20 Items You Need For Your Trip

20 items you need to own

Forget the filler, these items have real value 

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I'll be the last person to tell you to buy a new wardrobe for your trip or spend a bunch of money on a plush resort. I'm not into quick-fix deals or bargains that go unused, and after living out of a suitcase I know how obnoxious over-packing is—because let's be real, it takes up mental and physical space.

And in a world that wants to make you think traveling, airports, and faraway places seem like the most stressful thing ever, we need to do everything in our power to counterbalance this. You know, to put the joy back into the journey. Who knew airports could be full of wonder, security lines could be a meditative experience, and the first steps in a new place could be invigorating. 

Before you get into thinking you need to buy everything for your new life. Consider these things to invest in. They make a big difference, and make a great foundation to build from. 

  1. Good Quality Luggage: My first time living overseas was when I studied in Barcelona in college. I went with a ripped backpack (that I think was my brothers friends) that I sewed up and safety pinned together. Seemed like a nice idea, until I was backpacking and jimmy-rigging the backpack back together, which isn't the best use of time or sanity. Then another time, I was in the Tokyo airport in the middle of night, with a roller bag with wheels that hardly rolled. These experiences showed me that poor luggage can make you feel like everything is working against you. It doesn't need to be like that. Investing in good quality bags will last you years, and make a big difference. For roller bags, I like Away for their in-bag USB charger and easy rolling. For backpacks, Deuter makes backpacks that fit female frames well, and have useful compartments and a comfortable fit. 
  2. Comfortable Underwear: When I worked in the lingerie department of Nordstrom in college I learned the value of quality, comfortable underwear. Then, I was all Hanky Panky, all the time (this style is my favorite.) Now, Commando is my go-to. I like them when I'm traveling because it offers a bit more coverage than a thong if you're wearing a dress or flowy shorts. Plus, they really feel like you're wearing nothing (hence the name) so you know you're good whether it's a busy day or long flight. I am all for investing in pairs that are comfy and know how to hold up. Gone are the days of uncomfortable, unraveling undies. 
  3. Noise Canceling Bluetooth Headphones: I'm the kind of person that gets distracted by the tiniest bit of noise, whether it's construction outside or a baby in flight next to me. I put on these headphones and it's like diving into my own world of music, podcasts or audiobook. I researched and waited for awhile until finally diving in and making the purchase. So glad I did.
  4. Simple E-Reader: I am a true book lover and wasn't quick to hop on the kindle bandwagon. That was until I carried my favorite book, Shantaram, all over SE Asia with me. This is a hunky, heavy, 1,000 page book. I couldn't put it down or fathom leaving it, and developed an almost too-personal attachment to it. Kindle's take the load off. Plus, the battery lasts forever, you can load it up with books before takeoff, and since it's only books, you can focus on reading, and reading only. Turn that multi-tasking mind off. 
  5. Warm Socks: I think a product of growing up in the Northwest is a deep-rooted fear of cold feet during those rainy, bone chill kind of days. The moment fall rolls around, the socks come out. I'm all for wool socks, but these are my absolute favorite. I keep a pair in my carry-on, so the moment I get on the plane I can get cozy. The worse thing is having cold feet on the plane. Worst. (So make sure to pack them, even on summer trips.) 
  6. Black Romper: Like an LBD, but more versatile. You really can't underestimate the power of a black jumpsuit. It's this magical combination that is comfortable, stylish and cozy all in one. Plus, you don't have to worry about matching a top and bottom. One piece and you are good. to. go. This one by Lunya I love for flights, wandering, sleeping. 
  7. Tee Shirt Dress: When it comes to clothes I am a less-is-more kind of girl. A tee-shirt dress, similar to a romper, can get you through almost any environment and can easily be dressed up or down. I love the linen material of this dress, and Lunya makes a similar version, which you can also sleep in. I love it for three reasons: pockets, longer-style sleeves, and fabric thick enough to wear literally from day to night. Which doesn't seem like much, until you're living out of your suitcase, and literally living in items you love. 
  8. A Cozy Hoodie: Oh man, this is a lesson learned. I don't know why when I moved to Barcelona I packed all these going out and daytime clothes, but nothing to hang out and lounge in, like I would be going all the time, and resting never. This couldn't be further from the truth. Traveling means down time, all the time, so you've got to be comfortable. Plus, when you're away from regular comforts of home, it's the little things that make a big difference. Having a good worn-in hoodie is the perfect comfort item to soothe your soul. This one has that worn-in, vintage soft feel, plus is lightweight and good for layering. I'm also loving this quarter-zip from Free People. Though it's thicker, so more suitcase bulk. 
  9. Large Lightweight Tote: Traveling smart is all about simplicity and ease, and materials are a big part of this equation. Often when we go to invest in a tote, it's made of a heavy material like leather, which adds unnecessary weight. This tote is a classic staple, which I like for three reasons: the material is lightweight but washable in case anything spills, it has a zip closure, which is good when traveling in a place with pick pockets or safety concerns, and it's nice and roomy. I just have to accept the fact I will never be a small-purse kinda girl. 
  10. Clear Hair Ties: I have thick unruly hair that just does. it's. own. thing. I used to be the girl with hair that flew out of my bun in ballet class, and I'de be fixing it on the side when my teacher shot me dirty looks. I felt like she never had sympathy for thick, heavy hair. Also I just hadn't figured out how to work with it. I used to have multiple hair ties on my wrist. A couple thin ones, for when I wanted a loose bun, and a thick one, to hold it down when I needed it to stay. This all changed during yoga training, when my friend had these around her wrist. Not only do they not look like hair ties, but they don't crease your hair, are so comfortable, and can do as loose or tight as you need. Plus there's something about the plastic that makes me not lose them. Which never happened before. 
