This Thought Will Change Everything

I just got back from an awesome business conference in Dallas. I love going to these events because first, they scare the shit out of me.

I start to dream even bigger, which put my brain into fight-or-flight more because I feel kind of maxed out where I am already. I’m already booking most hours in my day (even if those still include playtime in the mountains), using up most of my money (BTW I put away the minimum I need to for retirement because I kind of suck at saving;), and continuing to move towards a life where I work even less than what I do now.

There’s not many things that scare me these days. But creating a bigger dream, putting it out there, and not having it come true is one of them. I fear that people will see me as a failure, that I will have deep regrets, let my family down, or take on too much and end up in overwhelm. Be broke. Get depressed. End up having to sell everything.

The bonus of being an experienced life coach is that I know how to coach myself, and I do know that ultimately, all those things I just said are thoughts. They may feel like real, actual things that I am afraid of, but in reality, they are just thoughts.

Knowing that my fear is created by thoughts – and not reality – has gotten me past every single obstacle I’ve had to overcome. Hard climbs. The first time I dropped into a steep bowl of fresh powder. Class V rapids. Applying to the top grad school in my specialty – and not a single other school, since I knew that was where I wanted to go. Cancer – twice. Being alone with my baby for months out of the year and for many, many weekends and evenings while also working two jobs. Sometimes three. Getting my doctorate degree with a toddler – while working. Starting my coaching business – and quitting my secure job to dive deeper into my business. Falling in love again after a broken heart. Having my heart broken again.

All those things I said above were indeed real – and they for sure happened. But what creates shitty feelings are the thoughts we have about those things – including fear.

So the second reason I love going to these events is because I am reminded of thoughts that can replace the ones that cause my fear. The big one I came home with, from my colleague Kara Lowenthiel:

“I do impossible things every day.”

Damn straight, sister. I have been doing impossible things. Every. Damn. Day. And I can continue to do so.

So when I dream up something so amazing it scares the shit out of me, damn straight I can do that too. I just need to do what I did for everything else: commit to it. Take massive action until I get exactly what I want – no matter what.

In case it wasn’t obvious, this formula works for you too. It’s simple – but not easy. Creating the life of your dreams takes grit and hard work – but life does anyway. So you might as well be creating your dreams while you’re at it.

The latest dream I’ve manifested? It actually brings tears to my eyes, because when I was at my very first business conference, I was asked to dream big – waaaay big – and one of the things I wrote on my 3×5 “goal cards” was to have a home in the mountains and a home on the beach, because I love both of them (but granite mountains trump all else, I think;). And also because growing up, we always lived in rentals, and until I was a teenager, I slept in one bedroom with my parents and my grandma.

Last year I made both of those things happen. In March, I bought this slice of heaven in Baja California Sur, Mexico (see the arrow? That’s pointing to the spot)

In December, I bought this tiny slice of heaven right at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, staring right up into the east side landmountains where I learned how to be confident, independent, and a true woman of my own making (pic on the right). The place I most dearly call home. Just beyond a nearby pass is one of the most gorgeous places on earth – Evolution Basin – and I can be there in a heartbeat (well, many heartbeats at 100bpm as I hump over the pass, at least;).

So you see – if I can do it, you can too. But first, you have to dream – you have to allow yourself to want the impossible. Because the impossible only seems that way today. And it only seems impossible because you think it is.

Then you need to tell yourself you can do impossible things. Every day. And commit to that – no matter what.

No matter what.

Did I say no matter what?

No. Matter. What.

 

Pssst. If you want help creating the life of your dreams, schedule a free strategy session with me by clicking here. I’ll show you how it’s possible to get from where you are now to where you want to be.

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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.

Letting Go of Outdated Dreams

Did you know I used to live out of my 1997 Volvo station wagon? For 7 years it served me well. There was just enough room for me to curl up in my sleeping bag, and I had two small crates of clothes and a HUGE bin of climbing gear. Colorful prayer flags streamed from my roof rack, and my friends could find me by looking for these flags in any crag parking lot.
Later I lived out of a large 1990s Dodge Ram 15-passenger van, lovingly named Chomolungma (the local name for Mount Everest). She was a beautiful baby blue, and eventually died a peaceful death as I was driving her across the Bay Bridge in San Francisco.
Since then, I’ve often blogged about how I missed living simply in that way – having everything I needed in my vehicle so I could drive anywhere on a moment’s notice.
Recently, I ended up buying a 2003 Ford Econoline 350 Sportsmobile van, a beast of a van whom I appropriately named Mama Bear. I’m having the best time playing with her! It was a great decision – the freedom she offers me and my family when we travel is fan-freakin-tastic. (In case you’re wondering, I’m not going to use the #vanlife hashtag here – it feels weird for me, since living out of vehicles has been a mainstay for climbers for decades, and I feel I am returning home vs joining a new movement ;).

It feels good to be home.

