The Truth About Freedom – 3 Common Mistakes People Make

When I started my business and chose “Freedom Junkie” and “Freedom Sessions” as a part of my brand, I have to admit that I was feeling pretty original. Most coaches were focused on manifesting “success” and finding your “true purpose” or your “genius work,” or living your “dreams.”

These are not bad things! However, Freedom as a word was something that a smaller, more wacky, unconventional and renegade group of coaches focused on. After call, convincing people freedom was da bomb was a lot harder than convincing them to want to be rich or successful…or happy for that matter. As with anything awesome, the word “freedom” eventually caught on in the coaching world, and now you can find the word Freedom everywhere!

But what does this really mean? Does this mean more people are actively looking for more freedom, or that more people are truly teaching how to create more freedom? I sure hope so!

Unfortunately, it seems that for most, things haven’t changed outside of the verbiage used. I’m seeing a lot people say, “Make more money and [therefore] have more freedom!” “Work from your laptop and have more freedom!” “Become an entrepreneur and have more freedom!”

While these are all fun things to have in life, these aren’t really the things that bring you TRUE freedom – they’re just twists on the words success, passion, and location-independence, for example. Do they help you with freedom? Sure! But do they address the root of freedom? No.

We use the word Freedom rather nonchalantly, but the word Freedom implies freedom from something. We can free ourselves from external constraints with financial abundance, location independence, self-employment….

But what’s the ONE THING we are all really seeking freedom from?

We are ALL seeking freedom from suffering. Not even freedom from pain, but from suffering! As the famous quote by the Buddhist teacher Haruki Murakami goes, “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

The {often} hard truth about freedom is that it is so profoundly about the work you’re doing on the inside. In their pursuit of freedom, most people don’t remember these key points:

3 Common Mistakes People Make When Seeking Freedom

1. Forgetting that you first have to own your shit.

Freedom must begin here, with the knowing that life is in YOUR hands and no one else’s – not with your militant boss, your insensitive boyfriend or your mean sibling; not in your past with your controlling/abusive parents, not your crappy neighborhood or the fact that your parents didn’t help you pay for college, not your short stature or your frizzy hair. NONE of that has to do with your freedom in this moment, right now. Until this fact is absorbed, there will always be excuses instead of solutions. And here’s a tweetable, amiga:

You cannot create freedom with excuses.  (Tweet it!)

2. Not knowing what you want and what it feels like

First, get clear about what freedom FEELS like to you, because freedom is a FEELING. Focus on how your body experiences freedom, what it feels like to be free, really conjure up that feeling and its vibration and tap into it. This is the only way you will truly ever be free. If you have no idea what freedom will feel like to you, you won’t ever know when it’s arrived, and you’ll keep seeking in all the different places for it – which are often simply distractions. Unless you actually FEEL free, the other stuff that’s supposed to get you there doesn’t really matter. So be sure you are clear about how you want to feel and experience this whole Freedom thing;)

Once you’re clear about what the Freedom feels like for you, start to get detailed about the other aspects of Freedom.

There are 5 “currencies” of Freedom, not to be mistaken for freedom itself. These are:

  1. time
  2. money
  3. energy
  4. creativity
  5. location

When you are clear about what you want to achieve with each of these forms of freedom moolah, you can more easily see what ISN’T giving you freedom. For example, if you are clear about what you want in a relationship, if you are in a bad or even simply mediocre/”maybe” relationship, you can more easily walk way from it.

Why is this so? When you are clear about what you want, you can make decisions more easily and with more confidence, and you will be less likely to tolerate something that isn’t clearly what you want, or stall taking action due to being unsure or insecure.

When people vacillate about whether or not they are in a good relationship, or if they “should” be more patient with someone or consider their “potential,” this is likely because they aren’t clear about what they want.

When you are clear, you can say, “Sorry. Homegirl don’t play that.” Or, “I don’t date for potential. That’s sooooo 80s.”


When you’re not clear, you start wondering if it’s your shit, or if it’s because you’re tired or mean or too picky. You start wondering if it’s because you are judging them and you know that is a “bad” thing to do. However, when you are clear, it’s not personal. It’s just the facts, ma’am.

3. Not taking action (or simply taking the same actions you’ve been taking and expecting a different outcome)

Once you’re clear about what you want, it’s time to act on that. Only then will your life start to manifest more freedom. And that action needs to be different from what you’ve been doing. You can’t keep doing the same thing expecting a different outcome!

Only when you start saying, “No” when you don’t feel like doing something; when you stop tolerating, when the fear of not being free is greater than the fear of being alone and you leave an unhealthy relationship…

Only when you ACT on behalf of what you want – and you start banking your freedom currency – will freedom manifest.

