If I were to describe 2017 in three words, I would use: chaotic, intense and transformative.
I set out to find myself this year and to accomplish one of my largest goals of traveling the world. When I got on the very first plane, I never imagined the whirlwind that was that about to become my life. I had no idea that this decision would change the course of my life forever.
The thing about going all in on your dreams and diving into a solo journey that nobody else can partake with you on is that you grow. That growth happens extremely quickly and at one point it can become one of the most intense moments of your life. To consistently lose and find yourself, lose and find yourself, lose and find yourself is like taking consistent leaps into the dark. You hope that something will break your fall, but there is no promise.
Going through this cycle taught me some of the most epic lessons of my life and I officially attribute 2017 as the most transformative year I have ever lived.
Here are the ten lessons that I learned from this chaotic and beautiful year.
- Everybody is doing the best that they can, this includes your parents and older relatives and colleagues.
- Saying yes is crucial for growth (mentally and financially).
- Saying no is a power move, when something doesn’t feel right don’t do it.
- I am my own best friend, the support I give myself is a direct mirror of the reality of my life.
- Consistency and hard work will always beat talent.
- I have passions for a reason, it is my job to follow them.
- Life is a choice, how I want to live my life is directly up to me and the actions I take.
- Jumping is scary but there is an indescribable thrill in waiting to land.
- Falling in love is beautiful, it is not something that should be feared.
- I am capable of whatever I put my mind, action and support towards (aka I am badass!)
These lessons didn’t come easily. They encompass the last ten months of my life, days spent questioning my decision and others spent overjoyed by it.
What they don’t tell you about going all in on your dreams is that you will never be the same person you were before you took that leap. As I board my plane home after spending months abroad, I am not coming back as the same girl that left.
The power behind this transformation is that I can feel a chapter of my life closing just as I can feel another opening. In 2018, I will take all of these lessons and use them to my advantage so that in 365 days from today I can close another chapter and dive fully into the next phase of my life.
There is a massive risk that comes with following your dreams.
You risk not having the support of friends and family.
You risk time spent away from helping you gain seniority at a corporate job.
You risk being judged on your choices.
Mostly, you risk the chance of failure.
When we imagine what it would take to really go for those big dreams that are calling out to us, we freeze in fear.
To take that route feels like jumping off of a cliff into the pitch dark, knowng that you don’t have a parachute. That leap is what holds most people back.
The thing is, we forget that this risk comes as a double edged sword.
The massive risk feels like the failure that could come about if we go all in on our childhood dreams.
In reality, the biggest risk of all is not living your potential.
Life gives you two options. To take the easy route or the hard one.
The fear of the unknown beckons us into the well lit, crowded path. This path promises us security and stability. Yet, it is missing something crucial.
This path lacks the passion, experience and the rush. It is a safe path for now but down the future it turns into something horribly jagged, unpleasent and regretful.
When elderly people were asked what they would change if they could go back in time, the majority answer that they regret not having attempted their dreams.
The regret comes in the form of taking the safe path and not giving that dark plunge into an unknown abiss a chance. In hindsight, that plunge would have defined their life.
If you ask me, there is a massive risk in going for your dreams but an even larger one in living your life with the regret that you never tried.
Set flames to your comfort zone and take this as a sign to level up your life and to take the action that the little voice in your head has been asking you to do for years.
Don’t risk the one life that you have been given.
Risk the potential for abundant beauty to come your way.
And know, you’ll never have to ask yourself, “What if?”.
A few weeks ago I felt a crippling anxiety about my future.
I realized that months of travel had completely changed me. The girl who had been so focused on her goals was no longer the same girl that I saw in the mirror.
This girl had no clue what she wanted to do with her life. The aspirations she once had no longer felt big enough. She was lost, dazed and scrambling to make sense of it all.
For about four months I felt like I was running into walls. I would hit one, turn around hit another, turn around and smack my head on another, the cycle was ever ending.
I felt like I had gone all in on my dreams of traveling the world and I had failed. With my bank account dwindling and losing hope that I would never figure out what I wanted out of life-I felt like I was drowning in a pool of my own expectations.
Yesterday I had an epiphany.
What happened in five months of travel?
I had changed. My life had changed. My goals had changed.
And that was it.
As I ran into wall after wall, I was so stunned that I was really running into doors. Doors that had been locked behind me after I took that initial leap of going all in on my travel dreams.