Why have I decided to go retro (for me) with my travels and adventures?
Part of the reason is I realized some of my dreams of the adventurous life I wanted to live with my family were outdated. 
In my 20s and 30s, I felt the most adventurous way to travel was to go far (ideally at least 9 time zones away) and long (5-6 weeks minimum).
I also still had my dirtbag mentality that if I was going to spend $1800 on a plane ticket, I better make it worth it and stay as long as possible. That makes a lot of sense when you only make $1800 a month as a climbing guide. Not so much now in my life.
My husband and I stuck to these far-and-long travel goals really well – even after our daughter was born. Twice a year we would go to Asia or Africa with her for 4-6 weeks, plus many shorter trips in-between. I felt so…unconventional!
Until I didn’t.
Instead, I discovered I started to feel freakin’ stressed about it!
I was definitely the primary caregiver on trips, and while my husband paraglided, I was often alone with my kiddo in a foreign land. It was somewhat boring a lot of the time since I was limited in what I could do with a toddler, and I craved adult conversations and a good friend, despite the epic surroundings and amazing cultures I was experiencing.
I also enjoyed working on my business on these trips, since that’s a long time to go without creating something fun for my peeps. Slow internet in these remote areas (if I was lucky to have it at all) totally stressed me out. I am not as patient with technology as I used to be).
For some reason, I didn’t “need” 4-6 weeks off anymore either. That might have something to do with not being able to do 30-day expeditions as much;)
With a kid, I also found that returning from long trips abroad meant messed up sleep schedules for her (and therefore me) for a long time. It also meant the house was a shit-show while I unpacked from being gone for so long. Inevitably some plant died or some house item broke while we were away, and I’d have to deal with a broken hot water heater or a clogged up toilet on top of everything else.
I eventually realized that for this stage of my life, I wanted to take vacations with friends and be completely unplugged – for shorter periods of time.
Gasp!
I wanted to not have my travels completely throw me off my game anymore. I love creating through my work, and work wasn’t something I needed to escape for as long anymore. I love serving others. And I didn’t need to be away from friends and family for long periods of time either (must be that I am intentionally creating my community to be full of pretty rad people!).
I would rather hang out with a girlfriend and my kiddo gazing up at steep granite peaks from an alpine tarn in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California than chill out above a glacier in the Himalaya sans a friend.
Conversely, I’d rather go to the Himalaya and be there 2.5 weeks completely unplugged than try to stress about internet connections and finding friends to hang out with for an additional month.
It took a lot to accept this shift, and I’m still integrating it.
I had to let go of an identity and a judgement that if I wasn’t doing something utterly exotic far away and for over a month, I wasn’t leading a truly adventurous life. Sure, other people could think car camping was adventurous, but I had the belief that I was supposed to be an example of what level of adventure was possible with a family. I believe am that…but the way I was doing it was no longer honoring my new evolving self.
Recently I was sitting at an alpine tarn with a wise friend celebrating my birthday when she reflected back to me that indeed, it can be hard to let go of outdated dreams. That phrase hit me like a train.
Outdated dreams.
Exactly! That’s what was going on!
I was trying to live a dream that no longer applied to who I had evolved into.
I was resisting this new desire because instead of seeing that I evolved into a new person, I thought I was de-volving into a more …boring person.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Me trying to live an outdated dream had me feeling incomplete and stressed.
Embracing my new dreams – adventures with friends and being totally unplugged on those adventures so I could be fully present the entire time – has me feeling excited and passionate about my travel again.
I’ve got a road trip planned in Mama Bear this November, and I’m going to leave her with some friends in New Mexico and drive her to my slice of heaven in Baja come Spring. I’m going to head to Asia or Africa or South America next year and plan to meet up with friends and stay for less time so I don’t need to be plugged in at all while there. I’m going to be so much more relaxed on those trips and just allow myself to savor every moment.
I am so fucking psyched.
What dream are you holding onto that you’ve outgrown?
Are you telling yourself you “should” hold onto it because you’d be failing if you let it go?
Could it be that instead, you have evolved into a new version of yourself with different needs and different dreams that are just as valid and perhaps even more thrilling?
Try to see what happens when you let go of that outdated dream and live into new ones. What happens when you honor yourself and what you want…now?
For me, so far, so freakin‘ good!

***

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.

what a 4500 year-old tree taught me about doing hard things

I was hiking toward a forest of knotty, twisted, magical trees, many of which are over 2000 years old, and the oldest of which is over 4773 years old. I wondered what it takes for a tree to live that long.

Most of us would enter into some kind of personifcation and think of things similar to what make strong, beautiful humans: good food, water, a comfortable environment, and if we’re lucky, maybe even good parents and friends. Plus good genes.

For these ancient trees, we might think they need good soil, a temperate climate, ample water, good (but not harsh) sunlight, and not too much exposure to harsh winds or bad storms.

The truth, however, is that we would be utterly wrong.

I learned that contrary to what you might think, the oldest living trees on earth grow at elevations between 9,000 to over 11,000 feet – in high desert. The oldest trees grow on outcrops of dolomite, a low nutrient soil. There are high winds. Harsh temperature variations. Periods of long drought. And they only grow here.

These trees were babies and growing at the time stone axes were being used in Europe, the Great Pyramids were being built, and when clay tablets were being used in northern Syria.

Holy shit, right? That’s some serious living…And they didn’t need the easy life.

What if we’re just as wrong about what makes strong, beautiful humans?

I sat with this tree you see in the photo (photo credit: Elliot McGucken), and marveled at the miracle of life it was a symbol of. So beautiful and resilient in such a harsh environment. The things that tree must have seen because it was willing to…endure.

I wondered what would have happened to this tree if it thought that it “should” have been born somewhere…easier. Nicer. Gentler. Or if it thought it should be bigger. Straighter. More green.

After all, it’s what most of us humans do.

We wonder what life would be like if we had different parents, a better partner, a kickass job, a bigger house. If we lived closer to the beach, the mountains, a cultural epi-center, or a river. If we had more money. A tighter butt. Skinnier hips. A higher IQ. If we could climb 5.13 or paddle Class V.

I bet if that tree had all those thoughts, “shoulding” on itself, it would have shriveled up at the first hard drought. Or gotten toppled over at the first big storm, not having bothered to put down strong roots in such an unrelenting place.

That’s often what happens to humans who think, “Poor me.” They give up.

But this tree didn’t think that way. Or maybe it didn’t think anything at all. It just kept living, doing what it takes. Making the best out of what it has. Knowing, trusting, this is exactly where it should be.

These trees loves it here. So much so, that they can’t grow in rich soil or kinder, gentler places. They need these challenges to thrive.

What if humans “thought” more like this tree. What if we didn’t question if who we are or what we have is enough?

What if we thought, “This is exactly who I am supposed to be. I am perfect for this life of mine. This is exactly what is supposed to be happening. I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I was born to be right here, right now. I can do this. I’ve got this.”

I bet life would be different. I bet we’d be a whole lot happier. A whole lot nicer, more productive, and energetic. A whole lot…better off.

Some might argue, “Yeah – and we’d also have no development or evolution or progress for those of us stuck in shitty situations.”

Nah. Those are just more excuses for not choosing to be happy. When we are happy, we are actually open to more innovation, more options, more creativity. When we are happy, we can more easily generate more happiness.

When we endure, when have have survived and learned from getting through challenging times (instead of complain about it and wish things were different), we evolve, we adapt, we are resilient, and we are more confident.

We’ve done hard things. And instead of running from them, we aren’t afraid of them. We take more risks, we think big, We don’t shrink back.

We say, “Bring it on!”

Happiness is a choice. I had a Tibetan spiritual teacher that told me, “If you wanted to, you could be happy Just. Like. THAT!” And he made a dramatic snapping of his fingers high up in the air.

I just stared at him. I had no freakin’ clue how that was supposed to happen.

He told me I had to learn to direct my mind. Think different thoughts. To know that I create my own experience of reality. I needed to turn my suffering into happiness. WTF?

