Don’t Fear, You Were Born in the Wrong Era



Have you ever felt that you were born in the wrong era? Or that your style and approach to life would better suit a different time? After the years have come and gone and enough time has passed to flow into a new decade, it’s easy to look back and sum up each decade into a nice package of nostalgia.

The 20’s were glamorous, the 50’s were quaint, the 70’s were groovy, and the 90’s were nerdy. Well, as a nerdy child of the 90’s that was my take-away at least. Yet what we often fail to do, as we idolize the past, is to fully grasp the significance of our current time.

You’ve probably heard that technology is growing at an ever exponential rate. Every day the magical becomes more mundane as our culture swallows up the newest tech, exhaling a breath of frustration instead of one of awe. Our political climate is filled with fogs of fear and heatwaves of hate and distrust. Looking towards the 60’s for cultural advice falls short amongst the fast moving tweets and algorithm-bots spreading false information. Yet we are only at the cusp of further change and uncertainty.

Exponential, means ever-increasing. The little computer that you carry in your pocket, (and probably have an addiction to) is more powerful than 30 supercomputers from the 80’s.  That’s major technological growth. If you’re like me you easily remember a time of dial-up internet and house phones. Yet I’m now finding myself touching computer screens with the expectation of them moving to my touch.

Technology is increasing so fast we’ve hardly had time to reflect on what that means for our societies, cultures, and psyche’s. All the while our anxiety levels rise and we angrily react to Russian-bot comments on our Twitter feeds and the newest social-political debacle.

It’s no wonder we’ve become so nostalgic for passed decades. We are in that future that generations before us could only dream about. Dubai is launching the first flying-taxi service, flights to space have become commercialized, your phone now recognizes your face, and AI is helping shape our political atmosphere.

The irony of all of this? We actually were born in the wrong era. Figuratively of course, unless you’re a displaced time-traveler of sorts.

Although technology grows exponentially, our biology does not. For the most part we are still the same humans from 50, 100, and 1,000 years ago. We still need organic foods, we still love and hate with passion, we still seek culture and community, and we still fear the unknown. We live longer due to better medical technologies and we can change our appearances with surgery, but at the core of us, we are still simply human.

Emotionally fallible. Prone to react. Socially influenced. Driven by desires and basic needs. Fearful of change and uncertainty. It’s no wonder why anxiety and depression is on the rise as well. We are ancient beings who continuously seek comfort in a new and ever-changing world of uncertainty.

Even the future of our biology is uncertain as we integrate more with technology and learn more about the human genome and our micro-bioms. We face a probable future with technological implants, DNA alterations and micro manipulations. So what can we do about this now, without waiting and trusting in altering our biology to catch up with technology?

Breath. Reflect more often, react less, brace for further change, and most importantly: approach the future with hope.

The growth of our technological world is inevitable, change is inevitable, and the future will always be uncertain. We fear this, but the fact is that every era has been one of change and future uncertainty. Every decade has had hardships and triumphs. We can find comfort in remembering that. Remembering that change has brought further rights for minorities and subjugated people. Change brings advances in medicine and health. Change can be great.

The future is built on the back of the present. If we fuel our fast-approaching future with fear, we will build that future on the foundation of fear. If we fuel our future with hope however, we will be building our future on hope.

We idolize passed eras because we can look back and see where those time lead to and what they left behind. They are comfortable and known because they already happened. Our human instincts might not have evolved as quickly as our technology has, but we can find a map in the reliability of the human condition. Humans are still emotionally fallible, prone to react, socially influenced, and driven by desires and basic needs; but we also still hope.

It is the reflection of what we idealize from the past that will help shine a light on our future. So don’t fear, you were born in the right era. One that will prove to be more transformative than any before it. Through inevitable hardships and further uncertainty, hope is what will lead our triumphs.


Go Where the Wind Takes You


One of the fun things about planning a trip someplace far or exotic is the anticipation before the actual journey. Maybe you’ve saved up money for years or you’ve finally gotten the courage to purchase that plane ticket, but once that decision is made the curiosity and wonder have a chance to fully take hold.

Will the people be friendly to you? Are your accommodations close enough to the beach? Will you like the food?

Curiosity is one of the most golden attributes in our universe and there is nothing closer to the feeling of Christmas as a child than getting excited for a trip. But I’m actually here to say stop thinking about it. It’s best not anticipating every detail about your approaching travels, and it’s best not thinking about it much either. Trust me, you’re better off not knowing.

This might sound like some backwards advice from what we are all used to hearing. Aren’t we supposed to be prepared? Yes, of course! If it’s your first time in a country or traveling on your own, you most definitely need to do some research. I’m not saying to skip out on planning for the weather, or researching safe areas to venture, or what type of outlets your electronics will use.


I’m talking about the “what ifs” that will pop into your mind once the essential planning is all complete. I’m talking about the expectations that you most definitely have of the place and of your soon to be experiences there. Get rid of them, cast them aside as they come up in your mind and think of something else. Once your trip is booked and the necessities are planned, don’t let those sugar plums dance in your head.

