Lauren "Lo" Miller & CAN'T STAY PUT™
August 10, 2014 at 8:46 pm
To travel, is to transcend. Exposure to new cultures, beliefs and people can change your life, and that has an impact on everyone around you. Lauren Miller is living proof.
Her brand is called CAN’T STAY PUT, dedicated to inspiring young people to step outside their comfort zone to travel the world and follow their dreams. Her goal is to create a global initiative to facilitate exclusive trips for creatives, influencers, and entrepreneurs. Her story is incredible. Check it out.
What’s your background–where’d you go to school, major, etc.?
I starting flying by myself at 5 from Atlanta to DC to visit my mom. Traveling and feeling comfortable just going out into the world had been second nature to me since I was a kid. Throughout my life I was always somewhere trying to figure out how to go somewhere. I would do research on jobs and grad programs out of the country. I went on school trips. I was just always intrigued by the world.
My friend use to say “Girl, you can’t stay put!”
I went to Howard and majored in Biology/Pre-med. After realizing my passion wasn’t to be a doctor, I attended a management program at Wake Forest University. I always wanted to own my own business. In the beginning I figured it would be my own practice, but I didn’t know anymore. But I did know I needed some education and training.
I moved to California to work at my family’s restaurant, where I was the Event and Marketing Manager. I was able to really get a glimpse into all of the different operations of running a business. That’s what brought me out to the bay area. 25 came and like everyone else I had a quarter life crisis. Like what am I suppose to be doing with my life? I was frustrated. For my 25th birthday, I went to Maui for a few days. While I was there I prayed and told God that if he showed me what I was suppose to be doing, I promise I would run 100 mph towards it. At the time, I was working almost 65-70 hours a week. I got to the point where I felt like I had learned enough about how to run a business. I was also irritated for putting in those type of hours for someone else’s dream. So, I put in my 3 months notice. Don’t get it twisted, I credit that job as one of the best experiences. I learned insightful principles about business that I still use everyday. My season was just up though.
My last day was January 15th, Martin Luther King’s Birthday. A week or so after I quit, I took a another trip to Maui. I had come across a $250 round trip ticket 4 months prior.
While I was there, I hiked the road to Hana. Throughout that experience, I found myself stopping and taking it all in. Sometimes praying and meditating. Really asking, what am I suppose to be doing? A normal 2 hour hike turned into 4 0r 5 hours. When I got to the waterfall, It hit me. I realized I had to figure out a way to share my experiences in my life with others as a way to inspire them to see the world. I didn’t know what that meant or how to do it, but that was the plan nonetheless. A week or so later I attended One Church LA. For some reason, that particular Sunday, the message was for me.
You must sacrifice for your amazing!
I went back to the Bay. I ended my lease and got really serious about my revelation. I knew that in order to do what I wanted to do I wouldn’t be able to afford to keep my own place. There is no way to get to your dreams without some type of sacrifice. My good friends in Oakland agreed to keep my things in their basement.
After that, I headed back to LA, staying with another friend. I just so happened to run into a life coach at an event. I told him that I had just quit my job and I needed his help. I told him I had a dream but didn’t know how to get started. But there was a catch, I didn’t have any money to pay him because I had just quit my job. I only had money to live on for probably the next few weeks until my tax refund came. He told me “I would much rather you not waste my time than pay me. A lot of people say they want to change their life but they don’t want to put in the work.” At that point, I felt like he kind of challenged me but with good reason. We scheduled a meeting a couple of days later. The biggest thing that resonated in our session was when he told me, “You are an experienced traveler, but the world doesn’t know it yet. You have to start branding yourself as an experienced traveler.” That was what I needed to hear. He gave me homework that included somewhat of a game plan to get things started. CAN’T STAY PUT™ was born that night. I figured out my title too. I was going to be an Inspirational Explorer.
After starting my website, I knew I needed to take a trip to really present myself as this “Inspirational Explorer.” I sat on my friend Vic’s couch and said “I’m going to go to Asia for a month.” My mission was to document how to travel on $30/day and begin branding myself. I organized a plan and put together a proposal and starting to pitch my idea. I sent a lot of emails out, and got a lot of no’s. A lot of people didn’t respond. People really didn’t understand what I was trying to do. I barely did either. But even still, I was working everyday as if it was really going to happen. And then I got my first yes. I got $2500. Once you get your first yes, it’s not hard because you seem reliable and trustworthy.
In the end I was able to raise over $7,000.I took my friend from high school who minored in photography in college with me. He ended up passing up on 3 jobs just to go. We left May 17th last year. That was kind of like the premiere of CSP™.
