Total Health: Robin Who Of Our Connected World On How We Can Optimize Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing


Care less about what does not serve you and who does not bring you value in life. This is definitely a ‘in my 20s’ lesson. As a teenager, you care a lot about what others think. About what you are ‘supposed to do’ because it looks good. Unfortunately for some of us, this is dragged into our adulthood too. When we travel — subconsciously our brain plugs out of this negative eco-system and plugs into something else whether it be Culture, People, Experiences etc The more freely you allow yourself to experience these things without care of judgment, the more DEEPLY you will begin to experience them and the GREATER the impact they will have on your Mental, Physical and Spiritual Health.

Often when we refer to wellness, we assume that we are talking about physical wellbeing. But one can be physically very healthy but still be unwell, emotionally or mentally. What are the steps we can take to cultivate optimal wellness in all areas of our life; to develop Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing? As a part of our series about “How We Can Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, we had the pleasure of interviewing Robin Who — Our Connected World.

Robin Who is the Founder and CEO of The OCW — the First & Only Exclusive Multidisciplinary Platform which provides Coaching, Travel Expertise, and Language Diversification for soulful women around the globe looking to embrace and harness the IMPACT of Slow Travel Lifestyles. With over 5 Years of Experience teaching the Artform of Language and Decades of Travelling the Globe herself, Robin & The OCW is on a mission to empower more women to GO and create opportunities + life-changing experiences abroad with the guidance and support of someone who can help teach them the ropes.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I was born in Italy but at a very young age (3) I started moving around with my family. Whilst we moved around a lot — Venice, where I grew up will always be considered my home city and shaped many of the values, practices, and cultural favorites I hold today. I was always a very imaginative child, hidden deep within the pages of books that explored travel and adventure. It was almost like an escape, a place where I could be free, outgoing, daring, and courageous especially because I was not a very extroverted kid growing up. Eventually, however, our consistent traveling sort of pushed me into having to open up more, be open to making new connections, be vulnerable, and experience new places, people, and constructs and it was the greatest blessing of my life…it pushed me into the wanting to study Human Psychology + Behaviour and inevitably got me to where I am. Someone who holds a deep passion for deeply understanding the effects of travel on the brain and how we must ALL unlock it in order to see improved mental, physical, and spiritual health.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

I think my love for travel and helping others has always been there for me. My thesis in high school was called the “Journey of Freedom”. I think it’s something I have always strived for. After studying Psychology and then Social Policy and volunteering with different associations, that desire to help others became strong. In my business & marketing corporate career I loved mentoring junior team members and so…during Covid I got the realization that I wanted to do something with all of that.

Traveling has been my life. Living in different places, learning constantly. I strongly believe in the power of travel to create a better ‘us’ and to be honest…a better world in many ways.

But I know not all of us have access to the tools, resources, and supportive ecosystem to embrace a travel lifestyle.

There are still a lot of misconceptions and limiting beliefs around it. So, I wanted to create a space where free-spirited women, like me when I was a kid imagining this life of adventure, who are trapped in patterns of ‘what you should do’ could find the resources, tools, and support they need to create a life aligned with who they are and who they want to become. Through the power of slow travel and our minds.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

I feel it wouldn’t be fair to say there was only one person. By traveling a lot you also quickly realize what kind of people you want to keep in your life. It’s inevitable especially when moving a lot, that some may be just a chapter.

I am also incredibly lucky to be surrounded by friends and family who always supported my decisions in both life and my career, giving me a safe place to explore my curiosity and I think in a lot of ways — The reason I started the OCW was to provide that same safe space to women who didn’t quite receive that level of support from their ecosystem.

From a business side I have invested a lot in myself to become a CEO, a great part of achieving total health and wellness is a willingness to invest in Self Development! I have hired coaches and team members who have really helped me explore my leadership role and create a company that was fully + whole aligned with my vision and my values.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

Great question…definitely several!

I think an interesting mistake was actually my first bad financial idea. I am very financially aware and have always tried to educate myself about it, especially as a business owner. But…even then bad investments can happen. However, from all the investments that didn’t quite go as expected…there were fundamental lessons I took away from each experience:

1. I had to listen to my gut feeling saying ‘maybe skip this one

2. I absolutely know what NOT to do as a client experience. Learning what NOT to do is definitely also a lesson. And having to step in your leadership and resiliency is super important in order to not let something like that affect the course of your company and vision.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

“Between Two Kingdoms” by Suleika Jaouad has left a mark on me. Her strength and how she ‘starts living again’ is so so remarkable that leaves you with a wonder about the power within us. And how complex our being on earth is. It’s one of those books that leaves you with a lot of reflection and deeper thoughts.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

Carpe Diem.