It’s not enough to dream and set intentions and talk about it. It’s not enough to get a Freedom tattoo on your back or write down all the ways more money will help you get more time, energy, and passport stamps.

This is where the rubber meets the road. Act, and you shall receive (tweet it!).

So ask yourself this now:

:: What’s my shit? What is my baggage, my mistakes, my habitual patterns that no longer serve me, MY self-limiting beliefs...what part of the way my life is right now is not a part of my creation? (Hint: none of it)

:: What DO I want?

:: What’s one thing I can do right now that will move me closer to freedom – to what freedom means for me?

What does freedom means for you, and how you’re going to start manifesting it. The more free women in the world, the more free communities and cities and countries and continents…and the more free souls to light up the universe!

If you want to join a tribe that is totally committed to creating more true freedom, inside and out, click here to learn more about the Freedom Club.


Ready to dive deeper into this? Check out Freedom School and see what everyone’s obsessed about. It’s not just group coaching. It’s a mindset revolution that you won’t want to miss.

the mother wound + healing

I’m writing this post on Mother’s Day, and I know that not all of us have had deep and fulfilling relationships with our mothers. If your relationship with your mother is intimate and warm, I hope you celebrate this day with her in your heart or in person! Consider yourself blessed. And if you are a mama, I celebrate you for choosing that courageous path and growing little humans that will eventually be caretakers of our planet (no pressure;)!

However, our mother is the one person in our life capable of creating one of the deepest wounds possible – known as “the mother wound.” This email is for those of you with a tender mother wound.

When we share such deep bonds with someone, growing inside their body and relying on them so deeply, and then hopefully  being nourished by them physically and emotionally once we are born (or not, if they had to give us up, or weren’t capable of doing so)..when they hurt us, it cuts deeper than any other pain.

We can spend our whole lives suffering this wound. Or not.

Instead, we can choose to know this wound is shared in our humanity. Like many wounds and types of suffering, it is only possible because of the depth of love that is possible. It is precisely because we can love so deeply that we can suffer so deeply. It’s part of the deal of being human. All mothers are bound to let us down at some point. It is up to us to know they are human.

Instead of focusing on what was missing, we can choose to focus on the love that was there…that our mothers kept us alive and nourished us – however imperfectly – despite their own suffering and pain.

We can choose to create the love we want in our lives – by nourishing friendships and relationships, and even with healing our mother wound when we are ready.

Know that your happiness does not depend on your mother, or anyone else. You can choose to create happiness in your life now. You can choose to think new thoughts about your life – to write a new story about your wound.

You can start to see the ways in which your wound has shaped and forged you in alchemical ways to be someone with your unique gifts. Indeed, some theories suggest the mother wound happens to us in exactly the way we needed it to to shape us spiritually in this life – when we are courageous enough to let it.

Let it. Let your past be the thing that helps you grow into the phenomenal person you are destined to be. Shape your mind and soul to look to the present and future with a bright heart.


If you want to join a tribe of people that will help you navigate this wild and precious life, come check out Freedom School – for rebels like you. It’s not just personal growth for rebels. It’s Jedi training for the new world.

Do You Feel a Call to Adventure?


“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for.” ~ William Shedd

One of the classic stages of the Hero’s Journey is the Call to Adventure, where a person stops living an average life, the separation from society and life as you know it begins, and shit starts to get interesting. And check this out: it’s not just meant for Luke Skywalker. This journey is meant for you as well.

You are not here on this planet to be bored, to sit in front of a TV watching other people living epic lives. You are not meant to be wasting moments of your precious life slaving away for someone else’s dreams. You are not meant to spend all your time indoors safe and cozy and totally comfortable in an insulated lil’ life. Au contraire, mon amie.

Sorry to break it to ya, but you are a ship built for adventure, and if you’re in harbor, you’re going to hear this calling pretty damn soon – if you haven’t already.

What does this “call” sound like? Well, according to Joseph Campbell, it’s like a phone ringing. Isn’t that convenient?

heros_journey4_8462Unfortunately, it’s not always what I’ve noticed. Sometimes this call is a bit – ahem – less pleasant than a ringtone. Sometimes, this call to adventure manifests as full-blown panic attacks, night sweats, low-level anxiety that has you feeling things are not as they should be…a restlessness that can’t be verbalized that has you feeling you are not living your life to the fullest…but you don’t know what else you’re supposed to do.

That’s what I’ve seen it feel like – in myself, in my clients, and even in movies! There’s this flick I totally stumbled upon called Wanted, with Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy, and this guy has panic attacks and medicates himself to keep them under control…but you end up learning that it stems from the fact that he isn’t living his purpose, which is as a gifted badass spiritual assassin of sorts. He had all these superpowers pent up inside, and they were telling him to let them the hell out – in the form of anxiety.

