WILD MAG #4 Dec 2023: Kenya Roberson

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ISSUE 04 I DEC 2023

NEPAL! WHAT’S YOUR EVEREST?

KENYA ROBERSON SHARING THE LOVE

MUSTANG VALLEY

WOMEN GONE WILD ANGEL INVESTORS

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LEARNING TO FLOAT

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RESET YOUR GOALS




The Wild Network At The Wild Network, we understand that women today are looking for more than just entertainment – they want to be inspired, empowered, and supported on their journey to becoming their best selves. That’s why we offer a wide range of shows that are designed to help women connect with themselves, each other, and the world around them.

MYWILDNETWORK.COM



VOLUME 4 / DEC 2023

WILD Magazine

UBA

Founder

Chief Marketing Officer

Rhonda Swan

Brian Swan

Editor In Chief

Head Of Publishing

Jonas Muthoni

Annelise Sylta

Editor

Head of Sales

Nigel Simmonds

Ryan Lenett

Creative Director

Editorial Content Director

Stuart Sullivan

Tarryn Reeves

MUSTANG VALLEY

Graphic Design

Accounting

WOMEN GONE WILD

Adi Mika

Jelena Dakic

Writers

Senior Designer

Antonia Stanton, Tarryn Reeves,

Dave Abejar

ISSUE 04 I DEC 2023

NEPAL! WHAT’S YOUR EVEREST?

KENYA ROBERSON SHARING THE LOVE

ANGEL INVESTORS

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LEARNING TO FLOAT

//

RESET YOUR GOALS

FINAL MASTERWildmag4-240x305-Stu-05 2.indd 3

16/11/2023 09:39

KENYA ROBERSON: SHARING THE LOVE

Hanalei Swan Administrative Director

© No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Starrwyn

WILD Magazine is published by the

France, America, and more) in related

women everywhere. As a child, Rhonda

unleashing their voice is of paramount

Unstoppable Branding Agency, a

fields such as digital marketing,

grew up in a turbulent home and

importance in order to attain success.

forward-thinking public relations and

graphic design, UI/UX, and content

struggled with her self-image and an

branding company based in Bali with

production as well as publishing. For

eating disorder that lasted for almost

This is the fourth issue of WILD

influence and followers internationally.

its employees, degrees are not the

10 years.

Magazine, a publication which seeks

prerequisite – instead, it is experience, knowledge, and skill which matter to

When she overcame her struggles,

empowered women and their partners

brand messaging to grow its clients’

the company.

Rhonda realized that she wanted

across all countries and nationalities.

to help other women achieve the

personal branding. It employs

6

to leverage the company’s faith in

UBA utilizes storytelling, SEO, and

experts from all over the world (from

Unstoppable Branding Agency was

same success. The drive behind the

We feel privileged that you are taking

countries such as Malaysia, New

founded upon Rhonda Swan’s firm

Unstoppable Branding Agency is to

the time to read our publication, it

Zealand, Germany, the UK, Singapore,

belief in the importance of empowering

empower women by showing them that

makes what we do so worthwhile.


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VOLUME 4 / DEC 2023

WELCOME Welcome to WILD Magazine Issue #4! This month we are coming to you live from the once forbidden kingdom of Mustang in Nepal, where we have joined forces with the truly awesome transformational organization Unconventional Life for a five-day life accelerator program. This retreat brings together some of the world’s most inspirational speakers in a bucket list destination that promises to enliven our souls and open our minds. I’m so honored to be among those speakers, and touched by the warmth of every single one of the entrepreneurs, thought leaders and participants on this amazing trip. Look out for more WILD collaborations with Unconventional Life, and do reach out if you too want to experience the miracle of collective change that happens on these retreats. I also wanted to give a big shout out to my immediate family, my rock Brian and my daughter Hanalei, both of whom are also speaking at the event. I am blessed to be supported by such a loving team, and I am filled with gratitude that I get to live this amazing laptop lifestyle with the two people who mean most to me in this world. Together we have lived in so many amazing countries since we decided to embark on our journey of discovery and adventure, one that continues to amaze and present endless possibilities. It’s also truly an honor to be able to help others find their path to freedom and to mix with so many incredible individuals who have inspired thousands in their specialist areas, whether it be finance, fitness, creativity or wellness. We live in such turbulent times that it is now more than ever so important for each of us to discover our individual calling, one that may be different in the details but which unites us in a common purpose of personal growth. Finally I am grateful for the chance to bring each of these stories to life through WILD magazine, which continues to reach and affect so many people around the world. If you want to join us on our journey to build sexy brands that make a real difference then don’t hesitate to get in touch. And, as ever, let’s be unstoppable! – Rhonda Swan.

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would you like to be a

AUTHOR? Author applications for

2025 ARE BEING ACCEPTED NOW!

Share your story with the world & be one of the next Wild authors in 2025

LEADERSHIP EDITION w w w.w g w b o o k . c o m

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CONTENTS

30 26

BILL BENSLEY

KENYA ROBERSON

Bill Bensley talks to WILD

Standout architect and designer Magazine about his vision and

Kenya Roberson – head of

design execution for the Shinta

Elite Garment Distro – saw

Mani Mustang lodge in a former

a gap in the market for over-

forbidden kingdom in Nepal.

run luxury goods, and made

44 UNCONVENTIONAL LIFE Jules Schroeder heads up the transformative group Unconventional Life. She talks to WILD about what drives her, and

VERA KRETSCHMAR Angel investor Vera Kretschmar outlines her best strategies for investing, and points to what’s most important in life, from giving back to discovering there is more to money than chemical factories.

her latest inspirational gathering in

it her mission to distribute to

Nepal.

a world that wanted more.

72

66 MENTAL HEALTH/5

MENTAL HEALTH/1

60

RHONDA SWAN

The Greek hero Sisyphus was

MENTAL HEALTH/3

crises, we are faced with seemingly

Rhonda needs very little

boulder up a hill every day, only to

In the tapestry of human

uncertainty. Who should you trust?

have it fall to earth at the end of it.

relationships, we all tread

He should have been a woman.

the delicate path of seeking

24 introduction. As the publisher of WILD magazine and the Women

famously punished to push a

38 EVEREST! Antonia Stanton asks: What’s your personal Everest and how do you reach the top?

insurmountable collective

correspondent Kavi.

the Unstoppable force behind her successful agency UBA.

As we navigate multiple global

connection, writes our

Gone Wild book series, she remains

10

76

58 MENTAL HEALTH/2 Hanalei Swan shows us what lies beneath the surface with a compelling piece about the emotional tides that subsist within all of us.

42 86 MENTAL HEALTH/4 Making space outside of work returns the connection to your biggest fan – you.

NAMGYAL SHERPA Climbing is in Namgyal’s blood, as he tells us here in this moving tribute to his mother and his personal vision for lodges in Nepal.


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CONTENTS

50 LIFE OF BRIAN

91

62

JET STAR

LEARNING TO FLOAT

We uncover the story of a woman transitioned from the glitzy world of travel influencing to a passionate

Former robotics engineer Brian

advocate for empowerment.

Swan has embraced change as

Meet Marjet Van Wijk

part of life, today mixing big

82 REENA MERCHANT Forward-thinker Reena Merchant has integrated the personal with the problem solver to build human tech. And we love her for it.

wave surfing with his work in

It’s easy to stay afloat when the water is calm but the real challenge comes from learning to keep tranquil when life puts those big waves in your way.

Bali as an entrepreneur.

64 BAMBU FITNESS Meet the team behind Bambu Fitness in Bali where a sense of collective community is just as

48 HAERT FELT

52

Human behaviors expert Sascha

TAKE A BREATH

Crystal Jackson, one of the co-

Bali-based breathwork expert Brian

of Crystal Jackson – Intuitive

Kelly taps into the subconscious

Business Synergist, stands as

to help us reveal our true selves

a beacon of inspiration and

through a new technique for

guidance.

Haert writes on sensual intelligence and its effect on the natural female mentstrual cycle.

important as getting ripped.

UL FACILITATORS Meet the inspirational speakers at our Unconvetional Life collaboration at the Shinta Mani Mustang in Nepal!

CRYSTAL JACKSON

founders of Elevate Co & owner

meditation and transformation.

20 94

92

SET THOSE GOALS Sophie Zollmann writes on her experience with better goal setting, how to achieve those highs in life and business and how to hit the profit button on the way.

16 14 CUSTOM COLLAB The UNSTOPPABLE BRANDING AGENCY (yes that’s us) has opened a new division offering bespoke magazine print services to global clients. Hurrah!

EVENT HORIZON When Powerhouse Rhonda Swan plans an event, she does not do so lightly. The best-selling author, CEO and advocate for women empowerment recently put together the Wildest book launch of the year backed by a red carpet extravaganza.

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NETWORK NEWS

UBA Launches New Publications Division MAKE A STATEMENT THAT SPEAKS VOLUMES WITH A BESPOKE MAGAZINE FOR YOUR EVENT. THE Unstoppable Branding Agency has

than 30 years and has worked as the editorial

launched a new publications division on the

leader at Tatler Magazine, as well as creating

back of its success with WILD magazine.

publications for the likes of American Express, Visa, and Mastercard, not to mention hotel

“It just made sense,” says UBA founder Rhonda

magazines for The Regent Beverly Wilshire,

Swan. “Everywhere we went with WILD, people

InterContinental Resorts and Bali’s respected

complemented us on the magazine. So we

luxury publication The Yak. Nigel is backed by a

decided to open a new publications division so

team of experienced writers, designers and web

we can make quality magazines for our clients

developers.

as well.”

ISSUE 03 I SEPT 2023

How does it work? UBA today specializes in the creation of one-off

- Do you have a Blue Chip client that needs a

magazines for high-level events, whether its for

magazine for their leadership event?

seminars, high-ticket coaching or Masterclass

- Do you need a magazine with Masterclass

retreats. Magazines are designed, curated and

content for your high-ticket coaching seminar?

produced for delivery anywhere in the world.

- Create a high-quality magazine for your successful company, curated at every step of the

“Our luxe publications combine high-level

way.

creative design and great photography with intelligent, focused editorial to create

Leave it to us!

compelling magazines that scream QUALITY,”

We walk you through the process, creating

says Rhonda. “We use only advanced printing

and consulting you on relevant, targeted

methods and exceptional paper stock and our

content and individual design that matches

team boasts some of the most experienced

your message. We handle all aspects of the

staffers in the business.”

publication, from design to production, printing and delivery.

LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX

Editor In Chief Nigel Simmonds who has been

For more details please contact us at https://

creating award-winning publications for more

unstoppablebrandingagency.com

VERA KRETSCHMAR ANGEL INVESTOR

WINE TIME IN THE TROPICS

RIDING THE RED CARPET WOMEN GONE WILD

At the helm of the new division is British

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MENTAL HEALTH

//

LEARNING TO FLOAT

//

RESET YOUR GOALS

A WORLD OF PUBLISHING POSSIBILITIES.



NETWORK NEWS

FEARLESS. 16


WILD WHEN POWERHOUSE RHONDA SWAN PLANS AN EVENT, SHE DOES NOT DO SO LIGHTLY. THE BEST-SELLING AUTHOR, CEO AND ADVOCATE FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT RECENTLY PUT TOGETHER THE WILDEST BOOK LAUNCH OF THE YEAR BACKED BY A RED CARPET EXTRAVAGANZA.

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NETWORK NEWS

WOMEN Gone Wild: The Feminine Guide To

Read your way to success

Justine Siegal, an American baseball coach, sports educator and the founder of Baseball For

Fearless Living launched to acclaim at Barnes and Noble in Huntington Beach, California,

Women Gone Wild: Feminine Guide to Fearless

All offered her experience and knowledge from

with a gathering of authors and supporters

Living Wealth Edition is about redefining wealth

the stage. In 2009, Siegal became the first female

attending the book signing event and later a red

and encouraging women to build their own

coach of a professional men’s baseball team

carpet extravaganza in their honor.

financial success, says Swan. The book offers

when she worked for the Brockton Rox, in the

insights and strategies for wealth creation and

independent Canadian American Association of

The book is the first edition in a four-part series

management, with a focus on the meaning of

Professional Baseball.

covering Wealth, Intuition, Leadership and

W.I.L.D – Wealth, Intuition, Leadership and

Diversity (W.I.L.D) published by Rhonda Swan

Diversity.

Jen Welter, an American football coach who is currently linebackers coach for the Vegas

of the Unstoppable Branding Agency. “This powerful book involves 25 female authors

Vipers of the XFL, brought more sporting tales

Said Rhonda, a five-times best selling author,

from all walks of life, and their stories reflect a

of triumph. She was a defensive coaching intern

CEO and advocate for female empowerment:

wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and

for the National Football League’s Arizona

“Anyone reading this book will be moved by the

challenges,” she said. “Together, they create a

Cardinals during their training camp and the

transparency of the shared experiences and

strong message of resilience, empowerment,

2015 preseason, making her the first female

inspired by the vulnerability of the writers. I

and hope, providing a much-needed boost of

coaching intern in the NFL.

like to describe this edition as a Chicken Soup

inspiration and motivation.” Swan says: ‘Each of these powerful voices as

For The Soul-type book focussed on female The 25 authors in the book include Rhonda

well as our other incredible speakers ensured

Swan, Diana Wentworth, Jamie Anderson,

our message to uplift women everywhere came

The Wealth Edition is about redefining

Danette May, Danelle Delgado, Adriana Alvarez,

through loud and clear.‘’

wealth in every area of life, says Swan, and

Hanalei Swan, Camberly Gilmartin, April Ryan,

showing women the power of connection and

Michelle Beltran, Kortney Murray, Stefanie

Kamin Samuel, First female African-American

collaboration by sharing stories designed to

Bruns, Blair Kaplan Venables, Ania Halama,

Helicopter pilot for the Navy, also starred at

support each other.

Karen Whelan, Tarryn Reeves, Dana Kay, Ebony

the event. She began her professional career in

Swank, Barbie Layton, Genevieve Searle, Shar

the U.S. Navy as first female African-American

Moore, Michale Gabriel, and Robin Mullin.

helicopter pilot and holds a PhD in Positive

empowerment.

“Women Gone Wild is a safe space for women to

Neuropsychology, a Masters of Science in

share their WILD stories and what they have been through to get to where they are today,”

Swan explained why Women Gone Wild

Information Systems, a Masters of Arts in

she added. “These are stories of triumph, failure

partnered with She Talks for the launch: “It’s

Spiritual Psychology, and a Masters of Science

and ultimately inspiration.”

an important collaboration and partnership for

in Spiritual Science.

us. In the end, we both want the same thing: to Swan and her authors partnered with the

offer a platform for women to share their stories

Kamin’s unique background combines both

founder of She Talks, Julie Ducharme and

and knowledge. We want to break down gender

technical and soft skills, allowing her to assist

Combat Boots To High Heels [501c charity]

barriers and promote and empower women.’’

individuals in taking practical action in the real world that gets dramatic results.

supporting female veterans, for their official book launch and red carpet event, which

Speakers at the event included experienced

featured a host of high-profile female figures,

voices including Sharon Lechter, author, and

Said Swan: “We’re grateful to all our authors,

celebrities, renowned authors and inspirational

businesswoman. Lechter has worked on the

attendees and speakers and we look forward to

speakers.

President’s Advisory Council on Financial

our next edition of Women Gone Wild which we

Literacy.

know will add to the significant body of work we’re putting together to enhance and empower

The events included book signings and entertainment from American Idol’s

Also offering her experience and insight was

Jessica Meuse.

Diana Wentworth, author of seven best-selling and award-winning books and the co-author of two Chicken Soup for the Soul titles. Film rights to her romantic memoir, Send Me Someone, were purchased recently by the Lifetime Network.

18

the lives of women around the world.” www.wildmag.com



UPFRONT: GOALS

5 Steps to Better Goal Setting MAKE SURE YOUR PLANS GET YOU TO WHERE YOU WANT TO GO. BY SOPHIE ZOLLMANN

OWN GOALS.

WE often set goals without thinking a whole lot

business, the ones that get you out of bed

by brainstorming together and choosing the

about them. We might set a number for revenue,

each morning.

objectives that will be prosperous for every

customer acquisition or retention, or work/

member of your team.

life balance without considering whether it’s

When you take the time to really think about

reasonable, attainable, or if it’s even what you

what you want from your business, you can set

really want! Sometimes we set goals just because

goals that energize and motivate you. After all,

we feel like we should, but we don’t take the time

what’s the point of setting a goal if you don’t get

to map out the steps that will actually get us

REALLY excited about achieving it?

where we want to go. 2. What Can I Realistically Control? You’ve probably heard about setting SMART

Revenue and project-based goals are awesome-

goals, and you know that your plans for your

as long as they’re attainable. Things are kind

business should be:

of crazy in the post-pandemic world. We’re still struggling with supply chain issues, labor

5. Is This REALLY What I Want? We often set revenue-based goals without really thinking about it, but remember, money isn’t everything! Before you set your goals, think about what will truly make life better for you and your team. You might find that more flexibility or more free time matters more than a few extra dollars. Talk to your team and strategize on goals that will

• SPECIFIC

shortages, and a shaky economy, and you can’t

• MEASURABLE

control ANY of it.

make everyone happy.

