Tag Archives: nomad

FREEDOMPRENEUR: Danielle of WorldSmith

Listen to that voice.  It’s the one that tells you what you really desire in life, be it travel, a partner, family, a pet and whatever else.  But when you’re a city dweller or someone who thrives in the chores and busy nature of life, there’s a chance we may overlook what our intuition is telling us.  That’s when a moment in silence helps retrace our steps back to our voice.  In my own process of discovering my path, the voice was the instrumental tool in arriving at the direction I wish to take from here on – the life of a mountain nomad who runs her trekking/adventure travel social enterprise.  The process takes time as opposed to the romantic notion that passion strikes you overnight.  Once you discover your passion, creativity becomes the key to get you there.  Our feature today exemplifies both notions – allowing your passion to find you and relying on your creativity to get you there.

I’m very excited about our feature for Freedompreneurs series.  Danielle has the exceptional ability to maintain authenticity towards her passion amidst the chaos in this  rather noisy world that we live in.  Danielle shifted from a typical work life, trying to make ends meet with two or more jobs to a life of instability “in her own terms.”  The good news is the shift turns out to be much easier than she has anticipated and as it stands Danielle found “stability” and a way to sustain her long-term travel through freelance writing – a rather happy outcome of her journey.

Danielle Bricker of WorldSmith

Danielle Bricker is from Charlottesville, VA.  She is currently traveling in Southeast Asia and working as a freelance writer.  She also writes via her travel site, WorldSmith.

Before I dive into questions regarding your online business/project, tell us a little bit about your background.  Where did you grow up? How was your childhood like?

I lived my entire life in Charlottesville, Virginia – a small-ish liberal college town where 20 minutes driving in any direction will land you in the middle of nowhere. More than that – my mother has lived her entire life there and her mother before her and so on past the point of our recorded family history. This is actually pretty unusual. Being a college town, Charlottesville attracts a lot of students and academics who form a very transient population. I, on the other hand, had very deep roots I couldn’t wait to break free of. While one side of my family had known no life outside Virginia, my dad’s side was the polar opposite. He grew up as an army brat, moving from base to base every few years, even spending three years in Bangkok. Even after the active duty days, my paternal grandparents continued traveling frequently, so I (quite luckily) grew up knowing that places like Peru and Egypt and China were places people actually visited.

What are your interests and passion in life?

1) Travel. 2) Writing. 3) Travel writing.

A lot of people moan and groan about ‘How do I find my passion in life?’ which is ridiculous. Passion finds you. If you don’t know what you’re passionate about, then you’re not listening to yourself. I always listened. I listened when I was in first grade and knew I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I listened when I was a freshman in college and wanted to declare my major in English, despite the snorts of derision that I would be majoring in unemployment. I listened when I interned at a travel guidebook publisher and realized I could unite my two greatest loves in a career. Following your passion may not always be easy, but finding it should be.

Are you still working a 9 to 5 job? If not, when did you quit? What kind of a job was it?

Since I graduated into one of the worst economic downturns in American history, I technically only had a 9-to-5 job for a grand total of 10 months. After I got laid off, the only way for me to stay in my field (writing, editing, and publishing) was to take unpaid internships or super minimal part-time work and cobble together a living from whatever odd jobs I could get. I’ve done everything from pouring wine at a vineyard tasting room to redesigning the website of a public sculpture program (and a whole lot of less sexy things, too, but who wants to read about bookkeeping?). Somewhere along the way, I also started freelance writing on my own, whenever I had the time for a personal project. I cut ties to my last desk job in June 2016 and committed myself to freelancing as my only source of income, so I could embark on a year-long round-the-world trip.

How was the process like to quit something so stable?

I didn’t have much stability to begin with. When nobody will hire you full-time, it’s not that hard to say ‘Bye Felicia!’ There were points where working two jobs to make ends meet would have been a break for me. I sometimes had three or even four part-time commitments on my plate at once. I finally got fed up and decided that since I couldn’t have a stable job, then the lack of stability would be on my terms.

What are your current plans?

I am six months into my year-long RTW trip. I will be in Southeast Asia for the next two months, and will then move on to South and Central America for four months. After that, I will return home, but am not sure whether it will be for a short visit, a long visit, or permanently. When I left the U.S. in July, I thought my freelancing would help me get through the year, but I’d have to return to the 9-to-5 world after that. Through a lot of luck and a lot of hard work, I’m at a point where I can meet my expenses and even turn a profit in Southeast Asia. So I’m now looking into what it would take to make full-time freelancing a permanent career change.

I’m curious to know more about your site, WorldSmith. What led you to start your travel website?

While I long had the vision of WorldSmith becoming a celebration of creativity and travel down the road, I actually launched the blog as part of Bootsnall’s Indie Travel Challenge. I had been planning my RTW trip for two years and it still seemed so far away. I needed to blog about that planning process as a motivational tool, to keep me from giving up. It worked. Blogging held me accountable to the point that I left a year earlier than I thought I’d be able to.

