Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bad@ss Travelers - Matt Trinetti of Give, Live, Explore

Alright Viva My Yoginis - it's time for another bad@ss traveler to start your stoke!

As a reminder, bad@ss travelers are journeyers who have inspired many, who live the life they love, who dare to adventure and be bold, who take the reins of their own beings and manifest their own dreams & realities.They're travelers who live life to the fullest, through its ups and downs. They're bad@ss people who make venturing into the unknown happen regularly. They also give back along the way.

I am extremely excited to introduce you to Matt Trinetti of Give, Live, Explore
Matt and I met in France back in 2005 while on a Georgia Tech study abroad together. It was a great group of people, all coming together to work hard and travel harder. Many of us have stayed in touch, some have drifted, but without a doubt we all left that summer changed people- travelers for a lifetime.

Since then Matt has entered (& left) the corporate world, shared his adventures across the globe, started his own book publishing company, and is now creating a highly educational & entertaining travel guidebook series. He is one of the most genuine, inspiring, kind, and wonderful men I know and I am thrilled to share his well-worn advice with you here. 

What does the word travel entail to you?

To me, travel is a mindset, a philosophy. I can't help but think about the obvious parallels between the act of physical travel and our journey through life. Real travel is an active act -- it's a deliberate journey, whether on the road or through the soul. And the opposite to me is tourism.

There's a great quote by Daniel Boorstin that articulates this best: “The traveler was active, he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes 'sight-seeing.'"

How have you created your life around your travel & your travel around your life (and made it sustainable)?

My first job out of college was as a consultant for IBM, where travel was my life. Every Monday morning I'd fly to New York or Philadelphia or Richmond or somewhere else, and then I'd fly home at the end of the week. Or instead of going home, I'd visit friends or family in another city over the weekend. But that kind of travel became exhausting; it became too routine.

I've always lived within my means, so while working at IBM I was able to save a significant amount of money. I also racked up a bunch of hotel and airline points. So when I left IBM to travel long-term over the past 14 months (through Northern and Eastern Europe, within the US, and most recently around Ecuador), I've been able to live off of these savings and points.

I'll be honest, I'm still working on making it fully sustainable. I've done some freelance web work, paid speaking gigs, and some odd jobs for spending money. I've also started a book publishing division under my company GiveLiveExplore which is profitable, but not generating nearly enough to live off. So I'm starting to explore some other options.

In addition to savings, the things that have helped me sustain travel so far are:
  • Choosing smart credit cards & checking accounts: My Chase Sapphire credit card gives me double points when I spend on travel and food, and doesn't charge any foreign transaction fees. My Charles Schwab checking account is free and waives the ATM fee when using any ATMs, foreign or domestic.
  • A minimalistic lifestyle: I don't have a car payment, a mortgage, or many physical possessions. I don't spend money on things I don't need.
  • Making it official: Before traveling and attempting to build a business out of it, I created my company, GiveLiveExplore. So most of my travel now is business travel under GiveLiveExplore. Having a legitimate business and active website has led to paid work or other great opportunities.

What’s one travel memory that had a truly lasting affect, a total life changing or ah-ha moment?

There was one moment I remember very vividly last year. I was traveling around Europe on a 7 month backpacking trip, and I had just arrived in Vilnius, Lithuania, a city and country I knew basically nothing about. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and I just started walking around the city. I was alone and didn't know anyone in Lithuania, but I wasn't lonely or scared.

As I walked and felt the sun on my cheek, I experienced something I can only describe as complete joy. Being in this completely foreign place on the cusp of a new adventure was exciting, and I felt this sense of lightness and happiness. I felt completely alive. I realized I was in the exact place, doing the exact thing I should be doing. In that moment, I realized I needed to continue to follow my excitement and to do the things I feel compelled to do. I realized that life is infinitely better when you're living it on your own terms, not on the terms of others. It's better when you actually listen to what your heart's trying to tell you, to pay attention to your dreams and actually go after them.

What’s one thing that you love to do in any new place?

Wander. I like to walk down streets, get lost, and try to make small talk with local people.

