Bungee Jumping Taught Me This One Great Lesson


/What falling from a 328 ft-high platform in Johannesburg, South Africa taught me about the right timing for courage/ by Travis Levius

“Ready? Alright, let’s go. Arms out…three, two, one!”

There I was, rushed to a ledge a few hundred feet in the air in Soweto by a group of local men, given no time to process that I’m about to nosedive towards the ground. Soon after they strapped my legs, I didn’t get the chance to look down and exhale before taking that frightening dip, or take the time to encourage myself…or to psyche myself out.

Breathless and afraid, there was no turning back after leaning away from the ledge. There was no thinking. I simply jumped, with desperate hopes the leg harness would keep me alive…

I shouted upon my descent, and, when the bungee snatched me from gravity’s death-inducing grasp, exclaimed expletives. I did it; I faced one of my lifetime fears, took the leap, and lived to tell about it.

The bungee staff’s “do it now” approach on that Orlando Towers platform caught me completely off guard, as I didn’t “feel” ready to jump…but the lesson, learned after the experience, was on me.

We’re not ever fully “ready” to take a step or a decision that scares us, yes?

And are there really any plus points delaying the leaps we know we must take?

Perhaps thinking long and hard about the frightening process isn’t as productive as Continue reading

How Visualization Helped Make Me a Jetsetter


It wasn’t always like this for me.

I used to yearn for more international travel, only being able to scrounge up enough for a trip abroad about every two years. Over the last few years, I’ve harnessed the power- or strategy, if you will- of visualization, imagining that what I want I already have.

In Summer 2013, en route to a couple domestic U.S. flights from Atlanta, I did something a bit more radical than my usual techniques. I bypassed the concourse where I’d need to board my domestic flights and went straight to the International Concourse instead. I walked along the terminal, mesmerized by all the long-haul flights headed to exotic destinations and bucket list cities, imagining with confidence that I’d soon be boarding with the others…and frequently. I imagined myself as a globetrotter. A jetsetter. One time, I even sat at the boarding gate area with actual passengers waiting to board their plane to Tokyo, envisioning I was next.

I understood that feeling good about what I wanted to manifest in my life was exponentially more productive than complaining, and the “how” would surely show itself when it’s time. Once I got my immersive visual fix, I headed to my proper domestic flight in high spirits, having set my intention, *feeling* it, and letting life handle the rest.

Fast-forward to today. What was once every two years is now practically permanent. I’ve laid a tremendous foundation in the foreign city of my dreams. I discovered a career in said city that melds my passion for writing, travel, and informing/inspiring others, and I’m quickly losing passport space because of it. I have to pinch myself constantly as I’m in awe of these tremendous blessings, and it’s only the beginning.

This is NOT from Luck. This is from Goal-Setting.

Friends, don’t underestimate the power of Vision.

-Travis Levius

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What Are We So Afraid Of, Exactly?

Fear graphic strah-oči

Understanding Our Fear of Taking the Leap

            Cockroaches. They’re the ugliest, most disgusting-looking critters, and the thought of one pattering unannounced across a dinner table or flying over my head would send me- like many of you- into a tizzy.

            One day, I pondered why cockroaches invoke such fear in most of us…save for the few intrepid souls and those who eat them as a cultural norm. When we scream and squirm, when our hearts jump to our throats, what do we think they can actually do to us?

Introducing: irrational fear.

            As unsightly as they are, cockroaches cannot kill you. Cockroaches do not spew poisonous venom when apprehended or gnaw through human flesh and bone for nourishment. Yet, we let our fear get the very best of our worst imaginations…

…much like the thought of taking steps to the life we really want.

I’ve come across many people who want to drop their job and travel the world, or switch to a career that brings them fulfillment. When I personally felt the “tug” to finally move to London- my dream city- knowing I didn’t have it all figured out, I too became afraid of the thought of taking the leap.

But?  How?  I don’t have…  What if…?

In my irrational train of thought, I equated my fear of failure to fear of death, as if taking a chance to live my dreams could somehow lead to my funeral if it didn’t work. Thank God for Tim Ferriss, as I learned that if it’s too much to face your fears, you could at least begin understanding them for what they are.

Below is a “Question and Actions” exercise featured in Tim’s monstrously successful book The 4-Hour Work Week, and it greatly transformed my “dreaming fears” and gave me renewed courage to move forward. If you’re stuck or deathly afraid on navigating toward your dream life, this questionnaire will help you tremendously.