To be honest I have so many quotes I like and find inspiring. The reason I choose this one chatting with you today, is because we started this talking about my childhood. And this is one of the first quotes that resonated with me…and still does. The first time I heard about its meaning was in the movie with Robin Williams: Dead Poets Society.

And I loved it. Two simple words, carrying a message that is valid EVERY day of our life. That we should never forget. Make the most of now. Life is NOW. Act upon it. It’s so powerful.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I have a couple of projects going on actually.

One of them is the One Way Ticket Mastermind. It’s a hybrid program of six months, for women ready to who are ready to embrace a Work + Travel Lifestyle but are craving the support and guidance necessary to bring their plans to fruition. It’s a comprehensive educational and mentorship program with a strong community aspect, travel lifestyle, language learning, career creation, and mindset work all bundled into one signature program. It’s a true path to a freedom-based lifestyle. Within 6 months they have a remote work set up stay financially stable but flexible, new skills for their remote job, clarity on what to expect from life abroad, where they are going based on what they want in life, and their move planned out. This is to help those women seeking a change in life, feeling a pull towards learning about the world, meeting new people, and developing themselves in all aspects of their life. It’s such a unique program, my excitement to serve the women in this container is through the roof!

And the other big project I am super excited about is the Solo Female Traveller Retreat I am hosting together with Madison Rolley in Mexico this Fall. This is something completely new and unique. It’s for aspiring solo female travelers and digital nomads who want to kick off their journey with like-minded women…in-person. In-person connection and learning is very much needed nowadays and we are so so excited to get together and celebrate embracing a travel lifestyle with intention. And I think it’s very powerful to collaborate with another coach who shares the same values about traveling and helping others discover its power.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In this interview series we’d like to discuss cultivating wellness habits in four areas of our lives: Mental wellness, Physical wellness, Emotional wellness, & Spiritual wellness. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Absolutely — love this! I have dedicated my entire career to understanding the Effects of Travel on the Brain and how it can improve our Mental, Physical and Spiritual Well-being not only in life but in business. In my findings — I always come back to giving these three pieces of advice:

Care less.

Care less about what does not serve you and who does not bring you value in life. This is definitely a ‘in my 20s’ lesson. As a teenager, you care a lot about what others think. About what you are ‘supposed to do’ because it looks good. Unfortunately for some of us, this is dragged into our adulthood too. When we travel — subconsciously our brain plugs out of this negative eco-system and plugs into something else whether it be Culture, People, Experiences etc The more freely you allow yourself to experience these things without care of judgment, the more DEEPLY you will begin to experience them and the GREATER the impact they will have on your Mental, Physical and Spiritual Health.

Nurture connections.

Whether it is with people or with nature…Humans need connections. In different forms and quantities but we all need it. Isolation does not serve us well. So nurture those connections. Write your friend. Do a nice gesture to your loved one.

Go travel solo. If you are new in a city, go and make the effort to do the ‘first move’ to make friends. Ask that person you feel you are vibing with to hang out for a coffee. Go to that meet-up even if you don’t know anyone. You never know what comes out of it. Find a moment in your day and week to dedicate to people who make you feel good and help you be your best self. Go out and take a walk and connect to nature. We come from it, we need it to feel reconnected with ourselves.

One thing that solo travel really teaches you is also how important it is to choose the right people to surround yourself with.

Keep your passions strong and try new things.

To stay connected with yourself. Is it burning inside you just thinking about it? Is it making you feel alive? Do it. Have a moment to stay with your deeper thoughts. Have a moment to embrace whatever you are feeling. The good and the bad. Have a moment to realize if your brain is just trying to trick you with certain thoughts. Work on your inner self. Accept that the balance of life is darkness and light and your emotions are temporary and it is your actions are the force that will keep your boat moving.

I try to do something that lights me up every day, that is not connected with my job or relationships. I love dancing, writing, food, and singing (even though I am no singer). So sometimes I randomly dance…or treat myself with some comfort food I like (pizza and sushi) or I start writing.

