A Glimpse into Melissa’s Past, Her Evolution and How Breathe in Life Came to Be

by Nanci


I remember sitting down last year at this exact time feeling an urge to write something a little bit personal for the Breathe in Life blog on my birthday, but I felt self-conscious about expressing my true self publicly. It is inspiring for me to sit here now and wrap my head around how much growth has occurred in one year. I feel I have peeled back many layers and although it has been a roller coaster, I feel more confident, vibrant, healthy, and happy than ever before.

30 years old! I love getting older! Bowie says it best:

“Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.”

When I look back at my 20’s I have to laugh, it feels good to laugh at it. It was such a wild ride of highs and lows, extreme self-discovery, and lots of lessons learned. If any of you knew me in my early 20’s I am sure you would say, “that girl was a wild card!” (hopefully in a good way..haha).  I was out to have a good time, to live fully, to laugh as much as I could, and to push the boundaries of what people considered a ‘normal’ life. And what a perfect platform life handed me… at 21 I began working as an adventure backpacking tour guide/manager throughout South East Asia and Central America!

My life was filled with adventure, travel, life changing experiences, and way too much partying! The life of a tour guide in those days was so care free, I didn’t worry about much. I was living in the moment as a travel rock star and wanted nothing to change.

This all came to a halt around the age of 24/25. The universe was consistently giving me slaps in the face to wake up, to pay attention, to realize this was not the be all end all of my existence. I became very ill because of the way I was abusing my body on those trips and had been in and out of numerous hospitals through out my travels. I dealt with the passing of Nate Renaud on one of my trips, and then lost my best friend Ben Trompetter, as well as numerous other personal matters that were quite devastating.

I believe your outer world is a direct reflection of your inner world and when I finally came to that conclusion I made the decision to step up and step out of the dark hole I felt I was in. And because of that darkness I experienced I felt this deep compassion and urge to help those in need. I can almost pin point the day I made that choice to be a better person and looking back it is amazing to see how many amazing things fell into my path after that.

I met the love of my life, Chris Elliott. My boss at the time (Curtis Smith of Free and Easy Traveler) gave me a life changing opportunity to guide and par take in a 200 hr yoga teacher training with one the best teachers I have ever come across (Suzanne Faith). I was asked to guide and cook on yoga retreats in all sorts of amazing places, I started diving head first into everything about health and wellness and how to be good to my body and so much more! I was now living from a place of love and it showed in these new amazing changes and opportunities.

I truly believe everything changed for the better when I threw my arms up and stopped stressing and just decided to be happy, do things that made me happy and trust that life would be all good. I gave myself the space on numerous vacations to just sit in a hammock or lie on the beach to brainstorm ways that I could create a health and wellness travel company. And then the right people came into my life at the exact right time to piece together this beautiful puzzle that is my life. And with a statement given by my mom in a dream, the name Breathe in Life came to be and I love it!

I could not have done it without my brother David who helped get things started, got Free and Easy Traveler on board and gave me the huge push I needed to be confident in this new venture. I was lucky enough to have my closest friend, Jordan jump in as Co Founder and an endless fountain of support and love. And of course the 3rd Co Founder, my fiancé Chris, who I truly feel made this all possible with his faith in my big ideas, his drive to make things happen and his steadiness and chilled approach to life, which definitely balances out my fire.

Since the launch of Breathe in Life Health + Wellness Travel a lot has changed within me. I feel each day I take a step closer to who I really am. I have made the commitment to be good to my body and take a lot of me time for the health of my mind, because what good am I to others if I am not good within. This year I decided to do a year of zero alcohol or substance abuse of any kind to go deeper into self-discovery and clarity. I pledged to live a life of giving from the heart and to steep in gratitude for all the beautiful people and surroundings in my world. To laugh more and not take life so seriously!

I know this blog is a short story but I truly realize that I am no longer these stories. I am not my memories from the past. I am more then what I’ve done, what I’ve been or what I have been taught by others, and more than what has been done to me. In this moment I am Melissa and I am so inspired to live to my full potential and to stand in my truth of who I really am; a humble and compassionate soul who is slightly introverted and thoroughly enjoys being still and quiet, a lover of living a meaningful life full of adventure and laughs, and a care giver and healer to all.


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