In 2010, I packed up my life in San Diego, sold my goods, shipped my car back to my parents’ house in New York, and headed to the LAX airport with a one-way flight to Mumbai, India. I was looking for a journey, an adventure, a gateway into a life of the unknown, untapped and mind-altering experiences. I started the journey with three friends from San Diego, and ended the journey with a random stranger who became a lifelong friend.
And now, I’ve done it again. This time, however, the one-way ticket was to Bali.
You see, after four beautiful, inspiring and life-changing years in Austin, Texas, my husband Ross and I decided to continue pursuing a reality of love, wellness, health, entrepreneurship, spirituality, creativity, growth and connection while living life on the road.
Our journey began this past May. We spent the first two months camping our way from Austin to Montana, living out of the back of our ‘95 Dodge van.
Next we headed across the Atlantic to spend a month volunteering and teaching yoga on a nature preserve in Portugal…
…followed by three weeks in Tuscany, trimming olive trees…
…and then on to Bali, a place we decided to settle into as a home base for awhile as we co-created alongside a like-minded community.
I used to refer to the book Eat, Pray, Love as my bible: The bestselling novel follows Elizabeth Gilbert as she travels to India, Indonesia and Italy to discover her truth and break the mold of how life “should” be.
There were times I flipped through page after page with tears streaming down my face because I felt like she got me: For the first time, there was a strong woman out there who was putting words to paper about how I envisioned my life going.
The vision I held didn’t involve showing up at an office each day, or ever wearing high heels unless I absolutely wanted to, or living a life that wasn’t 100% of my creation and intention, or going through the motions because it’s what I was expected to do.
It did, however, involve using any money I have to fund adventures and growth opportunities, having faith that all the answers reside inside me, allowing love to be the fuel and basis behind all I do, doing only that which I choose, giving back to create a positive shift, seeing the world and interacting with the beautiful people who live in it, and riding on the back of a motorcycle through tiny beach towns with the sun warming my face, my long curls cascading down my back and blowing in the wind.
And I have carried this vision with me until now. Jump and the net will appear, I often thought to myself.
Some people know me as their friend, their sister, their daughter, their co-worker or their school mate. Others know me from my travels through India, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Europe. Still others know me as an event coordinator from San Diego, or as a health coach from Austin, or a server from New York, or the blogger from carlyshankman.com, or a Hanson fan, or a beach lover, or their yoga teacher, or a health-nut, or a dreamer, or my dog Maddie’s mom… the list can and does go on. And, yes, I am all those things, but it’s not who I am.
I am a woman on a mission to explore the earth, and, through that adventure, explore myself. I am fully committed to a personal journey that includes healthy living, conscious creations, wellness, love, sharing and connection with others. And through that experience, giving it all back to you through blogs, videos, coaching and inspiration.
Unlike my mentor, Elizabeth Gilbert, I don’t find myself laying on the bathroom floor calling out to God to help me find my way while trying to get out of a failing marriage. I am not running from anything. I’m not trying to “find” myself; I already know who I am. I’m not trying to fill any spaces in my soul; I’m wanting to expand myself. And quite honestly, there is no better place to fully begin this journey than Ubud, Bali.
It is a yogi’s dream, a real foodie’s paradise, a spiritual epicenter for inner growth, and a landing place for digital nomads from around the world.
My time is split equally between writing for my blog, curating new content for Kale.Life, doing sales for Matthew Kenney Culinary (a raw food culinary school), and running my online cleanse program over at carlyshankman.com.
We live in the most unique time in history, one in which working and living abroad is a reality, thanks to the power of the internet. I go crazy for the pizza in Italy, the beaches of Portugal, the ashrams of India, the islands of Thailand and the mountains of New Zealand, but, out of all my travels, it is Ubud that has felt so far most like home.
And until the next destination comes calling, you can find me at any local coffee shop in Bali typing away with a green juice and cold brew coffee nearby.
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