  11. A Good Face Balm: We all know traveling drys out your skin, but it's also difficult when you don't want half your bag going to toiletries. This skin savior (they call it the wonder balm) by One Love Organics has an amazing citrus scent (it's actually made with orange peels) which have natural de-stressing qualities. Plus, it has simple, all natural ingredients, can act as a face wash and moisturizer, and is a balm, so you don't have to worry about messy spills. For an equally versatile, less expensive option, Egyptian Magic is another all-time favorite. 
  12. Sandalwood Essential Oil: I just found this oil in the jacket pocket of my winter coat, and forgot how obsessed with it I am. I used to take this with me everywhere (and still do, now!) In stressful situations I can be a bit of an oil junky, and traveling is no exception. I like to put a little bergamot oil on my palms and under my nose before going through security, grapefruit oil in my water, and serenity oil on my palms and feet at night. But it's the sandalwood I love the very most, because it is relaxing, but also acts as a perfume. Just a drop of this instantly elevates any situation, and leaves me smelling nice for hours. I was on the fence about oils for awhile, and it's crazy how much they've changed my life, and become major players in my road game. 
  13. Castile Soap: I am all about cult classics. I just trust them. Plus, they're almost always made of simple, no-fuss ingredients, with not nasty additives, which means you can use them for a variety of things. Prime example: Dr. Bronners. I always carry travel size lavender soap with me. I use it as a face wash, body wash, laundry soap (for hand washing), dish soap, shampoo if I need it. Really, it's my go-to for any washing.
  14. Classic Button Down: My favorite flannel is my Mom's vintage baby blue, white and red button down. It's the perfect weight—not too thick, not too light, and it just has that ability to do anything. Tie it around your waist with a tee shirt dress, throw it on over cut-off jean shorts, wear it with leggings, layer it under a hoodie or throw it on over your swim suit. The same goes for a denim chambray. If you find the perfect one, get it, and wear it over and over again. I look for soft material, an oversized fit, and that mixture of good weight and a nice drape—gone are the starchy days. 
  15. Nice Notebook and Pen: I feel naked if I go somewhere without a notebook. But I can easily go into journal-overload zone, so Moleskins keep my thoughts and ideas all in one place, and keep me from bringing multiple journals with me. Also, I love a smaller, bright notebook  for keeping important information all in one place, like passwords, addresses, phone numbers and destination information. It's like my personal on-the-go filing cabinet. Also, since I'm left-handed and a freak about pens that smudge, I keep a couple of my favorite gel and felt-tip pens with me, so I'm not filling up by bag with an overload of pens that end up not working. 
  16. Leather Cardholder: I'm forever trying to figure out the easiest wallet method, and coming back to the conclusion less is more. This just keeps it so simple when changing between bags, it doesn't add all the extra weight, and keeps me from letting my wallet accumulate. Plus, you can always throw it in a back pocket and go. It's a nice practice to bring only what you need, and makes the subway line way easier when you're not fussing through everything. Plus, I love the tassel. 
  17. Battery Charger: I'm all about freedom in all forms. This includes freeing myself from the wall outlet, or the inevitable stress that comes with a low battery when you're running around. As much as I like wandering without a phone, it's nice to know I can take off for the day, do my thing, and not have to stop at a cafe or somewhere else to charge up. This one has a sleek, sturdy design and enough power for five charges. 
  18. Versatile Cami-Bra: I learned in SE Asia that sometimes you're out and about, wearing a loose tank or tee, and bend down and feel a little exposed, especially as a Westerner in a modest country. Also, since laundry options are either hand washing or dropping off (better for big laundry days) this means you'll often go awhile without washing your bra. So a good material that wicks moisture and doesn't stink is key—because let's be honest: you're moving and shaking, with long days and activity. This bra is made of merino wool, not any of that synthetic material bras like this are often made of. And if your tank falls down when you're loading luggage, you're fine. This bra is one of those rare ones you can wear for five days backpacking or a five nights in the city, and still look and feel good. If you need to hand wash, it will dry quick too. I like this one, and they also make a great racer-back option.
  19. Upgraded Toiletry Bag: For the majority of Asia and Australia, I was using a plastic ziploc for my shower toiletries (which actually works great if it's a thick plastic!) But I feel more pulled together having a nice makeup bag—it's just one of those things that make you feel like you have your life together. Toiletry bags I find are either too big, too bulky, too over-complicated, or too constricting. I love how this one zips all the way around, and is simple enough to last forever.
  20. Lightweight Yoga Mat: I didn't think of traveling with a yoga mat until my friend had one in Bali. Her morning yoga practice inspired me and changed my idea about traveling with a yoga mat. There is something about bringing your practice with you, wherever you are. It's a subtle whisper of self-love. And while I often do yoga without a mat, and don't think you need it to move, there's something about the ritual of it. When your life is in different pieces, rolling out a yoga mat is a gesture of saying: hold on world, this is my time. Your mat is your space, to lay, to move, to stretch, to breathe, to close your eyes and feel how it feels to be present in the moment. Let this be your little motivator for your practice become a part of you, wherever you are. This Manuka one is great, and made of natural, biodegradable tree rubber—meaning no toxins or harmful dyes. And it can fit in your carry-on.


