Maybe you were meant to meet but not meant to be

Photo by Tiraya Adam on Unsplash

Last summer my good friend set me up with a guy. As I got to know him, the crazy coincidences kept stacking up. Manhattan has 214 numbered streets. We had lived on the same exact one for years, two blocks apart. We took classes at the same yoga studio. Knew many of the same people.

We had circled around each other but never met. Until now.

There were oddly specific parallels in our childhoods and our family backgrounds. But the kicker for me was this: In college, I foolishly got a tattoo of a certain fruit, more or less on…


I was 100 feet underwater, and suddenly I couldn’t breathe.

Photo by Elianne Dipp from Pexels

The Pit, or El Pit, as it’s called here in Mexico, is one of the deepest cenotes (underwater caves) in the world. The main entrance is nature’s grand ballroom. One hundred twenty feet deep and wide enough to fit a jumbo jet.

On sunny days the light rays pierce the blue water all the way down to the bottom. The effect makes you feel like you’re in a dream. Today is such a day. El Pit is showing off.

The first half of my dive feels progressively more dreamlike the…


For five years I chased happiness around the world. The answer surprised me.

Author’s own photo / Bali, Indonesia

Here is the plot of most movies and books involving travel: Person’s life sucks. Person takes a long trip to somewhere exotic. Person’s life improves greatly. Person writes a bestseller about the adventure, it gets made into a movie, and the travel-yourself-happy plan attracts new converts.

This life improvement strategy was likely simmering in my subconscious when my landlord shoved a lease renewal form under the door of my tiny studio apartment in New York City.

I had felt vaguely unhappy and directionless for years, lying to…


I’m here to spill some of his spiritual secrets

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

When my partner was a young boy growing up in Montana, he started reading meditation books. For fun. His own family thought it was strange.

At 18 he began teaching meditation at a local college and has since taught around the world.

If our meditation streaks were people, his would be legally allowed to buy alcohol. Mine would be learning how to roll over on its tummy.

The point here is not that length matters. In fact, my partner freely admits he “felt like an idiot” when he finally realized the…


Blocks may keep pain OUT, but they also shutter your heart from letting love IN. Here’s a better way to use your empath powers.

Photo by Colton Sturgeon on Unsplash

Ah, EMPATH. The latest buzzword in the realm of personal growth.

Are you highly attuned to the moods and emotions of others? Often overwhelmed by crowds? Do you feel drained after consoling a friend even though she feels much better after talking to YOU?

Congratulations and condolences, you are probably an empath!

Being able to sense what someone else is feeling might sound like a superpower. But actually, feeling their emotions as if they were your own? It sounds more like a punishment if those feelings happen to be anger, sadness, or anxiety.

From a young age, I have hated…


My boyfriend bought a hippie hostel in Mexico, and now it’s home

The hostel came with cats

A day in the life

Our alarm goes off at 7 AM. The sun has just peaked over the mountains. We put on comfy pants, grab some blankets and head to the outdoor terrace for group meditation.

I play a daily game of Whack-a-Mole with my chatty mind, trying to vanquish thoughts the moment they arise. I succeed sporadically. But mostly I fail and spend 30 minutes thinking instead of meditating. I will meditate better tomorrow, I think. Whack!

Then it’s breakfast time. Banana pancakes with homemade strawberry mango jam. Chia pudding with fruit. Sweet fried plantains. Strong coffee native to this region. …


It’s sexier than it sounds.

Image: Sam Kolder | Pexels

My cousin Alan started dancing at age 6 and never stopped. Today he is a pro dancer on the hit show Dancing With The Stars. Not just any pro dancer, but the reigning champion.

Now, if you had asked 6-year-old Alan what he wanted to be when he grew up, would he have said “I want to dance shirtless for millions of people and post Instagram stories of spooning in bed with my Mirrorball Trophy”?

Well, maybe. Alan has known almost unwaveringly that his life purpose revolves around dance. To entertain and perform and choreograph body movements set to music.


And other heart-opening wisdom from Guatemala’s Chocolate Shaman

My view for two magical months in Guatemala (own photo)

Step off a water taxi onto the small public dock in San Marcos La Laguna, and it’s only a matter of time before the term cacao ceremony enters your consciousness.

San Marcos is one of the sleepier Mayan villages hugging the shore of Guatemala’s stunning Lake Atitlán. Surrounded by volcanoes, some still active, the lake is a sacred site for the Maya people, a hashtag heaven for Instagrammers, and a travel magnet for backpackers with yoga mats.

I belong to the last group.

I don’t know a soul out here, but my own having been flagged as lost and directionless…


Alluring stock photo of pirate ship from Pixabay

“Just don’t write about me!” you said, minutes after we met.

A purely playful request, as what little I knew about you then would fail to captivate readers: Tall, Cute Guy Spotted At Coffee Shop In Roatán, Honduras.

The aforementioned male had towered over my MacBook and asked, with genuine interest, what was I working on? A book proposal, I said. I was a travel writer, or aspired to be.

I would get exactly zero writing done in your presence.

When I asked what brought you to the island of Roatán — aside from every view being a stock photo…


Pixabay.com

The ancient Greeks worshipped a memorable roster of deities. Apollo, god of the sun. Dionysus, god of wine. Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty. Tales of these immortal beings helped demystify natural phenomena like why the sun rises or how we fall in love.

A few millennia later, we have more scientific means to explain the former and are still largely clueless on the latter.

One such clueless mortal has spent the last few months exploring the Greek islands, visiting sacred historic sites like the ruins of Delos and sampling enough local wines to make Dionysus proud.

I’m still no…

Alla Gonopolsky

Brand strategist. Binge traveler. World's Least Annoying Millennial.

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