The re-design/re-launch of The Life Adventurista has been in the works for three years. Yes, THREE whole years.
It all started back in 2014, when after two years of building up my business and working with clients one-on-one, I wanted to shift, in order to do more workshops, create community, and write interactive guides. I had a plan! But you know what they say about that…
“The best-laid plans of mice and men oft(en) go astray”
Sometimes you think you are walking down a certain path and then *BAM*, there’s a fork in the road, and everything changes. That’s what happened to me.
After we hiked El Camino de Santiago, Eric and I were traveling to Austin, Texas to make a video for our travel blog (because in addition to my workshops and guides I wanted to put out into the world, we planned this whole show we wanted to create on Youtube.) We went to Austin, Texas to shoot the first episode, all about Barbecue in Texas. (We still haven’t finished editing that, but more on that later.) Anyways, on the way back from Austin, I was doing what I do best- shopping online from my phone. I was searching for cute clothes for the upcoming trips we had planned. My search led me to this FANTASTIC pair of leggings. I clicked over and landed on a website. Little did I know how that one action would completely shift my life path.
My search for those leggings led me to LuLaRoe. And when I landed on LuLaRoe’s site, I had this instant gut reaction that told me, “This. You HAVE to bring this to Lake Charles, LA.” At the time, this made NO sense what-so-ever, because we had no plans to be in one place for longer than a month. But at the same time that I had this gut feeling, we were also sent down another unexpected path. That second, unexpected life shift led us to buying an investment property in Lake Charles, which is where Eric grew up. Now, it’s not just any property- it’s the oldest church in our town, which also came with three other properties.
So here we are today, three years later. We’ve converted all the properties on our “compound”, minus the church, into rental properties, and we’ve built our LuLaRoe business up into something that fully supports our life.
This journey of building LuLaRoe and our real estate investments/renovations has been hard, painful, and long. But also amazing. Over the past three years, I have been pushed and pulled, leading to an immense amount of personal growth. Before this journey, I used to think that once I had it all figured out and things clicked, it would be easy. I could not have been more wrong.
Here are some lessons I have learned the hard way on this three year adventure. Whether you are going through a difficult time, starting something new, stopping something that you have outgrown, or are going through a period of personal growth, maybe you can relate.
1.) Be OK with making crazy changes in your life. Over the last few years, I have spent countless, unnecessary hours beating myself up for abandoning my writing and coaching business. I have told myself I am a failure for letting The Life Adventurista and our travel blog fall by the wayside. But none of that is true. We are all humans who cannot possibly do it all. When life changes directions (whether you choose those changes or not), cut yourself some slack for the things that have to fall off your plate, either temporarily or potentially even permanently. Others are not judging you in the way you are judging yourself.
2.) Sometimes you have to just get out of your own way! The other reason it’s taken me three years to re-launch the Life Adventurista site and start writing again is that I became my own worst enemy. I continuously got in my own dang way. Every time I sat down to work on the site or attempt to write, I made excuses or created busy work for myself to avoid facing that resistance I was feeling, which was all fear-based. My fears were telling me I sucked, so why even bother trying. There is no easy way to get out of your own way. The only thing that helped me was simply taking action. (Sorry, I haven’t found a secret fear-busting potion.) I had to dig deep and ask myself what it was I was hiding from. And then I had the realization that the only thing that could possibly counteract my feelings of being stuck, was to take action and do the exact opposite of what I was doing, which was sitting around waiting for those fears to go away. Feel the fear and do it anyway, right? Every day I tell myself, it’s not about being fearless, it’s about acting courageous in the face of fears. All of us have fears that are holding us back from truly living the life we are supposed to. We all owe it to “our calling”, “our why”, “our true path” (whatever you want to call it), to not let those fears hold us back. Take action every.single.day towards what you want to be doing in your life and how you want to live. There will never be a right time. Go for it now!
3.) There is a time for everything, and sometimes plans need to be put on pause. There are SO many unfinished projects in my life right now. And I have learned to be OK with that. We have yet to finish writing our Camino story. We have loads of video and notes from our journey. And while we will finish one day (my goal is towards the end of the year,) it’s not something either of us has the emotional capacity to write about right now. I used to to beat myself up about this daily, because I feel so guilty about leaving our readers hanging. The current journey we are on is very much tied to the Camino, and one day soon, we will be able to share it all! We have also had to hit pause on several other projects we are super passionate about. But in the meantime, we’ve been building a strong foundation that supports how we want to live our lives long term. For us, this means having the ability to always work for ourselves, the freedom to travel when we want, and the means to pursue all our passion projects. We’ve also found ways to combine our love for travel and LuLaRoe. So when you have to put certain things on pause, this doesn’t mean what you are doing is not worthy or good. It’s just a different plan. If I had this perspective three years I ago, I would have saved myself a ton of pain. Hello 2014 Shannon, listen to 2017 Shannon, because she knows a thing or two. Decide what your priorities are in your life right now, and focus on those. All those other ideas and projects can take a seat and wait.