The doors that I walked through are a clear representation of the life that I was living, the person that I was and the aspirations I dreamed of making reality.
When I decided to go all in on my passion for travel, I outgrew who I was, my old lifestyle and my goals.
Those doors shut behind me for a reason. What stands behind those locked doors is a life that is no longer on a parallel level to me.
What happened when I went all in on my dreams is that as a woman, I leveled up.
I became an entirely new person who was capable of so much more and had reached a new potential that she didn’t know existed within herself.
To try to walk back through those doors would be like demoting myself of the promotion that I just earned.
I have to redefine myself. I have to embrace the lifestyle change that I have brought into my life. Most importantly, I have to sit down and write my new goals.
This set of new goals makes my stomach flutter. I could have never imagined being a person who is focusing on aspirations that high and it all comes down to having taken the initial leap into an unknown world that incidentally ended up changing myself and my life forever.
The most important action you can take when dealing with a fear of your future is to realize that you’re actually scared of the unknown.
When you walk through new doors, you are on a brand new floor.
Your job is to explore that new floor. Turn on every light switch, look out every window and see what’s inside every single room.
The change that is happening in your life is beckoning you to explore within it.
Just remember: change is only as terrifying as you allow it to be.
It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around people thinking the Kardashian’s are an unintelligent, famous for being famous, unsuccessful family.
According to Forbes, the Kardashian women made $122.5 million dollars from June 2015 to June 2016. That is one year worth of work. ONE YEAR.
Have you ever tried to make more than $2,000 in a week?
It’s pretty hard. As a freelancer writer, I would have to work extreme hours to pull off that kind of cash.
These girls just collectively averaged 2.3 million dollars per week.
It’s time to give credit where it is due. The Kardashian women are working hard and proving that despite being born into a pretty good financial situation, they still pushed the glass ceiling.
They each work on multiple projects at a time, fly around the world for business and are constantly being interviewed.
Their intense work ethic teaches me three valuable business lessons:
- It is time to master the art of multitasking. Kim reportedly made $300 million dollars off of her mobile game. One year later, while the game was still a highly coveted app, she launched her personal app. Behind the scenes she’s an executive producer on KUWTK as well as an active character on the show. On top of this, she has perfumes, make up lines, collaborations with her sisters and more secret projects that we haven’t even heard of. And, let’s not forget-she’s a mom of two. Now, if only we could get our hands on her planner to see how in the hell she organizes her life.
- It’s okay to be inconvenienced. As a full-time world traveler, I can be the first to say that trying to work while consistently traveling is hard. Really hard. These girls are on planes at least three times in a month. This fast paced, jet lagged lifestyle is not convenient, yet they still do it because it is good business. They meet with business executives, fashion designers, tech giants and more proving that embracing inconvenience reaps major benefits.
- To be well known, you have to be seen. Working your way up the corporate ladder? The CEO of your company needs to know you exist. Take note from the Kardashian clan-get yourself seen. Put yourself in front of the people that can change your life for the better because that’s the only way they are going to know that you are worthy of that change. Looking for a promotion? Put yourself in front of the person who is in charge of promotions, showing how valuable you are, that keeping you around is socially enjoyable and that you are a reliant member of the team.
There’s a lot to be learned from a family that made more in one year than most do in a lifetime.
The largest lesson of all?
You reap what you sow.
The harder you work, the greater the benefits. The more open you are to learning new skills, saying yes when it would be easier to say no and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and talking to important people-the higher your chances of immense success.
By acquiring this work ethic, maybe one day that two million dollar check will have your name on it.
It started in February.
I said yes for the first time in about a year to getting on a plane and going somewhere new.
That place was Colorado and the trip would change everything.
After landing and experiencing four days of epic hikes, Rocky Mountain views and National parks I had to get more.
In less than two weeks I was off to Chicago to celebrate St. Patrick’s day. Then came a spur of the moment trip to Alabama, followed by a flight down to Miami and then a music festival in Memphis, Tennessee.
Four months of traveling around the USA and it had all stemmed from one word.
Of course the sites inspired me to continue my travels but something else was awakened in me during those four days.
I opened my eyes to the reality of saying yes.
Without knowing it, I had habitually started saying no to travel and anything I knew was going to cost me.
I thought it was irresponsible of me to take trips when I was still a waitress and living paycheck by paycheck.
In hindsight, I see my mistake.