• RELEVANT

Goals should not rely on external factors or

Asking yourself these questions helps you assess

• TIME SENSITIVE

people to be attainable, so build your goals for

what you really want for your business, your

your business around KPIs you CAN control.

team, and your lifestyle rather than just going

• ATTAINABLE

The SMART strategy is very effective, but it might

along for the ride. You’ve clearly defined the

not be enough to create the business AND the life

3. How Will My Goals Impact My Future?

outcomes you want to achieve, and now you can

you’ve been dreaming about. So, let’s take it a

Your business funds your lifestyle, and your goals

step further. Let’s dive in a little deeper and look

need to support both! You need to think about

start building strategies around them rather than

at how you can set goals that truly support your

what you want to achieve now, next year, and 5

vision for your business and your life.

years down the road. You’re creating a long-term plan that you achieve through a series of steps,

Before you sit down for your next planning

so set goals that benefit your business today and

and strategy session, ask yourself these

build the future of your dreams.

important questions: Whether it’s more money, more time, a bigger

just wishing and hoping. Start turning your goals into action plans and create the steps that map a clear path to your goals. You’ll need to set long-term objectives with lots of short-term milestones to ensure that you stay firmly on the path to your ultimate vision.

1. What am I Passionate About?

house, or a better car, the goals you set today will

Why did you start your business? Think back to

help you get there tomorrow.

You may not be able to control the future, but

fire and made you SO excited that you took an

4. How Will My Goals Benefit My Team?

you’ll be motivated, excited, and ready to conquer

enormous leap of faith and set out to forge your

You’re all in this together, and your team

any challenge that dares to get in your way!

own path and create the business of your dreams.

should reap as many benefits from your goals

Focus on the things that excite you about your

as you do. Turn goal setting into a team effort

that first spark of inspiration that fueled your

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with clearly defined goals and an actionable plan,

www. sophiezo.com


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Dream a little. Travel a lot.


UPFRONT: FINANCE

Maximizing Working Capital WORKING CAPITAL LOANS ARE A VALUABLE TOOL FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED BUSINESSES BY KORTNEY MURRAY

DON’T DROP THE BALL.

A WORKING capital loan is a type of short-term

It helps keep the business running smoothly and

improve cash flow and help businesses meet their

loan that is designed to help businesses cover

ensures that essential expenses are met.

financial obligations.

their day-to-day operational expenses and

Marketing and Advertising: Small businesses

Flexibility: Working capital loans are often more

manage their cash flow. In this section, we’ll

often allocate a portion of their working capital

flexible than other types of loans. They can be

discuss why businesses might consider taking

to marketing and advertising efforts. This

used for a variety of purposes and do not require

a working capital loan and the benefits it can

can include promotional activities, online

collateral in most cases.

provide.

advertising, social media campaigns, or

Quick Approval: Working capital loans are

traditional marketing methods to attract new

typically approved more quickly than other types

Why Take a Working Capital Loan?

customers and increase sales.

of loans. This means that businesses can access

There are several reasons why a business might

Equipment and Technology: Working capital can

the funds they need in a timely manner, without

consider taking a working capital loan. These

be used to purchase or upgrade equipment,

lengthy delays.

include:

machinery, or technology necessary for

Short-Term Repayment: Working capital loans are

Managing Cash Flow: One of the most common

the business operations. This can improve

typically short-term loans, with repayment terms

reasons businesses take working capital loans is

productivity, efficiency, and competitiveness.

ranging from a few months to a few years. This

to manage their cash flow. A working capital loan

Cash Flow Management: Working capital is crucial

means that businesses can quickly pay off their

can provide the funds needed to cover expenses

for managing cash flow gaps that may occur

debt and avoid long-term financial obligations.

during times of low cash flow, such as when

due to delayed payments from customers or

Credit Score Improvement: Taking out and repaying

waiting for payments from customers.

early payment demands from suppliers. It helps

a working capital loan can help businesses

Funding Growth: Businesses that are growing

bridge the gap between receivables and payables,

improve their credit score. This can make it

rapidly may need additional working capital to

ensuring the business can meet its financial

easier to obtain financing in the future and can

fund their expansion. A working capital loan can

obligations.

lead to better loan terms and interest rates.

provide the funds needed to hire additional staff,

Business Expansion: Working capital can be used

invest in new equipment, or expand into new

to fund business expansion initiatives, such as

Managing working capital efficiently is critical

markets.

opening new locations, launching new products

for small and medium-sized businesses to

Covering Unexpected Expenses: Sometimes,

or services, or entering new markets. It provides

maintain their financial health and achieve long-

unexpected expenses arise that businesses are

the necessary resources to support growth

term success. By implementing the strategies

not prepared for. A working capital loan can

opportunities.

discussed in this article, such as monitoring

provide the funds needed to cover unexpected

Debt Repayment: Small businesses may allocate

cash flow, optimizing payment terms, and using

expenses, such as repairs or emergency

working capital to repay existing debts, such

technology to manage finances, businesses

equipment purchases.

as loans or credit lines. It helps improve the

can improve their working capital efficiency

Inventory Management: Working capital is often

business’s financial health by reducing interest

and boost their financial performance. And, in

used to purchase inventory or raw materials

expenses and enhancing creditworthiness.

certain cases, taking a working capital loan can be a smart choice that provides immediate access

required for production. It ensures that businesses have enough stock to meet customer

Benefits of Taking a Working Capital Loan

to funds and helps businesses manage their cash

demands and maintain a smooth production

There are several benefits that businesses can

flow during times of need.

process.

gain by taking a working capital loan. These

Operational Expenses: Working capital is used to

include:

cover day-to-day operational expenses such as

Improved Cash Flow: By providing immediate

rent, utilities, salaries, and other overhead costs.

access to funds, a working capital loan can

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www.coastalkapital.com



FEATURE

FROM THE “WOMEN GONE WILD” BOOK SERIES TO THE UNSTOPPABLE BRANDING AGENCY, RHONDA SWAN IS A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH.

PHOTO BY COSTES PORTRAIT. 24


IN a world where entrepreneurship is the new

named by Forbes as being the top PR & Branding

“Intuition”, is set to launch in June 2024. This

black and women empowerment is at its peak,

firm for entrepreneurs.

eagerly anticipated book will delve into the power of intuition and its role in guiding women

Rhonda Swan stands as a beacon of inspiration for many. Not just an entrepreneur, but a

Women Gone Wild Book Series

towards their true purpose and passions. With a focus on intuitive decision-making and tapping

mother, author, speaker, and coach; Rhonda wears many hats with unmatched grace and

In addition to her work with the Unstoppable

into inner wisdom, “Intuition” promises to be

efficiency. As the founder of the Unstoppable

Branding Agency, Rhonda is also the author of

a game-changer for women seeking to achieve

Branding Agency, one of the top branding firms

the Women Gone Wild book series. This series

greatness in their personal and professional

dedicated to entrepreneurs, and the author

is a collection of real-life stories of women

lives.

of the Women Gone Wild book series, which

who broke free from the constraints of societal

includes a chapter from her daughter Hanalei

expectations and chased their dreams with

But the journey does not end there. The W.I.L.D.

Swan, Rhonda has dedicated her life to helping

unrelenting passion. It is a celebration of the

Series is slated to continue with subsequent

others find their voice, build their brand, and

wild, fearless, and unstoppable spirit of women

installments, including “Leadership” and

unleash their full potential.

all over the world.

“Diversity”. Each book will explore essential

Unstoppable Branding Agency

Rhonda’s intention with the Women Gone Wild

development, equipping women with the tools

aspects of personal and professional series is to inspire and empower women to

and insights they need to lead with confidence

The journey towards becoming ‘unstoppable’

break free from the chains of self-doubt, fear,

and embrace diversity in all aspects of life.

started when Rhonda and her family lost

and conformity, and to embrace their wild side.

everything during the 2008 economic and

It is a call to action for women to own their

The visionary authors behind the W.I.L.D.

financial crisis. Having transitioned from a

power, pursue their passions, and live life on

Series are not only passionate about

corporate role to entrepreneurship just three

their own terms.

sharing their wisdom in the pages of these transformative books but are also available

years prior, she came to the realization that the significance of establishing a personal brand is

As women discover the wisdom and experiences

for speaking engagements and interviews.

frequently underestimated by entrepreneurs.

shared within the pages of Women Gone Wild

As trailblazers in their respective fields,

This crucial insight was the catalyst for her

they’re inspired to chart their own paths

these authors are committed to inspiring and

remarkable recovery from financial ruin

towards financial freedom and success. The

empowering audiences worldwide. Whether

to reconstructing the Unstoppable Family

collective vision of these visionary authors

it’s on stages, virtual events, or through media

Empire in just a few short years. Through

frames a new era of women’s empowerment,

interviews, they are eager to share their

this experience, she not only learned but also

where financial literacy and entrepreneurial

experiences and insights to ignite positive

demonstrated that a robust personal brand is

spirit pave the way for limitless possibilities.

change and empower women to step into their greatness.

the cornerstone of any successful business. Consequently, Rhonda made it her life’s

Together, the authors have unleashed a

mission to assist others in comprehending and

powerful resource for women seeking to

With the upcoming launch of “Intuition” and

developing their own brands, culminating

embark on their own journeys of financial

the promise of “Leadership” and “Diversity” on

in the founding of the Unstoppable Branding

empowerment. With the book available in

the horizon, the W.I.L.D. Series is set to become

Agency.

bookstores across the USA, including Barnes

a powerful resource for women seeking growth,

and Noble, Target and Wal-Mart they are

empowerment, and transformation. These

The company is not just another branding

igniting a movement of empowered women who

books will serve as guiding lights, illuminating

firm; it is a powerhouse dedicated to helping

are fearlessly pursuing their dreams, making

the path towards success, authenticity, and

entrepreneurs, especially women, build a

significant waves in the women empowerment

purpose.

strong and authentic brand. Rhonda and her

space.

team work closely with clients to understand

www.rhondaswan.com

their vision, values, and target audience, and

The current book in the series is the first

then create a customized branding strategy

installment of the W.I.L.D. (WEALTH.

that aligns with their goals. From creating

INTUITION. LEADERSHIP. DIVERSITY) series,

captivating visuals to crafting compelling

and it is already making waves in the realm of

narratives, the Unstoppable Branding Agency

women’s empowerment and financial success.

www.unstoppablebrandingagency.com

ensures that every aspect of a brand is meticulously curated and resonates with its

Following the remarkable success of the Wealth

target audience. In 2021 her company UBA was

Edition, the next book in the series, titled

25


COVER FEATURE

sharing the love INNOVATIVE FASHION ENTREPRENEUR KENYA ROBERSON TAKES HIGH-BRAND OVERRUNS AND REDISTRIBUTES THEM TO NEW MARKETS, PICKING UP WASTEFUL SLACK IN THE PROCESS. BY NIGEL SIMMONDS

“I HAD a taste for fashion at a young age,” says entrepreneur Kenya

basis. My job is to lessen those statistics by creating a second and

Roberson, who today runs a fashion export company moving up

third life for textiles and garments.”

to half a million fashion items a month. “But it’s not as simple as it sounds.”

Her business melds two parts of her personality, one earned from a young age. “I was brought up by my grandmother as one of five

Kenya’s company Elite Garment Distro aims to bridge a yawning

girls and two adopted boys,” she says. “My grandmother was an

gap in the fashion markets by redistributing excess inventory

elementary school teacher by day, and she worked hard to instill

for some of the world’s biggest brands. “Our goal is to create less

good values within us while also setting an example of what it

textile waste on the planet by upcycling and creating a second and

means to be a strong and independent woman. I would not be who

third life for garments,” she says.

I am today without her example.”

It’s not just a redistribution of fashion items, she adds, but of

Her other passion is business. “I was previously in the fashion

wealth itself. “My clients consist of wholesalers, boutiques, and

Industry working for Herve Leger and freelance modeling. I

discount outlet stores from all countries in the world. We are

worked for a wholesale company which taught me some of the

typically supplying impoverished countries with designer apparel

tools I needed to understand the wholesale and export side of the

they could not otherwise afford.”

business. There was a eureka moment when I realized I could merge the two together and create what Elite Garment Distro is

Upcycling is one of the most important services companies

today.”

like Elite Garment Distro provide to the planet, says Kenya. “In

26

America alone, an estimated 11.3 million tons of textile waste –

Now that company embodies values crucial to doing business in

equivalent to 85% of all textiles – ends up in landfills on a yearly

the new world. “My stock is sourced from the USA and Europe. We


KENYA ROBERSON.

27


COVER FEATURE

A TASTE FOR FASHION.

28


“Linking our upcycling message to our business is very important because we don’t just buy and sell inventory, we track the goods after they are sold to ensure we are not creating excess waste.”

work with brands such as Zara, H&M, Shein, as well as contemporary

upcycling excess fast fashion and designer brands unusable or no

labels such as Joes Jeans, Free People, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie

longer sellable goods. This provides our planet a service by keeping

and many more. Some of the countries we sell goods to include

our oceans and landfills cleaner, with less textile waste.”

Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Chile, Bolivia, Ghana, Nigeria, and Australia,” says Kenya.

Starting her own business was not without its challenges, and one of the most valuable lessons Roberson learned was the importance

Key to the business is connecting excess production with a demand

of balancing risk. As she says: “Knowing when to risk and when to

for fashion products in less developed countries, and at the same

hold back is crucial to any entrepreneurial journey. Intuition plays

time reducing waste. “Linking our upcycling message to our business

a significant role in this decision-making process, a skill I developed

is very important because we do not just buy and sell the inventory,”

over the years and one I attribute much of my success to.”

says Kenya. “We track the goods even after they are sold to ensure we are not creating excess waste. So our sales are also mission based.”

She continues to be connected to her roots. “I never lost the desire to work with high-end brands, as my experience in the LA fashion

Counterfeiting is an issue. “We only buy goods directly from the

industry was a large part of my history. After a few years, I decided to

brands. We are provided releases and sanitized invoices for the goods

open my own company where I could put my export, logistics, fashion

which authenticates the merchandise,” she says.

sense, and premier brand knowledge to best use. Elite Garment Distro was born, and has become a niche company that incorporates

Sourcing markets is also key. “In order to create new relationships in

not only wholesale and export logistics expertise, but a strong brand

terms of supply we are constantly cold calling new companies. Also,

awareness as well. Along my journey, my sense of philanthropy has

because we have a great reputation, we are always getting referrals. In

also grown, and I have been very active in giving back not only in

order to find new clients we typically go to trade shows where we can

my local community, but to various humanitarian projects across

meet international buyers from all over the world.”

the world. Elite Garment Distro frequently donates to charities and provides apparel and shoes to clothe the needy.”

At a time often dominated by industry giants and gender biases, there are stories that shine through, breaking barriers and creating

Kenya’s commitment to philanthropy is not a newfound passion but

new narratives. Kenya Roberson, CEO and founder of Elite Garment

a lifelong one. From beach cleanups to feeding the homeless, she

Distro, is a dynamic and determined entrepreneur, and a beacon

has always been involved in giving back. In her business, she found

of empowerment, authenticity, and pioneer for change in the toxic

a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on a larger scale.

world of fashion.

By rescuing and repurposing merchandise from factories and fast fashion brands, she aims to contribute to an eco-friendlier world.

“My position in the company is leadership,” says Kenya. “I hire men

“We’re making the world more eco-friendly just through what we do,”

and women from different backgrounds and push them to be the

says Kenya. “And we’re making money too.”

best they can be by offering the example that if you set your mind to any goal, you can achieve it,” she says. “What makes my company

www.elitegarmentdistro.com

impactful is that we provide jobs to people of all backgrounds, help

@ kenz_elite_lif3

brands get rid of their excess inventory and clean up the planet by

29


UNCONVENTIONAL LIFE: NEPAL

ZEN & THE ART OF

mustang valley A BESPOKE ADVENTURE AWAITS TRAVELERS TO THE REMOTE KINGDOM OF MUSTANG IN NEPAL WHERE LIFE ACCELERATORS ARE CONVENING FOR THE SPECTACULAR TRIP OF A LIFETIME. BY NIGEL SIMMONDS

NEPAL DREAMING.

30


31


UNCONVENTIONAL LIFE: NEPAL

“There are few places left in the world that have stayed as they were hundreds of years ago. This place, while raw, is such a place. Don’t hesitate. See it now.” THREE years ago, Bill Bensely’s longtime

The 29-room Shinta Mani Mustang Resort is

paintings, which today hang in my home in

friend and associate in all projects melding

managed by its owners, Sherpa Hospitality

Bangkok.

luxury, adventure and conservation, Jason

Group, with creative design touches from

M Friedman, started working with the

Bill Bensely and his team. Warm toned

What were your first impressions arriving

Sherpa family in Nepal. The family has

fabrics and materials reflect the colors of

on site?

lodges across the Everest and Annapurna

the surrounding landscape, visible from

Well, when I did finally get there it was with

routes, which Jason helped to consolidate

every window of the property. Huge fire

the aid of an airplane, and I was deeply

into the Mountain Lodges of Nepal Group.

pits on the outdoor terrace allow guests

impressed. I kicked myself for not having

These mountains truly run in their blood

to admire the stars in warmth as the

visited with Robert in our youth. Better late

– Namgyal Sherpa’s mother was the first

temperatures dip. Inside, every area is

than never.

