So you’re going to a country that you’ve never been to. You’re stoked. This is going to be so fucking dope. You’re in a space of certainty, because you got this! If you’re doing something that bold + brave, then you simply HAVE to come at it with your most ferocious inner badass. Here’s what you need to know so that you have some simple smarts to back, back, back it up! 1. Carry a backpack. Life is going to be a helluva lot easier with two free hands, babe. Just trust me on this one. 2. Don’t eat the plane food. Or the airport food. Or the hot dog stand outside the airport food. If you’re putting your body through the stress of travel, then you need to nourish it properly to combat that stress. 3. Do eat SOMETHING. Ideally, you’d be packing snacks to bring with you. Depending…

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11pm. Garden House Hostel. Porto, Portugal. I’m sitting at the computer in the narrow hallway between the kitchen full of nomads and the living room full of student travelers. I’m supposed to be working, but there is an Australian at the computer next to me. Naturally I pause all the things and pick his brain for as long as he’ll let me. I tell myself it’s research. The truth? I hunger for stories. He’s got some stories. I didn’t realize that as soon as he took off for bed, one of the most insane stories of my own would walk right up to me. While I was chatting with said Australian, I felt this lingering presence. Do you ever feel like you’re being watched? Can you tell in what manner you’re being watched? The last time I felt it with this intensity was that creeper hanging in nearby bushes in Venice. This was…

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Disclaimer : I’m not giving you the setting for this. It’s confidential. But I know you, lovely, and I know you understand. Thanks for that. And then she said, “Jasmine, the whole time you were sitting up there I kept wondering… What would you be like if you didn’t have to be good for anyone?” And then I said, “Thank you.” And then I thought. Hmm. That’s interesting. I really don’t see myself like that. I squinted one eye. I tilted my head. What an interesting conclusion. I was on the edge of brushing it off, because as the queen of self-identity, I’m quick to assume that there is no way another’s opinion of me could possibly be illuminating. Just as I was about to tip over, I pulled back. I pulled back because I noted the response from everyone else in the room : a row of glorious twinkly-eyed people nodding, bobbing…

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**Disclaimer || I’m not a medical professional. This is my story. This is my truth. I’m sharing what worked for me. That’s all.** I start this with an audible heavy sigh. This one feels gritty. This one feels unclean. This one feels dark. But the only way to get through the dark is to shine a light. So here we go. Let’s get out the camping flashlight – the one with megawatt brightness and massive battery power and shine some SOUL on this darkness. It’s time. *Shake it off, Jonte. Shake it out, Jonte. You can do this. This story is a gift. Write it as such.* I’ve felt the pull to write this one for months, but simply haven’t been able to pluck up the courage. But this story is crashing onto this web page like an avalanche. Maybe that reflection time — those months of avoidance — was…

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I have never considered myself a poet. Like, ever. But I was sitting in the cafe in Irby, and felt struck with the need to be one in that moment. It kind of led me to a momentary identity crisis, and then I decided to lead with my creativity rather than my fear. Love was the outcome. No.1 english gentlemen. Englishmen. go ahead. call me your darling. call me your love. give me your silent winks. subtley sexy, yet intensely intimate. just for a moment, grace me with all of your focus. it’s lovely.

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