Archive | Life RSS feed for this section

2015 in review

12 Jan

What is an annual review for me? A time to reflect on the highlights and the things that didn’t go quite as planned. A time of new goals and visions for the year ahead. 2014 was a quiet year. 2015 was a bit more exciting:

  1. Wrote and published my first photography guide.
  2. Redid my entire website complete with a shop so you can buy my photos and books.
  3. Went to four countries in Africa which included a safari in Kenya—A dream come true.
  4. Traveled to Australia, my fifth continent…officially. Visited my mastermind friends, only the second time we’ve met in person but we’ve talked almost weekly for three years. Country count is now at 40 since I’m counting Taiwan.
  5. Volunteered at my favorite conference, WDS. Even lead the 5k run of 60 or so people. I also volunteered at the sister event Pioneer Nation. Good times!
  6. Attended Camp GLP (Good Life Project).
  7. Went to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
  8. Traveled through 11 new states bringing my total up to 35. (Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota.
  9. Had two epic road trips! One to the southeastern corner of Oregon with a new friend and the other to Yellowstone for my five year anniversary. Five years of marriage is also an accomplishment!…something worth celebrating.
  10. Another amazing road trip took me to my seventh and final wonder of Oregon, the Wallowas. What an awesome place to camp and hike. It was fun to explore more deeply the seven wonders this year. I think I visited or revisited all but one in 2015.
  11. My photo was selected (1 of 10 out of 1,000+) by Lonely Planet to participate in a photo adventure in Seattle.
  12. One of my photos was in the top 9 on a feature page on Instagram. Yeah!

It was a year of many road trips and two big adventures overseas. I saw a lot of growth and transition in my business. I saw a lot of growth in myself as well.

What went wrong?

I lost my sunglasses in an epic wind gust in South Africa. I just wish “act of god” was covered under the warranty.

I forgot some of my own travel rules.

  1. Always bring cash (more than $70!)
  2. Always carry cards from two different banks with chips (preferably a Visa and a Mastercard)
  3. If your card has a PIN, know it well and make sure the card has a chip.

Next year

As always, in the coming year, I have to grow more in my business. I’d like to make more clients happy and be able to save some money. Happiness for all!

Continue supporting my husband and his business goals. If you live and Portland and want delicious hand cooked meals delivered to your door, I must connect you with him. He is the most amazing chef I know. I am blessed.

I’d love to make it to at least one of my top five bucket list countries: Peru, Iceland, New Zealand, Croatia, Turkey. If I make it to Peru I also get to add a 6th continent to my list.

Publish my next book. It’s a travel book! (comment if you want to know when it launches, I’m currently in the editing and designing phase)

In between travel blog posts, you can follow my other weekly blog, my 140 character adventures on Twitter and my photo adventures on Instagram

Wishing you an amazing 2016! Cheers.

Advertisements

Summer Camp and Living a good life

27 Sep

I went to summer camp as a child. We didn’t go too far from home but we were without our parents. It was a good exercise in learning how to reach out to strangers for help. We also were continuing to learn how to connect well with others (something I relearned as an adult from Scott Dinsmore’s Connect with Anyone course at WDS).

Summer camp as an adult is much the same to me. Yes, I did say summer camp for adults. You haven’t heard of such a thing. If it wasn’t Camp GLP, I’m sure there are others.

I usually pick and go to events for a sense of connection. I seek to be around other people that are doing amazing things. I want to connect with others I can learn from and grow with. I also seek those with similar values and beliefs. The older we get the clearer these get (in theory and hopefully in practice). That’s not to say our values and beliefs don’t change but they do hold more importance than when I was 10. I have less tolerance to be around people I don’t believe in or that don’t believe in me.