Nepali woman to climb Everest. Now arrives

complemented by the artwork of the late

a new offering from the group, the Shinta

artist Robert Powell, a friend of Bill’s who

What were the logistical challenges of

Mani Mustang – Bill Bensley Collection.

drew the region’s vernacular architecture

working there?

in mind-boggling detail. We caught up

The new road winds its way around some

Perched high in the mountains, it offers a

with Bill to ask him about his experience of

very steep contours and during each of the

more comfortable alternative to the usual

designing such a remote retreat.

monsoons, the rains cause landslides and block the roads. This happened just three

circuit lodges of Nepal. Here lies the most

32

luxurious lodge in the country, offering

Bill, tell us about your design journey to

days before our grand opening, but the

a base camp for three-to-seven days of

Shinta Mani Mustang.

roads team worked through the night to

exploration. Guests experience the full

My design journey to Shinta Mani Mustang

open the passage and no one suspected a

gamut of adventure: trekking, horse riding,

began in 1986 on one of my first trips to

thing!

archery, rock climbing, mountain biking,

Kathmandu. I forget exactly how but I fell

hiking and yoga.

in with the design crowd there, as one did in

How did you approach a project like this

those days. Gertz and Ludmilla Hagmuller,

in a place like Mustang, given the local

“This is perhaps one of the most exciting

Eric Theophile, G2, and Robert Powell, to

culture and environment?

projects we have ever completed,” Bill

mention just a few. Robert had just come

With every new project we do at Bensley

told WILD magazine. “I have never seen

back from Mustang. He had walked into

Design, our goal is first to understand

such wildly dramatic landscapes as the

the valley which was a month’s trek each

the neighborhood or environment – or in

mountains and valleys of Mustang, and

way for a very fit young man. He came back

Mustang’s case, the valley – in which we

am thrilled that Shinta Mani can be the

with a ton of wonderful drawings which put

are creating. The south and north of the

first to introduce this forbidden kingdom to

him on the map as one of Asia’s most skilled

Mustang valley are so different. Where our

international adventurers. This will be their

artists. We spoke for hours and as the sun

site is located in the North, it’s really like

base camp for explorations all around these

went down the slides came out and I was

going back in time a thousand years. There

phenomenal mountains for the experience

smitten. Over the next 30 years I bought

are barely any TV antennas, few cars, little

of a lifetime.”

many of Robert’s wonderful watercolor

electricity. Every day, livestock walk back


DUMBA.

33


UNCONVENTIONAL LIFE: NEPAL

SHINTA MANI MUSTANG.

34


BEAUTY, INSIDE AND OUT.

from the fields into villages, and even down

What was the inspiration behind the

prayer stones stacked one above the other

the stairs of some homes. The biggest town

interior concept; materials, finishings, and

outside atop stone walls, showing years of

has just four streets, which wrap around

furniture?

wintertime atonement. It is this unique way

the main fort.

The hotel is made from local stone and

of seeing the world which we want to carry

so appears to grow naturally out of the

throughout the experience.

My goal was to give our guests all the

landscape. The interiors follow a similar

comforts one expects at a Bensley

ethos, having been sourced locally. As

Upcycling also played an important part

Collection Hotel – electricity, internet,

a lover of the environment, I set about

as we scoured local antiques shops and

plush beds, gorgeous cocktails – but all

repurposing and upcycling existing

junk yards to turn discarded doors and all

the while keeping that intense feeling

materials and furniture in inventive ways.

kinds of materials into treasure with a bit

of authenticity and remoteness. What I

This was also a logical choice for a site

of ingenuity and TLC. A similar approach

find most interesting in this region is the

which is remote and therefore restricted in

applies to materials and finishings, which

symbolism one finds in the architecture,

terms of shipping.

were sourced locally for reasons of both sustainability and accessibility. Every area

and the way the people of Mustang use dirt. It sounds odd but bear with me.

An example is the mini bar in each suite.

is complemented by the artwork of the late

I went to see three local clay quarries,

There is locally and sustainably sourced

artist Robert Powell.

each with their own distinct colors: dove

yak fur draped over it, while the handles

gray, terracotta red and a yellowish beige.

to open the mini bar are in fact engraved

These are each bestowed with a different

Tibetan conch shells. On the wall above,

Walk us through the place…

meaning: prosperity, knowledge and

there are three big organic pieces of slate,

A long central courtyard leads to the

longevity. One can see these colors all

with Sanskrit poems engraved on them.

lobby, a warm and convivial sitting room

over the region, not just in the mountains

Traditionally in this northern region, when

that invites conversation between guests,

and cliffs and landscape, but in the

winter falls and it is bitterly cold, people

while overlooking an outdoor terrace with

architecture, so I made a deliberate effort

take refuge inside. It is a quiet time and

jaw-dropping views. Huge fire pits on the

to bring a very basic type of architecture to

so people set to carving these poems and

outdoor terrace allow guests to admire the

the fore.

prayers into slate as a form of penance.

night sky in warmth as the temperatures

Then in the summer one sees these

dip. The Lobby is flanked on either side

35


UNCONVENTIONAL LIFE: LIFE NEPAL

WILD AND WONDERFUL MUSTANG.

by the Nilgiri Restaurant, and the Aara

What’s different about a Bensley Collection

What is your one lasting impression of

bar. Behind the Restaurant one can find

hotel, and in particular this property?

Mustang?

the back-of-house, along with a handful of

I say this with all the sincerity in the world.

It was about 5pm in Lo Manthang. I was

offices. Two wings run alongside the central

The Earth, for the most part, has enough

sitting on top of a mud corral wall sketching

courtyard: one encompasses 29 suites

hotels. The world does not need to build

a 1000-year-old village. An old lady was

which run over two floors, while the other

anything else. We need to manage better

herding her sheep back from the foothills

holds a multipurpose area, the spa and

what we have. Knowing this, going forward,

to place them in a tight corral under her

gym, including a stone jacuzzi, and a steam

a Bensley Collection must make the place in

house to heat her home. There was nobody

and sauna with views of the mountains.

which it sits into a better place.

else there. She smiled and greeted me and offered water. I thought to myself that this

Some suites are also located on the first Shinta Mani Wild Bensley Collection has,

same scenario could have played out in

for example, made the Cardomon a safer

exactly the same way centuries ago. There

What do we do when we’re not luxuriating

refuge for wildlife and has slowed down

are few places left in the world that are

in sustainably sourced yak fur in the

the devastating deforestation there. Shinta

as they were hundreds of years ago. This

suites?

Mani Bensley Collection in Siem Reap has

place, while raw, is such a place. Don’t

Most of the activities are held in the

changed thousands of lives for the better by

hesitate. See it now. Like everywhere else,

mountains surrounding the actual hotel as

way of education, clean water and housing.

Burger King is on the way.

this is very much intended as a base camp

Our goal in Mustang is to revitalize a fragile

for a week of adventure. There’s trekking,

society, as the World Bank defines Mustang.

horse riding, archery, rock climbing,

The young leave the valley as soon as they

mountain biking … and then return to

can. We want to give them a reason to stay.

floor of this wing.

the hotel for rejuvenating spa treatments

36

and warm, welcoming restaurants and

What defines Nepal for you?

public spaces that, through their design,

Rawness, colors, festivities, altitude, sacred

encourage guests to speak to each other and

places, and big smiles filled with white

share experiences.

teeth.

www. shintamanimustang.com


BILL BENSLEY.

37


INSPIRATIONS

WHAT’S YOUR EVEREST? WE ALL HAVE NOTIONS OF WHAT IS AND ISN’T POSSIBLE. UNTIL THE 1920S, EVEREST WAS CONSIDERED INSURMOUNTABLE. IN 1953, EDMUND HILLARY AND SHERPA TENZING NORGAY PROVED EVERYONE WRONG. BY ANTONIA STANTON

38


SPLITTING the atom, women in business … the entire concept

Everest should ignite your passion and raise you up, conquering

of handphones and computers … none of these ideas were

preconceived notions of yourself and the world around you. It’s

on the table when our grandmothers were born. Yet they’re

what makes us unique as humans; it’s what sets us apart from

commonplace now. What changed along the way? You did, or at

others. It’s our consensual drive to be better than we are.

least your belief system did. You recognised that the life around you was building artificial walls. You saw there was more.

The day to day

You thought to yourself: Who are we to limit our futures with

Everyday goals may seem important, but they are essentially

predetermined thinking?

futile, in a glorious way. Buddhists tell us that repetition is a mantra, that by repeating the same patterns we can get closer to

Your journey is what you make of it. Goal-setting is how you

God. This is true; it has always been true. But it’s also limiting.

get there. Recognising the self-imposed boundaries of your

We need to search for higher goals; it’s instinctive within all of us.

beliefs and intentions are what limit all of us. As Adidas says so succinctly: Impossible is Nothing. Nike says the same thing, in a

Posting your meal on Instagram may be gratifying, but when

different way: Just Do It.

you look at it an hour later, your food is already cold. Reality kicks in: maybe it’s better to let the wind fill your sails and push

Just do it

you towards weightlessness? It’s through higher achievements

Everyone has their own unique Everest, a goal that challenges us

and higher goal setting that we set the cut of our jib: reach for

to channel our higher selves. I can’t tell you exactly what yours

the stars, they say, and you too can defy gravity. You can be

is; that’s something for you to decide. Whatever it may be, your

weightless too.

AINT NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH.

39


INSPIRATIONS

EVEREST!

40


DON’T LOOK DOWN.

Weightlessness can be heavy

running through our veins like water in a spring, steady as snowfall atop a

Establishing a personal Everest requires discipline and introspection that

mountain. You’re closer than you think.

needs to be maintained. There is rarely ever one overarching goal that spans the entirety of our lives, and the beautiful human mind adapts and

What’s your oxygen?

recalibrates itself, fluidly, at every turn. To use this to your advantage is like

Altitudes are so high on Everest that the oxygen in the air is halved. The

a mountaineer strapping themselves to pitons in the rock face as an extra

higher you climb, the harder it is to breathe. The same is true in life. Figure

safety net. Remaining present and grounded in our reality allows us to strive

out what helps you breathe and keep it close. This could be your loved ones,

towards our goal steadily. Think of these pitons as checkpoints and micro-

your hobbies, or even self care; anything that keeps you calm and afloat,

achievements, checking in at every step and remaining focused in your

because neglecting yourself during the climb can only lead to burnout.

ascent towards your Everest. Every piton you pass is one step higher.

Community is a cornerstone of humanity. Never lose contact with your rescue team, as they are the ones that will catch you when you can’t catch

Different strokes for different folks

yourself.

There are 18 different routes up Mt. Everest. Each has its own set of unique benefits and drawbacks, exactly like the forks in the road you encounter

Regrouping

on your own journey. There is not one path that is right for everyone; we

Tragically, things in life often go wrong; businesses will lose money,

shouldn’t pressure ourselves into doing things the way they’re “supposed” to

pandemics will happen, and the world will stop. Things will sometimes

be done. Had Galileo succumbed to this, we would still believe the Earth to

go south, but that isn’t important. The real show of character is what you

be the center of the universe. Instead, we should compare ourselves to who

choose to do with your setbacks. If your piton falls out of the terrain, assess

we were yesterday; are you kinder, more vivacious, more intentional in your

your surroundings and calculate the best possible route for yourself. If one

actions? Do you feel more fulfilled? Go against the grain. When we do what

road to the summit doesn’t work out, consider one of the other 17. You

feels right to us, it allows our souls to run wild.

might be surprised at the life you find along the road.

You are already on the path

The path doesn’t end at the top

Mountaineers train for years to climb Everest, carrying weights in their

In the mountaineering community, many say that the descent is the most

packs while scaling smaller mountains. They build up their tolerance and

difficult part of the journey. The air grows thin, and you may find yourself

efficiency over time, just like you can in your own life. The longer you

growing restless. It sounds daunting, but consider this: you’ve worked

practice and refine your skills, the further you can go and the closer you

tirelessly to reach this part. The life that you were manifesting for so long

can get to reaching your summit. Some people call this manifestation,

is right in front of you. This is the chapter where you can pause, relish,

while others call it being prepared. Whatever you call it, visualizing the

adapt, and recalibrate. If it’s a business, how will you maintain quality after

summit and working like you’re already there will make the journey

meeting your expansion goal? If it’s health and wellness, what will you do to

smoother. Center yourself around your goal and make it a constant in your

maintain it or improve? This is an important part of your Everest; the path

life. Eventually, progress will become automatic and almost subconscious.

does not end at the top. You’ve conquered one mountain, the path long and

Advancement is natural for humans; it’s embedded in our very beings,

grueling. What’s one more?

41


UNCONVENTIONAL LIFE: NEPAL

M NN AA M

SHERPA BY NAME, SHERPA BY NATURE.

42

GG YY AA LL


NAMGYAL SHERPA – CEO OF SHERPA HOSPITALITY, THE OWNERS OF SHINTA MANI MUSTANG – LOST HIS MOTHER TO EVEREST WHEN HE WAS JUST 11 YEARS OLD. HE TALKS TO WILD ABOUT HIS FAMILY’S CLIMBING HERITAGE, HOW IT HELPED RECONCILE HIS FATHER TO THE TRAGEDY, AND HIS HOPES THAT NEPAL CAN BECOME CENTRAL TO WORLDWIDE ENLIGHTENMENT.

NAMGYAL, tell us about your mother, the first Nepali woman to

rich cultural landscape of Cambodia, resonated with our ethos of

climb Everest, and what it was like growing up and losing her.

authentic and transformative travel experiences. It felt like the right match to shepherd our endeavor into existence. This alignment of

My mother, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, stands as a towering figure in

values and brand heritage is what makes our collective effort not just

my life and the history of Nepal. As the first Nepali woman to climb

a business venture, but a culturally synergistic movement poised to

Everest, she broke barriers and redefined what was possible for

redefine luxury tourism in Nepal.

women in our country. Her determination was boundless, her spirit indomitable, and her loss, when I was only eleven, left a void that

How will it change life in the Mustang Valley?

seemed insurmountable. Growing up without her was a challenge that took years to reconcile, as her aspirations and achievements cast

The Shinta Mani Mustang project aspires to bring positive change to

a long shadow. Yet, her legacy offered a path forward, one that led me

Mustang Valley by introducing it to discerning travelers. By unfolding

to embrace her dreams as my own guiding stars.”

the stories and the heritage of Mustang, we aim to inspire local communities, elevate their aspirations, and integrate the valley into

How deeply ingrained is climbing in your family, and what does it

the narrative of luxury travel, all while maintaining respect for its

represent to the Nepalese people?

natural beauty and cultural integrity.

Climbing is woven into our family’s fabric, with a personal

What other projects are your companies Sherpa Hospitality and

connection to the Sherpa community’s heart and soul. While not all

Thamserku Trekking involved with?

my family members are mountaineers, our lives are inherently linked to the mountains. My father’s trekking and expedition company,

Beyond the Shinta Mani Mustang, our group’s endeavors include

alongside his ascents, speak to a passion reignited after a period

the Mountain Lodges of Nepal, a network of boutique luxury lodges

of grief. Climbing, particularly for the Sherpa and mountainous

offering immersive experiences with comfort in Nepal’s rugged

communities, is both a livelihood and a legacy.

terrains. As the Managing Director of Thamserku Trekking, I oversee partnerships that provide comprehensive destination management

What are the central beliefs held dear by all Sherpas, and how come

services and organize expeditions, such as to Everest, for adventurers

you have the name Sherpa?

worldwide.

Sherpas, originating from Tibet centuries ago, settled in the

What does the future hold for the hospitality industry in Nepal?

Himalayas to pursue spirituality and Buddhism, which remain central to our way of life. The term ‘Sherpa’ – meaning ‘people from

I envision a bright future for Nepal’s hospitality sector, brimming with

the east’ – has evolved from denoting our community to becoming

opportunities for growth and innovation. The industry is gradually

synonymous with high-altitude porters due to historical interactions

shifting from traditional perceptions to showcasing Nepal as a

with early explorers. Despite this, it’s important to recognize Sherpa

versatile destination, capable of delivering world-class, experiential

as a distinct ethnicity with its rich cultural tapestry.

travel. As global interest grows in mindfulness and well-being, Nepal is strategically positioned to become a central hub for travelers

How did you become involved in the Shinta Mani Mustang project,

seeking adventure in a contemplative landscape.

and how long have you been working on it? www. mountainlodgesofnepal.com The Shinta Mani Mustang initiative began as a partnership formed

www.thamserkutrekking.com

in the midst of the pandemic with Jason Friedman, a connoisseur in

www. shintamanimustang.com

the luxury travel industry. Our collaboration has been a three-year

@mountainlodgesofnepal

journey of bringing to life a vision that marries cultural integrity with sustainable luxury. The Shinta Mani brand, with its roots in the

43


UNCONVENTIONAL LIFE

JULES, what does an unconventional life mean to you?

podcast and call it ‘Unconventional Life’, to tell the stories of people following

Living an Unconventional Life means committing to bringing your soul’s

non-traditional paths. They offered to partner with me to have it be on Forbes

greatest gifts into form. It means believing you deserve a 10/10 “HELL

30U30 and embed the episodes in my Forbes articles.