When did you launch your site?

November 2015 – a date reflected in my social media handle @worldsmith2015

What is your website’s mission?

Live creatively. Travel more.

I think everyone is creative in some form. Maybe it’s writing or drawing or music. Or maybe it’s not as easily recognizable. Maybe you create your lifestyle. You find clever ways to budget your money. You forsake the status quo and find ways to generate income outside the 9-to-5 bubble.

WorldSmith is very much a work in progress. But I’d like to see it become a resource and inspiration for creative professionals, digital nomads, and traveling artists.

What hurdles have you faced thus far with this project?

I am my biggest obstacle. All that pesky training in journalism has made me a bit of a snob regarding the ways blogs can monetize. I just can’t bring myself to enter the realm of sponsored posts. I think the whole ‘advertorial’ setup, no matter how honest you are, no matter how many disclaimers you publish, ultimately skews the presentation. It seems to be feeding a culture of ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,’ which isn’t always useful to readers. And I also wouldn’t feel right telling readers to spend their money on something I got for free. I prefer to have some skin in the game when I make a recommendation.

Because my self-righteousness has eliminated a major stream of monetization, however, I don’t make money off my website and therefore have next to no time to spend developing it. I have to focus on the freelance projects that grant me income, and if I have time leftover, then I can maybe get a post published.

How did you overcome these hurdles?

I’m sure a lot of people would tell me to just get over myself. Instead, I’ve accepted that my blog is just going to be a long labor of love. It will probably take years to become what I want it to be. But that’s okay. I started it because I believe in its principles, not because it’ll make me rich and famous.

Who or what helped you along the way to make your website or your travel lifestyle a success?

I don’t think I can call WorldSmith a success. Not even close. So I’ll pivot a bit and talk about how I’ve made my freelancing career a (moderate) success.

I rely on the Upwork platform to get freelance work. It has a lot of haters and many of their complaints are valid. There are a ton of clients who want to pay peanuts for top-quality work and it’s easy to get discouraged amid all that. The platform takes a big percentage of your earnings at first, which can make it seem not worth the effort. Personally, the security Upwork provides me is worth the fees. I don’t have to worry about a client refusing to pay me for my work. If there’s a problem between me and a client, I have mediation resources at my fingertips.

What’s really made me successful on Upwork has been finding ongoing projects. I can work with the same three clients every month and have a steady income flow. Developing those long-term relationships means I don’t have to go back to the drawing board (and that pool of poorly paying clients) every few days. I can settle in and know I’ll have work for months at a time.

Tell us more about your traveling life.

I currently travel full-time. I’ve been doing so for six months, and plan to travel continuously for six months more. Before learning about long-term travel, I would take one big international trip every year or two. After learning about long-term travel, I went without a vacation for two years to save for a year-long RTW trip.

Tell us about the travel component of your website.

I write about my experiences on the road, detail my exact budgets, and draw from my experience to compile a Creative Professionals’ Guide to artsy cities around the world.

Danielle shares her favorite travel moments below.

Jeez. I’ve always been terrible at the favorites game. I don’t even have a favorite book or movie, let alone a favorite travel memory.

Three moments from the start of my RTW trip I often reminisce about – particularly on hard days – are as follows.

Walking onto Dritvik Beach in Iceland. I planned part of my RTW trip around touring the Golden Circle in Iceland. Once I was in the country, however, I impulsively decided to first tour Snaefellsnes, the country’s western peninsula, which I knew absolutely nothing about. We had several stops over a 12-hour day, but Dritvik was the most spectacular in my eyes. You wind through these towering craggy formations before the beach opens up before you, a huge swath of lava turned to perfectly round, smooth pebbles where the fiery flow met the ocean. It was the first moment of my RTW trip (probably the first moment in a very long time) I felt completely happy and I broke a cardinal rule of responsible travel. I slipped a pebble in my pocket as a keepsake. It’s been my good luck charm through 15 countries and counting.

A surprise encounter on Barceloneta beach. The second stop on my RTW trip was Barcelona, and my two weeks there were rough. My week in Iceland was just like taking a vacation. When I moved on to a new destination instead of going home, it finally sunk in just what ‘year-long RTW trip’ really meant. I wrestled with a major life change and some crippling anxiety issues. The turning point came about halfway through my second week. Back home, I’m a swing dancer. I ran my college club and the swing dance group in Charlottesville is how I met my boyfriend of two and a half years. So I was completely surprised to walk down the boardwalk at Barceloneta beach and find a large group of people swing dancing in the street. I impulsively walked up to a man between songs and asked to join. My lindy hop was rusty, but it was still great fun. Having that kind of spontaneous connection completely lifted my spirits and I started to get more comfortable with traveling alone.

