As women, we’ve been taught to be tame, proper, and behaved. To emulate the women before us who’ve lived by certain rules and to mimic the societal standards that have been placed upon us by our fellow peers. To be prim and proper, passive and accommodating. And to accept what has been handed to us – whether through work, romantic relationships or even friendships. But there is a collection of women who have been with grace and passion shifting this standard and recreating their own. They’re defining what it means to be wild and free, not for the sake of rebellion by definition, but for the necessity to lay the path for their fellow sisters.
To empower them to find their way, amplify their voice and become leaders to a society of humans who are searching for more.
By our definition, this is a #WomanWithWander.
A leader laying the path with passion, purpose, and eloquence.
In large and small ways daily, exploring, creating and inspiring the world that she is able to impact to be better, to seek more.
We’ve joined Wander Wet Bags, a brand created and managed by a passionately curious woman, to tell more of the stories of two women behind local movements in San Diego. These women are in small, and sometimes bigger ways, shifting the way we are all perceived and through their daily acts + actions, inspiring others to do the same. Get to know Becky Mendoza and Alisha Ochoa, two Women With Wander who are leading other local women to discover the same.
Both women are known well for the passions they push publicly. Becky, as an avid surfer, action sports lawyer and environmental activist and humanitarian. Alisha for her miraculous ways of recognizing those following their passions and curating a safe and inspiring space for entrepreneurial women to network, connect, and build relationships with other like-minded women. But what’s a little less known is the other wonderful ways they’re making impacts + how they recharge, refuel and make a priority to find outlets that equally inspire them as well. During our interview with these quiet powerhouses, we’ll share another layer of each that only further attest to their gentle rebellions.
My actual job that pays me money is my business, Action Sports Law Group. I am an attorney for professional athletes in action sports. Surf, snow skate, moto wakeboard, etc. I help them get visas to come to the United States to get general contract work as well as athlete endorsement agreements, sponsorship deals ,things like that. And sometimes I help people open up small businesses and set up their corporate structure. That’s what I do for money, and I love what I do, so it’s not like I’m looking for other things.
I think it’s just part of my personality that I kind of need to have a million things going on at one time. What I do for passion is Changing Tides Foundation, a non-profit I started with four of my best girlfriends. We’re creating a platform for people to be able to travel and serve at the same time without making the entire trip a service trip. We’re doing this because we believe that if people have the opportunity to have an experience and if we make it natural and easy for them to do that then it’s going to make them better people. It’s going to encourage them to want to do more. It’s going to encourage them to raise awareness about global issues in the places they travel to.
We get to work with issues that are specific to different communities. Anything social, environmental, health or safety related. So, say we team up with a local nonprofit in Mexico and they say “Well a big issue we have here is clean water.” Then we will help them with clean water. In Bocas Del Toro our program was all about female empowerment. There was a group of girls who once they hit the teenage years didn’t really participate in anything. They were getting pregnant just learning to clean house and cook and that’s kind of it. So we wanted to create an opportunity for them to see the world from another lens, from our lens. They live on the water, so we introduced them to the ocean, taught them how to swim, and created a platform for them to be able to work with each other empower each other.
Changing Tides Foundation is this super beautiful passion project that we can do a lot with to make the world better. Not just in what we give but also in bringing travelers in to have an experience as well as providing other ways in which people can help from home. For instance, being a little more eco-minded. We encourage reusable and have a campaign against single-use plastics. Really, anyone can be involved from anywhere in the world. It doesn’t necessarily just involve people needing to give money. We’re more of like a here’s the solution kind of deal.
Full-time, I am a copywriter for an e-commerce company, so that’s a regular eight to five type schedule. In my free time, I’m also running a company called Boss Babes Brunch Club. We host social networking events for female entrepreneurs and creatives or women who just want to build their community stronger and more authentically. Those events look like anything from a yoga class, to a marketing workshop to a goal setting workshop to just a regular old happy hour. The reason why this is important is that as we build community, we can all find room to succeed and thrive. And by encouraging others to shine brightly, we encourage ourselves to do the same.