By thinking that I couldn’t go on these trips I decided subconsciously that I shouldn’t ever be going on them. When travel opportunities came my way, I automatically said no.
The Colorado trip opened my eyes to all of the trips that I had missed out on and the possibility for my future.
I realized that in fact, I could travel around for pretty cheaply. Once I started looking to travel outside of the USA, it was game on. I knew I could travel for even less and be able to go long term instead of taking week or weekend trips to new places.
That one yes led to a domino effect of travel opportunities that have led me to be able to write this from Croatia.
In the past five months I have backpacked through Central America and then spent my fall exploring the streets of Europe.
Our habit is to say no to things that could cost us but what we are really doing is saying no to the experiences that are going to shape us and our lives.
Because I got on that plane to Colorado, I inevitably ended up getting on a plane by myself to Costa Rica.
In five months I have grown into a new person, somebody who is ten fold more confident in her abilities to create the life that she has always wanted.
That would have never happened if I had kept waitressing back in Nashville, thinking that someday I would finally take action on the dreams that were calling me.
Break the habit and say yes next time. This yes is like opening a door, stepping into what you feel has been calling to you all along.
Look at it as a domino effect-tap one and the rest will come down with it.
Say yes and go all in.
I knew I was in trouble when I saw the look in his eye. I could foresee the future, right then and there. I knew he would want more from me than I would be able to give him right now.
Immediately I felt guilty.
Had I led him on to believe that we could have become anything official? A few days into knowing him I had told him that I wasn’t interested in anything serious, should I have pushed it more?
As a full time traveler and driven career woman, a relationship is not in the books for me right now.
My sights are set on my goals of traveling the world and building an empire, not on falling in love.
For a few days, I felt like I was in the wrong.
Should I slow down on my goals and open up the time for somebody?
The thought sounded just as ridiculous in my head as it does written down.
Here is the thing: you don’t have to feel guilty about being selfish.
In fact, it’s quite empowering. To say that at 25 years old, my sole focus is on my own aspirations is a beautiful thing.
I’m proud to have grown into this woman, the one that is savvy, business minded and ready to build her own empire.
As the guilt crept in and I felt obligated to give this man the slice of me that he wanted, I realized that the obligation I felt wasn’t being put on me by him but by me.
I was the one who felt guilty about being selfish and telling him that this was not the time for a relationship. I’ve been in his shoes before and I survived. If anything being told no pivoted me into the best possible direction for my life.
With my eyes on the prize, I know that there is only one obligation in life and that is to make the most of it as is your definition.
My definition of going all in on this one life that has been granted to me is to aspire for the career that entices me, the lifestyle that I have been envious of for years and to prove to myself just how much I am capable of.
If this means that I have to take a few years off of dating, I am okay with it. And so, others will have to be too.
At the end of the day, it’s me. I can’t fill anybody else’s cup unless mine is already full. As I “selfishly” fill my cup today I know that I will one day be able to fill somebody else’s-when the time is right.
It looked as if they had taken a run down school bus, added a bar above the middle row for people to hold on to and cleared out the two back seats as a luggage compartment.
Down the aisles came families, other backpackers and oddly enough at least ten people selling phone cases, hair clips, some type of liquid in a bag and assorted pastries.
A heavy set woman holding a ziploc bag full of a green, milky liquid looked at me and said, “Te quieres?!”.
Shaking my head I couldn’t help but crack a smile.
What in the world was happening in my life right now?
As beads of sweat ran down my face the bus started to fill up more. Within a few minutes there were three of us sitting in a place meant for two and the entire aisle was filled with people. The engine roared and we were off.
I was dirty, sweaty, hadn’t worn make up or touched an appliance to my hair in a month and life was damn good.
Making the decision to travel solo in my twenties was never a choice I intended to make. I always assumed I would travel with my friends and take short week long vacations to different destinations around the world.
Six months ago I realized that quick trips were not going to be an efficient form of travel for me. I wanted to see a lot and to do it as young as possible.
After making the decision, I finished up my lease, bought a backpack and headed out into the unknown.
I spent my summer swimming in the Caribbean ocean in Central America and the fall backpacking Europe.
The number one reason you need to travel solo in your twenties is to become aware of your potential.
I had no idea that I would be able to figure out public transport systems in different languages, that I was capable of making friends all around the world and that I would be able to make any travel dream I had come true.