YES” life, and are capable of achieving wealth in all areas: money, career,

I still remember the day in early 2016 when I was sitting outside of the Iceland

spirituality, relationships, health. I believe your life force is your most

hot springs on a portable wifi device with my then-boyfriend, and (thank God)

precious commodity, and you have the power to be the architect of your own

copywriter, who was with me when I hit send on my first ever blog post and

world.

podcast just three weeks later.

When you embody the Unconventional Life, you dive headfirst into a path

Since then I’ve built a global community of high-performing entrepreneurs,

in alignment with your deepest desires. It’s all about growth, expanding the

creatives, and thought leaders. People who say yes to living a life outside of

realm of what is predictable to possible to releasing and re-releasing old

what is conventional or predictable. People who realize, “so I can make money

patterns, and taking big leaps for the potential of what you don’t know that

in the world, but now what?” How do you also have great relationships,

you don’t know, living in the field of miracles to make it all happen.

lifestyle, health, travel, impact, and so much more? People who crave the ‘and’ reality – a holistic perspective of success.

You accept that you are capable of creating enormous impact. You are the source of transformation for others. You deserve a life that surpasses your

People, like myself, who have felt like they have been lone wolves in the

wildest dreams. You are courageous enough to bet on yourself and allow your

world. Like they have never really fit in. Where from the outside everything

wisdom to ripple through the world.

“looks” pretty good. Yet on the inside, there is this nagging feeling telling you there is more. It may even be nagging at you right now. You may feel it when

When did you first realize that there was a life outside of the box? Did you

you wake up in the morning or in the shower or on the way to work.

have a eureka moment? After suffering a near-death experience in 2015, everything changed for me.

For most of us, we have been conditioned to ignore that feeling or knowing.

I remember that morning like it was yesterday. It was a beautiful summer

To pretend it’s not there or to stuff it down. That you “should” be happy for

morning at Stanley Lake Reservoir in Colorado. I was out wakeboarding with

your job, or a stable income, or kids, or family, or what you have, and to not

the boys. We were all playing a game to see who could launch off the wake to

rock the boat. That is what I did for many years before I had my near-death

get the most air. As the oldest of five and a former competitive gymnast and

experience. I fixated on setting more goals, creating more companies, more

snowboarder, I became fixated on winning. Finally, after an hour of mis-

clients, and more money to avoid the inconvenience of feeling there may be

attempts, I succeeded. I hit the wake, launched higher than I ever had, and

another truth of why I am here. It took me almost dying and coming back for

immediately came down, caught an edge, and face-planted.

me to realize there is another way.

About an hour later I began to lose feeling in my arms and legs and

How many lives have you affected, unconventionally, to date?

immediately knew something wasn’t right. A few friends rushed me to

Unconventional Life has reached millions of people in over 75 different

the hospital and my next memory was coming out of the MRI and being

countries with 150+ Forbes articles and 300+ podcast episodes and has been

approached by a white figure and six black shadow council members. I

ranked the #1 event for entrepreneurs to attend by Inc Magazine. I have

remember having a conversation in this out-of-body experience where they

created sold-out retreats on six different continents, from castle towns in Italy

said, “Jules you have more work to do in the world, do you want to do it?”

to private islands in Madagascar, to a super yacht in Croatia, to tree houses in Nicaragua, Nile Cruises in Italy, private islands in Fiji, and now our Nepal

At the time the doctors thought my neck might have been broken or I might

event in December 2023. I have had the pleasure of coaching thousands

have been paralyzed, and I remember saying, “Yes, as long as I don’t come

of people through my various events, online coaching programs and

back as a vegetable”. In that next moment, I was zapped back into my body.

masterminds, and really believe in the business of transformation at scale.

I felt this energy forge my neck back together and shoot down my spine, and the moment I woke up everything shifted. It was the start of my life being

How important is the philosophy of freedom to what you do at UL?

created through me rather than being created by me.

Freedom is the core of living an Unconventional Life. I believe true freedom comes when you can master deep listening; the ability to release attachment

Weeks later I got a call from a friend who was partnering with the 17

to a specific outcome and discover the opportunities that show up in real-

Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations who asked me if I

time. It’s so easy to get fixated on achieving a result that you don’t hear the

wanted to be a global ambassador for the People & Planet Foundation for

signs that you need to pivot. Yet when you give yourself permission to course-

education. I remember being on the phone, laughing silently to myself, still

correct you can access greater alignment with your true desires and uncover

in a neck brace, being like, “this isn’t really the best time, having just had this

possibilities far beyond what you could have imagined. I love having the

accident,” and yet I heard this voice tell me to tell her about “Create U”, an

freedom to allow life to unfold in miraculous ways and work in tandem with

initiative to reimagine higher education.

the opportunities that show up all around me.

On the way to the UN, I got invited to Forbes 30U30 (30 Under 30) in Boston,

The more you practice this relationship to deep listening, the more consistent

and then months later they asked me if I wanted to start writing for them.

and reliable your intuition becomes. Then the more free you are to grow

I heard this ‘voice’ yet again guide me to share that I wanted to launch a

into the truth of who you are and uncover the gifts your soul wants to

44


JULES SCHROEDER CAME BACK FROM THE DEAD WITH A MISSION TO LIVE AN UNCONVENTIONAL LIFE. TODAY SHE CREATES EXPERIENCES AROUND THE WORLD TO TEACH ENTREPRENEURS & THOUGHT LEADERS HOW TO DO THE SAME. INSPIRED – AND INSPIRING.

45


UNCONVENTIONAL LIFE

THE SONG NEVER REMAINS THE SAME. 46


express in this lifetime. I believe this can only happen in community and

I took the leap and invested thousands of dollars in high-level vocal

in the reflection of others. It is why I see such success in people having big

mentorship, devoting myself to the craft.

transformational moments at our events and that being the catalyst for big shifts, especially when they continue the work through our various coaching

Life surprised me in spectacular ways. A friend put me in touch with a music

programs and masterminds we offer as support in between the events. When

producer who turned out to be the manager of an artist I deeply admire,

we are in an environment where we are with people doing the impossible we

Lauren Daigle. I had to catch my breath when this guy said “YES” to managing

get to believe in ourselves and be the match for our most resonant and wild

and mentoring me! For the past year, I’ve been working in Nashville creating

expression for why we are here.

a non-denominational worship album under the name Jules King, my mom’s maiden name. I remember a moment in a song writing session a few months

How important is travel to you in your mission to offer people freedom?

ago, glancing over a piano to see a wall with 27 Grammys, surrounded by

It’s everything! It is the ultimate pattern-interrupt. Travel connects people

pros of the caliber I only ever dreamed to work with. It was a moment of

to life’s most extraordinary experiences. Seeing the world sparks a desire to

self-reckoning, where I embodied the current of transformation I teach at my

create a life you love, and breaks you out of habitual ways of being.

events. We have written 18 songs this year with some of the best names in the industry working with a strategic partnership with a major Christian label

Why does freedom always start with finances?

out of Nashville. We are launching early next year with an album and a series

Growing up my Dad used to say, “freedom is not freedom without economic

of singles. The most beautiful thing is that as I stretch and grow, I bring new

freedom.” It’s so true. Money is optionality. And when you can master money

facets of that evolution into my leadership. It’s like a crescendo of possibility

as an energetic currency, you learn to own the value you provide to the world.

that extends far beyond what I can see. I love bringing my soul’s gifts into

The world becomes an expansive place of opportunity. I truly believe that

form, and helping others do the same.

making money is about mindset because abundance is an experience. It’s not just about material wealth; it’s about being able to wake up every day and say

What makes UL different from other similar companies out there teaching

I get to choose a life where I thrive. My mission is to create abundance in all

financial and lifestyle freedom?

areas of my life: relationships, health, spirituality, career, and of course my

The community. Every single person at our events is playing a big game in the

bank account.

world: entrepreneurs, creatives, thought leaders, influencers, and visionaries. When you sit down for a meal, you’ll be blown away by the people around

What do you consider to be a successful UL trip?

you. And the events are designed to blaze past the superficial and create

I measure success by the f*uck yea feeling that gets created when you are

instant, authentic connections. We believe collaboration is everything, and

truly in aligned and resonant energy. The feeling where you look back and

strategically introduce people that can co-support each other. Each applicant

you’re like, that trip, that moment, it changed my life. It is all about the deep

is carefully reviewed to maintain a highly curated environment.

connections that are forged, the breakthroughs that are created, and the way people’s futures are altered in an instant. I like to say these events create the

Also, everything we do revolves around “pattern interrupt methodology”—

field of miracles. When you have resonant heart and brain coherence you

the process of creating strategic pattern interrupts that break people out of

can shortcut the time of creation by creating from the field and bringing it

habitual ways of thinking and being so they can experience a new version

into form. There aren’t really words to describe watching someone release

of themselves. We focus on “timeline hopping”— i.e., experiencing rapid

anything in their way of the life they truly desire, and at the same time meet

breakthroughs and life-changing downloads that hop you into new domains

key collaborators that will help them fulfill that vision. It’s breathtaking to

of success, faster than you ever thought possible. We help people return to the

collectively shed the weight of the past while being in a bucket list location.

core of who they are, so they can take radical ownership of the life they are creating. Every event is a catalyst for rapid clarity, soul renewal, and vision-

Where do you source the trainers you use in UL retreats?

activation.

The selection process is driven by my profound appreciation for the art of event facilitation, as I carefully choose leaders who exemplify mastery in

Furthermore, it’s unique to host retreats in bucket list locations around the

their respective domains, whether it be in life or business. These exceptional

world. It’s like one “pinch me” moment after another when you can network

individuals embody the true principles of living an unconventional life

at an Egyptian temple, or a yacht in Croatia, or a private island in Fiji, or in

and inspire and energize our event participants. I always have a personal

the Himalayas. Lastly, I’m a total geek about designing experiences. I consider

connection to the facilitators either through relationships I’ve formed

“event planning” to be “the art of experience design.” I have even created a

throughout my career, my podcast, or referrals from close friends of mine.

program called “The Art of Experience”, where I teach others how I do what I do to create their own events and additional revenue streams into their

What’s been the most satisfying aspect personally to what you do?

business. I also produce events for some of the biggest names in the world. I

I believe that your personal story is a mirror for the transformation you create

have done events on all 7+ continents including most recently taking Jimmy

for others. Without a doubt, the values of the Unconventional Life brand

Buffet, right before he passed away, to Antarctica. Every detail is a sensory

have transformed my life. Through this work, I’ve learned to channel the

opportunity for participants. Every variable contributes to the global current

core essence of my soul’s gifts. The best example of this in action is my music

of transformation. In this way, obsessive intentionality creates magic.

career. I always knew I wanted to sing, but had to conquer a lot of imposter syndrome to believe that I could reach the same heights of success in music

www.unconventionallifeshow.com

as in business. I did a lot of work to release the limiting beliefs about what

IG @liveunconventional

I was capable of as a vocal artist. In the same way I would coach my clients,

FB @unconventionallifeshow

I got present to the fact that this area of my expression was non-negotiable.

47


UNCONVENTIONAL LIFE

IN our fast-paced world where high achievers are continually striving for

Ovulation mirrors summer when women are feeling sexy, vibrant, and

greatness, what if our greatest tool for optimized productivity is a woman’s

ready to be sociable. Time to tackle the big jobs, embrace negotiations, and

period? Amid the pursuit of success, we have found ourselves entangled in a

make the big sales. Wrapping it all up, what we call PMS, resembles autumn

web of expectations and roles, forgetting our intrinsic identities and unique

– the energy slows, and it’s a time to wrap up loose ends and refine ongoing

powers. In the journey toward the rediscovery of true empowerment emerges

projects.

the concept of Sensual Intelligence – a transformative coaching approach based on the natural female cycles that not only reconnects women with their

“I still don’t feel like this is a superpower. Wouldn’t it be better to just always

superpowers but also revolutionizes business and interpersonal interactions.

be in the ovulation phase for optimized productivity?” I wasn’t surprised by my client’s reaction. “If you’re open, I’d like to explain how this can be your

Unmasking the Iron Lady

superpower. Would you like to hear?” She nodded.

Picture this: my client, the sole woman in the male-dominated industry of national defense and military strategies. She works with world leaders and

Bedroom Symphony, Boardroom Mastery

military officials as a civilian contractor and is almost always the only woman

Although the evolution of these phases of a woman’s cycle is related to

in the room. When I first inquired with her about how her period impacted

reproduction, in the modern era, our society can utilize this Sensual

her work, she visibly recoiled, “That will NEVER impact my work. Ever.”

Intelligence in business. Menstruation is the time for strategic planning, solo

Her words were almost dripping with disdain as if annoyed that I had even

work and goal setting. This is when a woman’s intuition is at its most refined,

acknowledged such a frustrating part of her life. But, as the conversation

so directing the next month of activity, creating well-considered plans, and

continued, she realized that her aversion to her body’s natural cycle had led

laying the groundwork for what’s to come is best done during this time. Vice

her to leak power for many years.

versa, this is when you want to avoid scheduling a multitude of meetings or flying around the world to take care of business. The follicular phase of the cycle is when it’s time to start implementing systems and delegating tasks.

Code Red

The energy rises during the follicular phase and peaks next during ovulation.

The menstrual cycle – a feminine, natural rhythm that is often dismissed as

Ovulation is when a woman is in her most vibrant state, physically and

a mere inconvenience – truly holds the key to unlocking hidden potential.

energetically. This is the time to really deep dive into big tasks. Major sales

Sensual Intelligence encourages us to embrace all phases of a woman’s

or strategic meetings should be scheduled during this time for a woman to

menstrual cycle and understand it as a source of power, not inhibition.

truly shine at her best. Lastly, utilizing the luteal phase, a woman’s critical eye

Imagine a sales meeting or negotiation timed precisely when a woman is

during this time is best directed toward analyzing the details by reviewing and

ovulating – her skin is radiant, her boobs bigger, her hair lustrous, and

refining projects.

an aura of confidence envelops her. Even her pheromones play into the concoction of strength and appeal. These subtle physiological changes are

“Each phase has its own superpower, and trying to always stay in one part

subconsciously felt by all, leading to more favorable outcomes. Conversely,

of the cycle will unknowingly wreak havoc throughout the rest.” I finished

imagine a sales presentation during the premenstrual phase (also known as

speaking and watched as the Iron Lady connected the dots. I could see that

PMS or the luteal phase). Even without being conscious of where she is in

she finally understood. “I cannot believe I have been experiencing these

her cycle, everyone in the room would feel a vastly different energy in the

cycles my entire life and never realized how I can best utilize them. This

presentation or discussion.

makes so much sense!”

As I explained this to my client, the Iron Lady, she still looked skeptical but expressed an interest for me to continue. “I guess maybe there’s something for

Sensual Intelligence is the tool for aligning with the cycles and breaking

me to learn here. But how could being tired and cranky ever have a positive

through conformity and is a torchbearer of authentic connections. This

effect on my work?”

journey embraces the ‘chaos’ of hormones, transforms relationships from battlegrounds to flourishing gardens of understanding, and ignites a spark

Sync or Sink

of connection that defies societal norms. It’s a call to action, a wake-up slap

To understand the true power of syncing to this cycle, we need to first

that urges you to embrace your biological rhythms, decode your emotions,

understand each phase and its unique effectiveness (and yes, there’s more

and ride the waves of sensuality that ripple through existence. Sensual

than just PMS-ing and not PMS-ing). The four phases of the female cycle

Intelligence isn’t just a theory; it’s a provocative revolution that promises to

are menstruation, follicular, ovulation, and luteal. By understanding the

disrupt your notions of success, productivity, and power. Are you ready to dive

physiological changes, we can utilize each to its maximum potential.

into the uncharted waters of your sensuality? The choice is yours – to sync or

to sink.

Let’s start with the menstruation phase; you can think of it as a type of inner winter. It’s a time for introspection, planning, and goal setting. Following a

www.saschahaert.com

woman’s period is the follicular phase – it mimics springtime with the energy

of building, growth, and weeding out what’s not needed.

48


haertfelt HUMAN BEHAVIORS EXPERT SASCHA HAERT WRITES ON SENSUAL INTELLIGENCE AND ITS EFFECT ON DEALING WITH THE NATURAL FEMALE CYCLE.

SASCHA. 49


UNCONVENTIONAL LIFE

the life of ROBOTICS ENGINEER, BIG WAVE SURFER, ENTREPRENEUR BRIAN SWAN EMBODIES CHANGE . . . AND SLAYS DRAGONS FOR FUN.

EYES FORWARD. 50


BRIAN, the first thing I noticed from your

boardroom. A small group of engineers occupied

taught me to open my mind to a plethora of

resume, and having known you for a while, is

four of the 50 chairs as we sat across from each

possibilities: from a Midwestern boy with limited

that you used to be a robotics engineer. Tell us

other with their backs to the ship. During our

understanding of what the world had on offer,

about that …

conversation I couldn’t help but gaze past them

to a world we have created years later, that quite

When I was a senior in high school I had a

through a huge window staring out at the soon-to-

frankly knows no boundaries.

