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This year was my first time attending the World Domination Summit and I have to admit, it was impressive. The production quality alone was far beyond any other conference I’ve attended (except maybe SXSW, but that’s in a different league altogether). WDS is exactly what the name entails: it’s a gathering of entrepreneurs, speakers, writers, leaders, humans, who are creating things that actually affect the world in big ways. The core themes of the conference, for those who aren’t familiar, are Community, Service, and Adventure. If you hate those things, you’ll probably hate this blog and I’ll bid you adieu now.

The truth is, it’s amazing what can be accomplished when you have [a budget] and a strong commitment to the attendees. Creating an unparalleled experience was a top priority for Chris G. and his team, and it showed in everything from the quality of speakers, to the world-record breakings, to the closing party.

My notebook is full of inspirational takeaways and action steps, but in this post I’ll narrow it down to 5 key takeaways. Five ways that WDS inspired me to live a bolder, more interesting, more purposeful life. Oh, and to dominate the freaken world.

1. Be Vulnerable.

Throughout the week in Portland, I’d see people hugging and sometimes weeping while they appeared to share a moment about something personal. This could be between two friends, or two people that just met that day. It didn’t matter. The reality was that WDS provided a safe, almost summer-camp-like vibe for the attendees to come as they are, and leave as they want.

Admittedly, the part of me that grew up in the “real world” where people don’t embrace strangers for long periods of time in public, would witness these interactions and start to get uncomfortable.Don’t they feel awkward that people can see?

It wasn’t til my own repressed bullshit spilled out my eyeballs did I think, hey maybe these people are onto something.

The truth is, it’s not until people start being real, that these moments of intimacy actually happen. When people start being vulnerable and realize that they aren’t even remotely “cooler” or “tougher” than anyone else, that’s when it gets good, and that’s when change happens.

The most memorable example of this (for me) was a speech by internet marketer, and former pro athlete, Lewis Howes. His presentation resonated with me for many reasons. He used narrative and humor so effectively—two things I strive to do—that 3,000 people couldn’t help but listen to every word he said. We were engulfed in his story so much, that when he finally stripped off his alpha male facade, we were completely rocked. ROCKED I tell you!

Photo Credit: Armosa Studios, WDS 2015
Photo Credit: Armosa Studios, WDS 2015

This successful, masculine, attractive man, (hey! I’m human.) stood on stage and shared incredibly personal details. An auditorium full of people, males and females, cried as Lewis explained that he had been sexually assaulted as a child by his babysitters’s son.

He spoke of the effect it had on his life and relationships, as he kept that secret for over 25 years. He told us of the overwhelming fear he had when he finally told his family, and then subsequently shared his story on his podcast.

He told us of the impact it had had on his followers. The overwhelming support he had received for being so vulnerable and for showing other people that they’re not alone. That by sharing our vulnerabilities, we can truly help others to be able to do the same and move past the traumas and the baggage in our lives.

If you’re squeamish about emotions, and honesty, and being REAL, then this blog is probably not for you.

There will be plenty of sass--fret not--but there will also be raw and sometimes vulnerable things shared, because only through that realness can real change be made. Both in ourselves and in others.

Vulnerability affects change
Vulnerability affects change

I became friends with someone recently (a very impressive young woman who I’ll cover in a separate post), but after we made it Facebook offish, I noticed this quote on her wall. I don’t know who Oceana Pleasant is, and it doesn’t really matter.

The point is that this message of vulnerability leading to a greater reach and a greater influence has been following me around ever since WDS. Hence this blog. And hence why Be Vulnerable is #1 on my list of takeaways.

So this week, try and look for opportunities to be vulnerable. With friends, with family, maybe even at the office. If you find it easy, dig deeper. You’ll likely experience what Brene Brown calls a ‘vulnerability hangover’ where you ask yourself “Why did I share so much? What was I thinking??” but she goes on to explain it’s in these moments of exposure that we can start to see profound change and meaning in our lives.