All of these things… whilst seemingly so small… when done with consistency, open-heartedness, and a willingness to be vulnerable… will all do INCREDIBLE things for your overall health. More Clarity, more focus, improved mood, increased creativity, and productivity. We all have fundamental needs as human beings and ONLY ONCE those needs are met can we truly thrive on this planet and in our lives.

Do you have a specific type of meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.

I am someone who had to really learn to be…still. I have a monkey mind and am very dynamic. But I value mindfulness a lot. After some trial and error I have finally found what is the most efficient way to meditate and have a mindful moment every day, for me:

  1. I stretch for 5 to 10 minutes before starting work
  2. Together with my morning espresso, I read a mindful message for the day (I have a card deck full of different messages and I love to be surprised by what I pick)
  3. At lunchtime, I work out and three times a week I incorporate 10 minutes of Yoga Flow too.
  4. After I have gotten my circulatory system pumping, I like to meditate for 5 minutes. I love to tune into Guided Meditations through different platforms depending on how I am feeling for the day!

Whilst I do enjoy the power of short meditation — I find a lot of my mindful practices happen in everyday life. When I am walking throughout a new city — Breathing in the different smells floating in the air, sitting in a place of gratitude that my eyes are able to witness such beautiful and new things, When I am alone in an Airbnb just sitting with my thoughts. Mindfulness and Meditation can come in many forms and I choose to be flexible with my practice every day.

Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellness? Please share a story or example for each.


Food is a big part of the Italian culture and I feel lucky to have grown up with a love for it and especially for food good for the soul and an environment that enjoys home-cooked meals.

One benefit of slow traveling is that you really get to know the culture of the places you visit, including the culinary one. You learn about the power of a holistic diet. Thanks to my travels in India, the middle east, and Central America I really learned about the role of spices and seeds for example. Eating different food and trying to test different ways of eating truly opens your eyes to what you can create with even little ingredients.

My most delicious meals have been from food trucks and places (especially in Asia) that looked so simple and small and a bit random from the outside…but the food would is always great! By learning about how others eat you learn about different perspectives on diets. Especially when traveling in South East Asia, where most food is less processed in general, I realized how good I felt eating local and I decided to bring those recipes home, to add to my diet.

Make time to move your body every day for 30 minutes.

When traveling abroad it can be easy to get swept up in the whirlwind of it all that we forget to do something as fundamental as intentionally moving our body. I find that shifting your thought to committing to 30 minutes instead of an hour makes it easier. Lunch break — workout. Right after work — workout. Find a time that feels good and fit those 30 minutes in. If you have more time and feel like it, work out for longer. But putting in your calendar a dedicated time and committing to it is super important. Leaving your mat out if you work at home is also a good reminder.

Stretching. We forget sometimes how important flexibility is, especially with aging. And this is something that requires a lot of consistency — every day, even just 10 minutes stretching can really change your flexibility levels. Try it out. Challenge yourself for the next 30 days! I find especially in the morning it makes me feel so good.

Remember when we fuel our bodies and our minds with nutritious foods and we Strengthen our Bodies through movement, stretching etc We are ultimately investing in things beyond just our physical Health. Our Mental Health and Productivity are so closely linked to how we treat our bodies and so achieving total health is truly being cognisant of this ecosystem.

Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

Between my own experience (also with body image) and studying psychology and social policy, my love for food has definitely developed in many ways.

My first comment would be there is a general blockage actually at the educational and ‘accessibility’ level.

If we want to de-romanticize it: Food is our fuel. Would you put gasoline in a diesel car? Wouldn’t make sense.

Yet to eat well nowadays you have to learn about nutrition and how to get the right nutrients from fresh food, cook a lot more than you eat out and be careful about what you buy.

There is a lot of information out there, sure, but it can still be overwhelming to navigate and reach certain target audiences more than others.

That combined with making healthier foods or alternative foods like vegetarian options or lactose-free options more expensive and so less accessible for the average household income in most countries, makes following a healthier diet feel more effortful.

And that’s connected to the second blockage: Forgetting the beginning is always harder, but it gets easier.

It’s hard to get out of a habit. It takes patience. We tend to take 21 days to pick up a habit. Resilience and determination will help you get through that, and after that…the road is paved. It will actually be weird to go back to a weird diet and your body will react to it. Once you heal your body from poisoned food, it goes back to its natural state — telling you what you need. If you crave fruit, you probably need the natural sugars and vitamins from it. And you can start to listen to your body and eat in a way you may have seen online already ‘intuitive eating’.