Fast-forward 26 years later, and I think I am starting to get it. This tree…this hella old, knotty, beautiful tree gets it.

Being happy is not easy. But I’m starting to believe that it is actually that simple.

We humans need to experience hard things to grow into something of a true work of art…a beautiful, twisted, gnarled and hearty human being whose life is their masterpiece. If we didn’t suffer, we wouldn’t grow and adapt and be pushed to rise up to the occasion.

We would not learn what we are made of.

This tree was not born wondering if it could make it. We, being silly humans, often do.

Know that you can.

Know that if you weren’t able to handle what you’re in, it would not be happening.

What’s going on in your life that you’d rather have…go away?

If you can actually make it go away, then by all means, do that.

But if you can’t, if you are truly not able to change what’s going on right now, what would happen if you chose to feel better about it? What if you chose to think differently about it so that it served you instead of ate you up?

This, my friend, could be a game-changer.

You’ve got this.

***

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.

Feeling crushed? Get. Up.

I used to have this nightmare several times a year. I’d be standing on the shore, and then a huge tidal wave would form, growing taller and taller, looming over me, turning the sky black and the surroundings gray. Sheer terror would fill me. I’d see it start to arc over me, and instead of waking up just before it crashed on me, it WOULD crash over me and I would be pummeled by it and suffocating. Then I’d wake up.

I kept having this dream, and analyzed over and over why I might be having it. Was it the near-drowning I experienced when I was young, when some ocean spirit eventually deposited me onto the beach without me knowing even how I made it back? Was it sexual repression? (ha! not likely with me…) Water means so many things in “dream analysis…”

Well, this is what I love about coaching. Taking a different approach than most therapy models, in the end I didn’t so much care why I had the dream. I just wanted it to stop. Or – more accurately – for the terror to stop.

When I had almost finished completing my coach training in 2009, the dream took a different turn (hang with me…this is where it gets juicy).

One night, I had the dream again. I stood at the edge of the ocean, and the wave grew taller and taller…perhaps the tallest one I’d seen yet. The same terror filled me and I tried to run away. I turned around, but then the futility of what I trying to do hit me. I could never outrun a tidal wave. So, I turned around, and surrendered.

I faced the looming wall, accepted it was going to crash over me, and hellz yes it did. I was tossed around under the water for several minutes, limbs flailing and darkness enveloping me. I found it…interesting. In my state of surrender, I was in awe of the power of this wave. I’d been tossed in the washing machine surfing before, but this was a freakin’ tidal wave.

Then, something totally different happened.

I got spit out the top of the water. The surface was calm and clear. The sky was blue. And there were colorful bathtub toys and beach toys floating all around me. It was…epic and beautiful and relaxing.

I never had the nightmare again.

In hindsight, I think I kept having this dream because I was focusing on wanting to avoid the fear, make the tidal wave stop, or escape the problem altogether. But did you ever entertain the idea that parts of life are supposed to be hard? Well, of course you know that parts of life can be hard…but do you believe it’s supposed to be hard sometimes?

I don’t buy the whole “everything can be easy and effortless all the time if you just think it will be” shizzle that some people spout out (although self-sabotage is real and a whole other blogpost). What I do believe is that we would not be able to achieve states of bliss and joy if it were not for the existence of the contrasting hard feelings. It’s emotional physics. And the irony is, once you embrace that we don’t need to run from the hard feelings, they actually pass more quickly. In the end, we suffer less than we would trying to fight them.

Life is indeed hard at times. When we try to avoid it being hard, or avoid feeling our hard feelings, the problem grows and grows. Like my tidal wave.

You also lose confidence in yourself, because you don’t trust that you can handle it and test your shit out.

A few years later, I heard one of my teachers, Pema Chodron, say that true inner confidence wasn’t about never being afraid. She said it was about knowing that when you got knocked down, you could get up, again and again. Then she gave the example of standing on the ocean’s edge (not kidding!), and then how if we fight getting knocked down by the waves, or try to escape them, we get exhausted and worn down. However, if we allow ourselves to get knocked down, and then get back up – now that is unshakeable confidence. She also said the Tibetans called this radiant inner confidence ziji…which is what I named my confidence course!

Essentially, once you’ve learned that you can get knocked down – and that you will always get back up – you can turn to the world and say, “Bring it!”

True confidence is not built from avoiding getting knocked down. True confidence is built from knowing you will always get back up.

There’s a reason you are reading this today – maybe you’re feeling crushed and you needed to hear it. Maybe a friend or a loved one or a stranger on the street needs to hear it, and you need to muster the courage to tell them.

Get. Up.

***

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.

How to Make the Hard Decisions

A funny thing happens when you do the hard and gritty personal work – the wrestling with your insecurities, taking risks, creating boundaries (that many people don’t like), being scared and doing it anyway, cultivating compassion towards the Mean People, discovering your Inner Badass; opening to the suffering in the world and thinking about how to make a difference in your own unique way, and knowing your own suffering is real and worth tending to as well…

…when you start working towards all those things: You start getting what you want.

Or at least what you think you want.

This can be a kind of test, a final exam of, “How well do you know thyself?”

I decided to write this piece because a client of mine (let’s call her Emily) recently posted in our Facebook group that she is being asked to step into an even greater role in her profession, one that she was surprised to even be considered for, one where she would stand side by side next to badasses in her field. Yet she wasn’t sure what to do. While it was an incredible opportunity, it was also going to create more work, less free time, less opportunity for self-care, and more stress. And a big part of her work in our Adventure Mastermind was putting her needs first (for once). But a part of her really wanted this, and liked being acknowledged for all her hard work thus far.

She wanted to know how to navigate making these Hard Decisions. The Big Decisions. The Unclear Decisions.

I’ve always said it’s easier to say “No” when its a “Hell No!” and is really obvious. It gets a lot trickier when it’s a “maybe,” “sort of” or “good enough.” Same could go for Yesses.

In case you, like Emily, are presented with a test from the Universe, one with a temptation that seems so good on so many levels yet feels not-so-good on many others, here are a few of the tips we reviewed:

How to Make Hard Decisions

:: Create clarity around your Ideal Life. Create detailed lists for: 1) how you want to show up in the world, how you want to feel, how you want to BE 2) What you want to be doing with your time, including work, play, spirituality…all those important arenas 3)What you want to have – in detail. Home/shelter, environment, what kinds of friends and community, family?