You can see this stage in every epic story, like the Star Wars series (in particular, Empire Strikes Back – my favorite!), the Matrix, Lord of the Rings…but what we forget is that ALL of us – yes, all of us mere mortals – are called to undertake the Hero’s Journey.

Have you been hearing this call but ignoring it? Or have you heard it and taken action? The Separation that occurs with the Call to Adventure can be kind of nerve-racking, to say the least. But the coolest part is knowing that it feels that way because things are about to change – for the better. You leaving harbor is always, always better – because THAT is what you are built for.

I’d love for you to share your thoughts about the Call to Adventure, Separation, and what YOUR ship is going to do once it leaves harbor below. I read all of it, so know I’ll respond to you!

Why Do-Overs Kick Ass

Fotolia_6075754_Subscription_L-200x133Regrets are brutal. They are energy vampires. Happiness slayers. Joy slammers.

The thing is – we wake up every day with the potential to start over! That cliché about “today is a new day” is totally true…even though you may want to throw rotten veggies at someone saying it to you in the moment. Here’s why:

When we feel regret about something – your last relationship, your birth experience, how you handled your last argument with your partner or friend – we can stay open to a time and space that feels similar to that moment/resonates with that moment. Then, we can see that moment of resonance with the past as an opportunity to create a new one. As my colleague, Dr. Claudia Welch, says, “That new space/time makes the old new again, and we are then allowed to have a ‘do-over.'” Really? Yes.

For example, I think about how lately I’ve been leaning more into my morning ritual, and making sure I prioritize it so that I start the day off fresh and inspired and grounded. This helps me feel at ease with all the mornings that I wasted away with lazily sleeping in (which, BTW, is perfectly fine if it doesn’t bother you or throw off your day!), gluten or wine hangovers, or ruminating about all my worries. I am making up for those big time, because my NEW mornings are infused with freakin’ magic, peeps. My mornings, even before a day filled with ho-hum errands, are started with epic spiritual refining and tuning-in.

I’ve been working with many of my clients in developing these morning rituals as well, and they are reporting massive results – more energy, more creativity, more groundedness, more juicy living. You see, mornings are energetically in alignment with the beginnings of our lives, and with every other new day in the past, so we can harness that and create a new experience and oust the regrets – every morning! In Ayurveda, this is particularly true, and this philosophy or health places a big emphasis on moments and transitions throughout the day. Each moment, each day, is so full of potential for changing how we experience life.

Think of how you start your days. Do you wake up at the last minute so you are rushing out of the house and spilling your tea or coffee everywhere? Do you lie in bed for minutes or hours putting off shit you need to get done? Do you feel foggy and sluggish because of eating unhealthfully or living a less-than-healthy lifestyle? You can indeed do it differently in the morning. And really, when you honor and reshape your mornings to a ritual that serves you best, you can honor and reshape your early life experiences too! Like childhood, birth, or other powerful beginnings like giving birth, starting a new stage in life, starting a new relationship. Cool, eh?

In Tibetan Buddhism there is a four-step formula for making amends with a regret (also applicable to apologizing). It involves:

  • recognize that either there was an experience you regret having had, or that perhaps you did something wrong – or let’s take the judgment out of it and change “wrong” to “something you weren’t so proud of”
  • sit with the feeling of remorse and regret so that you don’t half-ass it and have it lingering sneakily behind you for months or years. Feel it fully, knowing you can release it.
  • move into a place of compassion for yourself (and the person you’ve harmed if it is applicable). Notice the whole “compassion for yourself” part! Don’t skip over that! In fact, start with it.
  • then, set the intention that you won’t do it again and take a positive action. So if you stole something, you could give something away when you saw someone in need. If you hurt someone with aggressive language, you can more openly and quickly forgive someone for the same infraction and send them loving kindness.

The new moments that resonate with the old are perfect opportunities for taking this new, positive action.

But get this: not only is every day a new day, but every MOMENT is fertile with opportunity to create something new. Whatcha think about that?

What about the rest of your day? Do you spend your free time perusing other people’s successes and feeling bad about where you are at? Do you go to bed checking your email and thinking about all the shizzle you have to get done tomorrow? Do you say “I’m sorry” just for speaking or taking up space or asking for advice or help? These are all energy suckers!

You can instead examine why you are apologizing. You can examine why you are obsessed about everything you have to do tomorrow (what’s the story you tell yourself about what happens, or who it means you are, if you don’t get everything done?). You can examine why you are jealous about someone else’s success and are focusing on that instead of creating your own. Often the motivator is some kind of regret, and we just need to stop that living-in-the-past shizzle if we are going to move forward with a life of freedom! Create a NEW way of approaching things when those feeling come up.

