Yes to every single word.

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2011 July 21 Lima, Peru

“Where are you from?” An older backpacker across from me asks with his spanish accent.

My throat is aching and I’m coughing up bits of phlegm — typical, travel small-talk is the last thing I want to do right now.

In less than forty seconds he has his laptop out, showing me his professional landscape photos and flipping through each one, naming them aloud like they are the names of his proud children.

They are beautiful but I feel a lack of enthusiasm, tired from my fever and the chilly winter weather.

“Would you like some tea? I have fresh honey with me too. I love bees.” A wide-toothed grin fills his face and he pulls out a litre size jar of honey.

I start to protest knowing that the kitchen is down the stairs but he is already up and gone in a second.

The hot tea slowly warms my body and my guard is melting away little by little.

“And you live here in Lima?” I ask.

He shakes his head with a smile. “I live here.” His arms motion over his things. “This is what I own.” I see a big backpack, an assortment of bags, a yoga mat, a Macbook, camera, a towel and boots.

He shows me more slides of his photography — each photo more majestic than the one before. Machu Picchu, sunsets over ruins, crisp enormous waves, cliffs with the view of waterfalls between giant jungles. I look at his brown, weathered skin. He must have had to hike for days just to get one of these shots.

“As long as I am healthy enough to surf, hike and take my pictures, I am happy. I like to think two minutes into my future; maybe three.”

I feel embarrassed for labeling him a backpacker — for brushing him off so quickly.

Each person has an amazing story if we choose to listen… if we choose to see them as a human being rather than the limiting roles or characters we define them as: a foreigner, a salesperson, a young teenager, an old person, a businessman, a waitress.

We miss a many opportunity when we believe and feed these false limitations. The most open thing we can do for another is to listen without feeling superior or inferior, without judgements and without our bounding opinions and labels.

He gets up, grabs a bag and his board, announcing that he’s going surfing. I thank him for the tea and silently thank him for this small, yet important lesson. As the sound of his steps become fainter and fainter, I look around, the cup warming my hands, and soak in the moment. I am here. This is where I wanted to be. Miles and miles away from home, surrounded by familiar strangers, sick with adventure and wild. I am here.

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“I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter til they bloom, til you yourself burst into bloom.” -Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Originally posted on OChristine blog.

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Four years ago, I left my life in Los Angeles and bought a one-way ticket to South America. I knew no spanish, didn’t know a soul there and had never even heard of a hostel. In five months, I volunteered in the jungle, slept in $5 a night rooms, did ayahuasca, tried guinea pig and alpaca, hiked under the stars, hitchhiked, slept on a wooden bamboo “bed,” taught a class of Peruvian children for one month, had more hangovers than I can count, got lost, kept exploring, and met so many amazing people that I still call my great friends today.

Then I came back. The universe brought me back so I could discover the loves of my life–my supportive partner, my dog and my art.

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Everyday I continue to nurture these loves, these passions. They give me inspiration, happiness and roots that ground me. They give me a place to call home.

 
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Still, my heart is a traveler’s heart. There is nothing comparable to the uncertainty, rush and curiosity of exploring a new city and a new culture! There are so many secrets waiting to be unveiled, so many paths waiting to be taken, so many treasures the universe offers to us.

 
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I don’t think that ever goes away. But now I have both. My loves and my freedom. My yin and my yang.

I’ve found my balance.

 
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More about Nikki Star: I am a writer, traveler, artist and believer of creating a beautiful life. I believe we all know more than we think we are capable of. We can be and create eternal beauty if we only allow ourselves to. You can join me on my journey at www.strippedcanvas.com. Also, find me on instagram @strippedcanvas.

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The past few months something inside me was telling me to visit Belize. So I arrived yesterday and have already ran into a few magical occurrences! Can’t wait to see what else is in store… Always look for the magic and the universe will keep giving them to you. ❤

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Coincidences are life’s way of showing us a sign, a reminder that we are on the way. Always stay open with wonder and awe and life’s magic will be shown to us in so many ways we ever thought possible. ❤

The other day as I was driving, there was a young man on the street with a sign. He was $27 short for a bus ticket back to his hometown in Oregon. I gave him a little bit of cash and I could see my own eyes in his eyes. His were full of gratitude, awe and compassion. 5 minutes later, I was in front of a car with an OREGON license plate. I got tingles and sent out good wishes that that young man would find his way home. I have a feeling he did.

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Hi everyone! I have a new project called WTFrenchie. You could call my frenchie Weston my muse and inspiration to my little art pieces I am making. Right now we have handmade ceramic vases, stickers, hand knitted pillows, water bottles and our charity keychains. 100% of proceeds from the keychains go to Lucky Puppy Rescue! There are so many more products that will be added throughout the year–tote bags, clothing, etc…
Please check it out and share it with anyone you think would enjoy :)
www.wtfrenchie.com

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Last weekend, my friend and I attended a life changing Abraham Hicks workshop. We had been anxiously waiting for the event, getting more excited with each passing week. And finally the day came! We LOVED it.

I love Abraham. They say what I’ve been feeling for years. Happiness is our natural born right. We are here to thrive and to get everything we desire. Sometimes we pick up old beliefs along the way that don’t serve us–I realize that those are not our true selves or from love. I don’t believe when people say “no one’s really 100% happy in their relationship” or “it sucks getting older.” Those are not my beliefs. SPARKLE!

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