For many people, Monday morning is met with dread and angst. But not for Lauren Miller. In fact, on this particular Monday morning, Lauren, affectionately known as “Lo Millie”, is getting ready to embark upon an excursion that will immerse her in South African culture. But, this is not your typical trip. Instead, this is the latest journey in Lo’s collection of purpose-driven pilgrimages that she documents on her site Can’t Stay Put (CSP).
Lo’s previous nine to five existence as an event and marketing manager simply wasn’t enough. Like many millennials, she knew she craved more meaning and purpose in her life. So, on January 15, 2013, after putting in a 3-month notice at work, Lo left her job in search of something more.
“I told God ‘If you reveal to me what my purpose is, I promise I will run 100 miles per hour toward it'”, Lo recalled.
Lo, a Howard graduate with a degree in biology, found that purpose during a trip to Maui–an excursion she describes as her “Eat, Pray, Love” moment. Having started flying at the ripe age of five, she realized that she had not simply been bitten by the travel bug. Instead, she knew that the purpose she promised to run 100 miles per hour toward was to inspire others through her travel experiences. That’s how Can’t Stay Put was born.
Even though Lo had traveled to 15 countries before conceiving CSP, she knew she had to do an official CSP trip to launch and anchor the brand. So, she developed a proposal to crowd fund her very first CSP trip to Southeast Asia in May 2013. When she received a $2500 dollar donation from a contributor outside of her family, Lo’s purpose was affirmed.
“I always knew that I was going to do something different, I just didn’t know what it was going to be,” Lo said. “Once I raised the money to go to Southeast Asia, it showed me I could do anything.”
The first two years of CSP were focused on building the brand. Lo needed to get to as many places as possible. So she gave up a lot of her living expenses, crashed on friends’ couches and used every bit of capital she could get her hands on from side gigs to advance her brand. But her tenacious efforts were not always met with support and positivity.
“A lot of people say they want to change their lives and don’t want to put forth the effort,” Lo stated. “You underestimate dreamkillers. You have to be very protective of your mental space when you’re trying to do something that’s strictly your vision.”
Now, Lo sees CSP as something that has transitioned from a platform to a full content creation company. Her travel experiences–which have included journeys to Southeast Asia, India and Iceland–are not about just posing for Instagram pictures. Instead the modern-day griot aims to inspire, educate and influence others.
“All of my trips have underlying themes,” Lo explained. “Traveling should be a show off kind of thing. I don’t intend to stunt on people; I want to teach and ignite people throughout the world through my experiences.”
During Lo’s latest journey, she will investigate the longstanding racial tensions in South Africa. In the wake of continued and extreme racial unrest in the U.S., she will seek to uncover the real issues, documenting the essence of her discoveries through photography.
When asked what advice she would give to young adults looking to fulfill their own wanderlust, Lo said it’s important to understand the difference between travel and vacation.
“If we see it as a vacation, we see it as a luxury. And if we see it as a luxury, we think we can’t afford it. But travel can transcend you to another place,” she said.
While Lo’s story is filled with wisdom and insight, she says it’s her father who has been her biggest inspiration and given her the best advice.
“My father has been an entrepreneur ever since I’ve been alive,” Lo said. “He always told me two things: there are two working days after Friday and two working days before Monday; don’t be a weekend person. And don’t get too comfortable signing the backs of checks. You want to sign the front.”
Keep up with Lo during her South Africa trip by visiting www.cantstayput.com and following her on Instagram @cantstayput_.