Finding True Belonging

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I was on a call last week when these words grabbed me: “The only thing technology can’t take away from us is empathy and emotion—seeing other cultures and countries from a more human place,” she said.

While our conversation was in the context of travel, I realized this week how it relates to life  beyond developing cultural empathy and understanding from the ground-level.

On a global scale, as news stories brush over the internet and our conscious this week with harassment scandals and reportage aimed at dividing us—at the root of our struggle is our desire for true belonging. 

As women courageously share our stories we've kept hidden far too long, we make the first steps into the wilderness. The truth—our truth—is ultimately what leads us together. 

Which, is what Brene Browns latest book, Braving the Wilderness, is all about. It discusses the quest for true belonging, and the courage to stand alone. Given the events of this past week, this message feels more relevant than ever. Here's Why. 

The Feedback Loop  

Brown talks about the feedback loop we’re stuck in, and how the sorting of sides leads us to make assumptions about the people around us, which in turn fuels disconnection.

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“Bishop’s book tells the story of how we’ve geographically, politically, and even spiritually sorted ourselves into like-minded groups in which we silence dissent, grow more extreme in our thinking, and consume only facts that support our beliefs—making it even easier to ignore evidence that our positions are wrong. He writes, “As a result, we now live in a giant feedback loop, hearing our own thoughts about what’s right and wrong bounced back to us by the television shows we watch, the newspapers and books we read, the blogs we visit online, the sermons we hear, and the neighborhoods we live in.”

Loneliness 

On one hand, we may think sorting has caused us to have deeper social connection, because we’re hanging out idealogically and geographically with people who we perceive to be like us. If so, then shouldn’t that mean we’ve surrounded ourselves with friends and people who whom we feel deeply connected? 

Shouldn’t the “You’re either with us or against us” mentality lead to closer ties among the like-minded?

In Braving the Wilderness, Brown says the answer is a resounding and surprising no, because at the same time sorting is on the rise, so is loneliness.

Brown cites neuroscience researcher John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago (whose been studying loneliness for over 20 years) saying this is because,“as members of a social species, we don’t derive strength from our rugged individualism, but rather from our collective ability to plan, communicate, and work together.”

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True Belonging 

We’re a social species, wired for connection and true belonging. But true belonging requires vulnerability and a willingness to choose courage over comfort. 

To find true belonging, we’ll have to learn to get through, Brown says, or even better, become the wilderness.

Brown says it’s hard to hate anyone close up—we have to move in. She says the restitution and resolution of cover-ups almost always happens in the wilderness—when one person steps outside their bunker and speaks their truth.

Becoming the Wilderness

In the context of our world in this moment in time, each day women continue to break our silence, share our stories, speak our truth. And these stories aren't easy, but they're necessary. According to Brown, speaking our truth is the first step in entering the wilderness of true belonging. 

“As we think about our journey from “fitting in” to striding into the wilderness of true belonging, we will be well served by understanding and recognizing the boundaries of respecting everyone’s physical safety, and not participating in experiences or communities that utilize language and/or engage in behaviors that dehumanize people.”

The last part is especially relevant—to focus on the truth, rather than engage in behaviors that dehumanize people. We live in a world where cops are called pigs, we call the President a monster and an assaulter an animal. But this language doesn't serve us, in this quest for true belonging. 

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Beginning to brave the wilderness on a societal and systemic level involves courage, vulnerability, and stories. And every story matters, as actress Viola Davis said in the book. We are all worthy of telling our stories and having them heard. We all need to be seen and honored in the same way that we all need to breathe.

When Brown asked Davis if true belonging took the shape of a practice for her, Davis said, "Yes."

Practice of True Belonging 

Davis said, "Today, I like by a few simple rules:

  1. I am doing the best I can
  2. I will allow myself to be seen
  3. Go further. Don’t be afraid. Put it all out there. Don’t leave anything on the floor.
  4. I will not be a mystery to my daughter. She will know me and I will share my stories with her—the stories of failure, shame, and accomplishment. She will know she’s not alone in that wilderness.

I know you're feeling the outer chaos on the inside at times right now. But I think this message is especially important right now, to remind us that the feedback loop and sorting only divides us. The truth is what sets us free.