There is a reason why Buddha said expectations are the root of misery. Well, more accurately “craving” is, but craving creates those misery causing expectations. When you build an image in your mind about a place or experience that you haven’t experienced yet that image is, well.. imaginary! It’s a great set up for a let down. When things don’t quite add up to your imaginary notions, it can be upsetting in both big and subtle ways. The unfortunate reality of this is so spot on even Shakespeare said it.

“Oft expectation fails, and most oft there where most it promises.”

Expectations not only fail us, they most often fail us when we have the highest emotional investment. You might recognize this pattern when a movie based on a book comes out. The harshest critics and the most disappointed people are often the biggest fans of the book, the ones with the most expectations. This isn’t to say that your trip wont be fun if you have expectations. After all, you probably wouldn’t have booked the trip in the first place if you expect to have a horrible time. But you will have a richer and more fulfilling trip if you get rid of them.


When you embark to a place without expectations, or without a preconceived story, you are doing more than inviting a good time or avoiding a let down. You become intimate with the experience. Without notions and judgements, you free yourself to be totally and completely surprised. Not just with the place and things around you, but within yourself. If you don’t already claim to know something, you have a chance to be wowed. Perplexity keeps you aware and in the moment.

Most of us have heard the advice to live in the moment and to “be here now” in order to get the most out of life. If you look back at the times where you’ve been wholly present, you’ll find that it’s not done with words. The moment is something felt, it’s a stillness that invokes a deeper realization of yourself. When we live in a moment and trust that stillness, which words can’t reach, we become fully alive in where we are in a way that cannot be done when we stay trapped in our expectations and preconceived stories.

Not knowing and letting yourself not know, makes the words that paint imaginary stories fade away and invite the real and truly wondrous. Many of the best times I’ve had traveling have been when I’ve planned next to nothing, arriving without even knowing where I’d sleep yet. With expectations and over-planning gone, serendipity has a chance to play. With a more keen sense of presence and a more open eye, you’ll be far more likely to approach that local for a drink or explore around that curious looking corner.


When you travel without knowing you rid yourself of expectations that would otherwise blind you of the true place and experience.

When you travel without knowing you open a window into your deeper self. You let an authentic version of yourself shine through when you let the preconceived stories people have of you and you of yourself, fall away.

When you travel without knowing you invite the serendipitous. Which can lead to even greater adventures you couldn’t have even imagined.

Why It’s OK to Have a Creative Block


If you’re like me you might not have painted, played music, written, or felt a hint of what to create lately. You might feel that in the great whole of the world you know little to nothing and that it’s all basically been done before. Between the never ending internet and all of the books there are, is there really anything new to comment on that hasn’t already been said? If we post one more comment or ask for one more petition signature, won’t it only be drowned by the millions of cute animal videos and simply add to the clutter on the web of everyone trying to shout their opinions at any chance they get?The other day I found myself deleting an entire article I had written because of this. At the time I had asked myself, “Why add to the clutter?” and I promptly closed my laptop and carried on with my day.

Three years ago I began traveling and learning so much about myself and the world that I found an absolute need to write. I felt like an overflowing cup of water and that if I didn’t get my stories out, or at least some of them, then I was going to burst like a shaken up soda can in some horrific mental breakdown. The word and the physical sensation that defined me at the time was, “full.” I felt too full of thoughts, too full of experience, and I didn’t know what to do with it all. Like a spoiled fat kid with too many ice cream options I was a bit overwhelmed and overly stuffed. I found myself in an existential crisis asking why I was doing so much aimless exploring. What was the meaning behind all of the ice cream? I found release and purpose in sharing my experiences, even if no one read it, at the time it was something I almost physically needed. Writing became my creative outlet. A way to give back, instead of just consuming.

I eventually stopped traveling in such a carefree fanciful way because expenses caught up, I had to work consistently again, and ultimately my existential crisis lead to a desire for future plans and less aimless floating. Time slipped by (as it does) and I’ve currently found myself working on a cruise ship with still no clear plan for my future. Only now I’m wondering what happened to my creative desires to write, inspire, and wonder at this strange experience that is life. I feel tired most of the time and I feel none of that budding wisdom and inner need to write, or create in general, that I felt so often before.

Home right now

Fortunately, travel is a lot healthier than ice cream. I picked up a trick or two on the road, and one of those tricks was meditation. I got really good at meditating after the Vipassana course I took a couple years back, but I’ve since lost the patience and the mental clarity I had briefly acquired. In an attempt to get it back I’ve started to meditate for half an hour in my little closet of a crew cabin on board the ship I’m working on. It was here, floating somewhere in the Atlantic, that I remembered the all too familiar truth about life. It continues and it is now. I don’t need to be depressed about still not knowing what I want to do with my life, just like I didn’t need to be depressed about it before. It’s OK that I’m a little worried about my current lack of creative flow, just like it was OK when I felt overwhelmed before. I am doing things now, just as I will be doing things later, and that is life.

