The concept of #vagablonde was born out of a social media post where I tagged #blondevagabond last fall as I started my adventure around Europe with the U.S. Ski Team and numerous friends came up with the nomenclature #vagablonde. It's perfect. The hashtag speaks to social media and connection of like-minded things. With white blonde hair and a passion for travel, it just made sense. Voila! My first book title was born. Now I just have to write the book, right?!
I've always been enthralled with storytelling. A few years ago while living in Prague, Czech Republic, I was riding the tram to Palackého náměstí listening to a local musician strum his guitar—the edges of my lips turned up and my eyes sparkling with joy at the sight—and I thought to myself, "I need to share these stories...stories of the people I meet and how we met." I'm reminded how small this world is over and over when I'm blown away of stories of connection and I've learned to be a student of life, taking the opportunity to learn from those around me and from my own misadventures.
"The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun." — Chris McCandless
So this is the start of my journey, and part of your job is to hold me accountable. I'll write a collection of short stories from my travels and package it up with a lesson learned in hopes that my story and the stories of those I've encountered on my journey will allow you to think, look at the world with different eyes, or even inspire you.
A few of the many lessons I've learned in the last 32 years on this Earth:
1. The Universe—God—whatever...is big and powerful.
2. Sometimes you just gotta run.
3. Go to your happy place.
4. It's okay to dream. BIG.
5. Fail. Please. Fail.
6. In your body is a good place to be.
7. Strong is beautiful.
8. If you're unhappy where you are, make a change.
9. Never be afraid to ask for directions. This applies to foreign travels and life lessons alike.
10. Be fearlessly YOU.
11. A roadtrip is always a good idea.
12. Nothing is impossible.
13. Don't be afraid. The worst thing anyone can tell you is "no".
14. Manifestation is a real thing. Be open.
15. Every interaction—every person in your life—is an opportunity to learn and grow.
16. The Universe will never give you more than you can handle.
17. An Irishman's charm is always worth your attention.
18. Sometimes when you have nothing, everything finds you.
19. If you get the opportunity to travel. Don't think too hard. Just go.
20. Surf in Ireland.
21. Trust your gut.
22. Be mindful when dancing with the locals.
23. Move slowly. And with intention.
24. Weird is so, so rad.
26. Travel alone.
27. Above all else, be true to yourself.
28. Show gratitude. Karma's a bitch.
29. When you don't think you can fight anymore, keep fighting.
30. Faithfulness is a beautiful gift.
31. Vulnerability is beautiful.
32. Life isn't short. Live every moment fully and wholly.
33. Be nice to your body. And mind.
34. Everyone has a story. Listen.
35. Sometimes the most unlikely, motley crew of people can be your tightest crew.
36. Not everyone needs to see things the way you see things.
37. Resilience is within us all.
38. Everyone enters your life for a reason. Find that reason.
39. Selflessness is the most admirable trait you can possess.
40. Community is everything.
41. Giving is living.
42. Move and flow with nature.
43. Be the best version of yourself.
44. Even if you think you can't, you can.
45. If you have the ability to change the course of someone's day, do it.
46. Cultural boundaries can easily be broken with a smile. Or a few vodka shots.
47. Smile at a stranger.
48. Connect. Authentically.
This is just a rough outline of the lessons I've learned. Some of it is redundant. But behind each lesson is a story. I can't wait to share them with you. Thank you, from deep within my soul, for joining me on this journey.