:: Write about your Perfect Day – how do you want to feel and what do you want to do form the moment your eyes open to when you fall asleep? Since I’m a big fan of the dreamworld, I even advocate for being clear about what you want to dream about or use your dreamtime for!

Doing the 2 above exercises can help you remember what it is your trying to create in your life – then you can step back and see which decision would best move you towards that. Sit with this question – aka The Hard Decision – you have, and ask your Wise Self (your most Magnificent Self, your Self who has already achieved everything you could ever dream of), “Does this decision move me closer to my ideal life?”

:: Get out of your head, and get in touch with what “yes” feels like in your body and what “no” feels like. Spend a couple of days feeling into what is a Yes and what is a No in your body. You’ll start to learn that your body has very specific ways to tell you something is going to be bad for you – from food to people to movies etc. And ways to tell you something is awesome and a hellz yes!

Which decision feels like a Hellz Yes! in your body?

:: You can also use tools like oracles or Angel cards etc to help tap into your intuition on the matter. When we leave some things up to Mystery, it can be interesting to observe what comes up and how it stirs our hearts and minds.

:: Remember not to get caught up what society says you “should” be doing. Don’t get caught up in the accolades, promotion status, ego-driven feel-good vibes (which are always so short-lived and precarious, because they rely on others’ perceptions of us). Ask your Wise Self about if the whole shebang (the life changes that would occur, the schedules and colleagues etc) actually feeds your needs. Your SOUL’s needs.

:: And of course, because ultimately I’m more of a Death Coach than a Life Coach 😉 … Remember – life is short. We are all going to die and we don’t know when. No time for bullshit.

People always want me to work more because I am good at what I do. I know to say, “No, but thank you for offering!” because I know the level of freedom I need in my life and what makes me happy. If I wasn’t so clear on that, I’d be saying “Yes” way more often, because on paper, only an idiot turns down the offers I get. But my heart and soul – and my body’s knowing – they watch out for me, and I can’t go wrong.

I hope you can get more clear with these exercises. Print this out and tuck it away somewhere. I know that with all the hard work you’re doing to cultivate radiant inner confidence in yourself, you will someday be given The Test to see if you really know yourself, what you crave, desire, and long for…or if you’re easily swayed by The Distractions.

For more Clarity + Courage tools like these, donate any amount you like and dive into my acclaimed Ultimate Confidence Course. I’m working on a project to help mamas and babies in Nepal, and all proceeds go to this amazing work!

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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.

How to Pick Your Talisman

What do all of these photos have in common? (Hint: you might need to enlarge them to find out)

IMG_0645IMG_1057IMG_3466IMG_4374IMG_9155

These were taken years apart…and at really wildly different stages of my life (single, dating, engaged, pregnant, married, a new mama…) and the only reason I don’t have even older ones in here is because my computer recently crashed and I can’t bring myself to deal with the tech-aspects of recovering my photos and reorganizing them.

The one things that is common in all of these if the fact that I am wearing my absolute most favorite piece of jewelry: my black pearl and leather necklace.

There’s something about it. Simple, elegant, and badass all at the same time. It’s feminine, earthy, oceany and exotic. It goes with pretty much everything, and I never take it off. Well, except for massages. I take it off for those.

I can wear it in saltwater and in the shower and in my yummy pampering baths. The leather gets softer and softer, and the pearl gets more rich when it is spending time in the ocean…from whence it came.

Why do I wear it all the time? It’s not just about convenience, although it is pretty awesome that I have my elegant badass piece of jewelry on at all times.

It is about the way it makes me feel.

The funny thing is people don’t always get it. They say to me, “You are always wearing that necklace! What’s up with that?” or, “Yup…there’s Ana and her necklace” as if there’s something wrong with that.

I don’t give a shit, because you don’t ask someone, “Why are you always wearing the same wedding ring?” Why not? Because it symbolizes something eternal and ineffable.

Same with my black pearls and leather. They help me step into my sexiness, my connection to nature, my power and timelessness, my femininity and my badass. When I wear my necklace, I don’t think about if it’s the “right” piece.

It know its the freakin’ right piece.

My husband showed his knowing of me back in the day, when he proposed to me with a ring of one beautiful black pearl on leather.

How could I not say yes?!

I had heard of talismans before, in my teenage years when I explored Native American culture, in my 20s when I delved into shamanism, and again more recently, when bullshit exorcist (and one of my biz coaches) Fabeku Fatunmise asked me what talismans I would choose for myself.

But at that time, it had never occurred to me that I had worn one for over 7 years.

It was about a month ago, when taking it off for a massage, that I realized how right it felt to have it on, and how naked I felt without it.

My necklace was bought by me, for me, on a surfing trip after my recent divorce and my second more-than-annoying run in with cancer. It was a splurge, and it felt absolutely right.

I have never questioned it.

I put it on in the shop, the sound of the ocean waves crashing just outside. The stunning French woman behind the counter at Pachamama looked at me and said, in a romantic accent through her full lips, “Yesssss. You must geeeet zat.”

Oh hellz yeah.

I wear it every day…it’s been on me when I cry, when I skinny dip under the moon, when I reach the summit of the highest peak in Mongolia – pregnant. I was wearing it through breakups when I growled at an ex in Vegas (yes, I literally growled), and wilderness trips with my girlfriends amongst granite peaks.

It was on me when I started my business, when I quit my J.O.B., when I moved to Alaska, when I sold my condo in Telluride, when my heart was aching. My baby can pull on the leather without me fearing she’ll break it, and when she sticks it in her mouth, she is tasting continents and oceans and sweat and tears.

I used to think talismans were something you had to look at a lot to get their power. But now I realize it was simply by knowing what it symbolized for me, and by choosing to hold it close to me, that I shared its energy and it became my talisman.

I think talismans are important. I’m a bit too much of a multipassionate to commit to a tattoo, but if I ever conjured one up that felt like it would fit forever, I’d probably get one. So, I’ll stick to my necklace for now. I also have other stones, and fabrics, and essential oils that I use.