Perhaps more importantly, I remembered the ebb and flow of things. Though admittedly, watching the ocean so much these days might have helped with that too.  When I was a small girl I realized that I could have what felt like the worst day of my life one day and the very next could seem the most fun and exciting. The highs and lows felt extreme, and maybe because of those extremes I was able to realize the constant change of them. Almost subconsciously I began taking note of all the high points and low points as I believe most people do. Like when we look back at the year on January first and say either, “that was a fantastic year!” or “fucking good riddance! Bring on the next one please.”

Watching the ocean on my downtime, (or when I’m bored and staring off during a shift) I can see  the ebb and flow, the constant little waves creating texture on the surface. If you pay attention, along with the little waves you can see larger rolling swells moving the little waves along within them. In our own lives we’re often swimming in the water experiencing the little waves, getting splashed in the face, and the hard part is to look across the greater span of the ocean and see the high points and low points creating deep swells across a lifetime. After all, aren’t most things in this universe actually made up of waves? Light, sound, and gravity for example.


Just like all waves we must make a kind of penance for the highs by experiencing the lows, but it’s never as simple as up and down. Our lives are textured like the ocean, with splashes, highs, and deep long swells that lift us up and take us down again. Looking back on those years of nomadic travel I am sometimes sad that I am not still there. It was as if I plucked out a magic thread interwoven through the fabric of life and it lead me on a fantastical journey full of serendipity and good fortune. Even when things had gone wrong, they were lining up to go incredibly right. I had started to believe in a kind of magic again and it all felt like it was leading somewhere big and exciting. It really didn’t. The wave peaked and rolled back down. I’ve lost my luck for a time and I’m reminded to find contentment in that fact. As the old saying goes, you can’t have the highs without the lows. I am now trying to remind myself to use the falling momentum to aim and lead somewhere else big and exciting when that time rolls back around.

I stopped writing because I felt I was being repetitive. I felt the internet and the world was being repetitive, but a simple fact of life is that many things are repetitive (just like waves) and we often need reminders of that and to come to peace with it. Life isn’t a story book with one exciting climactic ending and a great moral to be learned.  Life is made up of many stories, with many ups and downs and many great morals and things to be forgotten and learned again. That is why I decided to write this article. Everything might have been said before, and there are still thousands of books and articles with thousands of repeated opinions and views, but we can’t really know when the right words might inspire the right person at any given time. We are all riding our waves, creating, or building up momentum to create something soon. Many of us are wondering what the great purpose of it all is, but whatever it is, it continues and it is now.

The Benifits of Befriending Melancholy


I have an oddly high number of acquaintances who run self-help businesses. All of which I met while I’ve been traveling. This is evidence to my belief that travel is good for the soul – it seems to be obligatory for any sort of authority on happiness. Though I run a travel website that likes to spurt out life advice, I have mixed feelings towards self-help programs. There is a huge part of me that dislikes the idea of charging people money for advice. Is it really self-help if you have to be sold the idea? If a satisfying and fulfilled life is really as simple as steps 1,2,& 3, why couldn’t I have googled my self-help steps for free?

My feelings are mixed, however, because I understand that life’s just easier with someone helping out and giving encouragement and guidance. But I prefer to see a world where encouragement and guidance are freely given. When money is involved, we tend to expect results and clear defined rules, and we get more upset when that’s not the outcome. But my experience of life has taught me that life isn’t always clear and we can’t expect unchanging results.

There are moments in my life when an inexplicable sadness and melancholy come over me. During these times I simultaneously desire to be alone and around people, this causes awkward social interactions which fuels a continual discomfort. When I have no clear excuse for myself to be sad, I disappoint myself and become more so.

By acknowledging this peculiar feeling, however, I realize I often put myself on a pedestal of happiness. I want to be a happy person for myself and for a desire to be liked, a desire to be approachable, and worthy of admiration. So I end up ridiculing myself for not being happy… the funny thing is, that’s what causes the melancholy.

Happiness cannot be constant. With that said, It doesn’t seem right to call this melancholy a problem. By calling it a problem, it becomes heightened. By insisting in continued happiness, we’ve already failed. So is it an issue in it’s own right? Without outside judgement melancholy can become a strange sort of pleasure. Oh, the joys of wallowing in self misery with no rhyme or reason. There it is, self help can’t exist without a desire to help yourself. You can’t help yourself without looking at the problem and realizing its existence.

If you’re funny like me, you’ll find that the melancholy is a created expectation of a false reality. I expect myself to always be happy, that’s not reality. Maybe we shouldn’t be seeking self help so much as an acceptance of our sadness. Solutions are impossible without a problem and sometimes problems are just what we create by calling it a problem.

