Someone once told me that I wasn't independent; that I wasn’t happy or comfortable with myself and that’s why I couldn't be on my own. In the end, it was the best thing I could have heard.

It’s true that I am usually surrounded by people, and I never did travel alone. However, I have lived alone since I was a teenager, I have my own business, am self-motivated, and that sounds pretty independent to me. But maybe it was time to re-think the meaning of being independent.

This person went on to explain how travelling alone is an amazing experience; you get to meet new people, get out of your comfort zone, do exactly what you want, go where you want to go, see what you want to see without any outsider’s influence. Basically, you grow as a person.

I had never really considered travelling alone; I thought it would be lonely or dangerous.

But once I began to consider it as a possibility, I wanted to know, is it that I don't know how to be alone, or that I am afraid of being alone with myself? For the majority of my life I have been in relationships and committed to another person. I guess in a way I associated being single as not being whole.

But thinking of myself as not independent truly bothered me. I felt judged and like I needed to defend myself. I asked myself if it was really so wrong to want to share experiences with people that I care about and like to be with. Was I unhealthy?

I am a big believer in self-work, and being codependent or needing others to feel fulfilled wasn’t how I wanted to live.

Why was this bothering me so much? How could someone else’s words affect me this much— it was obvious this wasn’t about what they said...but was deeper.

For the most part I am confident and don't care what the majority of people think or say, but this time I was forced to look inward and at myself.

I did some introspective work, overthought a lot, which I'm good at, and decided to just go somewhere to be alone for the first time. It could have partially been to prove something to others, but also to myself.

And I felt alone anyway.

I booked a flight to a beautiful village in Nicaragua, in the jungle overlooking the water.
When anyone would ask, “Why are you here? What brought you to Nicaragua?”  I would answer “I’ve always wanted to learn how to surf and I heard that this is a great place to learn”. But that wasn't really it. It was just part of it…fluff.

Months later I got a message from one of my new friends from Nica who wanted to collaborate with me and my company Ripe Nutrition. He asked me to come back to his Surf Lodge and create a healthy balanced menu to nourish his guests during a wellness yoga retreat. It was a really special feeling to go back to paradise to be creative, and do what I love - to help inspire people to be healthy and to educate people on how to love themselves through nourishment. I met some amazing people again, created some life-long friendships, and networked.

Now I look forward to some future partnerships with an incredible group of women from New York City who raise money for children in need,

SOULJOURN YOGA foundation aims to raise awareness and funds for girls education in developing countries by teaming up with both local and international non-profits. They create opportunities to explore, practice, and educate through yoga both on and off of the mat by offering a spectrum of workshops and global retreats to continue to promote female empowerment and education to communities where equal opportunities aren't always readily available.

 I was cooking for them and they completely welcomed me into their group. We did yoga together and I really began to let go of things that have been weighing on me for months. Just being around this positive energy was so healing.

In yoga I cried during a hip opening ceremony, I found it very emotional and I needed that release. I also had a moment in practice when my knee was hurting. I looked over at my knee in pigeon pose and kissed it better, something I would never do. I think that was me loving myself, something I may have not being doing. I think I have been caught up in the idea that if I love someone well, they will love me back, and that was happiness. However, now I've created my own light from within, in a sense.

In having time to be alone with no distraction from outside relationships I've connected back to myself. I can’t think of the last time, if ever, that I have felt this free, content with everything around me. My career is my passion and it's growing organically. Everyday there is something new and exciting that I get to be a part of.

I realized in the past few months that I may not have been in the healthiest of relationships.  I have put people above myself and at times based my self-worth and happiness on how someone else is treating me or loving me. I was basically assuming that I was doing something wrong if I wasn’t being treated with love and mutual respect in my friendships, and intimate relationships. Maybe it was me expecting too much. Maybe I was “too much”, ”too emotional” or needed too much attention. Why was I dependent on others to be happy, to be fulfilled?

After spending time with myself and alone, I actually became really comfortable. I had time to think about life and what I am doing, and what I want. I never felt alone, I felt empowered and really independent in a way I never imagined was possible.

This work opportunity was amazing, and in being completely out of my comfort zone I grew.
I've become solid with myself. I'm learning to set boundaries in my personal relationships as well as in business.

Maybe that person who didn’t think I was secure enough with myself to be independent wasn’t trying to be harsh, but trying to open my world to new experiences. Maybe it was the best thing that I could have ever been told.

Now I am beyond sure of myself. 

- Independent af

Ripe Nutrition