Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bad@ss Traveler - Sasha Juliard of

~Meet Bad@ss Traveler Sasha Juliard ~

Sasha was one of my very first Montana friends. After roadtripping from Georgia to Montana, a newfound coushsurfer, I was determined to meet like-minded folk. Soon after arriving in Bozeman, I met Will, Sasha, and Scott, newfound friends of a lifetime. We spent a winter romping around, milking goats, and eating caramel. These three outstanding gentleman even came down to Buenos Aires to visit me after I moved there, totally suprising me and just showing up in my hostel bed one fateful day (where I was living at the time). Best surprise ever!!!

Sasha came into this world an explorer. Two weeks after he was born in the States, his Swedish and American born parents moved him to Haiti. After 2 years there, 5 in Morocco, 4 and a half in Madagascar, and 1 and a half in Senegal, he attended boarding school in PA for his high school education. Afterwards was a year in Sweden to learn of his mother's native land, followed by a degree in Global & Multicultural studies (and minors in Japan Studies and International Business) from Montana State University here in Bozeman, Montana. Oh, and he also studied abroad a year in Japan and has family in Portugal.

Rome, Italy 

Sasha now splits his life between stability in beautiful Colorado and traveling and/or ski bumming for the rest of it. 
He uses several sources of income to 'fund this strange life', as he so likes to put it. Quite the creative entrepreneur, Sasha founded and runs an online custom suit shop (which he gained inspiration for while visiting Thailand back in 2009), does freelance web development, and acts as a part time caretaker in CO.

One thing that always stands out about Sasha is his love for and ability to really connect with people (I especially love the 'People Are Beautiful' part of his website). I believe his soul is here to truly empathize and connect with others, especially given his background. Everyone seems to be an equal, worthy of understanding and perception, through the viewpoint of this incredibly bad@ss traveler. 

Only someone who has traveled and lived in the world as much as he has can share it in such a unique, compelling, and inviting way. I invite YOU to share a little bit of his world here, and be inspired by his many tales, total honesty, and very approachable and humorous way of living. If you ever get the chance to meet him, do yourself a favor and just do it (and in the meantime follow him for a constant plethora of stunning visual delight).

What does the word travel entail to you?
Travel means freedom. The responsibilities of your at home life disappear and you wake up every morning with endless possibilities on how the day will turn out. I find it even more liberating when I know little to nothing about the place I am visiting. I am not following a schedule outlined by Lonely Planet but wake up every morning and start my day from there (**talk about presence!**). What to go see and do is often found by either wondering around until I find something interesting or by talking with locals and other travelers. I don't like to make lodging reservations in advance so when I arrive in a new place I step off the train/bus/plane and see and infinite number of possibilities in front of me all leading to different experiences. That first step embodies freedom.

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

I am not sure how it came to be. When I was in college I knew where my priorities laid. Traveling and enjoying my youth, for me, was a higher priority than stability and good pay. So once I established my priorities, all of my subsequent decisions were based on incrementally getting me to them. I had a lot of support, which helped me dearly, so I was able to concentrate on really establishing myself. With freelance and entrepreneurialism there is a lot of time spent initiating projects that aren't going to pay off in the short term. I had a support system that allowed me to put in the legwork. I am also modest about my spending during my travels which allows me to take trips more often and for longer.

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

My most recent trip through Greece had me staying at a hostel for over 3 weeks. It was a family run place and I exchanged my web development services for food and lodging. The purpose of the trip was to see if I could somehow combine work and travel into a continuous rolling package where I could sustainably romp around the world. My time there showed me that it is possible and I am hoping that in 2 years time I will make it a reality. But more important than the verified proof that sustainable perpetual travel was possible, was the family that I came to love, the family that owns the hostel. They were welcoming, genuine and loving and knowing that those people exist makes me happy. 

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

Hmmm, I'd have to say drink. Most all countries drink. And they each have a unique drinking culture that I find very interesting and almost always fun. It is a social lubricant that helps you get over language and culture barriers and lets you connect with someone on a strange but also very personal level. It also lends an excuse to explore a new place as you are walking around day or night. "That place looks cool, lets pop in for a drink."