What are your talismans? What are those things in your life that when you connect with them, you step into your highest truth and power?

wonderwomanmugIf you don’t have any, what are one or two you can think of right now? Here’s another one of mine – I use it before many of my coaching calls with clients and sip exquisite teas with heavy whipping cream…

How to Pick Your Talisman

If you’re having trouble, here are some tips:

  • If you don’t know where to start, begin with getting clear on how you feel when you are tapped into the flow. If you need more help with this, check out the free Clarity + Courage course. This could be one feeling or a bunch of feelings, but whatever it is, be clear about what this FEELS like, and don’t get caught up in the word you use for that feeling. THEN, pick your talisman based on if it helps you feel that way.
  • Do you have any go-to items of clothing or jewelry that you wear when you’re feeling down? How do they make you feel? If it’s feeling more connected to your truth and your inner power (aka ziji), then this could be a talisman for you.
  • Are you attracted to certain stones or materials? Like granite, or quartz, lapis lazuli, silk, velvet, leather…Do this make you feel connected to your most magnificent self?
  • Try to pick things that are accessible to you at all times, or at least easily accessible. That way you can tap into them when needed or on a regular basis.
  • Is there a movie you love to watch that, when you’ve gotten to the credits, you feel like anything is possible, or that you are calm and centered and grounded and at peace, or however the hell you really want to feel? For me, it’s movies like The Matrix, or Empire Strikes Back. When I watch those, even making the bed becomes a Jedi practice.
  • Is there a song, an essential oil, a flower, a picture (you get the idea) that helps you tap into this juicy feeling of yours?

Happy talisman hunting!

Top 10 Reasons Why Quitting Your Job During a Recession Can Be Perfectly Sane

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“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”~ Howard Thurman

First of all, this article assumes you would leave your job because it sucks. It sucks for YOU. This does not apply to kick-ass jobs, of which there are many. And it doesn’t matter if another Jane would be totally grateful for the job you have. If you’re not totally happy with your job, read on!

Back in the day, having a job and staying loyal to a company meant something. It meant you would be earning a secure pension, that if you showed up and did your job, you could keep said job until your retired. The same went for other institutions our society had that brought us security.

Things like religion, marriage, real estate/stock market investments, and looking like we had our shit totally together without any flaws added to our sense of safety. We relied on, “Hey, if I work harder and act perfectly, I’ll be more secure.”

Guess what, Freedom Junkies? Things have changed. There is a shift where people are seeing that real security – real confidence – comes when YOU have control over your time, money, energy, and location.

People are realizing that these days you can remain totally loyal to your own job and still get fired because someone bought out your company. Or because they decided to hire someone who is cheaper than you. You can get married and then come face-to-face with the greater than 50% divorce statistics in this country. People move from spiritual tradition to spiritual tradition only to be let down by hypocrisy after hypocrisy.

Things aren’t as they have been, fellow Jedi. Or perhaps things are as they’ve always been, and now we are waking up to TRUTH. Either way: it ain’t all bad.

Here in my corner of the Universe, we like to create our own lives of Freedom, Adventure, and Purpose. Admittedly, this is a lot easier to do when you’ve created your OWN economy and security (although – as many of my clients would attest to – it is still possible as a {gulp} employee).

This doesn’t mean you need to quit your job! But it also doesn’t mean you should NOT quit it without seriously reconsidering the reasons of old-fashioned “security” either. You can create more true freedom when you have more control of your time, money, energy and location.

That, my friends, is true security.

Here are my Top 10 Reasons Why Quitting Your Job Is Perfectly Sane – if you’re in the mood:

1. Having a job is uber-risky. As one of my business coaches Christine Kane says, with a job, your life can radically change with two words: “You’re fired.”

When you create your OWN economy instead of relying on others for your paycheck, you have more freedom. When you know how to create money yourself, you have more confidence as well.

“But it’s a recession!” I hear many peeps say. Yeah, I know. But check it out: my biz is growing EVERY MONTH, people still buy iPhones, my clients have started their own businesses and are flourishing, my own coaches keep making more and more every year during this recession, plays and movies still sell out, flights still get overbooked.

Look around. There is abundance still. Just for different things. Pick a business that you’re passionate about, be kick-ass in delivering that high-quality product or service, and choose a niche that offers something that people want and need.

When you create your own income, you are able to adjust your income based on the value you provide. In a job, you can’t. Instead you have to ask for a raise. Not fun.

2. Life is short. You are going to die. Sorry to break it to you if you haven’t thought of that for awhile – or ever. But you are going to die and you don’t know when. So if not now, when? If not you, who?

You deserve to ENJOY this life. If you haven’t yet created a lifestyle where your fun times outweigh your “work” times, you at least deserve to have the 1/3+ of your life that you DO spend working doing something that lights you UP!

3. You don’t need tons of money to be happy. For realz. I know many of you think this is bunch of BS, but it’s true. Again, sorry to break it to you;) I traveled to dozens of countries making less than $14,000 a year, and even less than $11,000 some years.

If you have kids, a lot can come up in the form of limiting beliefs around how much you “need” to be happy and “responsible.” Well, I came from a family that made less than $60,000 combined a year and am pretty psyched, I have to say. There are plenty more like me who grew up without a lot but learned to create inner – and outer – wealth despite that. I’m not saying you don’t have to aim for earning oodles. It just won’t necessarily make you – or your kids – any happier.

4. If you have kids, they deserve to have a model of a parent who follows their dreams.
My friend Stacey Pruim left her secure and successful corporate job to start her own business recently, called Systems Serenity. At one of our Mastermind retreats, she stood up to the microphone and exposed how scared she was about not being “responsible” enough for her daughters by quitting her job. Stacey is a single parent of two. Talk about the potential to have excuses not to quit your job!

In any event, despite the fear of being (or moreso, being “labeled”) irresponsible, she could not go on with her soul shriveling in her cubicle. She wasn’t happy at work – and this leaked into home as well.

Do you know what her daughters said when asked about this decision a few months after it happened? “Mom, you helped us realize that we can do anything.” Shazam!

Stacey is super successful, and has way more time, freedom, and money to be hanging out with her daughters being a kick-ass mom now. And guess who was at our latest retreat? Her 16 year old daughter who is starting to help her out in her business. Awesome!

5. The world needs more people who follow their passion Check out the quote at the top of this article. It’s true. You are a happier person when you do, both at home and in other areas of your life. You also inspire others to do the same.

6. You don’t have to kiss someone’s ass if you don’t want to. Enough said.

7. You get to focus on your strengths and not your weaknesses.
Feedback at a job rarely focuses on your strengths. When you’re in business or in a truly good job, your weaknesses are delegated to someone else – either you hire them or you give it to someone else on your team who is really good at it, so everyone is playing their own strengths. And your confidence – as well as sense of security – grows.

