I was born in Ukraine and raised in ATL, and have called NYC home for the past 6 years up until December 2015. On Feb 8th, 2016 I embarked on an 18 month solo backpacking world tour across 6 continents in search of self discovery and documenting kindness around the world ( I've been dreaming of this trip for 7 years!).

First and foremost, I'm an adventurer and storyteller, who likes to kick off my  mornings with Beyonce dance parties. I'm also a MOTH StorySLAM winner and a contributing writer for VICE, and feel most alive when giving a voice to people/things that matter and hoping to make the world a little sunnier, a little kinder, and a little more magical as a result.

Author: vicki rox

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Year of Kind: Blog Update #2: Sayonara South America

"True surrender requires an opening of the heart to the unknown" - Gurmukh Khalsa Hello Sunshines! Currently at the Lima airport Starbucks for 9 hours of catching up on life en route to NYC> Budapest> Berlin. Since I last wrote, I, taught a workshop on the power of storytelling & connection in the Costa Rican jungle at Envision Festival, survived 10 days of E.Coli bacterial poisoning in Santiago, spent 20 hours in Buenos Aires, and explored the Amazon jungle with my dear childhood friends in Peru. I'm starting to feel ...

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Kindness Crumbs: Airports for the Win

It was supposed to be a simple 20 hour layover from Chile to Buenos Aires en route to Lima.  When I checked in at the counter, the agent told me I had to pay a $160 USD ' Reciprocity Fee' to enter Buenos Aires as an American. Given my $50/day budget the sticker shock hit me hard and for a moment I played out a multitude of scenarios to avoid the fee. Her manager, witnessing my furrowed brow deepen, walked over and introduced himself as Carlos and explained my options. He was SO calm and reassuring, offering inside tips on where to get wifi so that I could pay the fee online. I walked to the cafe and within minutes, Carlos appeared, with my passport in hand. We both had a good chuckle. He helped me find the exact website and I paid the fee, joking that now I'll have ample reason to come back to Argentina for more than just a 20 hour layover. Carlos took a really stressful situation and completely turned it around for me, going way above the normal call of duty to make me feel safe in a foreign city with tough unforeseen rules about entry visas. Carlos then offered to help me by printing my receipt in his office and assured me he would hand deliver it to my gate. About 15 minutes later, he showed up with the papers and we had one of the coolest and most insightful conversations about kindness. I asked him how he stays so calm and positive when people are yelling at him and he explained that in his 30 years working in customer  service for airlines, that he's seen it all and he feels that kindness is the weapon against malice, that its his duty to educate people how to be kind, by leading with his own kindness first. I gave him a big hug and thanked him for making a difference in my day with his positivity and can- do spirit. I asked for his manager's email so that I could write his boss and explain what an incredible employee he has representing the company. Since we'd emailed, he wrote me more on the topic of kindness and I felt compelled to share some excerpts below because he makes a really fascinating point about how technology is affecting our ability to be kind/empathetic: "As I explained You, right here in our country and in general our people is losing the main cordiality and minimum actions to request  something or to be kind or use  well educated manners  at the same time. We are living in a very unstable relationship with others and our citizens are very rude,unpolite or aggressive whenever they need something to be solved, they have no patience enough when things happens wrongly.  I personally believe, that they victims of the new technologies they use today, like wi-fi, e-mails, networks, internet, whatsapp, and so on;  if they need something to buy or to know they just use their...

In Search of Bread Crumb Miracles: Start with WHY

I'm 18 hours into my 18 month world tour and it just doesn't feel real. Currently sitting under the stars typing somewhere in the vastness of Costa Rican jungle, trying to understand how I actually followed through on a little dream my 22 year old self concocted so many years ago. I remember watching Simon Sinek's TEDx talk: Start with Why  last year while working in my former  dog-eat-dog advertising sales career and it struck me to the bone: this goal of backpacking the world was my WHY. Sure, I wanted to be successful and while I enjoyed hugely the client relationships, closing big deals, making my family proud with my hard work, the WHY factor was this world tour. It has served as my main driving force, and made the late nights and early mornings bearable - because I knew I was earning my wanderlusting freedom back one day at a time.  To keep me focused on the dream, I bought this beautiful water colored map beautiful watercolor world map and planted it firmly as the backsplash to my desk. Every time I wanted to quit, I visualized the feeling of freedom and exploration that I could almost taste conjuring up my favorite memories from my first Cambodia trip to pull me through the worst days. In the meantime, I took smaller weekend trips to satiate my wanderlust and squirreled away my savings  for 6 years. Being able to execute on the vision, I found was just as important as having the vision to begin with. There were a few false alarms, notably 3 years ago when I broke off a 3 year live in relationship and my adopted mom died of cancer 24 hours later, that booking a one way ticket to Vietnam looked really appealing. But my mother and sisters made me see that if I left NYC as a means of running from pain, it would never be the trip I envisioned. So I stayed, I went to therapy for a bit, I surrounded myself with brilliant emotionally intelligent humans,  I did a lot of work to get happy and many years later I can proudly say I left NYC on the highest note, super proud of the beautiful life I created as an independent, joyful woman. So for me, it wasn't just the WHY but also the WHEN. Treating the next 18 months as a sacred education meant I had to be ready to learn with a happy heart, open mind, and no unresolved baggage boiling to the surface. I'm ready for this now.  Like an Olympian, I've been training for 6 years ensuring and trusting this hero's journey will change the course of my life. I won't end up on the cover of a Wheaties box, but I will end up much closer to understanding life through a variety of lenses, what makes me happy, and my purpose for age 30 and beyond. My old GT college professor once said, " A dream is only a dream until you write it down and then it becomes a goal...