2. Treat Everyone like it’s their birthday.

11 yr old Kid President was one of the most charismatic speakers to grace the stage at WDS. I’ve never seen Obama speak in person, but I like to think he’d be just as suave and quick witted.

Kid president is known for his youtube channel where he encourages people to be better humans through humor, dancing, and general awesomeness.

One of the simplest, yet most impactful, things he said was to “Treat everyone like it’s their birthday.”

Treat Everyone Like It's Their Birthday
Treat Everyone Like It's Their Birthday

It’s so easy to be grumpy cat when you’re out running errands and it’s a million degrees, or you’re at the doctor’s office because you have an ear infection for like the billionth time. But what if you bucked up a bit and instead oozed generosity in all those situations?

What if everyone you encountered each day, it really was their birthday, wouldn’t you wish you had been nicer to them?

The cashier at Target, the receptionist at the doctors, the guy that checks you in at the Jiffy Lube. Your girlfriend or boyfriend. Your teacher. Your mom.

James Altucher, one of my favorite writers, puts it like this: Treat everyone like it’s their last day on earth. Not your last day. This isn’t about ballin’ out, and flying to Rome to eat gelato. This is about them. If everyone you encountered, you knew it was their last day on earth, how would you act differently?

3. Share what you know.

Jeremy Cowart was another speaker that really spoke to me. Both literally and figuratively, I supposed. His presentation was unique in that the entire speech was expressed using photos and mixed media. He put every word on the screen in a way I had not seen before. He’s a true artist.

Jeremy spoke of his early struggles to see himself as a photographer (he is world renowned and has worked with hundreds of celebrities, artists, musicians, etc.) and he spoke of his philanthropic efforts through projects like Help-Portrait and Voices of Haiti.

But the thing he said that was profound enough to take make my list was something that hit a bit closer to home. Jeremy told us that he and his brother Mike, also a fellow photographer, had attended a Father Daughter dance in early 2014. There his brother snapped an amazing picture of Jeremy and his daughter in a snow machine that they had brought out on the dance floor. The picture would be the last one that Mike ever took of Jeremy as he died suddenly a few weeks later.

If you follow Jeremy’s blog, he shares the full story of grief through images.

Through his brother’s death, Jeremy was able to grasp the fragility of life in a way that he hadn’t before and he realized that he owed it to his children, and to his brother’s children, to share what he could with them before his time on earth was up.

So he created SeeUniversity.com, where he has loaded dozens of videos on every possible topic from photography, to business, to personal development. Everything he knows and everything he has learned, he has shared so that his children (and any followers who apply to join his list) can learn from it.

He preached that you are always ahead of someone. There is always at least person, if not hundreds or thousands, who can benefit from your knowledge and your unique perspective. No matter how insignificant you think your skills are, share them. They could open a door for someone else, and they could change their life.

Are you really good at coming up with recipes? Do you have a knack for writing jokes? Are you an excel wiz? It doesn’t matter what it is, you are better at something than someone else.

So write it down, record a video, compile the content through images. Whatever medium works best for you, just share what you know.

4. When you see people as just your platform, you eventually stand on top of them.

In the entrepreneurial world, I can tell you, it’s really easy for people to get caught up in the numbers. How many people are on your list, how many conversions did you get, how many downloads?

It can be easy to forget that every data point is a person. Someone that bought your product, joined your list, or signed up for your course because they trust you and they think you can provide value to their lives.

Jon Acoff hit the nail on the head with this quote, "When you see people as just your platform, you eventually stand on top of them." Instead of looking at people as a platform for your business, ask yourself how can I help? Am I doing what I said I would? Am I actually making people’s lives better with what I’m offering?

The same applies in the corporate environment. Rather than prioritize our own personal agenda and trample each other on the race up the corporate ladder, instead we can work to raise each other up. Celebrate each other’s successes, and constantly ask, how can I help?

5. You can do anything.

I wish I could convey the energy that exists when you get a room full of people who want to positively impact the world. It may sound cult-y but the truth is, I can’t imagine a better koolaid to be drinking.

The reality is that anyone who has ever created something that radically impacted the way we all live today was just a person like you and me. The difference is that they took action and worked hard. Really hard.