8. Our new healthcare laws can provide you and your family with more affordable insurance in 2014. I hope you voted accordingly. Just sayin’. I had cancer twice and didn’t want to quit my benefitted job until I knew I could afford paying for COBRA. But that didn’t stop me. I still quit and have finally been able to get affordable healthcare as a “high-risk” person. Yeehaw!

9. You are creative. Many of us can make money in more ways than one. Go for it! Plus, your money goes further when you are self-employed. You can invest in yourself with pre-tax dollars!

10. You can wear whatever you want = You can create a business that supports your authentic self. I choose my business coaches because of who they are – not because of their slickness. Like with Christine Kane, whom I mentioned earlier – I like how she wasn’t a marketing guru slick dude, but she wore jeans and played guitar and speaks-a my language. I love Marie Forleo because she loves hip hop and cracks me up with her goofy antics and she’s wicked smart. The goofy antics may turn some people off – but they’re not her people. My peeps pick me for ME, not because I pretend to be anyone else. People will want YOU – and what you offer in the way only YOU can – too!

I  summary: I’m not saying to be stupid and quit your job without any kind of safety net (although some people out there would say to go for it even without the net). But what I AM saying is don’t use BS for your excuses. The key here is being very clear about what is BS. Not sure? Post below and let’s figure it out.

Have any of you thought about quitting your job or have actually quit your job? Please share it here and let the tribe support each other in creating our own freedom!

Note: For those of you that want to start a side-job for a bit more fun and inspiration or who want to go for it and start their own biz, I highly recommend my friend Chris Guillebeau’s new best-selling book, The $100 Startup. He’s the author of The Art of Non-Conformity, and more, and this book summarizes a lot of the basics you need to know to get started, as well as offering plenty of case studies to learn from. For my peeps, I’ve got super-discounted hardcopy editions for sale here. Shoot me an email (info@AnaVerzone.com) and I’ll send you one ASAP for only $13 – shipping included. Sahweet deal!

And in case you’re wondering – I’m selling and shipping at cost so not making any money on this. It’s because I believe in this book and I want my peeps to kick ass out there! (PS: Conversely, the link here to his Unconventional Guides site, is an affiliate link, so I do get to buy myself a shot of wheatgrass or something if you buy any of his cool shizzle over there- at no additional cost to you, of course! As you know, I only talk about shizzle I use myself to keep it honest and so you can keep trusting me.)

Big Risks and the Courage to be Authentic

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We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be. ~ May Sarton

What could be riskier than diving out of an airplane or climbing a glacier-covered peak or accelerating a race car into a curve at the Indy 500?

A lot, actually.

For one person it might be quitting a secure, well-paying job to go back to school or start their own biz. For another, it could be deciding to leave a marriage after 18 years, or reporting that the company they work for is endangering the environment or people’s lives (BTW whistleblowers rock!).

Though it may not appear so at first glance, psychological risks that summon us to put our personal values and beliefs on the line may ultimately feel more dangerous than those of physical derring-do.

And this is why we avoid living authentically. This is why, despite its ability to make us utterly exhausted, we put on masks EVERY DAY and try to be someone we are not.

Ask me how I know…

OK I’ll tell ya: I know, because I was there. I hated social events because they drained me…I was expected to be a certain way, I had to be energetic and perky and funny and crazy even though that night I felt like being mellow and listening to an audio on positive psychology. I filled my calendar with TONS of events I wasn’t in the mood for because I was expected to be there, to do those things, even though all I wanted to do was chill at home.

What I realized was that it wasn’t social events that bothered me: it was who I thought I was supposed to be when I showed up, and when I wasn’t feeling that way, “having” to act the part was too much to handle.

The thing is, no one expected these things of me except myself! It took me years to discover this, but once I did, I had much more fun – and much more energy 😉

Ironically, while the risks we take to be authentic are often the most scary things to do, these are also the challenges that we are asked to face time and time again if we are to continue to grow as individuals. Every time we take a risk that contributes to our personal growth, enhances our self-esteem, or enriches our lives, we make the choice to stretch ourselves, knowing there are no guarantees and risking possible failure.

Growth-producing risks generally fall into three categories:

Self-Improvement Risks
These are the risks you take when you want to learn something new or make a distant dream a reality, for example. You take on the venture with hopes of enriching your life. Maybe you want to change careers, or take singing lessons, or learn to speak Italian. On one side of the risk is the person you are and, on the other, the person you want to become.

Commitment Risks
All commitment risks have emotional stakes, whether you pledge yourself to a person, a relationship, a cause, a career, or a value. According to Joseph Ilardo, author of Risk-Taking for Personal Growth, if you avoid making emotional commitments, you all but guarantee that your emotional growth will be stunted.

Self-Disclosure Risks
Communication risks fall into the category of self-disclosure. Anytime you tell someone how you really feel, you’re taking the chance of self-disclosure and, to put it bluntly, someone not liking you. When you open up to others and reveal who you really are, how you feel and what you want and need, you make yourself vulnerable. It is impossible to be assertive without doing so.

Here’s what make such risks so scary: All risks carry with them the possibility of failure. Often significant sacrifices must be made before any real benefits are realized. Routines may have to change; the familiar may have to be released. And yeah, you may be rejected or humiliated. In the case of commitment to a value, personal safety may be in danger (consider those who stand up for what they believe in or put their own health and well-being on the line in the name of a cause).

However, despite the potential consequences of these risks, here’s what makes them so worthwhile: challenging yourself is often the key to personal growth and development.

Are you a risk-taking soul warrior? Ask yourself the following questions:

• Does every decision involve endless debates with yourself?

• Do you accept less than what you should because you’re afraid to speak up?

• Do you have difficulty making emotional commitments to others?

• Do you make up excuses that stop you from taking advantage of opportunities for self-improvement?

• Does fear of disapproval keep you from doing what you’d really like to do?

A “yes” answer to these questions indicates a reluctance to take risks, which may mean you tend to play it safe and reject change. And that’s OK! There’s nothing wrong with that per se, because it is quite normal to avoid risks. However, the deeper risk you take by avoiding them is that of not living a fulfilling and authentic life; a life of freedom, adventure, and purpose.

And to be frank, that would really suck.

Consider this: to fulfill your potential, to discover your real self and live an authentic life, you must take risks. And while security may appear to be the absence of change, the only genuine security lies in taking risks.

Did you hear that? I’ll say it again: the only genuine security lies in taking risks.

Be patient with yourself, and don’t be afraid of simply starting with smaller steps.

