The Happiness of Pursuit

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As many of you already know, reading happens to be one of my favorite things to do. I also love talking and sharing about what books I’m currently reading.

A few days ago, Josh and I returned to Florida for a few days before our honeymoon. On my porch was a small manila package with the return address being a publisher.

I rushed inside to open the package and discovered an advance copy of a book by one of my favorite authors and one of the coolest human beings on earth, Chris Guillebeau.

If you’re not familiar with Chris, he is an author, entrepreneur, founder of WDS, and all-around superstar. And in addition to all of that, he’s traveled to every country in the world.

The Happiness of Pursuit is Chris’s third book, after writing “The art of non-conformity” and “The $100 Start-up”. I own both and would highly recommend them.

It took me all of three days to read his latest book and I probably would have finished it sooner but I wanted to let some of the ideas really sink in so I waited a day to finish it up.

To sum up this entire book I would use the single word “quest”

In Chris’s typical humorous, witty, and down-to-earth writing style, he invites us all to engage in a quest of our own. By combining his own experiences with traveling and life along with stories from numerous other people, he encourages readers to find a quest of their own.

Chris suggests that there is a set of criteria for a quest which includes:

  1. A clear goal and a specific endpoint
  2. A clear challenge
  3. Requires sacrifice of some kind
  4. Often driven by a calling or mission
  5. Requires a series of small steps and incremental process toward the goal

The quests that are listed in the book range from a man who walked across the United States from Portland, Maine to San Francisco. Another interesting example was a young man who completed the 4 year  M.I.T computer science curriculum in a single year. Chris also mentioned a mom from Oklahoma who cooked a meal for her family from every country in the world.

While each example was extremely different, many of the themes and specific criteria remained similar. Each person was on a journey towards something specific, with a number of challenges throughout (another definition that is given for what a quest is).

Overall, I found that The Happiness of Pursuit challenged me as a person to come up with my own new ideas for quests and I also loved that the book was full of real-life stories.

The book comes out today and I would highly recommend that you all check it out for yourselves! Click here to check it out!

“When you sense discontent, pay attention” -Chris Guillebeau (The Happiness of Pursuit)

P.S. As you’re reading this I am probably on a plane to NYC and then on to London! My husband and I will be on our honeymoon for the next month. I won’t have a computer so I probably will not be able to do much posting.

However, I’ll try to post some pics to my Instagram and Facebook so if you’re interested in following along on my journey through Europe..make sure to follow me on social media.

Happy reading!

London, Peru & other travel adventures

Hanging out with Carolina the Spider Monkey on Isla de los Monos (Monkey Island) in Peru

Hanging out with Carolina the Spider Monkey on Isla de los Monos (Monkey Island) in Peru

 

I’m so excited to introduce you all to my friend Arianna Joy! She has had so many exciting travel adventures from London to Amsterdam to Peru…with so many interesting stops in-between. I hope you enjoy her story and make sure to connect with her online at  www.TheHolisticExplorer.com

 

Tell us a little about yourself…where are you currently living and what are you doing there? Also, any background info that you would like to tell us about?

Two years ago I left to go on a two week trip to London and little did I know at the time how far this journey would take me. That two week vacation led to me leaving everything I knew behind and living in Europe for 13 months, visiting 10 different countries during that time.

This time last year, I officially committed to making the trek down to Peru to work with the sacred visionary plant, ayahuasca. Despite everything in my life “logically” telling me that I shouldn’t make that trip, I again left everything I knew to follow my heart and intuition to the Amazon jungle.

What started as my being a guest for one month at a healing center, turned into me volunteering there for another 5 months. During my 6 months in Peru I learned more about myself and life than I’d learned in 23 years previously.

The magic I experienced there was out of this world and has profoundly influenced the way I interact with life.

Almost 4 months ago, I once again made the decision to follow my gut instinct to come back to America, not having any clue where I was going or what I would be doing for anything more than about a month after I arrived. As always, the Universe provides and I have been given some of the most amazing opportunities lately!

I recently relaunched my blog and coaching practice, The Holistic Explorer, where I provide insights and inspiration to my supporters, encouraging them to explore their life unapologetically.

Overlooking Benidorm, Spain

Overlooking Benidorm, Spain

 

What is your favorite place that you’ve been?