Unfortunately, not all of sadness comes from self created, looping melancholy. Shit does happen, but I have an optimistic belief that the same approach of acceptance of sadness is the key to overcoming anything. Too often we want the shit to just go away, but solutions are impossible without knowing a problem and it’s hard to know the true nature of a problem without looking at it first. You don’t have to pay for that advice, just look at it yourself.

Tbilisi, City Of Contrasts

Overlooking Tblisi
Zazz and friend looking out over old Tbilisi.

Standing beneath the shadow of the ancient medieval fortress of Narikala, my new friend Oliver and I gazed down at the city below us. His voice broke the momentary silence brought on by the awe that comes from taking in a beautiful scene.

“City of contrasts.”

I almost said, “jinx” before I realized he had taken the words out of my mouth. Old crumbling houses with sunken roofs, buildings in the shape of sleek metallic tubes, dozens of church steeples reaching out of dusty brick, and a modern cable-car lifting sightseers towards a giant metal woman brandishing a bowl and a sword. Tbilisi, Georgia is a city of contrasts.

I’ve always loved the sight of contrasts, whether in paintings, photography, or personalities; contrasts make things distinguishable. Two defined attributes working to highlight each attribute’s charm. Through contrast appears the heart and soul of a thing. What I found at the heart of Tbilisi was a proud culture rich in history and full of strength and opinion.

Mother of Georgia
Mother of Georgia.

Unfortunately, I quickly learned that coupled with the old and beautiful buildings in Tbilisi, was also an old form of sexism. Tbilisi has a strong feminine face, but a thick matriarchal backbone. Everywhere I went I would find eyes of men ogling me in obviously inappropriate ways. This caused me to want to wear longer sleeves and longer shorts despite the humid and hot weather in the summer. Possibly more upsetting than the heat, was the pressure to dress in a certain way to avoid being disrespected. 

However, I didn’t end up succumbing to the social pressure all thanks to a close friend of mine.

It’s easy to see that a truly strong country, making it through the test of time, produces strong people. In contrast to the old traditions of masculine privilege is a young woman working hard to make a difference with the rising generations of Georgian men and women. Elene Kvernadze of the United Nations Association of Georgia and my good friend, founded the movement “Open Your Eyes, Listen, Break the Silence” A movement to raise awareness about domestic violence in Georgia and to give more people strength to push social boundaries.

I got the pleasure of interviewing Elene about her home country and her views on gender equality in Georgia.

Elene Meditating
Kvernadze meditating on social issues over the old Tbilisi Baths.

As a guest to the country, my initial reaction might be a bit harsh. Is sexism really prevalent in Georgia?

Elene: YES! VERY! It’s strange how I never realized it growing up here… It took me leaving for college and actually looking at my country from afar to realize just how bad it was. It’s engrained in almost every aspect of our culture, but it’s wrapped in this strange tradition of respect; fake respect for women that blinds you.
Think of the statue you were talking about- it’s called the mother of Georgia. There’s a cult view of mothers and women, and how we have the utmost respect for them; when in reality the only thing this respect is visible in is calling the mother out from the kitchen during a feast to toast to their health and then letting them go back to being a slave for the evening- baking, cooking, and changing plates.

What are some of the cultural customs that stand out as sexist?

First of all, there’s the double standard! A woman is either a virgin or a whore; there is no in-between and the moment it’s know that you have had sex you are labeled as easy. It’s like you’re damaged goods. While on the other hand, guys are supposed to have a lot of experience with sex which includes prostitutes… from a very young age. It’s disgusting really. Women are basically not valued, no matter what they accomplish in life, unless they are married and have kids. So their value lies in their families. No matter how beautiful, smart educated and successful you are, if you are single, people kinda pity you. It’s weird… but it’s changing slowly.
Also, women are supposed to put their families first, raising kids and house work is their job… this is just the tip of the icebergs… there are also more serious issues, for example, that women should endure verbal and even physical abuse from their husbands for the sake of their families; which contributes to further violence within the home. I can talk about this forever, there are so many examples, but I think you get the idea.

Are there possible benefits to the way the gender culture in Georgia currently is and are they worth it?

I think in general the clear divide of roles between the sexes creates structure. Everyone knew their place and what was expected of them and life was “easy.” You know what I mean? Right now there is a crisis going on, especially in men, because those roles are changing. Women now do all the things men used to do but men are still struggling to realize that it means they now have to share the responsibilities women used to have. So there is a backlash from the society, and especially men, but I think that’s a normal part of change in any society: there is resistance and fear to the new and unknown. You will always have a part of the society who will try to conserve what was… but that’s just how it goes.

What needs to change and what are you and others doing to change it?

More strict laws need to be in place to battle gender based violence. These laws need to be implemented properly, officials need to be trained to understand these issues, civil society needs to take an active role; and most importantly, raising awareness in the public and ingraining the idea that each one of us is responsible for creating a society where everyone is treated equally and with dignity.
I actually think we are heading in the right direction and I’m very optimistic about it. This year 29 women were killed at the hands of their husbands or ex husbands in Georgia, this is a tragedy. And this tragedy was an awful awakening for the country to realize that this issue, actually IS an issue! Everyone from politicians to regular people have started talking about this, it is starting to become a priority… again; because people have started to care.
Tblisi Candy
Churchkhela, a Georgian fruit and nut candy. Not to be mistaken for anal beads.

