Tag Archives: unconventional

Off the tourist path

31 Jan

Check out this podcast interview I just did on Thelma & Louise. I talk about the book and how to travel cheaply. I talk about Cambodia and Taiwan and how I recommend getting off the beaten path to find some hidden gems. It’s short. You can listen to it while going on a walk or doing the dishes.

Thelma & Louise help you connect with travel buddies and plan your perfect trip. I also talk about those things in my book. Here’s an excerpt from Women with Wanderlust, now shipping direct to your Kindle!

Staying with locals in unfamiliar places

What’s a good way to save money on vacation and really immerse yourself as a local? Don’t stay in a hotel in the tourist areas. I know we’ve talked about a lot of options including Airbnb, VRBO, B&B’s, WWOOF, hostels or Couchsurfing. If you want to live like a local, then stay like one. I know it may seem scary to stay in someone else’s space or to stay with someone you don’t know but it can also be an incredible experience. Maybe you’ll cook together or they’ll show you around town. To me it’s worth the risk to save some money and have a richer experience. I love living like a local. I love experiencing the city from my host’s vantage point. You get to see beyond the things in the guidebooks.

Buy the book if you like what you just read…or share it with a friend that you think could use it.

LeaveATrail

Women with Wanderlust

24 Jan

Proven travel strategies for less than the price of a green smoothie.

What’s that all about?! Well I just launched my travel book! All my travel knowledge wrapped up in a nice little book.

I’ve always been a little bit different especially in my travel strategies as you know from reading my blog. While some spend their hard earned money on lattes I’m always saving for my next adventure. With travel hacking I’ve traveled cheaply which has enabled me to go further than I ever dreamed. I would never have been able to take that dream safari last January without my insatiable will and thousands of miles. Over time I’ve honed my travel strategy to rack up the points and maximize my award bookings to travel to more places faster.

Travel makes us better and smarter, it shouldn’t just be the rich that get to do it. Everyone should be able to travel and live the life of their dreams. One of the last things my mother said to me before she passed, was “go, live your dreams, don’t wait.” The future is impossible to predict so it’s important to not wait to fulfill your dreams and goals. If travel is your dream, then figure out how to do it sooner rather than later!

If you haven’t learned everything you need to know about how to travel more or travel outside the U.S. I’d love for you to buy my book and leave me a review on Amazon. Reviews are the best gift you can give me…especially in the first few days after the launch.

If you pre-order now you also get my “20 Tips to Better Photos” guide. Woohoo! Just contact me with your receipt.

Share this with anyone you know that wants to travel more and doesn’t know where to start. I want to start a movement of more #roamingwomen

If not now

As always, you can follow my adventures on Instagram and Twitter @rouxroamer

Read more stories or see photography at rouxroamer.com

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.

Tokyo temples, treats and trains

27 Dec

The third and final country on our recent trip…Japan

I finally made it to Japan! This place has been on my bucket list for awhile. Although the item that is on my bucket list has not been crossed off. I’d love to make it here for the cherry blossom festival. Seeing all those pink trees raining pink petals would be a dream come true. But for now, I saw the misty temples near Tokyo and ate many great treats.

This time around we only had three days in Japan. It’s a good think they have some speedy trains. The first thing on our list was to see our friends. Next, we were told we had to see the scramble and Harajuku Street in Tokyo. We knew we had to eat some sushi, ramen and pocky. All those treats that Japan is known for, and some we just found out about like rice waffles and Kippy’s coconut ice cream.

We stumbled upon the cutest place to get sushi in Tokyo. It was small and non-smoking. They guys were making the sushi right in front of us and there was only about 20 people that could fit in the restaurant at one time. It was fantastic! I only wish I could give you directions to get back here. I just know it’s on one of the streets headed away from the scramble.

Sushi Line

We also got to see some really cool temples in the mist and rain. It was a very peaceful experience. We even got to ride in the infamous streetcar on the Enoshima railway line. We wandered the cute streets in Kamakura and Enoshima. It was so much fun with our friends. I’m so happy we made this part of our trip.

