(Originally published August 27, 2014)
Man…did I feel great. This altitude sickness tea gave me a high. Ironic, right?
2 days later I was hunched over a toilet bowl hurling out my guts. It had WHAT in it? Uh oh….
First off, I wasn’t REALLY coked out in Peru. But I was kinda coked out, without knowing it.
I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life. I haven’t downed more than 2 drinks in 12 years. Heck, I haven’t had a drink in almost 2 years.
The point is I live clean. I eat healthy. I exercise. So when I found out the altitude sickness tea I was downing in large doses, in Cusco, Peru, had trace amounts of coca in it, I flipped.
So, that’s what clouded my judgment, so much so that I ate food that tasted funny, but boy did it go down smooth. Until….it came back up with a vengeance.
Now, know that “trace” amounts of coca in a highly tuned body already hyper sensitive to caffeine can cause a case of the jitters that would make me go bananas.
Introduction: Blogging Lessons
Before I dive into my Peruvian experience I want you to know; even if your life doesn’t seem as zany as mine, or your trials and tribulations, not as exotic, you can extract lessons from any circumstance. Any.
Whether you’re an office worker, work at home mom, college student or retired grand dad you’ll find and mine more good from tough situations that you can dream of….if you’re looking.
That’s the great secret: searching. Look back on the most unpleasant situations of your life. How did you get through them? What did you learn from them?
You’d never see Blogging from Paradise unless I experienced my more wild moments. Hey; if you’re making an omelet you’ll break some eggs.
So….without further delay….
Getting Coked Out in Peru
I had hurled for like the 10th time in the past 4 hours. I thought nothing was left. The ground was cold. When the sun drops in Cusco, so do the temperatures. Gone was the sunny, cheery day, some 73 degrees, and warm.
I was hunched over a toilet, with 30 degree temps invading an apartment with no heating. Actually the apartment rocked. It was huge, and had dramatic, sweeping views of the Andes Mountains. I even had 4 heavy blankets to cover myself with when sleeping.
Unfortunately covering yourself with blankets is not an option when you’re getting violently ill in the bathroom.
I had to cancel my Machu Picchu trip. I could barely drag myself to the plane in Cusco, to head back to Lima, 2 days after being sick. To make matters worse, Kelli was in Iquitos for this 2 week stretch.
I had to do this all on my own. That was the biggest blessing of my experience.
I drank mata de coca without reading the label, or knowing its ingredients. My mind raced, my body went bonkers, and I heartily downed food, that, even though I knew tasted bad, or off, or spoiled, I just needed, because I was so darn amped up.
Food poisoning. Suffering for 3 days. Missing Machu Picchu.
The Blogging Lesson
Be mindful of what you feast on, advice wise. Heck, during those Peru days you’d have been foolish to listen to some of my advice. Not just because I was drinking the coca.
I had many mental blocks to dissolve. So I offered some great advice, and some poor advice to boot.
Before you consume and digest any blogging advice you better trust the source. You never know what you’re sinking your teeth into – or downing – unless you check the source of the blogging advice, their successes, and the people who back the blogging pro.
Incapacitated in India
“His pulse is feeble. We’ll start the IV immediately.”
This is what I heard from the doctor, after Kelli and my Indian friend/home owner Santos pulled me out of the bed as if I were a rag doll and rushed me to the emergency room. I hadn’t eaten anything in 10 days. 10 days. I was holding no fluids. After a bumpy, excruciating tuk tuk ride, 45 minutes long to the hospital, I was done….
When we were in Muhamma, India, something felt off. I experienced a severe case of diarrhea and lost my appetite. Must just be a case of Delhi belly, or better yet, Muhamma mayhem, since we were a big distance from Delhi at the time.
After putting off a visit to the doctor I finally caved one night. I felt like shit. To the emergency room we went. I hadn’t vomited up until that point, but once the upset stomach meds he gave me went down, they came right back up.
I was toast at this point. 1 AM, and totally gone. But the silly guy that I am, I didn’t feel like going back to the emergency room.
When I woke at 5 AM, I felt like I might be dying. I couldn’t move more than a few inches. I could peer into the mirror, and see sunken check bones, and if I turned around, I could see the vertebrae protruding through my back.
That morning though, I stopped hiding my misery from Kelli. I was a rag doll. Kelli and Santos had to pick me up and drag me around. Not good.
