It’s hard to believe that just 8 months ago I was handing in the keys to my first solo apartment, saying farewell to a company and career that I had invested 11 years of my life in, and walking away from a life of comfort and security to follow my dream of traveling the world. It seems like a lifetime ago. Even writing this I find myself a bit emotional as I reflect on all that has transpired this year.
2018 has been one of the most challenging, epic, and rewarding years I’ve experienced in my 34 years of living. And when I declared it to be the Year of Bold Freedom, I had no idea how much these two powerful words would impact each step I took along the way. I took more chances than I’ve ever taken; said goodbye to my possessions and car; said Yes! to more adventures in life; allowed myself time to reset, heal, and surrender; and discovered what it is to be a confident, daring, and bold woman.
It was a year filled with many unknowns, one way tickets, and unplanned adventures.
In fact, I had no plan when I set off on my nomadic journey—just a one way ticket to the other side of the world and a willing spirit open to whatever was to come. Little did I know when I started the first chapter of my nomadic journey in Australia, I’d be ending it in South America.
I let my intuition lead the way and went places where I felt pulled to go.
I started my journey in Sydney, Australia. I had been to Australia 4 years ago but didn’t make it to Sydney. I saved my Hyatt points to stay at the Park Hyatt, a hotel set on the Sydney Harbour with the best view of the Sydney Opera House and some of the most amazing sunrises. It was quite surreal being there. I was by myself on my first solo journey and present to all that had lead me to this point. After Australia, I set off to Thailand for 6 weeks. Thailand brought a lot of healing and showed me what it is to fully surrender. Being in Southeast Asia also showed me that I am never alone; there are always new friends whenever you need them. Some of my dearest friendships this year are from my time in Thailand.
I came back to the states to attend World Domination Summit (a week long event centered around community, adventure, and service) in Portland, Oregon. It was my first time in Oregon and my 50th state! While at WDS, I met so many friends and people living unconventional lives. It was reassurance that I was on the right path and that my life was mine and no one else’s.
I could create my own rules and not follow society’s definition of how to live.
I spent some time back in the states for a few weeks and then set off to Mexico for a month. Mexico was very empowering and showed me that I could travel somewhere by myself without knowing the language. Many of the other places I had been, I could always find people who spoke English. Mexico pushed me out of my comfort zone and showed me the core of this beautiful country and its people. I also had my first international photoshoot for the year in San Miguel de Allende. I hired a local photographer and had my makeup professionally done. It gave me the inspiration to do more photoshoots and inspire other women to do the same. It is a project that I will expand even more in 2019.
I headed back to the states after Mexico to attend Mike Lewis’ Jump Club in Boston. His Book When to Jump: If the Job You Have Isn't the Life You Want was a big influence in my life this year and gave me the courage to finally make my jump. I had the privilege of mentoring in his Jump School program and co-lead a breakout session at Jump Club Boston.
After Boston, I set off to South America, my 6th continent to visit and 4th for the year! I started my journey in Medellin, Colombia for the 7in7 Digital Nomad Conference. I had learned of 7in7 while attending WDS earlier in the year. 7in7 connected me with 100 people who are living life as a nomad or location independent. I made so many dear friends and connections at this event and look forward to the next one in New Zealand in 2019!
Colombia made such an impact on my life. It was the first country to introduce me to South America and one full of many surprises. This country has really transformed over the years and made many great strides in providing clean water, safety and education to its people. Colombia and South America also reminded me that it is possible to get around and experience a place even without knowing the language. It was humbling and empowering.
I visited many beautiful places and found myself at many times out of my comfort zone.
I attended my 4th Wildhearted Meditation retreat in the Sacred Valley of Peru after leaving Colombia. It was an intense and eye-opening time for me. I allowed myself to fully disconnect from social media and my phone. I spent a lot of time soul searching and being present to many hard truths. During the retreat, we visited Machu Picchu which was a total dream of mine. It was as green as I had envisioned and full of powerful energy. The train ride alone was a top highlight. I spent another 2 weeks in Peru after the retreat which was a great time for reintegration and reflection.
While in Peru I learned that my college study abroad professor and his wife were in Santiago, Chile with a group of students from my Alma Mater, Lipscomb University. I found a last minute flight and headed to Chile. It was not on my radar at all. In fact, I was supposed to be back in Southeast Asia after my retreat for my annual trip with my two travel buddies from college. We have taken a trip every year since 2004. We had a change in plans and had to cancel the trip. I chose to stay in South America and see what else this continent had to show me. Chile was a complete game changer for me. I visited my dream destination—Patagonia and hiked in Torres del Paine for 4 days. On my final day, I hiked a mountain which totally transformed my view of myself and what I am capable of. It gave me so much confidence. Chile was one of my top countries of 2018. So many hidden gems to discover!
I spent my final 2 weeks in South America in Argentina and Uruguay, with a mini birthday vacation to Mendoza, Argentina for wine tasting and relaxation. Even nomads need vacations to relax and reset!
I am in awe of all that has transpired this year, and so proud of myself for all that I accomplished.
I allowed myself to fully release and let go of old patterns that no longer served me, try things I never would’ve considered, and be fully present to every place I visited. What a rewarding year its been. I am beyond grateful to be living the life that I am and hope that in some way my story will inspire you to live your best life and travel to places unknown. Here’s to 2019 and even more adventures!