I went to Camp GLP this summer and it was fantastic. I met so many awesome people and there were so many more that I’m sure were just as awesome that I didn’t get to connect with. I laughed a lot. I cried multiple times. I co-created art. I listened. I sang. I talked till I was hoarse. I exercised. I broke down some of my walls and barriers. It was a very vulnerable and raw experience and I loved every minute of it. The one thing I didn’t get was a lot of was sleep.

Why did I choose to go to camp as an adult?

Some very good friends of mind encouraged me to go. They told me that for them it had been life changing. I have similar values and interests to them. The price seemed like a good investment so I signed up. Then slowly I met more and more people online and in person that would be there. It just kept getting better and better. Although, I still felt a bit like I was coming to the party a little late since this was year two. But the more people I met the more I knew I belonged.

We were going all day long, from six in the morning till after midnight each day. We had speakers, workshops, group exercise, meditation, meals and a whole lot of other activities to occupy our mind, body and spirit. It was a different kind of “conference”. It wasn’t just about the speakers or the content, in fact that was my least memorable part, it was about living a good life in mind, body and spirit. We learned new exercises, meditation practices, how to be more vulnerable, new ways to connect with people and show up. We learned how to be more grateful to ourselves and connect with others on a much deeper level than you do outside of camp. It’s like you are in a bubble of love and you never want to leave.

If you are the 5 people that you most surround yourself with, you must pick wisely.

What did I learn for business at camp? 

The most practicable, actionable, content came from Derek Halpern on how to launch a video course. Will I be launching one? I’ve seriously considered it even before camp so that may be happening. When? I’m not sure since I just launched my new website (most blogs posted there now) and my first ebook. I have so much I want to do! So much I want to give to the world.

At camp, I also learned how to have more confidence, how to have better relationships, how to get in my writing groove and so much more. But mostly what stuck was how to show up with my authentic self and really, deeply, truly connect with other people. Something that is so important to me. It’s a big value. Just like vitality. To live life now, because tomorrow may never come.

What do you want to be remembered for?

P.S. I wrote this post before I learned of Scott’s passing. I can’t believe the impact he had on me and so many others. He is all over this post and I didn’t even realize how much until I re-read it to post after his passing. I am in shock learning of his death.Without Scott I would have not some of my best friends that I have been in a mastermind group with ever since we started his passion course over two years ago. Thank you Scott!

I hope you all know how precious life is. Do something that matters…and remember to look up.

The world doesn’t have enough I love you’s

25 Aug

Have you ever wondered what fills you up? Lights you up? What replenishes your cup? Well, I was challenged by Jonathan Fields of the Good Life Project to do just that and I thought I’d share some of it with you in case it helps.

The challenge is to fill each of these buckets: community, vitality and contribution. They just so happen to be three of my core values. Community and vitality are also two of my core desired feelings (from the Desire Map). How do I feel these feelings or do things that fill up these buckets? I wrote a list. If I am ever at a loss I can do something small on this list or something a bit bigger.

