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Happy Journal – Nothing’s Thicker Than Blood (Not A Vampire Story)

By 29/05/2014 Family & Friends, Family and Friends, Journal, Uncategorized

After our exciting time in New Orleans (watch video here: ) Chris and I were off to make a special stop in Nashville, Tennessee to visit my sister Kathryn. In the last 8 months, Kathryn had been diagnosed with lymphoma (cancer on the lymph nodes), gone through 6 rounds of chemotherapy, and fought her way into remission. Going through a challenging experience like this brought my family closer together. My sister is 5 years older than me and we haven’t been around each other ever since she left to go to college when I turned 13. So fast forward 9 years later and I would end up living 1 month with Kathryn in Nashville supporting her through this period. It ended up being a reconnecting experience for us. We had to learn how to talk to one another as the more grown versions of ourselves. It was like meeting a new friend, but sharing a close connection as the brother and sister we are. Kathryn and Michael Mager in Nashville Chris and I drove 8 hours North of New Orleans through Alabama. It went from swamp to beautiful forests. The sides of the highway were covered with purple, pink, yellow, and white wild flowers. When we arrived to Nashville, Kathryn and her puppy (Ari) we’re waiting for us. I was happy to see my sister and friend again. Kathryn had just come back from a trip to Hawaii where she went through a holistic healing seminar. She looked rejuvenated and healthy. We started swapping stories from our adventures. Gal, Kathryn’s boyfriend, came home later that night and we all got to catch up. During our time together we got to eat good food, kayak, do yoga, meditate and most importantly talk.

I was listening to TED Radio Hour about love and one of the most important relationships they emphasized was between siblings. Siblings have been there from the beginning. They know great stories about you that you might not remember, you can have a trusted ally when facing your parents, and you have someone that can understand you all the way to the root of who you are. I often think we act most like our unfiltered selves when we are kids.

“Blood is thicker than water” :P

My time in Nashville was fantastic and the relationship I am developing with Kathryn became even greater. If you have a sibling, I make one request: reach out to them today. Ask them “how they are doing” and be willing to truly listen. We don’t get to choose our siblings, but you will never have someone who was so closely wrapped to your roots as them. Hold on and grow that relationship because they will be there for you from beginning to end :)

Chris ended up clicking right into the family circle, which made me happy to know that our bromance was meant to be! We left Nashville with full bellies and full hearts headed on our way to Asheville, North Carolina.

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Happy Journal – Santa Fe, the land of Art and Love (part 1)

By 29/04/2014 Family & Friends, Family and Friends, Fun & Recreation, Happiness, Journal, Uncategorized

IMG_1654April 9-11, 2014

Our destination was Santa Fe, but since I my Mac Book had suddenly had issues we had to make a pit stop in Albuquerque. Albuquerque has the only Apple Store in New Mexico. For California, this is unheard of! Being the only store, I had to book an appointment for the next day since the appointments were overbooked that day. We took advantage of the day and found a bubble tea shop with wifi downtown. We got to get some work done and went over to the local Walmart to set up our home for the night. Albuquerque didn’t seem to eventful, but there were definitely niches to have fun. In the Walmart parking lot, people were playing football and frisbee. If you ever find yourself sleeping in a Walmart for whatever reason, bring a face mask. They leave their bright lights on all night.

Thursday, I made it to my appointment at the Apple Store to find out that it would take them 2-5 days to get the computer fixed. Since I didn’t have time to wait, especially in Albuquerque, I planned to turn my Mac Book in El Paso and set up an appointment a few days later. Chris and I jumped in “Bucket” and drove to Santa Fe where we would be staying with my awesome seconds parents, Peggy and Jerry, who I have known me since I was born and who’s daughter is one of my best friends. We arrived at their place around 5:00pm and it was a great feeling to see familiar loving faces. Peggy and Jerry cooked us an amazing steak meal that left Chris and I full and beyond satisfied. We finally had a bed to sleep in and a shower after too many days than I care to admit. It felt like a home.


The next day, Friday, I woke up in bliss sleeping in an actual bed. Jerry made us breakfast and it felt like we were in a resort. Today would be the first day of our first city to survey. We drove to the city center called The Plaza. There were no high rises, but many small buildings encompassing a fountain that marked the center of Santa Fe. As we began our surveys, it felt awkward approaching people with our mission, but a few surveys later we were in the zone. Initially, the plan was to get all 100 surveys in 4 hours max. 4 hours later we had 32 surveys completed… It was taking so long because people were actually compelled to tell us their thoughts on happiness! We talked to hippies, high school students, parents, managers, and homeless people. Everyone had something to say and we were excited to hear it. We started a video collection of people’s core ideas about happiness that we can’t wait to share.

Chris and I came back suddenly exhausted from the day of talking to people. Jerry and Peggy took us to a great New Mexican restaurant where Chris and I filled our bellies with some delicious chicken fajitas covered in chili sauce. New Mexico is know for their spicy taste pallet. When Chris and I came back to our Santa Fe home to our comfy beds we passed out with determination to see what a whole day of surveying would bring us.

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