Love is STILL the Movement

I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a “strong woman” a lot lately. In the last two days, I’ve had men I don’t know make lewd comments to me from a car window or a sidewalk FIVE times. One of those times, a man drove by me, told me it was his friend’s birthday, and with a lick of his lips and a creepy wink, told me I owed him a gift. When I turned away, my face probably crunched up in an angry expression, he yelled a string of expletives after me that I won’t repeat.

My friend asked me why I thought this happening so often in such a short period of time… was it the weather, the rolled down car windows? Was it the neighborhood? Was it my blonde hair?  I’d had the same thought- was it a full moon? What the hell was going on?

But in that moment, with no hesitation, these words popped came out of my mouth- “It’s because it’s what my soul needs.”

…I promise you, my response surprised me as much as it did her- my soul needed me to feel objectified? Huh?

I sat with that thought all evening, fell asleep confused. When I woke up this morning I realized what it was about. It was about reaffirming purpose and how sometimes purpose is less about action and more about our own way of being in the world …My way of being in the world.

For the past four months, I’ve been writing a book about my story, about abuse, about being a woman, and underneath it all, about the deeply ingrained social construct that any of us are here to be someone’s something. It’s about not wanting to be an object of affection, or an object at all, about this society in which we objectify ourselves, and about unconditional love… for self, for others, for humanity.  I know, without a shadow of a doubt that sharing that story at some point will be my purpose, but right now, I’ve felt a little without a cause, because that book is still a pile of pages barely cobbled together, and it’s a story I’m not ready to share…not yet.

Then I realized I always have something to share from moment to moment. And because it’s so damn simple, it’s also so damn elusive.  Being.

Right now I don’t have a published book, or a organization I’m supporting, a clear career goal, I don’t even know where I want to live at the end of the summer, but while I’m here, I’m showing up in the way I think the world should be.  If I’m exhausted by this consumerist culture (and I am, I so am), I could leave, move  to another country, where the rules don’t apply to me because I am an outsider, where I don’t feel so pressured to be something I’m not… but I’m not somewhere else.  I’m here. It’s now.

So today I will rebel by accepting myself. I will be an agent of change by loving EVERY part of my essential self so deeply that I can show up so authentically enough and fearlessly enough to see the heart of every single person around me, and accept them for all that they are, instead of all the ‘things’ they and society needs them to be.  My purpose… is as it always has been, to love the hell out of the good, true, alive souls all around me. Everyone.

Do I know that on some level, I am moving towards a life that empowers women? Yes, but today I don’t feel a need to “fight against” masogyny or objectification, I just need to walk around in a world that anticipates we will treat each other like objects, and to see with my heart, instead of my eyes or even my mind.   The hardest part of that, of not seeing others as object is that it means I can’t fight them, I can’t see a single one of them as enemy, even the ones who’s words batter my often exposed heart.

My purpose and my strength… to be fierce in my loving, to hold compassion for the ones that are hard to love. ESPECIALLY the ones that are hard to love. To remember I’m separate from NO ONE. Not even that sneering man who shouted ugliness from a window. To not condone his ugly words, but to notice the hurt in my own heart when I am treated like an object, and channel it, to let that self compassion fuel compassion for a deep level of disconnect in him I cannot understand, and to hope that someday someone looks him in the eye and reminds him of his buried aching heart under whatever experiences and fear made him forget who he is.

can you?

To see others from a place of love, to need nothing, but to witness the good underneath-  today it is enough, it is my rebellion, it is what makes me a strong woman.  It is the only movement I need to be a part of.

PS I have a secret… I think loving, deeply, truly loving… might be your purpose too.


A New Measure of Success

Must we quantify success?

Fine. I get it…

We’re a society in love with numbers.

I don’t hate math.

But if we must keep some sort of count,

To wrap our human minds around value,

Let us not do it in hours of work,

Dollars in the bank,

The weight of jewelry that exists only to say,

“Look, I’ve done the things, To buy the things, so I can be the things”

Success? If we so need tangibles

Physical, quantifiable evidence

Of a life lived well,

Let us keep count in eye crinkles.

Yes, eye crinkles. 

Lets measure the depth and length,

Of those smile lines that have become fixed In the corner of our eyes.

Lets count the number of moments

We’ve worn joy on our faces.

