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Have you ever dreamed of trading everything in and starting over? What would you do? Who would you become? Where would you go? 

I was a New Yorker, not a camper (those two things are diametriacally opposite), but that all changed during one wondrously crazy year-long adventure across America with my dog... 

When I created my Girl Reinvented blog (2010), it defined a snapshot in time. It was a small diary, for family and friends, documenting my reinvention: quitting my life running a successful publishing business in NYC managing and producing travel sections for the New York Times and the Boston Globe (with summers spent in the Hamptons and winters snow boarding in VT) and embarking on a 30-day road trip across the country to explore America. You see, prior to this upheaval, I had visited more foreign countries than U.S. states! Travel publishing took me to some of the most spectacular destinations in the world, but I'd never even been to Montana or Mt. Rushmore – and I wanted to change that.

For everyone that knows me, my adventure (even at just 30 days) was completely uncharacteristic of me – quitting all the more so! Since a very young age, I had always been very myopic and focused in my pursuit of success. I would soon learn my definition of success was impossibly wrong by the way. I never took time to slow down and figure out what really mattered to me and made ME happy. Come to find out, I'm a pretty badass waterman, yoga is now my thing (I can do a headstand pretty much anywhere), I love coaching kids (I'm a rowing coach now too), and helping people brings me deep joy and fulfillment – I mean smile from the inside kind of joy. Oh, and I love creating things! My right brain sat pretty dormant for years while I ran in the hamster wheel. Life can be pretty freakin' amazing when leave your cage. Just sayin'. I launched a new company last year using both my right and left brain... and it's awesome!!! Want to be an AMAZING gift giver? Check out my new company that gives back to charities: DishRaggs.com. I sell dish towels with purpose – all hand made by yours truly! 

My blog was equal parts beacon, to let my family and friends know I was alive; reassurance, so they knew I hadn't gone completely mad, and transitional project. I didn't have an off switch. 

As most readers know, my journey took an unexpected turn once I reached Michigan. My 30 day road trip morphed into one big, crazy #ss, 328-day adventure complete with a teardrop camper. First I stayed in hotels (the original plan), then I started camping in a tent (I actually set up "2" tents as I felt it was less likely for someone to murder a group of people), then it happened... I fell in love with camping so much I purchased a very retro, super awesome teardrop camper in Michigan. Prior to this, I had never even stepped inside of a camper or trailer. I traded in my Audi for a Jeep Liberty and the rest is history. I lived in my tiny bed on wheels for the better part of a year, exploring the northwest alone with my dog through every element, even buried under 2" of snow. The picture in my banner is my little nest on wheels sitting on the bank of Lake Superior – waterfront lodging $20 per night! As my odyssey evolved, organically, so did my blog. But my adventure was never about self promotion, as that would've negated everything my journey was about. In 2010, blogs were less about monetizing and taking selfies wasn't a thing, yet. It was a diary and I'm so glad I had one. 

My journey was personal. It's the story of one girl, realizing more than anything, how much she needed to let go and find her true north. I didn't know how much I needed to be alone, until I was...

I love the saying "Find Your True North." Metaphorically speaking, we're all headed "north," right? Not down, but up, not back, but forward. We're seeking upward momentum, striving for achievment, forward progress... "north." Did you know that magnetic north (compass north) is different than "true north" (geographic north)? It has to do with the earth's axis and magnetic inclination (or something like that). Point being, what if you've been heading in the wrong direction all along? Too busy to notice? Maybe too scared to make a change or too many obligations. Whatever the reason, most of us are there or have been there.

I grew up the youngest of four with an insatiable, self-imposed, need to prove myself. I had one very singular focus... heading north, being successful. I didn't want to struggle with money like my parents. I was the first one in my family to graduate college. I became a director in the Colorado Rockies Organization (AA farm team) while I was still in school and began traveling the world (publishing industry) by age 24. By age 27 I branched off and started my own company (producing and managing sections for the New York Times & Boston Globe), which I ran for over a decade. I say this not to brag. I busted my ass and I'm definitely proud of my accomplishments, but I was relentless and that came with a price. I was so focused on making my next move I never took the time to figure out what I really wanted. My work became my identity. My identity became my work.

I lost a lot of money in my divorce (story for another day), so my last few years living in New York I decided to take on a second job. Two full-time jobs? Seems preposterous I know, but I wanted to rebuild my bank account. At this point my NYT & BG business was on autopilot and truth be told I was getting bored. When I had huge sections due I would out source most of the work and manage operations at night. It was nuts, but manageable. 

I figured three years. No reasonable person could continue at that pace for more than three. Three was my number. At the end of three, I would quit and buy place in NYC. Plan. I always had a plan. 