After receiving the IV infusion and antibiotics it took me 3 more weeks – and another wave of POWERFUL antibiotics – to get somewhat back to normal. That means, I was able to walk more than 30 feet without losing my breath.
6 weeks later I was back to normal. I’ve never been happier, or more grateful, in my life. The culprit; giardia.
I didn’t get help when I needed it. After 2 days I knew something was off. I suffered a wave of severe nausea at the bus station in Kochi yet didn’t think twice after the wave passed. My appetite vanished for a few days.
Yet I put off the inevitable. Something was wrong, after feeling not good, for a few days. This wasn’t the typical food poisoning or stomach issues.
I made excuses, and tried to con myself into thinking that I was OK. I sure wasn’t.
Finally I went to the first doctor. He didn’t understand that something was really wrong. He just gave me some Pepto. I was pissed, frustrated, and when I returned home I started vomiting. I should have turned right back around, yet I waited 5 or 6 hours and found myself in a dangerous situation.
Well, you saw how skinny I was. I was knocked out for a good 4 weeks, and spent 2 more getting back to normal. This was by far the most I’ve suffered in my life and it was also the sickest I’ve ever been, and if I’d waited another day or 2, my electrolytes may have reached critically low levels.
The Blogging Lesson
When you see warning signs that something is wrong with your blog, heed the signs.
I recall a few folks emailing me, and Facebook messaging me, with requests to PLEASE change my theme, because it looked terrible, back in 2013. I ignored the requests. I knew better. I was clear on my theme, or so I thought.
So, after a few month’s worth of getting these emails, I put off the inevitable; I needed a new them, of course, but I kept putting off this pressing problem.
The problem grew, and grew, because each respected blogger I came across, who I could have impressed, passed on my blog because among other things, the theme was a bit whack.
Lesson: don’t put off blogging problems, or issues, because they won’t fix themselves. Like the nasty little giardia in my belly, if you ignore it, you’ll become sicker and sicker, and will prolong your suffering.
I talked to someone who spotted his giardia after 1 day of suffering through the malaise in Nepal. He went on strong antibiotics right away. Although he felt sick due to the dosage he was up on his feet in days. I on the other hand, knew something was up after a few days but put off the problem until I had to be carried like a rag doll into the emergency room for an IV injection.
Address your blogging problems now. Whether you need a new theme, or whether you need to stay on topic, or whether you need to simply scrap your blog to start a new blog, with a new domain, and topic, do it today. Start creating value.
Address your problems.
The problem will only grow if you don’t address the issue.
Beat up in Bali
I couldn’t catch my breath. I struggled like hell to do so but it wasn’t happening. My eyes were popping out of my head. Was I dying? Here in Bali? I tried to gasp but to no avail.
I remember Kelli looking at me with terror in her eyes.
Did my ribs pierce my lungs? Were these my last breaths?….Oh my God…this is it.
These thoughts raced through my mind after I hit the pavement in Bali. Kelli and I suffered a motorbike accident in Jimbaran. I drive like a grandpa, but an unfortunate turn of events led to me losing control of the motorbike, catapulting me, Superman style, some 5 to 10 feet so I hit the pavement chest and shoulder first.
I recalled seeing a dog who’d just been hit. Her paw and leg were mangled. I was disgusted. Shaking my head, I turned back to the road. A split second later I saw the box truck in front of us had spun out. Why? How?…..
…..a split second later I found my answers. We hit an oil slick. When you hit a slick on a motorbike, you’re toast.
Kelli fell sideways and scraped her elbow and knee up something nasty. I landed chest and right shoulder first. After not being able to catch my breath for some 20 seconds, and believing that I was dying, I recall getting on the bike, riding back home (what a trooper, I know), and then feeling woozy and nauseous as I walked to my bed.
Once the adrenaline wore off I suffered excruciating, stabbing, mind-numbing pain in my back whenever I shifted a certain way. My elbows hurt like holy hell and my right shoulder became scarred for life.
Not sure how many layers of skin I lost after hitting the pavement but now, almost 2 years to the day, after the accident, I’m sporting a noticeable scar. Even after getting plenty o’ tans in paradise.
Until I go to the grave it’ll be my reminder of that crazy day.
I rested in bed for 4 days. I didn’t get on the motorbike for a few weeks because grasping the handles caused unbearable pain in my arms and back. I began exercising again some 3 weeks after the accident.