It reminds me of that Nelson Mandela quote that says, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” (original quote by Marianne Williamson). And I think that as we all encourage each other to grow a little bit brighter, it encourages that own self-confidence and self-love and that real development of self-identity so that way you can be more wholly you. By creating a community that encourages all of this, then together we will rise and together the entire community will feel that impact rather than just one individual.
In my free time, I’m a certified yoga instructor, so I’m pretty committed to my yoga practice, whether it’s at home or in a studio. I have within the past few years really explored the idea of hiking and getting out in nature more and getting outside the grind. That looks like anything from going on a solo venture. Last year, I went to Red Rock Canyon out near Las Vegas as well as Joshua Tree National National Park, and I did my first real solo venture. I also went to Yosemite, Idyllwild, Joshua Tree again, and Mount Laguna. I’ve been spending more time at connecting to nature in the mountains and the desert which is something that’s a little bit new for me, because all of my life, I’ve always gone to the ocean and found a sense of grounding. And I also do art which is a very intimate thing for me.
Overall, I think encouraging women to be more authentically themselves, to find community, and to realize that you can create authentic relationships and connections through vulnerability, space, and storytelling is important across all that I’m doing.
Oddly enough, it’s making my bed. I make my bed every single morning. No matter what. My room could be in shambles my bed is always made. I started this in my 30s. I heard it in a speech. Some general talking to a school graduating class and he gave some tips. Then of course, I started making my bed, and then I started reading it more and more about all these successful people and how they all make their beds which is super cool.
There’s a couple of other things, and this has changed throughout my life. I’m using the Headspace app. I think initially I probably started with like the Deepak Chopra 21-Day Meditation Challenge or whatever like everybody else I bet. That got me to sitting down and being able to bring myself to present. That’s really important to me. I meditate almost every single night before bed. Sometimes I actually just fall asleep, but I think it’s important to for me right now in my life.
The third thing I do every day when I’m home is water my garden and my plants. I love just looking at my food every day and like being like, “I can’t wait to eat you. You’re ready. You’re almost there.” It’s something that brings me joy. It’s epic. I eat from my backyard every day. It’s awesome to be like, “What do we need? Oh, we made tomato soup today, basil from the yard.” “We’re gonna make salmon. Okay, dill from the yard.” You know. This morning we had eggs and arugula. There’s variety. Actually, now I’m cooking for two with my boyfriend, Jason. He said the other day, “Honey, we’re going to start running out of green.” And I’m like, “We’re going to Hawaii for a week and we’re gonna get back and not even know what to do, like it’s going to be literally out of control. We’re gonna have so much food.”
My roommate loves it too. He grows broccoli and has had a lot of fun with different recipes. Broccoli is something that I was never introduced to as a child. I didn’t even know what composting was probably until I was 30, I just didn’t know it was a thing. It wasn’t something we were taught. I became really passionate about it probably six or seven years ago.
Oh my god, my coffee. You don’t even need to complete this sentence. I’ve always been on to build community and I go to Ironsmith Coffee almost every day and when I don’t I’m like feel like I’m missing a little bit of like my pinky. Maybe not a full limb. But, I love that place so much because it really has become a part of my community. I’ve met up the majority of my good friends through coffee shops, and it’s a place where you can have such good conversation in such good quality coffee, and I love how much they give back to the community and how much they give to their farmers, but most importantly, I know that’s a place that holds so much safe space for me. I can either go and put in my headphones and take out my sketchbook and people won’t bother me. If I need self-reflection and alone time, I can do that there. But, also, if I’m feeling lonely and I need to connect with other people I know that I can go there and I can get into a conversation with almost anyone and feel a sense of belonging. I don’t think it’s very common that you find public spaces that can allow that parallel. I’ve met so many cool people through the coffee industry and I’ve processed so much emotional work through coffee shops. This is my daily routine that is for me because I know that it’s a safe space that I can go to and will fulfill whatever I am looking for.
Right now, I live in a place that doesn’t have a patio, but it doesn’t have to. We build boxes. I have an old bookshelf that houses our entire herb garden. My roommate built a raised bed that’s on wheels so we can move it when the sun moves. and my tower garden is on wheels too. I like propagating. Oh my God. I’m such a nerd. Like, I buy green onions just so I can cut the tops off and put them in the ground to watch them grow again. You’ll see my pineapple in the back. It’s literally, I took that off a pineapple and put it in a pot. I had many failed attempts because of lack of patience. I would be like know that if not doing it. This one’s dead, and I just pull it out. You just kind of need to let it almost died and then it will start to grow. You know, I may never even get a pineapple out of this thing. I don’t care. It’s just the joy it brought me to know I grew that thing like off a pineapple that I bought in the grocery store. It’s so cool to learn how to use food scraps to create more food.