Of the 14 countries I’ve explored, Peru has had the biggest impact on me, and not just because of my working there with ayahuasca. I had never been to a third world country before, and was unsure of what to expect when I arrived. I’d heard so much on the news and from worried friends and family about the dangers of traveling in South America alone, especially as a female, but honestly, I never once felt unsafe.

The people in Peru, especially the Amazon jungle, may not have much when it comes to personal possessions, but the love in their hearts is visible in every part of their life. Many times when I asked for directions, they didn’t just point the way, they actually took me there personally. Peruvians love tourists, and are fascinated by the western way of life.

In general, Peruvians are very family-oriented. It’s not unusual to see multiple generations living in the same home. I believe there’s a true power that comes from this sort of connection, and it’s felt by those who come in contact with it.

The terrain of Peru is like few other places in the world. Everything from the rainforest, to the beach, to the Andes mountains is found in a country roughly the size of California. Jungle tours, surfing, and trekking are just a few adventures to explore while in Peru.

Riding in a boat up the Amazon River

Riding in a boat up the Amazon River

 

When did you get the travel bug?

My mother was an exchange student in Denmark as a teenager, so I grew up hearing all about her experiences in Europe. She has always encouraged both me and my brother, Jordan, to travel whenever we have the chance.

I took my first plane ride when I was 7, on a family trip to Florida, and the next summer Jordan and I traveled alone to visit my grandmother in New Mexico. When I was 15 I made my first international flight, alone, to London for a youth leadership conference.

When I decided to stay in Europe two years ago, my mom was my biggest supporter, and again when I decided to make my way to Peru. I can definitely say I have my mom to thank for my wanderlust! 🙂

Any travel or living abroad advice?

If I had to give one bit of advice for traveling and living abroad, it would be to go with the flow. I live my life by the idea of “rigid flexibility.” I know, it’s a bit of a paradox, but here’s how it works: Always have a plan, yet be fully willing to surrender and let go of that plan at any time. The thing is, we can only see so far ahead of us, and we never know what opportunities lie just outside of our conscious awareness.

You may think you’re going to London just to volunteer at a seminar, but then you may meet an Indian monk who invites you to a yoga teacher training course on a mystical mountain in Portugal. Then you may end up meeting a great guy and living with him in Amsterdam for 9 months before learning about an ancient medicine from the Amazon and making your way to South America to explore the depths of your consciousness.

You may think you’re coming back to America to just make some quick money to continue your travels, but then you may be on a plane to New York City to meet with a best selling author and public speaker to discuss your future. (That’s my story, by the way! Now, go create your own! )

You never just never know, and that’s a part of the adventure. Be willing to surrender what you think should be, and let the magic unfold.

Hiking in the Cascade Mountains of Central Oregon

Hiking in the Cascade Mountains of Central Oregon

 

Any funny/interesting stories or people you’ve met along the way?

One of my favorite parts of traveling and exploring the work is the eclectic people I meet from all walks of life that I probably wouldn’t have come across if I’d stayed in one corner of the world. Each one of them has a story with beautiful messages to share. I’ve come across everyone from an American doctor doing genetic research in Europe while practicing yoga and meditation daily, to a math teacher who does astrological readings as a side job.

I’ve befriended a wildlife zoologist who was rehabilitating Amazonian river dolphins, and a fashion designer turned consciousness explorer. I’ve met best friends, lovers, and soul sisters on this journey.

Some stay with me for a short time, as we teach each other the lessons we’re ready to learn, and others will be by my side forever, no matter the distance between us. Either way, everyone I have crossed paths within this lifetime will always have a special place in my heart for the memories we’ve shared together.

How can we connect with you online? blog, social media, etc.

Website and blog:www.TheHolisticExplorer.com

Facebook:www.facebook.com/holisticexplorer

Twitter:www.twitter.com/AriannaExplores

YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmFnYyQLLkrIPSdqT1rJTdA

 

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Tomorrow morning I fly out to San Francisco with a brief layover in Detroit, Michigan. I’m so excited to see Josh (my fiancee) and I can’t wait to see everything that he and his family have planned for us.

I was sitting in my room yesterday and the words “love well” immediately came to mind.

Deciding to love well is one of the most important decisions that you or I will ever make in our lives and one that will have the most positive or negative results.