With technology what it is today, our reach is faster and farther than it’s ever been before. People can source materials, or get funding easier and from more sources than was possible even 5 years ago.

Want to start a foundation to put kids through school in Africa? You can. Want to write a book and sell it to thousands of people on amazon? You can. Want to create a piece of luggage that charges your phone? You can!

You Can Do Anything
You Can Do Anything

Jeremy Cowart's speech emphasized not only that we teach the world all that we know, but also that our ability to make an impact is literally limitless.

We are capable of anything if we can conceive of it.

There are countless quotes and texts that serve to inspire us with this same message. I'll give you one, just to prove how easy it is to google these things. Nelson Mandela said, "It always seems impossible until it's done."

Point being, it's true. Whether Jeremy Cowart said it on stage at WDS or Tony Robbins said it on stage at one of his conferences, or Napolean Hill wrote it in a book about getting rich, if you can think of it and set your intention to make it reality, then it is inevitable.

Another speaker at WDS said that we were 'a room full of wizards.' With the power to change the world. The truth is that we all are.  Not just the 3,000 people who attended WDS.

Whether you grew up on Harry Potter and can appreciate a good wizard metaphor, or not, you are capable of doing ridiculously amazing things. So go do it already.

Why Public Nudity is Like Chicken Soup for the Soul

Spanish Nude Beach
Spanish Nude Beach

It started in Berlin. I was living there for the summer and my boyfriend and I were having dinner with some friends we’d known in Chiang Mai. We were sitting outside at one of my favorite Turkish restaurants in Neukölln (This one, it’s delicious. You’re welcome.) and they were telling us about all the different things they’d already done in Berlin that day. They ate burgers, here, saw a statue there, went to a nude bathhouse. A coed. Nude. Bathhouse.

Hold the phone.

Now these are two grown heterosexual American men. Call me a prude, but I was shocked. Mostly intrigued, but also shocked.

What did they do there? They said they had gone for over 4 hours. Were they just sitting around holding their junk in a steam room that whole time? Not possible! They’d die. (Don’t fact check me on that. I don’t actually know the length of time a human can physically spend in a steam room before kicking it.)

Throughout the conversation, they seemed perfectly at ease with the whole thing, and were even talking about going back before they left town. There were apparently multiple steam rooms, and saunas, and cold plunge pools, and even a DJ and a bar!

Needlesstosay, I was sold. I needed to go to the coed nude bathhouse.

My boyfriend (bless him) was always open minded about these things, and supported any opportunity that came about where I could celebrate my womanhood and my body without shame. He was in.

So the next day we looked up the Liquidrom Bathhouse, and hopped the U-Bahn. When we got there, we forked over our credit cards, and headed to our respective changing rooms. Well, not until after I grilled the front desk man about every possible detail.

Where was nudity mandatory? In which pools were swimsuits mandatory? Was there a limit to the number of drinks a person could order? Was he sure there wasn't a limit?

I was such an American.

So we go into our change rooms, and immediately something feels off. My boyfriend had walked into the room next to me, but I could still feel his presence. Not in like a “he’s always with me” kind of way, this isn’t that kind of post. But in that he was literally. Still. Right next to me.

I looked up and realized that I could see in the entire men’s changing room. And that they could see in ours. There were no walls! What was the point of the whole separate door charade??

We laughed awkwardly, and gave each other that “We got this” look of support before stripping down to our skivvies and heading out the other side of the locker room to the unknown.

What we found was incredible.

Everywhere we looked, men and women were lounging naked, drinking cocktails naked. Sitting in glass-walled saunas naked. And no one seemed to give a DAMN that people could see their naked bits, and they could see everyone else’s.

Liquidrom Saltwater Pool
Liquidrom Saltwater Pool

We spent the next four hours canoodling in the hot tubs, on the lounge chairs, and in the saltwater pool room with the DJ.

Other couples all around us seemed to be doing the same thing, so we didn’t feel like it was taboo to show affection. Remember, NO ONE CARES YOU’RE NAKED. It’s Europe. They have advertisements on the subway showing more skin than you do at the beach in the states. Bless your heart.