May you be blessed in the New Year and find the courage within to follow your own path.
What Does Bold Freedom Look Like?
Moved into first solo apartment knowing that I would only be there a few months
Put together a Fear Show where 30 individuals came together to do something they’ve been afraid to do on stage
Finished the Self Expression & Leadership Program which completed Landmark Worldwide’s Curriculum for Living
Turned in my notice for my job of nearly 11 years
Completed my 50-hour Yoga Extensions program and became a Yoga Teacher for CorePower
Attended my 3rd Wildhearted Meditation Retreat in Mexico
Ran my first 5k
Sold my furniture and moved out of my apartment
Quit my job with one month’s pay and little savings to follow my dream of traveling the world
Said farewell to my company and career of ~ 11 years
Bought a one way ticket to Sydney, Australia
Set out on my solo nomadic journey starting in Sydney, Australia
Allowed myself to surrender and heal in Thailand
Lived with total strangers in Chiang Mai (who now are dear friends)
Got a bamboo needle tattoo in Thailand
Taught Yoga in the park in Chiang Mai
Partnered with an awesome holistic business coach (Brook Woolf, Emotional Body Mapping) for writing and mentoring
Attended WDS in Portland, Oregon
Took an Aerial Yoga class
Spent one month in Mexico visiting many different regions
Launched myself as an international model in Mexico in a bold, red lace romper; did a photoshoot with FDfotofer
Traveled 4,500 miles to take a chance on a guy and free myself from a lifetime of stories around dating and relationships
Took a Bollywood Dance class in Portland
Rented a car and braved the crazy drivers in Mexico
Ate a fried grasshopper in Playa del Carmen
Flew to Boston from Mexico for Jump Club Boston; co-lead a breakout session and shared my jump story
Participated in Landmark Worldwide’s Communication: Access to Power course
Bought a one way ticket to Medellin, Colombia; first entrance into South America
Attended 7in7 Conference for Digital Nomads in Medellin
Climbed The Rock of Guatape ( El Peñol) in Guatape, Colombia—655 steps to the top!
Jumped in a giant rubber ducky bounce house at the mall in Medellin (and when I say giant, I am not exaggerating)
Took a Bachata dance class in Colombia
Photoshoot with the talented and award winning Gabo y Mafe in Cartagena, Colombia
Visited Taganga, a small fishing village near Santa Marta, Colombia on the Caribbean Coast; pushed me out of my comfort zone in many ways and reminded what it is to have humility and gratitude
Went on a day excursion to beaches along Tayrona National Park in Colombia; left my phone behind for the day so I could be fully present to where I was
Attended my 4th Wildhearted Meditation Retreat in the Sacred Valley of Peru
Turned notifications off on my phone and stayed offline and off of Social Media for 12 days
Went zip lining 550 feet high over Colca Canyon—the second largest canyon in the world (Grand Canyon being the largest); spent the day with my 2 Argentinian & Uruguayan instructors afterward and became friends
Visited with students and my professors from Lipscomb University in Santiago; spent Thanksgiving with them and got to share with them about my story and what it’s like to reintegrate back to the States after being out of the country for a long time
Planned a last minute trip to my dream destination - Torres del Paine in Patagonia
Hiked for 4 days in Torres del Paine by myself; hiked during the day and slept in a tent at night; hiked 55 miles in 4 days; 19.5 miles on the last day!
Hiked up a mountain on my final day in Torres del Paine; my body was so tired and I was ready to give up until I saw a beautiful snow-capped mountain in the distance; I persevered and kept going—so glad I did! The journey to the top was incredible.
Visited Capillas de Mármol in Patagonia based on a referral from someone I met in Santiago; rode 5 hours on a bus there, took a boat tour of the caves, and 5 hours back on the bus—long day and extremely worth it!
Went to Olmue, Chile and stayed with two of my dear yoga soul sisters’ abuela
Celebrated my 33rd birthday early in Mendoza, Argentina; stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel and Park Hyatt; went wine tasting at local vineyards
Visited Buenos Aires and stayed with the sister of my zip lining instructor I met in Peru; another stranger who welcomed me with open arms into her home
Final Photoshoot for 2018 with Dolores Fotografia in Buenos Aires
Took ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia, Uruguay; spent final 2 days of South American journey in Montevideo
Flew from Montevideo to Panama City on my 34th birthday; took myself on a birthday date in Panama—my 11th country for the year!
Danced and played in the rain numerous times
Danced and skipped down the streets of many cities
Bought one way tickets and went places based on recommendations from people I met throughout my journey
Set myself free from old stories, programming, and patterns
Healed old wounds and restored various relationships in my life
Dressed up and took myself on fancy dates once a month without a book or phone
Got lost numerous times and still managed to find help from kind strangers without knowing each others’ language
Made friends with hundreds of people all over the world—some for a day; some for a season; some for life
Gave myself permission to travel through the end of the year and release pressure to find a job or start anything new
Discovered that I am a confident, daring, beautiful, and bold woman who is capable of anything I set my mind to—and I finally believe in me!
Visited 11 countries, 4 continents, 65 cities on my solo nomadic journey in 2018