4.) Things sometimes take way longer then we want. Plain and simple. I am a big picture thinker. I dream BIG and get these big, crazy visions for my life. This is a good as well as a bad thing. I tend to go with my gut, but because of that big picture thinking, I want to be living my vision, like yesterday. So getting bogged down in the details drives me INSANE. But on top of that, any plan/project is going to have obstacles. When I get caught up in the fact, that I am not where I want to be today, I give into that resistance, and fear wins. So these days, I am trying to be OK with the process. The realization I have had around this, is that as long as you are still taking action and moving forward, try to be OK with the process. Even though I had this realization, I am still learning how to actually live it. Also, remember we are all a work in progress, so be nice to yourself.
5.) Stop worrying about what others think of you! This has been huge for me! I’m a sensitive and also dramatic person by nature. So if I think someone is upset with me, not only does it eat me up, but I take it to the extreme. Over the last few years, I have really practiced letting go of worrying so much about what others think. Some of it has been painful, because it has led me to realizing I had some toxic friendships that needed evaluating. But on the other side, I have become much more comfortable with who I am. Not everyone is going to agree with the choices we make or how we choose to live our lives. Guess, what? That’s OK. Someone’s opinion of you is irrelevant to your master plan, if you are being true to yourself. Working on this one area of my life has provided me with such a sense of freedom. Again, this is still a work in progress for me. I think we mostly all care, to some degree, about what people think about us. It’s more about removing any negative beliefs people feel about you. If someone has a negative belief about you that is not true, let it go.
So what’s next for me/us?
Eric and I just converted a trailer into a mobile boutique, and we plan to take it across the country. Someimte in the near future, we will start renovations on the church. While we are anxious to get started, we are also being conscientious of giving ourselves a little breathing room. For the last three years, it’s been go-go-go: with our LuLaRoe business and rental properties, not to mention our amazing New Orleans wedding, and the tremendous amount of work that went into planning that. While there has been a ton of reward, we are ready to focus on some non-renovation projects for the next year. I once heard the quote, “In order to speed up, you have to first slow down.” These words have more relevance to me now than ever before. You cannot constantly be in a state of acceleration. Renovations will start one day and we will be turning our historic church into our house and also a B&B (one of our long-term dreams!). Next year, we are excited to pour a ton of energy into making it the most unique and amazing B&B experience. The one we’ve been dreaming about for years!
We’ve also started recording behind the scenes videos of our road trip, and we will be blogging/vlogging about our adventures. And I will be start working with coaching clients again. Coaching women and providing a space for women to live their best lives is my calling in life and while I do get to do some of that through LuLaRoe, I am excited and ready to dedicate more time to this. I hired two amazing women to help me run day-to-day LuLaRoe stuff so I can incorporate more Life Adventurista things into my life again. (Delegation is key!)
All those things you want in life, they can be yours. I know, because in 2012, I set off on a path to live the life I am living today. I didn’t know that it would look this, but when I look back on the past few years, I realize I am where I am today, because in spite of fear, I did the scary things in my life, and for better or worse, I followed those gut feelings. It’s those moments and life events that create shifts and massive long-term changes in our lives.
For now, welcome to the new Life Adventurista, a space for women to grow, get inspired, and make now their new never. It’s time we stop saying, “I’ll never be able to do that with my life”, or “I’d never do that”, and start saying “NOW is the new never!”
What do you want to start making happen now? I would love to hear from you in the comments below?
If you want to stay in the loop with all the things happening around here + get help creating the life meant for you, be sure to join our FREE Facebook Community here: http://bit.ly/theadventuristasociety
Right before I turned 25, I had a massive quarter-life crisis. (Because who doesn’t this day and age?) I was deeply afraid of getting older, which was rooted in the idea, that I thought my life was increasingly passing me by. At that moment, I believed I would never make more than my measly nonprofit salary, that I would be stuck where I was forever, and that I would end up a spinster with eight cats. One night in particular stands out in my mind. It was two weeks before my big 2-5, and my baby brother was visiting me in DC. We were celebrating at a Christmas party, and after several drinks, I started tipsy-crying about my life being over, because I was turning 25. My sweet, just turned 21 year old, brother walked me home in the freezing weather trying to convince me otherwise.
On the metro in DC with my brother right before my quarter life crisis took on full force. His facial expression says it all – he has no clue how to deal with me.