The liberation we felt after that experience was hard to shake. And why should we?

A year later, we found ourselves in Spain and decided to venture out to a nude beach to bare it all once again. Spanish people are not new to the concept of going topless, much like other parts of Europe.

That being said, you’d think it would be easier to access the nude beaches. We took a train an hour or so north of where we were staying, and then hiked a good 30 minutes along the coast. It was beautiful, of course, but damn the sangria from the night before was showing her face with every minute that the sun beat down on us.

When we finally reached the stretch of shore deemed naked-territory, we ditched our sweaty suits, and cuddled up under an umbrella. Groups of Spanish people chatted around us as we all just hung out with our stuff out. It was refreshing and liberating and one of the moments I’ve felt most alive.

The ocean breeze, the gritty sand. My white ass out for the sun to scorch. The sheer amount of fucks not given. It was awesome.

I look back on my time in Vietnam, when I would go to the sauna and cold plunge pool at my gym. All of the women there were butt-ass naked. Except me. I wore a bathing suit. They would sit in the sauna giving each other massages—naked-- and I would sit there in my Victoria’s Secret bathing suit, hiding.


They had lady bits. I had lady bits. Who carrrres?

I feel regretful that I was so embarrassed. How good would that cold plunge pool have felt without my bathing suit as a barrier? How much more relaxed would the sauna have made me feel if I wasn’t so busy trying to sit comfortably with a stick up my ass?

I feel grateful for having had such a supporting partner to usher me through those moments of liberation. And for always supporting my desire to be nude behind closed doors, and sometimes outside of them.

There are enough things in the world to be anxious about, our bodies don’t need to be one of them. (Pssst, half the world is working with the same goods you got. It’s nothing they haven’t seen before!)

Does this mean I’m one of those "free-spirits" who walks around all my American friends in the nude now? No. I respect that people have boundaries, and societal norms would have me wear clothes in most social situations in America.

I am however much more inclined to bare it all, and not think twice about doing so. I’m much more inclined to support anyone who feels comfortable with their body enough to bare it, or who wants to feel that way.

Life is short, go swim naked once in awhile.

How I Used Twitter to Quit My Job and Travel

I’ve always hated the word “networking”. It makes me think of college career fairs. You know the ones. You’re carrying a leather resume holder that you bought at the school bookstore, wearing the grey pant suit you bought at Express. At this point, it probably smells like B.O. because you can’t machine wash those things and what college student is getting shit dry cleaned on the regular.

If you’re a girl, you have those stereotypical black pointy toed heels on, because god-forbid you show your toes at a career fair. You’re supposed to approach potential employers and act like you have acquired some sort of skill set at your overpriced university, while meanwhile all you want to do is take their free mints and airplane-shaped paper clips and run. (Thank you Boeing, I still use those).

What were they even hiring for? What did a Marketing Major really know how to contribute to a company at that point? The answer: nothing. No one was hiring anyone with Marketing degrees! HA! I might as well have majored in liberal arts.

The point is, for someone who prides herself in being outgoing, “networking” events always made me feel forced and unnatural. And sweaty.

I’ve since grown out of that to a degree (alcohol helps) and can comfortably approach strangers at these once-dreaded “networking” events.

But what if I’m trying to network with people who aren’t nearby? How do you go about doing that?

A lot of people would say LinkedIn. And good for those people. I’ve yet to master the Facebook of professionals.

For me, the secret was Twitter.

Two years ago I successfully networked my way out of a 9-5 job--and around the world--through my use of twitter.

It wasn’t about followers. I think I had like 30 at the time. Yeah… I was a big deal.

It was about conversation. I engaged people I wanted to know in conversation. I didn’t ask them for anything, I didn’t try to sell them anything. I just wanted to talk to them. And somehow this made them want to talk to me.