What was a travel situation you found very trying & how did you pull through it?

Last year I was traveling through Croatia from Zagreb to Zadar by bus. I decided to stop at Plitvice Lakes National Park, which sits right in between the two cities, and go for a short hike. There was only one more bus to Zadar that evening, so I had to make it back by a certain time or I'd be stuck in the park. I made it back (barely), but I missed the bus anyway because I wasn't standing on the side of the road when it came blazing past.

My only option to get to Zadar that night was to hitchhike. Cars were sparse because we were in the middle of a park, and I hadn't done much hitchhiking yet, so I was a little nervous. An hour or so passed and none of the passing cars stopped. Finally, a Turkish sailor heading that way agreed to take me to Zadar. He turned out to be a great guy and we had a fun drive. It was a great experience and totally changed my perspective on hitchhiking.

How do you feel you inspire others?

I hope I inspire others through my actions. I try to show that even without having all the answers, with simple determination to accomplish something and the willingness to look foolish or fail, you can do more than you think you're capable of.

What’s something that inspires you to keep exploring?

An insatiable curiosity about the world. I love observing people from all walks of life and just watching how people live. I love how novel and different every new encounter feels, but how familiar and connected it all feels too. It's a perplexing paradox that I think will keep me exploring forever.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who feels stuck in their current life or afraid to take that first step?


If you want to make a change in your life, you need to surround yourself with the right people. This includes like-minded peers and heroes you can emulate.
If you’re constantly surrounded by people who don't have similar ambitions as you, or worse, who want to change their life situation but have given up, then you’ll forever feel crazy in your ambitions, travel or otherwise. And if you don't have heroes, you won't have a solid example to follow. Both are extremely important.

[I also wrote a blog post on this very topic called The First Step is the Hardest where I share 10 pieces of advice to make that first bold step.]

Check it out now!! Click here!
Does the process of writing about & sharing your travels change the experience?

Absolutely. Writing helps me better understand what I'm experiencing. I started writing to communicate my thoughts and perspective — but ironically only through writing could I actually comprehend and articulate my thoughts and perspective.

And in sharing my experiences, I learned others found inspiration in the words, and when readers reach out to me it inspires me to keep writing. I’ve also met (virtually and physically) people from all over the world through my writing and website. Writing changed my life. It opened up a brand new world I never knew existed.

What is your favorite place you have traveled to?

My two favorite places at the moment are Iceland and Serbia. Iceland because it's this incredibly magical, beautiful, and strange place, unlike anywhere else I've been. It was so inspiring that my friend and I decided to publish a funny and educational book together about it called Tales of Iceland -or- Running with the Huldufólk in the Permanent Daylight.

And Serbia, mostly because of the Serbian culture and people. I spent a month in Belgrade last year, and I found Serbs to be some of the most fun and friendly people I've met. Plus the women are incredibly gorgeous.

How can people learn more about your story and connect with you?

The best place to connect with me is through my website, People can also subscribe to receive my weekly/bi-weekly blog posts through my email list which I call Tales from a Deliberate Journeyer.

Thank you Matt! 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Summers in Montana & Friends of a Lifetime

Hiking at Lava Lake - being amongst the presence of good friends in nature always makes me feel so FREE!

Friends are far, friends are near,
Friends will be there to lend an ear,
They listen, laugh, and care,
But most of all, they're always there,
Through thick and thin, up and down,
Your true friends are always around,
For treats, hugs and real big smiles,
They'll travel to you from several miles,
They'll always be there to hold you tight,
Anytime, no matter if it's day or night,
You really know when your friends are sincere, 
When they always show up to lend their ear.
~Bea Williams

I've felt so grateful over these last couple of weeks. I've missed you all! And I promise to start writing more in September but things tend to get kinda crazy here in Montana during the summer. Lots of happenings, lots of people, lots of precious sunlight and warm summer days to 'carpe the diem' with. 