After the trip I came back and was like what’s next?! When you start out it’s hard because you are always trying to determine what to do next in order to build your brand.
There isn’t a manual on how to see your particular vision through.You realize how much there is to do before the work you planned to do.
I’m not a tech person, but I learned how to build my own website. Never credited myself as a video editor, but I for sure now how to do some editing. You do whatever is necessary to get to the next step. Though my journey is rewarding, it is definitely not without sacrifice. I get to travel to a lot of places but I’ve been living on couches for almost two years… I didn’t move back to my parents. I’ve been literally hopping from friends and families couches every few weeks. I also work side jobs to fund my business. Everything I bring in goes to CSP™. But this is the beauty of the process, I’ve been figuring it out day by day. It’s a sacrifice. But I have purpose now. This is what I prayed for. You can’t say “quit”. I have come too far. Almost two years and 8 countries later, I’m still here. I’ve been to a total of 23 countries now.
What is your mission statement at CSP ?
To inspire young people to step outside their comfort zone and follow their dreams. It’s a lifestyle. It’s about literally not staying put in your life, always growing, always evolving, and not being content or complacent. This is way bigger than traveling. It’s about taking control of your life to create the life you want! Don’t Stay Put!
RS: Do you find it hard for people to find out about your mission?
I don’t necessarily think it’s hard to find out. It’s just easier to make assumptions about what I do from what you see on my Instagram. Granted that is my most used platform, but I tell the story that connects the pictures on my blog. My mission has been very clear from the beginning, but I think my most recent trip to Iceland made it clear to a lot of people.
What’s your ultimate goal for CSP? 5 years from now, where do you want to be?
I’m building this brand to be an empire. There are so many initiatives I want to pursue under the CAN’T STAY PUT™ umbrella. I’m working on launching CAN’T STAY PUT™ experiences for young creatives. I want to really expand my apparel line. I’m branding and positioning myself to be afforded partnerships and collaborations with major brands and companies in the coming years.
RS: Where is one place you traveled that you will always return to?
Maui, only because of the significance. It will always have a place in my heart. That’s where I figured it out. Iceland was hands downs the most amazing place I’ve ever been and I would definitely go back, but Maui is a place I will continue to go forever
RS: Your Instagram is amazing! Is that platform the most effective way to reach your audience ?
Yeah, Instagram definitely. You can see the pictures there first, but I connect the dots on my blog. When I post, you’ll be like “oh that’s what was going on.
What advice would you give to college students that are pursuing majors that they’re not even interested in? How do you tell them to follow their heart and dreams?
You have to realize that you are living this life for yourself. When I was younger, I had such an interest in science, I wanted to be an Oceanologist at one point. But at some point I was convinced to major in Biology/Pre-med, and pursue becoming a doctor. But as you see, I’m not a doctor. At the end of the day, get your degree. If you don’t want to extend time in college, graduate with a degree in your major. If you have an idea of what you want to do, start pursuing it now and especially out of college. You can really create the life you want. Don’t let what your major in college become an excuse for pursuing something totally opposite.
What would you say to college students that are pursuing majors that they’re not even interest in? How do you tell them to follow their heart and dreams?
You have to realize you are living this life for yourself. When I was younger, I had such an interest in science and wanted to go pre-med, and become a doctor. I was so into it. We have to seek our interests. You can’t be fearful. You can really create the life you want.
I am a part of the millennial generation and like many employers claim, we are the entitled generation. But that is only because our parents and society made us this way. Because of this, we want to work jobs that are very specific to us and change the world at the same time. We don’t want to work a job that Sam, Ashley, Brian, or John can do too.
We want to get fulfillment from our careers. We want to know that we are actually making a mark in the grand scheme of life.
Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of jobs that can offer us that type of fulfillment. A lot of us have ideas, but we underestimate the work we have to put into it. We may be the smartest generation, but we really don’t understand what hard work is. A lot of us don’t want to start something if we don’t know what the finished product will look like. We have to step out on faith and COMMIT! When you are committed to your vision, you will do everything to see it through.
What are your goals for the rest of the year?
I have few trips lined up. I have some other projects and collaborations on the calendar that I am excited about. My goal for this year has working to bring as much exposure to what I am doing as possible. I’m also at a point where I am planning for next year already. The process of planning can take up a lot of time.
Fifty years from now, when someone’s writing a biography of your adventures, what will the title be?
The Girl Who Wasn’t Afraid To Do It.
Interested in following up with Lo’s adventures with CSP? Follow the links below to stay updated!