10-minute meeting with my guidance counselor

be interstellar craft. When did you meet Rhonda?

and he asked me what I was good at … and I said math and science. He told me that engineering

Handing them our proposal for Thrust Actuators,

Around the same time I was at university I went

was one of the top professions post university, so

I went through the details over the next 30

to Australia in my third year for a study program,

I made a decision there and then to become an

minutes before shaking hands and heading out

which is where I learned to surf. Later I only

engineer. That dictated the next 14 years of my

the door. I hadn’t even left the parking lot when

accepted jobs if there was surf, which landed me

life. What followed was four years of university

my boss called and said, “Nice $60K order Brian.”

in California. That’s where I met my wife Rhonda,

and a decade in the corporate world working for

I was like, I’m just leaving the facility ... I don’t

and then in 2006 she literally retired me and I

Parker Hannifin as a robotics engineer living in

know who these people are, but they have a

entered the world of digital marketing.

San Diego.

freaking 100m rocket on their manufacturing floor. What an incredible experience that was.

In the years that followed we went from affiliate

I remember you once telling me a story about

This was the real deal and my new friend, Elon

marketing in the personal development industry

meeting Elon Musk at one of your places of

Musk, and I had been sitting in SpaceX.

to creating “Freedom-Preneur” programs that

work…

helped people make the jump from regular jobs

As a surfer living in San Diego covering the

What do you still carry with you from that time?

to running a laptop lifestyle anywhere around the

Western USA, I learned to schedule my sales calls

What’s interesting is that even though it took

world. We were out traveling since 2008, working

for Southern California around the surf reports.

place two decades ago, I still don’t relate much to

online as one of the first digital nomad families.

If I could get on the water either before or after

my time as a robotics engineer. I also see you at your home sometimes near the

my sales calls when I traveled it was a good day. I looked on Surfline and saw that a strong southerly

You’ve transformed yourself a few times over,

big waves in Bali … Surfing is such a deep and

swell was on the way for Wednesday, so I asked

then another thing I wondered about reading

difficult thing to do, how does it relate to your

for an 11am meet, giving me the opportunity to

your CV … how has change been a part of your

life’s thinking?

surf “Trestles” in San Clemente beforehand.

life so much?

I remember stepping off the plane in Australia

Change has been my whole existence, and it

and I went to the beach and saw a girl in a bikini

Passing by LAX I made my way to El Segundo.

all started from when my father died of Aids

and a guy catching a head-high barrel. At that

Usually my mind would be on the impending

when I was 16 years old. My world was turned

moment I made the decision to be a surfer. Fast

sales call but since I was deep in the projects,

upside down when he broke the news that he

forward 29 years and I’m still as excited by surfing

carjacking was more top of mind as I pulled into a

was unwell, terminal in fact. At the age of 11

as I was on that day.

very unassuming facility. “Really,” I thought. “You

years old, coming to terms with the knowledge

build rockets here?”

that my Dad wouldn’t be around forever was

Today I’m 49, and at this age what I have learned

unfathomable. The thought had never entered my

is that I have to keep my body in peak physical

mind.

condition in order to deal with the life or death

The receptionist ushered me into a room

situations that big waves can bring. This relates

where a waiting rocket man greeted me with an outstretched hand. He walked me down a

What he did next is the stuff of movies. In fact,

to my life thinking in all areas. I’ve taken this on

long corridor before turning the corner where

years after his passing, Morgan Freeman and

with my body, my relationship with my wife and

I couldn’t believe what I saw. I gazed out onto

Jack Nicholson brought a similar tale to the big

my daughter, my spirituality, and all my business

a 100m-long rocket sitting on the hangar floor.

screen in the movie The Bucket List. But my Dad

ventures.

Choosing my words more carefully, I said, “That’s

was different, he did it with his family in tow

a real rocket,” and he replied with, “Of course. I’m

and we began a journey of search and discovery

@unstoppablesurfer

a rocket scientist…” and we both chuckled.

during his final years, one that has left a lasting

www.unstoppablebrandingagency.com

impression on me. An impression that remains With the ice now broken we entered a huge

deep in my psyche today. That period in my life

51


UNCONVENTIONAL LIFE

IN the burgeoning field of holistic healing, a

Similarly, Megan’s journey through 9D Breathwork

by language and cultural differences, there is a

revolutionary approach is reshaping how we view

brought light to the darkness of a decade-long

concerted effort to make these transformative

and address mental and physical health issues.

depression, granting her a renewed sense of hope

journeys accessible on a global scale. The strategy

This approach is 9D Breathwork, pioneered by

and motherhood.

includes translating the journeys into major world languages and integrating the practice into various

Brian Kelly, a methodology that is redefining the paradigm of well-being.

The effectiveness of 9D Breathwork is further

societal institutions, such as schools and programs

enhanced by its multidimensional sound

for veterans and those in addiction recovery.

Rooted in the belief that unresolved trauma and

experience, which includes 9D sound technology.

a dysregulated nervous system are at the heart of

This creates a vast and immersive auditory

The success of the initiative is already taking

many of our struggles, 9D Breathwork provides

landscape that enriches the somatic journey,

shape, with pilot programs slated to launch in UK

an immersive experience designed to tackle these

fostering deeper mental imagery and emotional

schools, underscoring a commitment to youth

issues at their core.

engagement. This auditory landscape is layered

wellness and the recognition of the importance

with guided vocal coaching, which provides a

of early intervention in mental health. The

The crux of this method lies in its departure from

narrative to navigate the inner workings of the

anticipated rollout of 9D Breathwork in these

conventional treatments that have dominated

mind, confronting fears and blocks that may

settings is a testament to the method’s adaptability

healthcare for decades. Where pharmaceuticals

otherwise remain hidden.

and relevance across different age groups and societal contexts.

and psychotherapy often fall short, addressing only the symptoms and not the cause, 9D

The inclusion of neuro-linguistic programming

Breathwork aims to heal the soma – the body –

(NLP) and hypnotherapy techniques adds another

Kelly’s assertive proclamation that “we’re just

which Kelly posits as the physical manifestation

layer to the process. By using specific language

getting started” encapsulates the ethos of the

of the subconscious mind. By engaging the

patterns and suggestions, these techniques work to

9D Breathwork movement. It’s a defiant stance

body through specific breathing techniques, the

subtly rewrite limiting beliefs and negative scripts

against the status quo of health treatment and a

practice releases trapped traumas and instigates a

that have been internalized over a lifetime. The

declaration of the transformative potential that

profound healing process.

result is not just a temporary relief but a potential

lies within this innovative approach. It stands as

long-term transformation of one’s outlook and

an invitation to reimagine the landscape of healing

psychological framework.

and personal growth, positioning 9D Breathwork

Central to the 9D Breathwork experience is its

as a catalyst for change not only for individuals but

direct engagement with the subconscious mind. Through a combination of breath, sound, and

Beyond personal anecdotes, the science behind

for communities and, potentially, for societies at

guided visualization, the method induces a

9D Breathwork is equally compelling. It suggests

large.

hypnotic state. It slows brainwave frequencies

that the root causes of addictions, mental health

to allow for an inward journey where the

issues, and various stress-related conditions are

In conclusion, 9D Breathwork represents a shift

subconscious becomes more receptive to change.

grounded in unprocessed trauma. By focusing on

towards an integrative approach to health and

This is achieved by employing cutting-edge audio

resolving these traumas in the body, the method

well-being, promising a pathway to holistic

technologies such as binaural beats, isochronic

offers a more effective and sustainable solution

healing that transcends traditional methodologies.

tones, and solfeggio frequencies, which guide

than the temporary fixes provided by medications

With its roots in both ancient wisdom and modern

the brain into alpha, gamma and theta states.

and traditional psychotherapy.

science, it offers a unique synergy of techniques that together foster a potent environment for

Here, in these deeply relaxed states, the conscious mind recedes, giving way to transformative

The list of benefits associated with 9D Breathwork

subconscious work.

is extensive and profound. Participants have

transformation.

reported outcomes that extend beyond the

As this method continues to gain traction, it holds

The transformative potential of this approach

alleviation of symptoms to include spiritual

the promise of reshaping the future of personal

is vividly illustrated by powerful testimonials.

awakenings and a deepened sense of connection

development and well-being, paving the way for a

Individuals like Cheri, whose traumatic

with something greater than themselves. This

global movement of healing and growth.

experiences in childhood cast a long shadow over

transformative effect underscores the method’s

her life, found healing and empowerment through

potential for fostering comprehensive well-being

www.yogilab.com

9D Breathwork. The method enabled her to forgive

and spiritual growth.

www.theistana.com/9-d

and find peace, an outcome so transformative that it propelled her to become a breath coach herself.

@ breathwork.journeys Kelly’s vision for 9D Breathwork is ambitious and inclusive. Recognizing the barriers posed

52


JUST A BREATH AWAY

BRIAN KELLY TAPS INTO THE

SUBCONSCIOUS TO HELP US REVEAL OUR TRUE SELVES.

DEPTH CHARGER. 53


UNCONVENTIONAL LIFE

WHY VACATION SEX IS THE BEST SEX – AND HOW TO BRING IT HOME, WRITES ELITE MATCHMAKER STEPHANIE JAIE. YOU walk back to your room not-so-lightly buzzed from the three Mai Tai you drank together by the pool. You giggle as you both reach for the room key at the same time and have a moment of pure joy as you play together deciding who will open the door first. His lightly sandy arm brushes yours as he holds the door open for you to enter, sending a wave of pleasure and chills through your entire body. You can’t help but wonder, how did I get so lucky to land this smoke show of a man? Not even halfway through the door he impatiently grabs you and pulls you into the room letting the door shut with a not-so-discreet slam. As he caresses your neck with his lips, he takes in the smell of your coconut sun cream and lets out a light moan. There’s an unshakeable lightness in your step, a brightness in your eyes, a joy in your heart. You let out a satisfied smile that turns into a giggle as you fall back onto your plush, soft bed. And then it happens – he’s on top of you, licking every last piece of ocean salt off your sun-kissed body. What transpires next may have been minutes, may have been hours – but one thing is for certain: THIS is the best sex you’ve ever had.

54


SULTRY.

55


UNCONVENTIONAL LIFE

Vacation sex is so well known to be more

2. Novelty and Excitement

On vacation, we can’t help but spend time

passionate, frequent, and intense than at-home

While routine is important for day-to-day energy

together! We have fewer distractions and often

sex that it’s become its own category. Often

optimization, it is also a gravitational pull that

are engaging in fun activities together. We are

couples can find themselves thinking the only

can ease us into a zombie-like slumber if we’re

spending dinner talking to each other instead of

way to access these states of pleasure is by

not careful. This can happen in our day-to-day

listening to the news, we are learning the salsa or

dropping thousands of dollars on an annual

lives as well as in the bedroom (you know those

taking a cooking class together. The combination

vacation. And while this can be a solution, who

times when you do the same three positions, in

of novelty and uninterrupted connection time is

wants to only have epic sex once a year?

the same order, because you know they work?

a sure-fire mixture for intimacy, bonding, and

Yep, that’s what we’re talking about here). It

epic sex.

Today we’ll dive into the top 3 reasons vacation

has its benefits, but can also lead to a state of

sex is better than regular sex, and how to bring it

boredom and lack of enthusiasm – not exactly

How to bring in quality time together

back home.

our sexiest traits!

Outside of scheduling dates, like above, start

When we’re on vacation we’re learning, growing,

bringing more presence into the times that you

1. Stress Reduction

and exploring together. We’re exposing ourselves

DO connect. Make mealtimes opportunities to

The biggest enemy of our libido is stress.

to new connections, new languages, new foods,

engage with each other instead of numbing out

When our cortisol spikes due to an angry boss,

and maybe even some new dance moves! This

while watching TV. Take an extra five minutes

miscommunication around the kids, or getting

novelty-seeking breathes fresh life into us as

before you get out of bed each morning to snuggle

cut off in traffic – our hormones take a hit.

individuals, making us more open to trying

and tell your partner you appreciate them. Turn

And while we might be aware of this influence

new things. This can have the effect of making

routine chores like grocery shopping or laundry

on estrogen; our testosterone-dominant

us more bold and willing to act upon our

into opportunities to connect instead of just a

counterparts are just as susceptible. Stress

attractions. And, learning new things together

task that needs to be done. Get creative and bring

puts us on edge, making us less patient and

has been scientifically proven to strengthen

presence into as many of your routine tasks as

communicative with our partners. Stress also

relationships!

possible!

– setting up for battle or running away from a

How to create novelty in your regular life

It’s no doubt that vacations create the perfect

predator are not exactly the best energies with

Try something new! When was the last time you

cocktail of relaxation, novelty, and quality

which to begin an intimate connection!

did something new and adventurous with your

time required to light your libido on fire! While

partner? Better yet – when was the last time you

scientific research sheds light on the hormonal

When on vacation, most (if not all) of these

went on a legitimate, full-fledged date at all? Take

and physiological factors affected by stress,

energies are released. We have a relaxed

this as your sign to get back into the dating phase

it’s the moments of connection, vulnerability,

schedule, no boss or angry drivers to worry

of your relationship, and make sure those dates

and pure enjoyment that truly make vacation

about, we don’t need to grab groceries, and

are fun, exciting, and embodied. Try a paint

sex an enticing prospect. So, the next time you

generally speaking, are in a much more relaxed

and sip, a new dance class, a hike somewhere

plan a getaway, remember to leave some room

and enjoyable state. This decreases cortisol and

romantic, a fun boat ride, or something else

for romance! And, when you’re in between your

brings us into the parasympathetic nervous

that will get you out of your heads and into your

annual escapes, remember that you have the

system; where we can rest, digest, and enjoy life’s

bodies – together.

power to create fun new experiences, reduce

activates our Fight/Flight/Freeze/Fawn response

stress, and engage in quality connection every

pleasures. 3. Uninterrupted Quality Time Together

single moment of the day. Pleasure is a choice my

How to bring more relaxation into your day-to-

How much quality time do you spend with your

friends – is it what you will choose?

day

partner regularly? And no, quality time does not

Schedule pre-connection timeouts for yourself

mean sitting next to each other silently while

www.stephaniejaie.com

when you know you’ll be connecting with your

watching the latest episode of Black Mirror. I’m

@stephaniejaie

partner. If you always share dinner, for example,

talking about full presence, enjoying each other’s

or have a scheduled date night, make sure to

company. When we first start dating we’re so

somatically release the energy of the day before

enamored with the human in front of us that we

you connect with them. Meditation, somatic

can’t HELP but spend quality time with them. As

shaking, rage dancing, and self-pleasure sessions

we become more familiar, and regular life kicks

are great ways to move energy through the body

up, this interest in each other tends to decrease.

and release any cortisol that may have built up during the day.

56


TAKE THE NEXT STEP.

57


MENTAL HEALTH

A SPOKEN WORD POEM

BY HANALEI SWAN

FIND YOUR FLOOR. 58


SOMETIMES, I forget how it all began. I

Will I ever be enough? Do enough? Feel enough?

think back to the moment when I could feel

Enough, enough, enough. Shame settled all

I’d tell her to release the pressure. You place

the wind flowing through my hair, and all

over me like the dust from a construction site,

bricks of worry on top of your body, building

I could hear was laughter in the air. Beams

making its home in the cracks and creases

your towers taller and taller, crushing you

of sun danced on my skin as I danced with

of my skin as these skyscrapers of worry

smaller and smaller until you feel like nobody.

my feet in the sea, completely carefree. Sand

continued to rise from my mind. Each floor

scattered across my face like a painting from

built with self-doubt and missed opportunities,

I’d reassure her that you are somebody. And

the ocean. I found my heart buried in the sand;

overshadowing the vibrant landscape of my

no matter the pressure you may feel from

on the beach, I was fully me, like raw light,

younger self, turning my aspirations into mere

the world around you, you still matter.

undisturbed by the pressures of life. I never

foundations for what could have been. I could

You are here not to die, not to just stay alive, but

thought anything would change, this infinite

no longer stand the person I was within.

to truly live. Promise me that you will truly live.

love for the world around me and for myself. I need a disclaimer plastered on my body

If I could see my younger self again, I would sit

Now, I often forget that little

for anyone who may dare talk to me, telling

her down and tell her I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all

kid is still inside of me.

them not to worry because I hated myself

the time I spent thinking I wasn’t good enough.

as much as they probably hated me. I’ll tell As you grow up, you realize the world is growing

them all the lies they thought about me are

I’m sorry for all the hopeless nights dwelling

faster than you. Things that once seemed

probably true, and I’ll wear their lies with

over the things I could never do right.

small when you were young suddenly become

pride because I have begun to believe they are

skyscrapers looming over you. The pressure

real. You don’t know how desperately I want to

I am sorry for pushing you to the side and

from the sky pushes down on you like bricks,

change the person I am within and swap into

leaving you to dry, like a flower starved of light.

becoming heavier and heavier the longer time

someone else’s skin. It’s easy to fall into this

I watched you slowly begin to wilt away, and

ticks. When I finally opened my eyes and looked

trap of losing yourself when you believe the

I never did anything about it because I found

up to the sky, I realized how small I actually was.

whole world wants you to be someone else.

comfort in the falling of your petals and my

One of the first times I felt small was under stage

I forget that little kid who found light in the

your petals still did not bloom, and I realized

lights. The moment my breath became short, and

darkest of places and painted with the ever-

how empty I was without you. Because you were

my voice became grand, bouncing off the walls

changing hues of the sunset is still within me,

the light in my eyes that always managed to find

and into the crowd of hundreds of people all

buried underneath towers and the concrete

the simple beauties held within life. Watching

waiting to hear what I had planned. Illuminated

rubble of lies I told myself, saying I would

the delicate beams of sunlight filtering through

underneath a microscope, the pressure set in. I

never be enough, like a bird in a cage trapped

tree leaves. The feeling of sand slipping through

could only wonder if I was doing enough for these

without a key, waiting to be let free. She is still

your hands. The ways the dust dances under the

people to be proud of me. I could only imagine

there, but over time her voice has become bare

light, like glitter thrown into the sky. No matter

what they thought of me. Who is this girl barely

as I have learned to ignore the tendency to

how faint, I can still see through your eyes. I

thirteen, telling me what to think? Look at the

listen, to put my ear up to the door of the cage.

would remind you that the stars in the sky are

way she walks, look at the way she talks. I bet

I had begun to silence the want to be free.

not as far as they seem, these buildings around

newfound solitude. But as the seasons changed,

you are so much smaller than you believe them

she can’t even come up with a coherent thought. Like a solitary star fading into twilight,

to be. You are so much bigger than you know.

sometimes I wish I could go back in time to

Let your roots grow through the concrete, in

As my years passed, these towns populated by

grasp that fading light before it slipped beyond

between the little cracks of the streets, and deep

the problems within my mind grew into cities.

the horizon, where memories and possibilities

into the soil beneath you. Watch as those cities

If you ever want to feel small, go to a city. While

intertwine like constellations in the night sky.

begin to dissipate as your roots spread, and

I could only imagine what they thought of me.

the love for yourself begins to regrow again.

you’re there, walking down the neverending streets, you’ll wonder if you really matter in

If I could, I would look that little girl in the eye

the grand scheme of things. If you were to

and show her all the things she could never see,

Those buildings with bricks made of the worries

leave this place would that change a thing, or

help her remember all the lessons she lost, lift

you gave yourself and the problems you’ve

would life continue on never to remember your

her up, and show her that the sky isn’t so scary.

collected that you’ve held on to so dearly are not structurally sound, remember who you

name? It probably would never remember my name. These thoughts corrupted my brain.