A luxurious dinner in Paris. Even after my night dancing on the boardwalk in Barcelona, I struggled with dining alone. I think many people really fear eating alone and at the start of my trip, I was no exception. It’s just not something you do in the United States. It is something you do in Paris, however. I looked up in advance a couple recommendations of restaurants for solo diners. In Paris, that’s actually most restaurants. It’s not unusual for Parisians to treat themselves to a nice meal, and I found that ‘treat yo self’ attitude to be the best way of overcoming the solo dining hurdle. Starting with my glass of Bordeaux and duck confit at Au Pied de Fouet, narcissistic as this is, I started approaching dinner as a solo date. I could be interested in myself, as I would be another person. I wanted to do something nice for myself, as I would for other people. Damn it, I could even love myself, as I do my friends and family. I could go out, enjoy a nice meal, and enjoy my own company.

How do you define success in your case?

I think I’ll feel successful if and when I meet someone who has already heard of WorldSmith before meeting me. I feel semi-successful as a freelance writer in my ability to earn enough to cover my expenses in Southeast Asia. I’ll feel completely successful as a freelance writer if and when I can earn enough to live in the U.S. or Europe.

What have you discovered about yourself as part of this process?

In the years of part-time jobs outside my field, I realized I have a tendency to over-invest. Whatever my job is, I throw myself in mind, body, and soul. I actually developed high blood pressure at one job, I cared so much. I don’t know if I’m better at letting go yet, but I am better at choosing where my energy goes. By moving into freelancing full time, I insure that only the projects I sign on for get my investment.

How do you manage to afford traveling?

I spent two to three years saving for my RTW trip. I relied on my savings for the first six months of travel, and now rely on my freelance income.

Do you have other future projects in mind? 

In January, I’m launching a new series of monthly profiles on WorldSmith. I never wanted the site to be ‘me, me, me.’ So I’m fulfilling another piece of the vision and featuring others’ work. Each month, I’ll tell the story of another traveling artist or creative professional. I want to celebrate creativity in all its forms, and provide readers with a fuller picture of how you can pursue art and travel.

What advise do you have to those who are thinking of pursing their passion?

A lot of people will tell you to ‘Just do it.’ I think this is overly simplistic, and sometimes just plain wrong. If you know what your passion is, great. But if you’re guessing, it’s a recipe for disaster. Take your time. Read everything you can. Talk to people who have gone before you. Plan. Save. Read some more. Know without a doubt that this is your calling. It could take years, but that’s all part of the journey. I don’t regret for a minute that it took me nearly three years to go from the pipe dream of long-term travel to the reality. I needed that time. You might need the time too.

Did quitting the 9 to 5 kind of career and working for yourself turn out the way you envisioned it to be?

Since I freelanced on the side before taking the leap into full-time freelancing, I had a very clear picture of what it would be like. I even surpassed my own expectations. I thought my freelance income would help me get through a year of travel, and I’d have to go back to a desk job afterward. Now there’s a chance I might be able to sustain it as a permanent career change.

Are you living a life with more freedom now than before? 

Abso-fricking-lutely! Though there are days when having to work while I travel feels burdensome, I am really in complete control of my life. I feel like I can wake up in the morning and more or less decide what I want to do that day. There are consequences. I don’t get paid until I finish my work. But I’m not tied to an hourly schedule or to a particular workspace the way I often was back home.

Finally, any unique travel advise you can give women out there?

Traveling as a woman is different. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for that fact. We have different health concerns. (Accept that your menstrual cycle will be affected.) We have different safety concerns. (Trust your instincts and take solace in female-only spaces when you need to.) We also get to connect with other women, which in more conservative countries male travelers may not be able to do. We cook and weave together. We protect each other. I feel so much more sisterhood as a traveler. Enjoy those moments.

To wrap up, I asked Danielle the following questions:

How many countries have you been to?

23 – United States, France, Monaco, United Kingdom, Italy, Vatican City, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Iceland, Spain, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Greece, India, Nepal, Thailand, Laos.

What other countries are on your list?

I have concrete plans to go to Vietnam in January, Indonesia in February, and Peru in May. I have plans in the works to visit Cambodia in January, Japan in March, Argentina in April, Chile in May, and Costa Rica and Mexico in June. Beyond the plans of my RTW trip, I won’t waste your time. I’m one of those people who wants to go everywhere.

Name one thing you miss the most when on the road?

I miss having a set reliable group of friends I can call on and spend time with at any given moment. I have plenty of contact with my boyfriend, my family, and my close friends. But when I want someone to have dinner or just hang out with, I have to rely on new acquaintances. I’m pretty introverted, so this constant flux of a support network can get very tiring.

Which do you prefer, mountains or city life? 

