In childhood, I experienced full-time travel (on a frugal budget). It was the greatest gift. Upon returning home, I already knew I needed more.
Now, traveling nomadically, my daily mission is to witness how mindfulness can change us along the way (while I track down plant-based + GF food).
Highly imperfect and endlessly curious, I hope that by sharing here, others feel support in venturing forth as mindfully as they desire, too. XO
As a Little Girl
In the 70s, when I was 7, my parents had the courage to take our family on the road for a year. To travel full-time. Frugally.
Family and friends were adamant that it was a crazy idea. They were certain we'd be deprived of life's necessities (school, friends, television).
But my parents figured out how to exchange what they had for what they wanted. They saved, they had a small sabbatical stipend, and they planned to work odd jobs on the road (a teacher in a grain mill, a nurse as a waitress—we thought it was amazing, to see them in such different roles).
Our possessions were stored in the basement of our home, behind a locked door. The rest of the house was rented out.
A 16-foot travel trailer was hooked up to the big red station wagon. Gas prices were high, near 50 cents a gallon.
It was the best classroom ever. We saw every historical site possible.
We made diverse friendships that could not exist in our hometown—yet, as a child, I had no idea this was even happening. What a delight to realize this in adulthood.
We also learned that the giant box in the living room (the television set) need not be so giant.
It was the wisest decision my parents ever made. I remain forever grateful to have been briefly educated (at such an early age) about the "world out there" firsthand. I wanted much more of it. And for human growth, I can see that I needed much more of it.
Over the years, my parents also tossed us into the wilderness for weeks at a time, and eventually overseas to be with family. Our little eyeballs met endless history, stunning wildlife, and vital diversity. And then, there was more.
It was a bit humorous, though, that my travel gear and plans often felt chaotic. After extensive planning and packing, I'd arrive at a destination and continue to spend endless time sorting through my things, only to feel lost and unprepared for what was ahead.
Thank Goodness for Immigrant Grandparents
Thank goodness I was able to witness my immigrant grandparents' basic belongings and self-sufficient ways. It gave me the desire to live simply, too. I wanted to be free of so much.
So I kept downsizing my home life over the years, eventually whittling my possessions to 3 bags. This helped me learn to carefully seek travel gear and resources that truly fit my needs. This is when I began to feel truly free and ready for just about anything.
Cautious childhood habits (working, budgeting, saving) taught me that those with a small income could ultimately do anything. And that later, when one has a larger income, it's actually meaningful to choose to live beneath one's means.
Acquiring lots of things just never brought me lasting fulfillment. But focusing on loving growth, daily adventures, and helping others—in even the littlest ways—brings so much meaning to life.
I spent my youth caretaking children and the elderly, working as a camp counselor and in boutique retail. These experiences taught the importance of smiling and providing a kind, calm, professional response, no matter what.
I spent my young adulthood producing (and traveling to) national events in the tech world. These experiences taught the importance of alway finding a prompt professional solution—and the importance of reaching out to others whenever one can't find a solution on their own.
I later volunteered in television, film, radio, and in community journalism.
I witnessed emotional and physical struggles in these environments, just as clearly as what we witness in our personal environments. But, as one might imagine, nobody discussed them, and people visibly suffered.
This, along with my own experiences, motivated me to train as a Certified Trauma Specialist, Certified Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Advocacy-Based Crisis Counselor, Certified Peer Counselor, Mind-Body Medicine Professional, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction/MBSR Teacher, Personal Wellness Facilitator and Health Coach, and earn a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition.
This training made it possible for me to volunteer with mental health practitioners and assist clients experiencing crisis, as well as volunteer with medical doctors and assist patients in need of making critical dietary and lifestyle changes.
These experiences remind me how rare it is to find someone who isn't in need of such support at some point in their lives. For everyone has their story, everyone has their trauma, and nothing is perfect...no matter where we're located.
I'm still in awe that when I take mindful action in a challenging moment, the calm it brings allows me to handle the next moment with more ease. And when I forget to do this? It's my reminder to practice. (I'm reminded to practice a lot.) XO