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Meet Amanda Schendel of The Buena Vida

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Schendel.

Amanda, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Since attending college at PLNU in San Diego, I’ve been privileged to experience my professional and personal growth in so many areas of the city and all over the world. I’ve always been a traveler at heart and comedian by trade, so I’ve spent the last 5 years in Seattle, NYC, & San Diego. A magical trip to a healing plant medicine retreat in Ecuador in 2014 began to fuse my talents-sales, comedy, event planning, writing, and community building-into my umbrella company, The Buena Vida. I’m now a meditation & improv teacher, plant medicine healer, retreat facilitator & traveling speaker.

My best friend & business partner, Heather Adams, runs a unique mindfulness meditation practice in Seattle called Well/Awake. Together we host the Semi-Woo podcast. We love to help our listeners elevate their consciousness via our favorite spiritual tool: laughter! Mindfulness, psychedelics, woo-woo spirituality, science, sex & travel have a home at Semi-Woo. Our goal is to give voice to the community that is furthering social evolution in alternative ways.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Luckily, I’ve never subscribed to the idea that we live our lives simply climbing a ladder. I like to live on the plain, roaming from one opportunity to the next. In my spiritual practice, I believe that having complete trust and faith in the present moment helps us with the natural ebb and flow of life. In the past 7 years, I’ve held over 15 “jobs”, worked for 3 start-ups, 1 giant corporation and lived in over 6 cities throughout the world. If you would have told me even 3 years ago that I’d be anything other a touring comedian, I would have eaten my hat! My personal and professional awakening has led me to a level of deep self-acceptance that includes accepting the bumpy road of my professional life. I like to say, “I’m a baby and a shaman”, meaning that there are areas where I need total help and areas I have full confidence. If we start to see ourselves as many different parts, in various stages of development, we’ll stop comparing ourselves to others & accept exactly where we’re at in this moment.

My biggest struggle has been trying to fit into society’s (or my parents or my family or my peers or the media’s…) view of a successful life. I’ve had to learn to tune into my heart and trust that my inner, confident self knows that I’m on the right path.

To an outsider, I may look like a fumbling, lost hippie, but since I’ve made peace with my path, I’m able to carry a steady vision of the work I want to do in this world. My deepest passion is to raise human consciousness and help humanity with our transition into the next step of evolution. This is a broad goal and manifests itself in ways that, to an outsider, may seem crazy. I’ve learned to wholly accept that others’ opinions, outside of extremely close friends and mentors, simply don’t matter.

The Buena Vida – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
The Buena Vida is known for enlivening, community-driven events, retreats & classes. We teach one-of-a-kind courses such as “Improv in the Moment” which combines improv comedy games with an introduction to mindfulness meditation. We specialize in creating unique events and retreats that center upon mind-expansion, holistic health and community building.

We are known for our humorous, light-hearted approach to even serious, deep healing. We believe that in a supportive environment, we can release our deepest trauma and bring joy back into our lives. Our retreats include classes in mindfulness & meditation, and many times employ the help of sacred teacher plants such as ayahuasca, psilocybin, huachauma cactus and marijuana. We love to combine the sacred with the modern; the traditional ways with a fresh perspective; the divine with the everyday.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The hugs and sincere words of deep gratitude I receive at the end of my retreats are the most fulfilling “success” I could ever desire. When I’m able to witness a guest make the conscious choice to stop a self-limiting belief system or to choose joy over anxiety, my heart is completely at peace. My proudest recent moment has been launching my podcast, Semi-Woo, as I feel it’s the ultimate creative expression and avenue in which I can interact with the community I love.


  • Average retreat: $1,200
  • Meditation classes $10-20
  • Private meditation course $200-400
  • Intuitive Counseling $40-75/hr

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Amanda Schendel

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. John H.

    May 2, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    Thanks Amanda for sharing your life with us! I had such an amazing experience with you at Gaia Sagrada and hope we can drink some plant medicine again someday. Keep up all your “weird hippy” wok in the world, you are helping to raise consciousness and leading others to heal themselves.

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