I’ll give you a little backstory… I was working a 9-5 job at a Web Marketing Agency in Maryland. I had attempted to take my position remote, and failed. I was working 12-14 hour days on the regular and it was making me miserable. In addition to the fact that I would go to sleep thinking horrible things about mean clients, I knew that I wasn’t living the type of life I always pictured for myself.

Traveling 10 days a year and maxing out PTO in the process just wasn’t cutting it.

Enter, The Four Hour Work Week. I won’t dive into the book in this post, but let’s just say it’s a game changer. For me and millions of other people who have fantasized about slow travel and being their own boss.

So there I was, riding the Tripper Bus back to D.C., after spending New Years Eve in New York with my friends, when I finished the 4HWW. It clicked in THAT moment. My life would be drastically different in 6 months and I knew it.

Anyone who has ever had one of those "holy shit" clarity moments (some people call them "aha moments") knows what I'm talking about. From that moment on everything just seemed to fall into place.

I recently heard it referred to has "Pronoia." Instead of thinking that the universe is conspiring against you, instead you feel like the universe is conspiring to help you.

Fast forward a few weeks later, I had started throwing money at any info product or online community that would take me. Digital Nomad Academy led to Location Rebel, led to CopyHour. And ultimately, the DC.

Often those communities are targeted towards newbs who want to start a business and quit their jobs to travel. Ideally working 4 hours a week on a mostly passive-income-generating business. (Of course that’s not how it works for most people).

The DC was different though. I had to have a business to get in! That made me want it more. I knew if I just got into this community that everything would change.

So the only logical next step was to befriend everyone I could who was inside the forum and hope for the best. Hope that I could learn from them enough to get my own thing going and get accepted.

I took to twitter and started following everyone I could. Note: once you’re inside the entrepreneurial, location-independent, internet marketing world, you realize how small it really is. This is probably true for most subcultures.

It was pretty easy for me to see who was connected to who, and actually where in the world they were living.

Following Sean Ogle of Location Rebel (and a former Tropical MBA/ DC Intern) led me to Derek Johanson of Copy Hour. Derek was in the DC at the time and seeing who he was chatting with on Twitter led me to a whole slew of people.

There was a big DC contingent in Chiang Mai back then, so I started following anyone who was using the DC Chiang Mai hashtag. It snowballed.

Maneesh Sethi was another person I began following through Derek and one day I saw he was hosting a meet up in New York. Derek Johanson would be there, along with Derek Halpurn and some other people that were doing business online.

As if I needed an excuse to skip work and go to New York….

2 Days later, I took a half day from work and hopped the train to NYC. I was the only female at this meet up of successful internet entrepreneurs. I was the only person who didn’t have a business. And guess what? It didn’t matter.

We drank beers, we talked travel, and to this day I still count some of those people as friends.

How I Quit My Job to Travel
How I Quit My Job to Travel

A couple weeks later Derek referred me to the DC (along with another person that I’d connected with on Twitter) and I was in! I finally got to give them my money and pretend I was an entrepreneur. All of a sudden my conversations were moving from Twitter to inside the forums, and people were treating me like they knew me.

A few weeks after that, the creators of the DC posted a job opportunity for the Community Manager. I applied, and because of my twitter stalking networking, they already knew who I was. My ability to connect with people across the world who had no idea who I was made them think, "hey maybe she's good with people?" A pre-req for managing them, it would seem.

So I got the job. (I hope you saw that coming. So much build up and all...)

And 2 weeks later I moved to Vietnam.

The End!

Not really, that was just the beginning. But it was a start that would not have come to fruition if I hadn't used the resources available to me to MAKE SHIT HAPPEN.

If you want something, don't be scared to do unconventional things to make it happen.

I didn't have a business. It didn't stop me.

I didn't know anyone living the life I wanted. It didn't stop me. It was out there. I had read it in a book (!) and that was enough for me to get started.

I may have had an advantage, in that I've always been comfortable getting to know people virtually (my AIM game was strong in my youth) but the reality is that anyone can do this.

Here are 3 tips to start networking on twitter today:

1. Find the right people to follow

Understanding who you want to be talking to (and why) is step one. In my situation, I just wanted to talk to people who were doing what I wanted to be doing. Who were living where I wanted to be living.