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

When I was younger I could travel for 36 hours sleeping sitting up in a bus with a shot suspension that smelled like diesel. I have recently started feeling the "I am too old for this sh*t" feeling when moving between places. I took an overnight bus from Istanbul to Greece that sucked and have been stuck in cities trying to catch a flight home for multiple days. I often fly stand-by and being stuck in a place is no fun. The uncertainty of not knowing how long you will be there and the daily need to commute from the city to the airport and back takes up nearly the whole day. Doing that for several consecutive days just wears you down. I often get through these times by a "keep your head down and power through this" mentality.

Calisthenics in Greece

How do you feel you inspire others?

Well I hope I can inspire others through example. Our new world revolves around media and people are media hungry. Instagram and Facebook are prime examples of how its all about the pictures. A picture can communicate so much in a short period of time and with fast internet, smart phones and short attention spans, you have to grab peoples attention quickly. This is where photography merges in nicely with what I am doing and why I have continued with this discipline. I want people to see my pictures and consequently want to go visit that spot, stand on that beach or mountain, or even just go out and explore something local.

What’s something that inspires you to keep exploring?

I get antsy if I stay in one place too long. Nothing conscious, its a feeling that I have to go and do something new.

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?
Fear of the unknown is natural and I whole heartedly advise pursuing your passions. I read an interesting quote that said our parents generation were out to get the American Dream, our generation is our to get our personal dream. You've got one life and you gotta use it in a way you WON'T regret. BUT I want to stress something that does not often get said when people say "pursue your passions, live life to the fullest, you fail 100% of the chances you don't take etc...". 

Hard work mixed with plenty of play!
People quote those ideas all the time and it's fine and true, but the flip side is it's gonna be hard work. Like painfully hard. You gotta want it and unless you are a trust fund baby, no one will give it to you. Many people say they really want it but won't come home from their regular job to put in another 8 hours developing their passion. You need dedication that will cost you time with loved ones. When the other guy is sleeping, you gotta be working, learning, growing. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it and yet a very small percentage of the population is doing it. Motivation and dedication are the real keys and if you keep putting in the work someone will notice you making waves in the industry of your passion.
How does photography shape your travels & your travels shape your photography?

Photography has definitely encouraged me to explore more places, especially in my immediate surroundings. If I am taking a walk and see I high point or something that could be interesting, I will take little detours in case there is a photo op there. I will also plan certain outings around certain times of the day when the sun is doing what I want it to do. 

My travels inspire a lot of my photography. The first few days that I am in a place I am much more trigger happy. Everything is new to me and therefore fascinating and beautiful. It's a great way for me to stay inspired and keep shooting.

How can people get in touch with or follow you?

- Right now I am loving Instagram. @sashajuliard

- For more personal stories and pictures of my life, follow my Facebook profile.

- And of course there is my website/blog: 

Photos by: Sasha Juliard

**And if you feel like buying a truly bad@ss suit, check out his suit company at:**

Jess & Sasha partying @ La Bomba Loca in Buenos Aires

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Teddy & The Bear Spray (along w Articles on Gratitude & Sleeping)

Have I mentioned that I absolutely LOVE living in Montana?

Fall is one of the best seasons here, well, anywhere, in my opinion. Fiery summertime transitions into grounding Autumn, a chance to settle in, reflect, and look forward to things like snow in the mountains and pumpkin in the pies.

On one of my last posts I touched on a month of 'nomance.' How has it been going, you might ask?

First meal in my new place w some of the fam.
Am I falling more deeply in love with myself? You betchya!
Am I doing the things I absolutely love to do and settling into my new space? Oh yeah, it's been great. I finally have a place that I absolutely love to be in, along with feeling productive and grounded while at home. Gratitude!

I've also had time to write articles I've been meaning to write, like an Elephant Journal article with tips for getting good sleep

And plan fun workshops that I am passionate about like the Fall Equinox Celebration that I will be guiding this Sunday at Mountain Yoga.

I hosted my first real family dinner (albeit missing most of the family), lots of time for meditation and reflection, a place to teach private yoga sessions, and a cuddly dog named Teddy to keep me company while my friend Pamela is away visiting family.

Are there some nights where I've been so desperately lonely that I wonder how people do this whole 'alone' thing? Without a doubt. Certain nights (right before the full moon) were so emotional and overwhelming that I just felt really down on myself.

I'm the first person to admit that all emotions are created equal. In order to experience the full spectrum of this thing called life, you have to really allow yourself to go through and process whatever shows up for you, without holding back. 
Which I did. And am still learning to do.

