PART XVI: KUNG FU PANDA
YEAR: FALL 2016
So, after many visa complications, endless hours of research, and an unexpected hip-dislocation (<YA!), I got everything sorted, hopped aboard a 23 hour flight from NYC to Zhengzhou. My “original” plan…(you know by now how well those original plans seem to work out for).. was to train at a Kung Fu academy at the Shaolin Temple for one month, and travel for one month. I would be learning about subjects such as Buddhism, meditation, breathing techniques, nutrition and Chinese Medicine in addition to what I would be doing in my physical training. I would be living on-site, and following the strict rules of the academy.
I wanted to immerse myself into a completely new culture, and learn about an ancient physical art form that was completely different from anything I had done before! I wanted to challenge myself, and improve physically and mentally.
In theory all of this sounds like a great plan- but once I actually arrived to China, things were not as I had expected. While searching for an academy back in the US, I was looking for a peaceful place to retreat to- somewhere in nature, where I could be off of the grid away from the world, practice meditation and work on my physical self.
When I saw the photos and description of the academy I had chosen, I thought- “oooh! How about this one on the grounds of a famous Buddhist Temple! Perfect!!!!”
Little did I know that this area was home to not only my academy, but about 100 others as well! What I had originally envisioned as being a tranquil place in nature, turned out to be an extremely hectic, loud, chaotic place, filled with action from 5am to 9pm, all day long. Why I chose to go to the most populated country in the world for peace and quiet is beyond me, but …you live you learn!
Needless to say, I decided to cut my time at the academy short, and focus on travel the breathtaking landscapes that China had to offer! After a month in this wacky and weird country, I flew back home.
PART XVII: THE ART OF EPIC LIVING
YEAR: FALL 2016 – WINTER 2016
Location: NY, MEXICO & THE BAHAMAS
China was definitely the most difficult trip I had ever taken. The language barrier was a whole new level of challenging, and at times, the chaos and crowds were more than I could handle.
I learned a lot, and I had a lot to process. I went back down to my new favorite place in the world, Puerto Escondido, to think through the events of the past couple of months…and to think through the events of my life in general!
If I had learned anything at Kung Fu Academy, it was that people can do the unthinkable, and reach seemingly impossible goals with the proper dedication and focus. The passion, devotion and INCREDIBLE abilities of the Kung Fu warriors, some of whom were no more than 4 years old, was incredible to me.
Although I learned quickly that Kung Fu was not my thing during my time in China, I realized that I could apply this same concept toward my personal passions.
I had been living life to the fullest, and following my heart. I have designed my life into something that I appreciate and love every single day. I spent my years since college traveling the world, enjoying my jobs abroad, and encountering thousands of amazing people from all walks of life!
I had already demonstrated to myself that I was capable of achieving an epic lifestyle. However, as appealing as that may sound, it was not necessarily fulfilling at that point, and I knew that I had so much more to offer the world!
Something clicked inside of me, and I decided to shift my focus toward helping others who are looking to improve their to their own lives! Whether in regards to travel, well-being or lifestyle, my passion is to help others follow their passions, and to live happier and healthier lives!
I returned to the Bahamas, to freelance on boats and saving more money than ever before. I was driven toward saving money in order to have the time and space to fulfill my dream of creating a brand that will hopefully make positive changes in the lives of others, as well as make the world a better place.
PART XVIII: VIVA MEXICO!
YEAR: WINTER 2017
So after spending some time in the Bahamas, I planned to head back to the coast of Oaxaca in Mexico, where I would base for a couple of months.
I wanted to go to a comfortable and beautiful location that I knew fairly well, in order to host filmmakers and friends who wanted to help me to create my brand!
I ended up landing a housesitting job in the gorgeous city of San Miguel de Allende between my yacht job and my stint in Puerto Escondido. San Miguel is a colorful and vibrant city, which is home to many creative types. The people, the city and the landscape were all equal in their beauty, and it was a pleasure to spend 3 weeks there.
After my housesitting gig, I took a short flight down to the coast of Oaxaca, where I was joined by an amazing filmmaker with whom I planned to film my youtube trailer for my new brand!
The filmmaker and I ventured to a few different locations around the state of Oaxaca, and captured many amazing shots!
Soon after that, a couple of my friends and another filmmaker arrived to Puerto Escondido to help me out with my brand as well. My apartment was transformed into a creative space for brainstorming and passionate conversations.
I used this time to work hard toward defining the vision that I had in my head, so that I could confidently create it for the world to hopefully enjoy! I worked hard, I learned a lot, and I of course enjoyed the beach here and there!
PART XIX: ISLAND LIFE IN ANTIGUA
YEAR: SPRING 2017
Location: ANTIGUA & BARBUDA
Well, I was nearly out of money in Mexico by the end of March. My plan was to wrap up my website work and head back to the Bahamas in order to replenish my funds.
Just as I was trying to sort out my plans for April, a friend randomly messaged me and asked if I would like to join her and a couple of other travelers to sail around Antigua!
This was an opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up despite the fact that I could barely afford it. I used my airline points to purchase my flight from Mexico to the Caribbean Island of Antigua, and hoped that I wouldn’t run out of money.
When I got to Antigua, my friends were anchored on the island of Barbuda. I thought that it would be easy enough to take a ferry or a flight over to them, but unfortunately everything was either cancelled or booked up!
I decided to let them sail to the British Virgin Islands, while I chilled in Antigua to explore my beautiful surroundings! The trip started off on bad foot, as the first day that I was there my drone and go pro were stolen, but the beauty of the island definitely made up for it!
I road tripped along the coast, through the rainforest and to the edge of beautiful cliffs. I met amazing people, gazed at the most beautiful beaches I had ever seen and experienced an unexpected but amazing solo adventure!