What Do We Really Do?

“Our job is the excuse through which we get to love people.” – Panache Desai

I heard this quote about 8 years ago on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday of her interview with Panache Desai. 

It resonated with me so much that I had it on my vision board. I wanted to remind myself of that all the time. 

My job is where I get to love people. 

I used to think I need to create that one big thing that could impact the world. But then I came to realize it’s less important WHAT I do but more important HOW I do it. 

I don’t have a business that is changing the world per se nor am I making millions of dollars. But I do have a business that is bringing joy to others. It makes me happy to see my customers happy.

Being in Thailand and having my business based in the US. I often wake up to messages from my customers, thanking me and telling me how much they love my products and how they make others happy when they give them away as gifts.

It’s a beautiful way to wake up. Knowing that my products are making people happy energizes me to keep going, to keep doing a good job.

Because my goal in any business I do, is to make people happy. 

I might not be selling things that are changing the world, but I am making somebody smile. My products are making people feel loved and helping people express their love.

That makes me the happiest. That fulfills me. 

So often I hear people ask, what’s my purpose? What am I supposed to do in life?

We often look for that ONE THING we can pour our heart and soul into. 

But we miss something important in our search for that ONE THING. 

It doesn’t matter what we do. As long as we put our loving attention into it, that thing can then become that ONE THING. 

We don’t search for that ONE THING. We create it with our love and attention. 

We could be cleaning toilets, driving a bus, all these seemingly insignificant jobs, some do it in dread, some do it with passion. Those who do anything with passion, win. For they make others feel their passion, their love. And that’s what makes the world go around.

The vibration of passion carries us on our path to success. 

Instead of asking what I should be doing, look at what you are currently doing and ask, how can I do it with more love? 

That momentum will carry you to walk the path of passion and love. That will eventually lead you to that ONE THING. 

Let it unfold patiently while pouring your love into everything you do.

Be patient.

Be love.

My dear.

Packing Valow bamboo straws as giveaways for a company Gala

Becoming Vegetarian… Kinda!

The past two weeks traveling and living with Avner – who has been a vegetarian almost his whole life, I adopted his diet. Mainly because I felt bad eating meat next to him and wouldn’t want him to pay for my meal if I ordered meat. Another main reason is because I am a Buddhist. I thought I would finally use this as an opportunity to adopt one of the main Buddhist practices. 

In the beginning, I would dream of the day when we return to Koh Phangan and I would devour all the meat I could eat. But as time goes, I enjoy not eating meat more and more. 

I have tried vegetarian diet before. Especially after my dad passed, I was strictly vegetarian for over a month. But it never lasted longer than that. 

Diet is a habit. To switch from eating meat to eating veggies only takes a bit of time to adjust. The same thing goes the other way. I remember coming out of a vegetarian diet, it was very hard for me to start eating meat again. It took some time to adjust too. 

A few days ago, I bought a vegan cookbook! Haha… it was mainly because I wanted to support a couple that I follow on YouTube – Eamon and Bec. They are strong advocates for veganism. The cookbook is so beautifully designed and well-made. I felt like I spent $20 on the design of the book more than the recipes. Anyhow, I was very happy with my purchase!

Check out the cookbook here.

Avner and I decided to try out our first recipe from the book – cashew cream. Even though I eat meat, but ever since I was a child, I never liked dairy milk. 

Our current kitchen is well-equipped with cooking utensils and tools. So we thought we would utilize the blender and have some fun in the kitchen. 

The cashew cream turned out freaking amazing!!! I can’t believe how good it tastes and how easy it is to make. Where have you been my whole life, cashew cream!

If you don’t buy the book, I will share the recipe here with you. 

  1. Boil two cups of cashew for 10 minutes and drain. (the recipe says to boil the cashew but we didn’t. It still turns out great!)
  2. Add the cashew, 2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, salt and one cup of water into the blender. (The recipe also calls for pickled jalapeno. I couldn’t find it at the market so we put in some regular chilli pepper instead.)
  3. Blend everything until smooth. Add more salt or vinegar until it suits your taste.

Bam! That’s it!!! 

We ate it with raw veggies and potato chips. This morning, we put it on toasts and radishes. It was DELICIOUS! 

It can stay in the fridge for up to 4 days but you can freeze it as well for up to two months. 

It’s very funny I am sharing a vegan recipe here. I hope I will have more to share in the future!

A very simple yet delicious breakfast at home.

My Path As An Entrepreneur

I started my first company in 2012 with my partner at that time.

Building and running my first company taught me many things as you can imagine. It groomed me into an entrepreneur. I had so much drive in me that I didn’t mind working til 2am and on most weekends. I felt like I grew from a naive little girl to a hardworking woman. Thanks to the company and our clients, I got to attend many exclusive events and amazing venues. And I also got to learn everything from photography, to building a team, to marketing, bookkeeping… all that jazz.

My team and I at Super Bowl City 2016 in San Francisco.