The last blockage is connected to that information overwhelm. If you have certain muscle mass/fat percentage goals, then you definitely need a custom food and exercise plan from a professional but if you just wanna feel good and be healthy, you are probably overthinking it because of all the information out there.

Because what you truly need is simply a balanced diet.

Make sure you get carbs, protein, vitamins, and healthy fats (avocado) in moderate amounts daily. Make sure you drink 2l water throughout the day. Avoid sugars and make sure you eat the different nutrients in moderate portions. Anything, even if good for you, in excessive portions will lose its benefits.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

I think when it comes to emotional wellness we have to remember that we all experience anger, surprise, disgust, enjoyment, fear, and sadness. Those are the basic human emotions. And to lead to optimum emotional wellness we should remember three factors:

How you start your day and what you listen to and read affects your emotions

Read positive messages in the morning — it really sets the tone. Steer away from waking up to immediately immerse in work before your brain is even “reset” to start the day. I have noticed how waking up, brushing my teeth, and immediately opening my laptop was starting to affect how I’d feel during the day. Because my brain then goes in immediate “alarm” mode, with all the things that need to be done and it becomes a hamster wheel party. Which leaves me feeling anxious more than anything. So I started to take about 20 to 30 minutes of preparation time before starting working and I feel much more productive and also clearer about how to go about my day.

Music, podcasts, series, social.

What you consume as content during the day can trigger emotions, good or bad. Music is a very powerful way to tune into our emotions. But so is the information we gather from podcasts, the articles we read and the aimless scrolling on social. Choose content that helps you learn and adds value to your day to see a shift in your mood.

I have been doing affirmations in the morning for the past year. I also listen to podcasts around topics I enjoy (psychology, online business, mindfulness) after my stretching, while sipping my coffee and organizing my day. I stopped following social profiles that felt not aligned for me.

Talk about your feelings, no shame

I think we forget sometimes that carrying all the feelings inside does more harm than good. Sure some things we figure out ourselves with introspection but to be honest I find that even just a chat with a good friend (or sometimes strangers while traveling) brings that new perspective on something that currently occupies your mind and that alone lifts the weight off our shoulders and helps us get clearer on how to solve the problem at hand or…how to let those emotions go.

Your actions affect your emotional state.

There is a connection between our motor actions (physically what we do with our muscles) and our emotional center. In the same way, we feel an emotion and our body mirrors it with facial expressions and postures or gestures, that seems to work the opposite way too. We can let the brain think we are in a certain emotional state — through our body.

Head up, open your chest and let yourself feel more confident.

Find humor in your day and laugh — feel happier.

Also, moving your body produces endorphins (happy hormones). So, take a walk, dance, move your body even just for 15 minutes in a way that makes you feel good. I pretty much take a moment every day to do a little dance, because I love dancing and it makes me feel good. I even signed up for a class package to start going more seriously again. For me that’s not a workout it is something for my soul.

Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear it.

I think smiling is key to our lives. And I love when people are ready to help each other smile more.

I believe in the power of smiling for our emotional state and even the perception of the world around you and how others will approach you.

And there is science behind it:

A study from Marmolejo-Ramos et al. found that even pretend smiling stimulates the amygdala (our emotional centre) which then releases neurotransmitters that encourage a positive state. Neurologist Dr. Isha Gupta found that smiling increases dopamine and serotonin (happy hormones) levels.

And from experience, I know that it doesn’t just boost the mood, but when abroad smiling will open opportunities to connect in a whole new way. Because people are attracted to happy people (good vibes) and by approaching even strangers with a smile you instantly create an open space for the other person to come in. And those interactions can boost your emotional state too.

One thing I do if I don’t feel safe I become the opposite of what I normally am: cold and not a single smile. And I had to use that in new environments sometimes and it definitely felt weird but also worked.

Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Have a mindful moment every day. This can look like journaling, a quick guided meditation, or breathwork…Learn to embrace your emotions by practicing mindfulness so they are not in charge of your day. This can be in the morning, evening, both even. Whatever works for you. I like to have my mindful moment in the morning or right after working out (which I find mindful too because I tend to unplug a lot during my workouts).