What can you do today to live more authentically? What’s one small action you can take, or a perspective to shift, that feels a little risky, but totally do-able? Start there. Share with us below – I read all responses and want to hear how your stretching your comfort zone. It makes me happy, AND you’ll inspire others!

Also, be sure to stay an active part of our tribe and cultivate a community around you who don’t just support, but celebrate people living authentically. If you’d like more on Authenticity, listen to my free Jedi Juice call on this topic by clicking here.

Who Are You Hanging Out With Freedom Junkie? Your Tribe Matters.

That’s right – it’s official, and not just what your mother kept telling you when you wanted to hang out with the bad boys: who you hang out with matters, and studies have shown that your success will be equal to the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Crazy! This goes beyond birds of a feather, peeps. This affects you on ALL levels of your being, not just where you’re at in the present, but also who you BECOME.

This concept applies not only to levels of success, but to health and wellness as well. We now know that wellness behavior is “contagious.” People who generally are heavy eaters will eat less when eating out in a group, and those who are light eaters will eat more. We tend to meet people in the middle when out in a group. By the way, this happens with money too: heavy spenders will spend less when out in a group, tightwads (no offense) spend more. And if you have a friend who is obese, you have a 50% higher risk for obesity, and if you have a friend of “normal” weight who has an obese friend that you don’t even know, you risk of being obese still goes up 25%.

So hang on – does this mean we shouldn’t spend time with people who are not at the level of success that we want to achieve, or who are not in perfect physical condition? Hell no! The risk isn’t 100% 😉 And if that was how it worked, peeps who were where we wanted to be at technically shouldn’t hang with us, right?

What it does mean is that we need to be aware of the influence that others have on us, even on an unconscious level. It also means we need to consciously create our tribe and make sure we have plenty of positive influence in our lives.

What can you do about it, Freedom Junkie?

If you want to experience more adventure, make a conscious effort to meet and spend time with people who are active in doing the things you want to do more of (tango? skinny dipping? ice climbing? war-zone travel? wearing more lace and leather?).

Do you want to create a successful business? It behooves you to spend more time with people who are where you want to be. If you want to take your income to the next level, you need to hang out with mentors who did what you want to do and are at where you want to be financially.

It doesn’t work to want to start living a more adventurous life or create a thriving new business, and then hang out with slackers on your couch talking about your dreams all day. Or worse: spending time with negative people who shoot down any possibilities for change or growth. Yuck.

So now the tough question: Are there people in your life that you need to let go of? Or people that you need to spend less time with so their level of influence isn’t so strong?

The fun question: Who do you want to spend more time with? Who is that person whose radiance makes you smile, whose joy lifts your heart? Who is that person whose business totally inspires you? Reach out to them and try to get together for coffee, or yoga. If they can’t hang out, no worries. They are probably busy because their lives are so full! Keep asking and setting the intention to attract more amazing people into your life, and continuously work on becoming that person you want to be.

To create the life you want (and deserve), you need to spend time with people – aka other Freedom Junkies – who have the same goals as you and are taking action to make it happen. We are impressionable beings, for better or for worse. That’s why every successful entrepreneur i know is a part of a Mastermind group. That’s why people are more successful at losing their goal weight when working with a personal trainer, or completing the marathon when they train with a group or training partner. That’s why in addition to having clients work with me 1:1, I create group programs for Freedom Junkie, like the Freedom Sessions Mastermind and the Ziji Up! Mastery Program. It really makes a HUGE difference! Let’s make a conscious choice about who gets to make those impressions on us, OK?

Love,

Ana
PS: Do you have big dreams for the next year and want a tribe to help you get there? Check out joining our group of 10 amazing women during the next  Freedom Sessions Mastermind Group. Head on over now and see if you likey! You can also be a more active part of our Freedom Junkie tribe by taking part in our free monthly Jedi juice calls and hanging out on Facebook and Twitter with us. See you there!

Days 275 to 303 Why “This Is LIFE!” Should Be Your New Mantra – News from Southern Africa

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“I think all these little brown dots on the ground are…some kind of poo,” I suggest. Well, according to Thai’s imitation, I actually sounded like a grandma inspecting her kitchen for dirt with a white glove. “YOU have a look then!” I say to him. He gets down on his knees with my headlamp and after a few minutes of inspection, he uses a common medical phrase, “I’m afraid I can’t rule it out.”

Meaning he also thought the ground might actually be covered with poo (and I mean carpeted, not “dotted with”). More correctly, it meant that he couldn’t say what it was – or wasn’t.

I paused and took an “inner inventory of options,” if you will. The whole area in this section of the Kalahari desert we were camping in was truly covered with this stuff. Thousands of little bushes surrounded us that could hide little “poo machines” like desert shrew and what not.

I realized I had to be OK with camping in a carpeted world of little African rodent crap. And FYI: rodents are some of the main vectors for the more serious tropical diseases we were treating in the refugee camps.

I proceeded to set up the tent over the carpet of whatever-it-was.

This is Africa, baby. Deal with it.

Then I’m driving through Botswana and a little grouse walks in front of us on the highway. I toot the least-threatening-horn-ever of our trusted VW “Springbok,” and she takes flight. I sigh, relieved…Only to watch her get slammed by a speeding truck coming in the other direction. Feathers everywhere. Tears well up in my eyes. I reach for Thai’s hand for reassurance that it was a swift death, and I suck it up. Well, I let the tears well up a little longer, then I suck it up.

This is Africa, baby. T.I.A. Deal with it. At least it wasn’t a donkey or a cow.

I get a fast and furious GI illness that takes me out for a few hours. I’m puking my insides out. People are frolicking by the pool. Dancing at the bar. Thai tries to get a room for me but reception is closed. We’re camping. Far away from the porcelain basins. Thai brings my sleeping pad next to the bathroom doors and I sleep there for awhile. Happy drunk girls wander around me without thinking twice. Happy drunk boys walk past with stupid thoughts and continue on. I am thrilled to be so close to my new porcelain friends. The bar manager asks if we’d like to move our tent next to the bathrooms. Why, Yes! THANK YOU! We do.

TIA.

Alright. Let’s talk about this phrase I hear a lot here: “This is Africa” or “TIA.” When shit happens here, people usually do one of two things:

1) get pissed and be pissed in the heat with no subsequent change in the outcome or…

2) shrug it off, sigh, smile, and say – with a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood – “This is Africa!” Then let it go, and buy a beer. Likely, you will then wait (many of the frustrations involve waiting and waiting and waiting…).