If you regret something and it is taking over your mind, choose RIGHT NOW to do something to offset it. And when you find a moment that resonates particularly powerfully with a regret, make a strong intention that how you handle it will help you release the old regret.

Do-overs kick ass. Share with me how you are going to do-over something soon – or a way in which  you have already – by commenting below!

A Simple Scientific Fact That Will Unlock Your Happiness and Possibilities

Fotolia_8607343_Subscription_L-150x150I want to share this short vlog post with you that I made while driving down Interstate 5 in Oregon after the World Domination Summit in Portland. So many of us wonder why it is SO HARD to change. Did you know that your thoughts and beliefs are actual, physical, neuronal connections and patterns in your brain? Did you know that it’s not simply a matter of wishing things would change, but that you must actually DO things differently on a regular basis in order to physically repattern those neural connections?

Every time you do things the same way, you make your habits deeper. If you have negative habits and patterns, you need to do  – and THINK – differently to make lasting change.

This is full of hope! Now you know things are hard to change due to actual physical aspects of your brain that need to change – and not isn’t simply because you lack willpower. This takes time – and you can do it!

Warning: there are a few flashes of light for those of you that may be sensitive to strobe etc;)

Freedom Junkie Tips for How to Stay Healthy On the Road

The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine. ~ Mike Murdock

If you’ve been reading my previous blog posts, you may know that when I returned from over two months in Africa this past winter, I felt – well – gross. I felt soft and squishy, low-energy, bloated, stopped up, and quite irritable.

I arrived back to the states utterly spent, and not in the I’ve-climbed-a-mountain-and-earned-my-gluten-free-beer kind of way. It was more like a, “Holy shizzle, my body hates me” kind of way.

I had spent tons of time on my butt (literally) riding on trains and in the back of pickup trucks and on painful plywood benches for hours on end. The parts of Africa I was visiting on this latest trip had minimal access to veggies and fruit, and I found mostly gluten and potatoes to eat. I had to treat my water with nasty chemicals if there wasn’t plastic water bottles (yuck!) to purchase, and drank a cold African beer (or three) daily to take the edge off the rough travel.

It wasn’t appropriate for me to hike by myself in many areas, let alone go running (my “exercise” of choice) when it was either 40 degrees Celsius or when I’d be prey for the lions. We got in some peak climbs and hikes, but as you know – it’s not what we do once in awhile that brings us health – it’s what we do daily.

Every day, amigos. It’s our habits and what we do every day that counts.

I had brought with me my greens powder, which saved my cells and kept my bowels a-movin’ on this trip. I also had digestive enzymes with me. But my body could only take so much before manifesting things like a rounder belly, softer muscles, less energy, a grumpy attitude, and jet lag that lasted an entire month.

We did amazing things and had epic adventures – that’s for sure (read here for blogposts about gorillas (primate and human kind) and other adventures there). But if you’re anything like me (which if you’re human, you are), then you need some basic things like exercise/movement and quality food to feel good in the long run.

And if you travel to places like I do, you know that most places you will be staying in won’t have gyms, and many cultures you are visiting don’t take kindly to westerners running around in skimpy clothes, profusely sweating on purpose – especially if you are a woman.

As I planned our next adventure to Mongolia, where we’ll be able to be more active while packrafting, hiking and the like, I came up with some ways to avoid coming back feeling like crud. I know better than to think that travel in a developing country won’t tax my body just because it’s not Africa, and just because we’ll be more active.

Yes, I did know a lot of these things before our recent trip, but apparently I forgot – or didn’t take the time to prepare more health-related things – because, well, I do stupid things like that sometimes;)

Here are my tips for healthy travel – and this applies for dirtbag  and budget travel trips where you are mostly camping and hosteling, as well as for those of you traveling a bit more on the plush side.

Note: I do mention specific products because inevitably I get a slew of emails asking which ones I prefer myself. So I’m just going to tell you up front! But do know that there are lots of options out there. These are simply the ones I have personal experience with. You should experiment with what works best for you too! And if you think of things not mentioned here, please add them in the comment below and keep us all in the loop.

[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#e31ce3″]20 Freedom Junkie ® Tips for Staying Healthy on the Road[/typography]

1. Pack a Greens Powder. This is super important. When traveling to developing countries or on a busy itinerary, eating fresh vegetablesgreenvibrancecan be challenging, or even sketchy. Bring a container of it – enough for a serving or two a day – in something lightweight like a plastic tub with screw top, or a bomber ziploc bag that you can also double-bag for security. I like Green Vibrance, and Hungry For Change has also come out with one that seems healthy too. Kris Carr raves about Amazing Grasses. They all taste…questionable, but I consider them medicinal anyway;)

While it looks questionable in a plastic baggie, I’ve never had problems with it at customs or at security.