I didn’t know that I could really pull off the digital nomad lifestyle, working online while seeing some of the most beautiful sites in the world.
I am the most grateful for having figured out the potential that is within me at 25 years old, instead of waiting for an epiphany twenty years down the line.
Knowing how much potential is reserved within me tells me one thing, I have no excuse.
There is never any reason not to go for your largest dream because there is a one hundred percent chance that you can attain it.
Covered in other people’s sweat, breathing in the hot muggy air of a school bus filled with eighty people and looking out the dirty windows I realized that I had just freed myself of all of the limitations that a normal life had accidentally put on me.
Traveling solo enlightens you. It shows you that you can pull off anything you put your mind to. That in fact, there is so much potential in you that you could reach for the stars and you still would have room for growth.
By coming face to face with the potential that I have, I no longer have a fear of going for the lifestyle of my dreams. Just as I know where I want to travel to and then I get myself there and around to all the sites and excursions that I want to-I can go for my goals. I know what my goals are and I know that I can get myself to them and then some.
Book that one way and get on the next level of life, the level where fear dissipates and all your left with is overwhelming, beautiful confidence.
What does your star sign have in store for you this week? Click on your star sign below and read this weeks prediction.
Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
You’ll have a strong sense of justice this week, which you can use to help others and put things right where you see wrongs. You’ll need to keep yourself in check though, and make sure you understand situations fully before you go in trying to make changes. Do what’s right and help others and you’ll be storing up good karma that will come back to you in abundance, but stick your nose in where it’s not wanted and you’re inviting trouble.
Aquarius (January 20-February 18)
When your family need you this week, be there for them, but make sure you are in a good place first. This could refer to physical help someone needs or an emotional issue, whatever it is you should help them, but not at the expense of yourself. Put your own house in order first and be realistic with yourself about what you can really do and where your abilities lie. You’re no good to anyone if you’re exhausted.
Pisces (February 19-March 20)
The Moon enters Pisces this week in trine with The Sun, giving you strong energy to look within yourself and understand what’s been going on with your self-confidence. This refers mostly to any way in which you’ve been holding yourself back, and what you can do to change that. Reflect on your situation and recognise your own tendency to self-sabotage and stop yourself from progressing out of fear, then look at how to become more positive for the future.
Aries (March 21-April 19)
It will be difficult for you to come up with any excuses this week, as they will all feel very false, even to you, and you’re going to have to look for the truth in everything and present the truth to others, especially about yourself. Don’t let this lead you into picking fights with anyone, but use your patience and own up to things when you have to. If anyone is hiding something, look for what’s real and true hiding behind the veil.
Taurus (April 20-May 20)
It’s time for a good old clear out of your life this week, and you should start by looking at what is useful to you and what you should throw out. This refers to both physical and emotional things and might not be easy, but will be therapeutic. It’s time to start loving yourself if you want others to love you too. This is how you are going to encourage your dreams and to start thinking big. Recognise what you need in life.
Gemini (May 21-June 20)
You’ll have some relief in your financial life this week and any money issues you’ve had lately will ease. This experience of stress and pressure, and coming out into the light now, will help you see your finances in a new way. You’ll recognise money’s place in your life and it’s importance to you alongside other things. This should allow you to connect in a much deeper way, with yourself and with what you really want in your life.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
You’ll be dreaming of adventure this week, of letting loose and doing something wild, or just of following where your heart takes you. Unfortunately you have real life things to attend to and you need to be focussed and organised in order to get things done. Ironically, it’s this very focus and organisation that will help you to follow your heart. Bring the two together to help and compliment each other and you can achieve what you want.
Leo (July 23-August 22)
Your high energy this week could make it hard for you to get your point across and others could be confused by the way you act and the things you say. You’re going to have to slow yourself right down and work hard to be understood properly. Put yourself on the receiving end and check if you are being clear enough. Check your behaviour and think about how you would view it. A different perspective and standing in the other’s shoes for a while, will make all the difference.
Virgo (August 23-September 22)
You’ll have to be the one who starts a difficult conversation this week because if you wait for the other person to open this up it will have gone too far and they’ll be too upset for you to find any solutions. Recognise what is going on and do your best to deal with this early before it gets any worse. There could be some surprises for you coming out of this conversation, so be prepared for the unexpected.