I’d tell her to never be afraid to cry. Let the tears

really are and knock those buildings down.

that pour from your eyes soak into your skin and release the emotions you’ve held within.

www.hanaleiswan.com

59


MENTAL HEALTH

bridging the gap IN THE TAPESTRY OF HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS, WE ALL TREAD THE DELICATE PATH OF SEEKING CONNECTION, WRITES KAVI WEBER.

HAVE you ever felt alone among friends? As if

connection is not reciprocated, but you’ll never

them feel guilty, but rather inspired to support

you were having a conversation, but nobody was

know if nobody addresses it. It’s about taking

you.

really listening to you. In this difficult situation,

responsibility for your role in the relationship by

when you reached out for support, they didn’t

expressing your desires. That is the only thing

They also have the right to say no to you. It would

show up. It seemed like your friends were

you have control over. When you communicate

be easy to take that personally. But in reality?

uncomfortable with moving beyond the surface

maturely and effectively, the way the other

There could be any reason they did not want to

level.

person responds will teach you exactly what you

be relied upon. If someone is not willing to fill

need to know.

that place in your life, you need to know. Some friends may have different desires and intentions

Maybe, in those moments, you asked yourself: “What would happen if I really needed support?

In order to do that, you first have to ask yourself

than you. And that’s okay, as long as it’s known

Will I feel comfortable the next time I ask for

what, exactly, you want? Do you want to feel

and communicated.

support from the people I trust?”

heard? Do you want people to respect your time?

It’s a scary feeling, and, unfortunately, a very

By making your desires specific, they become

This last part might bother a few people, but

achievable for the other person.

it’s important. On top of your responsibility to communicate, comes your responsibility to make

common one. This negative experience is necessary for your growth and evolution as a

Next, you want to ask the person if they’re open

the people who support you feel appreciated,

person, moving us away from unfulfilling or even

to having the conversation, rather than springing

and your responsibility to offer what you wish

toxic relationships.

it on the other person randomly – it’s all about

to receive. These tenets of reciprocity help the

timing. This will make them more likely to

people around you to feel good about being in

We all need support in different forms: some

hear you out, because it doesn’t feel like you are

your life. I think that’s what we all want. So if you

people lean on their families, while others

suddenly attacking them.

notice someone’s been showing up for you a lot, ask how you can show up for them and watch the

find friendships, mentorships and other

bond grow tighter.

affirmative relationships. Support is one of

Lastly, you want to own all your emotions. This

the fundamental aspects of human relation:

means that you speak in a way that does not

providing someone else with help, understanding

blame the other person. This means using the

In the tapestry of human relationships, we all

and empathy. Closeness in a relationship implies

phrase: “when you do X, I feel Y.” This keeps the

tread the delicate path of seeking understanding,

mutual support: being unsupported in a close

situation objective and focused on the topic at

connection, and support. The beauty of the

relationship is unbalanced.

hand.

human experience lies in the ability to bridge gaps, to mend what’s frayed, and to weave

Does this mean your relationship with this

For more insight, I recommend the book

stronger bonds of connection. Each vulnerable

person is toxic, and you should cut them off? Not

Authentic Relating by Ryel Kestano.

conversation becomes a step towards true

just yet! There is likely a gap in communication,

Now, if the other person is receptive and

authenticity. I hope that everyone can find

meaning they might not have any idea how

committed to meeting your requests, you work it

the people who treat them with honesty and

you feel. You could think that your desire for

out with them. Remember, the key is not to make

compassion.

60



MENTAL HEALTH

L E A R N I N G HOW T O

HANALEI SWAN DIVES INTO THE ART OF NAVIGATING THE ROUGH TIMES AND RISING ABOVE LIFE’S CHALLENGES.

WEIGHTLESS. 62


EVERYONE experiences moments of

underwater. Instinctively, you might want to

internal struggle – be it anxiety, self-doubt,

struggle against it, but you soon realize that

depression, excess stress, or other mental

resisting and trying to swim frantically only makes

health challenges. When going through these

you sink faster. In such a high-stress situation,

rough patches it can feel like sinking beneath

the best approach is to calm your mind and let

the surface or struggling to stay afloat.

the wave carry you, before going to take a breath again. This applies to managing your emotions

I often find myself submerging under the rough

too. Imagine stress as a wave crashing over you;

waters of my problems, and letting myself get

the more you fight it, the deeper you’ll sink.

pulled into a whirlpool of internal chaos. It is effortless to allow myself to sink into anxiety and

Even when you have found ways to float better,

become submerged by the stress. Since becoming

life can still get pretty rough. These could be

more aware of myself I’ve realized that when

brought on by major life changes, unexpected

life presents these challenges we get to make a

events, or relapses in mental health. It’s important

decision whether we want to sink, fight, or float.

to recognize that floating doesn’t mean avoiding challenges, but rather facing them with resilience

It’s easy to stay afloat when the water is calm but

and adaptability. Even when these challenges

the real challenge comes from learning to keep

may arise you can adapt to the waves by relying

tranquil when life puts new waves in the way.

on your life vest. These problems will just

Floating in the situations of rough water is about

become another wave that will pass you by.

finding balance within your mind and allowing yourself to rise above struggles, while still

The journey of learning to float is ongoing and

acknowledging their presence. Instead of ignoring

takes time to integrate into your life. However,

the things in your life that cause worry or distress,

your personal growth journey and the lessons

just like the feeling of sinking in rough water,

you learn about yourself are far more important

you can learn to manage these emotions more

than any final destination. Consider what in your

effectively, like calming yourself and your breath so

life causes stress and ask yourself: Is this where

you can begin to float above the surface once again.

I want to invest my energy? Does this weigh me down or lift me up? Is it worth the struggle? With

When learning how to float you can adopt different

simple questions like these, it becomes easier

techniques and tools to flow with life’s challenges.

to identify what you need to release or how you

Think of these techniques like your life vests and

may need to adjust in your response to the stress.

practices you can implement into your day to find

Decide whether you’d rather channel your energy

calm in the sea. This could include mindfulness

into fighting the current or riding the wave.

practices, self-care, creating art, journaling your thoughts, setting boundaries, and practicing

In the unpredictable seas of life, we all face

positive self-talk. Though they may sound simple,

moments of turmoil and turbulence. These

implementing small things like this can move your

challenges, like the crashing waves, can seem

energy into a better and less draining direction.

overwhelming, and it’s natural to feel like we’re sinking. However, our response to these challenges

When I begin to feel these waves and relapses of

is a choice we can all make. Learning to float

anxiety I find myself needing time alone and use

amidst the rough waters of our problems is a skill

this time to refocus my energy on creativity, giving

that requires practice, but it’s a skill that can be

me space to find calm when I would usually dwell

honed. By adopting mindfulness tools and practices

on my thoughts. Maintaining these practices and

as our life vests, we can navigate these challenges

tools of mindfulness when encountering a new

with greater resilience and clarity. Embracing

wave may initially feel challenging. However,

the current rather than battling it allows us to

when confronted with the choice of sinking,

conserve our energy and stay afloat. Remember,

struggling, or staying afloat, remembering to

even when the waves are relentless, the journey of

refocus your energy and anchor yourself to your

personal growth is the true destination. So, the next

life vest becomes crucial to float past the wave.

time you feel the undertow of stress, ask yourself where you want to invest your energy and whether

Embracing the current rather than battling it

it’s worth the struggle. Choose to float, adapt,

can save you from sinking. As a surfer, one of

and grow, for in doing so, you’ll find the strength

the first things you learn is how to stay calm

to weather any storm that life may bring.

when getting hit by a wave. While surfing, you’re bound to fall off your board and be tossed around

www.hanaleiswan.com 63


FITNESS

CARRIE AND WLL HENKE. 64


BAMBU FITNESS BALI

WHERE COMMUNITY AND FITNESS INTERTWINE IN PARADISE.

IN the Heart of Bali

Evolving with Integrity

Nestled among the scenic beauty of Bali, a unique fitness haven

As trends ebb and flow in the fitness industry, Bambu Fitness Bali

thrives. This is Bambu Fitness Bali, a creation born from the

remains anchored in simplicity and transparency. Their focus on

passions and experiences of Carrie and Will Henke. It’s more than a

clear, understandable fitness philosophies ensures that members

gym; it’s a community, a lifestyle, a testament to the transformative

are not just participating but are truly connected to their fitness

power of fitness and connection.

journey. This approach forms the unchanging core of their everevolving business model.

Forging a Path Will’s journey from the discipline and rigor of the US Military to

Building a Community

the world of fitness coaching laid the foundation for Bambu Fitness

Community isn’t just a buzzword at Bambu Fitness Bali; it’s the

Bali. His military tenure, demanding peak physical condition,

essence of their existence. The gym transcends the traditional

evolved into a passion for helping others achieve their best selves.

boundaries of a fitness center, creating a space where relationships

Meanwhile, Carrie brought her insight into the integral role of

are forged, support systems are built, and fitness journeys are

community and design in health and wellness. Their combined

shared. As they look to the future, their aim is to nurture this

vision for a space where fitness and travel intersect led to the

community, staying true to their core values.

creation of WanderFit Retreats, eventually culminating in the birth of Bambu Fitness Bali.

A Vision for the Future The road ahead for Bambu Fitness Bali is paved with exciting

A Name with Meaning

expansions. Envisioning a comprehensive health destination,

‘Bambu’, taking its cue from the Indonesian spelling of bamboo,

the team plans to add recovery facilities, a healthy meal service,

reflects the essence of their fitness philosophy. Bamboo is resilient,

and even accommodations and a co-working space. This isn’t just

flexible, and grows in close-knit clusters, mirroring the traits

growth; it’s a holistic enhancement of the community experience,

Bambu Fitness Bali embodies: strength, adaptability, and a sense

driven by feedback and a deep understanding of members’ needs.

of community. It’s a name that resonates with the values they hold dear and the environment they aim to create.

Bambu Fitness Bali is more than a destination; it’s a journey into the heart of what fitness can be when it’s intertwined with community

Standing Apart

and genuine care. Under Carrie and Will Henke’s guidance, it

In a world teeming with fitness options, Bambu Fitness Bali

stands as a sanctuary where fitness goals are pursued in unison,

distinguishes itself through its exceptional coaching and an

where every individual’s journey is valued, and where the spirit of

inclusive approach to workouts. Here, coaches are more than

community flourishes amidst the serene backdrop of Bali.

trainers; they are the pillars of the community, guiding, inspiring,

www.bambufitnessbali.com

and creating an environment where everyone feels welcomed

@bambufitnessbali

and valued. This emphasis on quality coaching and community

www.wanderfitretreats.com

engagement is the heartbeat of Bambu Fitness Bali.

@wanderfit.retreats

65


MENTAL HEALTH

BY REENA MERCHANT PHOTOGRAPHY BY ASTRID VERHOEF WWW.ASTRIDVERHOEF.NL

AS WE NAVIGATE MULTIPLE GLOBAL CRISES, WE ARE FACED WITH SEEMINGLY INSURMOUNTABLE COLLECTIVE UNCERTAINTY. WHO SHOULD YOU TRUST?

LISTEN. 66


“I SHOULD have listened to myself.”

and interdependent considerations, things get a bit trickier.

I can’t count the number of times I have said these words to myself in retrospecting on past “mistakes”

Endless possibilities can whirl through our minds.

in my life. Of course, there are no mistakes in life,

“Should I choose option A? But option B is easier.

so there really shouldn’t be any regret. Yet regret is

Option C seems the safest though!” <insert brain

something that we as humans can’t easily escape. And

exploding emoji here> We create pros and cons lists,

fear of future remorse paralyzes us in the present

flip coins, ask our friends and family for input. I’ve

when we are faced with difficult decisions.

even created complex weighted sum spreadsheets before. But the more we do this, the more confused

As we navigate multiple global crises, we are being

we can get. Because in the most turbulent of

faced with seemingly insurmountable collective

situations, there usually isn’t a clear winner. And

uncertainty. As humankind, we are navigating one

no amount of coin flipping or spreadsheet wizardry

of the most challenging times in history. In today’s

changes that fact. Ultimately, when left unchecked,

reality, we are both collectively and individually

this inner swirling leads to fear based decisions.

having to make decisions we are not accustomed or

When we can’t identify a clear logical winner, we

equipped to make. Decisions where the stakes are

choose the option that either feels least scary, or the

terrifyingly high.

one that appeases our biggest fear.

On an individual level, we are having to make

The problem is that a fear based choice isn’t always

decisions about our health, families, travel, jobs,

the best for our well-being. And although it may seem

homes — our survival. And we are being faced with

like the easiest way forward in the short term, it

these choices all at once and on short notice. These

doesn’t always lead to the best long term outcomes.

decisions are especially challenging because so much is variable, and there isn’t much we can pin down

The Answer Lies Within

or count on. Even the things that do seem relatively

Though seeking data and information externally is

constant are new as most of us haven’t navigated a

useful in informing our decision making process,

situation like this in our lifetimes.

the final answer always lies within. Once we’ve done our research and gathered external input, we have to

When no decision is easy, and fear of making the

make the final call. No one else can do that for us.

wrong choice can paralyze us, how can we lean into our inner knowing to guide us through ambiguity?

Fear and panic can cloud our ability to listen to

How can we listen to ourselves and step out of the

ourselves. If we are able to quiet our fear, the answer

fear of future regret?

is usually clear. When seeking answers within, it’s important to temporarily quiet the outer noise.

Fear-Based Decisions

When we can make decisions from a place of calm,

What makes listening to ourselves hard? When the

these usually end up being decisions we can trust.

choices are simple and there is less at risk, listening

And, trust based decisions yield positive

within is usually fairly easy. However, when the

outcomes that are likely to persist long

stakes are higher, and our options have convoluted

after the initial fear passes.

67


MENTAL HEALTH

FIND YOUR WAY.

Trust-Based Decision Making

The mind is extremely useful in helping us frame the problem at hand. What

In my life, trust based decisions have brought me the most confidence in the

are we trying to solve? What is the decision that needs to be made? What are

short term, while also delivering the strongest outcomes in the long term.

our options? And what are the factors we should consider? The mind helps us

As I’ve navigated turbulent times in my own life, I have realized however,

navigate life in this way.

that making trust based decisions isn’t always easy. Over time, I’ve formed a framework that I frequently lean on, and I’d like to share it in hopes that

Sometimes the answer is clear. If we are considering whether we can safely

it may help others. My ability to make trust based decisions always depends

walk into fast, oncoming traffic, the clear, mind-based answer is NO. This is

on how well I can hear my inner voice. The process I use to tap into this

a very logical decision and the answer is straightforward. In most cases, we

consists of three steps:

would not be torn in making this decision.

Step 1: Identifying my inner voice

But sometimes the answer isn’t as clear, and the decision is harder because

Step 2: Listening to my inner voice

we may be pulled between various options our mind is presenting. When

Step 3: Trusting my inner voice

this happens, it can be helpful to go a bit deeper.

Step 1: Identifying our inner voice The Heart What is our “inner voice” and how do we identify it? At any given moment,

In comparison to the mind, our heart-voice is feeling based. The dialogue in

we each have many threads of internal chatter running concurrently, and

the heart space is primarily focused around how things will make us feel.

this is one thing that makes listening to ourselves particularly challenging.

