will set us free.


That random stranger you meet and end up having a three hour conversation with that leaves you feeling refreshed. The time when you almost get kicked out of a van in the middle of nowhere in Thailand because you lost your sticker but someone fights for you to stay. Or when you start a new job and finally understand what you are doing. These are the moments we crave. The feelings we want to feel. It is not the guitar or office building, or particular person that brings them. It is the moments. 

There are places I stay for only a few days but am genuinely sad to leave. But it is never about the place. It is about what I experienced in that place. The connections I have made. It is the same reason why I no longer believe someone when they say not to visit a certain country or city. Because whether you recommend a place doesn’t so much have to do with the actual place, but more the experiences you had there. And believe me, I can be in the worst circumstances while traveling but if I am surrounded by cool people, I will always associate that country with the people and what we went through together. 

Our brain tends to play our past over and over inside of our heads, much like watching a home movie of our happy or sad times. But like watching any other movie, just because we see it, it doesn’t mean we are actually experiencing it. It only adds to our attachment. Instead of watching replays, it is useful to recognize where you are stuck or what you can’t seem to let go of. Recognize what feelings you are craving from your past and open yourself up to feeling them in the future.


It took me months to feel completely excited about my decision to leave Los Angeles. And even then, it wasn’t until coming back that I was able to truly gain a fresh perspective. I didn’t want to let go of this office. Of this place. Of those memories. But I now realize it wasn’t the place I was attached to. And what helped me to realize this is that I can now look back and see that I started to feel the same feelings when traveling. I am now opening myself up to a world where it is possible to feel these feelings anywhere I am. I am no longer attached to a place. Or specific people or objects. I am attached to the entire experience.

Instead of wanting to relive the past, I am now thankful for it.  And use it to create an even better future. Because missing my life in Los Angeles and longing to feel the feelings I felt while I was there have fueled my passion to experience life in a deeper way. To continue to fill my life with experiences that change me. And to inspire others to do the same. When I left, I was sad because I didn’t want it to end. Now I realize it was only the beginning. Instead of one office building, I now have the whole entire world as my home. 

As cliche as it sounds, home really is where the heart is. If you can separate your feelings from the person, place, or thing you are attaching them to, you are able to take them with you, anywhere you go. Once you learn to keep the memory of your experiences close to your heart and realize they will never leave you, you will always be home. No matter where you are.

Let Go of Your Ego and Get in the Water

I seem like a surfer girl. I really do. A California girl with long, blonde hair. Very chill. Extremely cool. Great style. 😉 You know all of the things. But up until recently, I had never actually tried to surf. Not even once. I have wanted to. Really. Just never did. I still travel to all of the cool hidden surfer destinations. Cause they are totally my vibe. There, the people I meet are surprised I don’t surf. They say to me. Awww, you have never even tried surfing? Why not? I reply. No man. The water is too cold in California. There are too many great whites. I work too many hours to have time. All excuses really. (Although they are based around truth which makes it easier for me to convince myself to believe them.) Because honestly, the real reason I never had tried is simply because I didn’t want to look like an idiot. I wanted to be cool and impress people. Not show them how I have no idea what I am doing.


I don’t know at what age this starts in people but I do know my nephew suffers from the same thing. He is nine. A few months ago when I was last in town, we all went to the roller rink. Sunday Funday. So we get out there in the rink and start skating. Having a great time for about five minutes. Then out of the corner of my eye, I see my nephew start to go down. Ut oh. He loses his balance and falls to the ground. He is embarrassed. My heart feels for him. It’s okay dude. Everyone falls. He gets angry. Obviously using this to cover his embarrassment. My heart again. Ahhh. Love. Anyways, he skates off of the floor, sits down on a bench in the corner, and says he doesn’t want to skate anymore. No words can convince him otherwise. Even if we pretend to fall also. His ego is strong. At nine years old. Which means this conditioning happens early. But how early?

Imagine if a one year old already had this ego developed. And that at one, he cares what people think about him. One day he is crawling and sees the coffee table out of the corner of his eye. He crawls over to it. His parents are watching. He grabs on. Begins to pull himself up. But immediately falls back down, right on his butt. He starts crying. His parents laugh. Embarrassed, he then thinks to himself, well that is the last time I am going to try that. Then goes on to live the rest of his life crawling because he doesn’t want to look like an idiot. He doesn’t want to feel the rejection and humiliation again that he felt that first day he tried and ‘failed’.

If our egos took ahold of us that early, can you imagine? Grown men and women crawling around because their pride is too strong? 


Luckily, babies aren’t conditioned to think this way yet, so they keep pushing through. But as children or adults, somewhere we let the ego start to control our decisions and dictate what we will and won’t do. We stop doing things simply because we don’t want to feel uncomfortable. We don’t want to look dumb in front of others. How sad we have become.

