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When most people think of places they want to visit on their bucket list, a farm in Donalds, South Carolina (population 326) usually isn’t it. But for me, this wasn’t just a farm in a small town. This was Jackson Pine Farm, owned by social media influencer, Lauren Jackson. In October 2015, Lauren took social media by storm when her video of her dancing with her quadriplegic husband, Joel, went viral. When Lauren married Joel in 2013, she told him: "When you can walk, I want you to dance with me." It was more a dream than anything. In December 2009, Joel and five other young people got into a car with a drunk driver, who hit a telephone pole. Joel was thrown from the car. The impact shattered his spine where it connects to his skull — an "internal decapitation" that few people survive. Joel had not been expected to survive, let alone get out of a wheelchair. But on October 1, 2015, Joel's therapists at Brooks Rehabilitation in Jacksonville, Fl asked if they could put him in a device called a ZeroG that allows patients to stand upright while allowing their legs to support a small amount of their body weight. When Lauren saw Joel standing, she thought of her wish and asked Joel to dance. The therapist recorded Joel and Lauren dancing to their wedding song, “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain. The dance and their story went viral. I followed their story and was inspired by Lauren’s strength and dedication. Their story was a lesson in unconditional love. Lauren was there for Joel until his untimely death in January 2019. But Lauren’s story didn’t end there. She still had to be a Mom to their adopted teenage son, Freddie. She still had her own dreams and goals in life. And some of those dreams came true when she bought a home with a red barn and lots of land for their perfect farm in Donalds, SC. The farm is home to their dogs, cats, rabbits, ducks, chickens, goats and sheep. Her goats is where the story of our friendship begins.

Joel and Lauren Jackson, Joel Jackson, Lauren Jackson, Zero G, Brooks Rehab, Quadriplegic, physical therapy

One afternoon in June, Lauren was on Facebook Live with her goats. She recently had new baby goats and since I was home recovering from knee surgery and out of work due to the pandemic, watching her lives helped me get through my days. On this particular day, her goats were running outside of their normal roaming area and Lauren told the goats that they better watch out before the BEARS got them! I’ve always been a city girl so I didn’t know if they had bears in South Carolina. I asked her if she really had bears (she sounded really serious when she said it) and she said she just told them that. We both laughed so hard. After that, we started talking on Facebook Messenger and I told her what I thought about her and their story. She was such an inspiration to me. It was truly an honor to talk to her but I would’ve never imagined that a bear (or some goats) would be the start of one of the most amazing friendships.

A few days after I started talking to Lauren on Facebook, I saw someone posting about essential oils for head tension on one of Lauren’s pages. I’ve suffered from terrible head tension for years. So I asked her about oils and a few days later I decided to not only try the essential oils, but I became a Distributor for Young Living Essential Oils. Lauren has taught me so much and is always there to help me on my essential oil journey. But she is not just my mentor. She has become my rock, the person I can talk to, cry with, share my dreams and fears with and trust more than anyone I’ve ever met. The day after I ordered my kit and signed up for a 10-Day Oils Business Mentorship, my Dad was hospitalized with COVID. I called Lauren crying and told her that I wouldn’t be able to do the class because I didn’t know what would happen with my Dad. She was so sweet and caring and prayed for us and wanted updates every day. We grew closer each day. And I did complete the mentorship program because not only did it give me something to do to keep my mind off of what was going on, it also connected me with the most amazing team (Team Oils Made Simple) of people that I now get to call my friends. I’m so glad I did because it was an amazing class! I knew that as soon as I got back to work and started making money, I wanted to visit Lauren so I could thank her for everything that she had done for me. Besides, she was already on my bucket list of “Inspirational People” to meet. That dream became reality on September 22, 2020. After weeks of planning, I flew from New Orleans to Greenville, SC, about 45 minutes away from Lauren’s farm (everything is about 45 minutes away!). I had 4,473 minutes (3 days 2 hrs and 33 mins) to do as many things and make as many unforgettable memories as we could. And we did!

The meeting at the airport was incredible. It felt so nice to finally hug my friend and see that amazing smile and those dimples in person. I didn’t feel like I was hugging a stranger. I felt like we’ve known each other forever. We talked the whole drive home. Really bad traffic gave us even more time to talk. Sometimes traffic isn’t always a bad thing. I loved having more time with just the two of us. Once we got to the farm, I met Freddie and all the animals. I knew I would spend a lot of time outside. The weather was incredible and the animals were the sweetest. She took me to the feed store and Piggly Wiggly. I love seeing places and doing things that are part of my friends world so even though those places don’t seem very important, to me they meant a lot. When we got back to the house, we had a delicious meal and my favorite, Funfetti cupcakes, that Freddie made for us. We spent the rest of the night talking and working on vinyls for our cups and shirts and cooking aprons. (You should check out her store at Grits, Grace and Granola!)