I have a Vermicompost bin in the back to with worms and I don’t even really have soil to put the compost in. I kind of just have it because I love the worms, and I’m sure it one day I’m going to give it to somebody who can use it in their in their lawn. I do it because the whole concept of zero waste is just beyond me. It’s necessary and cool.
I don’t exactly know how to word it but I feel like people undervalue laughter. My friends can be so goofy an silly at times, there’s even a sense of immaturity to our sense of humor, but I think that there’s so much value in laughter and finding that sense of joy that it’s worth it. There are just a few things in life that can completely change your mood. Like, my boss is pregnant and today, I felt her baby have hiccups, and it was one of those moments where you couldn’t help, but have like a giant smile on your face. But really really appreciating those little tiny, small moments of joy and reflection and laughter and acknowledging them. I often ask people what the best part of their day was and it’s pretty rare that people reverse the question on to me, which I find interesting. Also, one of the common answers that you get is, “I didn’t have a best part of my day.” Right? It’s like, people just automatically like backlash that because they don’t want to think about it, and they think that unless their day was stellar then there wasn’t a best part. By your day can be mediocre and there can still be natural ebbs and flows, you can still have a high, and you can still have a low and even if the high is at like a two-foot tied and not a six-foot tide. It’s still there. So that’s still the peak so that’s still your best part. I think people just get intimidated by gratitude.
Also, because in times of sorrow, people tend to compare their best part of their day to either their past experiences or to other people’s around them. But when you can really draw into just being in the present moment rather than a comparative experience, that’s when you really get like that joy from it, but I also see the challenge of doing so.
That’s hard because I’m definitely a talker if I want to share something, I share it. I think overall the hardest thing for people to do in general that I wish people would do more is step up to the plate to pull the trigger to move past fear and follow their passion. That’s a weird statement, “Follow your Passion.” It’s not like something I tell people. It’s not something that I judge people for not doing either.
It might be unfair to tell some people just drop everything and follow their passion. Because not everybody has the liberty to do that. You may have a family or people depending on you or whatever it may be where you can’t just drop everything and go, but I feel like I wish people would be a little more inquisitive about how to move past fear because I think fear is the reason why so many people are not reaching their full potential.
And it’s not to say that I’m an expert on fear and how to overcome your fear, but man, I’ve done a lot of really cool stuff to overcome my fears. I’m scared of heights, and I went skydiving and mountain climbing. Like literally mountain climbing off the side of a cliff 400 feet. I mean I had a rough time doing it but it’s the thing of I’m not going to let you dictate how I live my life. And fear’s its own entity. I kind of equate fear with ego.
I think a lot of people just don’t know how to move past the fear and really the only way to do it is to step into it and that’s a very terrifying thing so I feel like I wish people would ask me more about how to step into your fear. If somebody says “How do I step past my fear?” It’s not like “Oh, this is the secret. This is the key.” It’s different, it varies by person and by circumstance, but I think if you ask people the right questions about their life, you can steer them in a direction to help them understand. Awareness is the catalyst to change. Once you become aware of what’s terrifying you then you can learn how to face it.
I wish that people would talk about hardships a little bit more it’s pretty much never comfortable. I think that a lot of the time when you ask a question, it just naturally turns into a dialog. You can learn a lot from your hardships just as much as you can from your strengths and successes. I think that I’m pretty open about them and I do so in order to encourage others to explore that option as well. I don’t think that hardships that you’ve gone through have to be taboo. I think that they can be learning experiences and that you should be able to talk about them. Learning experiences shouldn’t be taboo either. Emotions are natural and normal. You should just embrace them and feel them and be present with them, and then see what you can learn from them and move on.