Got a pen or a Word document open? Answer Tim’s following questions:

  1. Define your nightmare, the absolute worst that could happen if you did what you are considering. What doubt, fears, and “what-ifs” pop up as you consider the big changes you can—or need—to make? Envision them in painstaking detail. Would it be the end of your life? What would be the permanent impact, if any, on a scale of 1–10? Are these things really permanent? How likely do you think it is that they would actually happen?
  1. What steps could you take to repair the damage or get things back on the upswing, even if temporarily? Chances are, it’s easier than you imagine. How could you get things back under control?

Continue reading

First Impressions: Cape Town

An American traveler’s first 48 Hours in Cape Town, South Africa

IMG_1511 Images by Travis Levius, @misterlevius


My Johannesburg visit was lovely- very grateful to have experienced the misunderstood city for myself- but Cape Town has been one of my “must-visit places before dying” for ages.  It’s a place that doesn’t need much selling…we’ve all seen the Mother City top many a list as one of the world’s most beautiful cities, anchored by Table Mountain’s magnificent presence. I have yet to meet an American who’s been and didn’t love it (and want to move there).  Anything attracting such constant superlatives runs the risk of being over-hyped, and I was sure I’d correctly assess Cape Town for what it was in my first 48 hours. Is the city really as amazing as everyone (and every travel article) says it is?

The Verdict

In terms of natural beauty: yes. Yes, indeed. Throw in all of those hefty words connoting “greatness” and “gorgeous” and “paradise” into a hat and pick one…they are all apropos for Cape Town.


Enjoying a remarkable sunset on Signal Hill

The city had me even on the plane’s descent flying from Johannesburg. I sat slanted toward my seat’s window, craning my neck to search and lock eyes on that mighty mountain from above. The plane passed over several ranges and hills minutes from landing, and I wondered if the real Table Mountain was so underwhelming that it had passed me undetected…then the plane turned. Like a dramatic film, my window view slowly unraveled a monstrous form in the distance, silhouetted by the backlit haze of the sun with its peaks blanketed by pillowy clouds. I sat speechless in my seat. This was the sight I’ve anticipated for years, a dream finally made real.


My iPhone shot of *that* moment

The dreaminess continued on a scenic taxi ride from the airport- through the city with more amazing mountain, city and sea views- to Camps Bay, a posh and popular beachside area with Table Mountain National Park towering from behind. There, I witnessed a gorgeous bright stretch of Atlantic beach, a diverse scattering of people and plenty of cosmopolitan restaurants/bars yards away from the waters. Cape Town, just 3 hours into my trip, was paradise.


The spectacular Camps Bay

Little Bit of Everything

As a traveler, it’s difficult to resist comparing cities, but alas, I give in all the time. I mentally compared Cape Town with Johannesburg (ha…that will be an upcoming post on its own!) and other cities that resemble a facet or two with the Mother City.  While exploring Cape Town’s compact neighborhoods, I saw Miami: Continue reading

First Impressions: Johannesburg

An American traveler’s first 48 hours in Jozi, South Africa


Instagram: @misterlevius

Note to self: Next time, avoid visiting Johannesburg during the Christmas/New Year’s season if you’re looking for the usual summertime bustle.  The city, I’ve been told, goes near empty at this time as Jozi dwellers flock to idyllic coastal towns such as Cape Town and Durban for their holiday.  Duly noted.


It’s a shame that rumors- outdated ones, especially- have such power to damage reputations. I didn’t need to experience Joburg to understand it’s one of the world’s most misunderstood destinations. First-time tourists to South Africa flock to Cape Town en masse, as it’s more beautiful and world-renowned. But many are still stuck on hearsay back from 1998 that JoBurg is a run-down, crime-ridden city that should be a no-go zone for travelers. Not many are aware of (and others don’t care to share) the tremendous progress that’s happened over time…so when I constantly heard from friends with direct experience living/traveling in today’s Johannesburg that it is indeed “safe to swim”, I happily took the plunge.

The Downtown Sights


On top of the Carlton Centre, Africa’s tallest building!

I walked and tour-bused through its main CBD (or downtown) on my first afternoon.  Afterwards my friend, a frequenter in Johannesburg, asked me if the city (the “inner city” Jozi, as I didn’t get the chance to see the world’s largest manmade “forested” side of the city) was what I expected.  To be honest, it was: not classically pretty, busy and a bit distressed in many areas, but with an energy worth exploring.  I knew it would be no Paris; while it’s more gritty concrete jungle than charming city-center, exciting sights appeared once I looked in the right direction. Directly above the grungy, partitioned ground floors of retail space are several aged art deco buildings hinting at Johannesburg’s glorious past, aesthetically-speaking. I learned Johannesburg has one of the largest collection of art deco buildings of any city in the world, third after Miami and New York. The buildings here, however, need much TLC, but the city has begun reclaiming the many derelict spaces in hopes of making the CBD a viable, flourishing area once again.