I could tell who was influential, and who would be likely to respond, based on their tweets with other people. It may sound like a lot of work (and perhaps creepy) to go through people's twitter history, but I assure you it's worth it. Some of those original tweets I sent were to people I have since lived with and become best friends with. We've seen each other in countries all over the world, and it all started with a single tweet.

Follow people who look like they will engage in conversation!

2. Retweet. Retweet. Rinse. Repeat.

Retweeting content of people you follow is one of the quickest ways so show them that you're interested in what they have to say, and you're willing to share it. If you're uneasy about sending them a tweet, and they haven't yet followed you back for you to send a DM, start by retweeting.

Be sure to balance retweets with original content of your own. If people do take note of you, you want your twitter log to have show some representation of who you are. Avoid looking like a retweeting robot.

3. Learn their lingo.

If you're naturally a sarcastic person, but the people you follow seem to be more literal, avoid banter in the early stages. On the other hand, if people you want to connect with seem to respond well to humor and wit, offer it up freely. Give people a reason to bond with you. 140 characters is not a lot, so use every one of them wisely.

If you combine these tactics, and are able to offer up some value to the people you're looking to connect with, you'll be ahead of the game.


I'd love to hear stories of how other people have used Twitter in a bold way to make strides in their business, or in their life. Leave a comment below or send me an email to tell me about it!

The 3 Things I Learned at 8,500 Ft.

Climb that Mountain
Climb that Mountain

I took this photo last week on Bear Peak Trail in Boulder, Colorado. Since I was pretty sure I was going to black out and fall off the mountain, I wanted to make sure the whole thing was well documented so they’d have pretty pictures to show at my funeral. My iphone case is seemingly sturdy so I was confident it would survive the fall and rescuers would be able to salvage my photos.

I agreed to go on the hike for my friend’s birthday under the pretenses that we would be back by 6pm, and I’d be in for a mild to moderate workout. I had work to do, and I wasn’t trying to exhaust myself to such a point that I wouldn’t be able to function.

Can you see where this is going?

After stopping at Sprouts to grab some snacks and Bhakti we headed for the trail. Side note: if you haven’t had Bhakti Chai, you’re missing out. It’s a crazy combination of ginger and chai that tastes exactly like it sounds.

I was told that the trail is mostly flat until it juts up and that’s where shit gets real. After 40 minutes of “flat” I was worried that the altitude and my inability to do “fit” would pose a problem. I was struggling to breathe and the real hike hadn’t even started.

As we got closer to the flatirons a storm rolled in that threatened the entire mission. Since getting struck by lightning on these peaks is a legitimate concern, we hid under some trees and ate hummus while it passed. I’m pretty sure I was taught that “under a tree” is not the best place to be during a storm, but who am I to question these things.

Eventually the rain stopped and we picked up our packs again. I was sure we only had an hour or so left to the peak and I was excited!

After what felt like DAYS, and a dozen “we’re almost to the first landing!” I was starting to get skeptical. And by skeptical, I mean impatient. This was not moderate. This was hard as shit. I took it upon myself to ask another hiker who was headed down the mountain, how much time is left? Really?

He said 20 minutes to the first landing, then another 20 to the summit. Okay, finally some numbers that mean something. Thank you for managing my expectations kind stranger!

I should note that this stranger also told us, he’d been up on the peak when the storm passed and had to hide under a rock to avoid the hail that was raining down. These Colorado storms don’t mess around.

It should come as no surprise that we did not reach the first landing after 20 more minutes. Eventually we did and it was beautiful, but DAMN was I getting stressed.

Bear Peak Trail
Bear Peak Trail

At 5 o clock (4 hours into the hike), we still had not reached the summit. By this point, I had cycled through every motivational cliche I could think of.

“You can do anything.” was my flavor of choice and I had it playing on repeat. I knew if I just kept up with the 22 yr olds a little bit longer that it would all be worth it. Think of the social media opportunities at the top!!

