Around the World in Nine Months with Ladybud Web Show Co-Host and Activist Crystal Guess

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Crystal Guess helped launch Women’s Marijuana Movement back in 2010 at the Colorado State Capitol building. Before that, she was the Managing Director for the Professional Bartending School based out of Arlington, Virginia. It is one of the largest, most prestigious bartending schools in the country.  She lived and worked in the alcohol world for years without being a participant (drinker), so for 16 years she saw what alcohol does to people and society. 

Crystal Guess in 2010 helping to launch The Women's Marijuana Movement in the State Capitol Building in Denver with Sara Groton and Susan Squibb. Photo courtesy of Kim Sidwell

Crystal Guess in 2010 helping to launch The Women’s Marijuana Movement in the State Capitol Building in Denver with Sara Groton and Susan Squibb.
Photo courtesy: Kim Sidwell

Guess was incarcerated for four years in Virginia for a crime she committed when she was 18 years old, lived inside prison walls and saw for herself the destruction of the family unit due to the failed War on Drugs. Although she was not convicted of a drug crime, marijuana was involved.

In March of 2010, she started questioning our nation’s drug policies, which caused her to want to quit her job at the bartending school and pursue her dream of getting involved in the Cannabis Industry, moving to Colorado two months after her awakening.  

She started off at the bottom of the industry and eventually became General Manager for The Green Solution in 2013. In January of this year, she quit her job to travel around the world. Upon her return, I asked her help me helm The Ladybud Web Show on Livestream because of her unique views an experience that have been amplified by her recent and exciting travels.  Join us each Tuesday from 12:30 – 1:30 PM MDT on Livestream. On our next show, we will be exploring her travels and wisdom more in-depth.  — D. Fornbacher, Publisher Ladybud Magazine

DIANE FORNBACHER: You’ve just returned a few weeks ago from traveling extensively throughout Asia and the Middle East for the better part of 2016 — can you tell our readers what precipitated your journey this year and what your expectations were?

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Crystal volunteered in Sri Ganganagar in the Indian state of Rajasthan teaching English to local children while she lived in their village.

CRYSTAL GUESS: A tragic heartbreak combined with a sense of wanderlust is what finally pushed me over the edge. My only expectation was to experience so much culture and beauty that it would take my worries away, mend my broken heart, bring back my self-confidence, and allow me to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I left with my bags full and wanted to bring them back empty, if that makes any sense.

DF: Making friends wherever you go seems to come so naturally to you! To what can you attribute your open-heartedness and open mindedness? 

CG: Being an Army Brat/only child allowed me to feel comfortable meeting new people and adjust to new settings with ease as I was growing up. I was forced to make new friends and learn new surroundings at an early age, which carried over into adulthood. I don’t like staying stagnant for too long or else I’ll start to go crazy, and I attribute all of that to the way I was brought up. My parents did a great job raising me to think for myself while holding myself responsible for my actions, and to appreciate other cultures, animals and the environment.

DF: You had many brief occupations while traveling including teaching English in India. You were able to help one young student with tuition by crowdfunding. What other great experiences did you have working while traveling?

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Rescuing puppies and releasing them to new homes in Northern Goa (Arambol Beach), India

CG: I worked in a tipi camp in Northern Goa (Arambol Beach), India helping to rescue puppies and release them to new homes, which was pretty awesome. India, beaches, tipis, hippies and puppies? Yes, please. I also helped with building out a garden and assisting in some online work for a soon-to-be ashram on the outskirts of Pokhara, Nepal, which was amazing.  In Luxor, Egypt I helped the owner of my guesthouse with bookings and getting set up with social media stuff in exchange for a heavily discounted room, which allowed me to visit just about every major site in and around Luxor as well as Aswan and Abu Simbel.

DF: How was hiking in the Himalayas? It seems you had some revelations while trekking the intense terrain as well as again met some wonderful people. What kind of lessons did they teach you?

CG: I’ve always said those mountains are teachers. I hadn’t trained for this hike (didn’t know what to expect really) so I just went into it putting one foot in front of the other, which is all it was at the end of the day. I met tons of travelers from all over the world, many of which were doing the same thing as me, which was just “going for it” and getting out of their respective cubicles or shitty lives to go hike some crystal-mountainsmountains. Walking for an average of 8 miles a day in the most beautiful, diverse terrain you can imagine allowed me to do a lot of thinking and introspection, so I was able to ask the tough questions and force myself to find the answers I needed, whether it was through conversations I was having with total strangers or conversations I was having between me and the mountain I was climbing – literally and figuratively. It’s the best therapy in the world.

DF: Why is it important for people to travel the world, to get out of their comfort zones?

CG: It opens your mind. It heals and nourishes your soul. You get to see how big and beautiful the world is with your own eyes, instead of through a computer screen. To meet people from different parts of the world and experience their culture through their food, language or music changes your perspective on so many things. You feel small. You feel connected. You suddenly feel more whole.

DF: It must have been incredibly humbling to see many ancient buildings and architecture — how did it feel to stand among ruins thousands of years old?

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“Everything had a specific purpose in order to send a specific message.”

CG: Tiny, both mentally and physically. You can’t begin to fathom how overwhelming it is. Not one stone was neglected, not an inch of space was spared. Everything had a specific purpose in order to send a specific message. Ancient Egypt rarely made mistakes, and it was obvious everywhere you looked. Whatever was going on back then, those people were incredibly intelligent – light years beyond any intelligence we have now.

DF: What was it like coming home so close to this presidential election after being overseas most of the year?

CG: It wasn’t easy coming home, period. But to come home to this nightmare of an election made it even harder. It’s been challenging having known what it’s like to live within a Muslim country and be so welcomed with open arms by incredibly warm and generous people, to then coming home to a country that wants nothing to do with them. It’s fucking tragic, and my heart breaks for the people around the world who don’t deserve our collective ignorance.

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Photo credit: Ahmed Nasr

DF: What advice do you have for Ladybud readers to stay centered, good humored and still hopeful for the future?

CG: Master the art of letting things go. Remember your humanity. Travel whenever you can. Don’t make excuses as to why you can’t do what you absolutely can do. It’s all in your head. The hardest decisions sometimes come after making the hardest choices, and that’s an awesome thing. The worst place to be on Earth is inside the prison within your mind. Live this one life with everything you’ve got, and never apologize for it. I could go on and on, but then I would only end up sounding like every inspirational meme you’ve ever read on Facebook, ever.

CHECK OUT THE LADYBUD WEB SHOW ON LIVESTREAM TUESDAYS

12:30 – 1:30 PM MDT

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Crystal Guess and Diane Fornbacher, Hosts of The Ladybud Magazine Web Show on Livestream