But that doesn't mean that feeling lonely and sad is the place I care to be. It is, however, the place that I have chosen to be. A place where I can let the emotions that have been festering at the surface rise and be released. Even if it hurts, it feels good to just 'let them flow, let them go.'

And every time I go through something challenging or upsetting, there's a new sense of wholeness that follows suit and continuously makes this journey rewarding and worthwhile. A new amount of respect for myself that strength and confidence builds.

'Courage is like a muscle, we strengthen it with use.' ~Ruth Gordon

And then there was the night that my new neighbor came and knocked on my door in the middle of the night, sufficiently freaking me out. It was the first night that I felt safe enough alone to not lock my doors and also leave my blinds open. And bam, a fear of mine presenting itself in the form of incessant knocking at 3:33 in the am.

Was he harmless? Yes. Did it still put me on edge? Absolutely. Did it strengthen my courage muscle to act for myself and create strong boundaries, acting brave when I needed to act? You know it.

So what's a Montana hippy to do when she needs to be able to protect herself? 

Montana Late Summer Storms a brewin... Look out!

A little extra reassurance so that she doesn't have to worry in the middle of the night? A rifle.. not gonna happen. A man, don't wanna depend on that. A self defense class, maybe sometime in the future. In the mean time...

Bear spray. Yes, that's right, bear spray. I now have a locked and loaded can of bear spray in my bedroom. For those of you who don't have to deal with typical Montana woes, bear spray is like mace, on crack, times a thousand. Seriously. It works. And brings me peace of mind. Oh, that and I'll just be sure to lock my door at night. No big deal.

Which is where the title of this blog comes from. I was uber grateful to have my four legged companion Teddy with me when my neighbor came a knockin. An extra warm body in the house helped me to finally fall back asleep and not feel so alone. My family found this whole scenario so outrageous that we came up with 'Teddy & the Bear Spray'. Humor is one of the things I love most about my ridiculous family. Thank you for that, family. And thank you for the can of bear spray that I always refused to carry on the trails but now keep close to my bed. A little irony never hurt anyone.

Fun in the new yoga space w Teddy!

Namasté y'all! 
Happy Fall!

Thanks again family for constantly being my rock & support.
And thanks Sally Hope for being the best life coach a girl can have and helping me to grow my business to new horizons.
I love you all!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Bad@ss Travelers - Leire López

Helloooo all you Viva My Yoginis out there - far & wide -


~Meet bad@ss travler Leire~
She's a Spanish beauty with more spontaneous travel stories than most anyone I've met. She currently works and lives in the Basque region of Spain (she speaks the oldest language in Europe!), enjoying life while musing on her next adventures and seeing where her dreams will take her next. She's not afraid to be bold, take the reins, and lead by example.

I met Leire through a mutual friend Jill. Jill was Leire's host mom when she lived here in the States, and a friend of mine from time spent in Key West and Montana. Leire and I have been penpals and mutual inspirers ever since! I love when she proposes questions like, 'Where is the balance between taking that first step, into the possibility of failing, versus living a life full of regret?'

Let Leire be a good example in having your intuition guide you, living versus merely existing
and that sometimes being at home is exactly where you need to be

Que disfruten!

What does the word travel entail to you?

Travel to me means peace and balance. Traveling has allowed me to see for myself that there are a million alternatives to the “go to school – university – get a job – get married – have kids – retire and die” way of living. That’s not my kind of life, at least not now, and it keeps me sane, balanced, positive and at peace with myself knowing that I don’t have to follow the crowds. I can do my own thing and I can do it wherever I want to!

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

Traveling has always been part of my life. I was lucky to have parents who owned a caravan and we travelled around Europe during the school holidays (*since she was 1 month old!*). I liked it and I wanted to do it long term, so at the age of 15 I convinced my parents to send me to the US for a year. Since, I have also studied and worked in Germany, England and Thailand (*and coincidentally speaks Spanish, Basque, German, English, & Thai*).

'When you make up your mind to go after your dreams & look for inspiration, 
it appears in different forms everywhere.'

When I finished my studies, I didn’t know what kind of job I wanted to have (in fact, I still don’t), I just knew I wanted to see the world. I’ve travelled short and long term and I’ve been getting different jobs around the world to make the traveling sustainable and to see if I figure out what it is that I want to do. 