Two things. One of them is to be patient. And the other one is that perfection does not exist. For me it was this thing of everything I do has to be perfect, and I can’t submit it until it’s totally perfect and granted, that’s gotten me pretty far in life. But at the same time, it’s really created this unrealistic standard that I have put not only on myself, but I’ve projected to other people throughout my life. I think that might have been a Elizabeth Gilbert lesson from Big Magic that I started paying attention to in my early 30s, was that perfection doesn’t exist.
Once I let go of that and I realized this is what I could really start working on. Just allowing things and I was just able to get so much more done because I’m not bogged down by these details like who cares if it’s perfect. You’re not being graded, you’re not being judged, and if you are, even then who cares. You’re perfect is different from my perfect, and even if somebody is judging you, their perfect is going to be different from yours, too.
One of the things that I’ve become a lot better with over the past few years that I wish I would have known in college years is, “Does this really matter?” So let’s say something frustrates me. I ask myself, okay does this really impact me in the next five years or the next five minutes or the next five seconds like. How much energy do I want to spend on this emotion in this reaction rather than acknowledging it for what it is and moving on. I learned that from experience simply because there was a time when there was so much shit happening in my life that I was forced to do that, but it didn’t come naturally. But it would have been really cool to have known that earlier on.
I used to really Type A. Like way worse. But, I think that the amount of control that I held on to also encouraged me to not let go of things that were harming me. It did more harm than good.
This is an interesting question. I have one person in particular. She’s currently my favorite person to follow on Instagram and I also have had the opportunity to meet and hang out with her. She’s a huge inspiration to me in in a lot of ways and it’s not because she’s this perfect person.I think that’s part of it too, but it’s Kimi Warner. She is a professional freediver, and went into this free-dive world and has broken barriers. She’s been able to hold her breath much, much longer than men that have been doing this for ages. She’s a world champion spearfisher. A woman.
It sounds like a gnarly thing to kill a life so that you can eat. I eat mostly plant-based, but I enjoy fish. So for me, Kimi has inspired me in a huge way. It’s amazing to see her go out on a boat or going into the ocean like straight up straight off the sand and come back with food. Not only does she catch her food but every single thing she’s doing with her food, she’s very mindful. She has a ceremony with her fish before she shoots it and after she shoots it. It’s this a gratitude thing.
Then she prepares the fish and she shares it with her family, to me there’s just something so incredibly inspiring about it. She’ll show you how she goes in her garden and she picks and I do the same thing you know. I was in Miami for the holidays and I went fishing with my dad. We caught a ton of fish. Every time I’ve been fishing in the past before this kind of awareness, I just catch my fish and put it in a cooler. My dad would fillet and clean it, my mom would cook it. I wouldn’t even participate in any of it. And so this time, I was like really I want to learn to fillet this fish. I want to learn how to scale it. Teach me the different ways to cook it.
I ended up bringing a bunch of fish back to San Diego with me, which I never even thought you could do. I bought an ice cooler, and brought the fish with frozen packs, and we’re still eating fish from it. My boyfriend’s a chef. He went to culinary school. So it’s really cool that we get to explore different ways to cook the fish. Kimi is also a trained chef so it’s like we have this like really cool like she’s inspired me in so many ways to be a bit more mindful of. It’s just this whole like other side of what I’m putting in my body that I’m really paying attention to now and it’s thanks to Kimi.
I’m an old lady. I’m 37, it’s hard for me to be like, “Oh this person is my role model.” I had that when I was younger yes, and now I’m kind of stepping into that role, but I just don’t think I’ll ever stop being inspired. That’s an interesting thing that I’m learning about myself. I feel like before it was just like I was on my own plan and I’d see people do things I’d be like, “Badass.” “Cool.” But never have I wanted to be like them. I’ve kind of made my own trail always so it’s really cool to look around and take little bits and pieces from people and then giving them the message that what they do made a difference in my life. I think that’s a really important message to share, it makes people feel really good.