The Abundant Bohemian

Last week, I wrote about my becoming a digital nomad, and opening life to travel/adventure/and career freedom, as well as announcing the launch of my new project, Along that same vein, this week I’m honored to share an abbreviated excerpt of my dear friend Joe’s recently published book, The Abundant Bohemian: Live An Unconventional Life Without Starving in the Process. Joe’s book speaks to the either-or myth… that we must either choose a life of passion OR a life of success, he suggests we pursue both.  It includes stories of people who have indeed accomplished a life they love and prospered, as well as shares his own story of stepping out of his comfort zone. Enjoy!


 When I was twenty-two, I stepped off a plane at the Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, the first time I had traveled abroad.  Alone, no one meeting me at the gate, no hotel arrangements, and no plans until my study abroad classes started two weeks later.  I was fearful, proud, and exhilarated.  For people who grew up traveling, this experience may seem almost passé, hardly warranting me the title Brave Adventurer.  But my previous travel experiences were limited to visiting extended family a few states away and enjoying long weekends at American cities for soccer tournaments.  My family didn’t have the resources for exotic travel, but I lived vicariously through the stories my father told me of his travels through Europe while stationed in Germany in his Army days.  He and his buddies would take off on furlough, hop a train to anywhere and have experiences that would last a lifetime.  Those stories, along with the adventure novels I devoured growing up, had planted the travel bug deep within me.

Stepping off that train into the unknown (unknown to me, and when it comes to life changing experiences, that’s what matters) did not disappoint.  When I returned home, I would not be the same person that landed that day.  I met people that were unlike any I had known before, but had more in common with me than most people that I’d grown up with my entire life.  I had food that I didn’t know existed and developed a love of wine, trains and cafés.  I made deep friendships that will last a lifetime.  I had mugs of beer on mountain peaks in the Alps and in underground pubs.  I discovered nude beaches aren’t really the titillating experience I thought they’d be (anyone you would want to see naked is clothed and everyone you wouldn’t want to see is strutting in the buff).  A Czech Republic train conductor demanded a bribe before he would stamp my ticket and let me off the train.  I ran out of money.  I had moments of joy, confusion and loneliness.  Occasionally I had the sneaky feeling that someone was insulting me in a language I didn’t understand.   I loved every minute of it.  I had much to see and learn, but a life-long traveler had been born.

Many of us never cross our border because we think we can’t afford it.  But tell that to Chris Guillebeau, who, though still in his thirties (and not a trustfunder, by the way) has traveled to all 193 countries that are members of the United Nations.  I recommend you check out his blog at and his book, The Art of Non-conformity, for more of his story and for tips on travel and other unconventional living and working advice.  His stories, from running marathons in Cuba to interviewing aid workers in Sudan, paradoxically make the world feel bigger and smaller at the same time.  Another great source for traveling without breaking the bank is Scott Ford’s  On a trip, Scott gave up his seat on an overbooked flight for a free-flight voucher, and by continuing to do this each subsequent flight, he took 52 trips in 52 weeks and racked up one million frequent flier miles, all for free. (Another perk was free hotels along the way.)  Creativity is not limited to screenplays and oil canvases.  Scott has turned inexpensive travel into an art form.

           Perhaps not surprisingly, another reason many refrain from traveling is fear, the most common concern was the risk of being away from work so long.  “Are you worried about losing clients?” I was repeatedly asked.  The answer is no. I’m sure I’ve lost out on opportunities to make money because I wasn’t available, but that opens up an opportunity for someone else and as long as I maintain the income stream to meet my needs, the tradeoff is worth it.  

You also don’t have to travel to expensive or exotic places to experience the joys that travel has to offer. After experiencing a devastating divorce and losing his job, William Least Heat Moon bought a van, packed it with food and travel gear, and took off across the United States with $454.00 to his name.  His idea was to go wherever the road took him, to meet new people, and to just be open to what may happen.  “A man who couldn’t make things go right could at least go,” he wrote.  “He could quit trying to get out of the way of life and live the real jeopardy of circumstance.”  He documented his journey in his book Blue Highway, a bestseller that was translated into thirty-nine different languages and is still popular thirty years after publication.