The next morning, we woke up and I got the chance to check something else off of my bucket list. We did GOAT YOGA! Loretta (named after country singer Loretta Lynn!) was so sweet and didn’t mind participating in yoga or taking pictures with me. After yoga, we cleaned up and went to have lunch with Lauren’s boyfriend, Joe. We went to one of their favorite restaurants, Taqueria Picante, so I was excited to try it. It was delicious! Then we decided to do something really exciting. We went to Painted Pony Tattoo and Piercing and “Redneck” pierced our daiths (pronounced dah-th). I had my right daith pierced years ago on a trip to Vegas and I had talked about it with Lauren. Lauren decided she wanted to get hers done hoping it would help with her migraines and she thought it would be fun if we did it together. So we both got our left daiths pierced. It hurt a little bit and it was painful the first night but we knew that we would always have a reminder of my first trip to SC. And it has helped her migraines, too! That night after dinner and watching Big Brother (Lauren’s favorite show), we watched the movie we rented, The Secret: Dare to Dream. There were so many powerful moments for us during this movie. It was the perfect ending to an incredible day.

The next day I decided I would feed the animals. It’s not very often that you can get sheep, goats and a dog to follow you into a barn to eat. I had so much fun feeding them. It was fun to feel what it’s like to live like Lauren for a few minutes. That day we decided to stay home and finish vinyls and talk about a few other things we are working on. Sometimes it’s not where you go or what you do. It’s who is beside you that counts. So just being with Lauren was perfect! During one of our conversations, she said she had something for me. She gave me a magazine with an article about her and Joel's story. She even autographed it for me. That gift, along with one of Joel's signs with his favorite quote and one of his Georgia ornaments, meant more than anything. I will definitely cherish them. That night we had another amazing meal while watching Big Brother and then enjoyed the last of the cupcakes. Even though Funfetti cupcakes are my favorite, I think Lauren really enjoyed them, too! Before bed we decided to make friendship bracelets. We both made Grits, Grace and Granola bracelets and I made a Live Like Lorie bracelet for me and then we made each other a bracelet. Each bead had a special meaning and the words were our inside jokes (Bears and Bananas). Wearing something every day that was not only made by my best friend while we were together but is also a diffuser bracelet so I can enjoy my oils, too, is pretty meaningful. Every time I look down at my bracelet, I think of Lauren.

The last day of the trip we knew we didn’t have a lot of time together but we still weren’t done making memories. We went on Facebook Live to make mango salsa. That was fun and the salsa was yummy! It feel surreal to be making a video in the same kitchen that I’ve watched so many of Lauren’s videos. Lauren knows how much I love pictures (they are the best way to relive your memories) and since she is a photographer (a really amazing one), she does, too. So Freddie did a Fall photo shoot for us before we headed back to Greenville. On the way to the airport, we stopped at Zaxby’s for lunch (Lauren said they had “good” ice....she really knows me!) and then we had to stop at Pizza Inn for chocolate chip pizza. Freddie talked about this pizza the whole trip. This was not the chocolate chip pizza that I expected. This was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever eaten! We are definitely getting that every trip from now on! We made it to the airport and after a long hug (Mocha hugged me, too) and one last picture, I had to walk away from one of the most amazing people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. I took with me unforgettable memories and a few checks on my bucket list. This is definitely a bucket list trip I’ll never forget!

So what's next?

Lauren has asked me to become part of the GGG Crew, as the travel writer for this blog, to teach you guys how to #LiveLikeLorie {Adventurous, Inspiring, Joyful, Motivated, and Brave.} While, this isn't a typical bucket list trip, I wanted to share it, because there are no right or wrong places to add to your bucket list. You don’t have to travel to Turks and Caicos or take an Alaskan Cruise. You don’t have to go sky diving or Rocky Mountain Climbing or go 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu. You can travel to a small town and just enjoy the simple things in life and have an unforgettable bucket list trip. You don’t have to travel with your partner or spouse or family and friends. It’s ok to travel solo. Some of my favorite trips have been solo because even if you travel by yourself, you are never alone. There are plenty of strangers that are just friends waiting to happen. The really important part of a bucket list is going out there and doing what’s on it. My goal is to teach you how to make a bucket list (I will share my favorite bucket list apps, too), how to keep it updated, how to make bucket lists for couples and families and kids, different types of bucket list categories (places, experiences, people to meet, etc) and anything else you need to learn about bucket lists. I will also have items available to purchase through our online store that will help make your bucket list trip even more fun, including a special personalized bucket list shirt vinyl. I hope you will join me through my journey around the world and my goal of checking everything off of my bucket list (while continuously adding new items). So many people have told me that they’ve enjoyed watching my adventures online. Now it’s time for me to teach everyone that you, too, can LIVE LIKE LORIE!

THANK YOU, Lauren, for making this an unforgettable trip. I can't wait to make many, many, many more memories with you! I love you, friend! ❤️🐻🍌

live like Lorie, travel, bucket list, Alaska, adventure, travel planner, travel guide, travel agent, travel blogger

Would you like to know more about how to Live Like Lorie? Join me on all my adventures in my Exclusive Live Like Lorie fb group.

And, connect with me on Instagram!

Dare to Dream,



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