Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


(My boyfriend claims this acronym has been taken over by teenage thugs, but I don’t care. It fits the theme of this blog perfectly, and the original sentiment is worth celebrating.)

YOLO = You only live once.

Or, to put it another way, seize the day!

There aren’t many things in this world that make me envious, but whenever I meet an avid traveller, how I long to literally follow in their footsteps.

How did they do it? Are they independently wealthy? Or comfortable with boatloads of debt? Did they backpack around Europe right after high school?

I’ve since learned that there are lots of ways to travel. You can apply to work abroad. You can travel on the cheap by couch surfing or staying in hostels. If you’re a writer, videographer, or photographer, you can see if someone will pay for your trip in exchange for your talents. You’d be surprised how often that happens.

But the main thing I learned was–if something is really important to you, be it travel or anything else, just do it! Take whatever steps necessary to make it happen, even if they’re baby steps. You’ll never regret it, I promise.

A few days ago I wrote about unexpected opportunities, and how important it is to keep your eyes open for them.

Almost immediately afterward, my best friend promoted an incredible seat sale to Hong Kong on her Facebook page. Now, China has been on my Top Five list of places to go for years, and if I got to Hong Kong, it’s not that much further to panda bears, the Great Wall, and terracotta warriors. Not to mention my dear friend Niki, who is currently living in Shanghai.

At first it seemed like too much of a hassle. Who wants to book a gazillion flights within China? Just for fun, I took a look at a popular tour company I’d heard a lot of good things about. And sure enough, they offered a tour package that hits all the things I desperately want to see in China. It even spends three days in Shanghai, so I could see my friend. Guess where the tour ends? Yep, Hong Kong.

So, there it was–my dream trip, along with the best seat sale to Hong Kong that has ever happened in the history of air flight (or pretty damn close). Should I book the trip or not?

There were practicalities to consider. I’d just recently returned from Bali and Lombok. I was finally on a roll with my writing and marketing, and seeing results. What if something happened to the house or the cats this year? That extra money could come in handy….

And I could die next year without ever seeing China. Unlikely, but true…we never know what life will throw at us. If you see something incredible, something you really want, seize it with both hands. (As long as it’s not illegal, of course.)

There will always be what ifs. There will always be a reason for us not to chase our dreams.

So, if you need a reason TO chase them, there you have it.


I booked the trip.

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  1. debi o'neille

    Good for you in your upcoming trip. I admire that you are willing to go after what you want. I really enjoyed reading your post, and it’s sad that I’ve only just found your blog today. But I’m glad to say that I am now your newest A-Z follower, and with the challenge nearly over, I’m sure I’ll be able to get back here and read some previous posts. This one was inspiring.
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Welcome to my blog, Debbie. Thanks for the kind words. I normally blog on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, so I hope you come back after the challenge.

      Thanks for following! I’ll visit your blog this evening.

  2. Bish Denham

    You are SO right! When the opportunity arises, it does so for a reason. And the chances of it coming around again are slim to nothing. Good for your for going after your dream!

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks, Bish! I completely agree. I had the chance to go to China a few years ago, but it totally wasn’t the right trip, and I would have been miserable. I’m very glad this opportunity arose–I wasn’t going to let it go by again!

  3. Lady Jai

    I must agree with your boyfriend. LOL I’m more partial to Carpe Diem (Seize the day). So glad for you on booking your trip. So jealous too 😛

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    My A to Z
    Caring for My Veteran

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks, Jamie. I know what carpe diem means, but I still love YOLO. It’s cute and it’s catchy. Haters gonna hate–it won’t stop me from using it. 🙂

      Don’t be jealous–come along! There’s room.

      Thanks for commenting.

  4. Chrys Fey

    I think I need to do a lot more stuff because YOLO, especially since there’s a lot that I want to do.

    I am so envious of avid travelers. Thank you for mentioning how writers and photographers could possibly travel. I’m going to have to look into those things.

    I’m so glad you booked the trip! I’m jealous!! 😀

    • Holli Moncrieff

      It is possible to start out with little trips, seat sales, all-inclusives. That’s what I did when I didn’t have that much money. And seeing if someone will pay you to go, or to work while you’re there, is always a great option.

  5. Stephanie Faris

    When I was 8, I decided I wanted to go to Hollywood. I probably wanted to live there, but that’s beside the point! I finally went, when I turned 41…so it took a while! I did have that thought many times, though…what if I die without going? I remember visiting NYC for the first time, too. Both places just seemed magical because I’d seen them in movies and on TV for so long.

    • Holli Moncrieff

      I feel the same way about NYC. I’ve always planned to wait until I have a publisher there so the visit has more meaning. But with the way things are going in the literary world, if I get a great opportunity, I’m not going to wait anymore. Life is enough of a special occasion!

      I’m so glad you got to visit the top places on your list!

  6. Rhonda Parrish

    I’m so excited for you and this trip 🙂 Also, on a personal level, looking forward to a couple years from now when my daughter will have graduated high school and (may) be out on her own in school or what have you. I feel like that will really free me up to travel more, but for now I have to limit things to really put being a mom at the top of my priority list… which isn’t to say we can’t travel even now (we do) just that it will be easier soon LOL

    • Holli Moncrieff

      I so get that. That’s why I prefer YOLO to “live each day as if it’s your last.” Most of us have to do mundane things everyday–we have no choice, so people are always going to feel like they fall short with the latter saying.

      To me, YOLO is a reminder to be bold and go after our dreams as much as possible. And please tell your girl to travel like crazy once she’s done high school! She’ll never be that free of commitments again. I tell every young person that–I wish someone had encouraged me.

    • Rhonda Parrish

      I think she has the travel bug too, but we’ll have to wait and see — she is also VERY introverted which could be quite an obstacle to overcome.

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Then traveling might be the perfect thing for her. As Rita told me, everyone who takes a gap year comes back a leader.

  7. Rebecca Douglass

    Yes, you have to grab the opportunities when and as they come. My husband and I traveled when we were single (on the cheap, and he managed more than I did–partly because he was more daring), and before we had kids. Then we stopped going international, because you know, it’s so expensive when there are 4 of you, and the kids make it hard and blah blah.

    We’ve book 5 weeks in Peru this summer. Carpe the heck out of the diem!

    • Holli Moncrieff

      That’s awesome, Rebecca! Peru is on my list as well. I can’t wait to see your pictures. Please stay in touch–I’d love to hear about it.

  8. Susan Scott

    YOLO!!! Great word Holli and wonderful to take the unexpected opportunity! Have fun. I’ve so enjoyed your posts. Thank you!
    Garden of Eden Blog


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