Your stories matter, your truth matters, the way you feel matters. Braving the wilderness as a collective whole starts on an individual level. Start now, by saying these words back to yourself: 

“This is who I am.

“This is where I am from.

“This is my mess.

“This is what is means to belong to myself.”

Enter your wilderness with courage and grace.
Let your truth guide you onward. 

<3 

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You Probably Need This, Right?

Why traveling should be an essential part of your self-care regime

(& it's more than a one-week trip)

Why traveling should be an essential part of your self-care regime

& it's more than a one-week trip. 
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New York Times article came out last week about Miwa Sado, a young journalist from Tokyo who worked 159 hours of overtime in a month, and then died. In Japan, they have a term for this—it's called "karoshi," or death from overwork. 

In Japan, karoshi is a phenomenon that started being recognized in the '80s. In America, it's a part of our every day life. We hear about burnout, coupled with hiking stress and lack of sleep, but now we're starting to see the research to back up why rest is such a fundamental component to our well-being. 

Karoshi (Japanese) = Death from overwork

Last year there were 658 million unused vacation days in the US. According to a study by Project Time Off, young women are the most unlikely to use their vacation days. In other words, the women of our generation are burning out, faster than ever. 

The main problem is we fall victim to societal expectations. The study calls this “martyr complex”, ie we’re not taking time off because we’re afraid of being laid off by our bosses, judged by our co-workers, or don’t see how we can manage stepping away from our role. We're glued to our jobs. And not ever giving ourselves the chance to become un-glued. 

In other words, we're stuck. 

As a result, we’re working overtime, again and again. It’s one thing to do this every so often. It’s another thing when this becomes our norm—and we give ourselves no time for our body recuperate. No space to reset, and come back to center.

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On a biochemical level, burnout and overdrive sends our bodies whirrling into a stress response, releasing cortisol into our bloodstream. Our body produces cortisol to help us respond when we’re in danger—like in a fight-or-flight situation. It’s not a state to live in. Yet, we are. And young women are the biggest victims of this condition.

Stress is the leading reason for every major health condition we face in Western society. It’s killing us, yet it’s socially accepted—praised, even—for people would rather be seen as a hard worker than be seen as someone who takes time off to prioritize their mental and physical well-being. 

We can meditate and run and workout and drink all the green juices. We can do easy going yoga as a daily practice. Which is all good. But sometimes we need something bigger. Sometimes we need to physically uproot ourselves, in a major way, in order to allow our body a chance to naturally reset. Sometimes we're at such a breaking point, that a big change is what it takes to fully heal and reset. Other times, we may not even know how dire our situation is until we're out of it. 

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This is where travel comes in.

The beautiful thing about traveling is it’s a self-correcting mechanism for change.

When we embrace massive change and give ourselves a long period of time to live in this way, our body has it’s way of re-balancing.

When we drop the stress, we drop the weight, the anxiety, the uncertainty, the overwhelm, without any medicine. When we create space for harmony to enter into our lives, it flows in, and we find a newfound ease.

When our emotions change, everything else follows 

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Our body starts to create new neurological pathways, and serotonin (the feel-good hormone) starts to reproduce in our body in a natural way. We’re feeling better because we’re having new life experiences, laughing, having long hugs and even longer conversations. We’re finding real connection, and doing things that bring us natural joy. And our emotions change, so we change. 

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We’ve become conditioned to this idea that we need multiple prescriptions and doctors just to feel good. But in reality, we just need to give our body the chance to feel good. To re-learn how to actually feel.

The prescription we really need is one for a long vacation, without our laptop, and in a faraway country with a different culture. Viewing travel as a part of our self-care routine, where it’s a slow and steady experience of coming back to center, rather than an indulgent flash-weekend in Vegas.

Traveling is a way to heal.  

It's a gateway to natural wellbeing.

And it's a vehicle to become more of who you already are. 

It’s a way to come back to center, re-establish base, and start from good. And the cool thing about it, is when done in a certain way, it’s inexpensive (way cheaper than therapy), health-inducing, easy . . . and fun. So why wouldn't you?

It goes against our no-pain-no-gain society. But when we choose ourselves and prioritize our health, we realize feeling good has a ripple effect. When we feel good, we help everyone around us feel good too.

So take the trip, and watch everyone around you benefit. Spread the good love. 


You Are Your Own Best Tour Guide

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Full disclosure: I'm not into tours. Maybe there's a few I could be convinced to go on, but for the most part they make me tired and fidgety. I kind of turn into a five-year-old when I have to walk a certain pace and follow the leader. You know? I would rather get some inside scoop or find locals to tell me the way. 

This idea requires a shift in mentality, and is rooted in the fact that no one knows you better than you.  We live in an age where we want to have everything done for us. The planning, the scheduling, the itinerary down to the minute. There's so many people telling us where to go and what to do and how to have "the best experience ever"—without actually allowing us the time and space to have an experience. 