Why is this letting go something that so many people are so willing to do here, but are so UNwilling to do back in their home countries? I mean, this is kind of huge, in my mind.

Do you realize HOW MUCH HAPPIER we’d be if we could say, for example, “This is life!” Or “Shit happens ha ha ha!!!” then let go, and get on with being and living?!! It would be amazing!

I realize that what I’m talking about is, on some level, deep spiritual work, and it takes time and energy. We need to become aware of our attachments and expectations, our sense of entitlement, our excuses based on our “wounds.”

Then we need to develop the space between the thoughts and emotions and actions to allow a different response (meditation and yoga are my fave ways of cultivating this).

Then we need to stop ruminating about what could have or should have been, stop replaying the suffering (trust me – the poor bird ran many reels of movie-time through my head after that event), stop daydreaming about what might have been, and get the fuck on with our lives!

We need to learn to OWN IT and ROCK IT. Focus on what we want. Not on what we don’t want.

So yes, it is, on some level, deep spiritual work.

But it is also something simple: a CHOICE. This I what happens in Africa. Many of us simply
choose to simply let go. Life is better – and more effortless – that way.

What is happening RIGHT NOW? That’s what you should be focused on. Nothing else. Not on your expectations or past dreams. CHOOSE to let things go, and focus on the things you CAN work with.

One of my favorite quotes is:

“If you CAN change something, why be unhappy? If you CAN’T change setting, why be unhappy?” ~ Shantideva, A Bodhisattva’s Guide to The Way of Life

Suffering in Africa is no less intense than in the “Western world” (and many would argue it is even moreso). Contrary to popular belief, people here are no less sensitive to suffering, either. I also don’t think they are necessarily more “spiritually evolved” when it comes to non-attachment.

So why, here in Africa, are locals and expatriots and travelers able to let go so much more readily? (Caveat: if you are not prone to this adaptation, you’d likely avoid Africa altogether anyway).

I believe the difference is a keen understanding of the above statement: Knowing the difference between what you can and cannot change. Here in Africa, it is much easier to make that distinction. And while it can be terribly frustrating, it can be quite a relief, actually.

I remember after many trips to Asia when I was working as a climbing guide, I walked into a supermarket in the US to buy toothpaste after returning home, and I was completely overwhelmed by the ENTIRE ISLE of choices: With baking soda or without? Tatar control? Fluoride? Mint or peppermint? Gel or paste? I mean, WTF, right?! In Nepal I’d ask for toothpaste and get handed a tube over the counter. That was IT. Take it or leave it. It’s the only toothpaste they had. I rather miss that sometimes. I have more important things to ponder. I’m sure you do too!

Things are similar in many parts of Africa. The bus will leave when it leaves, no matter what the schedule says.

Animals will get hit regularly on the the side of the road, because people have cattle that need to graze, and there is grass along the roadway, and one-lane highways.

You have to pay a guy a few cents to make sure your car doesn’t get broken into. While thuggish himself, he’s part of a street-wise system way larger than you or your desire to save a few cents or sense of self-righteousness about the way things should work.

You don’t know your car’s “engine number” for the border crossing? They don’t care that they didn’t ask at the other border when you came in. Find the engine number. Whatever that is.

You see, it’s easier to see what you can and can’t change here. We are all in it together.

In the US, I observe – and admittedly found myself a part of – a sense of entitlement, of how if we yell loud enough, or show the right small print, or tell a really good version of our personal tragic story, we’ll eventually get what we want (and in our minds, what we deserve).

It’s true that some of these things protect us and keep things running efficiently. I am grateful for those aspects of it.

However, we need to keep in mind that the unintended result of this is that we have, as a society, become less adept at letting go of the small stuff. We are less skilled at quickly putting things into perspective, and not trying to control the things we cannot change. And it IS a skill. (pssst: we teach these Jedi Skills at Freedom Junkie;)

Next time shit happens – and try to start with the small stuff, like when the food that gets brought to your table is not exactly what you ordered, or when your friend is 15 minutes late – try out T.I.L. “This Is Life!” It’s happening right now. It’s perfectly imperfect! Live it! Don’t screw it all up with ideas of how it should have been!

Things are much more fun this way;)

What are you choosing to let go of today? Or what have you already chosen to let go of already? (And by the way, Bravo, Badass!). Do share below…I want to know!

PS: the little dots were not poo. In the light of day, we could see they were seeds from the surrounding trees:) Poo Trees, I’ve decided to call them

PPS: for those wanting in on the other full-on adventures since my last post, they include:

* Hiking through the deep red sand dunes of Soussvlei in Namibia

* Being awe-struck by the stark vastness of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast

* Spotting lions, rhinos, elephants, giraffe, and more at Etosha National Park

* Visiting the majestic Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

* Chobe National Park morning game drive and sunset river boat cruise to see hippos, crocodiles, and more lions rarrrrrrr! (Botswana)

* A tree fell on Springbok in a big Botswanan storm and she survived unscathed! Amazing!

* Romantic and beautiful nights and days of camping in Botswana’s Okavango Delta after lazy rocking mokoro travel through the delta (where a wonderful man named BT took us in his dug-out canoe through the reed pathways, using his pole to navigate the waters (and hippos!). If you want a guide’s number for the Okavango, he’s awesome and you’ll save LOTS of money booking directly. Email me!

* and proposal update: add on Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia to the list! So many good stories about those moments:)

* there are more, but those will have to wait for when I don’t have to thumb type! Thank you for your patience:)

Now we’re back in South Africa after having just crossed the border from Botswana border in our trusty VW Polo (aka “Springbok”). It will be sad to leave her. Her maiden voyage has been quite epic to be a part of!

We head to the Quirimbas Archipelago in northern Mozambique tomorrow morning. Beach time!!!!! Yay!!! We plan to sail and dive off the traditional dhows there. Hopefully we can find one to charter that we can afford!!!???

For more photos, please friend me on Facebook if you haven’t yet and check out pics here. There are a few videos on my YouTube channel too.

Below are pictures of me with a Himba woman in Namibia (she was a midwife too so we had some nice chats. When I told her some peeps in the states ate their placenta she gagged then spit LOL), Springbok at camp on the Skeleton Coast, the red dunes of Soussvlei, and the mokoro in the Okavango Delta.

Be free, fellow Freedom Junkies!

Remember: the world responds to ACTION, so get out there and DO something differently to move you closer towards your freedom!!!! I’m rooting for you;)

Love,

Ana

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