I love getting into the mountains as a break from ‘regular’ life, but I spend most of my time in cities. It’s just more practical for the purposes of working on the road. And coming from a smaller town, large cities have an undeniable allure for me.

Name 3 qualities that you think are the most important in accomplishing one’s dreams.

Conviction. Perseverance. Flexibility.

You need to believe in your dream 100%. It can’t be something you adopt from anyone else because you think it’s what you’re supposed to do. Traveling full-time isn’t for everybody, and that’s okay! But as someone who could never stand to live in the same place for more than a couple years, I knew always having something new on the horizon would be perfect for me.

You have to always keep going. It’s so easy to get discouraged, especially in the early days of figuring out what it will take to make your dream a reality. Find ways to motivate yourself and hold yourself accountable. For me, blogging was broadcasting to the world that I was going to travel – I would have been so embarrassed to just give up after that.

Finally, at the end of the day, you have to know when it’s time to compromise. Nobody’s perfect and neither is any dream. I would have liked to have enough in savings to cover my entire year-long trip, so anything I made freelancing would be extra. But I reached a point where it was leave now or never, so I let go of that piece of the vision in order to hold on to its core.

How can we continue to follow you and your work/project?

I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram as @worldsmith2015. Instagram is probably the most accurate and up-to-date reflection of where I am and what I’m doing at any given moment. You can also subscribe to a monthly newsletter at WorldSmith  and never miss a beat.

Danielle notes that we don’t look for our passion but rather passion finds you.  I couldn’t agree more.  In her world, traveling spoke to her.  Danielle trusted her instinct and went for it.  Every freedompreneur can appreciate the courage that it takes to take that plunge.   In the end, no matter where the path leads you, we’re destined to come out of the experience with more wisdom.

Thanks, Danielle for sharing your freedompreneur life with us.  We wish you the best as you continue to create your own unique journey.

If you know of someone who you think should be featured on FREEDOMPRENEURS SERIES (yourself included), you can find out more here.

Follow Brown Gal Trekker via:

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest

Interested in joining solo travelers for trekking tours to Peru, Nepal, Kilimanjaro & many others?  See PEAK EXPLORATIONS.

V-Podcast Series: On My Way! From a Lawyer to a Mountain Nomad

Do you wish to quit your career and change shifts? Have an off the beaten path kind of dream? It’s never too late to change paths.

Marinel (Brown Gal Trekker) starts on her journey towards retiring from her 14 year career as a lawyer to become a mountain nomad and run her mountain trekking/adventure travel social enterprise, Peak Explorations. She plans to go full time as a nomad in August, 2018 at which time the podcast/vlog series will end to launch her into the world of a nomadic lifestyle.

Tune in via YOUTUBE (subscribe HERE) every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month for her ongoing updates on her journey to becoming a nomad including her reasons for the decision to make this shift in her life, the steps she’s taking, her future plans as a nomad, challenges, joys, ups and downs of the process to get to an off the beaten dream plus featured guests to inspire her to forge ahead.  If you’re planning to quit the 9 to 5 and go for your dream as an entrepreneur or a nomad, Brown Gal Trekker would love to hear from you!

For more inspiration, check out her article, She Becomes a Judge, I Become a Mountain Nomad.

 

Follow Brown Gal Trekker via:

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest

Interested in joining solo travelers for trekking tours to Peru, Nepal, Kilimanjaro & many others?  See PEAK EXPLORATIONS.

FREEDOMPRENEUR: Anjali of The LITMO Life

How many of you knew what you wanted to become early on in life?  In my case,  I must admit that becoming a lawyer wasn’t a dream of mine from the start.  My parents wanted me to become a doctor and throughout my childhood that was an idea that was ingrained at a very early age.  However, it turns out in life no one can dictate who you should be.  No matter how much you defer to people’s advise on how you wish to live your life as an adult, the answer never comes from the outside world.  It’s all within.

Fast forward to now, I still work as an advocate in the legal field and as much as I have enjoyed my time fighting for a cause I truly believe in (i.e., child protection), I have set my future goals to include spending time on the mountain trails and promoting my outdoors-focused social enterprise as I have explicitly shared with the world via this piece.  Another lesson learned – it is never too late to shift focus and pursue a new endeavor despite the illusion of fear that tells you otherwise.

I say all this as a way to introduce Anjali who initially started as a lawyer only to discover that her passion has more to do with freedom, flexibility and self-reliance.  Anjali bravely left her law firm job to venture out into the world on her own terms.

Brown Gal Trekker Meets Anjali

I met Anjali through a blogger networking group online.  However, before that meeting and by coincidence, I have read a powerful article written by Anjali on Washington Post that speaks to a specific female view on dating.  You can check out her thought-provoking article here.  Needless to say, the opportunity to feature her is yet another wonderful coincidence.