2. Bring Digestive Enzymes. To go lighter weight, I like the Advanced Enzyme System by Rainbow Light because you only need to take one capsule with a meal (as opposed to two or three of the less-potent brands). I also like Advanced Enzyme Optima because it has probiotics and enzymes in one. These will help your digestive tract stay healthier and you’ll feel less bloated and gassy eating strange foods. Maybe;)

While Probiotics are awesome, it is admittedly hard to keep them cool enough while traveling. Ones that need refrigeration are out of the question, but even the ones that can survive room temperature won’t be able to survive the temps you may encounter on your travels – like when you have to put your bag in the back of the pickup under the blazing sun for 10 hours.

3. Have an exercise routine you can do in the space that a yoga mat would take up. This doesn’t mean you’d necessarily need a yoga mat (read further for more options), but it means you need to be able to move in limited space. That way you know you’ll be able to exercise between the two beds in your room, or on that small patch of poop-free grass near your camp.

Even if you will be doing some hiking or other activity on your trip, unless it is full-on expeditioning, you will likely be missing out on some major muscle groups, so it’s nice to have a daily full-body routine you can do no matter what. If I had to pick one, I’d say a flow type of yoga. But on longer trips, I also like to add in a few more creative things.

A good way to do this if you want to mix things up is to have workouts downloaded onto your iPhone or iPad/reader, which saves weight. Yes, even DVDs add up!

I prefer to have some options that don’t require WiFi or other internet access since that is still hard to come by most places I go. Some programs I’ve tried out and think would work well are:

P90X – The P90X-Fitness-Guide90-day program is about $130, and the optional iPhone App is about $4. Get to know the DVD workout before you go on your trip, then bring your iPhone with you for a varied workout every day. I like to travel lightly, so I wouldn’t personally bring the DVDs. However, if you are simply doing a weekend trip, the DVDs may not cramp your style at all!

Yoga Audios I downloaded these six classes from Baron Baptiste’s site and found them to be decent for not requiring internet access to watch them. There are single class audios you can purchase as well.

Yoga Journal just came out with digital video and audio downloads as well. I haven’t tried them, but Yoga Journal is pretty solid as a company and the instructors on many of the items are awesome.

If you have access to wifi/internet, try:

YogaGlo Has videos of real live classes from Santa Monica, and Jason Crandall apparently has a great travel yoga sequence posted as well!

My Yoga Online Classes from various studios around the country

Yoga Vibes Lots of Vinyasa classes

Those are just a few. Explore and see which you vibe on better. The ones above are the ones I’ve tried and liked. If you have more suggestions, please share them with the tribe below!

4. Did I say to pack light? Yes, pack light. My husband is king at this. In 2011 he went to West Africa a few weeks before I met up with him there, and when I dropped him off at the airport he had a small black nylon satchel, and that was it. It weighed maybe 5 pounds, and most of that was the Lonely Planet book. I followed after him with my own 8lbs (I get 3 extra pound for girlie stuff;), and I believe our shelter and small kitchen setup was about 4lbs on top of that. The pic of my pack is below, which weighed 12 pounds total.

my light pack for months in Africa
my light pack, sufficient for months in Africa

It makes the biggest difference, especially on hard travel days. Your Freedom Junkie back will love you for it, and when you are hot and sticky, nothing can bum you out more than having to schlep through a polluted town with a big ass bag on your back. And try running after a departing bus, or squeezing onto the back of a pickup with 20 other people with a beast on your back. Not fun.

And you’ll look funny.

It is much easier the lighter you can go. You’ll fit in more with the locals too, as they tend to also pack lightly, and you’ll be much happier in the long run. Plus, you won’t be as disheartened when you realize your guest house is 1 mile further than where you had the truck drop you off.

My friend Roman Dial, a lightweight guru, has been said to espouse three rules of lightweight packing:

  • need less. And I mean “need.” We all think we need things, but when you’re huffing it up a hill on a sweltering day after you’ve had diarrhea, you’re going to wonder if you really needed that hardcover novel.
  • share (even toothbrushes if you’re getting serious, yo!)
  • utilize technology (like titanium pots and pans, lightweight and high-tech clothing, dehydrated food)

And in that order.

sheltersystemthumbfCheck out Hyperlight Mountain Gear as well, which I think makes totally epic lightweight gear. Shazaam! Their shelters are amazingly light. Remember that you compromise durability with such extremely lightweight gear, so you must be vigilant about taking care of your shizzle.

One thing to keep in mind is that uber-light travel is much easier in warm paces (like West Africa). If you’re traveling to colder climates, use Roman’s guidelines above and do your best. When I worked as an Instructor for Outward Bound’s Alpine Mountaineering courses, I knew some instructors who could get their packs down to 35-40lbs, and that was with 10 days of food, a climbing harness, light alpine climbing rack (rock), helmet, cold-weather clothing, and other types of more extreme gear. I think the best I got was 50lbs…again, girlie-stuff allotment.