Oh, there are so many. It’s so great. I mean the obvious answers obviously you (Eunique Deeann) and Noelle, but I feel like I just share how much I love you all on such a regular basis. So, Noelle Mietus is obviously a wild woman in my life and one of the things that I really value about her is that she is so willing to love so wholeheartedly. When she loves people she loves them hard and that can be so intimidating and scary for so many people, but she has just fully encompassed this idea and this concept that I wholeheartedly agree with that it’s worth it. Sometimes you might get hurt, sometimes loving people is scary as shit, and she’s like, yeah, I don’t give a fuck, love me for who I am or hate me for who I am but I’m gonna love you and give you as many hugs as physically possible. I also appreciate that she has the capacity to face fear head-on when it comes to travel and while she has admitted that sometimes she’s running away other times she is just fully committing to an avenue of self-discovery and exploration, and that’s badass. That’s something that I so admire about her that she doesn’t find fear in travel and letting go and that she commits to loving others. Particularly because that is not my strong suit. Earlier this past year I was like I’m selling all my things and I’m going to live at my dad’s house for six months and buy a van and travel across the United States. I sat down with my friend, Taylor at dinner and I was talking to him about it and I just burst into tears because I was so terrified of the idea.
And then I honor your [Eunique Deeann] friendship so much as well because I feel like I’ve learned so much from you. I love that you do things that make you uncomfortable for the experience and to see what you can learn. And I think that’s awesome because a lot of the times the things that scare us the most or make us the most uncomfortable or make us feel a little bit awkward or insecure in our capacity, those are the things that are the most rewarding. Whether it’s surfing, and you don’t know how to surf and your like, “Hey, just make sure I don’t drown, but you don’t really need to teach me.” Or if it’s rock climbing, your like, “I’m gonna climb up this wall, can you give me like general instructions and if I look like I’m gonna die, just like help me prevent that?” But you’ve really gone for it, and that’s been really cool to see you grow through that. And also that you’ve gone for what you’re passionate about rather than what will make you money or rather than what’s comfortable and safe and that’s something I’ve thought about numerous times, and I’m not sure if I’m at that point yet, but it’s really cool to have role models who are doing that. And that you just fucking go. You’re like, “Hey, I’m gonna go to Sedona because I feel like I need to or I’m going to go to Julian for the weekend or that you volunteer with Surfrider Foundation and that you actively make a difference in your community because you want to and because you care about it, so that’s super cool.
And another wild woman that I adore, who is wild in another way. She’s not in the outdoorsy, adventure type, but she is just like such a fucking bad ass. Emily Ream. She’s one of my best friends from college, and she’s a photographer and videographer. This past year she moved to New York, and she is on the hustle and on the grind and still finding time for self-care and she’s building a relationship with her boyfriend. She is thriving out there. I’m so proud of her. It’s so cool to see her chase her dreams and succeeded in them. It just seems like that was obviously the only option for her and it came to a point where she absolutely had to do that and it is beautiful to see.
I think everybody should be reading these three books. Just to be better people overall. The Four Agreements. That was the first in my metamorphosis. The second was Big Magic. And the third is Untethered Soul. All three of those have a message that can be generally received, no matter who you are, what type of work you do, or what your ideals and beliefs are.
And then as far as quotes or mantras, I have a few that I never stop living. One of them is: “The greatest risk is not taking one.” I got that one on a fortune cookie the week before I decided to move to San Diego. The second one is, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” And the third one is more a more recent one that I freaking love and it’s, “You only win or you learn you never lose.”
I’m so I love that because it’s part of that whole fear thing. Where people are so afraid to lose, lose, lose, but it’s like no you don’t lose, you learn, It goes straight into that whole comfort zone thing.
The obvious answer for me is the Harry Potter series. If anybody didn’t guess that then they just shouldn’t be my friend. I literally have a wand in my living room. I’m a Ravenclaw. And that is my life. Actually, I’m really like a Ravenpuff. Those really changed my life because every year that they came out was that I was. I read the first book when I was 11 and Harry and Hermione and Ron were 11. So it progressed naturally with me through my adolescence and it gave me a form of escapism during hard times. It also really triggered a lot of creativity and imagination for me. There are just a lot of components of it that have so many positive moments of community and self-reflection that surround those books.
One of my all time favorite quotes was actually an Instagram caption by a yogi, Kate Swarm. It says, “The same breeze that wafts through your hair and caresses your skin on a warm summer day will rather rattle your bones and send shivers through your spine under dark skies. Let the sun live in your heart, and no one can shake you.” That one just kind of stuck with me. I read it at a really a time when I really needed it and it has followed me in a beautiful way. The Nelson Mandela/Marianne Williamson quote that I mentioned earlier from his 1994 inaugural address. I have that tattooed on my ribs.