Even if you don’t believe you are like this, because you are sure you don’t care what other people think, you are at least able to witness it in others. When someone tries something, does it poorly, and then gets embarrassed. Or someone refuses to try something and you don’t understand why they won’t even try.

I have even seen the most narcissistic people who ‘believe’ they are amazing at everything, act this way. One day I asked one of these types to come and ride a bicycle to the beach with me. He said he wasn’t interested in riding a bicycle and therefore didn’t want to hang out with me. Hmmm okay. I later find out that he just doesn’t know how to ride one. He has never learned. HIs ego was probably developed too strongly before he ever had the chance to learn. So instead of trying now, or even telling me that, he stayed at home and gave up a potentially delightful day at the beach. Or a chance for me to teach him how to ride one!


Regardless of when it happens, one day we go from being fearless and not even thinking about the opinions of others, to another day refusing to try new things because we don’t want to feel inferior.

So how do we stop letting pride get in the way of our experience? I don’t think this is something we are actually ever are taught how to overcome. Instead, we have just learned how to deal with it. We cover it up by becoming the class clown and giving others an actual reason to laugh. Or we use it as motivation to focus on becoming better at things we are actually good at. Or we convince ourselves we aren’t interested in doing the thing we are bad at anyways. There are many ways we learn to avoid feeling rejection. But why do we care so much what other people think?

Instead of learning something as an adult, we would rather not even try because there is a chance we will ‘fail’. And by ‘fail’ I mean look stupid in front of another person. I think this is something that we need to face head on. Something we need to practice by willingly putting ourselves in these types of situations. To actually work to eliminate the hold our ego has on us. It is the only way to get back to that baby-like mindset we once had. 


So back to my surfing story. I am pretty self aware and notice times when I act this way myself. Because of this, I have started to embrace doing things I am scared to do. Especially if I am scared to do them because I don’t want people to look down on me. So I decided I want to learn to surf. Because it looks like so much fun and I love the ocean. But I have met so many cool people who surf and that makes it even harder for me to push my ego out of the way. Cool people watching me try to stand up on the board and fall? Eeeek.

And they very well might actually be judging me. But at some point, didn’t they also have to learn to do this for the first time too? Where did the empathy go?

Anyways, in Sri Lanka, at the age of 35, I sign up for my first surfing lesson. It is scheduled to happen in two days. When I check in to my guesthouse, I see the instructor. He casually says, how about we do it tomorrow morning instead? Tomorrow? That is in like 12 hours. That is way too soon. Too soon for me to look like an idiot. I need time to prepare myself. Or talk myself out of it completely. I need more time. But I immediately realize what is happening. My ego. So I tell him, okay, tomorrow is cool. I am nervous. But whatever, I am doing it. So why not tomorrow.

In the morning, I wake up and sit in my room for awhile before we leave in order to give myself a pep talk. To change my mindset. Girl you got this. Who cares what anyone thinks. You are in Sri Lanka and will never see these people again. Just learn this, get through it, and enjoy the process.

I am ready. As we head to the beach, even around my instructor I am feeling a little insecure because he has been surfing for years. Is he thinking in his head, man another loser amateur I have to try and teach. But I continue to tell myself. Ugh. I know it sucks for you dude. But this is for me. I decide who gives a shit. I am here to learn. For myself. Because I want to. Not to impress this dude.


It turns out, I am able to keep this mindset throughout the entire lesson. I soon realize that when I am dedicated to learning, I actually have no time to even think those kind of negative thoughts. There is too much going on. Noticing my body position on the board. Watching for the incoming waves. Knowing when to start paddling. When to stand up. Making sure my feet are planted in the right places for balance. For two straight hours, I am fully present. I even once get knocked (really freaking hard) in the head with the board. I don’t even care. I realize no one else cares either. And if they do, it doesn’t matter to me.

It occurs to me that I have embraced the same mindset I must have had as a baby. That fearless keep trying mindset when I learned to walk. The only difference is that as an adult, I had to talk myself into it. Earlier in life, we don’t have all of these self defeating ego centered type of thoughts. You see, babies don’t give a fuck. They don’t know any better. And that is how I want to learn to be again. That is how I am learning to be again. And surfing, for me, is a great way to practice this.

I think we all should try to be more like we were as babies. And in order to do that, we need to recognize when we are letting our egos keep us from experiencing life. These moments are huge opportunities. Opportunities to practice putting our egos aside and not caring if we look like a fool. Opportunities to remind ourselves that if we had this mindset earlier in life, we may not be walking or talking today.

