“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”- St. Augustine
Meet our balanced and beautiful girl crush of the moment, Jennell a twenty something lady on the move based out of Austin, Texas. She is one of those people that you come meet and immediately get filled with an overwhelming sensation to just grab life by the horns and go.
We were inspired to share her story because she embodies what it is means to be a contemporary woman, eagerly chasing her dreams while balancing love, life and finding time to live a healthy, active and adventure filled lifestyle.
She along with a former college friend are working on the launch of an internet startup that she excitingly touts will encourage the average Jane and Joe to pick up and travel, explore the world and get out of their comfort zones. Her goal is to encourage aspiring young women to get moving, get active and reach for the stars.
To learn more about Jennell keep reading.
Jennell you are a very busy young lady. Describe a week in the life of Jennell and the different activities that you are involved in.
A typical week of my life includes an eclectic mix of work and play. I currently juggle multiple jobs, one for the benefits, one for extra money, and the other just because I enjoy it. I actively train in Capoeira, an acrobatic Brazilian martial art also known as sexy dance fighting.
On top of that I regularly attend crossfit classes, yoga, dance, and the occasional trip to the rock climbing gym. There are other activities that I enjoy such as aerial sports and surfing, but time and location impede me from being able to conquer all. I also teach an adult Hip Hop class once a week at a dance studio in Austin and I occasionally get hired to perform for local productions when I have to time to spare.
When I am not working I fill the rest of my time improving my fitness, spending time with the love of my life, relaxing, and obsessing over Game of Thrones. By the end of any given week it’s likely that I will have worked 60-75 hrs, trained capoeira twice, gone to crossfit 3 times, gotten in a good intermediate yoga class, and slept way less than is necessary for my health but I love it and wouldn’t change it for anything.
That’s a lot to juggle! What motivates you to try all these different things?
The main thing that motivates me to try all these different activities is prospect of having fun and meeting interesting people. My goal is to experience as much of life as I can. God blessed with good health and so I plan to use that gift to experience as much as I can while I can.
I have always been a bit of an adventure seeker from a very young age so I enjoy activities that require full body awareness and trust. I have met some of my favorite people from being involved in things like capoeira and yoga. Another thing that motivates me is seeing just how far you can push yourself to be versatile.
People often look at something and say, “that’s too hard,” or “I could never do that.” But you would be surprised at what you can teach yourself to do with a little determination and effort. The hardest thing in the world to me is running. It’s not something that I am just naturally good at, my breathing is all off and I often get lapped by women with strollers when I am out in the park. But one day I decided that I really wanted to be a runner so I signed up for a ½ marathon and six months later I was went from running 1 mile winded to running 13.5 with a smile on my face.
We know you’re also a bit of a world traveler, can you list the places you’ve ventured to?
I have been to 14 different countries and lived in 5 different cities. My parents were adamant about going on vacation at least one week if not two every year. I always loved traveling with them and experiencing the excitement of discovering a new place. So from a very young age I have been infected with a serious bout of wanderlust. The first country I ever went to outside of the US was Mexico of course being that it’s so easy to access via Texas.
My parents would travel to a different state every year for vacation, but our first big trip out of the country was for my high school graduation present. We went to Dominican Republic because I wanted to go to place where I could practice my Spanish and try surfing. It was amazing, every frame of that vacation was like living in a movie, and from that moment on I knew I wanted to live the rest of my life exploring the world and all its wonders.
I moved to Houston, TX after graduation and attended the University of Houston for a year. I never wanted to attend UoH but my parents insisted that if I went there for my first year then I could go to Florida International University to finish my degree. I was desperate to get out of Texas any way that I could, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I grew up doing gymnastics, cheer, and dance so I started to look for schools that gave scholarships for these sports. Hawaii Pacific University was the top school on my list for several reasons. At the time they were giving 80%-100% Scholarships and obviously it was Hawaii which appealed to every aspect of my being. I auditioned for their dance team via DVD and I got a call back that I didn’t make the team, but, I was the first name on the waitlist. If one of the other girls declined the offer I would get the spot and thanks to my lucky stars that’s exactly what happened.
I was offered the position after being waitlisted for only one week because someone turned down the opportunity to go to university for free in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Needless to say it took some hardcore convincing to get my parents on board with me moving thousands of miles away to a place none of us had ever visited, but they finally yielded to the fact that it was at least worth a try. From that moment on I never looked backed.
I ended up living on Oahu for almost four years. During that time I spent a summer in Canada with dear friend I met my first year on the island, spent a Thanksgiving hiking the Redwood forest, a winter skiing the bunny slopes of Mt. Hood in Oregon with my college roommate, a summer trip conquering the 22 mile Kalalau trail on Kauai, and 6 week solo backpacking trip through Costa Rica improve my Spanish and surfing skills. After graduation I did the typical backpacking trip through Europe, but in atypical fashion. I was honored with an invite from my college mentor and economics professor to be one of the guest lectures at an Austrian Economics camp at a university in Bucharest, Romania the summer after my graduation. I accepted the opportunity whole hardly.