The Calm Before the Storm: 48 Hours

Lying on a beach in a tropical paradise, 48 hours away from the kick off to my 18 month solo backpacking trek, I spotted a massive halo around the molten golden sun today.  Its an optical phenomenon known as 22 degree halo, when light interacts with ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere.  Wishing 24 hours, a rainstorm usually strikes as a result. I feel like I've got my own halo above me  serving as a constant reminder that the storm is about to hit.  I'm living in a surreality phenomenon, where my reality is about to interact with dreams of a world tour that have been suspended in the atmosphere for 7 years ...

Breaking Up with NYC: A Manifesto

From Oct 15, 2015 Just put in my 2 weeks notice. Just paid my last rent check. Just leaving you, NYC finally after 6 glorious years. Just taking a little trip: an 18 month solo backpacking world tour across 6 continents to find stillness within and indulge in self discovery with reckless abandon. I'll finally make time to write my book, document the trip video blog style, and create a docuseries interviewing powerful women across the globe. Just gonna miss your sparkly lights and soulful nights.  New York City- you took me in, dazed and naive from Cambodia, and spit me out ball busting and ready to take on the world. I fell in love for the first time here. I had my heart broken here. I made friends with beautiful strangers here. I lost her to cancer here. I learned to love myself here. I won my first MOTH here. I danced with my girlfriends til the wee hours here. I hosted dinner salons here. I found friends who became family here. I lived in a bad ass Soho apartment here. I froze my eggs here. I learned the art of the hustle here. I got jobs I didn't deserve and proved myself til I did here. I became a writer here. I grew into a strong woman here. I learned how capable I was here. I felt powerful and weak and powerful all over again here. I was humbled by failure here.I made it here ...

ESALEN: Magic in Motion

My favorite movie was the Lion King growing up and I would often see Simba in the stars at night. Last night at 4am, floating on my back alone the hot springs of Esalen, gaping in awe of the freckled, starry filled sky, I felt peace for the first time in a while. So I asked for the one thing I've been fearing. My voice whispered slightly above the roaring waves crashing into the cliff side underneath, " Yonina, Universe, Simba -whoever is out there - I'm asking for one thing: keep me protected..and I will do the rest". No sooner had I finished whispering, than a flash of light, a shooting star, erupted across the sky as if to say, " we got you girl" and a smile broke out ear to ear, feeling finally totally comforted. Another breadcrumb miracle ...

How I Made Out with A Total Stranger at the Airport ( and you should too)

This is why I believe in magic: flying out of Panama today I was upgraded to first class non stop but had to swing by my original flight gate first. After spending 10 days in the jungle and beach, I'm scraggly at best when I peek up at the sight of a tall, insanely handsome Swedish looking guy who catches my eye with his smile. I slump down next to to him and tell him that he's got kind eyes. He's from Montana, a firefighter, witty and 20 minutes later in the midst of this crowded airport we kiss and it's electric. We're only interrupted by the gate agent announcing my name as the volunteer off the flight. I stand up, kiss this beautiful man one last time and start walking away...

2016: Kicking it off in Panama

Welcoming in 2016 with arms wide open to bliss, love, and reverence for life on a tiny beach in Panama with 150 people I adore.  Ready for the year that will change my life. Ready for growth on every level. Ready to fail, trusting that the greatest lessons are birthed from falling and getting back up. Ready to let go of negativity, of playing victim, and of the things and people that do not serve me anymore. Ready to shed who I was, in order to make room for who I will become. Ready to wake up smiling, in awe of life and adventure boldly into dreams on earth. 2016- ready to fall madly in love with you:)...