 As with Least Heat-Moon, the need to travel often follows an upheaval in life.  Other times it comes from the sense that one’s life is stuck.  You need new experiences to open the flow of energy and rediscover your passion and creativity again.   The Australian Aborigines have a tradition of going on a “walkabout,” which Miriam-Webster’s dictionary describes as “a short period of wandering . . . as an occasional interruption of work . . . making a ritual journey.”  We all need a walkabout from time to time. We don’t grow when locked in routine for too long.  I believe from time to time we all get that faraway look in our eyes and long to be a nomad, a gypsy, a wanderer.  It pays to acknowledge and feed that part of our souls.

           Make travel a priority, my Bohemian friends.  And not to a theme park or to a cruise ship.  Strap on your backpack and hit the road, the bush, or the sky.  If you can’t go to far off places, you can still leave the familiar, the comfortable, the fixed. New ideas and new inspiration await at every turn.  Step out, Bohemian.  You may not recognize yourself when you return home.

The above is an abbreviated excerpt from The Abundant Bohemian: Live An Unconventional Life Without Starving in the Process. You can find it at

You can also follow Joe’s blog at


Almostopenbook.Com is the blog of Jennifer Monet’, writer, wild-eyed-wild-haired adventurer, and lover of life. She offers travel coaching, mobility solutions, and resources to earn a living while turning your passion for adventure into a reality at

Welcome To My ‘Office’

My ‘cubicle’ has a drink menu, my coworkers and bosses are on different continents, and today my office is furnished in hammocks, vintage furniture, and beanbag chairs.

photo (1)

 …Allow me to elaborate. I don’t have a normal job- I have many jobs and they are all online. My main source of income is teaching English to students all over the world via Skype, but I also do freelance writing and editing, as well as running an online business of my own. My office… wherever I can find a decent WIFI connection. Today it’s in the bar of a large hostel in Cusco, Peru, munching on fresh bread and avocado. Later I will migrate my office to the courtyard, so I can sit in the sun while I work.

I’ve become whats known as a “digital nomad” partially on accident. By the way, digital nomad ….loosely translated, it’s just a fancy word for anyone who works entirely remotely/online, be it from coffee shops, shared work spaces, or in my case, a hostel in South America… usually one who uses that freedom to move around, travel, and explore. The internet is a beautiful thing, as far as the potential it offers for stepping outside of the traditional career box.

I personally realized that a ‘normal’ career in one place wasn’t what I wanted when I was traveling in South East Asia. But even as a kid, when we’d write essays in class about what we wanted to do ‘when we grew up’, I would rarely name a career, and instead dream of seeing the world. Dress pants, time clocks, and office walls have always made me cringe. I have the heart of a traveler, but equally important ‘the American dream’ of working a 50+ hour workweek so I could spend the weekend buying things… it felt like a trap, and never made much sense to me.

 In December of 2013, I started a business selling antiquarian books online. I had just returned to the states after teaching English in Thailand, and after stumbling upon a few valuable books in local thrift store, started as a means to support myself while I searched for my next job. I got to spend hours digging through dusty piles of my favorite thing- books!- and within a month, I ended up turning down two full time job offers because my accidental online business was already paying better… and because I was hooked on the freedom of being able to schedule my own life. If I wanted to take the afternoon off to go to the park and work later that evening, I could. If I wanted to sleep in one morning, work in my pajamas, or take a break to grab coffee with a friend, I could. Freedom AND income, what a concept….

it always seems impossible until its done

 Six months later, I decided that I wanted even more flexibility- up until that point I’d been able to schedule myself but was still tied to a location by my inventory. So I shipped my books to a warehouse where my customer orders would be shipped by a third party.  I spent the next two months road tripping across the US, camping in national parks, couch surfing, and visiting old friends. I used the travel experiences as an opportunity to start doing some freelance writing and expand my blog, started getting some of my work published, as well as getting small editing jobs.

I was hooked. I started exploring all my options- buying and selling was great, but realistically I could only do it from the US. Yet again, I wanted to expand my possibilities.