  1. Write a list of your closest friends, near and far. When you feel sad or lonely, write to one of them. Pick out a piece of paper or card and write something nice. Then pop it in the mail with a good old fashioned stamp. You’ll feel good and they’ll feel better having received it.
  2. Pick up the phone and call a friend. So often we think we should text, email or instant message them. This isn’t connection. It’s a farce. Social media can fool you about what’s going on in a person’s life because it’s filtered through them and through the channel itself (ever heard of Facebook algorithms…don’t get me started). By picking up the phone you can hear the tone in their voice. You can ask questions and you can listen to the answers. You can laugh or cry together. You can’t do that online. It’s not the same.
  3. Hug someone. They say that hugging someone for 20 seconds is really good for you emotionally and physically. Don’t believe me, here’s some proof.
  4. Tell someone you love them. Bonus points if you can also tell them one reason why you love them. Extra bonus if it’s in person.
  5. Write love notes to yourself or positive affirmations and stick it somewhere that you’ll see it on a daily basis. If you don’t like writing it yourself they sell cards or calendars that you can flip though or look at when you need to feel more awesome. Here’s one I like: The Present Moment: 365 Daily Affirmations
  6. Do something with a friend. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something with someone. You’ll feel better if you listen to them, hug them or even tell them you love them while you are hanging out. There shouldn’t be any more of this stingy “I love you” business. If you love having someone in your life tell them you love them (in the platonic, I’m already married but you are an awesome friend sort of way).
  7. Get out of your head. Meditate and/or listen to some emotional balancing systems. It totally helps to clear out the clutter and try to have some quiet for a few moments every day. I know I feel like a better person when I do this.
  8. Do morning pages. If you have never heard of this check out The Artist’s Way. It teaches you about morning pages. They are pretty much a brain dump that you do every morning. It does help to make you more creative. So can reading The War of Art. Fight the resistance! Create more! Or as another friend of mine says: Make. Make. Make.
  9. Exercise. So often when I’m busy this is the first item that gets cut but it’s so beneficial for my mind and body. To me running is a form of meditation. When I don’t get my exercise in I can be more crabby. I don’t have all those happy brain chemicals that I need.
  10. Get out into nature. Nature helps you feel more grounded. I know that when I’m cranky, if I just go on a hike or go to a park I feel better. I feel more at one with the world. It’s not all woo-woo and it’s different than running though the city as I often do. Being in nature just works. I’m sure there’s a study on it too! I just didn’t look because I know it works for me. Try it.
  11. Treat yourself as a friend. This is a big struggle for me. I give the best advice to friends but am so hard on myself. Gosh darn it, I should be my own best friend. I should be treated that way. So instead of being hard on yourself, ask what you would tell a friend.
  12. Ask yourself what do you need in this very moment. Listen to the response. Your heart should help you answer. There’s some techniques to help you with this if it’s hard for you to hear the answers.
  13. Keep it simple. Sometimes all you have to do is do something simple for someone like pick up something they dropped, hold the door, tell someone thank you, smile, look someone in the eye when they are talking to you, listen when someone talks to you.
  14. Go on a date with yourself. What do you like to do? Go by yourself and enjoy the time alone.
  15. Join a community if you haven’t found one already. I’m a part of the WDS group and they are always ones to fill my bucket.
  16. Play. What is something that you enjoy that you don’t do enough? Or perhaps you can think of those things you used to do as a kid that lit you up. Chances are you’ll probably still enjoy those things today.
  17. Ask someone how you can help them. Just offer, even if they say no, they’ll appreciate it.
  18. Give a compliment. It doesn’t matter who you give it to, a perfect stranger or a friend. Giving compliments can change someone’s outlook on life. Believe me. I wrote blog post on it.
  19. Do something you’ve never done before. Be a kid again. I know I said this already, but it needs repeating (maybe just for me, but maybe for you too).
  20. Travel. Whenever I travel that fills my bucket for a long time. I’m over flowing. I do so many of the above things when I travel, especially when I head out of the country.

 

I think my favorite item on the list (besides travel of course!) is to write a hand written letter to someone that means something to me and tell them something nice. I’m working on doing that at least 20 times before Camp GLP. But first I endeavored to make the cards. I wanted to be more personal. I think this might be a bit of procrastination. But I know it means something when you give something of yourself. Giving your gifts to the world is the best thing you can do. Just remember that you don’t have to be perfect with your gifts. It’s your imperfections that make you, you.

You are not alone, we are all in this together.

YouAreNotAlone-01

I sell prints if you want one. I can change the colors too!

P.S. You’re wonderful. Thanks for reading. You’d be wonderful even if you didn’t read this but you’re here so I thought I’d tell you how much I appreciate you.

 

What world domination means to me

21 Jul

What does World Domination Summit mean to me? Well in 2012 it was a life changing weekend that I will never forget. I have been three times since that weekend. WDS just celebrated 5 years as a “conference”.