I’ve been following social media in Georgia a bit and I realize that Elene is right. The rising generation of Georgians care, and in this they have once again proven to be strong and resilient people.

Contrasts are beautiful, they highlight features that might otherwise be missed in a blend. But possibly more importantly, contrasts make it easier to see what is worth fighting for.

Elene, me, & Khachapuri
Elene Kvernadze with author.

Traveling Was the Goal; Where’s the Goal in Travel?

Watercolor painting by Sarah Larsen

Over a year ago I wrote an article about meaning. You can read it here but to summarize: I got caught in a flood in Laos and ended up aiding a woman in need, which lead me to wonder about fate. I concluded that destiny is just life happening, and we create the meaning behind it. We choose to take action or to not take action, and we choose to see a moment as meaningful or meaningless, thus perpetuating our fate by our chosen meaning and actions.

In this we create mental situations that lead to related situations, and those related situations build the consequences that lead to more related mental and actual situations; We don’t choose our own fate, we create it step by step.

I’ve come to a point in my travels where, once again, I can’t stop wondering about my fate. I’ve become uncomfortable not knowing exactly what to do next. I don’t care to look at a crystal ball to see my future, but I would like to see my purpose. If I used my own advice I’d tell myself to create my purpose, which is easier said than done. The problem I’ve run up against is that if I were to state my desired purpose, it would be a blanketed and vague resume-style answer.

  • Help others
  • Create something beautiful
  • Reach personal success

These things are noble and worthy of effort, but they’re book covers. Packaged to summarize and look good, but by opening them up you’ll find each contains a world of it’s own; full of ups, downs, options, antagonists, landscapes, and time. The action of, “reach personal success” is deeper than the statement and calls for more elaboration. Or in other words, what the hell am I going to do to reach these goals? The bleak but honest answer is that, I don’t know.

When I was a kid, all I wanted was adventure. Adventure movies were always my favorite, and I’m not joking when I say it saddened me to the core realizing there were no real wardrobes with magic portals. What appeals to me in these stories isn’t just the adventure or the travel to far away lands, it’s the purpose. Whether the hero finds the purpose along the way or sets out with it from the start; meaning is what differentiates travel from a vacation.

So why do I write this? Originally I began writing this article as a personal plea to the universe or whatever governs order and fate. Apparently it worked because what I realized halfway through writing is that the articles I write have the potential to be and do each of those three points. I hope that my writings and ramblings are able to help, inspire, and comfort others. I hope my articles are beautiful. And I hope they’ll help me reach personal success. I write for myself, but I publish this as a reminder to whoever is reading to seek meaning and purpose in your own life and travels; create your own fate.

As Steven Pressfield said in his book The War of Art, “The paradox seems to be, as Socrates demonstrated long ago, that the truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery. While those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.” Would you rather be a tourist in your life, or the action hero? Would you rather create your fate, or let life just happen to you? I know my answer. Here’s to remembering to keep on keeping on.

Home Shock


I recently returned to my hometown after being away for over a year.

As my plane flew over my great salty lake and soured parallel to those ‘oh so familiar’ mountains, my heart began to beat faster. The excitement I experienced upon touching down at the airport easily rivaled the excitement I got from first leaving 14 months ago.

The plane needed to dock faster because I was about to surprise my friends and family and the exhilarating part was that no one knew I was even coming. I missed my friends, their familiar faces had frequented my dreams as I anticipated seeing them again. I had been planning this surprise arrival for months and what made me nervous was that they were going to experience the new travel me.

When it comes to travel, what we don’t often hear about is home shock. Often, most things remain the same back at home, yet us travelers have quite literally seen the world and travel has a way of speeding up the inevitable. Long exposure to change, differences, and experiences tend to alter a person, and the realization of the contrast can cause a bit of an identity tremor.

Accompanied with the excitement of seeing friends I hadn’t seen in a while, was a slight concern of my expected behavior. How much had I changed? Was it enough to shock the people who knew me? One thing I’ve noticed about human behavior is that folks tend not to like change. We appreciate when our friends and surroundings are familiar, and the dislike of alterations have spawned negative associations to the statement, “she’s changed.”

I’ve noticed something about the emotion of nervousness; it’s that it’s identical to the feeling of excitement only with different thoughts behind it. So I decided to sit comfortably, or as comfortably as I could, in my new skin. If I changed then I changed, and my friends and family would have to be happy for it.

SLC crew
Zazz and friends.

I quickly found that the acceptance of my friends and family was the last thing to get nervous about, after all, I was still me and they love me. However, home shock came from an existential realization of change. We all eventually reminisce of days past and who we used to be; it’s the consequence of time.