Since I would be traveling thousands of miles to teach at this seminar I decided that I would make a whole summer backpacking trip out of it. One of my best friends in the entire world is a 6’4” Swedish genius named Anders. We met my first semester at Hawaii Pacific University and have ever since been the best of friends. I flew to Romania for the week long seminar and they treated us like royalty. The week was spent enthralled in engaging conversation about freedom, government, corruption, history, and the future. The food was great, the people were genuine, and the nightlife was entrancing. I said my farewells to my new Romanian friends and boarded a jet to Italy where the backpacking portion of this adventure was to commence.
When I debarked the plane I saw one of my best friends in the whole world sitting in a chair in a hot and humid Italian airport waiting with arms wide open and smiles for days. And that pretty much how the entire trip went, hopping from planes, trains, to automobiles and back again. We started off in Italy where the food was awesome, the fashion was unreal, and the architecture was majestic.
From Lucca to Venice and to Rome then Florence, I can’t tell you which place I enjoyed more because I enjoyed all of it so immensely I can’t possibly play favorites. From there we made our way through the French Rivera and Spain then headed north through Paris to Amsterdam, Denmark, and finally Sweden where Anders and his family have a house on the North Sea. We spent a week at the lake house relaxing from our journey and enjoying time well spent with Anders family and some friends from San Francisco whom we meet up with in Amsterdam for the second part of our trip.
As a surprise ending to our trip Anders mom and dad took Anders and I on a special trip through Norway to see the Fjords. They had been themselves in 20+ years but they figured this would be the perfect opportunity to visit again, and what an amazing opportunity it was. I can’t explain to you the beauty that is the Norwegian Fjords so I provided a picture so you could see for yourself.
Traveling is a lifestyle in my opinion. My goal is to make it was much a part of my life as breathing.
Sounds like quite an experience. How do you find balance in your life, work, relationship and all the activities that you do?
Simple. I am obsessed with planning. I make a clear cut list of everything I have to do and want to do before the beginning of each week and I take the time to put it all on the calendar and arrange as need in order to fit everything in. My boyfriend thinks I am nuts but planning like I do doesn’t mean I am opposed to changing direction, quite the contrary, I just like to build the framework for life to fill in.
What about your health? How does that fit into everything that you do?
I stay pretty active, which helps. On a regular basis I do Capoeira, yoga, dance, and crossfit.
I do sometimes have a digestive issue that really makes it hard for me to function when it flares up. I decided to take action into my own hands to limit these flare ups to almost nonexistent.
The thing that has helped the most is obviously changing my diet. I make a smoothie once a day with probiotics, kale, and fruits to give my body the nutrients it’s looking for. In addition to that I try to drink at least a gallon of water a day and these changes have made a significant difference in my overall health, pretty much making my digestive issue a problem of the past.
When are you the most happiest
I am happiest when I am being true to myself and doing what I enjoy. I often feel that people never really get the chance to discover who they really are because at a very young age society begins to domesticate us and fill us with false ideas of success, beauty, obligation, and love.
I am happiest when I am finding truth for myself and living my life in accordance to what I my heart naturally tells me to do and not in accordance with what society tries to force upon me.
Tell us a bit about the GoBorderless venture and how that can help women looking to explore their adventurous side?
It’s a community of adventures. A place where you can get inspired and gather ideas from the journeys of others and share your own adventure tale in hopes of inspiring someone else. It’s also a place where you can turn that idea into reality by booking tours and outfitters directly from the site or by following our DIY guides.
Goborderless is a community of adventure seekers dedicated to seeing the world from the most exhilarating angles and living their lives in the most inspiring ways.
The goal of GoBorderless is to inspire people to explore and get to know their world in an adventurous and unforgettable way, especially for women who all too often are too afraid to follow their travel dreams because they are women. Go Borderless is an adventure community founded by women for every person looking to live their lives to the fullest.
What advice do you have for other women looking to explore their creative side?
I would encourage women to take the time to get to know themselves and in my opinion the best way to do that is through travel and through books. Travel and books open up doors to other worlds and lead you to discovering new things you never knew existed while opening your mind to viewing life, people, and the world in nontraditional ways. Creativity is spawned from influences, and the more you travel and read the more influences you have to draw upon.
What other projects are you working on and what can we expect from Jennell in the future?
I consider my life to be an ongoing project. I am always setting goals for myself both big and small. So in the next two years based on the immediate goals I have set for myself you can expect to see me living temporarily in Santiago, Chile to work hard to grow Go Borderless into the business that I know it will be.
I am also fascinated with digital media. I have been learning how to use and manipulate images and video with various design softwares and plan to pursue a career in that field.
You can also expect to see me finish a ½ marathon, fluent in Spanish after spending 3 months or so in Guatemala, getting my yoga teacher certification in Thailand, backpacking Southeast Asia, surfing Bali, and hopefully at the stage in my relationship where my boyfriend and I are ready to move to the next step.
Follow Jennell on instagram @jennell_borderless.