A year ago, after a failed relationship that left me absolutely broken, I decided to finally move back to the U.S. after 16 years living in Melbourne, Australia.
Then Trump won…
So I decided not to take the complete plunge, but to just pack my things in storage and go for a few months to see if I liked it–because I am afraid of Americans.
Now more than ever.
But the problem of how to incorporate visits home and my love of traveling into my life without wrecking my lifestyle here in Melbourne had come to the forefront of my mind when I hit rock bottom last year, broken-hearted, and then jobless, with a business that had just never done much more than pay the bills.
I had run Hexotica, my handmade jewelry and accessories business, for nearly 7 years by then, and this had been the pattern:
- Got Hexotica going; got a steady stream of orders coming in; life started feeling really meaningful; even though I often needed some crappy part-time job to supplement my inconsistent income.
- Closed all shops to take a trip overseas or to visit my family.
- Returned home, broke, sometimes in debt; got a full-time job; re-opened shops and waited for weeks to get the sales ball rolling again, with rarely enough time to manage it as well as before; life started feeling meaningless.
- Quit full-time job to repeat the cycle again.
Last year, after the end of my full-time job, I decided enough was enough and it was time to quit the dream of Hexotica ever fulfilling the lifestyle I wanted–which wasn’t being chained to my craft desk everyday.
My lifestyle dream was about being free.
It’s why I left the U.S., it’s why I wanted to work for myself, it’s why I’ve never wanted kids, and it’s probably why I’m still not married…I love freedom.
I had always dreamed of becoming a digital nomad, and being able to work while traveling, but I had no idea how I could make it happen.
I also, strangely, always knew Hexotica was not what I wanted for the long-term, but that starting it was the first step to take in an over-arching, deeply held belief I have always had (and now, upon reflection, is utterly the American in me):
that you must ‘Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow’.
I’d read the famous book by that title by author Marsha Sinetar, when I was 17 years old.
Thanks to that book, I got a degree in English Literature because I love writing, I traveled for most of my twenties because I love travel, I did a lot of crazy things I do not regret because I love experiences over material things, and I started Hexotica because I love making jewelry.
I also, consequently, stayed completely broke most of the time, which I definitely do not love!
So many times I questioned Marsha, and thought I was just making my life more difficult with my stubborn refusal to ‘just get a real job’ and hitch a ride upon the material acquisition and child-sprouting band-wagon everybody else seemed to be perfectly happy to accept.
Thank goodness, I surrounded myself with supportive friends and partners who also had not chosen that path, so I never felt alone.
But it was time for the Money To Follow, because I had done quite enough of Do What You Love, dammit.
And then, after many drunken nights of solitary wailing in my living room, I arrived at a place of life-reckoning introspection around the fact that freedom was the core of the dream I had always harboured, and that by centering everything around that core value, I could then begin to piece together the life that I truly wanted.
And then, bam!
THE MONEY FINALLY FOLLOWED!
I took the skills I had developed while running Hexotica, my work experience, my interests, and a few online courses, and within four months I was fully self-employed, at last.
I am now a social media consultant and manager, and I also do a lot of virtual assistant type work for my clients, including graphic design, blogging, copywriting, and editing.
All the things I learned from pursuing the things I loved to do have now come together.
It was all worth it. Even the 5 years it took me to get that B.A. in English Literature.
So, this is my advice for those of you who are also now on the Do What You Love path:
Do it. Just Do What You Love.
If you are persistent, if you keep working hard at it and on improving yourself, and if you’ve got extremely thick skin to deal with the ups, downs, the shame, and the self-doubts that doing it will entail, you will make it.
Say to yourself, “If (so-and-so mentor) can do it, so can I.” Like I do, everyday.
Because girrrl, if someone like me can do it, so can you. Trust me.
Also, surround yourself with supportive people who believe in you and your path, and are on their own unique paths, doing what they love. This is so important.
I have been very fortunate to have supportive partners and friends over the years, because my family never understood–and that’s OK, because the intentions of critical loved ones are often just coming from a place of looking out for your best interests, wrapped in their own fears and self-doubts.
But you’ve got to believe in what you love, hard-core. Even if you’re really not sure what you are doing, or where you are going.
‘Inspiration is divine guidance.’ ~Sufi proverb
Even if you don’t have thick skin, you’ll develop it in time. You have to, to survive.
I’ve been joking with friends lately that now that I have successfully become jobless, my next goal is to become homeless!
I’m spending the next 7 months increasing my income as I get more work and clients, then in January, 2018, when my lease ends, I plan to pack everything up in storage and become a full-time cat, dog, and house sitter.
It’s an extreme lifestyle change I’ve decided to take on for a number of reasons:
I have no pets of my own, no kids, no mortgage, my partner has at least another year of studying ahead of him, I can work from anywhere now, and I’d love to have less distractions from work, to save on rent to make up for many years of not putting anything into retirement investments, and of course, to be free to travel when and wherever I want.
I’m extremely excited about the nomadic years ahead and hope to chronicle it all here on my blog, in these Friday Diary posts.
I’d like to inspire readers to Do What You Love too, and be living proof that The Money Will Follow, as I turn my life around from being a broke-ass woman to being one who can afford to live her dream lifestyle.
So, for anybody that may have read all of this, what is it that you love to do? And are you pursuing those things yet?
And most importantly, do you know what is your core value in life yet?
I would love to hear your stories.