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How a positive mind changed my life.


I am writing to tell you that things get better and life is more beautiful than you can imagine right now. I'm here to tell you you are enough. You can do anything you set your mind to and the law of attraction is so powerful. What you manifest, I can guarantee you will become. Your thoughts will turn into actions, so don’t stop dreaming.

Yes, life has its ups and downs you already know this, with just having your dad’s skeleton found washed up on shore and discovered by a fisherman. But as terrible as some circumstances have been, every-thing really does happen for a reason. Your anxiety and depression will get easier and slowly dissipate. You will find your path. Your inhalations will stop catching at the top of your breath, and the exhalation will flow. The drinking will slow down and you will find a healthy, positive way of dealing with the hurdles life throws your way. You’ll find your inner positivity and then be able to spread that energy onto others. It won’t happen over-night but you will experience and you will learn. Yoga and meditation will give you clarity on where you want to be & provide stillness in your mind. From your support network, you will be able to feel comfortable with emptiness and silence and be happy with just being - not needing anything to distract your mind.

You know that year 9 assembly you just sat through at school? Where the companies came to talk to you about career options? I know one company made you put down your Nokia from texting your current boyfriend and actually listen. It was a company called World Challenge. You listened to them talk about how they take high schools like yours on trips to developing countries around the world. Staying in villages, volunteering for community and conservation projects, trekking through the highest of mountains and diving down into the bluest of seas. It seemed like a fairytale and you thought to yourself, How could that ever be somebody's life?

A few more years passed and you went through all of those normal teenage things (and some not so normal teenage things) like break ups, puberty, going out underage, drinking, studying, not studying, working 4 jobs at once to be able to travel and support your manic lifestyle. Living such a manic lifestyle was to distract your mind from the domestic violence that was occurring in your house-hold with Mum’s ex partner. From running away, then coming home to being homeless; things weren't easy. Although you’d had a whirlwind of emotions and situations growing up, when things hit rock bottom the only place you can go is up! You weren’t going to let anyone get in the way of your dreams. Instead you used it to fuel your motivation and push yourself to be the best you could be. The uphill climb the top - literally.

'push yourself to be the best you could be'

This started with getting my health on track - slowing down the drinking and stopping the smoking, eating as ethically as I possibly could and doing regular exercise and meditation. My dreams then followed organically. I started travelling because my heart yearned to see what else was out there ( I was undoubtedly running away from the heart-aches I’d felt back at home, hoping that they would go away if I changed my direction - and they did). I developed a huge passion for experiencing new cultures and appreciation for how lucky I was to be born into the world I was. I realised that despite all of my circumstances, there is always somebody worse off. The more I travelled, the more I wanted to get off the beaten track and the more I fell in love with the people I met in those small local villages. The more I wanted to be able to make a difference. I realised that I was born into a world where I could access money, shelter, food and water. So why can't they? I wanted to give back.

At first, It started with the classic Europe trip after finishing school. Being away for 7 months when I was 18 taught me that this wanderlust was real. The sense of freedom of knowing that I could decide where I wanted to go with the ability to do so with just a 65L backpack behind me (and another 4 bags I accumulated when I was still learning about minimalist travel) I had to learn by experience; no one could tell me that a huge retro 90’s snow jacket from brick lane wouldn’t be smart to travel around Europe in summer. I didn’t want it the adventure to end.

I worked around America teaching water sports to teenage girls at first (Camp America) & then my work overseas progressed to places like Kenya, where we improved a school’s condition’s so much that we stopped it from closing down (with IVHQ). I had an anxiety attack with the trigger of wild water buffalos starring me down because I was stuck from my push bike chain breaking mid bike ride, & I thought of how this would be a great story of how my life ended. But I survived, luckily. The warm friendly smiles of the people in the villages was something I’ll never forget. My home stay family had a donkey to fetch them water every day because running water wasn’t existent in their village.

I hiked to places so remote that my 15 year old self couldn’t have imagined them in my wildest dreams.. Places where the only access to food was via helicopter drop offs. I was the youngest in my wilderness course at only 22 and to be honest, I was crazy nervous of the heights I was climbing. This experience solidified my passion for the outdoors and being amongst the trees. The huge steep cliff drop offs also affirmed how badly I wanted to conquer my fear of heights. With this wilderness experience, I was starting to recognise every living organism and value it as a spirit, with no less value than the souls in humans. After living in the wild for 30 days I remember getting in a car and feeling the strangest, most uncomfortable feeling of having something move my physical body around, other than my own two feet.



After only being home for a max of 4 months every year for 3 years, I then officially came to the conclusion that a 9-5 Monday to Friday job was not right for me. Neither was a job in the make up industry (like I thought when I finished high school). My soul wanted a deeper connection with the earth and with humans all over the world. It was taking me in a new direction and it wasn't your average occupation. I wanted to experience new cultures and inspire young people to do great things.

I remembered that day when I was 15 years old - admiring those expedition leaders that got up on stage to talk about their job at World Challenge; and I decided to apply. I searched for all of the experience and training necessary to go after my dream job. In the process of applying, I fell into a (just as amazing) opportunity of working at Rustic Pathways in Fiji and Australia. This involved taking young people around my beautiful country Australia and taking students to experience home stays in the highlands of Fiji. I then went to Malaysia and Ecuador with World Challenge to see if I had what it takes. Turns out I did.




Now my job is to take groups of high school students overseas on travel expeditions. I get to hike up to the highest mountains in the world, swim in the most beautiful oceans, experience people when they are raw - stripped away from material possessions and help them when they're vulnerable. I feel incredibly blessed to have my job. It isn't just a job. It's a lifestyle choice. I feel beyond grateful that I get to witness new positive thought patterns arise in young people that they will keep with them throughout their life. To appreciate all cultures as the same. To appreciate every race as one race, the human race. And to see their hearts burst with love at the sights, smells and feelings of being in a magical place.

I live out of my van when I’m in Australia, day by day finding some where else to stay. Living simply and as ethically as I can. Teaching yoga when the opportunity arises. My kitchen consists of a gas stove and a blender. My wardrobe is one long drawer. My bedroom is less than 2 metres wide and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Some times #vanlife is more complex than it sounds, like finding places to wash dishes, a spot to park with a toilet, or waking up in the middle of the night to grumpy council men banging on the side of your window for sleeping in your car. One of the things I love about this lifestyle is that to me, every day is the same, meaning no day is worse or better than the last. It's not a weekend or a week day, it's just a day. And I'm living each and every one of them the same. To the fullest and how I want to.

'the sights, smells and feelings of being in a magical place'

15 year old me, I want to tell you that you don’t have to follow the path that society leads you down. You don’t need to have 4 walls to be happy, or have a mortgage to grow up. You don’t need to have an occupation that gives you every weekend off when you love what you do. You don’t need to invest in what people tell you should do/ Just do what makes you happy in your heart and follow your intuition. Only you knows what is best for you. So don't give up on life, little one! There are amazing things yet to come. Things will always be ok in the end.

I pinky promise, Love from Lauren.

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