ON TAKING RISKS: AN INTERVIEW WITH CONSCIOUS LIFESTYLE BLOGGER VALERIA HINOJOSA

Valeria Hinojosa is nothing less than amazing. She has a heart pure of gold, a fierceness to her soul, and a determination to set the world straight.

The world can be too much sometimes. It is so hard to have hope when every day there is a new tragedy to mourn for: mass shootings, nazis, hurricanes on hurricanes, rape culture, bombings, wildfires…the list goes on.

But it’s knowing people like Valeria, the founder of Water Thru Skin, that it is impossible to not have hope. Her blog has empowered me to speak up against injustice, take action in living more consciously, and most importantly – practice self-love every day.

Valeria shares her own personal story in taking risks, living authentically, and finding the light in the darkness of the world.

Tell me about who you are and your transition from your previous career to starting Water Thru Skin?

I used to be a Private Banker doing the frustrating and monotonous 9-5. In between that 5-year career, I decided to start a blog where I could put my emotions and thoughts in writing and connect with like-minded individuals. That’s how WaterThruSkin came to life.

Slowly, and with lots of dedication and love, my blog grew a personality of its own and I took the step of risking it all to pursue this new “career” fully.

I left the banking world 2.5 years ago and have been dedicating myself fully to blogging and the new company I founded, WTS Connect. An agency that represents worldwide influencers that are using their social media channels to change the world for the better.

When was your “A-HA” moment?

The day I got promoted to the position (and salary) of my dreams. I realized that accepting that role meant staying in banking for another 3-5 years. I resigned that same day and made WTS my life, work, and passion.

We all share fear when deciding to go after our dreams. What fears did/do you have? How do you overcome those fears?

I feared losing my financial stability, which was exactly what happened a few months after I quit my job. I lost my home, my credit cards, my car, and all the fancy perks that came with being a Private Banker. That was a rock-bottom moment in my story that, thankfully, reshaped the way I view life completely. Once there, sleeping on my mom’s couch and living of a suitcase, I realized that the only place left to go was… everywhere!

Possibilities are endless when you choose to start from scratch and recreate yourself.

That same positive attitude was what pushed me towards, and attracted, all the opportunities that have been opening for me, my blog, and the agency I founded.

How do you define success?

Simple. Waking up with a smile and doing what you love every single day of your life. With all of its ups and downs. They are part of life too!

What has been your greatest challenge as an eco-activist and starting Water Thru Skin?

People’s perceptions and the movement itself. It wasn’t that big, or “in trend”, three years ago when I started WTS. Nobody believed in what I had to say or the life I had chosen to pursue, yet something in me told me this was the only way humans should live life. I kept going despite of it all.

How do you start your day with intention? Any morning rituals?

By being present. From the second I wake up. I make myself a hot cup of organic and fairtrade matcha or coffee, and sip it mindfully. Enjoying every single sip. I then practice my breathing techniques and mediate with crystals, or roll out my yoga mat and stretch for a few minutes. After that I get ready for meetings and conference calls with fresh energy and a positive mindset.

Sometimes when work is doing what you love, boundaries can become blurry. How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

Yoga, a healthy vegan diet, me-time, loved ones and friends. I make sure I include them in every day of my week.

Have you achieved all your dreams? if not, what dreams do you have for yourself?

Two dreams I’m currently working on are publishing my book, and finishing a big project related to WTS Connect.

However, I don’t think there is such thing as achieving all dreams in life. As I accomplish a dream, I continue to dream bigger and push further.

How about with Water Thru Skin?

When I think of WTS, I immediately connect it to myself. It carries my story, my personal growth, my struggles and my dreams. I feel I’ve managed to create a great brand and can only hope to grow it further and keep inspiring readers.

Do you have a favorite quote, mantra, or affirmation you live by?

Be raw, be you and risk it all when it comes to pursuing your dreams.

If you could say one thing to a woman who has a dream but is afraid to take the jump, what would it be?

There will never be a “right time” or moment to pursue your dreams. For some reason, we all wait for the stars to align or for a door to magically open for us. It doesn’t work that way. You have to go out there, step outside of your comfort zone, and transform those dreams into reality. That’s the only way. That’s the key.  

Want to live a more conscious/impactful lifestyle? Check out Valeria’s blog Water Thru Skin for some inspiration on how to get started. You can also find her on Instagram here.

10 Charming & Eco-Friendly Airbnb Rentals Around the World

This post was originally published on Breathe Travel.

If you’re anything like me, you travel with a purpose. Whether it be to challenge yourself by breaking your comfort zone, see the many different cultures all over the world, or to go on a much deserved relaxing vacation. Maybe, it’s all three! Being able to see the world is such a privilege, which is why we should do everything in our power to take care of it.

Why not travel consciously to the most amazing, beautiful places? Here are 10 eco-friendly Airbnb rentals around the world to get you started on your conscious travels:

1. Eco-friendly Villa in Natural Park, Fuerteventura, Las Palmas de Gran Canarias, Spain

This beautiful home is located at the foot of an ancient volcano! How cool is that?

The structure of the home is made out of wood with a photovoltaic system (solar power energy ftw!) and water purification for reuse. It doesn’t stop there- the hosts also collect rainwater. You’ll be reducing your carbon footprint AND doing it in style, surrounded by the most amazing beaches and lagoons in this charming villa.