There's a difference between going somewhere for a week-long guided getaway, and going to a place open and curious, eyes wide to finding its quirks, ins-and-outs and hidden gems on your own. Finding the places that speak to you, rather than being spoken to you. 

Becoming open to letting yourself have an experience means getting away from high expectations and short time frames. It's about accepting uncertainty, having blind faith, and letting yourself go along for the ride. If travel is all about getting to know the true flavor of a place (and of yourself in that place), this doesn't just happen on a two-week trip. This takes time. Slowing down. Being open. 

And it's worth it. Because when we have time and zero expectations, the magic of travel seeps in. 

Going on a guided tour leaves no room for spontaneity. Where is the time to wander down that unmarked street to find the corner restaurant brimming with people? Or the dinner that goes deep into the night? Where's the space get lost in the corner cafe for hours, writing and reflecting on everything happening to you? 

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When we live our lives according to such a tight structure and plan, travel should be the exception. When we plan so much, we don't give ourselves the chance to truly relax, and we leave no room for the unexpected to seep into our days. We miss out on opportunities to meet people, go off course, have an adventure, try something different, and test ourselves. And isn't that the whole point of traveling? To have an experience that reveals your true colors, depths and strengths? 

We go on the road not just for the destination and sights, but to find out a little more about who we really are. To feel how it feels to live in our skin again. And not just skimming the surface, but the things about ourselves we never knew before. We travel to come alive.

If you're thinking you need a tour guide to be safe, or get where you're going, because everything seems so overwhelming, the truth is: you are so much stronger than you know. Once you get over there, you'll realize you're more capable than you ever imagined, tougher than you look, more adventurous than you ever gave yourself credit for.

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You'll find a rhythm and flow that's natural to you. You might blow your own mind once or twice. Give yourself the opportunity to let this happen to you—allow yourself to show yourself what you're made of.

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Rather than diluting the experience by cramming tons of activities into a short amount of time, all while having high expectations, have faith in your wandering ways. Slow down. Stay awhile. Give yourself the opportunity to question and change, and the time to grow into yourself there. 

Leave room for spontaneity. Create space for the unpredictable. Don't go looking for magic. Linger awhile. The magic will find you. 

Leave room for spontaneity. Create space for the unpredictable. Don't go looking for magic. Linger awhile. The magic will find you. 

The world is yours . . . the only question now is: where will you go?

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The Power of Place

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We’re always going through a season of our life, even if we don’t realize it. When we move with the rhythm of the seasons, each beat tunes to a different cord, requiring a different pace. Every person, like every season, thrives in different elements for given periods of time.

If you're feeling like everything is so wrong and don't know what—maybe you're just not in the right place, for you, right now.

For some, thriving is the sun beating on the skin, fueling the inside from the outside. For others, it’s in the water, the adrenaline of rising and crashing with the waves. Or being in the mountains, feeling the rush of alpine air against the cheek. Maybe it’s in villages, where the people and produce are.

Sometimes we can be so quick to think there’s something wrong with us, when in reality we just aren’t in the right place. 

Often we take where we live for granted. We get comfortable, or overlook our relationship with it, without questioning if it's supporting us and the person we're becoming.

The thing about changing a place, is everything else in your life inherently changes too. It’s like a fast lane to getting out of bad habits, routines and systems and into living the life you really want to live.

Even if you’re thinking “I don’t know how I want to feel”—it’s a universal desire to want to feel free, present and alive. To embody our days, living full in expression, being true to our nature.

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Sometimes you have to steal your heart back. Sometimes you need to ignore the messages and trust yourself—but be real with yourself too. Are you being supported by your place? Are you in flow with it—giving but also receiving? Do you adore this place? Do you catch yourself smiling, giddy on the inside on an afternoon walk, just because?

Not that every day should be like this. But some moments. Some days. We all deserve to be in love with the place we live. And if you're not, know that it's out there. 

This is the Power of Place:

When we change our place, so much else in our life shifts in our favor. We all have the opportunity and the privilege to live where we choose, and to choose with intention. Because if you aren’t happy where you are, there is a place in this world for you. A place where you will feel supported and free to be you. 

The destination is always changing, because you are always changing.

We become the places we live. The work is in the process—the leaving, the opening, the unraveling. Things are happening before you see it. That’s why, sometimes, when you arrive in a new place, you feel yourself open. You’ve been digging deep, cleaning closets and old wounds. Then you arrive, and maybe for the first time, become open to receiving.

And when you are open to receiving, your truth rises to the surface. 

Are you in love with the place you live? Change your place, change your life. 

Do This When You Have No Idea How to Get Started

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I know it’s hard, when you’ve got this vision in your mind of a different way of living. It’s keeping you up at night and hijacking your thoughts and taking up too much mental space. 

Beyond feeling like you can’t really talk to your parents or friends about it, there’s also that doom of “how do I even get started?” The world feels big and the task of getting into it even bigger . . . and you're busy . . . and feel like the time needed to figure it out just doesn't exist. 

AND THEN there's the deep dark world of the travel internet. Where one search leads you into government agency websites and endless forums and everyones opinion on everything. And you feel defeated before you ever started. 