The chatter in our heart does shift, but less frenetically than the mind. It

How do we know which parts of our internal chatter to pay attention to,

feels more stable and slower moving.

while being able to ignore the noise? Separating out our internal dialogue

The heart helps us understand the emotional states various options will

into three layers can help with isolating the fear from the knowing.

evoke. How will option A make us feel versus option B? Which will make us feel happier? Will any of the options make us sad?

The Mind The mind houses our most frenetic, fastest shifting internal dialogue. This is

The key to truly hearing the heart is quieting the mind. If our mind is still

the space in which we weigh pros and cons. Our mind-voice is thought based

running a million miles a minute, it will immediately jump in and confuse

and is the most logical.

our ability to hear our feelings. For example, if determining

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SEE CLEARLY.

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MENTAL HEALTH

NAVIGATE THE MAZE.

70


whether a relationship is right for us, we may

Step 2: Listening to our inner voice

undoubtedly feel love for a partner, but our

Once we identify our inner voice, the next

ability to “hear” this may be hindered by our

step is to listen to it. Because our inner voice is

mind’s interference.

knowing-based, it usually won’t be yelling out

Quieting the mind can allow us to separate our

the answer with blaring sirens. That’s rather

mental logic from the feelings in our heart.

the mind’s technique.

And organizing the chatter in this way can

Our intuition speaks to us subtly, and usually

make things easier to navigate.

the way we know what it’s trying to say is via the peace we feel inside. Something simply

Sometimes, allowing ourselves to feel into our

feels right — and we just know the way

heart can effectively augment the thoughts in

forward.

our mind, and our decision can become clear at this point. Other times, fear can still get in

Step 3: Trusting our inner voice

the way and cloud our emotions. This is when

The final step is to fully trust our inner voice.

going even deeper can be helpful.

Many times we silence our inner knowing out of fear. We rationalize our way out of

The Gut

facing and accepting our knowing because

The voice in our gut is the most constant and

our mind or feelings can get in the way. But

stable. Of all our internal chatter, our gut-

having the courage to believe our inner voice is

based voice is most intuitive, consistent, and

foundational to making trust based decisions.

calm. This voice is knowing-based. If we can quiet our mind and quiet our heart, isolating

Final Thoughts

our various layers of internal chatter, we can

Listening to ourselves can be challenging,

then create the space necessary to hear our gut

especially in difficult times, but like exercising

— or our intuition.

a muscle, it is possible for us to strengthen this capability. When we can quiet the external

What we truly and intuitively sense at our

chaos and focus our attention within, we can

core isn’t just a thought or a feeling — it is a

bypass the fear that paralyzes us. In listening

knowing. It’s always there, and we can count

within ourselves and organizing our inner

on its stability.

chatter, we can clearly tap into our inner

It doesn’t feel frenetic, and it is never fear

knowing and trust our decisions, moving

based. The knowing in our gut can always

forward confidently and calmly no matter how

guide our decision making process when the

turbulent the outside world is.

choices are too complex for the mind and the heart to parse.

www.reenamerchant.com

The mind, the heart, and the gut are all important and none of them should be discounted. We need all three in harmony. But during challenging circumstances, our inner voices can panic and start chattering all at once, internally debating and making it impossible to clearly move forward. When this type of confusion or fear arises, organizing our inner dialogue can help us identify our inner voice.

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MENTAL HEALTH

IS A WORKING WOMAN

THE GREEK GOD SISYPHUS WAS FAMOUSLY PUNISHED TO PUSH A BOULDER UP A HILL EVERY DAY, ONLY TO HAVE IT FALL TO EARTH AT THE END OF IT. HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN A WOMAN, WRITES NICO SIMMONDS. PHOTOS: ARANPRINE

NO woman needs the concept of invisible labour explained to her. The pressure of choosing between motherhood and a career, the lack of appreciation for stay-at-home parents, the burden of sexual harassment, the onset of postpartum depression, the expectation to be a primary caregiver for children and adults alike; it’s a familiar yet frustrating pattern which never seems to end. For women in the workforce (and, let’s face it, everywhere else), these issues are gear-grinding – why are these issues still so prevalent in today’s relatively modern world? Surely we’ve come far enough since the fifties to solve them? When you step back from all-consuming, mega-progressive internet culture and look into the real-life professional world, it still feels like the corporate world is not built for women. Office culture is still mind-bendingly malecentric, and it leaves women in the position of fighting female-specific mental health issues. Sure, most women are working now – but are companies actually doing enough? Are women’s issues dismissed as a part of life? Should companies not accommodate their female workers just as well as their men? Most importantly, why are we hearing so much about mental illness in the workplace?

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TAKE IT IN YOUR STRIDE.

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MENTAL HEALTH

“There is a gender gap in the usage of mental health services, and it perpetuates the stereotype that women are more fragile than their male counterparts.” Are women really more susceptible

stable, linear relationship – when in reality,

A company’s employees are what keep the

to mental health issues?

they’re closer to being in a mid-20s on-and-

gears turning; you’d like them to be well-oiled.

off college situationship. Of course, this isn’t Women are diagnosed as mentally ill more

applicable to all types of work, but inflexible

Equipping young women (as well as our

often than men; for all intents and purposes,

work hours aren’t what keep a company

perennial ladies) with resources to stay

this would mean that women are more

running – that’s down to its employees being

afloat and build connections with each

vulnerable to mental health issues – except

happy, healthy, and ultimately productive.

other is better for a community’s collective good. If you ask us, it’s a no-brainer.

that statistics like this are rarely ever interpreted accurately. Only 12.1% of men in

Covid-19, in all of its turbulent glory, has

the United States sought out mental health

started a workplace revolution with its

Leading by example; eliminating

treatment in 2021 as opposed to 21.4% of

introduction of the flexible work day. So often,

misogyny from the top-down.

women. There is a gender gap in the usage

women are saddled with additional invisible

of mental health services, and it perpetuates

baggage; looking after children, running

Too often, we have seen films and media of

the stereotype that women are more fragile

households, keeping communities together

businessmen in suits as the golden standard

than their male counterparts. The world will

– why should workplaces make their lives

of success. The last forty years have shown us

continue to use the prevalence of mental

more complicated by adhering to unmoveable

a different path; one of successful, flourishing

health diagnoses in women as a weapon to

customs because “that’s how the world works”?

women in business and entrepreneurship. Yet still some industries remain stunted – the

undermine their ability unless the tenets of workplace culture are made anew.

People can finally be free to conquer

abuse of power, ever present in human nature,

the rest of their lives during the day

continues – for whom, exactly, is this better?

In the productivity-manic era of 2023,

as long as they get their work done

the idea that all of the responsibility of

productively. For many working women,

Privileged communities and parties in

personal wellbeing is dependent entirely on

this flexibility is well-appreciated;

power play an equally important role in

the individual and not their environment

communities are flourishing, peace is kept,

the movement against race and sex-based

permeates the atmosphere; but how can one

and houseplants are being watered.

discrimination. When they rise to the occasion, the rock of Sisyphus can be split;

learn to make the best of their situation when the situation is, for the most part, fixed?

Everyone needs a friend

the invisible labour that women and POC carry can be shared. As an example, men

How can women overcome the centuriesold rock of Sisyphus that is the journey to

Entering the workforce as a young woman

who are granted paternity leave may ease an

enrichment and financial freedom? Some

is intimidating, no matter how you look at

invisible workload that others in their lives

of the burden surely lies at the feet of the

it. Subtly misogynistic workplace culture,

might be carrying, just as bystanders who

companies and corporations employing them.

limited support systems, and a lack of

call out discrimination when they see it can

representation isn’t exactly encouraging

help eliminate negative influences in the

So, how can workplaces be

– but it is entirely solvable. Corporate DEI -

office. Collective effort is singularly the most

better to their women?

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policy comes

important factor in a healthy environment,

to mind, as well as the more traditional paths

and environments that encourage these

A strange side effect of our 21st century

of well-organised HR and health insurance

efforts are ones that will last.

uber-productive work culture is the idea

policies that companies and burgeoning

that productivity and work hours are in a

entrepreneurs can offer.

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CREATING BALANCE. 75


COVER STORY

FOR VERA KRETSCHMAR, BUILDING BUSINESSES WITH MEANING HAS TAKEN CENTRE STAGE IN LIFE. BY NIGEL SIMMONDS

VERA Kretschmar – angel investor, real estate developer, beauty clinic owner and global luxury business mind – figures it’s time for a few things to change. “I think I’m at a stage in my career where there’s a bit of a shift going on,” says the German-born Chinese-Indonesian, whose business interests span beauty care, tech start-ups and property investments. “I’m beginning to be more open about what I’m doing in terms of investing,” she says, “because typically I have always been very private. Whereas once I saw myself solely as an entrepreneur, now I am in a position to give something back.” To this end, Vera looks past her 24/7 commitment to wide-ranging projects – which literally span the globe – and tells me about her most exciting upcoming venture, a foundation planned for underprivileged girls that is currently under development. Called Anaya’s Angels, the non-profit organisation aims to support and sponsor 25-30 girls in Bali in a soon-to-be-built modern facility with a wellequipped library, computers, study hall, dance hall and gardens. “It’s given me so much joy to be in a position where I can mentor young women,” says Vera, whose early years in investment banking led her on a path of deal-making, real estate and venture finance from Europe to the US, China and lately Southeast Asia.

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PHOTO: ADAM RASYID. RETOUCH: DEO @CIAO.BALI 77


COVER STORY

“Whereas once I saw myself solely as an entrepreneur, now I am in a position to give something back.” “Being able to make some meaningful

and living in another country and always

hormone tests providing actionable insights

impact on the future education of these girls

working on her real estate developments.”

into hormonal health in minutes at home.

just makes me super happy,” she says. It was a work ethic she was inspired to emulate,

Her main focus however is as Managing

Prioritizing sustainability and health,

with a dream to work in investment banking

Director at a boutique investment banking

Anaya’s Angels plans to source its own eggs

and finance. “I always knew I wanted to go into

advisory firm called Ivory Capital Asia, which

and fresh fruit and vegetables from their

finance,” says Vera. “I grew up watching Wall

is based in Singapore and does mergers and

garden, as well as offering a modern home

Street and movies like that, so at a relatively

acquisations across the board. Vera’s role is to

and study facility in natural surroundings.

young age I knew I was going to leave Germany

bring in potential deals for the team to assess.

“Our ultimate goal is to support the local

and move to the US. But then when I got to

community and empower these girls,” says

New York I realised that I wasn’t so good at it.

“Mostly I assist in introductions for deals, and we work on both the buy and the sell

Vera, “equipping them with the fundamental and essential resources needed to pave

“I worked in corporate for a long time, which

side. I’m less involved in the financial

the way for a prosperous future.”

sometimes I liked, and sometimes I really

analysis, because we have a big team that

couldn’t care less. So when I got fired from my

does that, and everyone in the office has

Vera’s own upbringing was filled with

last corporate job I realised that there was a

an investment banking background.

privilege, she says, with horses and ballet

reason I didn’t fit in so well because I knew

and piano classes at a private school near

that I really didn’t care about the businesses

“So, in the beginning I was a little hesitant

Cologne, Germany, where her Indonesian

so much. Now that I run my own businesses, I

to get involved because I don’t have a

architect mother had moved to study

enjoy what I do because I care so much more.”

traditional investment background. But then I realised it didn’t matter so much,

and met her German husband. Today Vera is the founder of companies

because bringing in an introduction is so

“I had a very peaceful European upbringing,”

across sectors, including Anaya Aesthetics

important. You can hire analysts to run

says Vera, “and I had family in Asia that I

and Anaya Property Investments in Bali,

the numbers and do the forecasts and work

would visit in Singapore and Indonesia once

as well as a marketing agency called

out the details. But if you don’t have the

a year when we would see them,” she says.

Anaya Creative Agency, which handles

deal in the first place, there’s no deal.”

her public relations and social media. What does she look for in a potential business

Growing up, she watched her mother adapt to life in Germany and become the

She is also an investor in high-performance

investment? “There are several ways to look

family’s main breadwinner. “My mother

luxury ski wear brand Perfect Moment,

at it,” she says. “You can just straight up

was a huge influence on me,” she says, “and

and a Singapore-based health App called

look at the numbers, but for me I always

I grew up seeing her managing children

Prelude Health, which focusses on rapid

PHOTO: DEO @CIAO.BALI 78


THE ANGEL WITHIN. 79


COVER STORY

STARS AND STRIPES. 80

PHOTO: DEO @CIAO.BALI


“Anyone looking for VC money should be completely transparent about their business, and be real about its attributes.” look at the founder, and where the business

Another area of interest for Vera is crypto,

estate projects here in Bali, and I have also

can go. I typically tend to invest in things

and she is an investor in IX Swap, positioned

just purchased a villa on Lake Como that I am

that I actually like, because for me its

as a “Uniswap” for security tokens with

going to spend some time remodelling. That’s

disingenuous to try and promote a business

the world’s first automated market maker

always been a big dream of mine, so I’m very

that I have zero knowledge of or interest in.

for securities on the blockchain.

excited. And then I have a big project coming

“So I found that, for me, my niche is just things

“IX Swap is basically solving the crypto

in the Middle East. There are also a few tech

that I personally like. I have been investing in

liquidity problem,” says Vera. “It aims to

startups that I have invested in. And of course

women-run start-ups and businesses. I also

bridge the gap between traditional finance

there is the Anaya’s Angels foundation in Bali,

like consumer goods, and retail brands, where

by allowing tokenisation and trading of

which I know is going to be so fulfilling.”

I like the products. I can wear the product,

traditionally inaccessible private market

I can talk about it, my friends can wear the

assets. Essentially it eases the problem of

What’s most important to her in life? “Since

products. That may not be the best investment

turning your crypto assets into cash.”

2017 all I have done is work,” says Vera. “I

up in Dubai, so I will be spending more time

don’t take weekends off – I’m always on the go

strategy, because, you know, most of the time it’s the chemical plants that are very boring

Being an entrepreneur is what suits her, says

because this is what I find most interesting.

and unsexy that make the big money. But I just

Vera, and she’s learned the hard way that while

To me, building a meaningful business is

feel that this approach is what works for me.”

a good degree from a prestigious school may

the most important thing, probably to the

look great on paper, the reality of running your

neglect of other aspects of my life. To be

own show requires a specific set of skills.

in a position to be able to mentor young

“Having said that, you are still looking at the

women and run a business that supports 50

hard numbers. Anyone looking for VC money, I think, should be completely transparent

“I think there are a lot of aspects that

families is very fulfilling for me. At the end

about their business, and be real and

contribute to success in business which are

of the day, this is what makes me tick.”

authentic about its attributes. What’s your

not learned at university,” says Vera, adding:

go-to market strategy? How are you going

“I’ve learned more from other people than I

www. anaya-aesthetics.com

to make money with the product, what are

ever did studying at school. I have been lucky

www.anayapropertyinvestments.com

the next stages and who are your partners?

enough to have certain mentors and friends

www.ivorycapitalasia.com

I also need to see that the founder and the

in my life that I have always admired and who

www.prelude-health.com

team are really in tune with their brand and

have helped me on my business journey.”

www.perfectmoment.com

know the business inside out – who are your competitors, what is the market landscape?”

What’s next on her to-do list? “I’m involved in a restaurant-bar-lounge and some real

81


FEATURE

REENA MERCHANT INTEGRATED THE PERSONAL WITH THE PROBLEM SOLVER TO BUILD HUMAN TECH. BY TARRYN REEVES BY definition, the tech industry is all about bits and bytes. But is there an opportunity for tech to do more? How can we elevate our tech companies to their highest potential, to develop software that humans want to use, and also provide outstanding workplaces for our staff? Reena Merchant, a user experience leader at Google and Founder of OurVoice, shares her insights about making the tech industry more human-centric. Why Considering the Human in Tech is Important Elevating the human side of tech can be better both for business and for people. This includes considering human needs in software development, as well as within the workplace culture. “I was interested in joining the tech industry because I am a logical thinker and enjoy problem-solving. But, on the other hand, I am also a very sensing, feeling person, so I struggled a lot with deciding whether the tech industry was right for me as a career path,” reflects Merchant. Merchant decided to enter tech and was determined to integrate the two parts of herself into the data-focused industry.

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STAY REAL.

LEFT BRAIN, RIGHT BRAIN 83 83


FEATURE

A HUMAN APPROACH.

