Mother + Daughter in New Zealand

You know that moment when your mom stops being just your mom and you begin to build a friendship? You get to a certain point where you can see one another for who they really are and love them as a human being instead of simply as family.

I haven’t yet mastered this newfound friendship with Mom, at times I still act like a child, I’m impatient and I say things in anger that I would never say to a friend. But, the more time we spend together, the more I feel like our relationship is becoming both family and friendship.  Read More


My Perfect Day

Most nights I find myself wishing I didn’t have to fall asleep in order for the next day to arrive. It feels like an eight hour span of wasted time, simply there to keep tomorrow at an uncomfortable distance. That is how excited I am to wake up each day. Annoying, right? I know. But, if it makes you feel any better, it’s the first time I’ve felt this way since I was a child.

Yesterday was bound to be a good day, but it ended up being even better than I imagined. I had a Friday off of work, the sun was shining and I had a plan. The plan involved snuggling baby sheep, drinking wine, picking veggies and appreciating all of the beauty that surrounds me in New Zealand.

I woke up early – obviously – and was at Farm 185 by the time the doors opened. People love buying their veggies directly from the farm and the checkout line was already a thirty minute wait. There is something very different about waiting in line outdoors, at a farm, versus waiting inside a dark, gloomy supermarket. People chat with one another, pick up additional produce as they wait, and slowly shift their baskets every few minutes as the line moves forward. I came away with heaps of tomatoes, onions, kumara, coriander, avocados, and fruit – lots of fruit – all for under $30. This kind of value is unheard of in New Zealand.

The next stop on my lovely day trip was to the Animal Farm, where I finally got up close and personal with this season’s lambs. I had been eyeing these adorable little creatures for the past month as I drove past sheep grazing in pastures, but every time I would hop out of my car to try and hug one, it would immediately run in the other direction. I figured the only way to get my fair share of sheep snuggles would be at a place like the Animal Farm, and I was right. I kissed, hugged and cuddled these little cuties until they were squirming so much that I had to put them down. Needless to say, they didn’t want my love. Luckily, the farm also had baby goats who were much more appreciative of my obsessive affection.

Then there were the baby pigs, who quite possibly have the most lovable tails in the world. Yes, I tried to hold the baby pigs as well, but judging by their instant squealing, assumed that they didn’t exactly enjoy my tender loving care.

After soaking in my fair share of adorable baby farm animals, I drove to a nearby vineyard and sat in the sun, with a bottle of Chardonnay and marveled at the New Zealand countryside. At this point in the day I was beginning to feel the need for lunch. I was so excited to get going in the morning that I skipped breakfast – if you know me at all, you know that I never skip breakfast. I was hungry and the perfect solution was fish and chips along the waterfront.

I made it home by early afternoon and figured I would nap in the sun and drink some wine, but my garden was calling my name. I ended up playing in the dirt until the moon rose in the sky. Exhausted and happy, I fell into bed, eager for yoga the next morning and counting down the hours until I could wake up once more.


Roadtrip New Zealand

I’m stubborn, I’m opinionated, and I could listen to Disney songs for an unhealthy amount of time and still be perfectly content. Lucky for me, I have an equally opinionated group of women in my life to play devil’s advocate and open my mind to new ideas – I can’t tell you how grateful I am for their strong, independent souls.

One such friend flew half way across the world last week to visit me in New Zealand. Kyla booked a flight from the U.S. 10 days prior to departure, and arrived in New Zealand looking more well rested and refreshed than anyone legally should after traveling for 30 hours. Read More


The World | Nicaragua


Photographer | Carly Hougen
Location | Nicaragua
Website |
Instagram | @carlyjo
Facebook | @carlyjostudio

Carly Hougen is the artist behind these stunning photos from Nicaragua. She’s a lovely soul inside and out, with a knack for photographing life in a raw, real way that makes you feel like you’re part of her adventures, part of her happiness. She’s a natural talent whose creativity was fueled by her midwest upbringing with, “three gnarly brothers, a cowboy dad, and an artist mamma.”  Read More


The World | Austria


Photographers | Stevo Dirnberger & Chanel Cartell
Location | Austria
Instagram | @howfarfromhome
Website |

Meet Stevo and Chanel, the creative duo behind the hugely popular Instagram account, How Far From Home. In March, 2015 they left their life of comfort and predictability in South Africa and embarked on an adventure to see the world. They mark each new location with a stunning photo and a sign stating how many kilometers they are from home. Follow them like it’s your job, they are sure to leave you dreaming of new places to explore.  Read More


Bach Life

I didn’t think life could get any better. I have been living it up the past few months in the winter haven of New Zealand – Nelson. The days are sunny, the nights are frosty and life has been perfect. I spend my mornings drinking coffee with friends, doing yoga by the sea and walking on the beach. As the sun starts to set, I start work. I get to serve people delicious food and meet new friends – all while getting paid. It doesn’t even sound like work, it sounds like a holiday. But, alas, I just arrived home from a proper three-day holiday, filled with adventure and delicatessen.

Yes, you can hate me, I’ll still love you.

In the United States, we have cabins (or cottages) where we get away from the hustle and bustle of every day life. In New Zealand, if you’re lucky, you own a bach (rhymes with catch). These rustic, little holiday homes are plentiful along the coasts of New Zealand and quickly fill up during the summer. But, in the winter, you can easily book your very own bach for under $100 through the website BookABach. We paid $85 / night for a two bedroom, private house directly on the sea. It felt like I stepped back into the 70s, complete with the coordinating orange kitchen, shower and bedding – it was the perfect getaway in every sense of the word.