Realize it is only the fear we have learned in our lives that is now holding us back. If we can overcome this, there is so much more in life that we can experience. Babies don’t give a shit and neither should we. Let’s remember this and use it to become, and to stay, fearless. Because it is when we are fearless that we open up the door to unforgettable experiences and the confidence that comes with that. And who knows, you may even enjoy your life a little more.

Why Obstacles Are a Blessing


Last June, in Paje, Zanzibar, I am sitting at a hostel bar on the beach. Toes in the sand, drink in my hand. Talking to a girl from the States that I met earlier that day. After a few drinks she is telling me about how she has been traveling for a few months and planned to indefinitely. I am inspired and tell her that is exactly what I want to do. I would love to travel and focus on writing. She asks, then why don’t you? Hmmm. Good question. Because I love my job. I am happy. I make good money. But I do really want to.

We end up drinking more (and more) and later that night she records a dark video of my drunk ass sitting next to her, looking right into the camera saying, I quit my job! I am going to travel the world! Arms flailing and everything. I do hope I never see that video but also kind of want to because that moment in a way, changed my life.

While I say this on her video, I do mean it but still have a few doubts in the back of my head. How can I leave such a great job that I have worked so hard to obtain? How can I leave all of my friends? What if I travel and never meet anyone because I am always moving around from place to place? How will I make money?

The fear talking. The same fear that talks to you anytime uncertainty is present. When someone breaks up with you and you are heartbroken. What if I don’t meet anyone else? Why don’t they love me? Is something wrong with me? What if I am alone forever? Or you get fired from your job. What am I going to do now? How will I make money? How will I pay rent? Or even when you have a good relationship and you are the one who is thinking about ending it. What if I am just scared of commitment? What if they are the best person for me and I am going to mess it up? What if I hurt them? Who will I be friends with now? What will I do on the weekends? You get the point. Fear makes you question everything. It wants to keep you safe.

The Boy

So on that same trip I end up meeting a guy who is an expat living in Tanzania. We will call him The Boy. I think the Universe knows that love is the quickest way to get me to make moves in my life. I am naturally a lover. So I meet The Boy. We spend 5 days together, every minute of those 5 days. Together. I meet his friends, we talk about our deepest fears. What we want in life. What makes us happiest. What we wish was different about ourselves. And we laugh. So much. More than I have laughed in a long time.

It is the first time in years that I immediately click with someone. Being with him feels natural. Like I can be myself completely. I really like him. I tell him about my conversation with the girl at the hostel and the video. The next day, he says, I have a crazy idea. If you really do want to quit your job and travel, you are welcome to come stay at my place for free and use it as a home base to save you money. You can come here when you want, write, and then travel when you feel like it. He says I know it sounds crazy but I really like spending time with you and I haven’t felt this way in a long time.

And it IS pretty crazy. We have only known each other for a little over one week but I am all about doing what feels right. I tell him I will think about it but it does sound like something I am interested in. Isn’t this just the Universe handing me a way out to get where I wanted to be? 


A few days later, my holiday is over and I am back in Los Angeles at work. I still feel burned out even though I just got back from a three week long vacation. All I can think about is traveling. And what I said in the video. When she recorded it, my soul felt excited. I ask the Universe for guidance to help me decide if I should make a move.

A few days later at the office, we are called into a meeting. Our boss announces that our department is going to go through a major re-org and my position will be eliminated. I am not being fired but will most likely need to take a position in San Francisco or New York if I want to stay. Wow.

It has been two weeks since I left Tanzania and I am still talking to The Boy every day. Video chatting in the morning and again in the evening. We are officially dating now. He is my boyfriend. I have a boyfriend. I tell him what happened at work and how I think this is a sign that I should leave. It is the perfect time to make the move and live the life I have always wanted. He agrees.

I still decide to interview for the other positions to give myself some options. To be safe. So I do. And I somehow end up being offered an even better job, my dream job. But in San Francisco. Shit now what do I do. It is funny because on the airplane on the way home from Tanzania, I was reading the You Are a Badass book and there is a part that says when you make a major decision in the direction of your dreams, you will be tested to see how badly you want it. This is my test.

I still take some time to think about it. So many times I stare at the contract and almost hit the ‘Sign and Submit’ buttons. The job is amazing, one that many people would dream of having. I should take it. It is the responsible thing to do. I have worked so hard for it over the last three years. It is a huge pay increase, with a company I love. It is safe. But there is still part of me that feels like I am supposed to travel.