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

When I was 16 and moved to the US, my American host family (*Jill*) had just come back from a 6 month trip around Central America. They spent part of that time living on a beach camp, working at the beach bar and surfing every day. I had never met anyone who was not stuck in a place with a regular job. To learn about their experience was eye opening to me and it completely changed my perception of life and what to expect from it.

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

Find a local person to answer my countless questions about the place, their culture and their language and/or find a place to eat local tasty food.

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

Leire in Cabo Matxitxalo, Spain 

Being on a little island in a Muslim country during the Ramadan can be really trying. For a few days on Tioman, in Malaysia, the few restaurants and the shop would just close without previous notice. They’d open the shop for a few minutes some days, so we had to keep watch in front of the door to be able to buy some bread, canned tuna fish and water to survive on!

Also, like most travelers, I’ve encountered temerarious taxi and bus drivers… The worst, on an island in Croatia. I just laughed nervously instead of crying and soiling my pants as I looked down the cliff the road ran along and saw old crashed cars down there, while my driver was overtaking on a curve with absolutely no visibility way over the speed limit.

How do you feel you inspire others?

I hope that people see in me what I saw in my American family first and then in many other people I’ve met around the world: there is always a way to live the life you want and If I can do it, so can they. 

What’s something that inspires you to keep exploring?

The feeling of freedom I have when I go someplace new and I have no particular plans and the amazing people I get to meet.

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

I’d say there’s no need to be radical, if one is scared of taking a step, take half a step first. But do it, move forward in your own chosen direction. Living a life full of regrets will make you miserable and it will be immensely worse than any risks you may face when following your own path. Don’t let fear rule your life.

Leire (L) spontaneously backpacking in Iceland
How did you end up where you are now and where do you see yourself     going in the future?

Right now I’m home (Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain, that is – I can always come back here) and I have an office job. Not very exciting. For a while I forgot my dreams, I got caught up in the lifestyle I’m supposed to live according to western society. But a trip to Nepal last year (that would then turn into 4 and a half months travelling around Asia) and the inspiring people I met on my trip made me remember that I too had dreams.

I am now saving and getting ready for my next adventure. My next destination: The Canadian Wilderness! I’ve started taking horse riding lessons (and I’m loving it!) because I am determined to work with them and in the nature. Why not?!

A question from Leire for all you Viva My Yoginis out there:

What do you live for?  Are you leading your life the way YOU want it to go?

Meet Leire for yourself. Email her at:

Know someone you'd like to suggest as bad@ss traveler?
Email to find out more!

Thank you Jill!
For always being such a wonderful psuedo mama to us!
And for knowing to introduce such kindred souls to each other.
Namasté amiga.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Moving, New Beginnings, & a Month of 'No'mance

Wow. Moving. What a trip.

I had to constantly remind myself during the move to make time for ME!
A hike up Storm Castle w my sister helped to ensure that I didn't go crazy trying to do it all at once.
Every day is to be taken in & enjoyed, or else what's the point of living?

In the past when I've moved, it's been me and a couple of suitcases, moving to a new country or new place, relatively 'stuff' free. Not this time! This was the first time that I moved to an apartment with all my things, all my furniture, all my junk (which I promptly got rid of), into another place that is just for me!

First off, I want to say how dang grateful I am for everyone's support in finding a new place and moving in. It was beyond incredible to know that so many were supporting me, even when I still did majority of the brunt work and elbow grease solo. That's how it goes, right, gotta put in the effort yourself, but knowing others are out there wishing you well and sending support, well it gets you through the tough stuff, right?

One of the many things I'd like to emphasize here in this post is being willing to ask for & receive SUPPORT! For some reason our society and culture makes it so challenging to ask for help when you need it. It's like if you can't do it alone, all by yourself, than you're not worthy enough. Not brave enough, not strong enough.

The Hutterite in my living room!
Well I call bull sh*t!!! Seriously! That's one of the things I've always admired most about Latin cultures- the sense of community where everyone helps out and no one is truly alone. Well it's true! If you want help, be willing to ask for it! The universe will hear it and help you, your friends will hear it and help you.

And if your friends are busy well then keep an eye out for a bus full of Hutterite to show up.