Or a need complex…

My friend Gordy says, “We pack for our insecurities.” Yup.

5. ToeSox and Yoga Paws These are AWESOME! I’ve tested them out and can vouch for these two brands. I like the Yoga Paws toesoxgripht_bathany_balancefor hands and the ToeSox for feet. The ToeSox with stripes are super-cute, and that helps me motivate;) You can do yoga on an indoor floor, outdoor hard floor surface, or a rock slab and have less risk for slippage. They wouldn’t be fun to use in dirt or grass, so just go bare for those.

6. Yoga mat? Again, because I am a lightweight kind of Freedom Junkie, I like to ix-nay the yoga mat. Hence, the items I mentioned in #5.

However, I had one lightweight mat recommended to me that I’ve used at home as a tester: the Manduka eKo Superlite Travel Mat. I dig it. It isn’t very padded (because it’s lightweight!),  but it is sticky. It still weighs 2lbs, so for me that is too much to take on a long-term trip. But I’ll be bringing this for weekend/week-long trips for sure! It folds up like a sweater.

7. Make requests for vegetables (or other specific foods) ahead of time. If you are staying at a guest house without veggies on the menu, you can ask the cook if they can please serve up some yummy greens for your next meal. Often they won’t buy vegetables without knowing someone will eat them because without refrigeration, they will go bad quickly. But if you make a request ahead of them, they just might be able to run to the market and grab you some yummy pumpkin greens!

Sometimes you’ll have to plan ahead for market days if you really want this to happen. I did really want this to happen, so I got the local market schedules wherever we went to try and find out when we could make special food requests. If we’d been offered only rubbery chicken for days, I’d ask ahead of time to please get some fish for us – then I’d eat fish as much as I could until we set off for gluten and potato and rubber chicken land again.

Don’t be afraid to ask for something not on the menu!

8. Nutrition Shakes and snacks. As you all know, I am a whole-foods advocate. However, when I am on the road, I find myself faced with poor food options a LOT, whether that is because of tight travel schedules, remoteness of location, or myriad other reasons.

When I am on a shorter trip, I like to bring along one nutrition shake a day/every other day for the times when I think I’ll end up eating crap just because I can’t find something healthier. I like Shakeology for their vegan version and for supplementing for workouts, and Isagenix for taste and as a more filling shake (this shake hands down tastes better). Both have super foods in them and are of excellent quality. Plus, they are better for you than potato chips, sistah!

Ideally, you can also pack some healthy snack like nuts and bars. While on longer trips, hauling snacks from home isn’t practical except for a few treats, but for shorter trips, they can be a lifesaver.

9. Handheld/small blender. This is obviously for those without baggage weight concerns. If you know you’ll be in a magic-bullet-blender-lrghotel near a grocery store – like the last conference I went to inMUSH Atlanta that was a block from Whole Foods – you can make your own smoothies in the hotel room. Be sure to pack the container in which you’ll be blending things too (lightweight is possible!). Toss in some greens powder that you brought along, and voila!

The Magic Bullet Blender is awesome, and Mush, the manual baby food processor from Boon, is smaller and comes highly recommended by the ladies in my Spring Superfoods Cleanse for mixing up your own simple shakes and smoothies (not for chopping, but for mashing up softer things and blending powders). MUSH doesn’t require electricity, but the Bullet does.

10. Natural bug spray and loose clothing. The natural stuff doesn’t work as well as DEET, but you won’t get cancer from it. Nuff said. Heinous bugs? Cover up with loose clothing and a mosquito head net (wear it over a rimmed hat to keep it off your face). That way you don’t have to use any kind of spray. This is my preferred way to deal with the bugs.

The best top is a tight-knit long-sleeve button down men’s shirts. I say men’s shirts because women’s are often too tight and the mosquitoes will bite through them. I buy my “bug shirts,” as I like to call them, from thrift shops. They can be found in uber-groovy colors;)

Note: If you are using the evil DEET juice,  be sure to use it on top of your clothes and never on your skin, and if you touch it, immediately wash your hands.

11. Go to the local market and buy yummy food – bring them back to the hotel/hostel/guesthouse IMG_0445and cook them up on your own, or ask the cook to make them up for you. If you’re going to eat raw, wash your veggies in a hydrogen peroxide mix or iodized water to avoid nasty stomach bugs.

12. Minimize the alcohol intake. Dehydration, excess simple sugars, hangovers that only beer from developing countries can muster… it isn’t worth it to be excessive on a regular basis.