It was a company that I was proud of. Our tag line was “Celebrating Life Together”. I love that we were always the life of the party. Clients hire us to entertain their guests with our photobooth and silly props. But our vibes were our true service. Making everybody happy and spreading positivity everywhere we went.

With my team and friends participating and working at Cycle For Survival – our biggest project every year across the whole United States.

It was a great journey to say the least. As all good things come to an end. After almost 6 years, I exited the company in 2018. 

Since then, I have created many other businesses. I tried making and selling candles, started my own brand producing and selling eco-friendly products, dropshipping on eBay, etc. I like to get hands-on experience in many things and always curious to try something new.

The entrepreneurial journey isn’t rainbow and sunshine. Having no boss to report to and the freedom to set my own schedule are all the shiny things people think entrepreneurship is like. While it is true but it’s also a double-edged sword. So many times I wished I had a boss to tell me what to do. Most of the time I had no idea what I was doing, trying to find my way in the dark.

I vividly remember one day, seeing my company wasn’t really picking up. I thought to myself. I really suck at being an entrepreneur. I mean I don’t have negotiation skills, I don’t know how to communicate with my employees, I don’t know how to market or sell, I am not really doing my book right.

But I also remember having that realization but being fine with it. I thought “I am okay that I suck at this. But I am willing to give it a go and get better.”

I might not have great negotiation skills but I’m learning. I might not know how to communicate at times, but I am learning as well. 

I don’t think I am the best, the most talented, but one thing I know is I don’t mind trying. My strength is my tenacity, my curiosity, my willingness to give things a go. 

Some might say that’s the most important trait of being an entrepreneur. 

Getting back up again and again. Keep moving forward again and again. It’s not the how or the what. It’s simply the motion of doing again and again and again. 

Nobody is naturally good at something. Even the best musician starts from not knowing how to play music. Even the best chef was once a bad chef. We all start from the same place. 

Some say perfectionism is a modern-day disease. It stops us from trying. We want to avoid failing because it makes us feel like we are not good enough. I am not sure why and when we started believing in that or started conditioning ourselves to feel that way. Instead of looking at us failing, why not look at us trying?

Instead of looking at us not doing good enough, why not be proud of ourselves trying something even when we are not good at it?

Being totally present in the journey with curiosity and commitment to grow – is the key to feeling fulfilled and alive. 

The cliche – The journey is better than reaching the destination. It’s true. 

We might scratch our head, feel like we are not good enough, not sure where to go, what to do. But if we are willing to keep going no matter what, we will eventually find the way, we will eventually find the gold.

Not trying is worse than failing. 

What are you willing to try? Let’s give it a go regardless!

Photo taken at Sende in Galicia, Spain 2018 while I was building my second business Valow.

The Ponderosa, Slab City

Recently, I was invited to write a guest post for a friend’s website.

So I dug up my memories from the past 4 years of being a nomad, a traveler. 

There are so many stories that I could write a book.

But here, I’ll share just one, with you. 

Right before Thanksgiving of 2017, I was back in California. Without any solid plan, one thing led to another, I got an RV – another dream fulfilled.

I’d never even been in an RV before I bought one. 

Long story short, I spent the next two months traveling and living out of my RV. 

The last two weeks of my RV journey, I spent at Slab City, known to be the last lawless place in America. It’s located near Salton Sea in Niland, California.

Slab City, not governed by any government, has rules of its own. I have heard a lot about this place but at the same time, not knowing much about it. 

At the entrance of Slab City, sits The Salvation Mountain, a mountain hand-painted by Leonard Knight. He spent 28 years painting this mountain to spread the message of God and Love. Words got out, the reputation of this place grew. Leonard became the most visited man on earth.

The Salvation Mountain, Slab City

Slab City is known for squatters, hippies, snowbirds, calling this place their home. 

It’s also a place full of art, weird structures, dogs, murderers, rapists, drug dealers – did I just catch your attention?

Yes, this place has an interesting reputation. At first, I wasn’t sure if I should come here by myself. But with some reassurance of women who live there, I had a feeling it was safe for me. 

I arrived here in my RV, not knowing where to go. I circled around the city, found a place close to the center to park and spend the night. During the night, I could hear people yelling, dogs barking. I didn’t have a restful night. 

I woke up the next morning, decided to find a quieter spot. I drove away from the center, wandering around the city. I was excited to find a piece of land that I thought was perfect for me to camp out and have some peace for myself. 

As I was situating my RV to park, my 23-foot home sank into the sand….!

Oh my… the sand is soft, and now my RV is stuck… in the sand!

Yes… I was really stuck.

At this point of my journey, I’ve encountered countless ‘mishaps’, so this accident didn’t shake me as much anymore. 

I am out of nowhere in the desert, on a hippie land. The AAA I applied for a few days ago is not yet valid. Having the RV towed would cost a fortune. I thought to myself.. “Ooopsieee! But I’m sure I’ll be fine.” Ha!

Not knowing how to get myself out of this situation, I decided to just continue with my life. After all, I have everything I need in the RV to survive. No need to panic. I proceed to make myself coffee and lunch. 