Two years later, I have rewarding work that I can do from anywhere. I teach English and various other subjects via Skype to students all over the world, helping tutor many of them towards gaining admission to American universities, as well as freelance writing and editing…while having free time to explore whatever location my happy heart decides to visit. Right now that place is Peru… my next destination is yet to be determined, but being completely open to possibility… feels amazing. 

photo 1 (6)

I’ll be honest, my lifestyle is not for someone who needs it all to be predictable, and like any job, working online has stressful moments. I’ve lost clients because of internet issues and I’ve taught English class from a hallway with my finger on the mute button in case a hotel guest wanders by speaking another language. Working on the road requires adaptability and a willingness to believe things will work out even when the going gets tough. Initially building enough online work to travel had its challenges, as did finding the resources to travel in a sustainable way. Getting to this point has been a trial and error process, and I am constantly learning. However, traveling and working can be as predictable as you choose, and the options for achieving a mobile life nearly infinite.

Along that vein, before leaving for my latest trip I decided I wanted to share those resources as well as utilize my own background in counseling to help others explore what their best life looks like, and how they can design a more adventurous and mobile existence, by launching a business, LifeCREATIVE… because I truly believe we all can create a life we love.

While I’m busy sharing my new project, my blog will feature guest contributions from friends and fellow travelers, artists, writers, and creative entrepreneurs who have discovered ways to live the life they love. BONUS- I’m also going to fill the new site with a ton of free resources for making travel sustainable, including links to many of the resources I’ve used to land online work, free and cheap accommodation, and work exchange opportunities. Feel free to share your own travel/freelance/life resources in the comments below.

If you are ready to leap, or just explore new possibility, visit

(PS- Stay tuned, the next post will feature an excerpt from the absolutely wonderful and resource packed book, The Abundant Bohemian- Live An Unconventional Life Without Starving in the Process, written by my friend Joe Downing, a Dayton, Ohio lawyer who is using his own life to shatter the illusion that we must either choose adventure or material success… Joe’s new book highlights how we can easily have both)

Arrival, The Sacred Valley

A bit of an update is required. I’ve been in Peru for a week and every day has been a swirl of confusion, laughter, frustration, and heart.  The last week seems to have lasted for months, not for lack of joy, but for the sheer amount of moments that have brought me back to myself.  It ended up taking me four extra days to arrive in Ollantaytambo, the Sacred Incan valley, after flying into LIma, due to all sorts of travel hiccups, but even those moments of delay and unexpected chaos have been perfect and what my soul needed.  I’ve experience more kindness in this country than I can put words to, and met new friends around every corner.  There is also an energy in this valley I can’t describe, but my notebook is running out of pages after three days, and I feel light.

As if reaffirming that this trip is what I needed,  yesterday I got fired from one of my online English teaching jobs because my internet wouldn’t work, and what at home would have been a crisis I realized must be what was supposed to happen, and today I just settled into it.  There will be more jobs, more work days, but this I will only get to experience once, and I let it go.  It’s weird, maybe because I have been flailing and challenged since I arrived, even the defeat of getting fired for the first time in my life seems okay in this moment.  

This place itself is somehow swirling chaos and calm at the same time, narrow cobblestone streets jammed with tourist buses and taxis, women in bright Quechua clothing not seeming to notice the honking and police whistles as they float down the sidewalk radiating something inexplicably mythic. I feel like I’ve stepped into one of my dad’s old National Geographic magazines I flipped through when I was eight, deciding when I grew up, I didn’t care what I did for a job, as long as it looked something like these pages.  The photo captions were the first words I fell in love with, because they were so alive. 

Today it’s raining, and I’ve caught a cold, so instead of climbing the ruins or sightseeing, I’m wrapped in a alpaca wool blanket drinking hot tea under an awning. My nose is running, I’m shivering, my back aches, and I’ve still never felt more at peace.  I wrote this poem my first night in the valley. 


I have not yet been to Machu Picchu,

Or the crumbling ruins on top of that mountain.

But I have chose.

Chose a destination and



The air smells of flowers and wild onion

I wander the market

Fruit, coca,

Alpaca sweaters.

I cannot choose what to buy

Anymore than I can choose

What I will carry home

In this heart-

Corazon. Heart.

That’s a word I have always remembered.

The rest of my Spanish comes & goes.

No entiendo. I don’t understand.

These two words my saving grace.

I say them so often,

I begin to believe I will never understand

The vendor who speaks to fast.

The sweet man who wants to chat on the bus,

But I was too tired to translate my thoughts.