But good news is, it’s easier than you think. Everything is easier than we think it is.  We're just really good at getting in our own way. 

Especially when it comes to finally making the decision to book the trip. And not just any trip, but one that will take you long and far into another place. 

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Visualize 
Holding this picture in your mind, search the web for inspiring images that look like this. Go to Pinterest or Tumblr or Instagram—somewhere that’s more inspiring than stressful. Save your favorite images. Scatter them in your life. Save them as your desktop, or screensaver. Print them out and make a vision board, or a Pinterest board.

Just don’t find them and let them sit. Put them in places you’ll see them. Let your mind wander every time you look.

Remember . . .everything starts with a thought. And thoughts start with a feeling. So focus on finding how you want to feel. Give this feeling an image, meditate on it, visualize it, imagine it. Then write about it, and speak about it, and visualize more.  Couple this with decisive action, and those mental pictures can soon become your reality. If you can dream it, you can do it. You might surprise yourself by how fast it can happen. 

Focusing on finding and cultivating this feeling is the most important thing. Because it’s going to give you direction about what feels right, not for anyone else—but for you.
Drop fantasies about where you wanted to go in college or in high school or two months ago. You’re always in a season of your life—and where you live has a huge impact on this—so focus on what feels good right now. 

How WildRogue Got Its Start

Jaclyn_Norton_Bangkok_WildRogue


Let's just say it started from a feeling (. . . doesn't everything?) 

One I couldn't find words for, at first. This feeling comes after awhile on the road. When you're detached and really away from it all—from home, your family, your friends—you're so detached from all the things that once defined you, yet you're so close to center.

It's like for the first time, you found your home—and it's not from any external places or relationships. This one home is in yourself. 

Through this I realized traveling isn't just about going to a place to skim over the surface and get away for a week. Traveling is about self-discovery and re-creating yourself. And when you get off that plane you can be anyone you want. But inevitably, you always come back to yourself.

That's what travel is: a vehicle to become more of the person you already are. 

I think life is a continuous process of answering and re-answering that question: who am I? But I used to be so unsure. For me, travel is my answer to this lifelong question. It's a process that connects me to my world, and to myself. And it just. feels. good. 

​So WildRogue was born from a desire to re-create this feeling.

When we're so far out in the world, but so connected to ourselves. 

 When we're wild: connected to our true, inherent nature 

And when we're rogue: on our own, diverting from the pack, going our own way to create our own path.  

It's a space designed to help you get over the fear of just going, give you the tools you need to actually do it, discuss what's actually going on (in our mind and our bodies) when we leap, and connect us to each other. Because the beauty of being a rogue woman, is there are others out there—but you don't know until you go. 

This is not just a travel blog, or a tour book, or a "how I quit my job to travel the world site." It's not about sending you on a group tour or someone telling you how to experience something (unless it's food.) It's about finding this experience that's uniquely you, in yourself. And how you can support yourself and others in the process.

I'm putting the focus away from the massive sights and destinations, and back onto the little things we often overlook, like the daily practices, rituals and routines that keep us calm and healthy, no matter where you are—and reigniting wonder. Giving yourself permission to play. 

Instead, it's about having blind faith, endless optimism, a belief in the goodness in humanity, and leaving space for spontaneity. It's about planning less, experiencing more, flying further and staying longer.  

Magic happens when you let a place sink under your skin.  So often you can underestimate the power of a place—yet it can be a catalyst for change. An avenue to come alive. 

Through travel you learn more about the person you are here to be. You can find your light, your passions, your love. You have experiences that influence you for the rest of your life. 

So WildRogue is a space for travel, for health, for living your truth and becoming more you. It's dedicated to the woman in flight—changing, transitioning, spreading her wings to fly. And getting her ready for takeoff. 


So much about travel focuses on the beautiful places and exotic meals, and less on what's really happening in this process—what's happening on the inside. The hormones, the doubt, the ways we take care of ourselves and others. We often overlook the little things: the daily practices, rituals and routines that keep us sane in the journey, to get healthy and stay healthy, no matter where you are—and how to let yourself just play and be happy. 

Chai Chia Pudding Parfait

Chai-Chia-Pudding-Parfait-Picture

Chai chia pudding parfait. Chai chia pudding parfait. Chai chia pudding parfait. 

Is it just me or is this really fun to say? Alliteration overload? Maybe.