By the time we returned to my house, he had even less of a clue as to how to deal with my breakdown and went to get one of my roommates/best friends. Having recently turned 25, she tried rationalizing all the reasons my life would not end, simply because I was growing older. Of course I didn’t believe her. I now look back at my 25th year as one of the most important so far. As painful as some of those moments in 2009 were, it’s the year I met and fell in love with Eric, the year I co-founded Collective Action for Safe Spaces, and it is a year marked with an immense amount of personal growth.
Looking back on that year, I can now see, that I had two choices to make:
1.) I could continue to wallow about getting older or; 2.) I could take action. At the time, I didn’t realize I was making a choice between the two.
The idea of turning 30 used to scare me. But I’ve realized when you are fully living, age isn’t scary. Getting older is actually a beautiful process.
One of the things Eric taught me early in our relationship was, that age is just a number. (If you ask him how old he is, he’ll probably turn to me and say “Babe, how old am I this year?” Because he truly does not keep track of his age.) The result – people always think he is at least five years younger than he actually is. I’ve been 30 for just over three months, and I’ve loved every second of it. Even the shitty moments. My mom used to tell me there is wisdom in age, which caused me to roll my eyes at her. My mom is right though, there is wisdom in age.
Here are some of the realizations that made me actually appreciate getting older:
1.) Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you have to write-off all the ways they wronged you. You can take time to process and then rebuild. There are people in my life I thought I’d never forgive, let alone re-build a relationship with. What I’ve learned is, that sometimes when you open the door of acceptance and forgiveness just a crack, the other person might surprise you.
2.) There is so much of our past within our present. And that is OK. I feel strongly, that we should always strive for living in the present. But there is no way to deny our past. It is in us, it makes us who we are, and there is no way to run from it. This means we have to learn how to accept the past, make sense of it, and integrate it into who we are. The life experiences from your past make you unique. We all have shitty-shit in our past. It doesn’t have to define the rest of your life.
3.) When both people in a relationship truly love each other and are willing to do the tough work to compromise when necessary in building a life together, you can get over almost anything. There are certain things I believed relationships could never survive- until I experienced a healthy, committed relationship. People who love one another are capable of hurting each other. But when both people are willing to own up to their mistakes and do the necessary work, a relationship can recover and even become stronger. It’s never easy, and it sometimes takes a lot of therapy and healthy amounts of communication, but the hard work is worth it. In my younger days, I thought the “right” relationship was “right”, because it was easy. Now I realize how wrong I was. A committed relationship takes much more than just love, passion, and ease to make it work.
4.) Just because your metabolism slows down doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. I was recently joking with a woman, who also just turned 30, about how we used to eat anything we wanted, and never workout, without gaining a pound. But you know what? I had my fair plethora of SUPER unhealthy body image issues in my 20s. At times, I abused diet pills, and I sure as hell wasn’t worried about what I was putting in my body. The realization that I am not exempt from the dreaded metabolism slow down, has forced me to contemplate my body image in healthier ways. I think about the things I eat. I’ve found fun ways to workout that I actually enjoy, and I have a slightly better view of my body. I also look back on pictures of my early to mid 20s and call myself crazy for thinking I was fat. Lesson of the day – in 10 years, I will look back on pictures of me in my 30s and call myself crazy for thinking I was fat. So find ways to accept your body now and focus on being healthy- not skinny.
5.) Connection and community are vital to a healthy existence. I started to realize this, when I was doing community organizing and activism work in DC. I began to recognize how important the strength of a community was in order to affect greater societal change. This also translates to each of us as individuals. Your own personal sense of community is important. The world is a much better place, when you have the support and love of friends and family. If you crave community connection, go out and seek it. Also, it is OK to cut out the negative/toxic relationships in your life. Just try not to burn bridges, because you never know what the future holds, and how your life interactions can come back to haunt you. Eric loves to quote Mark Twain to me, whenever I start stressing about my age:
“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
And you know what, he is right. It’s never EVER too late for you to make healthy changes. It’s never too late for you to accept who you are and appreciate your body. The number is not important, but how you life your life with integrity ensuring your values and action s are in alignment. Work everyday to live a fulfilled life. Take action instead of waiting for things to happen. When you allow your life to be guided by these standards, then you will discover, that age truly doesn’t matter.
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Practicing airplane pose at Blue Osa.
I just wrapped up a month of working and living in the jungles of the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. I was there to help the incredible Blue Osa Yoga + Spa as they work to grow, while Eric helped them with their photography and videography needs.
Going into this opportunity, we had little expectations beyond the fact that it would be amazing to live in the jungle for a month, working alongside wonderful people, at a place we really believed in. What neither one of us realized is how much we would get back.