Anjali Sareen of The LITMO Life

Anjali Sareen was born in New Jersey (a fact she rarely shares with people) and grew up in Florida since age 2.  Anjali is currently in Cuba and was in Florida shortly before that.  She’s a freelance remote writer and lawyer that quit her traditional firm job so she could travel around the world full-time.  She writes for a few publications on the web and now she has her own fully remote law practice.

Tell us a little bit about your background and your 9 to 5 life.

I’m a former “traditional” lawyer that decided that living for the nights and weekends was utter bullshit. I grew up in an Indian family – my parents were both born and raised in India and came here in their twenties. They met and got married here, so my brother and sister and I were all born in the States. My childhood was great – my parents were the perfect mix of loving traditional and open hippie. They wanted us to get educations, and be good people, and live a good life, but they also encouraged us all to think for ourselves and carve our own paths and – most importantly – to question why we did things. It was that encouragement to question that led me to change my life.

What are your interests and passion in life?

Of course, traveling! But not just traveling for traveling’s sake – traveling to help make the world a smaller place, to help us realize that we’re all the same and that we should be loving and supporting each other at every turn – no matter our races, genders, sexuality preferences, socioeconomic status, or anything else. I’m also a writer and reader – on any given evening I can be found with a book or my journal in hand. Veganism isn’t just a passion of mine – it’s one of the things I believe most strongly in: living a life in which we behave the best we possibly can to all sentient beings, not just humans. And one of my truest loves is fitness – I’m a runner and CrossFitter and hiker. I find my bliss being active.

Tell us how you ended up with your 9 to 5 job and your thoughts about having that typical career.

I went to undergrad at NYU and graduated in 3 years. I wasn’t even 21 the day of my college graduation, since my birthday was a month later in June. I didn’t want to be in the real world. The honest answer is I went to law school because I was encouraged by my parents to get a professional degree and when I graduated college I didn’t want to grow up. So I thought more school was the answer! Not a very thoughtful path, I admit. I went to law school knowing I didn’t want to be a lawyer in a traditional setting – I just didn’t know what I actually did want to do and I chickened out of finding my passion – I took a set path. I didn’t like 9 to 5 life at all – I didn’t (for the most part) like other lawyers. I didn’t like the arrogance and assholery of the profession. I didn’t like that you were considered a shit lawyer if you didn’t give up your whole life for it. I did like my actual practice areas – intellectual property and animal rights – but not enough to keep me trapped in a firm.

As a lawyer myself, I can totally relate to the complexities of such a career – the attitude, the expectations and pressure.  How was the process like to quit something so stable?

Scary – but SO, SO exciting. Of course, you would expect that it would be kind of scary, but it was also very thrilling and freeing. I went into it with the mentality that even if I was going to be poor, at least I would be poor and free!

What made you decide to quit your 9 to 5 job?

The honest truth, which I talk about in my book “Quit Your Job and Travel The World” is that it was a few different things – I didn’t have ONE really big aha moment. But if I could pinpoint it, I would say after I got my tubes tied (I never wanted kids and always wanted the surgery!) I woke up and it hit me: who was I living this life for that I didn’t like? I didn’t want to get married again, I didn’t want to have kids…there was no one to worry about but me and my puppy! That sealed the deal for me to change my life.

Anjali will talk more about the book she wrote below.  Before that, I asked her about her current plans.

Indefinite travel until I get sick of it!

Anjali launched her enterprise called LITMO Life in May of 2016 when she made the decisionn to quit her job to travel full-time.  Here, she tells us more about it.

I run a travel blog at The LITMO Life. LITMO stands for “Live In The Moment Only” and it’s something my dad used to say to me when I was a kid. At the blog, I don’t just talk about traveling – I talk a lot about how to design a life that fits you so that you can help make the world a better place. I touch on everything from the best vegan snacks at airports to politics!

What is the mission for your enterprise?

I really want to help people – at the end of the day, if I can look back and say that I spent my entire life helping people, that would make me very happy.

What challenges have you faced thus far with your enterprise? How did you overcome them?

It’s hard to find the time to work on the blog when I’m also working a full-time job, that’s my biggest issue at the moment – finding time to work and travel and work on my love (the blog). That said, I’ve largely overcome that by waking up earlier! It sounds nuts, but I get up at 5am to work on the blog and other miscellaneous work like social media before I start my normal work day.

How do you balance traveling and working on your enterprise?

Very carefully! I make sure I schedule time for sightseeing a little every day and I get out into the local restaurants and coffee shops to meet people even while I’m working. It’s easy to get wrapped up in just wanting to work all the time and I try really hard not to do that.

Tell us about your traveling life. How did you become interested in traveling?

My parents were into traveling when I was kid and they are Indian. I grew up here in the States, but we traveled back and forth a lot to India when I was little and we would often make stopovers in Europe. I think I always had a desire to see the world – and I always thought there should be more to life than just a 9-5.

