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Work from home – or Bora Bora – in pajama pants & slippers with coffee in hand

Hey guys! 2020 was a wild year, and I feel you; I was working as an event sales manager when I was laid off last spring because helloOo canceled weddings… Then I fell into online teaching – which I might never have found otherwise – and I totally freakin’ love it! 🌈 Are you looking forward to traveling again soon? Have you always dreamt of being able to work remotely from anywhere in the world with the freedom to have more spontaneous adventures? πŸŒ Check out VIPKid! Teaching English online to adorable Chinese students (in pajama pants & slippers with coffee in hand) is equal amounts fulfilling & flexible. Please feel free to use my referral link and comment below to help you get started! πŸ’– Where will you be off to with this newfound flexibility? Bali? South Africa? Peru? ✈️ Get started today and slay all day like Bey. πŸ’ƒβœ¨

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Stop Trying. Start Living.

I’m going to change it up this week and talk about something a little different. Not to make light of our current pandemic by any means – hope y’all are doing ok, and God bless everyone affected πŸ’œ – but there is a(nother) quiet epidemic going on in this world that I find rather annoying & I would just love to chat about it openly with you all. You know, the one that feeds on our souls? That is: CARING WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK. It has become an addiction; we’re totally obsessed. We base our identity on others’ judgments of us, good or bad. < Did you hear that? It’s no wonder we care so much!

I mistakenly thought that once I hit 30, I’d suddenly ‘arrive’ and just instantly care less. Now 33, this is still something I struggle with on the daily and continues to be my absolute least favorite thing about myself – and what I find more soul-sucking than anything else in this life – and it’s something I want to conquer to the death. Who’s with me? πŸ‘Š

Lemme just jump right in. It’s crippling sometimes how much I care. It’s ridiculous, actually. I’m often paralyzed by this absurd fear of how I am going to be perceived by others, so I choose to bottle it up and remain at the mercy of other people’s opinions because, well, that’s the “safest” place to be… right? Bah, have we been horribly conditioned or what?! We live in a society that tells us to live safe and secure, even predictable lives; our brains are wired to tell us the same and ye olde fear sirens start wailing the second something seems ever so slightly risky, to try and keep us safe: Warning, something out of the ordinary is happening! Tell me you copy! I NEED A 10-4!! 🚨 It’s because of (giving into) these damn sirens that I’m probably more of a follower than a leader, because I’d rather avoid conflict and keep the peace at all costs… even to my own detriment. Even if it means sacrificing my own voice. Gosh, how little must I value myself in those moments? The best thing to do would be to pause before responding to connect with Self and hear that sweet inner voice say remember your worth… but too often I’ve instead gone with the herd only to be trampled by it. *Sigh* I’ve simply spent way too much of this precious life shaping and changing myself to meet other’s standards. It’s EXHAUSTING, ammirite? And literally impossible. And a direct one-way ticket losing yourself and saying helloOo to identity crisis and depression. I’m just so tired of living to people-please, aren’t you? YOLO! (Had to.) This one life is as delicate and fleeting as a spring flower 🌷 and far too sacred to allow it to become a moving projection of what other people think our lives should look like. Is that binge-eat-ice-cream-depressing or what? And who even are these people?

Reminds me. I studied music composition in college 🎹 and I was the only student in my program not to record anything because I was never satisfied with any of my songs. Why? Because I was in a panic about how they’d be received. Fast forward 15 years (yep) and I’ve still never fully completed a song. To type that makes me want to curl up into fetal position and stay there for a long, long time. But that’s the sad truth. I’ve written so may half-songs which I’ve never completed / shared for the same fear-driven reason. On that note, I spent years dying my strawberry hair πŸ“ bleach blonde because I once overheard someone say that red hair was unattractive. And let’s not even talk about the orange-as-an-Oompa-Loompa fake tanning phase. πŸ₯• (All because, freckles? FRECKLES ARE AWESOME.) Anyway, the list goes on… What am I looking for approval for? A false sense of higher self-esteem acquired in vain? Does one person’s measly opinion of me mean more to me than my own dreams? More to me than being me? Of course, I’m not saying it’s a negative thing to always care what people think; its important to hold each other accountable where morals and professionalism are concerned. I’m just speaking in terms of others’ judgments or, really, our fear of people judging us… when the reality is that most of the time they’re probably not. So how can we stop running around in endless circles on this hampster wheel called: “Trying SO hard to control other’s opinions of me even though it’s literally out of my control, but still I run…”?

