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Meet Carrie Hoffman and Zachary Minnich of Bigger Life Adventures

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carrie Hoffman and  Zachary Minnich.

Carrie and Zachary, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
We are Carrie and Zach, a travel-obsessed couple always on the hunt for new adventures! We met in our home state of Ohio but made San Diego our adopted “adult” hometown and lived in Ocean Beach for five years before uprooting our lives to become digital nomads last summer. Carrie got the traveling bug first and lived out some dreams by joining the Peace Corps to live and work in rural Tanzania in her early 20s. When she returned home from Tanzania, we reconnected and started traveling as much as possible together, and eventually got married!

We always eschewed the traditional 9-5 career path in favor of working in restaurants, hostels, food trucks, and entrepreneurial ventures in order to travel more. Together we’ve backpacked through South and Central America, a bit of western Europe and Africa, road tripped and hiked our way through loads of the US and Mexico, and now we’ve been digital nomads traveling through Asia for the last 8 months! We love adventures, getting off the beaten path, and challenging ourselves to learn new things!

Life hasn’t always been sunshine and rainbows and world travel though. We’ve had our share of obstacles to overcome which have helped grow us into the people that we are today. We actually met at a bar, used to party a lot and go to crazy festivals, and being in San Diego’s restaurant and bar industry, of course, we were obsessed with the city’s craft beer scene. Gradually, in that sneaky way that it has, alcohol dependence started to become a big problem in Carrie’s life.

The most significant, game-changing event of her entire life was admitting she had a problem with alcohol and starting the process of getting sober! It was a super hard but oh-so-worth it process of spiritual work, finding new support systems and new coping mechanisms and a whole new mindset. That was almost two years ago and we’re happy to say that life and our relationship has gotten so much more amazing since that happened! We’re dedicated to breaking stigmas against addiction in this world and passing on the hope and freedom of sobriety to others with the same struggle.

We used inspiration from this journey of recovery, plus ideas and motivation from our time in Asia and our many passions – travel, yoga, adventure, vegan cooking– to found our new social enterprise company, Bigger Life Adventures!

Bigger Life Adventures is a yoga and adventure retreat company that gives back! We’re running yoga, adventure and personal-growth-oriented retreats in amazing locations around the world, and on each retreat, we donate 10% of all the participation costs to a local nonprofit and also provide education to participants on more ways to help with local issues. We realized that the best way we can make a difference in the world is by doing the things that light us up — encouraging others to travel outside their comfort zones, teaching yoga, sharing healthy vegan food, creating really immersive local experiences and working with amazing nonprofits!

When Carrie was getting sober her sponsor said “Your life can be bigger than your biggest dreams for it,” and that was really true! That truth resonates with us to this day as we are now living out a life bigger than our previous, too-small dreams and we just want to encourage others to do the same!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Making the transition from having multiple jobs in San Diego to hitting the road and being completely self-employed digital nomads was a challenge! We had to find a new version of work-life balance and really had to put our trust in the universe to the test. Luckily, we’re now 10 months into this journey and our retreat company is taking off!

Please tell us about Bigger Life Adventures.
Bigger Life Adventures does retreats in bucket-list destinations around the world. Since we are a social enterprise all of our retreats give back 10% of the participation fees to a local, sustainable nonprofit in the area we visit! We strive to be eco-friendly, sustainable, and conscious travelers wherever we go. You’ll also have a chance to learn about local issues and how you can help more on our trips.

Mid-Summer Reset at Laguna Mountain, California is our first mini-retreat campout happening July 27-29! We’re giving back to Sierra Club!

Surf & Yoga in Sri Lanka is happening September 21-28 in beautiful south Sri Lanka. Our give back partner for this one is WECare Worldwide, an amazing veterinary nonprofit who are taking care of Sri Lanka’s street dogs.

Discover Abundant Life in Tanzania is going to be an amazing 9-day adventure in the best parts of East Africa. 4 days on the beaches of Zanzibar then 4 days on safari! Giveback partners for this retreat are Tamani Foundation, an education project, and Fair Travel Tanzania, an environmental and social justice nonprofit.

We’re also different in that we really desire to serve people in addiction recovery. Our retreats will always be open to everyone, alcohol-free and sobriety supportive! We’re super focused on healthy living and encouraging personal and spiritual growth through our programming!

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Not a single thing. It’s all been part of the journey and has made us who we are. If Carrie hadn’t been through the trauma, embarrassment, and depression of addiction and Zach hadn’t been alongside her the whole time, we wouldn’t have the strong relationship and strong sense of purpose that we have today. We’re all about turning our past pain into a way to help people with humility, love and grace.

We love something Cheryl Strayed wrote which just about sums it up perfectly for us:
“When you recognize that you will thrive not in spite of your losses and sorrows, but because of them, that you would not have chosen the things that happened in your life, but you are grateful for them, that you will hold the empty bowls eternally in your hands, but you also have the capacity to fill them? The word for that is HEALING.”

Pricing:

  • Mid-Summer Reset at Laguna Mountain, California, July 27-29 is $200
  • Surf & Yoga in Sri Lanka in the jungle and beaches of beautiful South Sri Lanka, September 19-26, is $1500
  • Discover Abundant Life in Tanzania, 4 days in Zanzibar and 4 days on safari, October 18-26, is $2750

Contact Info:

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. Caro

    May 24, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Amazing idea!

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