This thing. This beauty in a jar. I've got deep love for this recipe for a couple reasons:

  1. Every time you make it it's different, which keeps it fun.
  2. It's one of those things you're always really glad you brought with you. Mostly because it tastes as good as it looks.  
  3. It's season-neutral. Just as good on the slopes during ski season as after yoga class in the summer. 
  4. You can twist the lid and take it with you, pretty much anywhere. (Just not through airport security because they consider chia pudding "a liquid" and will take it, FYI.)
  5. You can get as crazy & creative as your mind wants with the layering. So dream big, sister. 
  6. You don't reaaally have to use a recipe. You can ago easy on the chai if you want to keep the chia simple. Or you can get super spicy. So it's pretty universal. 
chai-chia-pudding-parfait-recipe

Chai Chia Pudding Parfait Recipe 

Ingredients for Pudding:

1 1/2 C Almond Milk
1/2 C Chia Seeds 
2  tbsp. Pure Vanilla Extract 
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Five Spice or All Spice 
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Cloves 
Pinch of sea salt

Ingredients for Parfait:

Nuts: Pecans, Almonds, Walnuts 
Coconut Flakes  
Fresh fruit: raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, banana, mango
Cacao Nibs 

Optional Ingredients:

Sunflower Seeds 
Pepitas
Granola 
Coconut Yogurt 
Dates ​
Figs 

Ingredients-chai-chia-pudding-parfait

Directions 

For the Chai Chia Pudding:

In a bowl, combine milk, chia seeds, vanilla and spices together. Whisk with a fork or spoon until well combined, whisking often to make sure the chia seeds don't clump together. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour, or cover and put in fridge overnight for best results. Makes 2 Cups. 

For the Parfait:

Layer 1: Fill 1/3 mason jar with Chai Chia Pudding

Layer 2: Coconut flakes (This creates a base for fruit & nut to sit on—keeps it separate from pudding.)

Layer 3: Nuts/Seeds (Walnuts/Almonds/Pepitas/Sunflower Seeds. Can also add Dates/Figs on top here)

Layer 4: Fruit (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries are my favorite)

Layer 5: Sprinkle Topping (Cacao Nibs, Coconut Flakes, Granola, Honey)

Peak of Summer Berry Crisp

It's probably true that if I wasn't having a Northwest summer I wouldn't be writing this. But I am, and there is nothing quite like blackberry season in the Northwest. And if you happen to be anywhere with fresh berries, this recipe is for you.

There's this part in a Tom Robbin's book (Skinny Legs and All, I believe) where talks about how Seattle should have planted blackberry bushes at the base of buildings, so over time they would grow upwards, building a natural canopy to protect us from the rain. The bushes would connect between buildings, allowing Seattleites natural coverage so we could eat outside even during the rainy season—which is so Melbourne.

But this recipe has nothing to do with the book and everything to do with blackberries, because 'tis the season in the Northwest. And there is something about this time of year here. When the days are long and you find yourself amongst bushes beaming with ripe, round, juicy, pungent blackberries. Can't help but put them to good use. 

You can use whatever berries you want in this recipe, or even peaches or nectarines. I did a raspberry, blueberry, blackberry combo. It's one of those minimal effort maximum impact desserts—it will go quick at a BBQ and be eaten probably for all three meals until it's gone. It's that good. 

The recipe is from Tom Douglas, who knows a thing or two about Northwest summers. 

Peak-of-Summer-Berry-Crisp-Tom-Douglas

Recipe 

Makes five to six servings 

Ingredients for the Topping:

2/3 C     Old-Fashioned Oats
2/3 C     FirmlyPacked Brown Sugar 
2/3 C     All-Purpose Flour (I used Coconut Flour & it worked great too)
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) Cold, Unsalted Butter, Cut into Dice 

For the Berries:

2 C     Fresh Raspberries 
2 C     Fresh Blueberries, Picked Over for Stems 
2 C     Fresh Blackberries (Recipe didn't call for this but I added) 
1/2 C  Granulated Sugar (I used Coconut Sugar—if berries are very sweet, you may want to use less)
2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour

For Garnish:

Vanilla Ice Cream, Sweetened Whipped Cream, Coconut Whipped Cream, Mint.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To make the crisp topping, combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a bowl. Add the diced butter to the dry ingredients and blend with a pastry blender or the tips of your fingers until crumbly. Set aside. 
  2. In another bowl, toss the berries with the sugar and flour, using a rubber spatula. Pour the berries into a 9-inch pie pan. Cover the berries with crisp topping. Set the filled pie pan on a baking sheet to catch any juices, then place in the oven and bake until the topping is golden brown and the juices are bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes. 
  3. On the Plate: Spoon generous portions of the warm crisp into wide shallow bowls and top with scoops of ice cream or whipped cream.
  4. A step ahead: If you're loving the crisp, it's super easy to make a large batch of crisp topping (just double or triple the recipe) and keep in airtight container in the freezer. 
peak-of-summer-berry-crisp-fresh-baked

The World is Affordable

You're probably reading this and wondering . . . "How do I live, pay rent . . .and bills, while having any sort of social life . . . and then have money to travel. 

And I know there's a lot out there about travel hacks and all the ways to be a digital nomad jaunting around the globe for free, but I'm not going to go down that hole. I'll just make it simple for you. 

Think about it for a minute: 

When you travel, all (or most) of your bills go away. Add on top of the gas and transportation costs, happy hours and eating out, shopping, groceries. In other words, your lifestyle changes. 

It's not that you're not eating out or buying anything, but when you go to a place where the cost of living is way less, your dollar goes way further.

So you're living a better (and in many ways, more lux-feeling lifestyle) for a fraction of your rent cost alone. 