Well, if this ramble resonates with you, I have some advice (for us both). Wanna know the secret? BE CONFIDENT in yourself, in all of your decisions and actions. Ok, I hear you. If you aren’t naturally confident, choose to act as if you are! But I know I don’t have to tell you that that alone won’t work (that’d be like dieting without exercising or vice versa): Let *positive affirmations* be your daily / hourly mantras and breathe it into existence through your intention. It works! Read soul-nourishing books, connect with yourself through yoga, meditation or whatever is your preferred self-care routine. Positive self-talk does wonders (while negative self-talk does a crazy amount of damage and quickly). Here’s a fun challenge: Wear a tutu to work! Or maybe it’s something bright & sparkly. πŸ‘‘ If you are clearly uncomfortable, people will target you because they sense your vulnerability; own it and you will be amazed at the amount of respect you will receive for daring to be bold. Hey, if Beyonce wore a tutu over her jeans it’d be trending the next day. You can slay! You just have to decide to! We have to realize that – believe it or not – THE. WORLD. DOESN’T. REVOLVE. AROUND. US. Being the highly sensitive woman I am, I tend to over-analyze everything (workin’ on it!) but we must remember that most people really don’t care or even notice nearly as much as we think. And, if they are judging us, there are reasons for it that have literally nothing to do with us (insecurities in their own lives projected onto ours).

So let’s accept and – more than that – freakin’ embrace who. we. are. πŸ’–πŸ™Œ …and not who we think other people want us to be. IS the grass always greener? Really? Nope. Never. Let’s stop wishing we looked more like this and less like that, or had this or that. NEWSFLASH: These things won’t make you happy. I promise. If you think there’s something wrong with your already perfect self, well, sadly it’s the brain-washing and impossible standards set by our society that has led you to believe that lie. That is not Truth. Anyway, who wants to be “normal,” whatever that means? Umm boring! Your unique personality sets you apart. Rock it!! Be your wild, quirky self. You have a sparkling soul & something huge to offer this world… because you’re you! And there’s only one of you! No one else can offer this world the exact same gifts YOU alone have. We weren’t designed to be mindless clones (imagine that sad world) but to share our uniqueness. 🌈 So I encourage you – us! – to courageously veer away from the stampede and go down that glorious road less traveled my sweet friend. Wave the white flag and give up the meaningless war that you have the freedom to choose not to fight. Surrender is sweet. 🏳️

And please, let’s lift each other up in this battle & keep the conversation going! Comment below and share your story. Share your heart. Share transparently. πŸ’›

Sending all the Love & Peace your way πŸ•ŠοΈ

πŸ’– Lynne

“A ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” β›΅

– John A. Shedd

Helpful resources: Books or Power Thought Cards by Louise Hay ✨

And a more blog-relevant side note: Are you looking forward to traveling again soon? Have you always dreamt of being able to work remotely from anywhere in the world with the freedom to have more spontaneous adventures? πŸŒ Me too! …Then I found VIPKid! Teaching English online to adorable Chinese & Japanese students (from the comfort of my home) is honestly one of the best things that has ever happened to me. πŸ’• Please feel free to use my referral link and / or drop me a line in the virtual cafe to help you get started. Where will you be off to with this newfound flexibility? Bali? South Africa? Peru? Let the adventurous & oh-so-rewarding life of teaching English remotely begin!! βœˆοΈπŸ’«

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2020: The Year of the Dormant Traveler

It’s hard to believe that this is the very first time I’m writing about the pandemic. Many times over the past year I’ve thought: Shouldn’t I be journaling about this? If for nothing else, for my future kiddos to read? For history’s sake? But I never did. Not once. I suppose I found it all too depressing and wanted to talk / write about literally anything else. BUT as I’ve just started this travel blog (#600,790,389) – brilliantly enough as someone whose travel plans are currently on hold βœ‹ (cue “Irnoic” by Alanis ♬ > “it’s like a travelerrr in isooolashe…”) – I thought I should probably start by addressing the ol’ elephant in the room:

1. How are you doing? U hanging in there? πŸ’œ

2. If you are an essential worker, I have soOoOo much respect, gratitude & admiration for you, brother/sister/friend! Thank you. πŸ™ 

Welp. Without diving too much into the pandemic and how it has been frustrating for me personally, which no one wants to hear I’m sure (as I know it has been uber challenging for us all & many have been dealing with far worse, God bless them)… all I’ll say is: oh em gee, THE RESTLESSNESS! 😩

I’m sure many of you free birds out there can relate to the utterly deflating feeling of not having been able to make travel plans this past year, or maybe even for the foreseeable future. *Sigh* Between 2006 & 2020, I was pretty much constantly bouncing around. ✈️ My dear sweet husband & I have been together for 9 years and still don’t have a home-home or even a single piece of furniture. (I know right? We crazy nomads have been lucky enough to rent adorably furnished rentals from the UK to NYC to Los Angeles to New Orleans and currently rural Vermont.)