Twenty years from now I’ll be a different person, and twenty years from then I’ll be another different person; and forty years from now you will be a different person too. This is because change always affects us, and change is inevitable. While driving along my old streets I realized that even my city will dramatically alter in another 50 years or less.

Culture shock affects us because it forces us to look at life and ourselves in another light. Home shock affects us because it forces us to look at our past, future, and present in another light. That new perspective on things lit up the realization that living in the moment is the only way to truly live.

Judgements From a Pocket Monkey


There is a monkey on my sweater with a stern look on his face. I can see him looking at me through my bedroom mirror. I bought the sweater from a thrift shop because I thought a front pocket was a fun spot to place a stern looking monkey. Surrounded by shitty half finished paintings, I’m questioning my purchase while I’m drinking horrible tasting wine and smoking far too much weed. Is the monkey judging me? Where am I? What am I doing? I’m momentarily obsessed with questions like these, yet I love when I feel the need to ask them.

I’ve been traveling the world alone and I’m currently in Australia, working in cafes and living in a shed for a few months while I work on my paintings.

 Considering my situation, I’ve had a couple of people ask me if I’ve found myself yet. I suppose it’s a cliche’ for people to travel while in search of themselves, so I can’t blame them for asking. But I can’t help but wonder, where is the finding when the found is always with you? What excites me is the thought that we’re always finding ourselves.

Whether stationary or not, travel is a metaphor for life. Confronting the world forces you to confront the different aspects of yourself in relation to the different aspects of the world. Because the world is full of changes, so are we. Since I was a teenager my goal in life has been to create myself through experience. What new things can I explore? What new sensations may I feel? I have inadvertently “found myself” while traveling, but that’s only because I’ll find myself everywhere I am.

Zazz and sweater-Pocket Monkey in her art shed.

This doesn’t mean I don’t get scared. In all actually, I’m often fairly terrified. What am I doing with my life? Why have I anthropomorphized a pocket monkey? Where will this all take me? I’ve recently bought an expensive professional camera with the goal in mind of creating a traveling podcast. I know nothing about cameras, filming, or editing. The other day I was playing around by recording random things, when the reality of what I’m trying to do freaked me out. Talking alone into the camera is actually pretty damn hard, it can make you feel vulnerable and a bit crazy. Especially when you find yourself doing it with little friend support in some crummy and cold shed in the backyard of a crummier house in Melbourne. Are my goals a joke? Even if I pull this off, who will watch it?

I travel in order to explore and open myself up to possibilities, but I also originally took off in hopes of finding an opportunity that I can commit to. I often feel constantly torn in the directions I want to take in life. Some days I just want someone to simply tell me what to do. Yet if there is anything else I hate more in this world, it’s someone telling me what to do. I’m a walking contradiction in that way. I think my desire for instruction is derived from a fear of responsibility. If someone else is dictating my life, I can blame them for my disappointments; but I can’t live that way because I know it’s a lie. I’m responsible for my own life, I have no one else to blame if I fail.

This realization of responsibility has been an enormous thing to take in. I’ve always thought of responsibility as this thing associated with a career, children, or doing the dishes; but it’s more than even that. We are responsible for our entire lives. Not just our current, living, and breathing in this moment lives, we’re responsible for everything leading up to our inevitable deaths. What’s worse, failing or never doing? The answer is never doing. Because if we fail when we reach the end of our lives, we’re failing anyway; but we’re failing without having even tried.

I ended up in Melbourne after a series of bizarre and fantastic events and my mind is still reeling with the freedom I currently possess. The pocket monkey might be looking at me disappointingly, but I love my situation. I’m living a dream of mine since childhood and I’m free to explore the world and myself as I please.  This is a good thing. The more things I explore, the more things I try, the more I learn about myself; my true self, not the self filled with “shoulds” and “can’ts.” And whatever I end up doing or abandoning, at least I’ve learned something. At least I’ve DONE something, instead of sitting on my ass complaining about life and wasting it. Judge that pocket monkey.

Are We Grown Ups Yet?


Abigail may

Growing up involves developing mental processes to navigate, avoid, and resolve conflict and bumps in the road of life. It’s not just about learning to do taxes or buying your own home; growing up is learning to take responsibility, learning to listen to others, and taking appropriate action. At first glance words such as “responsibility” and “appropriate” can ignite a negative taste on the mouth. But growing up also involves the cognitive understanding that taking the “high road” is far less drama and has a better view.

In my experience I’ve come to find that 98% of potential arguments are simply verbal and emotional misunderstandings. Words only go so far to communicate our feelings and desires, and when strong feelings are involved, it’s easy to get caught up and consumed by our emotions. The thing with overwhelming emotions is that they demand our attention. When all of our attention is on one or two powerful feelings, it can seem impossible to see anything else, which creates a lot of room for misunderstandings. While blinded by hate or sadness we miss the words being said, and often more importantly, we miss the intended meaning of the words being said. In arguments we get tunnel vision when we should be looking at the landscape.