That so called plan?... It went to hell in a hand basket and I blame three paralyzed inner city young men, Blake, Jermaine, and Jonathan. It's all their fault I made the greatest life changing decision imaginable. I blame Richard Branson for my current situation, but that's another story. Anyway, these young men – all struggling to survive in a deplorable nursing home with no money or resources, had more joy, passion and purpose that I ever did. Sure I helped them with material things, but I could. I had the resources and I should. I didn't do anything special. What they did for me, however, was the true gift. They give me a new reason to live and a new perspective on life. I began to see the world through their bright, vulnerable, grateful eyes – and I knew I had to make a change. 

It began as an ordinary day. Same as the day before, and the day before that and the day before that (hamster wheel). But this day was different. "Fuck," I uttered to myself as I lie in bed prepared to max out the snooze button for the hundredth day in a row. "I want to go to Montana." (I'd always dreamed of going to MT). 

And that's how it started... I woke up that day and decided it was over. No more. I'm done. I'm done with it all. That "plan" I'm so used chasing? And the bank account I've worked so hard to pad? Yep, both soon to be thrown out the window. 

The hardest part about my adventure was leaving the boys, but it was because of them that I had the courage to leave. How about that for sucky irony. (Check out "Boys of Beth Abe link for stories about them). Every single move I've made since 2010 has been with one purpose (ok, more like 3): to throw caution into the wind, be thankful for this blessed life I've been given, and follow my heart no matter where it leads me. Btw: the pic above is a shot of us after a day at the Brooklyn Open Studios Art Show. We named this piece (picture), "Never Take Your Legs for Granted."

And so the story goes... I gave up everything: quit my company, moved out of my apartment and somehow found myself more or less "homeless" living in a teardrop camper with barely enough room to sit upright for the better part of a year. I still have no real clue how it happened, but it was meant to happen. I was anonymous; free from expectations, judgment, pressure, responsibility. I didn't have a role to play. I could just be me, and figure out who me really was. I found comfort in my own vulnerability and I learned to let go and forgive myself. I slowed down. I opened my mind, tested my assumptions, challenged my beliefs and evaluated my own prejudices (we all have them, you just have to admit it and look deep). I learned how very little you need to be truly happy (as everything I could ever need in the world fit inside my 5" x 8" trailer). I barely looked in the mirror (so liberating) and as much as I tried not to, I burned through my savings like a fat kid eats cake. I was alive. The life I worked so hard to build and protect was now shot to hell, and it felt awesome. I was Dee Dee again, the 8 year old girl with her brand new pink Huffy bike riding into the sunset without a care in the world. 

After an incredible chapter on the west coast (living in Laguna Beach, teaching yoga in my own studio and racing for an outrigger racing team), here I am back east with a lifetime of new experiences and a new company. I left as one girl and came back as someone completely new. Everyone I've met, everything I've learned, everything I've experienced, is now shaping my new life – and my new company. 

Now, Girl Reinvented has changed. She was once only a travel blog, but now she is a brand and she is empowering. She isn't about me, on the contrary, she now represents every woman and girl with the dream, and the courage to go after it. 

Blaze your own trail and never doubt yourself. 

Girl Reinvented is the umbrella company to my two textile lines, DishRaggs.com and my charitable brand extension, CharityRaggs.com. 

How did I get into textiles? The summer of 2016 I decided to finally learn how to sew using a sewing machine (I've always wanted to learn), and I also took a screenprinting workshop in Brooklyn (because, why the hell not). I became so excited and obsessed with my new found talents that I decided to start my own textile company making whimsical dishtowels. Chris (Little Guy Trailers) was my first distribution outlet selling my #DishRaggs on their retail site teardropshop.com. Next, I landed an account with Camping World, 120 stores nationwide! I feel so blessed. 

In tragedy, there is always light. In loss, there is profound change. My father died very unexpectedly of a massive heart attack a few days before Christmas 2014 (hence why I came back east Dec. 2016). His sudden death was awful, but the experience has reshaped my world for the better. Most people thought I was crazy when I quit my lucrative NYC company and career in 2010 to reinvent myself with no plan, but he was proud. Even more proud when I took a very unexpected 328-day detour and bought a teardrop camper in MI to explore the country. He understood. This company is for him. I know he'd be even more proud. Every move I make is for him. He may not be here (physically), but this company would not be possible if it wasn't for him. I know he is smiling. 

Faith, with a modicum of risk, has always been my guiding principle. Risk is never more scarier than when you become an entrepreneur. You risk your time, safety, money, security, reputation and so much more. Fear and faith will be my compass as I navigate this new terrain. I will undoubtedly make mistakes along the way, but that's OK. I will leave nothing on the table and give everything I have to make this great! 

girlreinvented.com will chronicle all of the ups and downs, triumphs and failures it takes to build my empire! ;-)

To read how the 328 adventure all began... click HERE.