But it’s not that it’s just a bummer not to be able to travel. It’s weird. It’s like a part of what I associated my identity with just abruptly peaced out. ✌️ How can I explain it… maybe an animal metaphor? A dormant traveler is like a caffeinated cheetah on a slow-moving treadmill. The roadrunner on a leash. These legs want to GO! πŸƒπŸΌβ€β™€οΈ

Anywho, like I’m sure all of you, the crazy bananas 🍌 year that was 2020 gave me ample time to reflect on my life and what is most important to me (besides my sweet family, friends & health, of course). The other night when pondering my existence and what gives me life, I scribbled in the margins of a self-help book by Rachel Hollis: “I am happiest when I am traveling.” 🌎 Why is that? Is it solely because I love experiencing new cultures and having wild adventures abroad – which I do, of course! – or is there something more to my random yearning to jump on an airplane for Namibia? πŸ‡³πŸ‡¦ πŸ¦“

…I think perhaps intertwined with the natural explorer in me is the feeling that traveling offers a deeper sense of purpose & identity. πŸ’–

I’ve found that I have become increasingly private in my life – helloOo first blog / 2nd post! – and haven’t had social media for many years, so the desire (to go to dreamy Bora Bora 🌴🌺 for instance, ammirite) clearly isn’t driven by chasing swoon-worthy photo ops for Instagram… so what then?

It’s like… this twirly swirly ball of fire in my chest. πŸ”₯

It’s more than a fleeting desire; it’s in my fabric. I simply feel most connected to Spirit & Self when I am traveling 🧘 and is most certainly something I have associated with my identity, i.e. “I am an traveler.” Do I also have to choose a cookie-cutter path? Like no one would ask Dora or Moana what they want to be when they grow up. That’s not to say they don’t also love teaching or molecular biology or making gimp bracelets with a blazing passion… but they are EXPLORERS first. β›΅ (Imagine these ladies in quarantine.)

To keep it πŸ’―… back in the real world, I often feel like I’m never doing enough meaningful work and – though I recognize how unbelievably fortunate and privileged I am that these are my “issues” – as a creative 🎨 🎹 it can be mentally distressing. Where I once upon a time thought endless movie-marathons in bed would be heaven, I am now writing daily creative to-do lists (which are often less from a motivated “let’s do this” place and more from a state of low key panic with dozens of tiny people chaotically running around in my brain throwing papers) and thinking ain’t nobody got time for Netflix when I have to make meaning mmmkay. I have to write a song and learn this new instrument and this new language and make things to sell on Etsy (Whimsicandle, BTW!) and save the wetlands of coastal Louisiana single-handedly and do yoga, run, meditate… and yet I don’t ever seem to get far enough with any of these goals to the point where I feel I can confidently identify myself as an artist or musician or writer, etc.

The beauty of traveling, though, is that removes all the unnecessary pressure we put on ourselves (ahhh…) and suddenly you are just free and alive and present; seeing and feeling and tasting and experiencing things you never had before. It allows you to just be. 😌 Fully in the moment. Without all the noise. Time is precious and where I constantly question what is the best use of my time, traveling just lovingly clears that table because I know that it is always time well-spent. In my experience, it is one of the Great Teachers and has given me some of the richest experiences of my life.