The themes of WDS are Community, Adventure and Service. Each of those may mean something different to each attendee as we are all pretty unconventional types. The saying goes, we are trying to live “a remarkable life in a conventional world.” Most of us have non-traditional work or we bring our unconventional mindset to the “corporate” job. To me, we are a bunch of misfits, weirdos and rebels. We buck the system in order to make a better one. We want to leave this world and the people in it better than we found it.

Community

Community to me is the people. They are my tribe. I have never had a tribe that I loved so much before. Even though we are thousands of people, I know that everyone in this tribe is awesome, someone I could talk to and learn from. Someone that would listen to me if I had a problem. Someone that is doing something cool.

Adventure

I love adventure. In fact, I live for adventure. A lot of the members of WDS are travelers. Either they have their own business so they can work from anywhere in the world or they love to travel far and wide when they go on vacation. Chances are pretty good that if you are going somewhere in the world you could run into a WDSer. If they have room, they’ll probably even put you up in their place or find you an awesome local place to stay.

Service

That brings me to the service aspect of WDS. The people in this group are such givers. If you have a problem they’ll help you troubleshoot or connect you with someone that can. They often give you help for free. More of a “pay-it-forward” approach. If you do pay for their services it will be well worth it as I’m sure they’ll go over and above their already awesome contribution. Their work will be great because they love what they do and love that they are working on with you.

If we aren’t giving to each other than we are probably giving it to some other great organizations in the form of monetary donations or community service. The people in this community are just so giving.

#WDS2015 (check out the twitter feed)

This WDS was particularly raw and vulnerable in the main stage talks. I think we were all crying on and off at certain points in time and none of us cared that we were doing so in “public”. We were sharing a moment and that was fantastic. We were listening to someone be real and we loved it.

Volunteering

The past three years I was an attendee but this year I wanted to give back to the community that has given me so much. I wanted to be that helpful person for those first timers or that friendly face to those that knew me. I was thanked so many times. I thanked them right back for coming and being a part of this great space that Chris Guillebeau created for us. I told them I wasn’t working too hard as I was loving what I was doing. Anything I could do to help!

 

Some of my favorite quotables from the weekend:

There is something bigger than yourself. — 

Self confidence grows every time you promise to yourself.

Follow the path. See where it goes. Embrace uncertainty. — 

Don’t trade your voice for things that don’t matter. It’s OK to say no. — 

Loss is what cracks us open. It’s natural and leads to growth. — 

It’s not about what you do but WHY you do it.

Even elephants are born small. —

Adulthood is a process of reinvention.” — 

Abandon your ego and good things will happen. — 

Sometimes you just have to let the tapestry cone completely undone to start again. — 

Love is the only thing that lasts. — 

Don’t make money, make a difference.

When you are an adult, try to be a kid again.

When you see people as just a platform, you eventually stand on them. — 

No label will embody all of your gorgeousness, ever. Get over it. — 

Something I always tell people who wonder why I am a photographer and designer, not just one or the other:

The same principals of design apply to photography. — 

Till next year…keep the magic going!

WDS party

Past inspiration from WDS

WDS 2013

2014: A Quiet Year

28 Dec

It’s annual round-up time. A time of reflection on the highlights and the things that didn’t go quite as planned. A time of new goals and visions for the year ahead. Here’s my top ten from 2014.

  1. Made some really great connections, forged some lifelong friendships and learned to grow my business at Pioneer Nation.
  2. Had two photography shows.
  3. Went to my first live TEDx event in Portland. It’s pretty cool seeing it in person versus the countless videos I’ve watched on screen.
  4. Celebrated one year living in Portland. Yay! I love this city and it’s quirks.Portland!
  5. Met my two Australian mastermind members for the first time (after a year and a half of weekly online chats!). All four of us in one place at one time was amazing! WDS brought them and so many more people that I loved seeing. Plus all the new people I met that live in Portland and around the world. Thanks again Chris for picking my friends and also helping me achieve my third world record.
  6. Volunteered a lot. Two big projects I worked on were for the Brian Grant Foundation and Women Enough.
  7. Took a road trip to Boise.
  8. Got my very own horseshoe on the wall at Pope House Bourbon Lounge. I missed my original quest deadline but made the second one. Just over a year to complete 50 bourbons.
  9. Camping on Mount Hood and checking out Timberline lodge for the first time.
  10. Went to Maui for Thanksgiving (aka Friendsgivemas)! It was great to spend the holidays with good friends and tour the whole island in the process.

