So Much Writing, So Little Time!

That was an unnecessarily dramatic blog post title, but it’s partly true; I am doing a lot of writing these days in a short span of time, and I love it. A little over five months ago, I launched my passion project, The Globe Getter. It’s a travel blog aimed at the working professional to show that it’s possible to see the world without winning the lottery or quitting your job. Not that there’s anything wrong with winning the lottery and quitting your job, but it was all I saw in the travelsphere, so much so that I decided to write about it: I Did Not Quit My Job to Travel the World.

Since starting my travel blog, my writing has ramped up for all of the outlets I freelance for: Yahoo Travel, Huffington Post, Travel Noire and Examiner.com. It’s been a great way of combining my love of writing with travel and getting a few perks out of it.

I write all of this to say there’s a reason I don’t write any blog posts on this site anymore. If you’re looking to read some blog posts from me, head hereand enjoy. I promise it’s worth it.

The Globe Getter - Tausha Cowan

That Time I Went to South Africa

South Africa - Tausha Cowan

Anyone who knows me knows that I eat, sleep and breathe travel. My list never gets shorter and my desire to see the world never diminishes. In fact, with every new trip I take, I learn of more places I want to see. Such is the nature of the beast.

Recently, I ventured to South Africa with my family to celebrate my mom’s birthday. To sum up the trip in five words: I want to go back. It’s an amazing country with a history that deeply resonated with me. It is also apparent that South Africa still has a ways to go in order to distance itself from the dark cloud of apartheid. I am hopeful they will get there.

Because I like to share the things I love, particularly when in comes to travel, I decided to write a round-up of my seven must-have experiences in South Africa. The Huffington Post article can be found here. I hope those who read it feel as compelled to go as I felt compelled to write this piece.

7 Must-Have Experiences in South Africa

And for more pics, check out my Flickr album: South Africa 2014.

 

Another HuffPost Blog: Why We Need to Place More Value on Experiences

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For as long as I can remember, I have loved seeking and sharing experiences. Whether it was practicing six days a week for the latest high school musical or getting on a plane to study abroad in Ghana for five months (and blogging about it), I wanted to collect experiences the way you would shells at the beach. Without fully realizing it, I felt that the memories I accumulated and people I met along the way would have an impact on who I am, what I believe and what matters to me. As I get older, this love of experiences has only grown as I reflect on what I’ve accomplished and what I want to achieve next. Hence, my second Huffington Post blog on why we need to place more value on experiences.

Right now, society measures success through our possessions — a flashy car, a nice house, expensive jewelry, etc., but research has shown that our possessions don’t give us happiness in the long run, experiences do. With that in mind, I felt it was important to write about why we need to change what we value and work toward accumulating experiences rather than possessions.

Read more here. 

Learning to Create My Own Definitions (For HuffPost)

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A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending an event to hear Arianna Huffington speak about her new book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder. By this point, I had read many of her articles (including this favorite) and had seen a number of her interviews, so I was very familiar with her third metric concept. Nevertheless, it was great to see her in person and listen to her advice on unplugging, reconnecting with ourselves and moving beyond society’s current view of success as having money and power.

After the event, I sent a note to Arianna Huffington and was later asked to write about how I am redefining success in my life. The result? This Huffington Post blog: Learning to Create My Own Definitions. In writing this, I wanted to share how I, and many of my peers, have seen that the old measurements and paths to “success” are not working as well as they used to, so it’s up to us to figure out what we value and how we’re going to get there.

Here’s a brief excerpt:

“To start, I have first acknowledged that determining what my own definitions will look like is not something I can schedule into my calendar and have completed in a day. It would be convenient if I could set aside a lunch hour, sit back and say, “OK, definition of success: Go,” and it’s all figured out by the time I need to get back to work. Rather, I know it’s a process that begins with my values.”

And here’s the rest.

What Kind of Leadership Do You Aspire To?

leadershipEarlier this week I returned to my alma mater (hey, NYU!) for an event related to their Leadership Initiative, a program aimed at preparing students to be ethical and inclusive leaders who have a profound impact on the world. As one of the alums leading discussions with students, I was urged to have everyone think about one word to describe the kind of leadership they want to build for themselves.