I felt blessed; many folks in similar accidents don’t leave the hospital for months. I felt grateful to have a strong, fit body to absorb the impact.
I took my eyes off of the road to focus on the dog with the mangled leg. I didn’t so much do it from a compassionate place, as I did it from a “Why in the hell don’t folks have these street dogs spayed?”
Shaking my head, and feeling bad, I totally took my eyes off of the road. When I looked back it was too late. I was done.
After hitting the slick I blacked out until I recalled waking up, not being able to breathe properly.
4 days lying in bed, excruciating pain in my back, and lungs, and a scar for life on my shoulder….as well as no exercise for a good 3 weeks.
The Blogging Lesson
Do not take your eyes off of THE goal. By THE goal I mean inspiring people through the value that you’re sharing.
Do not predominantly move your attention to:
- Making money
- Page views
- Social shares
- How little your traffic has grown
- How unhappy you are with your blog
Stats can provide you with a guide point; if you have 100% energy to use each day, use 2% to check stats, maybe once a week, and decide whether or not to make changes according to the stat trends.
Then, for the rest of the week, spend some 80% of your energy each day on blogger outreach and 20% creating freakin’ epic, awesome content.
You’ll succeed wildly by devoting virtually all of your energy to creating awesome content and by connecting with awesome leaders in your niche.
If you move your focus to something other than the purest intent, your regression will accelerate, and you’ll find yourself struggling.
I could have glanced at the dog, felt bad for a split second, then I could have decided to send my positive, healing energy her way. Instead I got to head shaking, and getting angry at ignorant people for either driving too damn fast, or for perpetuating canine suffering as there are so many street dogs in Bali, due to the lack of spaying and neutering.
As I was busy shaking my head (negative energy) I missed the potential disaster in front of me, until it was too late. Lesson learned.
Bloggers, even if you appear to be struggling, devote your energies to creating the best content. Learn from authorities in your niche. Write in-depth comments on their sites and promote the heck out of them.
In time, you’ll become an authority too when you devote virtually all of your positive energies to some worthy, pure blogging ideal, like inspiring folks by creating epic content and through connecting with leaders in your niche.
Freaked Out in Fiji
The email read, “Site Suspended.” How the hell could this be? I just had my blog exactly how I wanted it. I haven’t been able to work for a week as is, as I flew from Thailand to Fiji.
What the heck am I going to do now? Remove certain pages? Trash the blog?
When I told Kelli about trashing my old blog (which deep down, I knew I should have done 4 months ago)…she flipped out. I flipped out, mentally, the night before, and she flipped out the following day….all that work over the past 4 years, totally wasted…..she was angry….really angry….at me.
OK, no bodily trauma here. For once, this was a pure mental thing. I flipped out a little, mentally, the night that my old blog was suspended. Folks were sending me messages and I hadn’t heard back from my hosting service.
But when I told Kelli the following day she flipped.
#1, her blog was down too which made her an unhappy camper.
#2, she thought I was throwing so much work away.
#3, she was having a moment.
I remained pretty calm, and Kelli cooled off quickly because I was calm. Then we moved forward.
Note: Kelli is almost always calm, chill, supportive and relaxed. She has mastered the LOA manifesting bit on many levels, having attracted some absolutely awesome abundance through her writing ventures, and she’s seeing quick, immense success with her blog too.
This story was all about the flipping session I had at 3 AM, and the succeeding brief flipping out directed at me from a loving, supportive person, who was having a moment, some 7 hours later.
In the middle of the Fijian night I decided to completely trash 3400 blog posts, 4 year’s worth of writing and a few online ventures I’ve engaged in for those 4 years.
I proceeded to purchase the domain bloggingfromparadise.com and all was history.
By the time I was chatting with Kelli I was pretty darn clear, and believed in the shift I was making, so a moment or 2 of some anger didn’t faze me. She chilled. I was chill. We moved on.
This one wasn’t too crazy on a face level but when you think about tossing away, or releasing, 3400 blog posts and over 10,000 hour’s worth of work, that’s kinda nuts.
Holding on too damn long. I knew back in April to ditch the blog. I resisted. I was punished for many months, working like a dog to see mediocre results with the blog.
Suffering. Working too hard to achieve mediocre results.