Almost every time I go to write, I open a blank document or a blank journal and the part of the lines from the movie, The Love Letter, just pops into my head. It goes, “Dearest do know how in love with you I am? Did I trip? Did I stumble? Lose my balance? Graze my knee? Grazed my heart…” And it goes on and on, but that’s just what automatically if pops into my brain. And I’m like, “Oh great, I need to write about cast iron pans. Dearest….” I used to really long for a love like that, but I feel like over the years I’ve learned to love myself like that and that’s been really cool.
I didn’t really realize that not everybody was like this, but I have just this crazy ability to multitask. It ties into this creative aspect where my job may not necessarily call for creativity. It totally does, being a lawyer does. But I think because of the way my brain functions, I can have a lot of things firing at once and I can have cool ideas of how things will look back together. I’m seeing it more and more as a gift. [And having the] kind of ambition where I’ve never felt like I can’t do that. If I have a thought, I’m like, I know I can do it, do I want to do it. It’s this sense of ambition that’s innate. I don’t know where it came from.
Oh my God, I love myself. I would say that I love my creativity and that shows up in a lot of ways. Whether it’s through my art or through my physical yoga, or through my writing or through my cooking. I love that I explore these ideas of creativity within me and I know that they fuel me and I just embrace that. I also know that when I am more creative then that fuels every other part of my body and my being and it happens organically and it just feels good. I love that I embrace my creativity. I also love that I’ve been learning so much more about like self-care within the past few years. That it’s okay to have time to be alone. I’m very much so an extrovert, but I also have really been learning that like it’s it’s cool to have a night in and to just hang out alone and be with myself. That used to really intimidate me, but the more that I love myself, the more that I find that is comfortable. I also love that I love giving hugs because hugs are so good for you, and they’re fun and loving and they’re great.
It starts real early morning before I make my bed. It’s the practice of gratitude. I think that has the ability to set the tone for your day. And then activity wise man. I have too many hobbies to count, it’s becoming a problem. Like my shed is full, my surfboard rack is full, but generally, for me, nothing compares to surfing. For me, even when I’m running and doing other activities there’s room for thoughts, whereas when I’m surfing. it’s the only thing that allows me to be completely present even if I don’t want to be.
I mean that goes so hand-in-hand with like what’s been the best part of your day right? It’s just that constant reflection of gratitude. One of the ways that I just can like instinctually get back to myself and get back to the present moment and find whatever I’m looking for internally is through drawing and creating illustrations. Another really beautiful way that I enjoy the day is through my yoga practice. I try to do at least a little bit of a simple flow every day. Sometimes it looks like an hour, sometimes it looks like five minutes, but just finding a little bit of a physical Asana has been really important for me, and has allowed me to find a sense of serenity at numerous times in my life. I just feel like I’m like a better human when I’m doing more yoga. And then anytime I can go see the ocean or the sunset or the mountains or go be in nature, that is always an extremely valid excuse and reason to enjoy the day.
When I first moved here I was stepping in to fear, but I was still very afraid. I was coming to a place that was completely foreign and I was kind of really sheltered. I really wanted to open my arms and my heart to new experiences and I didn’t necessarily know how to do that. So I met this girl, Vanessa LeDuc. She’s one of my best friends, and she taught me to throw caution to the wind. But I still use my sense of common sense. Like if we were snowboarding let’s say, and I said, “What would happen if we went through those trees?” and she would say, “Well, let’s go through the trees.” And it seems irresponsible and unplanned and all these different things that I had been taught to be, which is so careful. She really opened my eyes to it’s not so hard to just do it. That whole stepping into the fear. She inspired me a lot in my surfing and my snowboarding. Especially in activity because she’ll just go. She charges in everything she does. And sometimes she makes it and sometimes she does it but every time she doesn’t, she learned.
I feel like I answered this with the women who inspire me. But one thing I didn’t say about Emily Ream that I think really valuable and important is that she is very blunt in a caring way. I really admire that about her because she can just tell it like it is and be very matter-of-fact, and she isn’t afraid to tell you the hard truth. And that’s awesome. And that’s rare.