84


“There simply aren’t as many women in tech. And because of the cultural fabric, we are often expected to behave in a certain way.” Having risen through the ranks of various high-profile

importance of “authentic leadership.” Authentic leadership

tech giants, Merchant knows there is an opportunity

involves showing up honestly and transparently. It’s also about

to invite more humanity into the tech industry and

listening to everyone’s point of view and taking the time to

that doing so will benefit everyone involved.

understand different perspectives. By doing this, leaders can create a culture of collaboration and belonging that will help

Users of software products can provide a unique perspective into

foster innovation and drive better results for the company.

their workflows, pain points, and needs. Understanding these can help shape new solutions and tools that can revolutionize

Secondly, companies should ensure that they consider

technology and make human lives more meaningful. For

that humans will use the software they develop. “I believe

this reason, it is essential to prioritize investing in people-

building products on a core understanding of users is

centered innovation rather than relying solely on data-

absolutely critical to success,” says Merchant. “If we create

driven insights. The combination of the two is critical.

products or services that genuinely address an underlying human need, people will want to buy them. This not only

Additionally, we should ask ourselves: “How do we create

drives up sales revenue but also makes people’s lives better.”

diverse, inclusive cultures and environments where everyone

User experience research is a fantastic way to incorporate

can thrive? If we do that, it’s not only better for individuals and

human insights into the product development process.

teams, but we can also create better products,” says Merchant. Finally, companies need to redefine what product success As technology evolves and expands, it is important to remember

looks like. For example, there is an opportunity to expand

the human aspects of business. To do this, there are key

our traditional measures of financial success. By quantifying

considerations companies should look at when creating a

user sentiment in ways that can tangibly tie back to product

culture that emphasizes the importance of people within the

engagement and revenue, we can ensure our products positively

organization and the products that they are developing.

impact both users and the bottom line. Additionally, goals should include long-term product and brand viability, in

How Tech Companies Can Take a More

addition to focusing on short-term performance indicators.

Human Approach to Business Tech companies have a vast scale of reach and have the Firstly, companies must redefine good leadership. “There

ability to impact society and cultures. Therefore, they need

is a perception that to be a good leader, we must have a

to develop products that add value to the world and do not

louder demeanor. This is simply not true. It’s about driving

deduct from it. There is a responsibility for tech to deliver

successful outcomes, and this can happen no matter what

results that are great for business as well as humans.

our leadership style,” emphasizes Merchant. This inclusive approach will help create an environment where employees

www.reenamerchant.com

of all backgrounds can thrive. Merchant also stresses the

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MENTAL HEALTH

BRE-ATHE MAKING SPACE OUTSIDE OF WORK RETURNS THE CONNECTION TO YOUR BIGGEST FAN – YOU. BY NICO SIMMONDS

OHM. 86


IN a world that seems to have come so far in such a short span of time, our women are still suffering. Let’s face it, hard work is exactly that – hard work. Striving to make it in a competitive world, it can be difficult for women to find time to flourish. The lack of a work-play balance, as well as the isolating individualist culture that seems infused into the idea of “success” in the current climate seems to be leaving women alone, sequestered in their homes under a pile of “ToDo”’s and extreme this-or-that internet-borne ideals; recent labels like “THAT GIRL” and The Girlboss all spring to mind, each pedaling new and higher requirements than the last. In the thick of it, it may seem to women that they don’t have space to exist as themselves, and the pressure to keep it all instagrammable and aesthetic seems to make it worse. The concept of balance and moderation is difficult to come by both online and in real life for women, and mental illness is skyrocketing as a result.

87


“Mental illness can be genetic as well as environmental – it’s multi-faceted, and no one solution will work for everyone.” So how should women rebuild their

Nature and nurture

connection to themselves?

work to help the arduous crusade of meeting new people within a hectic life, as well as

Mental illness can be genetic as well as

finding a new hobby and a community.

A recent movement online seems, ironically,

environmental – it’s multi-faceted, and no one

to be encouraging women to take time off of

solution will work for everyone. Therefore, a

social media. The concept of the Dopamine

rounded approach should be used to combat

Detox is not new, but its main reach has,

such a complex problem; seeking professional

The all-too-familiar pattern of hammering

until now, been towards phone-addicted

counseling as well as conscious life changes

away for weeks on end for a seemingly

young adults rather than working women.

to improve the quality of your day-to-day life.

fleeting weekend or vacation is not a

The concept is simple; since social media

No woman on earth is as straightforward

particularly fulfilling one for most; the fuse

is designed to evoke such a high amount of

and simple as we’d like ourselves to be, and

does, eventually, have an end. Finding a

serotonin in order to keep you scrolling, to

it’s only right that we invest in ourselves the

healthy work-life balance and a routine that

take time off would allow your overstimulated,

regard that we’d treat others with. Being “high

doesn’t cause major burnout is particularly

overtired dopamine receptors to recover.

maintenance” isn’t exactly a crime, right?

challenging for women when they have more

The burnout

on their plate than work and sleep, as they

Men and women alike have reported feeling The death of the third place

usually do.

movement, and the trend is rapidly gaining

With the emergence of suburbia and a general

Erratic new year’s resolutions and sudden,

traction online. Perhaps it’s something to look

lack of the walkable communities that so many

shocking diets are usually thrown into the

into.

grew up with, the concept of a “Third place” –

mix – they never last though, do they? The key

somewhere that isn’t home (the First place) or

to avoiding burnout, however, is consistency

work (the Second place) where you can spend

and to know oneself. Instead of committing to

your time unwinding – has dwindled. Kids

going to the gym every morning at 5AM, try a

Working from home, although beautiful

have plenty; playgrounds, malls, and peers’

guided class twice a week – it’s likely to end up

in its flexibility, seems to have encouraged

houses come to mind, but adult playgrounds

being more consistent – and who knows, maybe

workplaces to disregard what was previously

are, despairingly, not quite as popular.

you’ll find your third place.

more mindful, grounded and connected to their surroundings since participating in the

The unattainable work-life balance

considered polite work-home boundaries. Your phone is always in your hand; why not answer

The third place is one that builds community,

the work call? The danger there, as many surely

fostering connection and optimism, usually a

know, is the slow and painful death of free

public setting that hosts frequent gatherings.

time.

Your gym, library, or local cafe could, essentially, function as a third place. It may

88


REBUILD.

89


INFLUENCE

MANY people dream of the luxury lifestyle of an

“When we receive positive feedback in the form

Empowerment Through

influencer, but not all as shiny as it may seem.

of likes or follows, our brain releases dopamine,

coaching Other Freelancers

Marjet Van Wijk, known by many as Jet, the CEO

a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and

and Founder of Laptop Lifestyle Master Program,

reward. This addiction to validation can lead

Today, Jet empowers others through her

successfully became a travel influencer and

to emotional highs and lows, impacting mental

coaching program, the Laptop Lifestyle Master

began traveling the world, living the life she had

health,” Jet explains. “The opposite is also true.

Program. She helps individuals achieve location

dreamed of for herself. But the more time she

Sometimes you post something, and it doesn’t

and time freedom by imparting valuable

spent in the influencer space Jet realized that

get likes, and it makes you feel less worthy of

freelancing skills. While her program is

there is a deeply dark side to the industry and

yourself as if somehow, you are not good enough.”

open to all, she has predominantly attracted women who resonate with her message

how much damage it can have on a person. The quest for validation on social media As we journey through her experiences,

can contribute to increased rates of

we uncover the story of a woman who has

depression and even suicide. The Pitfalls of the Comparison Game

calls to provide a comprehensive learning experience. Jet emphasizes the importance

empowerment, authenticity, and self-discovery. Empowering Dreams Through Travel Influencing

Her coaching program combines self-paced courses with group workshops and coaching

transitioned from the glitzy world of travel influencing into a passionate advocate for

of empowerment and self-discovery.

Jet also realized the detrimental effects of the

of coaching, helping her clients navigate the

comparison game, which plagues social media

challenges of freelancing and entrepreneurship.

platforms, “People often compare themselves to A Message of Empowerment and Authenticity

Jet dreamt of a life that allowed her to explore

edited and filtered images, leading to unrealistic

the world, work with tourism boards, hotels,

beauty standards. Young individuals, in

and airlines, and share her adventures with

particular, struggle to differentiate between

As we wrap up our conversation, Jet leaves

her audience. However, as her career in the

reality and the carefully curated content they

us with a powerful message. She cautions

space developed, she discovered the challenges

see online, leading to feelings of inadequacy.

against chasing after the influencer dream and

and complexities of the influencer world.

This constant comparison can be detrimental to

sacrificing mental health and authenticity for

mental health, making individuals feel like they

likes and followers. She encourages everyone

“When I started to realize that I had stopped

need to change themselves to fit an unrealistic

to explore alternative paths to achieving

posting what I liked and started posting what

mold. It can also drive a culture of materialism,

a lifestyle of freedom and fulfillment.

got the most likes instead of what I enjoyed, that

where people constantly crave what others have.” “There are so many other ways to gain time

was a real turning point for me,” Jet reflects. This is a common struggle among influencers

The Transition from Influencer

who often find themselves altering their content

to Digital Marketer

and location freedom,” she declares. Jet also highlights the dangers associated

to cater to their audience’s preferences. Jet’s journey took a significant turn when she

with platforms like OnlyFans, shedding light

The influencer lifestyle, often perceived as

decided to leave the influencer world behind.

on how they can inadvertently contribute to

glamorous, can have a darker side. Jet discovered

The pivotal moment came when she realized

harm and unrealistic ideals. She questions

that in the pursuit of likes and attention on

she was no longer being true to herself and

whether this is truly a form of feminism or

social media one can end up totally disconnected

was posting content solely for validation. She

if it perpetuates harmful stereotypes.

from the authentic self. It can cause individuals

transitioned into offering marketing services

to create a fake life, prioritizing validation

to businesses, leveraging the digital skills she

Jet’s journey is a testament to the power of self-

from others over personal happiness.

had acquired during her influencer years.

discovery and empowerment. Her transition from influencer to digital marketer and laptop

The Neuroscience Behind Social Media Validation

Jet’s journey into the world of digital marketing

lifestyle coach serves as an inspiring example

was not without its challenges. She had to

of finding authenticity and purpose beyond

Being an advocate for understanding the why

overcome the ego associated with her influencer

the confines of social media validation.

behind behavior, Jet dove deep into research. She

persona and rebrand herself as a marketing

realized the damaging and addictive effect that

freelancer. The transition was marked by

IG: @jetvanwijkx

social media was having on her, she dove deep

growth and personal development.

https://jetvanwijk.com/

into exploring the neuroscience behind social media validation and why likes and followers can become so addictive.

90


From Influencer to Digital Marketer

and Women’s Empowerment Leader

M A R J E T

SITTING PRETTY. 91


EMPOWERMENT

IN the realm of women’s empowerment and

The Evolution of Purpose

self-discovery, Crystal Jackson, one of the

Crystal’s path took a significant turn when she

Empowering Women: A Personal Mission

co-founders of Elevate Co & owner of Crystal

ventured into direct sales, achieving remarkable

When asked why she is passionate about women’s

Jackson- Intuitive Business Synergist, stands

success by reaching the top 10% of her company’s

empowerment, Crystal emphasizes the need for

as a beacon of inspiration and guidance. Her

ranks. This experience provided her with

women to break free from societal conditioning

journey from a corporate career to becoming a

valuable insights into entrepreneurship and

and biases. She acknowledges the ancestral

passionate advocate for women’s empowerment

mentorship. Crystal’s focus shifted towards

wounds that continue to affect women today

through business mentorship is a testament to

helping women, particularly in addressing issues

and the societal expectations that limit their

her unwavering commitment to authenticity and

of self-worth and confidence.

potential.

Crystal shares her story, her vision, and the

“I really learned so much through that process,”

Crystal firmly believes that empowered women

driving force behind her mission.

says Jackson. “I learned so much about myself

can bring about a more balanced and equitable

but also about entrepreneurship and how to

world. She envisions a future where women’s

Early Beginnings: A Path to Entrepreneurship

mentor and guide others to help them reach

perspectives and contributions are valued

Straight out of high school, Crystal Jackson went

levels of success.”

equally, not only in business but in all aspects of

personal growth. In this exclusive interview,

life. Crystal’s commitment to this vision extends

into college, working full-time to pay her college tuition and completing two years of a law degree.

She then launched her style coaching venture,

to her role as a mother, where she seeks to set an

This early experience of paid work provided

recognizing the deep connection between outer

example for her daughter and the next generation

her with a keen insight into the inner workings

appearance and inner confidence. However,

of empowered women.

of organizations and the disconnect between

as she delved deeper into her work, Crystal

management and employees. Crystal’s intuitive

realized that transformational change required

“As women leaders and entrepreneurs we really

nature allowed her to see the issues plaguing the

a holistic approach that encompassed more than

are modeling what is possible for the next

corporate world, and she felt a calling to make a

just appearance. Her journey led her to explore

generation of women coming behind us,” says

difference in the way businesses operated.

spirituality, human design, Akashic records

Jackson. “It’s exciting to be doing what I do and

reading, and emotional clearing.

helping other women but also setting an example for my own daughter. It’s time for women to

“My first job was with the Department of Transportation whilst I was still at school,”

“What I also began to realize is that business was

really show their children that we can do more

reflects Jackson. “I very quickly saw that

still being done and taught in a very masculine

than what society has laid out for us.”

management had no pulse on what their people

way and that people were getting distracted

were doing on a daily basis and that business

by the outside noise of how they should and

Crystal’s dedication to empowering women

decisions were being made by people who didn’t

should not market and run their businesses. I

is manifested not only in her coaching but

really understand the inner workings. I could

understood that I wanted to help people build

also in her virtual admin agency, Elevate. She

just see the breakdowns within the company,

businesses that they were passionate about but

recognizes that women often juggle multiple

especially in terms of employee morale. I was

also one that felt good and authentic to them,”

roles and responsibilities, making it essential

only a year into law at that time but I realized

shares Jackson.

to provide support where needed. Elevate offers business owners the freedom to focus on their

that I wanted to go into management and make a difference.”

With her expanded knowledge and wisdom,

passions while outsourcing tasks that don’t align

Crystal embarked on a mission to empower

with their strengths.

Determined to create meaningful change, Crystal

women to create businesses aligned with

continued her education, earning a degree

their authentic selves. She believes in a more

“You don’t have to work a nine-to-five job if you

in business while gaining over two decades

holistic and personalized approach to business

don’t want to,” states Jackson. “You can build

of corporate experience. Her career spanned

coaching that considers not only external

a business that’s very successful while still

various fields, including human resources,

strategies but also internal alignment and self-

remaining inspiring and fulfilling.”

accounting and management. During this time,

discovery. Crystal’s approach enables her clients

she observed recurring challenges in businesses

to overcome personal blocks, harness their

and began to recognize common themes that

intuition, and build businesses that resonate with

hindered growth.

their unique essence.

92

IG/FB: @crystal.gayle.j


C R Y S T A L H O L I S T I C

B U S I N E S S

E M P O W E R M E N T

CLEAR. 93


UNCONVENTIONAL LIFE NEPAL: FACILITATORS

LISA THOMAS

MICHAEL DASH

Inherited Energy Expert & Intuitive Life Coach

Best-Selling Author, Founder of Live Life Activated

Lisa is a sought-after epigenetics expert, speaker, author, and

Michael is an acclaimed guide for entrepreneurs seeking

transformational leader. She’s helped thousands of people worldwide achieve their business and life goals by releasing Inherited Emotional DNA, such as fear of success, fear of failure, anxiety, procrastination, fear of public speaking, money and beliefs, and relationships.

94

purpose, growth, authenticity, and connection. In his bestselling book Chasing The High, he shares his story of overcoming addiction and evolving from an empty pursuit of success to fulfillment and vitality. Michael specializes in helping leaders express their mission and create impact and legacy.

RHONDA SWAN

HANALEI SWAN

Best-Selling Author, CEO, Live Weekly Show Host

Fashion Designer, Speaker, Author, Artist

Rhonda is a dynamic business leader, women’s empowerment

Hanalei’s parents never asked her “What do you want to be when

advocate, and author. As the CEO of the Unstoppable Branding

you grow up?”— they asked her “What do you want to be, NOW?”

Agency, a woman-owned and 85% women-run company, Rhonda

At 16 years old, she’s spoken on stages in Australia, Hong Kong,

has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as a woman of diversity

India, London, USA, France & Indonesia – including a Ted Talk in

to watch in 2021, and her company was ranked among the top 10

Paris. At age 7 she started her career producing high-fashion life &

PRN branding firms for entrepreneurs in the same year.

earth conscious products out of her showroom in Bali, Indonesia.


UNCONVENTIONAL LIFE NEPAL: FACILITATORS

BRIAN KELLY

BRIAN SWAN

Co-Founder of YogiLab, Founder of Breath Masters

Entrepreneur, Journalist, Engineer, Author

Recognized internationally as a pioneer in the field of

Brian is a former robotics engineer turned entrepreneur while

breathwork, Brian developed a renowned, mind-bending signature method unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Brian will support you in shedding the weight of the past so you can experience self-love, liberation, acceptance, balance, and peace.

living in 50+ countries and building 7+ figure businesses. He is a semi-pro surfer, co-founder of the Unstoppable Branding Agency, speaker, author and founder of Unstoppable Beard men’s grooming line. He’s on a mission to guide men to live their perfect day every day.

SASCHA HAERT

STEPHANIE JAIE

Human Behaviors Expert, Mindset, and Performance Coach

Erotic Alchemist, Metaphysical Philosopher, and Ph. D Candidate.

Sascha empowers high-achieving individuals to unlock a new

As a certified somatic sexologist here to transform the way we

paradigm of love, confidence, and personal sovereignty. His

relate to sexuality, spirituality, and love in our lives, Stephanie

passion for inner game mastery and lifestyle design shines

Jaie has spoken on stages around the world, co-authored an

through his impactful work. With over a decade of experience,

internationally best selling book, and runs a variety of online

he guides leaders, entrepreneurs, and freedom seekers

and in-person programs and mentorships that offer a powerful

worldwide.

catalyst for transformation. 95



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