2. Authentic Bedouin Experience, Wadi Rum, Jordan

Ever dream of sleeping under the stars in the Valley of the Moon? I’ve got you covered. This Airbnb is for the more adventurous, as you are completely off the grid. There is NO electricity or running water. Just the laughter and hospitality of a Bedouin family.

If you have any plans on going to Jordan, stay here. You’ll never experience something more authentic than this. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the traditions, culture, and daily life of a Bedouin.

3. Off-Grid itHouse, Pioneertown, California, United States

If you ever visit the Los Angeles area, make the trek to this award winning eco-beauty! The house is 100% completely off-grid. It’s powered by solar panels for energy and hot water, nestled remotely in the beautiful California high desert. You’ll be off the grid, in touch with nature and a simpler way of living.

No need to venture out to Joshua Tree, it’s all here right in your backyard! This is the perfect place to humble yourself and soak up the natural beauty around you.

4. Super Cute Retro Airstream, Wimberley, Texas, United States

Talk about glamping at its finest! You might be wondering, where the hell Wimberley, Texas is! It’s about an hour south of Austin, perfect for a romantic getaway from the city. The owners of this adorable airstream really go out of their way to make this property as green as possible.

You’ll be equipped with fresh organic eggs, local organic coffee, and some zero waste, eco-friendly dish soap and laundry detergent. The airstream is not off the grid, but they do use low-wattage light bulbs! I love how eco-conscious this airstream is. Don’t forget to take a dip in the hot tub and enjoy a private, spacious outdoor shower under the trees!

5. Eco-Friendly, Minimalist, VT B&B, Windham, VT, United States

The Stone Wall Inn is surrounded by 12 acres of gardens, 3 ponds, and tons of beautiful vistas. You can take advantage of Vermont’s outdoor adventures such as hiking and kayaking, or you can cozy up by the fire.

What makes this B&B so great? It’s GREEN CERTIFIED! The b&b is heated entirely by natural sources (wood and solar) and utilizes reclaimed wood and construction materials, earth-friendly cleaning products, natural linens, the list goes on. The Stone Wall Inn really goes above and beyond to make your stay as accommodating and eco-friendly as possible.

6. Explore Rural South France & Coast, Feuilla, Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Is your heart singing with wanderlust right now? This beautiful homestay in the countryside of France sits on the edge of the wine making village of Feuilla. Yes. You read it right. WINE! You’ll get the best of both worlds surrounded by breathtaking views of mountains and beaches.

La Rassada is an eco-friendly property built using natural materials such as hemp for insulation, lime render, and eco-paints. There’s solar hot water, indirect solar heating, a biodynamic filtered spring water system, and everything is either recycled or composted. The host is also known for her mouth-watering delicious breakfast made with local and/or organic produce!

You’ll be happy, comfortable, and traveling green! As the host says, “Being “eco” definitely does NOT mean we compromise on comfort!!!”

7. Rainforest Tree House w Hot Springs, Cooper, Alajuela, Costa Rica

This handcrafted treehouse is nestled deep in the jungle, where you’ll be surrounded by monkeys, exotic birds, butterflies, and other types of wildlife. Guests also get 24-hour access to the 12 natural hot and cool spring pools. This Airbnb is definitely off the beaten path, but only 45 minutes away from great tourist activities and destinations like volcano hikes, ziplines, and the La Fortuna Waterfall.

Plan to spend a good amount of time here, as most guests regret not staying long enough. You’ll never want to leave!

8. Friendly & Central Eco-Hostel, Reykjavík, Capital Region, Iceland

Want to see the Northern Lights? Take a dip in the Blue Lagoon? Say no more. This award-winning and eco-certified hostel is where you belong. It’s located in the heart of downtown Reykjavík, walking distance from most of Reykjavík’s bars, clubs, cafes, and restaurants!

The staff here are also known to be super helpful and friendly. Their aim is to encourage “a style of traveling that increases people’s knowledge of their environment, concern for nature and respect for the cultural values of cities and towns in all parts of the world.” Definitely sounds like an eco-winner!

9. Farm View Cottage, Montagu, Western Cape, South Africa

This charming cottage has everything you could ever ask for. Stunning views, hot springs, endless amounts of wine, beautiful hikes, and if you’re after the Big Five, you’ll be nearby some of the finest game farms!

The cottage is situated on an organic farm, where you will be invited to feast on local produce. You’ll also be provided with home-made, natural shower products! Montagu was voted Town of the Year in 2012, not only for its gorgeous views, beautiful architecture and excellent hot springs- but for the kindness and hospitality of the local people.

10. Natural Life At Tiny Cottage, Sakuho, Minamisaku District, Nagano Prefecture, Japan

This minimalist tiny cottage in Japan’s beautiful countryside was handmade by the owner and his friends. It’s completely off the grid- powered by solar energy panels and there is no running water. Have no fear, there’s a public bath nearby!

If you love cooking, this cottage is for you. You can buy and eat organic foods made by local farms! This tiny way of living is such a unique experience. There is no doubt you’ll feel inspired and refreshed by the stunning views of mountains, singing birds, and the smell of fresh, crisp air.