What does it mean to you to love well?

San Vicente, El Salvador

El Sunzal, El Salvador

El Sunzal, El Salvador

 

Next Tuesday I will be hopping on a plane to head out west to California. However, while I’m gone…I have guest posts written by two amazing travel junkies. I’m sure you’ll enjoy getting to know them and their travel stories.

In February of 2013, I was living in San Vicente, El Salvador. For those of you who don’t know much about El Salvador it is a very small but beautiful country nestled between the southern half of Guatemala and the Western border of Honduras.

While I was there, my team and I put together and facilitated programs at local schools throughout the town of San Vicente.

View from San Vicente Tower

View from San Vicente Tower

 

Our team had 1 off day per week and those days were usually spent visiting the capital, San Salvador.

Although we loved the pupusa’s and other local food…eating our favorite foods from home was always a special treat. And something that we really looked forward to.

Day off in San Salvador

Day off in San Salvador

 

Our local friend, Gustavo

Our local friend, Gustavo

 

If you’ve ever visited other countries…then you might understand how exciting finding WiFi can be. In the U.S. we are so used to having easy access to the internet everyday.

However, once you start to travel, you find that the search for WiFi is always an adventure.

 

Best coffee in San Vicente!

Best coffee in San Vicente!

 

Wifi & snack break

Wifi & snack break

 

This is the little corner where I would lay out my sleeping bag and pillow each night.

On the right side of the photo you can see that the wall is open. A cool breeze would come through the holes each evening and morning which made the hot days much more tolerable.

Although it might seem simple, I really loved our accommodations during our time in San Vicente. Our team would have feedback and team time together each evening and that time together allowed us to get to know one another even better.

My bed for the month

My bed for the month

 

After we left Tegucigalpa, Honduras, we were given a few days to relax in El Sunzal, El Salvador. The two photos below are the view at the hostels where we stayed.

I spent most of my time in El Sunzal journaling and walking along the beautiful beach.

El Sunzal

El Sunzal

 

El Sunzal

El Sunzal

 

The people of El Sunzal were so kind to us and they actually set up a makeshift screen so that we could all watch the Superbowl.

I have to admit that it will probably be the most memorable Superbowl experience that I will ever have. We even had nachos to eat as we watched the game.

Watching the Super Bowl, 2013

Watching the Super Bowl, 2013

 

Overall, my experience in El Salvador was simply amazing. I enjoyed visiting the country so much and it was one of my favorite countries that we visited on the race.

Have you ever been to El Salvador or anywhere else in Central America? If so, where did you go? If not, where would you want to go if you were given the chance to visit Central America?

Linked to the My Global Life Link-Up at SmallPlanetStudio.com

P.S. Check out my Re-entry interview on Small Planet Studio that just went live this past Monday

Let go of the distractions!

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I’ve been so proud of myself lately! My phone used to be such a huge distraction for me.

I would be sitting at my computer during the day and would be constantly taking breaks to check my text messages, Instagram, or Facebook.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that until a few weeks ago…I probably checked Instagram just about every hour.

What a waste of time! I would be telling myself not to do it and yet I would find myself berating others for their excessive social media habits while I myself was doing the same thing!

I finally decided a few weeks ago that I would just take it day by day. Instead of being angry with myself…I would instead resolve to only focus on the present moment.

The true test starts each morning when I start the day by listening to a podcast.

I used to try and multitask during this time but realized that it was so distracting and ineffective. Instead of starting my morning with some inspirational words…I would instead be scattered and would find that I would recall very little of what I had just heard, minutes before.

So, I decided to stay away from the phone.

And the not so surprising result…I am so much more focused! In every aspect of life.

Regardless of what I am working on, I know that I need to be 100% focused on the task at hand.

I know that this sounds very simple…but I’m sharing this because I believe that I’m probably not alone.

I’m probably not the only person who wishes that they spent less time on Instagram & Facebook. And I’m probably not the only one who would be embarrassed to admit how many times they check social media each day.

So, now I’ll turn it over to you.

What is the biggest social media distraction in your life? Don’t force yourself to be perfect all at once. Instead, try the method that worked for me.

Start with today!

Work on it a little bit today…and maybe even a little more tomorrow!

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