Despite the fact that my legs were surely about to stop working and I was seeing spots, I was feeling anxious about the fact that work was becoming less and less likely. I don’t like letting my clients down, and I don’t like being in situations I can’t control. The reality was that I was trapped on a beautiful mountain in Boulder and I had no idea when I’d be getting off it. (I know, life is tough).

The closer we got to the summit though, the less I cared about pushing work to the next morning. This view was something I would never forget, and I doubt that the project management back at my laptop would really stick with me past the weekend.


So 25 hours into the hike, we summited. (okay it was more like 5 hours). I hadn’t died!

I was confident that I might, sitting there on the peak, but I hadn’t yet!

If you’ve never summited a peak--and I hadn’t--it’s pretty badass. Once the trail fades away, there’s nothing left at the top but rock. Rock on rock on rock. Which somehow doesn’t budge out of place and send you careening to your death. Or maybe it does sometimes?

Either way, there we were. Perched on top of these precarious rocks at 8,500 feet just staring down the side of a mountain. I had no regrets.

I had told myself “you can do anything” and I was right.

So what did I learn?

Well, I took from that experience [yet again] the fact that I really value people managing my expectations. I feel anxious and chaotic when it doesn't seem like people are giving it to me straight. All I can do with this knowledge is try to manage the expectations of others. Show them respect by always being upfront and then letting them decide for themselves how they want to proceed.

I also reiterated to myself the value of just living. Getting outside. Away from my desk and just living. The truth is that I tend to be really good at pushing work for the pleasure of the moment, but the hike supported my instincts to do so. I was right where I was supposed to be.

The biggest takeaway for me though was my ability to do. anything. Have I mentioned how hard the hike was? Because it was hard as shit. But I did it! It’s comforting to have that knowledge for the next time I want to do something and feel like I can’t.


  1. You can do anything. Seriously!
  2. Manage Kim’s expectations whenever possible.
  3. Go climb a mountain. There’s a slim chance you won’t learn something along the way.

The Beginning of The Bold Life Movement

Below is an email I sent to a group of close friends last week.

The responses I received, combined with some incredible talks I recently heard (more on that later) inspired me to start this blog.

Hopefully this blog will inspire you to start something too.

SUBJECT: I did something bold today....thought I would share!

Some of you knew me when this relationship dominated my life, some of you knew me after. Either way I know that I've at least mentioned my long distance/online boyfriend Nick* from [city name]*. I met him in 9th grade (online), and eventually started dating my junior year. Multiple hours of the day spent texting, talking on AIM, and racking up our parents' phone bills. Multiple cross country trips to visit each other, attend high school with each other, even prom, and ultimately Mexico. He was my best friend for so much of my adolescence and he was my first *AHEM*.

Anyway, distance, youth, and technology make our long-distance breakup a big blur. Drunken texts (mostly mine) and "don't talk to me anymore"s (mostly his) left me without closure for SO. LONG. I can't even tell you how many times my mom has said, "Kimber. Let it go."

True to form, I ignored that advice and just bided my time til the day I would go back to [city name]*. The internet would once again prove a useful tool for knowing too much about people and I would easily message him on Facebook and get the reunion I always wanted.

Well not quite.

I'm in [city name]* now. I'm here for a conference with friends and I did what we all knew I would do, I looked him up on Facebook.... Got nothing. Looked him up on Instagram. Nothing. Linkedin, twitter, whitepages, google. All yielded NOTHING. As if he DOESN'T post pictures of his food and let people tag him in drunken photos from 4th of July. (What kind of monster is he??)

So in a last ditch effort I googled his full name, Nicholas*. One picture showed up. This picture.*

So for three days, I've had this knowledge. For three days I've known he is a short 6 minute drive from where I'm staying between the hours of 9-5. For three days, I've been in [city name], wondering how to casually show up at an auction house* and not get the cops called on me. Not get screamed at by someone who thought they had eliminated me from their life.

I didn't even know if he'd be thereI mean what is the work environment even like at an auction house?? Does he go in every day? Does he wear a suit? Does he talk really fast now? Who knows.