As I was thinking about this question, I thought to myself, how would I answer that? I was initially stumped. It’s one thing to know the definition of leadership (Merriam-Webster defines the word as “the power or ability to lead other people”), but it’s another to know, and work toward, a certain kind of leadership.

The NYU Leadership Initiative talks about leadership as a collective achievement, one focused on inclusion, diversity and differences to achieve a shared purpose. As the world becomes more connected and blended, I feel as though this type of leadership is not only something to aspire to but is also crucial. The old perception of leadership as one person leading the way while everyone else follows does not have lasting power. One only needs to turn on the news to see that. Instead, a collaborative approach, in which there are differences and those differences are recognized and respected and then used to achieve a shared goal, seems to be the ideal kind of leadership. Though it’s easier said than done, it’s certainly possible.

For me, I love the task of continually working toward collaborative leadership because it means always having to listen and be cognizant of any disagreements or moments of tension. With collaborative leadership, there has to be an element of understanding and respect in order to get to that shared goal, so it’s a constant exercise in awareness of others as well as awareness of yourself. That is the kind of leadership I believe in and work to build for myself. What kind of leadership do you aspire to?

2014: Here’s to More Mindful Living

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Several days ago, I came across this article, entitled “12 Tools For Mindful Living” by Leo Babauta and have been revisiting it ever since. As the article states, it’s a toolset to help you achieve your goals, whatever those may be.

I’m not one for making grand new year’s resolutions, but I think these tools are worth trying whether it’s a new year or not. Of the 12 tools, the following three in particular are ones I plan to focus on:

Become okay with Discomfort.
The fear of discomfort is huge–it causes people to be stuck in their old bad habits, to not start the business they want to start, to be stuck in a job they don’t really like, because we tend to stick to the known and comfortable rather than try something unknown and uncomfortable. It’s why many people don’t eat vegetables or exercise, why they eat junk, why they don’t start something new. But we can be okay with discomfort, with practice. Start with things that are a little uncomfortable, and keep expanding your comfort zone.

Be Curious.
Too often we are stuck in our ways, and think we know how things should be, how people are. Instead, be curious. Find out. Experiment. Let go of what you think you know. When you start a new project or venture, if you feel the fear of failure, instead of thinking, “Oh no, I’m going to fail” or “Oh no, I don’t know how this will turn out”, try thinking, “Let’s see. Let’s find out.” And then there isn’t the fear of failure, but the joy of being curious and finding out. Learn to be okay with not knowing.

Be Grateful.
We complain about everything. But life is a miracle. Find something to be grateful about in everything you do. Be grateful when you’re doing a new habit, and you’ll stick to it longer. Be grateful when you’re with someone, and you’ll be happier with them. Life is amazing, if you learn to appreciate it.

So, here’s to 2014 and more mindful living—full of discomfort, curiosity and gratitude.

Follow the Locals

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Having a toot-my-own-horn moment here:

A few months ago, I submitted a few travel tips to Travel + Leisure/CNN iReport’s “100 Ways to Travel Better” special, one of which ended up being featured in the December 2013 issue of Travel + Leisure magazine. The tip was based on my first night in Hong Kong, where I had arrived solo for a few days of exploring. I had landed in HK late on a Wednesday night in early March 2013 and, after getting on the MTR train and dropping my bag off at my hotel in Causeway Bay, I wandered over to Jardine’s Bazaar at the recommendation of the hotel concierge to see about some food. It was nearing midnight and yet a ton of people were out and about, going from one place to the next at a rapid pace typical of Hong Kongers. With no idea where to go or what to eat, I walked from restaurant to restaurant until I spotted a place filled with locals. I had always been taught to “follow the locals” when it comes to dining in a different country since they know where good food can be found. It turns out I was right; I ended up at an excellent noodle shop where I indulged in some delicious shu mai dumplings with noodles. It was my first dining experience in Hong Kong and one of my most enjoyable, so much so that I ended up there again on my last night in HK. So, there’s my tip: follow the crowd to the best restaurants. I promise you won’t regret it.