We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephania Vasconez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephania, what’s been your favorite thing to do during quarantine?
My favorite thing about quarantine has been the refocusing on human connection which I feel to be an incredibly positive paradigm shift for modern society. It’s no longer an “I don’t have time” mentality, it’s more of how do I prioritize what matters to me. I’ve always been passionate about volunteering but the arising urgent needs of my community due to this pandemic, really compelled me to pull up my sleeves and help wherever I could. Thanks to having my own startup — revpod.com — I’ve had the flexibility to contribute my time and resources to help those in need. I serve at the local soup kitchen– which provides about 250 meals per day, on average. I’ve also partnered with a Mutual Aid group that has brought together a remarkable network of resources, from food distribution, to mask manufacturing, to mental health support groups. In addition to that, my startup just coordinated with UCLA Health to distribute our cozy pods to frontline healthcare workers so they can feel a bit of comfort while they rest. I must admit though, I’ve also been enjoying kitchen dance parties, hiking (while observing social distancing of course) and planting a heavenly succulent garden 🙂 I guess you could say I’ve been busy!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Originally “The Sabbatical” was meant to be an adventure blog but as time went by, it became more encompassing of the lessons I learned, a personal evolution and the conclusion of a chapter in my life—the end of my marriage. Being a millennial, albeit an early millennial, my story had a very familiar beginning… My ex and I quit our corporate jobs in Los Angeles, sold all of our belongings, bought an RV and traveled the western US on Sabbatical for 6 months. We also co-founded an innovative travel loungewear startup — revpod.com. We posted our story to Instagram, shared our statuses with Facebook. We were really in love. Until we weren’t. We contemplated an alternate life, one in which we tried to make things work. But ultimately, we both knew our relationship had run its course, and this ending felt pretty natural. We recognized that just because we were no longer “in love”, it didn’t mean we didn’t love each other. We knew the best way to care for one another was to let each other go. The last year of my Sabbatical has been filled with challenging adventures, emotional discoveries, intimate learning experiences and love. Divorce, regardless of the circumstances, is difficult, but it doesn’t have to be this messy, ugly thing. Not most of it, at least. I’ve embraced the change as an opportunity to give myself space to rediscover my own happiness and I really love who I’m becoming 🙂 I’ve also realized that I have a unique perspective because I’ve been given the time to process it all. I’m working on a book now, a sort of “Eat, Pray, Love” meets “50 Shades of Grey-ish”. I’d like it to be raw and transparent, to highlight the beauty of vulnerability. I want to shed a light on our constant search for meaning and the incredibly iconic shift of identity that occurs when we transcend society’s expectations. Especially after divorce.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I basically live my life as if I was a tourist myself! There are so many incredible places in Los Angeles, you’d need at least a month to experience all the gems. Depending on the vibe you’re going for– artsy, beachy, city, low key, places to be seen– LA truly has it all. My faves for outdoor food n’ fun: Yamashiro Night Market & Smorgasburg LA. A little retail therapy? Dover Street Market and all the cute boutiques in Little Tokyo- did you know this is actually one of the three official Japan-towns in the United States? Also, don’t forget the Ramen there– love Daikokuya! The Last Bookstore is a must see as you tour all of the historical buildings in DTLA — the Bradbury Building is breathtaking. Grand Central Market pretty much has every kind of cuisine you can imagine, so definitely work up an appetite when you go there. The Hollywood Bowl and the Greek Theater for outdoor concerts are very unique venues to experience live music. Looking for a special gift, Tweak – AKA The Best Gift Store Ever — on Beverly Blvd. is my go-to spot. Tara, the lovely owner, has curated the fun herself and will even gift wrap right there while you wait 🙂 And of course the beach, my fave is Malibu. I love taking a picnic, dipping my toes in the sand and watching the sunset, it’s very peaceful.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to give a shoutout to the public health and frontline healthcare workers, sacrificing their own lives and the health of their families to care for their patients. To all the community heroes out there– the ones going out of their way to help their neighbors. The ones forming mutual aid groups, providing much needed resources to those in need. To the essential workers in emergency services, food and agriculture, the energy sector, IT, utilities, transportation, etc. You are our country’s heroes and we’ll be forever grateful for your role in keeping us going & safe.
Website: https://thesabbatical.net and www.revpod.com
Other: Email: Stephania@revpod.com
Skylar Smith, Japanese Mirror. Gracie Louise Belle, Old Bird Design Gang