On the Red Bus Tour crossing the Mandela Bridge

Party/Music Scene (One of the Main Reasons I Visited!)

As a bonafide Deep House music lover, I’ve been told that House is huge in South Africa, but I had to be there to see it. My God…South Africa is House music. You’ll hear it everywhere, much more than Rap. The first songs on the radio on my cab ride from the airport to my accommodation were Deep House tracks. What I found frustrating to find in the States is ubiquitous in Johannesburg. Musically, I am home.

And this unyielding crime people speak of…I must have missed it. I wasn’t robbed, held at gunpoint or felt Continue reading

The Big Leap: 5 Reasons I Left the U.S. for London

This new life chapter of mine is an insane one.

Earlier this summer I said “ciao” to the USA- my assigned birthplace- for London, UK, the truest home in my heart. People who know me know how infatuated I am with this city, lovestruck ever since I studied abroad here in 2008. I’ll save my reasons for why I love London, for that could result in a length tantamount to a Harry Potter read. But I will share the 5 reasons why I moved, what possessed me to do something so “crazy” and why I’m confident that everything will work out the way it should.

1. I choose life to be an adventure.

Life is that elusive entity given to all without much instruction, allowing each of us to interpret the design of our existence. It is a choice to believe that life is pure suffering…it is a choice to assume life is to tolerate an unsatisfactory career until you retire, “when happiness finally starts”.  I’m having none of it.  I’d rather see life as a journey full of adventure, wonder and tremendous possibilities.

2. There’s no better place to build my globetrotting writer/photographer & entrepreneurial career.

My intentions are to travel the world, share valuable content through these adventures to inform & inspire, continue my destination wedding photography and launch a travel tech startup business in the UK. I follow the philosophy “go wherever the flow of life leads you”, and London remains unmatched. If you continually find yourself at the right place meeting the right people at the right time and finding the right opportunities based on your intentions…that’s most likely where you belong. I’d rather not risk staying comfortable surrounded by 2nd best opportunities.


3. I need to walk the walk

I’ve dreamed, achieved and encouraged others to do the same over the last 4 years (which is why I started this website in 2010). I say:

“Get past your fears!”

“No excuses- Make it happen!”

“The world is yours if you want it to be!”

…and there I was, initially scared to death to pursue my own ultimate desire of moving overseas. Adventures are meant to provoke you, challenge you, dare you to push your limits. Isn’t it the teachers who experience the most challenging assignments before sharing their wisdom? It’s about time I attain further qualifications for advocating the passion-driven life.

4: A near-death experience last year taught me how futile “someday dreams” really are.

It’s difficult to stay the same after being in the hands of an in-motion driver suddenly under a diabetic coma, weaving in and out of traffic and stoplights unconsciously on a busy road. Is there really much to lose if I decide to chase my dreams now with this one life I’ve been given? None of us know our personal termination date, and I’d rather perish knowing I gave my dreams a chance.

5: I’m learning to trust my intuition

Some call it your “gut feeling” or your “inner spirit,” but I believe everyone is able to access guidance from within (living by intuition will be a major topic on my website). I have always desired to live in London, but it was only until last year that I had that nagging, internal “hunch” to finally make it happen this summer. I’ve learned over time the difference of acting upon a mere desire and acting upon your intuition, and adhering to the latter has never steered me wrong…no matter how crazy it might look.

So maybe I’ll make it in London…maybe I’ll run out of opportunities and return to the States. What matters most is that I can live in peace knowing that I quelled my fears attempting to live the life I want.



Have you made an equally huge jump in your life? Are there things you currently desire but feel it’s unlikely to happen? Share your thoughts, experiences and questions below!

LondonLife: The Hundred Foot Journey Gala Screening (with Helen Mirren)!


I had a stroke of London luck Wednesday, winning tickets to see the Helen Mirren-fronted UK gala premiere of “The Hundred Foot Journey.” It’s a Steven Spielberg and Oprah-produced film, and I discovered they both appeared at the New York City premiere a few weeks prior. Could you imagine if they came to London?! I, however, knew better; the press list a few weeks ago showed they wouldn’t be attending. But I did get to see the main stars of the film, including living legend Helen Mirren, vet actor Om Puri and newcomer Manish Dayal, which was rewarding enough.



Before the screening, Helen shared a few remarks alongside her co-stars about the film.


The Movie:

Admittedly, I had to adjust my expectations while watching the movie (which is based on a book), reminding Continue reading