The woman selling paintings of condors,

That I ask her about,

And smile, because she lights up as she tells me

But in so many words I don’t know.

No entiendo.

These words become so comfortable on my tongue.

That I no longer need

To understand anything.

One night I look at the stars,

The darkness behind them is a heavy wool blanket.

I calmly let the truth of the words I’ve been saying over and over

Wrap themselves around my heart.

As I whisper to the Incan Apus,

The mountain gods, Pachamama, whoever is listening,

Two words that set my soul free-

“No entiendo.”


Almostopenbook.Com is the blog of Jennifer Monet’, writer, wild-eyed-wild-haired adventurer, and lover of life. She offers travel coaching, mobility solutions, and resources to earn a living while turning your passion for adventure into a reality at

Parachute Shopping


Sure  I’ll take a leap…

After I’ve comparison shopped online for months

For the parachute that got the best reviews on Amazon.

I’m bold, I’m brave…

I’m just still in the planning stages.

I’m building the foundation.

If I leap, I need something to leap from right?

next year I’ll step off into my dreams,

But this year I’m building, and next year…

I’m laying tile. And buying furniture.

Installing closet organizers….

I need someplace to hang my parachute.

Wait, did you hear? They just came out with a new parachute.

Way better than the one I bought.

It’s got these rivets, and different stitching….

No, I’m not really sure what for, but I’m sure it’s better.

You need certain things to leap, right?

I’ll need to work at least six more months to save enough money for this one.

Plus, the tile is peeling from my foundation, and I’m thinking hardwood.

…The neighbors have hardwood.

Sure, I’ll take a leap. I’m just not ready yet.

Leaping is part of my ten year plan though, I swear.


Almostopenbook.Com is the blog of Jennifer Monet’, writer, wild-eyed-wild-haired adventurer, and lover of life. She offers travel coaching, mobility solutions, and resources to earn a living while turning your passion for adventure into a reality at

Soul Selfie

Your new profile picture is flattering,
You have a lovely shell,
I like what you’ve done with it.

Your molecules are arranged nicely-
It’s a pleasant view.
New week. New photo. New self.
Well done on the camera angle.
Good choice on the lighting.

…But you are not an object.
Bone structure, teeth, skin, inconsequential.

I want to see a selfie of your SOUL.
…That I would ‘like’ the shit out of



Almostopenbook.Com is the blog of Jennifer Monet’, writer, wild-eyed-wild-haired adventurer, and lover of life. She offers travel coaching, mobility solutions, and resources to earn a living while turning your passion for adventure into a reality at

The Gods of Not Knowing

Star Trails

Order and chaos,

Destruction and creation,

Points of light in a sea of dark matter
The end of one body,
Birth of a million new ones.

It needs nothing.

It goes on.

So when the physicist said,
“There is so much we still need to explain”.
I laughed.
Need? Why? I think you mean want.

…things you want to explain.
What if not making sense… makes sense.
His god is knowing.
But my god is the nothing I know,
And everyone who knows nothing,
God and goddess.

And my god IS the physicist, the biologist, the astronomer,
Scrambling to find order in the ineffable.
My god is also the writer, the artist, the musician,
Yearning to express on the outside,
Swirling motion inside their body

That will always defy explanation.

My god is the healer, the helper, the caretaker,
Each holding impossible space,
For human anxiety in the face of infinite unknowns
Maybe my god is the scared one hurting,
The drug pusher, the thief,
The drunk driver who hit my car and sped away.

Gods who hold up the world,
And gods who shake it violently.
Gods who make love, gods who make fear.
Gods who are wise and crazy and confused
Curious and beautiful and alive.

Who is god?

What is god?

Today, my god is the millisecond after the question,
the space between asking and answering,
When I love all that I can’t know.

.Star Trails

Almostopenbook.Com is the blog of Jennifer Monet’, writer, wild-eyed-wild-haired adventurer, and lover of life. She offers travel coaching, mobility solutions, and resources to earn a living while turning your passion for adventure into a reality at

Laughing at Myself and Trusting the Universe

Ah the joy of laughing at oneself…. This morning it started with reading my last journal entry before the new year, in preparation to write my first blog post of 2015.