Sunset in Maui

It was a quiet year. A year of growth in the valleys. A year of no new countries or states but I did a lot of local exploring. I explored more spots in Oregon, California and Idaho. The good news about local travel is you don’t have jet lag or a 10 hour flight.

What went wrong?

I was supposed to go to Greece for TBEX and some of the surrounding countries but the trip just wasn’t coming together as easy as I wanted it to so I didn’t go at all. Bummer, but I did work and save some money! I was supposed to go to Africa as well but there was a death that derailed the trip, so I opted to postpone. I found out that you can delay your mileage tickets for up to a year. Pretty cool trick I learned this year. Hoping that I won’t have to use it very often, but good to know.

Next year I have to grow more in my business and add some more travel to my list. Starting with my postponed Africa trip…stay tuned for more adventures in 2015 on the blog. You can also follow my 140 character adventures on Twitter and my photo adventures on Instagram.

Wishing you a happy 2015! Cheers.

What’s on my list

13 Oct

Bucket lists, life lists and quests.

What’s the difference with it all? Most life lists and/or bucket lists don’t have dates assigned to them. They are just lists of things that you’d like to do…someday. If you want to assign a date and work toward achieving that item, it moves into the quest category.

Some of the items I’ve checked off my lists:

Run a 5k — Thinking that I would never want to run a half marathon being a short distance runner in high school. I thought I would get back into running and set my sites on a more achievable goal, a 5k. Accomplished it twice! Then, I needed a bigger goal, a 10k! When that was accomplished I moved on to a half marathon.

Skydiving — Went to Vegas for my 27th birthday so I could have a longer free fall than some places near my home. What a thrill! Truly one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in my life. I highly recommend it.

Danger

Take a three week vacation — I did this when I quit my job. I took the first three week vacation of my adult life and I loved it. I also fell in love with Spain and Belgium.

Take a sailing class — I wanted to ride in a sailboat but what better way to prepare for the next sailing adventure than to take a lesson.

Walk on the Great Wall — One of the wonders of the world! I’ve been on it twice, in two different places.

Attend an NFL game — I love football! I have a few favorite teams so I thought why not go visit a friend in Atlanta and also see one of my teams play while I’m there.

Ride a mechanical bull — I kept trying to do this close to home but I kept missing it, so I found one in Vegas, then again at WDS.

Take a helicopter ride — I gave this as a gift to my husband for our one year anniversary. A paper ticket for both of us to check it off our bucket lists.

Check out both sides of my ancestry — I went to Germany a couple times, once for Octoberfest. I also went to Ireland for Saint Patricks day and a road trip. Both amazing adventures. Beautiful countries!

Become a whiskey club member — Twice! It does take me a while to try 50 whiskies or bourbons but I get there, eventually. And now I have my name on a plaque for Elysian Whiskey Club and a horseshoe with my name on it for completing the bourbon derby. Fun times!

Quit my job and start my own business — Check!

Some items I haven’t checked off my list yet:

Surf lesson — Maybe body boarding was all I needed to do but I still have surfing on my bucket list.

Snowboarding — I’ve been skiing but never on a snowboard. Thought I should try it at least once but I really hate being cold. Brrr…

Hang Gliding lesson — I love flying, what else can I say!

Zorbing — Ever since I heard about this I thought it would be fun to do, just not in a mall, somewhere cool like New Zealand.

