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Kelly English

Kelly and I met over a decade ago while working for an international luxury bicycle touring company. She’d just come back from a trip to Ko Phi Phi, where a Tsunami crashed into her bungalow and flooded the town. As a marathon runner, Kelly not only ran up a hill to save herself, but also proceeded to carry people up the hill for the next two days.

Kelly is a full-on force who knows how to get things done, but also manages to prioritize fun. When she’s not traveling the world or running her company, Explore California, she’s hosting nonstop gatherings on her houseboat in Sausalito.

What is my everyday magic?
That's an easy one.  The fact that I have every day!  I open my eyes, I'm healthy, happy and have friends and family in my life that I love and care about.  EDM - appreciating what I've got and acknowledging that I am so happy and so fortunate to be where I am.  Sounds cheesy, but it's true.  Happiness is the new rich, right? I'm loaded.

What strategy and tactics do I utilize to live my best life?

  • The number one has many different adages: "Don't cry over spilled milk."  "Don't sweat the small stuff" on and on.  Life is too short to let little things get to you.  I don't let much get to me and I think that keeps me exponentially happier than people who let small stuff bother them.  The big picture is what matters (health, family, friends, happiness).
  • Do what I love, not what I should do to make more money (sometimes this means working less and spending less $).
  • Forgive.  Life is too short to hold a grudge.
  • Spend as much time as I can outdoors.
  • I tell my family and boyfriend I love them every time I talk to them.  Many of my friends too, actually.
  • BE PRESENT.  It's easy, just engage curiosity.
  • Be alone.  Though I can be an incredibly social creature, I like to hibernate now and then.
  • I love to travel, but I LOVE being home and relish every moment.  I have so much fun tinkering around in my house.  Learning to mount shelves, though less glamorous, can be as much as an adventure as hiking in the high Andes of Colombia alone.  Just depends on your attitude.  

Top 3 tips for success:

  1. Give yourself time in the morning.  Whatever that means to you.  When I'm working on the field, I like to run or stretch and have a big coffee before I start my day.  This means that my day is so much less frantic and early questions don't stress me out.  I wouldn't call myself a "morning person", but I relish a little bit of time to center myself after the rise and shine.  When I'm at home, I spend time making the perfect coffee, then sit down to get work done so I can have a clear-headed mid-morning work out.
  2. Find something you can do that creates a meditative state.  For me, it's running.  I can get so much sorted out in my brain when I go for a run and the endorphin kick just helps with my general state of happiness.  I was injured for 2 months, so turned to yoga (with a bit of biking)...It wasn't quite as effective for me because I had to concentrate so hard on not falling over, but I know it's great for many folks.  Same with plain old fashioned meditation.  I truly believe that having a ritual of some sort to clear your head makes you a more sane, more rational, more forgiving, more introspective person. My businesses were born on runs.
  3. Don't be afraid of rejection.  The worse they can say is "no."  As long as you're prepared for the worst and hoping for the best, a "no" will never be the end-all of anything.  I always use the words "cautiously optimistic" when it comes to many aspects in life.  

Favorite Books (I can't limit it to just one!):

  1. Fountainhead: encapsulates independence, individuality and perseverance.  Roark shrugs off norms and trail blazes despite negative press.
  2. Count of Monte Cristo: not because I'm a huge fan of spending a lifetime planning revenge, but the story is just so good and the bad guys get their asses kicked such a strategically awesome way that you just can't put the thing down.
  3. One Hundred Years of Solitude: so metaphorically pertinent to today.
  4. Travels with Charley: Steinbeck's well-written diary of a road trip has so many current themes even though  it was written in 1960.  It's a great read and a great reminder to engage strangers in order to learn about different parts of the US.  

About Kelly
Born and raised California, I was always curious as to what lay outside the border.  College in Boulder, Colorado, a few years abroad and a semi-nomadic lifestyle have provided me with many adventures and endless stories. I've worked in active travel, reality TV travel and now run by own companies.  

It took me awhile to discover that happiness comes from within and it doesn't live in some foreign land.  Now I spend every minute I can on my houseboat in Sausalito trying out new business ideas, filling my brain with knowledge and attempting (and usually failing) home improvement projects.

As it turns out, adventures manifested themselves in my life in a myriad of ways including:

  • 54 countries visited
  • 2.5 languages spoken (English, French, .25 Japanese, .25 Spainsh)
  • 26 full marathons run
  • 2 companies started (one successfully up and running for 7 years, one brand new)
  • 1 year in corporate america
  • 11 years working for Backroads, an active travel company
  • 10 seasons working on Survivor
  • 2 natural disasters of epic proportions survived (quake of '89 and tsunami of '04)
  • Countless freckles