Who or what inspired you to travel?

I think the desire for a better life inspired me to travel. I say “better”, but I mean better for me – maybe just different for other people. Letting someone else dictate my time by going into an office every day at 9 am and leaving at 5 pm and only having time to “live” on the weekends wasn’t my idea of a full life. I thought there should be a better way to live, so I went in search of it.

How much did you travel before quitting your 9 to 5 job?

A bit, when I could, but not nearly enough! It’s hard to get away from the office as a young lawyer so I rarely did.

Where are you now? What’s your next stop?

Currently in my home town of Fort Myers, FL – I came home for a bit for the holidays and am about to head to Cuba next!

In terms of how she funds her travels, Anjali now works remotely as a lawyer while working on her writing projects which she discusses further below. But before moving on to that, Anjali shares with us her favorite places that she has been to thus far.

My favorite place in the entire world is Costa Rica. The country has no standing army – the abolished it in 1948 – and because of that, it truly feels like the most peaceful place in the world. The locals are incredible – open, welcoming, hospitable – and the lifestyle of “Pura Vida” really suits me.

In the Tabacon hot springs in La Fortuna:

On some of my domestic travels through the States, I picked up hiking as a free, easy thing to do in certain of the cities. One of my favorite hikes was up a mountain just outside Seattle – the weather was crisp and cool and getting to top just made me feel like I was on top of the world.

What have you discovered about yourself as part of this process?

That I can do anything! Hopping on a plane to a foreign country completely alone is exciting – but also scary! Getting there and realizing that I cannot only handle it, but that I’ll also have the time of my life, is something incredible.

Any regrets so far?

Not a “regret” so much as a wish – I wish I could travel and still be with my friends and family all the time. It is so nice to continually meet people and make more friends, but then, with full-time travel, you inevitably have to leave again and there are times you can’t be home for special events like birthdays and holidays. That’s the only thing I would change, if I could.

What’s the most courageous thing you’ve done as a traveler so far?

I don’t know about courageous, but I went boarding down a volcano in Nicaragua and that was pretty amazing. The volcano is called Cerro Negro and you hike all the way and sit on a sled to speed down. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life.

What advise do you have to those who are thinking of pursuing their passion?

DO IT! Today. Right now. This moment. Don’t wait until you are “ready” because you never will be ready, you just have to get up and go and the “readiness” will find you.

Did quitting the 9 to 5 kind of career and working for yourself turn out the way you envisioned it to be? 

Yes, 100%, but I think that is because I didn’t have many expectations. I believe expectations are the mother of disappointment so go in expecting nothing and hope for the best. If anything, all I envisioned was a life that was different than my old one – and I was really hoping it would be a better fit. And it really is. Sure there are some unexpected things along the way and some bad days, but every life has those. The freedom of working for myself and traveling the world is unbeatable.

Are you living a life with more freedom now than before?

Yes. Even though I am still working full-time, I work when I want, so little things like getting up when I want and taking a break when I want – those are really critical to a life full of freedom. I also not only have the freedom to travel the world, I have the freedom to go home any time I want – to spend more time with my family, which is really important to me

Anjali noted she will never go back to that 9 to 5 kind of world.  To be successful in sustaining a traveling lifestyle, she believes one needs to have the following:

Curiosity. Authenticity. Kindness.

When asked about her favorite quote to inspire her on her journeys, Anjali shares the following:

“When you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.”

It’s perfect and encapsulates this lifestyle completely – to find a life that’s truly a fit for you, you have to think outside the box of what everyone else tells you you should be doing. I also have a tattoo going down my ribs that says “Semper Ad Meliora” which means “always towards better things” in Latin.

You published a book as well called Quit Your Job & Travel the World:  The Complete Guide to Making Your Dream a Reality. What is the book about? 

It’s about how to live this lifestyle – or really, at the end of the day, about how to be more free. It guides people through the exact process of how to quit your job and travel the world, if that’s something you want to do. It’s chock full of resources to help guide you at every stop of your journey. 

What inspired you to write this?

I want to help people. I feel like we’re all too wrapped up in the idea of living the life that we think we should be living, not the life that we want to be living. It’s not hard to create this lifestyle, it just takes dedication and work, and anyone can do it.

How was the process like to publish a book?

It was fun! I wrote it like a banshee, working 13 hour days. Then I worked with several editors and graphic designer to make it look perfect, and I loved it.

What do you hope people will get out of the book?

I hope, at the very least, they will start to realize there are other ways they can live their lives and that they don’t need to do what people have always done or what people have always said. We’re here to design our own lives and live our own truths.

Do you have future publications that you are pursuing?

I actually just released my latest project – a travel journal just for the travel junkie! It has journaling prompts, inspirational quotes and places to jot down your own thoughts. Check out more information here.

To wrap things up, I asked Anjali the following questions. 