It's easy to get into habits of buying your almond lattes and lunch with a friend, that snack on the way home, or the extra glass of wine, without even realizing the expenses in one day. 

When you're one the road you not only become way more aware of your spending habits because you're out of your regular routine, you're also living on less and needing less to begin with. 

Life simplifies: fewer clothes, definitive meals (vs. eating on the go or at the desk), fewer obligations and people to answer to. This allows you to take an honest look at your life and what it's filled with. 

Plus, once you make the firm, ride or die decision to actually do this—to make the leap. Everything changes. Everything.​ You're not mindlessly spending your money on Uber's and that top that only looked good in the dressing room, because your mind is set on a bigger goal. That vision is propelling every decision you make. 

Wherever you are, all it takes is a change in mindset. You could spend the same amount of money on a bachelorette weekend in Vegas or a birthday weekend in Palm Springs as you could in a month in Vietnam. You could splurge on those jeans and the purse or go to a place where you don't even need shoes. It's all a choice. And the choice is yours. 

Some tips to make the world more affordable than you could ever imagine:

  1. Spend More on the Flight
    Fly longer, so the dollar will go further. It might cost you more to get there, but once you're there you will be spending less on food and accomodation, vs. arriving at a place where a cocktail is twenty dollars and you're buying every meal out.
    Go further, save more, stay longer. 
  2. Be An Adventurous Eater
    It's the difference between having a western burrito for dinner in an eastern country  versus the local dish. Every place has a regional cuisine which will always be cheaper and more accessible. It just takes being open to it.  
  3. Go to the Market 
    As soon as you arrive in a place, go to the market or grocery store to get fruit, nuts, water, and whatever else. These places are great ways to dig into a culture and also save money.
  4. Lost the "Vacation Mode"Mentality 
    This mentality just causes you to binge eat and lose your balance. It sends your hormones raging and puts extra stress on your body. Your lifestyle is your lifestyle, and it shouldn't change based on your location. But if you have bad habits or are feeling unhealthy, traveling is a prime time to hit the reset button. 

What's the biggest thing holding you back about traveling? What's the biggest money-related issue keeping you from booking the ticket? Leave a comment or ask me a money question. 

I know what you're thinking. You probably read this and were like, "How can I live? How do I actually pay rent, and bills, and have any sort of social life . . . and then have money to travel. 

And I know there's a lot out there about travel hacks and a million and one ways to be a digital nomad jaunting around the globe for free, but I'm not going to go down that hole. I'll just make it simple for you. 

Think about it for a minute: 

When you travel, all (or most) of your bills go away. The big ones at least, like rent, cell phones. Add on top of the gas or transportation costs, happy hours and eating out, shopping, groceries.

It's not that you're not eating out or buying anything, but when you go to a place where the cost of living is way less, your dollar goes way further.

So you're living a better (and in many ways, more luxurious-feeling lifestyle) for a fraction of your rent cost alone.

It's easy to get into habits of buying your almond latte (or two) a day, then lunch with a friend, that snack on the way home, or the extra glass of wine, without even realizing the expenses in one day. 

When you're one the road you not only become way more aware of your spending habits because you're out of your regular routine, you're also living on less and needing less to begin with. 

Life simplifies: fewer clothes, definitive meals (vs. eating on the go or at the desk), fewer obligations and people to answer to. This allows you to take an honest look at your life and what it's filled with. 

Plus, once you make the firm, ride or die decision to actually do this—to make the leap. Everything changes. Everything.​ You're not mindlessly spending your money on Uber's and that top that only looked good in the dressing room, because your mind is set on a bigger goal. That vision is propelling every decision you make. 

Wherever you are, all it takes is a change in mindset. You could spend the same amount of money on a bachelorette weekend in Vegas or a birthday weekend in Palm Springs as you could in a month in Vietnam. You could splurge on those jeans and the purse or go to a place where you don't even need shoes. It's all a choice. And the choice is yours. 

Some tips to make the world more affordable than you could ever imagine:

  1. Spend More on the Flight
    Fly longer, so the dollar will go further. It might cost you more to get there, but once you're there you will be spending less on food and accomodation, vs. arriving at a place where a cocktail is twenty dollars and you're buying every meal out. 
    Go further, save more, stay longer. 
  2. Be An Adventurous Eater
    It's the difference between having a western burrito for dinner in an eastern country  versus the local dish. Every place has a regional cuisine which will always be cheaper and more accessible. It just takes being open to it.  
  3. Go to the Market 
    As soon as you arrive in a place, go to the market or grocery store to get fruit, nuts, water, and whatever else. These places are great ways to dig into a culture and also save money.
  4. Lost the "Vacation Mode"Mentality 
    This mentality just causes you to binge eat and lose your balance. It sends your hormones raging and puts extra stress on your body. Your lifestyle is your lifestyle, and it shouldn't change based on your location. But if you have bad habits or are feeling unhealthy, traveling is a prime time to hit the reset button. 

What's the biggest thing holding you back about traveling? What's the biggest money-related issue keeping you from booking the ticket? Leave a comment or ask me a money question.