And so, without further adieu… in lieu of the opportunity to create a current travel blog – as in: until I am able to travel again! – I have decided to begin anyway by sharing / reliving past adventures abroad! Maybe I’ll start with the story of meeting my charming British hubby on an olive plantation in Greece. Opa! πŸ‡¬πŸ‡· πŸ’˜

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Me: “Travel” 😊

Be well, my free bird friends πŸ’–

P.S. I get that traveling abroad and having wild adventures in gorgeous foreign lands is something most of us dream of, and I know there are so many things that make this challenging i.e. work conflicts and/or the financial means to live out this dream. I really do. In order to solo backpack through Greece, Italy and Prague, I ate canned soup for dinner pretty much every night for months πŸ₯« to save my pennies (not an easy thing to do living in NYC); I saw Australia, the Bahamas and much of Europe as an Au Pair (amazing but also one of the hardest things I’ve ever done); I used the little I had saved as an Au Pair to go to Thailand 🏝️ and pay for an ESL course there; I saw Iceland ❄️ because I was once denied entry to see my then-fiance in London πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ (because I’d only booked a one-way ticket, which apparently looked like I was secretly plotting to just stay forever) and was flown home via a day-layover there; I saw tiny yawning baby sloths in Costa Rica πŸ¦₯ thanks to a work trip perk compliments of my now-husband’s former travel co. All this to say, most of the adventures I’ve had abroad were either because of saving $ bit by bit (canned soup my friends) and/or getting lucky… but never because I’ve been one of those financially comfortable peeps who just go gallivanting abroad whenever / wherever. Eating ALL the pizza in Italy. πŸ• I’m not jealous, you’re jealous.

P.P.S. However! I’m thrilled to say I now have much more flexibility in terms of travel! ✈️ No more canned soup! Are you looking forward to traveling again soon? Have you always dreamt of being able to work remotely from anywhere with the freedom to have more spontaneous adventures? πŸ’»πŸŒ Check out VIPKid! Teaching English online to sweet Chinese & Japanese students is equal amounts fulfilling & flexible and – now hundreds of classes in – I’m honestly loving it. πŸ’• Once it’s safer to do so, my little fam and I will be packing up and heading back to our fave city of NOLA… all thanks to the stability & flexibility this remote job is providing. Yeah! Please feel free to use my referral link and / or drop me a line in the virtual cafe πŸ™‚ Get started today and slay all day like Bey. You CAN live your dream!! ✨

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LIVE THE DREAM: Travel the World While Teaching English Online!

Hey there! I’m Lynne from Narnia a.k.a. northern Vermont. And I’m here to make your world-traveling dreams come true. Well, I’ll help you get there sister / brother / friend! Just think of me as your Fairy Godmother. 🧚✨

Now that we have a close personal relationship, let me tell you a bit about myself.

Hmm, which of these identities is true of me?

  1. Tiny strawberry-haired musician πŸ“ 🎹
  2. Wife to my charming British hubby (guess where we met?) πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ πŸ‡¬πŸ‡·
  3. Mama to a goofy Great Dane pup πŸ„
  4. World Travel & NOLA enthusiast! 🌍 ⚜
  5. ESL teacher to the cutest Chinese / Japanese kids E.V.E.R. πŸ‡¨πŸ‡³ πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅

Ding, ding, ding! πŸŽ‰

Okay here’s a little more about me in ΒΆ form:

I grew up running barefoot in the woods of VT (cue the White Christmas harmony “Snow, Snow, Snow, Snow, Snow!” 🎢). Yep, about as idyllic a childhood as you can imagine… 18 years later I flew literally as far away as possible in the US to study music in SoCal. This wasn’t (just) because I was desperate to escape cow country, but because there has always been a fire in me to travel & explore. I’m convinced I get this from my super cool dad who studied super cool subjects like Arabic & Middle Eastern Studies and went on wild adventures in Greenland and Lebanon and… well, everywhere! Anywho, after my California curiosity was satiated (gnarly wave bro!) my nomadic spirit led me all over the place for over a decade. From my new home base in NYC / Brooklyn, I bounced around to Australia, Iceland (x2), Italy (x2), France, Switzerland, Greece, Czech Republic, Thailand, England, Costa Rica, the Bahamas & more…✈️

What has been the highlight of my travels thus far? So glad you asked! I met my dashing English husband on an olive plantation in Greece. πŸ’ž This is a true story for another time. It’s just too good to condense.