African safari — This almost happened in the summer but I had to postpone. Hopefully it’s happening in the near future.

Zip lining — For some reason I want this to be in the jungle.

Grow my business — Continual growth and improvement…always!

Mostly my bucket list contains the United States (all of them) and all those other cool countries around the globe. I’d like to go everywhere but I don’t have a date for it all so it’s not quite a quest. Just a lust for roaming. (33 countries and counting…)

I'm not a fan of selfles so the feet will have to do! The famous PDX carpet!

I’m not a fan of selfles so the feet will have to do! The famous PDX carpet!

Need more on quests and how to start your own. Make sure to check out Chris Guillebeau’s book: The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life

Since, I didn’t get any entries to win the book, I’m giving it to the first person that asked to have it. I hope they enjoy the book as much as I did. If you still want to comment on your quests, I’d love to hear about them.

Cheers to your next quest!

A journey into being more authentic with less guilt

7 Aug

Two habits I have in conversation that I’d like to break.

1. Saying “I’m sorry”

2. Saying “I guess”

I noticed that I say these words when I started really listening to how I speak. Have you ever done that? Have you ever listened to yourself? Really listened to yourself speak? You’d be surprised at what you might hear. You might hear certain words that appear frequently. You might also hear phrases that you don’t really want to say. You can learn a lot about yourself if you just listen.

For me the above two phrases really don’t serve me — in fact they usually get me in trouble or make me feel bad later. When I say these things I’m not saying what I really feel in my heart. It’s me not being authentic. It’s me attempting to soften the blow of something, me showing guilt, or even me trying to appear nicer. It’s not me expressing my real needs or wants. It’s not me being as honest as I could be and should be. It’s not me being authentic and taking ownership of myself and my feelings. It’s not being confident in myself. It’s showing weakness. However, I found that being too honest doesn’t always work either. Sigh…

Don’t be sorry

When you say “I’m sorry” you are admitting fault, even when it might not be your fault. You are trying to make good — trying to smooth things over. You might feel bad about something and this is what comes out before you even know what else to say. Perhaps instead of saying “sorry” we should pause and think about the situation. What is it our heart really wants to say? Perhaps it’s something like “I didn’t mean to run into you.” or “Thank you for allowing me to be late and not being mad.” or “I really screwed that up, didn’t I.” You can own it and be more authentic by not just jumping to saying “I’m sorry”. Ponder deeply about what you are apologizing for. You’re probably just saying sorry out of reflex and not because it’s what you truly feel.

Saying “I guess” is another extremely bad habit that I picked up to soften my honesty. However, I’ve learned that it can make me appear unsure of myself or the other person. It can make me appear passive. It isn’t an authentic phrase and should be deleted from my vocabulary and maybe yours too. Stop second guessing yourself and your heart. Be more authentic and say what you really mean. You don’t need to be mean, just don’t “guess” or tiptoe.

What to do?

Listen to yourself in your conversations and in your messages to others. If you hear these phrases coming across your tongue, stop and think. Is that really what you intend to say? Are you being authentic? Are you trying to get around saying something that might make someone else feel uncomfortable? Are you trying to be “nice” because there are way better ways of saying that than “I guess”.  Are you trying to be perfect? If these things aren’t what you want to say and if they aren’t the truth, stop tiptoeing and be honest. Take imperfect action. If it isn’t a hell yes or a hell no, you need to rephrase what you are saying.

I hope my authenticity here helps you be more authentic. Because really, the best you is the authentic you! Own it! Be yourself, everyone else is already taken. Corny, I know, but it’s true! If you aren’t being you, who are you?

Stop trying to please others and feeling guilty. Be comfortable with you you are and what you want. I know this is harder for women, but do it! You’ll feel better about yourself than giving up who you really are.

You don’t have to say the right thing, just say the TRUE thing- KC Baker