At this point, it has been three months since I met The Boy and we are still going strong. But I love California. One day I decide I want to stay. The next I decide to leave. The Boy didn’t ever ask me to turn down the job but did make it clear he really wanted us to be together. So I finally make a decision. The number one reason for my decision, which I think is really important, is that when I think about taking the job in San Francisco, it doesn’t make my soul excited. But every time I think about traveling, I get butterflies. Still a part of me must confess that the relationship is what helps put me over the edge. I am in love. So I turn down the job and leave the company. It is the hardest decision I have ever had to make. Believe me, I cried for 3 days straight when I left. Just ask anyone on my team.

I buy a one way plane ticket to fly back to Tanzania. To live with The Boy. I am super excited. I will finally be in a happy relationship. It has been a few years since I have been in one and I am so ready for it. And even more importantly, I get to travel and write. Everything I have been wanting. Life is fabulous.

The week before my flight to move to Tanzania, The Boy starts acting weird. He is telling me strange stories and seems stressed when he is telling them. I never really understood anything he was saying but long story short, I find out he has had a serious girlfriend for the past 4 years. As in he still has this girlfriend and doesn’t plan on leaving her. Then why was he encouraging me to come live with him? Why would he even want to? What was the point? How did he even have time to talk to anyone else? We talked all of the time. He was so sweet to me.

My heart is broken. I am pretty angry he sat there and watched me turn down my dream job when he knew our whole relationship was a lie. I cancel my flight. Now here I am with no job, no income, no plan, no boyfriend. For a little while, this is pretty hard for me to deal with. A few days before, my life was “perfect”. Now, everything has changed.


I am sad for about a week. Thankfully, I quickly realize I am now free to do anything I want. Anything. And it also occurs to me that if I hadn’t met him, I would have most likely taken the job offer and moved to San Francisco. And that isn’t what my heart really wanted. But I couldn’t see it then. It was like he was sent in my life just to give me a reason to not take the job. And then when I turned it down and was on the right path, his job was over and he was gone. And we haven’t spoken since. Now here I am, traveling the world. Living the life I said I would that night on the video.

The reason I am telling this story is because of all of the times in my life when I wasn’t able to see things this way.  Especially when my heart was broken. I didn’t realize I had the ability to change my perspective at any given moment. When life came crashing down, I didn’t think I could handle it. I have stayed in dark places for way too long. And someone reading this may be there now. I want to help you. Others may see my life from the outside and think there are no obstacles. Think I am always happy. Wish they could have the balls to chase after their dreams like I am. I want to show you that I am the same as anyone else. I have doubts. The fear makes me question things. There are obstacles. There is heartbreak. The difference is that in any situation, I am now able to see the bigger picture and be thankful that this is leading me in a new direction even if I don’t know yet where that direction is heading to. I don’t stay stuck questioning them. Or try to hold on to the life that was taken from me. It is okay to be unhappy, it is part of life. But while you are unhappy, you can still train your mind to see that this will all change. And this situation may even be the biggest blessing of your life.

Okay, okay. When something hurts us, it is not always easy to see this. One thing I do want to mention is that this does not make it okay for others to treat us badly. Or for us to justify their behavior. But after someone does hurt us, we shouldn’t let them keep hurting us, long after they are gone, by staying stuck in it. It also doesn’t mean to live your life always faking it. Thinking positively does now mean you have to always try to be happy and not feel anything. Feeling the emotions is part of the process. The point is to learn how to feel them without letting them consume you. Not letting your fear keep you stuck in the pain. Keep in mind that you are being guided to something greater. Feel the emotions. And once you are ready, let the situation go and be thankful you are heading in a new direction. With endless possibilities. You can now do anything you want.


What if all obstacles are lessons, detours in the right direction? If you genuinely knew this, would you be able to embrace them more lovingly?

Think about a time in your past when something happened that shifted your life in a new direction. It wasn’t what you had planned. You were comfortable. You were happy. You felt like you were unwillingly forced to start over. Your boyfriend or girlfriend broke up with you. You got fired from your job. You didn’t get the job you knew was meant for you. Something happened that messed up “your plan.” A time when you were so hurt that you didn’t think things would ever get better.

Now think about where you are now. Something you love about your life. Somewhere in your life where you wouldn’t be if that situation had never happened. You see, sometimes the most painful obstacles or “setbacks” arise because it is the only way to get you to move on a different path. We can all feel when something isn’t right. When we aren’t quite where we always dreamed we would be. When we are craving more. But we are comfortable. We are stuck. Something major needs to happen in order to set us free. It is the only possible thing that can happen where we will finally leave the situation we are stuck in.


While obstacles can be extremely painful, I challenge you to embrace them. Blindly. Without judgement. Without needing to know why you are in this situation or what is in store for you in the future. Try to have faith in yourself that everything will be okay. When you let go of the life you planned, you never know where you will end up. All you have to do is train your mind to see the opportunity. And be thankful. Always.