Libra (September 23-October 22)
When you discover a secret this week or you find something out that isn’t well known, you can be interested and fascinated by your discovery, but don’t let this take over all your thinking. If this is someone else’s secret, you need to make sure you are being considerate of their feelings and you don’t get too carried away with your curiosity. Take a step back and think. It might be interesting, but is it fair?
Scorpio (October 23-November 21)
The Sun in Scorpio is in trine with The Moon this week, bringing someone interesting to your week. This could be someone you already know, or someone new, but whoever it is, don’t shun them as they can bring you a much more interesting week than you’ll have without them. It’s not the time for being alone and planning, it’s the time for letting someone take you on an adventure, so give yourself up to the fun of it.
Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)
Strong energy in your house this week makes it a good time for making changes in your life. Don’t be afraid to mix things up and try something new, staying with what you know best is becoming stale and boring. Recognise old habits for what they are and let go of any thought processes that no longer work for you. It’s time to change and look to the future and that means adapting and staying flexible.
I took a deep breath in, grabbed the sweater and put it in the trash bag.
One down, forty to go.
Looking through my closet, filled to the brim of clothes threaded with memories I started to feel okay with the change.
Two years ago life had asked me to make a massive lifestyle change by moving 1,000 miles away from home. It turned out to be the best decision of my life.
This time would be no different. As I set out on my journey of backpacking the world, the number one task at hand was to get rid of everything that didn’t fit in my 80 liter backpacker.
If you are looking to start a minimalistic lifestyle in order to evoke change and new energy into your day to day, the first step is to separate experiences from the material items.
I’m not here to tell you that you should throw out the music box that you’re grandfather gave you. There are some material items that should be kept forever.
I am here to say that those old sweaters from high school need to leave your life so that new ones can come in.
The trick to starting a minimalistic lifestyle is to feel okay with saying good bye to material items that you are placing emotional ties to. When you realize that throwing out those old clothes doesn’t have anything to do with disregarding the old memories, you’re liberated.
Those experiences get to stay with you while all of that new room allows for upgraded material items and memories to come back to you.
It takes two hands-one with a garbage bag and another willing to do the dirty work-to start a minimalistic lifestyle.
Take a deep breath and decide to open the spaces of your life up in order to create the necessary room for new experiences and positive energy to come in.
“I like so many different things, I wouldn’t know which one I would want to pursue as a career.”
Sitting back, I looked at my friend and remembered having those same emotions.
One year ago I didn’t know what I wanted to do with life. I was 25 years old and ready for a change.
365 days later, I am in Croatia writing this after four months of backpacking through Central America and Europe. I work remotely, taking my work with me on the road as I bounce from hostel to hostel and get to see some of the most beautiful places in the world.
It all stemmed from one action:
Picking one thing that I really liked and pursuing it.
Almost one year ago, I started my own blog. After months of writing online I realized that the only way for me to create the lifestyle that I wanted was to create an online portfolio and personal brand that could showcase that I was going for my dreams and I wanted to help others do it too.
My passions far extend writing. I love marketing, photography and videography, travel and healthy foods but how realistic would it have been for me to try to pursue all of those passions at once? I still had a full time job and didn’t have the time or money to put into becoming the best traveler, photographer, healthy food advocate and marketer that existed.
Looking at my friend, I was able to confidently say from experience, “Choose one and go for it.”
What happens when you go after one of your passions is something you don’t realize until you’re living it.
You bounce off of it on to something else.
My passion was writing. Writing inspired me to create a blog and then a personal brand and I discovered that my interests in content far exceeded just writing.
Instead of looking at your passion as a whole encompassing aspect of your life, look at it as the pinball in one those old arcade games.
When you hit that ball, you don’t always know where it is going to go-but you know it is going to go somewhere.
Your goal for creating a passionate career is to take one action towards only one of your passions.
Consider it as a trial run, an action that is suited specifically to teach you if that passion is your end all or if there is an even greater passion that you will discover along the way.
After you have completed that one action, follow through on what is being asked of you next. I started writing online with no intention of creating a personal brand but at one point I realized that I had no choice. This was the next step if I wanted to level up and continue creating the lifestyle that I desired.
One action today means that in 365 days you could be living the life of your dreams. I can’t imagine having ever let the fear of following my passions keep me from the past four months of world travels, new friends and epic experiences.
Get your head in the game, pull back the handle and let the ball fly allowing your passions to take you on the adventure of a lifetime.