The Blogging Lesson
Let go folks. Check out your blog. If you don’t feel 100%, or like, 95%, clear on your ideal reader, and if you aren’t blogging your passion, and if the domain name, to the title, to the tagline, to the posts, to the ads, to the images, to the pages, to everything in your blog, top down….if all elements don’t align….scrap it.
Or if you don’t scrap it, be content with being a mediocre blogger. If you want to make a few bucks each month, and make some friends, go for it.
But if you want to inspire a ton of people and meet a ton of friends, and if you want to see some of the most beautiful places on earth, you need to let go of any blog where you are lacking full clarity in all that you do….and you need to let go of any blog where all of the elements are not clear, and fully aligned, because you’ll give off a confusing vibe and you’ll miss the chance to make a real impact.
Listless in Laos
“Your mom has Alzheimer’s. The test came back positive.”
I remember my brother in law Jamie – who’s been waging his own battle with brain cancer – saying the words clearly.
I was sitting in a rundown hostel in Luang Prubong. Kelli was sleeping. I walked outside. I started crying. I cried, and cried, and cried. I was so f*ckin broke, not knowing where my next dollar was coming from, and sick of staying in these dives.
I was sick of living off of those cheap, $1 USD subs with nothing but mayo and lettuce and tomatoes. Now my mom is sick.
How much worse can life get, I thought?
Have you noticed the lack of Laos pictures on my blog? That’s because Kelli and I had no money at that point during our trip. We didn’t want to record this time of our life. We had no money, and we also had no camera, and we were panicking.
A perfect storm of unfortunate events combined with some unsound financial planning led to….well….having no money.
We were living off of $1 submarine style sandwiches filled with only tomatoes and lettuce and a little dressing in Luang Prubang. We also lived off of Western Union payments from my dad.
Hey, we attracted the situation. I guess we wanted the entire experience, living through this life thing.
Then, I got the news about my mom. I’ve since adopted a much more positive outlook on her health and life, but at the moment, I felt like the Universe was hitting me in the balls, after I was down on the canvas already.
I can’t begin to explain how down I felt. Or how down we felt. Kelli was still struggling with losing her dad to cancer not a few years before, and we had like between $50 to $100 to our name, on some days, and a lot less on other days…..and then, amidst experiencing the misery of being broke, I get the news about my mom.
Life was rough.
But, we were at ground zero. It really couldn’t get a ton worse. We were broken down. We actually started to become grateful for, and excited about, that sandwich we’d buy each night.
We felt good to be walking around, being able to enjoy a quaint little town in Laos….yet as Kelli mentioned in a recent post, I recall looking at some of the maids in Laos, a Communist country with many severely repressed individuals living way below the poverty line, and thinking:
“They probably have more money than us, right now.”
I was disgusted by this fact, but then I laughed at the idea. It humbled me.
The whole situation humbled me. Which was great, because it formed the foundation for my current success.
Terrible financial planning, not creating value, not saving money, not connecting with authority bloggers, no clarity on my blog, not enough mental science, and overall, ignorance of success principles, and an unwillingness to address problems, that if I would have addressed, would have freed me and us, financially.
Being freakin’ broke. All types of misery. I couldn’t shine bright for online folks and I certainly couldn’t inspire them when I was living in such a low energetic state.
The Blogging Lesson
Open up multiple streams of income. If you’re blogging just to make money online, stop it. Blog to create value. Blog to inspire.
Blog to help. Blog to serve.
Open up income streams through your blog, and open up income streams outside of blogging, or offline, or do whatever you need to do, to make enough money to take care of the basics. Put a roof on your head, food on your table and start saving money.
Kelli and I have since opened savings accounts. We also each have retirement accounts, and I have a pension from my old security guard job.
Save money. Do what you gotta do, whether it’s asking relatives for money, or friends for money, or working some online or offline job, to make enough money to cover the basics.
After this breaking down we got more serious about opening up income streams. Kelli attracted a ton more writing jobs than I but I helped her by writing a bunch of articles.
One day I recall writing 24 articles. I am not kidding. When this opportunity availed itself I jumped on it, and Kelli was and is an article writing machine.
We also got UBER serious about personal development at this point, doubling down on meditation, visualization and affirmation, to tune into abundance and to move away from a place of lack and limitation.
If you want to become a full time blogger you can buy my eBook here: