6 Months to Live Blog

Melissa Sand Dunes
Guest Posts
May 31, 2013

Live an Extraordinary Life on Your Own Terms: By Melissa Shearer

I can tell you the exact moment I knew I fell in love with Africa.  It was while I was living out my dreams.  I’d shirked the 9-to-5 routine in exchange for an extraordinary life.  I was sitting high atop Namibia’s most photographed sand dune, Dune 45.  I had just experienced the most grueling, lung-aching 20 minutes of my life,…
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My grandmother's first time in the ocean (in her 70s!)
Why wait?
May 30, 2013

The Art of Mistake Making

Do you remember how many times you fell down when you were learning to walk? I don't personally, but I'm sure I fell hundreds if not thousands of times in my quest for 2-legged movement. Do you think you cared about falling down or did you just instinctively get up and give it another go? While teaching in China, the…
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Beaches of Mexico --Photo by Don Laverty
Guest Posts
May 28, 2013

Intentional Courage by Bill Treasurer

You are a courageous person. I know that because I know that you have done courageous things in your life already. You were courageous the day your parents dropped you off at summer camp for your first time. You were courageous as a budding thespian in your high school play when the curtain went up and you were staring at…
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May 24, 2013

Live Your Joy: Meet Whitney Freya

I first learned about Whitney Freya from one of my favorite bloggers, Desiree East. Whitney's an incredibly passionate artist who helps others unlock their creativity and live their joy! Meet Whitney Ferré! Whitney in her own words: What inspired to start Creatively Fit and why are you so passionate about its mission? It really was a classic “light bulb moment!” I had grown…
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Why wait?
May 21, 2013

6 Lessons from Zach Sobiech

Many of you sent me Zach Sobiech's incredibly inspiring story about his teenage life with cancer and death yesterday. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family and to all those that were close to him. What struck me most about watching SoulPancake's video about his last days was how Zach chose to live. "You don't have to find out you're…
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Hoop it up!
Life changing moments
April 30, 2013

2 Lessons that Will Change Your Life

Childhood Lessons The first time I dared to create the seemingly impossible I was 13-years-old. I set my sights on attending one of the best schools in Atlanta, even though most of the odds were against me (didn't have family there, applying in a year where they took a handfull of students, different religion, to name a few). My parents…
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flower from hike
Life changing moments
April 17, 2013

Dreams do come true!

As I write this post, I hear the soothing sounds of a creek coupled with various birds' songs. I'm sitting in the living room of my new home, and I'm oozing quiet contentment. I'm on the other side of fear and loving my new life! 4 days ago, all I had was a plane ticket, a place to stay for two nights,…
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Imagine all the possibilities!
Questions that Count
April 12, 2013

How do you break through fear?

When I graduated from high school my uncle gave me a gift with the etched words: "What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" My success-focused, inner perfectionist immediately resonated with those words. If I cut failure out of the equation, what would I do? All types of possibilities instantly came to me... Most people aren't afraid…
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Thumbs up for meeting people from other places!
April 7, 2013

(Out of) Southern Comfort Zone

I've gotten a lot of...I'll just say it--crap for being from the southeast during my travels in the States. I still remember a rather humorous moment my freshman year of college at Boston University when someone looked shocked when he found out I was from Atlanta: "I thought you were from Connecticut!" I've been listening to "Southern Comfort Zone" by Brad Paisley…
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One of the most stunning sunsets I've ever seen -- Photo by Eva Skokankova
Being the Change
April 2, 2013

I’m Coming Out!

Remember that awesome Diana Ross song from 1980, "I'm Coming Out?" I distinctly remember 70's Disco music making a consistent appearance in my early childhood--that and Barry White. Looks like my parents were groovin' clear into the 80's! The lyrics go a little something like this: There's a new me coming out And I just had to live And I…
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Some of my favorite students while volunteer-teaching in China
March 31, 2013

Do you believe in Miracles?

Today is the last day to vote for my entry on Panama for My Destination's Biggest, Baddest, Bucket List! If I win, I would be sent on a 6-month blogging and vlogging adventure across 6 continents. This is not only my dream, it's an important part of my life's purpose. We need to reach at least 1,000 votes by the…
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new version
March 20, 2013

Your Top 25 Inspirational Songs!

I recently posted my Top 10 Go-To Songs for inspiration, positivity, and of course, dancing! Here are some of yours! Trish from Eternal Wandering: "You and Me" by Dave Matthews Band CeCe from Little Victories: "Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson Melvin from Travel Dudes: "Don't Worry" by Pierre Minetti Erin from The World Wanderer: "In the Aeroplane over the Sea" by Neutral Milk…
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A huge thumbs up & thank you for voting!
March 18, 2013

Why I Want to Win #MyBBB

According to Simon Sinek's Ted Talk, the how and what is not nearly as important as the WHY. With that in mind, I ask that you take a minute out of your day to watch this video I made explaining why I would love to win My Destination's Biggest, Baddest, Bucket List. If I win, I would receive a 6-month…
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Please vote for my dream of traveling the world! http://bit.ly/ZxOPMW
March 11, 2013


Guess what?! Remember when I left everything behind to pursue my dream of traveling the world? I gave everything away, said "auf wiedersehen" to my friends in San Francisco, and was off on my sailing adventure through Mexico! Sailing in the Sea of Cortez I had an absolutely amazing time, but I still had much of Central America and South America…
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This is how excited I get from these songs!
March 1, 2013

Top 10 Go-To Inspirational Songs

It's been too long since I've posted about music. Those that know me well know that I love music--whether it's listening to it, playing it, or creating it. I've posted about my favorite songs of childhood and through the teen years, but this list is dedicated to My Top 10 Go-To Songs for positivity, getting pumped, and happiness! Playing Banjo on…
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Life Experiments
February 25, 2013

30-Day Plant-Based Diet Experiment

As many of you know by now, I had to undergo emergency surgery for acute appendicitis while traveling in Panama earlier this month. I am incredibly grateful for numerous reasons, and I will be writing all about Panama and my experiences while traveling soon. Back in the States after Surgery This post, however, is about a new life experiment I'm taking on for the next 30 days.…
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Halloween with Students in China
February 6, 2013

Truly Living Is Not Depressing

"6 months to live? Sounds depressing!" I get this response a lot. So much in fact that I've even considered changing the name of the blog. It's understandably difficult to overcome the pervasive negative connotation that comes with facing a terminal illness, or death. My best friend enjoying Panama! Death is a reminder. Whether we 'know' when our time will…
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Photo by Don Laverty
January 30, 2013

2013: A Year to Embrace Delicious Ambiguity…

2012 was a year of transformation. Globally, the world witnessed continued changes in the Middle East, the 30th Olympics Games were held in London, and Burma opened its doors. It was also a year of transformation for the blog. With the help of several wonderful Kickstarter backers, the first season of 6 Months to Live made its debut! The blog got a…
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Sailing in Mexico
New Experiences
December 31, 2012

12 for 2012

If your 2012 was anything like mine, it was a great year filled with transformation, hope, uncertainty, dreams, and life changing choices. I've chosen 12 photos and 12 blog posts (not necessarily related) from each month to capture what 2012 has meant for me. I thank each and every one of you reading for joining me on my journey and…
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Photo by Kim Nicol
Guest Posts
December 20, 2012

How to Make Hard Decisions by Kim Nicol

"Be Curious. Savor all of it." --Kim's tagline on her website, kimnicol.com How to Make Hard Decisions I know what I want but it's scary and (maybe) irresponsible.  I knew for a long time that I wanted to __________.  I'm leaving out the specifics of my desire because you can place just about anything in there and this story will…
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Pool & Hot Tub
December 18, 2012

Hot Tub Ambassador

"Buenos dìas! Buenos dìas!" said the full-faced smiling boy, as he bobbed around the hot tub in his turtle and seahorse covered flota. He made his rounds to all the Mexican, American, and Canadian guests at the El Cid, the marina/hotel I'm staying at in Mazatlan, waving everyone hello before pausing on a manmade rock to speak with me. Rock where Diego and…
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December 8, 2012

The Adventure Begins (Again!)

I just finished a journal I began in August. At the time I was living in San Francisco, going through the motions. Job, apartment, and friends were all good, but it felt like something was missing. I took a “date with Jackie” day, which essentially means spending most of the day alone doing whatever I feel like. Most of those…
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New Experiences
November 20, 2012

#NaNoWriMo Live Blog Post

My favorite part of social media is the opportunity to meet new people and learn new things. It just so happens that in tonight's #NaNoWriMo Twitter feed, I met author, Brittany Severn, who invited anyone who would like to join her in live blogging for NaNoWriMo.  The goal of live blogging is to support one another in writing by documenting your journey…
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All photos by Vanessa Hellmann www.vanessamona.com
November 12, 2012

Inspired Everyday Giveaway!

To honor the 3-year anniversary of the blog, I am thrilled to announce 6 Months to Live's first giveaway contest! Compendium has generously donated 3 inspiration packages for 6 Months' readers to answer the following question: What inspires you?  What is your next big thing? Each inspiration package includes all the products shown in this Pinterest board: A signed copy of The 1 Book by Dan Zadra…
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Photo by Vanessa Hellmann | www.vanessamona.com
November 5, 2012

Hammock Chats

I once had a friend tell me, "Jackie, if you talked to me like you talk to yourself, we wouldn't be friends." She was absolutely right. My inner voice was toxic, filled with "You can'ts, not good enough's, and 'why can't you be better's?'. Her words shocked me and made me aware of how often my negative self talk made me…
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(c) Arianna’s Random Thoughts
Life Experiments
November 1, 2012

Celebrating You!

I'm excited to announce 6 Months to Live's first guest Life Experiments' post by Arianna Merritt from Arianna's Random Thoughts! Many thanks to Arianna for sharing her experiment and photos. Feel free to submit your ideas and life experiments as well to sixmonthstolive@gmail.com Read more about Arianna's journey to celebrating herself and others below: Meet Arianna Merritt from (c) Arianna’s Random Thoughts Celebrating You:…
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It's time to walk across
October 15, 2012

The Best Adventures Begin with Choice

Most epic stories or adventures begin with a dramatic life change. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, decided to go on an incredible journey to Italy, India, and Indonesia after a devastating break up. Elliot's life was completely turned upside down when E.T. arrived. Queen Elizabeth I took the throne as England's first sole female monarch after the death of her…
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Kamaljit (guest from the 5th episode) said "yes" to me shooting her bow and arrow after filming! Photo by vanessamona.com
Rejection Therapy
August 20, 2012

Lessons in Rejection

Rejection Therapy has been a roller coaster, and I'm absolutely loving it (well, mostly). In my 2 weeks of rejection, I've been told "no" and "yes" countless times. As I mentioned in my first post, Rejection Therapy: Week One, I'm using Rejection Therapy as a catapult for pursuing my longstanding dreams. It's also served as daily in-the-moment motivation to ask for…
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"Embrace Self" by Michelle Robinson
August 14, 2012

A Woman’s Beauty: Meet Michelle Robinson

Michelle Robinson's art immediately spoke to me. The lines, colors, and shapes in her art are not only stunning, but they also speak to the inherent beauty, freedom, and fluidity of the female form. I look at her art, and my heart opens. It's as if I'm seeing the sacred power of what it means to be a woman.  Meet Michelle…
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Why not?
August 10, 2012

Rejection Therapy: Week 1

When I was 23, I believed I could do anything. I moved to middle-of-nowhere China right after college, and all seemed possible. Even moving to a country where I didn't speak the language, was the only white girl in town, and had very little understanding of Chinese culture didn't seem to phase me much. I was nervous, but more so,…
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