Interview with Lost Girl, Lara Miller — founder of Mylifebeacon.com

Extras — By on June 27, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Lost Girl Lara Miller recently founded the travel tool website mylifebeacon.com.  Check out this interview to learn more about Lara’s adventures as a lost girl and how you can utilize beacons in the course of your world travels.

1. How did you become a “Lost Girl”?   I grew up in the wonderful state of Montana.  My parents were Montanans to the core and would constantly take us on camping, hiking, and road trips.  I had a horse and would take her into the mountains by myself when I was 13, dreaming of the places I wanted to explore and imagining all of the distance places so far from the small town life I was used to.  I left Montana when I was 17 and haven’t stopped moving for nearly 20 years. I am a nomad a heart and can’t bear having four walls around me for extending periods of time.  After trying to have a “normal” and settling in Las Vegas for a few years, my restlessness reached a fevered state and in 2010 I left my life to travel solo around the world.  I read everything I could get my hands on before I left and The Lost Girls was one of the pivotal books I read.  It inspired me, educated me, and made me laugh.  I have been a member of our unofficial Lost Girls tribe since then.  I wear the “lost” label with pride and the secret is that we aren’t really lost, we have in fact found the special formula to our own personal happiness.

2. Tell me about your travel experiences as a “Lost Girl”?   I have traveled to around 30 countries and met some truly amazing people along the way.  I have had several mishaps including tearing my leg  up while surfing in Indonesia, getting kicked off a train in India in the middle of nowhere, getting lost in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam for days, and getting stuck in a bus station in Guatemala while protests were going on.   I have danced under full moons, drank whiskey with an Irish Rugby team, kayaked the Mekong River in Laos, appeared in a commercial filmed in Bollywood, and caused general mayhem with fellow travelers in Thailand (go team Tuk-Tuk!).  I don’t regret a single thing.

3. What exactly is MylifeBeacon.com?  MyLifeBeacon.com is a resource for lovers of travel and outdoor adventure. We are a backup plan in case something goes wrong while adventurists are pursuing what they love. Life Beacon provides a multi-level, check-in system for those on road trips, vacation and holiday, outdoor expeditions, or traveling adventures. Through emergency contacts of your choosing, it adds an extra layer of protection.  Life Beacon also offers tips and advice on a wide range of travel and outdoor activities, as well as the latest and greatest in gear provisions.

4. When did you devise the idea for mylifebeacon.comI feel like the concept for Life Beacon has always been there rolling around in my brain.  It has been a prevailing theme of my life, “If something happened to me, no one would know how to contact my family and friends and no really one knows where I am.”  In 2011 I decided to spend the season in Telluride, Colorado.  I went there without knowing a single person.  One day, I was out on a solo hike and I tripped over a log and fell.  No one knew me, where I was, and I certainly wasn’t carrying a card with emergency contacts and my cell phone wasn’t getting service. My leg is still healing from my surfing injury in Indonesia and I was in some pain but able to get to my car.  It hit me, perhaps inspired by the 10,000 foot altitude, that instead of just lamenting the fact that no one knew where I was, I should do something about it.  I know that there are a ton of people like me, people that enjoy solo outdoor activities and traveling.  Our tribe of gypsies, nomads, lost girls, and adventurists really needed something like Life Beacon.  That day, I rushed to my temporary home, called one of my best friends whom also happens to be a genius developer and Life Beacon was born.  There are 5 of us on the team and each of the guys brings something unique to the company.  They are some of the most talented and diverse guys I have ever worked with and I couldn’t be happier with the result.

5. Can you tell me about the functions of the website?  Right now, we are in the Beta stage.  With the features available, you are able to set a “beacon” to be sent to your emergency contacts.  It’s pretty simple.  You enter where you will be the start and end time of your adventure, and a few other details.  We send out an email to your emergency contacts detailing where you will be and when.  If you do not check back in, we send out another email letting your emergency contacts know and the next steps they should take.  It literally takes 30 seconds to set a beacon and it could save your life.

6.  When has a website like mylifebeacon.com has been vitally necessary during the course of your travels?  When I was in India, I decided to take a train to Goa from Mumbai.  It was supposed to be around a 12 hour journey.  After an hour and a half, the train stopped and I was kicked off along with several other people.  We ended up having to rent a car and driver and were driven to Goa.  The drive took 16 hours, was through monsoon rains pummeling the Western Gnat Mountains.  The headlights weren’t functioning and the brakes kept giving out.  I was 100% sure I was going to die and the thought kept running through my head that no one would know.  Life Beacon would have set my mind at ease a bit.   I for sure would have missed my check-in time, but at least my friends and family would have known where to look for me. 

 

7.  Is mylifebeacon.com connected to other forms of social media?  We are on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

https://www.facebook.com/MyLifeBeacon, @mylifebeacon, http://pinterest.com/mylifebeacon/
8. How much does it cost?  It is 100% free to set beacons!

9.  Can you expand on the other special functions of the program? The SMS feature will be added during stage 2 or our Beta.  We will also be adding a perks system in which people will have the ability to earn rewards from our sponsors which will include outdoor gear and travel discounts.  Our complete social media integration will also be completed at this time so that people can brag about successfully completing adventure.

Life Beacon isn’t just for outdoor enthusiast and travelers.  It has many uses, one example is it can be used by a woman that goes for solo runs daily and doesn’t bring her cell phone.  One of my friends even uses it when she goes on blind dates just in case she meets a crazy and they take her cell phone.  We want everyone that uses it to feel just a bit safer, solo activities are scary enough without having to worry about your friends and family not being able to find you if something does happen.  If any of my fellow lost girls have any questions, suggestions, or just want to say hello, please contact me at Lara at mylifebeacon.com.  Keep rocking girls!

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