13. Hydrate hydrate hydrate! This is also the antidote to #12. Drink lots of water when you can. Remember to pack your own water bottle (just make sure it’s empty before going through security) so you don’t have to rely on cabin service to hydrate! I like Ecovessel’s filtration water bottle to help me feel better about drinking tapwater no matter where I am – and it works for giardia and cryptosporidium too! Sawyer makes more hard-core filters.

14. Search out local yoga studios where you’re at. Just because you can’t go to class in your hometown doesn’t mean you can’t check out a new place!

15. Walk. Move. A lot. Like I said earlier, it’s the daily things we do that count, Freedom Junkies. Take every opportunity you can to walk, walk, walk. This means wearing comfortable and lightweight shoes while you travel. As long as I’m not mountaineering, I generally travel with a pair of flip flops  and a pair of lightweight running/approach shoes. It’s nice to have the lightweight flip flops to change into after the end of a long day, or to keep feet cool when it’s hot. I have historically brought Chacos or something, but these days they are so heavy, I have moved to my present combo.

I like Salomon’s Speedcross shoes as well as Brooks Pure Grit ultra-lightweight running shoes. They won’t hold up for long trips on gnarly trails, but both have lasted me months on the road while doing some hiking as well.

I bring one of those with a pair of flip flops. I dig Keen’s flip flops for the extra toe protection, which has TOTALLY SAVED ME from tetanus so many times! I know I can buy cheap flip flops overseas, but they have broken on me a bunch, and instead I can bring light ones with some semblance of arch support too.

If you know you won’t be hiking much and that you’ll be relatively warm, Chacos are still a good bet for a one-shoe option. Wear them with socks when it gets chilly or for some extra foot protection. Socks will also keep your feet from stinking in them sooner than later.

16. Stretch in the morning. This will help your back to stay supple and not cramp up on the long and awkward plan/train/automobile/camel/donkey rides you’ll be partaking in. It will loosen up your body, and the mind tends to follow. If you can add a bit of meditation into the mix, you’re golden!

17. Pack a resistance band. I especially do this when I think I’ll be relying on P90X for my daily workout, because there is a lot of resistancebandsweight/resistance work. You can do most all of the P0-X workouts and any other resistance/weight exercises you like with a resistance band, which is lightweight and portable! If you don’t have one, you can create your own “resistance” by flexing your muscles AS IF you had a weight in your hand. Try it and do a bicep curl right now like you are trying to arm wrestle Popeye – it works better than nothing! I like Black Mountain Products’ resistance bands.

18. Get adequate sleep. This is huge. The body repairs itself when you sleep, and if you aren’t sleeping, you aren’t repairing and restoring. It WILL catch up. Plan rest days and lounging around days. I ALWAYS bring earplugs because SO MANY PLACES in the world seem to have talkative nocturnal dogs or early-rising roosters. An eye mask is also nice if you think you’ll be needing to sleep past sunrise a lot.

19. Wash you hands. This is the #1 way to prevent getting sick. I travel with a small bottle of hand sanitizer as well, which is super helpful when you don’t have access to clean water, or if water is scarce. Wash before eating, every time. This will dramatically cut down your risk for getting parasites, colds, the flu and other annoying bugs that cramp your style.

20. Plan a few days when you are NOT moving locations. Be strategic about where you place these – use them wisely, like after two weeks of daily galavanting across the country, or after a full three days of just getting to your destination. In our nearly three months of travel in Africa last year, Thai and I stayed at a place in Malawi for 3 full nights. Whoa! Other than the time we spent working at the refugee camp in Uganda, that was the longest we stayed ANYWHERE, and boy, did I absolutely relish taking out my toiletries knowing I wouldn’t have to repack them for three days, and sleeping in because there wasn’t a bus to catch.

I understand that when there is limited time, we can tend to want to Go! Go! Go! and not stay in any one place for too long, lest we miss out on something cool (read more about being a Freedom Junkie with FOMO here). But you will certainly miss out on something cool if you’re pissy and grumpy because you’re burned out.

Remember that no matter what top 20 make it onto your list, the best thing you can do for your health is to FEEL GOOD. So take a moment to ask yourself, “What could I do right now that would help me feel better?” Then get on it!

Those are my top 20, and there are MANY more! So please do share below and let the tribe in on your healthy travel tips and secrets.

Note: Ana Verzone (Neff)  is a personal life coach, guide and Freedom Junkie ® She helps passionate people awaken their lives of freedom, adventure and purpose. Her monthly Ziji Up! eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. Her blog posts stem from her commitment to live full-on, every day, for 365 days in a row – which she just couldn’t stop. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download her FREE Getting Clear Guide by visiting

* Just so ya know: the links for P90X and Shakeology take you to my coaching site for them because you can get them both for less there than if you go direct to For full disclosure, yes, if you order through me, I may get some sushi money. But you certainly don’t have to use that site to make your purchase – just to save;) Also, I never affiliate myself with something I think sucks. Ever.