One of the best ways to enjoy Montana (any place actually).. is amongst family and friends. I have had 10 different visitors from over 4 different countries in a little less than 2 weeks. It's been a whirlwhind! But a beautiful one at that. All I really want to reflect on here is the beauty of a true friendship. I am constantly amazed by and inspired by my friends. And the support that I received while many friends were here, and continue to receive from far & wide, is a constant source of amazement and gratitude for me. 

Friends really do help you see the best in yourself and help you follow through with what you deserve, even when you're not sure what it is or you're doubting your own worthiness or strength. My friends helped me to find a new place to live, they ventured off into the unknown with me, they provided me with energy work, good laughs, la buena onda, food, family, community, and a place to enjoy myself, have fun and share my voice. I am oh so grateful.

NYC & San Diego visitors Evan & Jessa being silly with me in the park!

So thank you friends & Viva My Yoginis for visiting & being silly with me, for listening, for knowing me sometimes better than I know myself, for encouraging me, supporting me, allowing me to encourage and support you in return, and for helping me to take the leaps and jumps that I need to follow my dreams, accept happiness, & breathe into my potential.

Birthday dinner with the crew!

I'm off to the ranch for the last Cowgirl Yoga ranch camp of the season. When I get back I will move into my little cottage and the new home of Viva My Yoga headquarters. I am so thrilled to share new offerings with y'all in the Fall! I'm excited to have more interaction and to hear more of your hopes and dreams and how you are following them along your way.

Go find a friend and tell them how GRATEFUL you are for their friendship.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Bad@ss Travelers - The Travelin' Chicks

Helloooo Viva My Yoginis ~ adventurers ~ explorers everywhere!

I want to welcome you to Bad@ss Travelers, a new Viva My Yoga offering that will introduce you to bad@ss travelers that I've met along my adventuring way.

These are people who have inspired many, who live the life they love, who dare to adventure and be bold, who take the reins of their own beings and manifest their own dreams & realities.

They're travelers who live life to the fullest, through its ups and downs. They're bad@ss people who make venturing into the unknown happen regularly. They also give back along the way.

Let this inspire you. Living the life you love is not for just some of us, it's for all of us. 

The Osborn sisters rockin the Salt Flats in Bolivia

So without further adieu, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Chelsea & Kinsey of 
The Travelin' Chicks!

I met Chelsea back in 2009 when I was living in a hostel in Buenos Aires. She came looking for a place to stay and it was an instant connection, one to last a lifetime! She was filming for her travel video series and hilarity ensued as we romped around local markets, danced alongside Uruguayan drummers, and went to a ridiculously wild Couchsurfing party or two. Oh, and not to mention the empanadas; we must've tried every empanada variety made in all of San Telmo. Yummm.

Chelsea and Kinsey live life to the fullest playing and working in Massachusetts, that is when they're not off spending New Years in Brazil or making promotional videos for orphanages in Cambodia. 

Check out their Bad@ss Traveler interview here:

What does the word travel entail to you?

Travel means freedom to us, the freedom to go where you please at the drop of a hat, the freedom to explore every crack and crevasse of a new place and most of all the freedom to discover new sides of yourself.  It lifts the soul to new heights!  

How have you created your life around your travel & your travel around your life (and made it sustainable)?

Travel consumed us when we first got a taste in college.  Independently we traveled and studied abroad.  Once we came home we knew we had to keep rockin’ and rollin’.  That was when we created our travel website and focused on teaching ourselves new skills, video production and website management, to do all while travelingWe have been banging out content ever since!  It has become our work, our play and our life!

What’s one travel memory that had a truly lasting affect, a total life changing or ah-ha moment?

This might sound morbid but it was an accident we were in while in Luang Prabang, Laos.  It was a total wrong place, wrong time scenario.  Our tuk tuk hit a telephone pole going about 40 mph and we both got seriously hurt.  So hurt that we were home within 48 hours of the accident.  Bummer, yes, but we wouldn’t take it back for anything.  To first realize your own mortality is a huge life and attitude-changing event.  Couple this with having it all go down in a third world country and you have two extremely thankful and grateful travelers.  The driver got hurt the most.  His only access to health care was the hospital they took us to after the accident.  It looked like it was straight from a horror film!  Not only that but he no longer had his tuk tuk, which is his income and how he supports his family.  We got to go home and recover at ease but this man lost his way of life with a family to support.  Who really suffered from this accident?  Us?  Not so much.