Make a habit of being present and intentional. Choose goals with intentions. Travel with intention. Act with intention. This means asking yourself why and how that action is aligned with your values and the life you desire for yourself.

And in order to create intentions you also need to be more conscious about your thoughts and feelings. And the best way to do that is to take a step back and be present.

A lot of people ask me why slow travel is the approach I use in what I do and how I serve others and the big reason is: that it creates an intentional mindset. This is a valuable concept not just when traveling but also if you are home, or finding a home away from home. Without the intention, you miss opportunities to grow and learn. You miss on getting clear on what you want and what you like and who you want to become. Then you can create those goals and actions accordingly, in a way that feels more aligned with who you are.

Make sure you fill your weeks with acts of kindness. Towards yourself and other. Whether abroad or back home, smile to a stranger. Buy someone a coffee or entrance somewhere. I have received so much kindness around the world. Traveling has really showed me that the majority of people is actually good. Bad people are everywhere, that’s the reality but I don’t believe that’s the majority. And if you treat yourself with respect and kindness and do the same to others, you open the opportunity to connect more and experience such kindness in return.

But I always highlight the fact that the relationship with yourself is very important in how you relate to others too. If you cannot be kind or caring towards you, the relationships will reflect that. I think that’s another powerful learning from solo traveling and getting out of the ‘usual environment’: you realize a lot about yourself and what you want in life because you have to be more conscious and more present.

Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?

Being in nature brings us back to our roots. We come from it. We used to live in it. And I believe it’s almost an instinct that brings us back to a sense of calmness when we are in nature. Nature helps you slow down. It easily can bring you an awe moment that releases oxytocin (The love hormone, one of those that makes us feel good).

Research shows that exposure to nature helps our cognition, and lowers stress levels.

Nisbet ,who ran a study published in the International Journal of Wellbeing together with Capaldi et al. in 2015, concluded overall that nature has positive effects on our mental health and connecting to it can help us flourish.

Zelenski, in another study, those who feel a connection between their self-concept and nature report being happier. And even though people who feel that their self-concept is intertwined with nature report being a bit happier,” says Zelenski. “Nature connectedness isn’t the biggest predictor of happiness, but [the association between the two] is quite consistent.”

So clearly there are reasons based on how our brain works for feeling good when outdoors and traveling to beautiful natural destinations.

Environment and society are at my core interests and passions. And that’s because even though I grew up in cities, I also grew up with a deep respect for nature: going up the Alps to ski or hike; swim and sail and snorkel in the Mediterranean Sea.

My Dad taught me a lot when I was a kid about the mountains and definitely passed his view on to me to respect nature, remember you are a guest, and how nature humbles you. Whether we like it or not, whether we connect to ‘Mother Nature’ or we don’t like it. Its power and teachings are beyond us and if we connect and open to it, by default we will develop ourselves.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I want to inspire a movement that connects the world.

Not in the globalization sense as that is our reality now. What I mean is deep connection and exploration.

I want more people to be able to experience intentional traveling. More people to be empowered to travel solo.

More people to try living abroad even just for a semester.

I want this movement to help create a world where education, health, and well-being is not an opportunity for some, but for everyone. Because it’s the basis of living our lives to the fullest.

And I know how powerful traveling and exploring this beautiful planet is. I believe more travel, through the art of slow travel though, can help us be better human beings, have great relationships overall, and be good inhabitants of this planet.

This would be a movement founded on empowering through education, well-being, and self-growth.

From kids to adults, from East to West, people connect with their selves, others, and places and are on a continuous journey to learn, develop and experience life.

It breaks my heart to know that some people cannot LIVE this one life we have. Because they don’t even know about some opportunities out there. Because those opportunities don’t touch them. A full life looks different for each one of us. And what I hope this movement to do is to break patterns and help educate (working skills, well-being, life skills, social skills) more people.

Including those who have to live in survival mode. Minorities. Those who feel unhappy and don’t know how to get out of it. Those who have to live a life that has extra complications because of environmental racism, greed, and all of that poison, unfortunately, do run around in our societies.

Maybe it’s a dream, maybe it can be of inspiration to become a movement.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them :-)

I think it would be super interesting to have lunch with Mel Robbins. She helps others change their lives and based on her podcast and podcast guest interviews I know it would be a great conversation full of learning.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

My Instagram: @ourconnectedworld


Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.



Authority Magazine Editorial Staff
Authority Magazine

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