Fast-forward to this very moment and, well, given that we’ve just come out of 2020 (y’all doing ok??), travel plans are sadly on hold for the time being… BUT! I am honestly so stoked to say that after dozens of soul-sucking jobs (most recently as a sales manager which, you guys, felt like trying to force magnets of the same charge together), I am working 100% from home at a job that I love: teaching English to adorable Chinese & Japanese students! And for a co. that allows you not only to be in complete control of your own day-to-day schej, but to teach remotely from ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD! 🌍 Whaaat? Most ESL companies require that you are in either the US or Canada. But not this one. And it’s awesome. Umm and I have the potential to make even more than I was making as a manager. Is this even real life?! 🀯

Allow me to introduce you to:

β€˜.ΒΈΒΈ . ✢¨. ΒΈ .✫¨.ΒΈΒΈ.βœΆΒ¨β€˜βœ« VIPKid {www.vipkid.com}

Quick prerequisite to note: A Bachelor’s Degree is required. However, you do not need to have an ESL certification, as this course / certification becomes available to you after being hired! A bit about my relevant background from your wish-granting FG: After studying music, I changed my major to TESL & ultimately earned my Bachelor’s in Elementary Ed. I worked as a lead preschool teacher at a Korean preschool in LA and earned my TEFL certification from an intensive course in Koh Samui, Thailand. In 2011 people. Why did it take me so long to discover this gem?! I wish it hadn’t, which is why I am here as your magical fairy. πŸ’« With sparkles. ✨ Like I imagine every other person, traveling is one of the loves of my life, and for me that was one of the biggest draws of VIPKid: full flexibility & control of your own schedule, and the ability to work from anywhere!

That’s the dream isn’t it?! I mean you could spontaneously book a flight to Bora Bora and teach sweet kids from your exotic straw hut in the middle of the tropical sea, sipping out of a coconut between classes! 🌴πŸ₯₯🌺 Ok maybe that’s a bit romantic… but possible! FREEDOM, you guys! It’s the TICKET to make your wold-traveling dreams come true! Pun totally intended. And more than that, teaching English to littles is so rewarding and can truly be so much fun. (This coming from the biggest child at heart you’ve ever not met.) I freaked out before my first class, but 10 seconds into it, my nerves just flew out the window and I was hooked… and here I am hundreds of classes later with tons of regular students who have made me laugh & smile so much it hurts my cheeks. It’s one of the best feelings ever to see your students progressing and it just fills me up to the brim. On that note, I’ll take a sangria filled to the brim, por favor! 🍹

So… what’s on your bucket list my sweet friend? Is it sky diving over the Swiss Alps? Hiking in New Zealand? An African safari? 🦁 “Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba Sithi uhm ingonyama!” (That’s the Lion King intro, in case you’re not fluent in Zulu.) Or maybe it’s swinging on a hammock in Bali or restoring the heart of Te Fiti? I mean… taking surf lessons in Hawaii? πŸ„β€β™€οΈ YOU CAN!! Working remotely opens up soOo many possibilities it’s bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. 🍌🍌🍌 It’s an exciting prospect isn’t it?!

As for me & my love, as soon as it’s a little more safe to do so, it means that we’ll be packing up our 150 lb. baby (our goofy Great Dane) and moving back to our fave city: NOLA! 🐊 Who dat? ⚜ It will be the first time I’ve uprooted – and there have been many, many times – where I won’t have to stress and run around like a chicken with my head cut off the moment I arrive πŸ” …going on endless job interviews until I ultimately settle for one that’s not the right fit and spend the next gray-toned year just going through the motions, ever-daydreaming about that one vacation a year (or even just the weekend, or 5 o’clock). Sound familiar? Well no more, my friends!

Are you ready to open up a world of possibilities and actually do that dang working-from-home thing you’ve always dreamt of doing? Start TODAY & slay all day! Like Bey. πŸ’ƒ *Throws Confetti*

Use my referral link to help you get started : )

The application process is super straight-forward. Really, they couldn’t make it easier and offer oodles of friendly guidance at every step. AND, if you use my handy dandy referral link, I will personally help guide you through the entire hiring process and happily ever after, to help you with everything from getting bookings and building your schedule to passing the many certifications VIPKid offers, and more! With hundreds of classes under my belt, there are so many helpful little tips I wish I’d known when I started out, which I would love to share with you! Just comment down below or drop me a line in the virtual cafe. β˜• I’ll also be posting helpful tips every month as I learn more & more in my VIPKid journey, so stay tuned!

If I had you at 🌴 Bora Bora 🌴 and you are ready to embrace your inner child and start this life-giving journey to freedom & fun and the infinite opportunities it brings, use my referral link and get crackin’! And if you have any questions at all, please say hello and I will absolutely follow up with you!!

Sending the warmest wishes from my winter wonderland to yours… ❄️

πŸ’– Lynne