Days 118 to 125 – F*#! Cancer

OK Fuck Cancer. I am SO over it. Sometimes I want to yell at it and chew it out and get pissy at it and smack it in the face. And kick it. Then I get scared it will get mad at me and kill me. Then I also see it for what it is. A thing. And I realize maybe I am so pissed at it because I see it as this “thing” that means so many other things, when really it is just being all it is and just doing what it’s DNA is telling it to do.

This all comes from an instance when I was mountain biking this past week. On our drive back to Oregon from Colorado, we decided to hop out of the car and go for a quick ride to get the blood flowing near a pass in Nevada. I was enjoying the beautiful view. And then we came down this steep hill and I could see the steep uphill in front of us. I got ready, and pedaled pedaled and pedaled and then I just couldn’t do it. I was so tired. So I got off to walk the bike. That’s OK. I’ve had to do that. Then I could barely even walk it up.

WTF? I had just rode hours yesterday in Moab up and down all these trails, and I thought I was getting in better shape. I know I am in my own personal worse shape I’ve been in a long time, but I thought it was still better than the average American and certainly better than the beer-bellied dudes who were riding past me earlier in the week. So my only conclusion brought me to tears as I pushed the bike uphill, heavily breathing and not understanding why…

I started sobbing, and my then-boyfriend (now husband) looked back at me, put down his bike,  and as he was walking towards me he asked, “What’s wrong?” “I’m sad,” I said through my tears.

“Why? It’s OK. I’m tired too,” he consoles.

And he put his über-fit arms around me. Hummmph. I wish I was that fit.

I’m getting there.

“I’ve never felt like this. It makes me think I have metastases to my lungs…” I say to him with reservation, not sure if he’ll think I’m a freak.

Are you fucking kidding me?!!! (Sorry, I do swear my share, but even moreso when I talk about The Big “C” sometimes) I haven’t had cancer for years now. For those of you new here, I had renal cell carcinoma in 2004 and melanoma in 2009, I think. That’s right. I don’t remember off the top of my head and I refuse to stop and do math for the Big C. After my second cancer I kinda stopped keeping track of exact dates. Like I do with birthdays. Or AP History.

In any event, it is incredibly frustrating that when I breathe hard at altitude with a sport I’ve only done maybe five times in the last 4 years I think I have renal cell carcinoma or melanoma cancer cells that set up shop in my lungs.

Now that is messed up.

So I let it wash over me, and I cried and cried. I told him it was OK, that I just needed to let it out. He told me his lungs were burning too and that he was breathing really hard. And he has been super-cardio-fit forever and even he was feeling it. Whatever. I guess I believe him. At the very least, I love him for even saying that.

I told myself it was the allergies, the tall grasses and wildflowers, my mild reactive airway issues, and my late nights catching babies on call 5 days in a row several times a month all winter – and oh, yes, those Annie’s cheddar bunnies chock-full of gluten goodness that led to this panting fate.

And I tried to enjoy the ride down…and I dare say I actually did enjoy it.

Then last night I have this caffeine headache because I decided to stop caffeine since I am so hyper anyway, and I swear it just crept into my life unbeknownst to me and my coffeemaker. But it started while I was asleep.

And you know what I dream? That it’s a melanoma on my freakin’ head and no one noticed it so I am pissed that no one saw it and told me there was this massive cancerous crap on my head. And I know too much about medicine (thanks, UCSF) so I know it’s likely categorization/staging and I think FUCK. I really messed this one up. This is what I get for rarely combing my hair.

And I then realize I am dreaming. HOLY CRAP I AM DREAMING! YAY!!!!! And I decide to change the course of the dream, and wake the hell up.

I comb my hair.

I order “Crazy Sexy Diet, ” (written by the badass Kris Carr who wrote Crazy Sexy Cancer and lives with a rare “incurable” liver cancer for WAY longer than they thought she would…plus she’s hot) to be shipped via free 2-day UPS, and think, “Dang. I need to eat more greens. And maybe even a little less bacon. Done.”

We all have “cancer” in our lives. Its that thing that scares you, that makes you feel powerless. Something you want to get rid of. What’s yours? Let me know below…I’d love ya for it!


Note: Ana Verzone (Neff) is a personal life coach, guide and FreedomJunkie® She helps individuals awaken their lives of freedom and personal success with confidence, clarity, self-love, and passion. Her monthly Ziji Up!™ eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. Her Full-On 365 blog posts stem from her commitment to living full-on, every day, for 365 days in a row. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download  her FREE Getting Clear Guide by visiting