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Hi there followers!

Welcome to my travel blog. Over the course of the next year (and beyond?) I will document my adventures in travel, design, self explauration, and cuisine! Have a blast explauren my page, photos, and posts!

In Order to Pack, First I must Unpack

In Order to Pack, First I must Unpack

Oh, 2017, you've  have been a brutal year so far! It feels as if you've sent me on a nine-hour long plane ride through nothing but thunderstorms and constant turbulence. In reality, it has been nine months of heartbreak, disappointment, and rejection. I say it's time to put a halt to all of that whirlwind and start smooth sailing! 

Call me Julia Roberts from the movie "Eat, Pray, Love" (2010), but I think it's time to go travel the world for a year to reevaluate my life and purpose. In fact, that is exactly what I am about to do! I've been accepted into a program called Remote Year where I will join 74 other professionals, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and adventurers with intentions to explore the world during an unforgettable year of personal and professional growth. As "Remotes," we will live and work in a different city around the globe each month, while immersed in new environments and unique cultures. Crazy, right?

I know... You must be wondering how in tarnation do I pack up my whole life into one suitcase under 44 pounds and head off for a year of travel? Well, I don't exactly have an answer to that question just yet, but I do know what the first step for me should be: unpacking!

Remember that stormy plane ride I’ve been on since the beginning of the year? Well, I need to start by unpacking from that unpleasant trip. In other words, I must begin my new journey by letting go of all the unnecessary baggage and trash from the past. There are two suitcases that need emptying...  the material one and the emotional one.

For a few months now, I have literally been letting go of just about everything I own. As Marie Kondo once said, "Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle." From my couch to my wardrobe to my car, I have been selling and donating most of my physical belongings. I've used several websites such as LetGo, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace; found new homes for some of the items through my friends, garage sales, and local charities. Goodbye baggage. Hello, minimalism!

Ideally, I could apply this concept of letting go to help clear my mental turmoil, as well. I've collected quite a few skeletons in my closet, and there's no better time than now to set them free. However, something has to open up in my head and in my heart for that to happen. And that’s the difficult part…battling a ruthless reluctance to change. Essentially, I have to continuously confront some invisible emotional barriers such as love, fear, and rage.

Confronting these feelings means becoming aware of them first and then struggling against them. It means challenging irrational, unproductive thoughts until they become clear visions; it means facing up to my fears of rejection and pain and then summoning up the courage to chase them away; and it means resisting my passionate attachment to a past love and shrinking it from Mount Everest to just a speed bump in the road. During my upcoming journey, I plan to cruise over all of these tiny speed bumps, using them only as reminders and caution signs while I accelerate forward into new adventures, positive change, and personal growth.

All in all, I recognize more than ever that with darkness comes light. I am incredibly fortunate to have the people, the tools, and the opportunities that allow me to see the glass as half full rather than half empty. It is time to set aside the past, welcome the future, and focus on the present. I hope you will join me as I make my way around the world practicing mindfulness, forgiveness, gratitude, and embracing the importance of letting go.

Well, enough for now... I believe it's time for some Explauren! Until next time....

Love, Lauren

Breaking Up with Your First Freelance Job

Breaking Up with Your First Freelance Job