Buddha and Umbrellas

Some words of caution when visiting Japan.

Bring cash to exchange or cards with chips in them. Most places don’t accept cards but when they do, you need a chip in it. This included the ATM machines and the airport. Cash is almost a must if you want to leave the airport. Trains, cabs and buses want you to pay cash.

You aren’t allowed to smoke outside so most places allow smoking inside including restaurants. If you’re lucky you can find some places that are non-smoking.

Roaming the wild west

27 Oct

I was able to spend a week mostly disconnected from my computer seeing some of the natural beauty that this great country has to offer. I often forget how much is naturally occurring in the world, especially in the United States. It’s no wonder that people want to visit.

My husband and I went to Yellowstone for the very first time. We saw waterfalls and wildlife. We walked and drive around to many of the awesome sights. There are a few that we missed so it’s a good thing that we bought the year pass so we can go back and also to get to more National Parks.

Bison

We also visited the Grand Tetons and drove through all of Wyoming. We didn’t see a moose but we did see a grizzly bear. That was incredibly cool, yet scary. We were within the “not safe” range, yet we still weren’t really close enough to get a good photo. BUT we did live to tell about seeing a grizzly bear. I consider that a big win for our wild west adventure.

It was also my first time in South Dakota, seeing Badlands, the first National Monument Devils Tower and Mount Rushmore, of course! We briefly drove into North Dakota on our way into Montana. It was a real western adventure. I felt like I was on an American safari. The real wild west with bison, bears, longhorn sheep, coyotes and wolves. Natural beauty like this is so refreshing for the mind, body and spirit.

In Montana we stayed at this AMAZING place, The Resort at Paws Up. There was 37,000 acres of land to roam. If that’s not your scene, maybe you like sitting by the campfire making s’mores or having dinner made to order right in from of you by a wonderful chef. Then there’s the butler on stand by for anything you may need or want. You stay in a luxury tent that has all the amenities of a 5-star hotel but you walk out your door to breathtaking nature…what’s not to love!

Paws Up Riverview

10 tips for better photos

1 Sep

Here are my top 10 tips to help you take better photos

1. Avoid distracting elements such as too much light / dark, light / dark elements. Try to set either a light or dark tone for your overall image.

2. Eliminate distracting elements that draw your eye in a bad way. Examples: If things are too close to the edge they will create unwanted tension because your eye wants to close the small gap. If there’s red in a picture it usually is the brightest element and can draw your eye even if it’s not what you wanted the viewer to focus on.

3. Don’t center things, it creates more interest when things are off center. Asymmetry moves your eye around the image more than if things are exactly centered. When things are centered rather than in thirds, your eye just looks and rests only in the center.

4. If you want to really impact people with your work. Think of how to photograph the subject from a different view (physically or emotionally).

5. Depth of field matters. You want to illicit emotion and movement of the eye. You want to focus on one subject and let the rest fall away / become the background. Your other option is to have everything tack sharp (everything all in focus). For sure, one thing in your picture has to be tack (meaning REALLY) sharp in the photo. Pick your focus: all in focus or only one element that’s focused really well, that will create your one emotion.

6. The fewer the elements, the stronger the composition. As you don’t need too many words in a sentence, you don’t need too many elements in a photo. It gets distracting. Have a resting place like the sky or the ground. Plus, if you have that space you can create images like this for your brand:

Light Our Own Way

7. Give scale by not all things being the same size. If everything was the same size in the photo it wouldn’t be as dynamic. Same goes for a headline in an ad. If it was the same size it wouldn’t draw you into the article.

8. When taking pictures of people, make sure that they don’t have a tree coming out of their heads.

9. If the photo is a close up picture of a person, make sure their eyes are in focus. That is the most important thing on the face to focus on. It will draw you into the portrait.

10. Remember that posture also matters a lot when taking pictures of people. You want them to shine in your photo, not look like Oscar the slouch that has no figure.

 

If you are trying to figure out what to do for your own head shot session, check out this blog post for tips.

If you like this post I’m coming out with an ebook very soon. It has expanded tips as well as example photos. Leave a comment if you want to know when the book is available.

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