Just one day after our arrival we were invited to take part in the week long yoga retreat Flow, Align, & Restore.
When you are doing five hours of yoga a day for six days, it’s hard not to have multiple transformational moments and epiphanies on the mat.
The biggest transformative moment came to me after Alain (our fearless yoga leader) said this about alignment:
“When we align ourselves we provide a space for growth and change.”
Proper alignment in yoga is important to minimize the risk of injury, maintain the health of muscles, joints and internal organs. With each practice, you are stretching these parts within their limits and slowly building strength and flexibility. Without alignment we do not give ourselves the room to grow, change, and advance on the mat.
This led me to think about alignment off my mat and in life. I asked myself if my values are in alignment with the way I am living. I realized that there are some big areas in my life that are out of wack.
I’m 10,000 feet high in the sky, flying above the Costa Rican jungles, gripping my fiancé’s hand so hard, I’m positive it’s going to break. As the plane jolts after hitting a major patch of turbulence, I look out the window at the storm clouds and I think to myself, this is it – we are going down. Thoughts of plummeting to my death in a fiery crash flash through my mind. What’s worse, if the crash doesn’t kill me, I’m sure something in those jungles will.
I close my eyes and try to convince myself we are not going to die. That somehow I will survive this 45 minute death-defying plane ride, and it will all be worth it. My thoughts drift to Amelia Earhart. I think, if she can fly solo in the 20’s and 30’s, I can handle this flight.
Although Amelia Earhart disappeared during her attempt to circumnavigate the world, I find some comfort in the fact, that she died doing what drove her. She was on a mission and following one’s passion is always risky. The alternative of risk is that things will forever remain the same.
The plane is so small you can see everything the pilots are doing.
We all have to take various levels of risks in order to live the lives we want.
Yes, there is a chance I could die in a plane crash. But doesn’t the risk of it outweigh the alternative? If I never fly again, I’ll miss out on so many of the things I dream of accomplishing.
I can’t tell you that my anxiety completely disappeared before the plane landed. Being on the ground never felt so good.
My ‘thank goodness I’m on the ground again’ look.
I also can’t tell you that I won’t freak out on the plane rides in my near future.
What I can tell you is that the two 45 minute plane rides in the small crop duster type airplanes I had to take to get to the Osa Peninsula were without a doubt 100% worth it.
Not only have the last two weeks been incredibly transformative for me, I have also meet some incredible people, made lifelong friends, saved baby sea turtles, participated in a week-long yoga retreat, trekked through the jungle, swam in the ocean, and have had the fortune to do the work I love the most by helping Blue Osa with their marketing efforts.
So the next time you feel like the risk isn’t worth it, ask yourself about the alternative. What happens if you don’t take that risk?
I challenge you to look into the areas of your life, dig deep, and take a risk.
Start that business.
Book that trip.
Buy the one way plane ticket.
Go sky diving.
End that toxic relationship.
Go on a road trip.
Apply for a new job.
Ask for that raise.
Try the new thing you’ve always wanted to do.
Ask someone out.
Challenge yourself to do what you think you can’t.
Take a chance on love.
Go on a solo trip.
Make that move.
Whatever you do, just take a risk. It is in doing so that we can find the change, happiness, and fulfillment that we seek in our lives.
Remember that you don’t have to be fearless, you just have to have the courage to try.
What your life looks like in a year is your choice.
Life happens and your course will change.
But you can’t sit around letting the fears and what-ifs stop you.
So, stop dreaming and take action.
Stop getting caught up in the goals and plans. Just go!
Stop comparing your life to others, wishing and waiting for more.
You will be scared at times.
You will be challenged time and time again.
You will face things you never thought you could.
All of these things will change you and cause you to look at life in new ways.
Your adventures (and mis-adventures) will make your life better.
They will make you love more deeply, see more clearly, and live more freely!
So, pick a path and see where it takes you.
P.S. – What adventure are you going to choose? Leave a comment below and let me know!
Does this sound familiar?
You’ve thought about your goals and dreams endlessly. You’ve envisioned your ideal life. Sometimes that dream life feels so close you can touch it, yet you’re never quite there. You take one step forward, then two steps back. You’re stuck in a kind of purgatory, trying to make peace with the idea that maybe this is all there is, yet constantly finding yourself wanting so much more. It’s like you’re trying to swim against the current – it wears you out and breaks you down.
This is why goal setting alone isn’t enough.
Visioning, goal setting, making lists, and strategic planning are all necessary and vital aspects to creating the life you want. However, no matter how much planning or visioning you do, without addressing some key barriers, you will continue to find yourself stuck in the same place.
So what’s holding you back? For many, the barriers are the same.