We had access to a row boat, two kayaks and all the shellfish we could eat. We spent the first night gazing up at the starriest sky I have ever witnessed. When the tide went down, we scampered over rocks and collected oysters. We brought our bucket full of oysters into our little row boat and sat in the middle of the sea cracking open shells and devouring them raw. I had never enjoyed the texture or flavor of oysters, but I am a changed woman. I have never consumed anything this fresh. Just thinking about the salty sea water mixing with the creamy oyster is making me hungry for more. When can I go back?

New Zealand Ocean Sounds boat ramp new zealand Marlborough Sounds New Zealand Boat House fishing gear happy girl fresh oysters boat gear boat shed stairs


You Are Not More Important Than The Earth

When was the last time you hung your laundry up outside, rather than tossing it in the dryer? Can you remember a time you chose to sweep your house over vacuuming? How about running errands on your bike instead of in the car? I’m convinced that Earth’s environmental health will continue to deteriorate until we make the conscious decision to value natural resources as equal to human resources.

That was a big statement, do you agree with it? Do you fully understand what I mean? I mean, that our human resources of time and energy are currently considered more valuable than Earth’s resources. Oil, water, soil, and clean air are all resources that we use to make our lives easier, at the expense of Earth.

We need to shift our way of thinking, we need to begin to value ourselves as equal to Earth. If we keep believing that our life is more important than the Earth’s, we are doomed to destroy our own home – a home that is beautiful, inspiring and worth saving.

Something about living on a big island, in the middle of the ocean is changing my perception of the world. New Zealand is the perfect size, big enough to be filled with beauty, yet small enough to see that it’s natural resources are in limited supply.

I’m not asking you to change your whole life around, but I am asking you to think about the impact your decisions have on the environment.

Chose to make Earth’s life easier rather than your own a little more often and we will all live in a better world.

On Monday, I’ll be launching “The World,” a photo series that will leave you dreaming of new places to explore on our lovely planet. The first feature will be in Austria, captured through the lens of How Far From Home – a creative duo with 50,000 followers around the world.

Never miss a story – subscribe to One Simple Soul today!

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High Finance to Food

I worked as a waitress the summer after my freshman year of college. It was an easy way to earn a little cash before going back to student loans in the fall. Being a waitress isn’t for everyone, and when you tell people you’re a waitress, oftentimes people feel obligated to tell you, “I could never do that job.” Read More


Autumn in New Zealand

The life of a traveler is filled with uncertainty. It seems like only yesterday I was jobless, homeless and driving a broken car. Today, my car is still broken but I’m living in Nelson, New Zealand – a town that is as close to perfect as I have yet to find.  Read More


My Life Has No Purpose

I realized recently that my life has no purpose.

I’ve spent my entire life thinking there was one, preordained path with my name on it and if I looked hard enough, was open minded enough, my purpose in life would reveal itself.

Well, I’m calling bluff on all this “purpose” baloney. I no longer believe there is one purpose for me in life. I’ve wasted too much time searching for my purpose. I’ve even tried not searching – and letting my purpose find me. Needless to say, it didn’t.  Read More


5 Reasons To Wait Until Your Late 20s to Travel

Traveling the world at 28 means I often find myself surrounded by kids. Most travelers I meet are 19-22 and at an entirely different point in their lives. Yet, I don’t envy their youthful pursuits. I have found that traveling in your late 20s might just be the world’s best kept secret.  Read More


Searching for Sunshine

You know when everything in life is going wrong and you start to feel like you just don’t belong in a country? That’s been my frame of mind for the past two weeks. No money, no job prospects and no internet. Boo hoo. I even stooped so low as to look at flights to Southeast Asia, because I couldn’t quite make it work in New Zealand. But, the universe wasn’t ready for me to be done with this country. Read More


Exploring the South Island

Most of the time I love this vagabond life I’m living – the unplanned days, the wide open road, the starry night skies. It’s the epitome of freedom. But, there are days weeks when everything falls apart. These are the moments when I question why I’m not working in a steady job, living in a warm apartment and earning a reliable paycheck. These are the moments when I freak out and it’s all Chase can do to convince me that our world is not ending.  Read More


The World

Hi Friends! 

I have an idea. It’s been floating around in my mind for a while, but I am ready to put it into action. I’m adding an entirely new twist to One Simple Soul. Once a week, I will publish a post that will feature the work of talented photographers from around the world. I will be asking these photographers to send me just 10 shots that vividly convey the feelings of one particular place. It might be India, Amsterdam, the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival or simply your favorite mountain in Colorado.

I am looking for 10, stunning photos from a single place. I want your photos to inspire others to see the world. 

Be inspired

I love looking at photos from around the world. One particular shot can inspire me to pick my next travel destination. A single image can keep me from giving up my day job for just long enough to save the money needed to reach Indonesia. That’s powerful!

Dream big

Photography can light a little spark inside of you that turns into a dream of traveling the world. I once saw a vibrant photo of a Peruvian woman and was so inspired that I booked a flight and traveled solo through Peru for four months. It happened to me and I want it to happen to you. I want you to be inspired to see how amazing the world is, just give the world a chance. You may be surprised to discover that we are all more alike than different – we all love our families, dream of a good life and worry about the future. Get to know the world. 

Send me your photos

Okay guys, I know there are plenty of you out there who have already seen a piece of this beautiful world and have incredible photography skills. I want to showcase your work, give you credit and inspire people to dream big.

Send me 10 of your best photos from any single place. Let’s get in touch, and create something beautiful together.




New Zealand Apple Pickers

We all have a story to tell and these pickers are no different. Each of them traveled thousands of miles to be in New Zealand and somehow we all ended up picking apples at the same orchard.

Who are these pickers? What’s their story?

Read More