Learning to approach conflict from a lookout point instead of a tunnel is the epitome of maturity. It’s not an easy thing to ignore strong emotions in an attempt to see the full view. It can be exceptionally hard because it forces you to confront your own potential faults and misunderstandings. The upside to leaving the tunnel is that views are often colorful and beautiful, and avoiding or working out a conflict is the best kind of relief.

A Little Bit of Justice Makes the Medicine Go Down

Hi all! If you recall from THIS post, all of my expensive things were stolen on New Year’s Eve. If you follow me on Facebook you probably already know that I have re-acquired my laptop in an exciting manner. Without further ado, I present to you a true tale from The Adventures of Zazz.

Escaped rabbit in an Aussie yard.

I had my Mac-book stolen on New Year’s. Luckily, Apple lets you lock a stolen laptop and send a message to the computer’s screen, so I offered a fake reward of $1000 and left my phone number. One night I got a phone call from a middle aged man saying he wanted the reward in exchange for my laptop.

“And I didn’t steal it.”

He wanted to meet me in a place of his choosing to make the exchange.

“But don’t involve the cops.”

I involved the cops.

In my fluster of receiving this phone call during a night of drinking with my friends, I asked him to call me back in a half hour to work out the details. I phoned the police immediately after hanging up the blocked call with the man.

From there, the three of us did a lot of back and forth calling for a while; the police, the man, and me. But I didn’t have a car, the cops weren’t being too responsive, and the laptop man was being difficult to work with. I had asked him to turn the laptop into the police station assuring him I’d get him a reward. He didn’t like this idea. Even though he claimed to have bought the laptop from an unknown source, he was convinced he would be arrested upon stepping foot into a police station.

The last time the man called that night I told him to call me at noon the next day, I gave the excuse of not having a reliable ride. On a previous phone call, the cops had asked me to come into the station the next morning to give an official statement, so I planned to be at the police station at noon. As planned, the Laptop Man called right when I was sitting down with an officer. This was my last ditch effort to get a fire burning under the police force’s ass. I put it on speaker and we arranged to meet in a half hour at the location of his choice.

Interest peaked, the cop called in an unmarked car to use and we scouted the rendezvous on googlemaps. The officer went into the back to consult with his police palls and I was surprised when he reemerged and invited me to join them.

“You can stay in the car if you’re uncomfortable.”

That’s all I needed to hear. I cut him off with a,

“I’ll approach the guy, I’d have to.”

I knew that if a cop showed up instead of me, I’d never see my laptop again. So I hopped into the “undercover” cop car with three officers and we made a game plan.

We figured that the Laptop Man would, obviously, be keeping an eye out from somewhere else to scope for cops; so they dropped me off around the corner so I could walk to the location. The plan was for me to stay in a spot where the officers could keep an eye out for me, then they’d call me and use my phone as a wire when the man approached.

The Laptop Man called and asked me to walk towards a swing-set across the street in a park. He told me that if any cops showed up, he’d throw my laptop in the pond. Naturally, I made sure to walk as far away from the pond as possible, near the road, and as far away from the kids in the park as possible; while still walking towards the swing-set. I dawdled in order to give the cops time to call me. When they did, I answered my phone and placed it in the front pocket of my jeans. They could now listen in.


The Laptop man approached me on a bike from behind and immediately asked to see the money. I stood in front of his bike and asked to see the laptop first. He wouldn’t show me at the start but, I reminded him that I was a young lone girl.

“and how do I know you wont just rob me?”

He understood that; and as soon as he showed me the laptop the cops, who had been listening in and watching me from afar, screeched into the parking lot Fast and Furious style. The Laptop Man couldn’t ride off and as he put his hands up and attempted to get off the bike, the police tackled him to the ground. Honestly, the tackle seemed a bit over the top to me. A brief thought occurred to me that these young officers might be trying to impress me.

Laptop smuggler being apprehended.

I got my laptop back and they found out the bike he had been riding was stolen too. One police officer remembered the description of this bike when it was first reported stolen, the owner was eager to find it. They later searched the Laptop Man’s house and found him harboring other stolen items as well as a man wanted for rape and assault. My other stolen goods weren’t there, but I found that I felt more satisfaction in knowing I helped capture a criminal and get people’s items returned to them.

The police told me that druggies would often steal things, but have no easy way to sell them because all pawn shops send items through the police system. So they’d often go to one guy and exchange the goods for drugs, leaving the drug dealer with a bunch of things that he’d later pawn off through his networks.

Laptop Man wasn’t too bright and had a messy record of drugs, DUI’s, and being in possession of stolen property. He was banned for life from driving and lived far away from my house, so I highly doubt it was him who broke in. For this, I do feel slightly bad for getting him captured. Primarily because he very well could have bought it off of someone not knowing he couldn’t access it. Perhaps the weasel of a man only wanted his wasted money back. Instead he got jail time.