December 31st The experiences of this year have been perfect, because they’ve brought me to my growing edge again and again, a place where I have to be fine not being in control and trust things will always go as they should. That all I ever need is to trust the universe in all its divine intelligence, and to let go.

I laughed, because yesterday after making my New Year’s resolution to trust things to unfold as they should, I sat down and balled my eyes out, because even after writing that, I was still stuck on the fact that I’m setting aside my plan of moving back to Asia to teach English and the trip to India I’d dreamed of for years, to stay help take care of my family. “But I knew what I was doing, I had a plan,” I told my friend, “now what am I supposed to do?”

I laughed when I read it, because just two days ago I knew that the only thing I’m really, really supposed to do is trust the universe enough to recognize the opportunities that exist right here, and be present, even if that means throwing out the 2015 I had meticulously crafted for myself, and just saying, “Alright universe, I get it. I’m not in charge of everything.” I’m supposed to trust, even if it means giving up the certainty I had that this was the perfect plan, and stepping into the big open space no longer having it leaves. I laughed because it didn’t even take me two days to forget what I knew, and get in my head, and totally panic at the idea that I don’t have a plan, or a clue, or a map. I laughed, and I smiled, because the universe was kind of enough to nudge me to write that down, so I could come back to it when I  forget.

I laughed because I just had a poem published where I talked about how I don’t live in my head anymore, and I realize I definitely, definitely hang out there a lot more often than I’m willing to admit. I laughed, because part of trusting the universe is trusting that I’m also exactly who I’m supposed to be right now, even if that is a person who forgets what she knows almost daily, and who really, really wants to live from a heart space, and be a person who deeply knows that all the plans that go awry are a part of some bigger plan, but who has a loud monkey mind that gets in the way.

I laughed at myself the hardest though, when I spent a solid hour meticulously composing the first version of my blog this morning, on how we have to embrace that despite our plans, the universe often has other ones, and then my computer crashed and did not save a single word of it. Because, after an hour of reflecting on adaptability, my immediate thought when I got that dreaded blue screen was still, “Oh great, now I have to start over. That thing I just wrote was really good, and now I have nothing.”

Ohhhh. Good one universe, message received. And then after a fit of uncontrollable laughter, I sat back down, and I started over. All was not lost, it never is, the end result just different than anticipated. I lost an hour of words, but I suppose that was exactly what was supposed to happen, because I wrote what you are reading instead.  And I suppose that’s always the way it goes- we make static plans, we forget that we live in a dynamic world. And, when the universe reminds us, we can either struggle or we trust the journey.

Here’s to knowing that I’ll probably do a little bit of both in 2015, because I’m a human, and being totally okay with it, and to knowing that every time I miss the mark, the universe gently guides me back.  All love, Jen


Almostopenbook.Com is the blog of Jennifer Monet’, writer, wild-eyed-wild-haired adventurer, and lover of life. She offers travel coaching, mobility solutions, and resources to earn a living while turning your passion for adventure into a reality at

I Am This.


The silence was beautiful and wild,

I knew nothing of the next moment.

I was in love with the open spaces

This canyon had created in my soul.

Just two days here-

The swirl of words in my mind stopped

Long enough for me to listen

To the wind.


The coyotes danced behind my tent.

Unafraid, I listened to them

Make love to the sky.

Each one shouting praise over the other.

This is ours! We are this!



I only leave the canyon,

To buy fresh vegetables and rice.

But as I drive up the gravel road,

Back into the land of wires and words.

My phone rings.

I’d willingly forgotten the sound.

The steady buzz,

Someone always needing something.

I answered, and a voice I’d left behind speaks,

“What you have-

This isn’t beauty, this is nothing.

Having nothing is failure.

You can’t need nothing.”


How dare you be happy,

And act like you did it yourself,

Say you need nothing.

He shouts,

You need me.


I love my nothing

Because my nothing belongs to me, I want to say.

I found my heart again, I want to say.

But he’s talking over me already.

Come home. Do the things.

Be the person,

I need you to be the person.

I. Need. You.


He pours concrete into the spaces of my soul

And I let him.

Fill me with words- doubt, should, must, do.

I can’t hear the coyotes anymore.

I can’t find the silence.

My mind fills, and I leave my canyon.

I say no goodbye though.  I will return.

To howl at the sky-

This is mine! I am this!