After I finished eating, I heard a truck approaching, and a voice shouting “Do you need help?”

The angel has come! I got out of the RV and shouted back “YES!”

Then, I saw an old man, getting out of the truck, with a beer in his hand, his name is George. 

George and his buddy accessed my situation and said I had been stuck in the ‘sugar sand’. Sand that appears to be solid but is actually soft. Okay, I learned something new today. 😉

George asked me to stay put and they would get some help to pull me out of my rut. 

After 20 minutes, he showed up with another truck, 3 other guys, 2 shovels, and a chain.

Two young guys started shoveling the sand around my tires. Another guy hooked my RV to his truck with the chain. I can’t believe a group of angels had arrived to my rescue. 

Thanks to the angels.

After about 10 minutes of shoveling, they decided it was ready to pull my RV out with the truck. It took a few tries but eventually… dun dun dun… my RV was out! 

It was a success!

I felt exhilarated, thankful, relieved. 

George then asked if I wanted a tour of the city. Of course I agreed. He then took me to his hood called “The Ponderosa”.

George has spent his time in Slab City building this beautiful camp. He even converted a few trailers into Airbnb accommodation. People from all over the world could come to get first-hand experience living in this crazy town. 

At the time I was there, there were a few Airbnbers, very interesting people. As you can imagine, the people who would spend their money and holiday in the desert should be interesting people as well. 

After my rescue, I was sitting around the fire pit at Ponderosa, surrounded by interesting people, talking, laughing, playing music. I was in awe with Life, again. 

These two are from the band ‘Men I Trust’, playing music around the firepit and petting George’s dog.

During my time there, I also gathered up the courage to perform at the infamous stage “The Range”. This stage also appeared in the movie “Into The Wild”. In fact, I felt like my whole RV journey was like the movie. 

At that time, I had only been really practicing guitar for 2 months or so. I wasn’t ready yet to perform. But I have the habit of overestimating myself sometimes. So I thought I could do it and went for it. 

Some of my friends from LA even traveled to come see me on stage. 

While I was on stage looking down, I could see my new friends from the Slab, and my old friends looking at me, cheering for me. 

My performance didn’t go well technically, but I was proud that I pulled it off somehow. I had a great time and so did the audience. I promised I would be back again. 

My first appearance on The Range.

After two weeks staying at Ponderosa, I got the inspiration to fly back to Thailand. I am a sucker for inspiration. So then, I had to say my goodbye to the Slab and to my friends there. 

Even though this place has a crazy reputation, I got to see the real Slab City from the inside. How neighbors take care of each other, how much love goes around.

It was a short stay but every day I was there, I was showered with so much love from George and all the slabbers. Every day I woke up, George would tell me how much he loves me and say “I am so happy I saw you stuck in the sand”. In which, I replied, “I am so happy I got stuck in the sand!” – a rather unusual encounter turned into I believe a life-long friendship. 

Though I haven’t seen him since I left the Slab, meeting him is something I will remember and the love he gave me will stay in my heart forever.

Me and George.

Koh Lanta

5 days ago, Avner and I, with our backpacks and my guitar, hopped on the boat, left Koh Phangan, and headed our way to Koh Lanta. 

Waiting for our boat at the pier on Koh Phangan

I had heard about this island 4 years ago and had been wanting to come here. Finally, it’s happening!

With the 3rd wave of Coronavirus surging in Thailand, some people questioned if it was a good time to travel. But I knew it was time. 

We spent the whole day traveling. First, a speed boat from Koh Phangan to Surat Thani (2 hours). Then a minivan from Surat Thani to Krabi (3 hours). In Krabi, we got a private taxi to take us to Hua Hin pier (1.5 hours) where we took a car ferry (15 min) to cross the Andaman Sea to Koh Lanta. Once we arrived in Koh Lanta, we realized there was no taxi available at the pier but thankfully a kind local took us from the pier to our hotel. 

This funny taxi driver appeared at the bus station to take us to the pier, when we thought we had no way to get to the pier and might have to stay the night in Krabi.
First time being on an open ferry like this!

We spent the first night at a hotel next to the beach. The next day, we began to search for a home to stay for the next 2 weeks. After an afternoon search, we found a lovely place sitting on top of the hill, owned by a Swedish family, called Malee Highlands.

The property is well designed and maintained. We love our new house! It’s a two-story house with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. It has a panoramic view of the ocean. The sun sets right in front of us over the ocean. The interior of the house is well-designed. We are impressed by their attention to the details. 

Koh Lanta is very quiet at the moment. Many shops are closed. But we enjoy the simplicity and the quietness. We spend most of our time working, playing pool and ping pong in the game room, checking out new restaurants, watching movies at night. 

We haven’t been around much and I am happy to have found a travel buddy who doesn’t mind having a ‘boring holiday’. 😉

Watching the sunset every day from our balcony
Our fully-equipped kitchen
Living room on the second floor that we barely use