What’s one thing that you love to do in any new place?

Put the map down and get lost. Oh, and buy magnet! 

What was a travel situation you found very trying & how did you pull through it?

Working at S.H.C.C.  We were making a promotional video for Self Help Community Centre outside of Siem Reap, Cambodia.  We lived in this village for 10 days shooting with the founder, Sambath Chourn.  It was difficult hiding our surprise at the conditions in the village and learning all the while that this is the reality for 90% of Cambodians.  We pulled through by letting it out at night in our room, rehashing the day and what we learned released tears and anger like the mighty Iguaçu Falls over us.  We pulled it together during the day and kept our eye on the prize; a promotional video that would help Sambath get funding for his school. You can check out the school and the video here.  It’s a great cause if you can donate too!

These girls are *magical*!

How do you feel you inspire others?

Because we hustle for what we have and do.  People always tell us we are lucky, but it has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with hard work.  If you want it, go and get it! We do!

What’s something that inspires you to keep exploring?

The friendships you make along the way.  Someone you know for three days can and will be an ever lasting friend!

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who feels stuck in their current life or afraid to take that first step?

It is never as difficult as you think it is going to be and your mistakes are what you learn the most from.  Making changes is not easy; it can be like going against the current at times.  But if you stick with it you will learn that the tides can and will change and once they are in your favor you will never regret doing what you love.

Chelsea & Jess @ a Couchsurfing Fiesta in Buenos Aires

*A question from The Travelin' Chicks for all you Viva My Yoginis out there!*

How much do you think about your impact as a traveler on a people and the country you are visiting?  Travelers can keep to themselves quite often and portray a certain stereotype while on the road.  How do you avoid this?

Follow them at:
Like their FB page at: travelin chicks 
Tweet them!: travelinchicks

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Be Who You Are & Find Gratitude

Hello all you Viva My Yoginis out there~!

Hope y'all have been embracing your unicornhood over the last week.
I'm off to another wonderful weekend at the ranch, this time to help out with another Cowgirl Yoga retreat.

There are a lot of big things in store here at Viva My Yoga that I'm very excited to share with all of you. But until certain plans are more in motion, I'm going to keep them under wraps and just keep living every day as fully as the last!

What's one thing I reflected on this week?
How exciting it is to be inspired but how important it is to just enjoy what already is. There's already so much beauty, so much bounty, so take the time to stop and enjoy it (and maybe have a 'takin the reins' daydream or 2 while you're at it).

This foto is from when I was travelling in northern Argentina, near Iruya. The roads to get out of Iruya were tumultuous and it felt like we barely made it. 7,000 ft of straight incline in the trusty 'ole chata. To be honest I was pretty nervous! But Gerardo pulled through with his trusty steed and crazy driving and when we got to the top of the hill, this was the site we had to reward us. Life really is better when you're willing to go with the flow, trust, and take risks sometimes.

And you have to be willing to remind yourself of what you're grateful for along the way. Because life can be scary, life can be beautiful, life can feel dull, or life can feel full. But the one constant that ALWAYS makes life better however it feels at the moment - gratitude

So be sure to 'be who you are and say what you feel..' 
and know that you are accepted for whoever that is along the way.

Gerardo's 'WE MADE IT!!'
(with our uruguayan hitchhiker)

I'm grateful for all of you out there who inspire and keep me going. I'm grateful for the beyond incredible travel experiences I've had and the many places I've come to know. I'm grateful for my yoga practice, my ability to relate & communicate well with others. I'm grateful for the way I feel when I'm out at my mamma's ranch and for all of the wonderful Cowgirl Yoginis who come to visit us there.

I'm grateful for how wonderful it feels to actualize & be supported in my dreams.
I'm grateful for how perfect everything already is... exactly as it is.
I'm grateful for all of you, just as you are.

What are YOU grateful for?
Please share.