What do you miss the most with a traveling lifestyle?

CrossFit! Sounds crazy, but my scheduled fitness routine, along with the community and love I got from my gym, is something I miss every day.

Please describe the word FREEDOM.

Freedom means living and choosing your own adventure book – every moment of every day. Not in the evenings, not on the weekends, but EVERY moment.

Best food you’ve had on your travels?

A jackfruit taco in Vegas. I’m vegan, and I’m very easy to please – this taco was incredible!

Least favorite place you’ve been to.

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. The place was BEAUTIFUL – don’t get me wrong. Very gorgeous beach town! But so many people I met there just wanted to drink and drink and drink – not my vibe!

What’s your best travel tip?

Be authentic and radically honest – immediately, with everyone you meet. The only way to connect with people on the road is to be who you are and be open and accepting of who they are. The world is a beautiful place when we value each other more, and the only way to be that is to be who we are and building real connections immediately.

Thanks Anjali for sharing us your story!  You can follow Anjali via her website, The LITMO Life and Anjali Sareen and through social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube & Instagram.  You can also check out her new book, “Quit Your Job & Travel The World: The Complete Guide To Making Your Dream A Reality” via Amazon. 

If you know of someone who you think should be featured on FREEDOMPRENEURS SERIES (yourself included), you can find out more here.

Follow Brown Gal Trekker via:

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Interested in joining solo travelers for trekking tours to Peru, Nepal, Kilimanjaro & many others?  See PEAK EXPLORATIONS.

 

FREEDOMPRENEUR: Cory of You Could Travel

Most of us can only imagine of a traveling lifestyle where one gets to travel frequently and have the financial resources to do so.  In the brief period I’ve been writing and connecting with other bloggers, it became apparent to me that there is a huge community of nomads, expats, lifelong travelers of every kind.  In the Freedompreneur series, my hope is to debunk the myth that it is close to impossible to live a life filled with travels.  With creativity, passion and perseverance, many aspiring nomads do achieve their dream of a traveling lifestyle.  This achievement is exemplified by our feature Freedompreneur, Cory Varga, from You Could Travel, a website that provides travel inspiration and advise.

Dreamy in Madeira, Portugal.

Brown Gal Trekker Meets Cory

When diving into the world of travel blogging, one can easily lose his or her way.  I don’t blame you.  It’s a rough blogging world, after all.  By luck, I met Cory via one of the blogger groups when I posted my search for features for the Freedompreneurs series.  Unbeknownst to Cory, I did know of her even before then due to an article she wrote that caught my attention.  The article,  aside from being well-written, somehow left an impression on me.  Her article spoke of the hurdles that bloggers face, and despite of it, deciding to to take the higher ground, nonetheless.  As a new blogger, I have yet to get a full understanding of how collaborations work with fellow bloggers.  Cory provided an opening for me to get somewhat of a view of how that world works.  Since reading that article, I have always kept Cory’s advise nearby as a resource for future mishaps in the world of blogging.

Cory Varga of You Could Travel

Nature in Seychelles.

Cory Varga is a Romanian born British citizen from Bristol, UK.  She   grew up in Bucharest, Romania.  She was an only child which enabled her “to keep all treats for herself and not having to share them with siblings (haha!).”  According to Cory, she had a very happy childhood as her mother dedicated 7 years to stay home with her, raise her and teach her about the world. As a child, they used to travel to the seaside and mountains a lot, which she believes made her the traveler that she is today.

Cory loves writing and photography.  She always had some sort of inclination towards arts, but her parents told her on many occasions that without mathematics and sciences, she can’t make a decent income. For many years, during school, she dedicated her time to learning mathematics and computer science, whilst using her spare time to visit art galleries, museums and read A LOT.   When she turned 18, she pursued her passion to learn languages whilst pursuing a degree in law with criminology. Years later, she settled for what she truly loves: design, photography and writing.  

Hence, it isn’t a surprise that You Could Travel came into existence.   Cory is a UX designer for her own digital studio in the UK, as well as, a travel blogger and photographer for You Could Travel, which she deems  as her epic soft adventure website.  Let’s learn more from Cory about her enterprise and traveling life.

Are you still working a 9 to 5 job? 

The answer is not quite as a black and white. Together with my husband, I own a digital studio in the UK, whereby I am the creative force in the office. This is my main source of income and I absolutely love designing. As a hobby, I started writing on my travel blog about my travels, whilst sharing my photography with friends and family. A few months later, my blog took off and became my second source of income. I am now sharing my time between both businesses so in a way, I work from 8am till 11pm.

What are your current plans?

I want to continue to grow both 42droids (my digital studio) and my travel website, You Could Travel. I also want to focus more on monetizing my photography skills.

In Madeira’s Pico Ruivo.

I’m curious to know more about You Could Travel. What led you to start your travel website?

