Welcome The Mad To Live’s ongoing series, the GROUNDBREAKER ROUNDTABLES where a group of hand picked individuals who are doing big things with their big ideas from all walks of life will share their personal opinions, stories and insights based on a question stemming from a quote,  event, video, or photo. They get 150 words MAX to share something brilliant based on a prompt I give them, and they always do…

In this Groundbreaker session you’ll meet Lisa Lubin, an Emmy award winning TV Producer and world traveler, Matt Karsten of one of the best travel blogs out there ExpertVagabond, Janet Brent who is a web designer living in the Phillipines, and Tia Sparkles who is just hands down a positive and inspiring individual.

Groundbreaker Roundtables







Their Prompt: Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance, once told us, “Always remember, it’s simply not an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons.” Being that those of us here at The Mad to Live see no other way to live our lives other than as a daring adventure of unbridled enthusiasm, we’ve all surely faced our fair share of dragons. Some of them we’ve taken down with the push of our pinkie fingers, and others have nearly pushed us off the cliff. Tell us about one of the dragon’s you’ve faced through one of your most significant business, travel, or general life adventures, and what lesson you learned from slaying it?


Lisa LubinLisa Lubin of LLWorldTour – Realizing what “real” means

I suppose for me it’s two-fold. One adventure was chucking it all – my successful television job, my boyfriend, my ‘stuff’ and taking the ‘leap’ to travel around the world solo for 2+ years.  The biggest ‘dragon’ there was breaking away from society’s ‘normal’ script (and in turn my own) and learning that pushing myself out of my comfort zone may feel bad, but would reward me in spades down the road.

And that huge adventure lead me literally around the world, but figuratively to where I am today – managing a multi-faceted freelance career (writing, photography, speaking) and launching my own video consulting business.  I was finally able to see how I could combine my experience of being a broadcast journalist with also being a world-traveling entrepreneur.  So I set out to coach other entrepreneurs and small businesses on their video needs.  When I first left to travel, I assumed, I’d return and eventually get another ‘real’ job. But what is a ‘real’ job anyway? I guess it’s that full-time, 9-5 thing.

But that is no longer me and now I am building a life around what I really want: happiness, freedom, fulfillment, and love.

Matt ExpertVegabondMatt from Expert Vagabond – Gut Vs. What Everyone Else Says

People who don’t travel much love to talk about the dangerous dragons that lurk behind every corner in all the places they’ve never actually been. If they live in the countryside, the city is dangerous. If they live in the city, the wilderness is dangerous. If they live in the United States, any country that’s not part of Europe is dangerous. I quickly learned first hand that you shouldn’t listen to this advice, no matter how many dragons they claim are around the next bend.

While traveling through Panama, I decided to visit the notorious Darien Gap, a jungle region near the border of Colombia. Almost 99% of the people I spoke with said I shouldn’t go. “The Darien is too dangerous” they said. “You’ll get kidnapped by drug traffickers & para-military groups”.

But the thing was, none of these 99% had ever actually been to the Darien. It was the 1% that HAD been there who told me it would be ok. I listened to my gut, and to that 1% who had faced these dragons before, and made the trip anyway.

I can safely say that my decision to visit the Darien was the highlight of my extended journey over the last year.


Tia Sparks Singh of Your Life Your Way – The Passion Path

The biggest adventure I’ve been on includes life, travel, AND career, and has lasted 14 years – the adventure of finding, accepting, and loving myself and my unconventional way of life.

You see, some people have a career path, I have a PASSION path.

I was never meant to work in an office and haven’t held a job down longer than 9 months – either I upped and left or the firm went out of business! From advertising to financial services to educational content management to technical recruiting to massage therapy to career counseling to life coaching and blogging … it’s been a heck of a ride.

I’ve lived in 4 countries in 3 continents in 11 years, spent 3 years in jobs, 3 in contract work/self employment, 3 in business, and taken 5 years off in the 14 years since finishing my post grad.

The biggest dragon I faced in this adventure of living and working on my own terms has been to continue believing in myself and the life I’ve envisioned whilst fighting the comparison monster. It takes guts to live an unconventional life.

My lesson? That EMBRACING my multi-passionate Scanner nature and living my life MY way is a education and adventure that I cannot help but continue as long as authenticity is one of my values. Bring it on, world.


Janet Brent of Purple Panda – Making busy-ness, not lazy-ness.

Slaying my dragons makes me think of Alice, and indeed, this ‘crazy’ life feels like you’ve gone down the rabbit hole. Life is a business, so make busy-ness, not lazy-ness! Essentially, that’s what lifestyle business is all about. My ‘dragon’ isn’t necessarily one thing, but this THING that is my lifestyle… that is my business. I live in the slums for cheap transience while I figure this thing out. It has challenged me to tears, and brought me to many $0. I’m still surviving. Every time I see even the tiniest progress is a major triumph. Last year was lessons in learning how to think past scarcity mindset when you’re faced with scarcity and this year is making things happen! Hint: You can’t feel sorry for yourself, dwelling in lazy-ness if you want to succeed. It’s all about creating opportunities instead of holding on to false beliefs around circumstance. Get busy!


Lauren RainsYours Truly – Sticking With Things

Learning how to finish things, but also allowing myself to dabble and experiment when needed has been, and is still, a balancing act I’m learning to control. In the past, however, I was all over the place. I had notebook after notebook of ideas and blog posts and business plans and charts. NONE, and I mean NONE of them ever were fully finished or accomplished. They’d get 25% or 50% or even 99% done… and then I’d move on as if they’d never happened, completely enthralled in something else.

Sticking with one thing is what allowed me to launch and run Outdoor Minded Mag. It’s what’s gotten me to finally relaunch The Mad to Live. It’s what’s helping me train for my marathon, and giving me the discipline to save up for my Stand Up Paddleboard so I can SUP across Lake Tahoe. Lesson Learned: Train your brain, discipline yourself (and be strict if you have to), and remember that pure perfection does not exist!!!!

What About YouWhat would you add to this roundtable discussion? What’s a story and lesson behind a dragon you’ve slayed? Share your story for others to read in the comments below! 

About Lauren Rains

Hi my name is Lauren Rains. I write about the human experience. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to growth, adventure, integrity, and love. The Mad To Live is based on my pursuits, experiments, research, and lessons of challenge and triumph in all areas of life, including being entrepreneur, a writer, a philosopher, a traveler, a teacher, a student, a creative, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a significant other, a stranger and the list goes on. At the end of the day, I believe human beings are here for two reasons: 1.) to love one another with total acceptance, and 2.) to see what we’re made of as we create the possibilities for an abundant life for ourselves and for others. No more bullshit, let's just enjoy our lives.

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