Feed Me Friends: Serena Star Leonard
Feed Me Friends is back! And I'm kicking things off today with someone who really knows a thing or two about building a life that supports your dreams.
I was first introduced to Serena and her work last year, when my boyfriend did a photography feature on her travel website, Five Point Five, whilst we were travelling in Central America. Not only was I totally swept away by her enthusiasm for adventure and making a difference in communities all over the world, I was also in complete admiration that this best selling author and talented business coach was using the world as her office, and making mini documentaries and travel reviews in her spare time. Talk about killin' it at life! And if that isn't enough, she is now launching her second book, setting up an online travel health shop (which I am so happy to be assisting with), and sharing everything she knows in an upcoming BLOG to BOOK course to help bloggers get their own book publishing deal! Her 'grab life with both hands' energy is infectious, so get reading now and check out this amazing woman!
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got to where you are today?
Well! I am 34, I am a business coach by trade and I also write books, blogs and present mini documentaries and travel reviews for our website Five Point Five - www.fivepointfive.org
I actually run three blogs which is a little bit nuts, but I have so many passions and interests that it is hard to put it all under one banner!
In terms of career/business, I worked in corporate sales jobs from a young age (high school drop out!), which gave me a head start on people my age in the job market. Even though I had some pretty good jobs, there was always something lacking and at 26, I took a risk to go out on my own.
The last eight years have been a rollercoaster, but mainly thrilling with lots of adventures! I now feel comfortable that I have designed my life and experience a great level of freedom.
Photo: Ready to jump into Lake Atitlan - Guatemala
What does a typical week look like for you?
There is no typical week at the moment! My husband and I have been travelling for 25 months so far. This week I am catching up with friends and family in Melbourne and preparing my book launch and a new course!
2 weeks ago we were reviewing a Murray River Cruise and a Kangaroo Island tour, next week we will visit a prison to shoot a documentary for a children’s charity.
In 3 weeks we fly to London and will be filming music festivals for a feature length documentary we are producing. In between all the adventures, we travel, write blogs, I have clients via Skype for business coaching and I run courses to help people get book deals or build their first website.
What inspires you to do what you do?
Currently we film mini documentaries of people who make a difference to their communities. For this we have had the privilege of travelling to all sorts of amazing places to find these people, like in the highlands of Peru, the jungles of Guatemala or in the brothels of Nicaragua.
Photo: A family we meet through World Vision - Mexico
Seeing these amazing people who are so dedicated to making a difference is humbling and makes me even more determined to share their stories. The courage and determination these people have is out of this world.
I am also passionate about travel and music, so we are filming travel reviews and a documentary about The Best Music Festivals in the World. So it is such a buzz to be able to fulfill quite a few of my passions on a regular basis.
Photo: We get some fantastic vantage points for shooting at festivals.
What feeds you on a daily basis? What makes your heart sing? What makes you feel completely and utterly satisfied?
Actually, food! I am a total foodie and love nothing more than to have amazing ingredients and plenty of time in a well-stocked kitchen.
In one word, describe how it feels to live a life that is in alignment with your passion.
In the words of William Wallace… FREEDOM!!
What does it mean to you to live a healthy lifestyle?
My healthy lifestyle means a lot to me! For me it includes eating well, being physically active, getting lots of sleep and naps, limiting my consumption of chemicals and being active in learning about natural health and the food industry in general.
I find that my body is very good at telling me what I need, but in the past I was not really aware of this. I now pay more attention to what my body is telling me and then look after it appropriately!
I also think that my mental health plays a huge role in my physical health, so lots of laughing, positivity, happiness and love contribute to my health considerably.
How do you keep healthy whilst traveling?
It is tough to maintain any sort of routine in our lives, so we do the best with what we have. For example, I love green smoothies, but most of the year, we don’t have access to a blender or juicer, and sometimes we are in places where it is preferable to cook vegies because of dodgy water!
Photo: Green smoothies are not always easy when you travel!
We are vegetarian which reduces your chances of getting food poisoning which is a bonus! But it also limits your choices in many developing countries. So as much as possible we will book accommodation with a kitchen, visit local markets and cook healthy meals at home.
I use all sorts of natural alternatives to cosmetics and creams like coconut oil which I can’t live without!
Some parts of the year we are really active with hiking, diving and film shoots etc. And other times more sedate, when I will have the odd jog, do a cardio video from my laptop, or my favourite exercise – swimming!
Describe your ultimate adventure?
4 years of travel around the world to amazing places where we get to share people’s intimate stories of hardship and triumph. And, along the way plenty of scuba diving, hiking, learning languages, sailing, photography, jumping off bridges and eating delicious food.
Photo: Scuba diving the Blue Hole in Belize - ticked off the bucket list!
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
My coach has a saying (from someone else) that “this too shall pass” which is so important to remember when the proverbial hits the proverbial.
It doesn’t matter how crap your current situation is, it too shall pass.
What were your biggest challenges in achieving the lifestyle of your dreams, and how did you overcome them?
Probably the same challenges that most people face with whatever they want to do - a lack of time, money, support, experience, knowledge and resources!
I tend to overcome things one step at a time, which is all you can do really. I often have a goal that is much bigger than what I can see is possible. Living this way makes me raise the game in terms of how creative and persistent I need to be to achieve my goals.
It doesn’t matter if your goal is tiny or huge, you can only do today what you can do today. So I figure that you may as well have a goal that makes you giddy with excitement – you never know, you may just reach it!
Can you share with us a little fun fact about yourself that proves you are no superwoman, and just like the rest of us?
Haha I can think of plenty of these fun facts! I am the person who always giggles at very inappropriate moments. I am a Facebook addict, terrible at networking, get nervous making small talk, and even though I try not to, I do care what people think of me!
And finally, what goodies do you have in store for the rest of the year? What can we expect to see next?
Well in a few weeks we leave Australia and head to Europe for the summer and then to Africa and Asia which will take us through the next 18 months.
Meanwhile my new book “How to Succeed in 12 Months: Creating a life you love” will launch and I have an exciting BLOG to BOOK course starting in June where I teach aspiring writers how to get a book deal.
And we are also launching an online travel health shop to help travelers get the healthy goodies they need to travel well. This year we have lots of exciting plans, and so far things are looking good!
Whether you're an online entrepreneur, writer, actress or chef - the world is your oyster baby and you have the pen in hand to draw up your life any which way you like. I hope this interview has given you a peek into the endless possibilities that await you and as always, if you liked this interview please share it around with your mates. For all you brilliant bloggers out there, if a book publishing deal is staring at you from your vision board right about now, or the idea of one day attracting the attention of a publisher is currently sitting pretty in your day dreams, please do head on over and check Serena's new BLOG to BOOK course for a chance to soak up all her wisdom! You can also connect with Serena on Facebook here and here, and on Twitter here and here.
Note: Just to be 100% transparent - I am an affiliate for Serena's Blog to Book course and therefore I do receive a small commission should you sign up via my link. However, please know that I would never promote anything I didn't 100% believe in, and feel would be of value to you in living a life of passion and adventure.