I managed to convince a girlfriend to come with me as a buffer. Also to catch me when I fainted.

We blasted "eye of the tiger" in our rental car as we drove to the Auction House and I screamed and laughed out my nerves.

When I got there, I asked the closest front desk person "if Nick* was working"... like I'm in freaking high school calling Subway to see if my bf is working that day. She went back into her office and said she'd call him to come down.


He actually does come into the office. I gripped the nearest structure for support, hoping it wasn't some $15,000 antique waiting to be auctioned off. My girlfriend took a seat on the sofa, trying to act as natural as someone could for feigning invisibility.

And then he walked out. He was wearing the same skater clothes I had seen him in 12 years earlier and after the longest 10 seconds of my life, he said "Kim?? is that you?"

And then I passed out.

Ok, not really. I said that I was shaking... as if that would make it stop. Said that I had looked him up on google, and wondered if he wanted to grab coffee while I was in town. He made some passing comment about me being a stalker (as you do). But really, it went so much better than I could have ever thought.

He asked if I could wait a few minutes and wanted to grab lunch. At a nearby cafe, we talked and reminisced and I dropped the word "surreal" a good 20 times. I was very smooth.

I showed him pictures of Abby, and explained my current lifestyle in a way that [I hoped] didn't make me sound like a jerk. He said he lived at his grandma's because she needed someone to take care of her and refused to leave her house. I remembered how he was always more selfless than me.

It was a reunion I've literally dreamt about for 12 years. Because that's what lack of closure will do. He was so sweet and so thankful for me being bold, and my heart is so happy and warm.

It could have gone horribly, but I feel rewarded for taking the chance and I just had to share! BE BOLD LADIES. In whatever way that means to you.

xoxox Kim

*I've changed his name and hid his photos and the city he lives for privacy's sake. Just because I can look him, doesn't mean everyone should. 

Here are the responses I received from my friends:

So from these messages, I was able to glean a few things:

First, someone needs to teach my friends how to update their email signature on their iPhone.

Second, no one thought I was bat-shit crazy for having tracked down a high school love to find closure! So either we’re all bat-shit crazy (haven't ruled it out) or the happy ending made the ballsy move easier to digest.

The biggest takeaway, though, was that every single friend SUPPORTED me. All the taboo or scary things I’ve done in my life have maybe invited a few questions, but mostly they’ve inspired or impressed those who knew me.

People ask me all the time, “How did you quit your job to travel?” “How did you make money and live wherever you want?” “How did you date someone across the country when you were 16??”

The answer is usually just… because I wanted to. I often don’t ask permission because I won’t accept no as an answer. (I'll explain in a later post the logistics of dating someone you met online when you're a minor, pre-tinder, pre-facebook. YES I'm that old.)

For 12 years, I didn’t accept no as an answer and last week it came to pay off.

Do I think this is a green light for anyone to track down old flames or not appease someone’s request for space? No. Absolutely not. You could maybe --probably-- end up in jail.

I’m saying I had a gut instinct and I went for it. I didn’t let my fear of rejection or the advice of my parents stop me. My need to know and my willingness to act trumped everything else.

It’s okay to take risks if you trust yourself.

It’s okay to be curious about things people tell you to leave alone.

Sometimes fostering that sense of curiosity is more important than trying to be courageous. Author James Stephens has a quote, “Curiosity will conquer fear more than bravery will.”

Curiosity for me has come in many forms. Most of them challenging the status quo in some way. Why can't I love someone I met on the internet? Why should I work from a desk in Maryland if I could work from a desk in Italy? Why are cheez-its so much better than cheese nips?

Why should I feel ashamed of these questions? 

In this blog I want to share stories and adventures that I would not have otherwise had if I didn't ask why?

Ultimately I want to hear the stories of my readers as well. If we don't share what we know, then how will anyone else learn?


  1. This is the first post. Chances are good that my writing will improve.
  2. It's okay to take risks when you trust yourself.
  3. Give people the chance to be inspired by your courage and curiosity.
  4. Cheez-its ftw.