Is there a moral to this story? Yeah. Sometimes you have to be a little productive if you want things done. Also, don’t buy obviously stolen goods and attempt to get ransom money out of it.

The recovered laptop.



Pop art by Jack Crispy
Pop art by Jack Crispy

Hello Everyone,

I’d first like to thank you beautiful people who read and enjoy One of the best things on this planet is getting feedback from readers. I probably would have quit writing a long time ago if it weren’t for you all. Sap aside, I wish I could be posting some good news in this new year, unfortunately, I’m writing this unconventional post today to tell you a story of woe.

Moments after posting my last blog entry, I headed out into the night on my newly acquired scooter to enjoy the festivities of New Year’s Eve. The night and the countdown was pleasant, if not extremely uneventful, until I returned home at about 1:30 am. Exited to read a book I had just bought on kindle, I burst into my room only to find the device gone. A quick glance and I saw my dresser drawers had been left open and emptied of all valuables. I had been robbed.

In the list of items that were stolen; I lost my laptop, my DSLR camera, and all of my backup files and recording equipment. Expensive items and nic-nacs aside, the most devastating part of this robbery was the theft of my work. I had spent the last year traveling to ten different countries and collecting the most beautiful and inspiring interviews from people of this planet. I had worked countless hours of my own time editing and preparing the footage to debut on this website as entertaining and inspiring webisodes. The backups on my SD cards, external hard-drive, and the files on my computer have all been lost.

It’s with this dreadful news that I must apologize to all of the beautiful people I had interviewed. The episodes wont be made, but I thank you for sharing your hearts and views with me. I also have to apologize for the future lack of updates, it will be difficult for me to keep this site up to date without a computer. (I’m at the local library right now.)

If you’d like to help remedy the lack of a typing device in my life, I had some good friends remind me that I have a donate button. If there was ever a time to humbly ask for donations, I have to admit, it would be now. I sold all of my possessions before heading out on the road over a year ago, so the handful of items that were taken from me are basically all that I owned in life. (They even stole my makeup.)

Donate Button

But life’s not all about money. It’s about love, kindness, and supporting our friends… at least I’m pretty sure. So if you can’t donate, do my ego a favor and subscribe to this website, leave comments, share, and all that jazz.

Cheers to a luckier new year,

Sarah Kate Larsen – Travel Zazz

photo 1(3)

Seasons Greetings, Spirit Animals, and Other Fluffy Things


It’s a new year, it’s time to reflect on the year’s past; right? This year the holidays snuck up on me. Being too consumed with trying to find work, housing, transportation to my new job, and handling visa papers, I haven’t had much room to reflect on the things we’re meant to reflect on.

The consequence of being a lone traveler relocating to a new town means being alone, and busy. I’ve been telling myself that it’s just any other day really, why hold so much importance to yet another day? As true as this might be, I can’t help but feel a little in denial. Even with all of life’s great distractions, it’s hard to not realize the lack of really close friends in proximity to me this season.

I had a moment of melancholy on Christmas eve, but after going on a walk and having a moment to think, I realized that I was exactly where I wanted to be. All of my actions in the past year have lead up to this moment and I was missing it in self pity for what I didn’t have. There’s great satisfaction in realizing I was living a scenario I had only dreamed of years ago. I realized then, that there will always be something a bit lacking in life. It’s up to us to look at what benefits us.

I also remembered that though I might physically be alone; my friends and family, far away, would be thinking of me as I thought of them. The cheesy cliches win out again in the circular pattern of my thinking. Love, positivity, and rainbows are realities sometimes; and I have become afraid of these bright omens, for they are uncool.

And now, on the eve of the new year, I’m sitting on my new back porch under a gum tree, watching the neighbor’s escaped rabbit run between bushes. I tried catching him this morning, but right now I’m content in knowing he’s having the time of his life right now. The rabbit and I are like kindred spirits- free to go where we please, if only for a now.

 Well, I’m off to go party. Happy new year!

The Importance of Authenticity


I have been lucky to find myself amongst some wonderful and unique characters in my short life. From sharing drinks with old Hollywood legends, sipping tea with an old monk in the jungle hills of Myanmar, to sharing a joint with a police officer from Berlin;  All off this travel induced social jumping I’ve experienced has taught me that there is no one 100% correct way to live a life.

We like to dress ourselves up differently and prescribe to certain styles of music and art of which we define ourselves by. This is a beautifully wonderful thing, but it’s easy to forget the similarities of people amongst the differences and it’s easy to get distracted by the masks and costumes we wear.

I can tell you one thing that I’ve learned with all of my social jumping, and that is the importance of authenticity. Be genuine to yourself. This isn’t a call to the world to be more original. If yooou channnge your bbbehaviorrr wwwiitth the goaalll notttt to bee like everone elllse, you’re already over thinking it.
Fuck this keyboarrrrdd..

Cover photo by Nugget Little