I'm not kidding. Right when I was going to really dive into the nitty gritty of the hauling, up & down stairs, workload.. well the Universe sent me a humorous and most appreciated twist of fate. A man in full regalia pulled up to my front yard (in front of my recently started free pile) and asked if I knew where there are any garage stores to be found. I was most excited to tell him that I had an entire living room full of items that needed a good home and were totally FREE!

This man and all the women with him came bundling up my stairs and took away half of my burden. Definitely an everyone wins situation. And in exchange they came up and brought me a fresh tomato. Perfect. Just when I was hungry and lacking in good, fresh food due to the transitional nature of moving.

It was such a welcome reminder that the more you give, the more you get. So whenever you can, just give! Offer your support and help. Because when you are in need, then there will be that same energy replied back to you, tenfold.

Repeat after me: 
Give, give, give when you can. Receive, receive, receive when you need!

While I was grateful for all the lessons moving provides, I was still exhausted from feeling so unsettled in the week that I was in between houses. I am a free spirit and totally movable, but I still most definitely need structure, routine, & regularity. Otherwise it's hard for me to feel grounded enough to balance my somewhat scattered & generally excitable energies.

But now I'm settling in nicely to my new place and am immensely grateful every. single. day. It's a place that is clean & clear (not full of a ton of other energies like my old place was). It's my first time living alone, and I have to admit I was a little trepidatious. The little girl within me wonders what creatures will come out at night. And the social butterfly within me was afraid of not having enough stimulation and interaction with others.

Again, just so not true! Instead I feel this immense freedom! I have an entire neighborhood and community of support. And when I walk in my front door I have only my own energies to deal with and reflect upon. Ahhhh.

Speaking of which, one of the first things I decided to do upon moving into my new place was instate a month of 'nomance' for my self. A month of no man, only me, romancing myself.

I was so tired of the distractions. Of not really creating time and space for just sitting with myself. This new place provided the perfect opportunity for getting rid of said distractions. No roommates, no other energies. Time to relish in it.

I felt convinced, but I was still plenty hesitant. I was honestly afraid to be lonely and feel alone. On my first night all moved in, my mind was frantic thinking 'oh I need to call this person, or invite this guy to come over, or get attention from this person, or at the very least lost myself to the mindless chatter of social medial.'

Nope. Nada. Not gonna happen. No internet. No man. No roommate. JUST ME.

And dang did it feel FANTASTIC! As soon as I faced my fears of being alone, they totally dissolved into nothingness and I began to remember what it is to fall so deeply in love with yourself that the whole world feels your oyster. I played Vivaldi, I lit a candle, and I wrote poetry. It struck an honest and creative chord in me that felt more pronounced and comforting and exploratory than ever before.

I wrote about my wants, my needs, whatever I craved to express. I reflected on finally feeling really healed from my first heartbreak that took place over the summer and late spring. I had taken plenty of time to truly grieve and feel through it, but after only just one night of finally facing myself, I really just let it all go. Now I can fully appreciate that man and the experiences we shared, because I can really appreciate ME!

I'm now focused on what it is I want. I'm taking myself out on all the dates that want to go on, eating the food I want to eat, just for me, because I deserve it. Approaching all men as just friends is also just such a huge relief. It's like there's new space for me to invest that energy into ME! My hopes, my dreams, my desires, my future, my beloved community, my NOW.

I'll be writing a more in depth elephant journal article on this soon, but in the mean time I pose to you this-
What is it that you most want to do for YOUR self?

Maybe it's walk around with no pants on, paint, or do yoga in the nude, like me... Maybe it's a new course, to tell someone new something totally honest, to share gratitude with your partner. Whatever it is, why not spend the month (or day or year) just doing it!!

My new yoga space for all you Viva My Yoginis.
And, of course, for me.
A dream come true.

It's a pretty FANTASTIC feeling to fall back in love with yourself again and again. We all need these times and spaces in our lives to come back to being present with ourselves, facing our silence, and letting the creative unknown make itself known through us.

Why not start today? Do something just for YOU!

I am so excited about all that I will be offering through VivaMyYoga here in the Fall, lots of wonderful at home goodies and videos, just for all of you!! But in the mean time, I'm taking my time settling in, remembering that life is too short to hurry through it, and practicing the balance between action and stillness. I'll get these new offerings out to all of you soon, when the timing is just right.

Namasté y'all.