It all started at the end of March 2016 when I decided to write down everything about my trip to Japan. Before visiting the country, I found little information about what a foreigner should actually be aware of. Beyond the tourists attractions and a few Japanese words, there is a lot I wish I knew prior to my arrival. I wanted to share this with the world. My website has only honest information, and I only write about personal experiences. I make mistakes so others don’t have to.

What is the mission of You Could Travel?

To encourage others to travel safely, learn new ways to enjoy various destinations and avoid making the mistakes I made during my trips. I want to educate through my blog.

What type of content do you have on your website?

I mainly write about my travels to Japan as this is my main niche. I am obsessed with this country and one day I hope to live there. I obtain my content based on personal experiences and I usually spend at least a week figuring out a proper travel itinerary. I read other blogs, books and ask around what’s best, then tailor this to my own requirements.

What hurdles have you faced thus far with this project?

The competition is fierce and sometimes I feel that blogs are about who shouts the loudest as opposed to ethical and quality writing. In the end, great content and a solid business plans wins the race.

How did you overcome these hurdles?

I created a solid business plan, dedicated a lot of time A/B testing to ensure I know what works and what doesn’t. Also, I followed my gut and continued to create good content as opposed to short targeted articles.

Who or what helped you along the way to make your website a success?

I am grateful to several blogging communities from which I learned a lot about the business aspects of having a website. I spent a lot testing on my website to understand what works and I was not afraid to try new things. I kept an open mind and embraced useful advice.

Tell us more about your traveling life. How often do you travel?

I am keen on slow travel so I prefer to travel one month out of three, as opposed to travelling somewhere just for a weekend. As it stands, on average, I travel every month for at least a week.

Cory shares with us some amazing travel moments:

Mount Hiei when my husband proposed to me.

Tokyo arrival when we realized how amazing the city was.

Driving in Madeira because their roads are crazy narrow and sometimes close to 90 degrees upright.

How do you define success for You Could Travel?

The more visitors read my content, spend time interacting with my website and email me for further advice, the more successful I deem the website to me. Of course, I need to make a living so kind readers using my affiliate links make a difference, but I strongly believe that when people press that share button, it means my content left an impression. That is what my website was created for.

What have you discovered about yourself as part of this process?

I discovered that I love a good challenge and I am relentless until something works the way I want it to. I also learned to be more patient, because let me tell you, I usually want things to happen yesterday!

How do you manage to afford traveling?

As I mentioned before, I make a living from my digital studio. Together with my husband, we offer a lot of fantastic digital services which clients love. This leads to more recommendations, which translate to more clients and ultimately more revenue. Since we own the studio, we can work from anywhere and are location independent. We also get clients though You Could Travel which helps us a lot.

Do you have other future projects in mind? Tell us about it.

We are redesigning 42droids Ltd and we can’t wait to put the new website live very soon! I also want to launch my own ecommerce brand. Next year I will have a space on You Could Travel dedicated to photojournalism, through which I want to sell my photography. Now that is what I’m mega excited about! Want even more? I have almost completed my first book and going to Japan for a month to research for my second one!

What advise do you have to those who are thinking of pursuing their passion?

Stop dwelling, stop finding excuses and just take the first step. Don’t be abrupt and change your life all of a sudden, but it is important that you take the first step towards following your dream. One step will lead to another, and then another, and ultimately, this is how we all start pursuing our passion.

The coastline of Madeira.

Did quitting the 9 to 5 kind of career and working for yourself turn out the way you envisioned it to be? 

It really did. I was working a 9 to 5 job when I met my husband, already a freelancer who enjoyed a free lifestyle. Together we put together our digital studio and the moment we had our first client, I quit and never looked back since. There are a few downsides and you have to be cut for this lifestyle. Whoever tells you it’s all pink and flowers will lie to you. If you do it with you partner, you have to know you can work and live together almost 24/7. You have to be relentless and perseverant and know how to do your research. You have to be good with budgeting because you can have a huge contract today and nothing for 6 months down the line. It works for me and my husband and I would not do it any other way.

Are you living a life with more freedom now than before? 

Of course I am and it’s epic. I can take holidays whenever I want, budget the way I think is fit and have the flexibility to shop on a Thursday and work on a Sunday. Well, I do tend to work most of the time but that’s not a bad thing. The important part is that I can tailor my schedule to fit my needs and avoid busy times at the market, busy weekends in the mall or peak times on vacation. I can travel during the cheapest dates and work from anywhere in the world as long as I have internet.

Finally, any unique travel advise you can give everyone?

Don’t start travelling because you seek to discover who you are. Travel because you want to get to know the world, because I promise you one thing: by discovering the world, you will inevitably discover yourself.

To wrap it up, I asked Cory just a few more QUICK travel-related questions:

How many countries have you been to?

You know, I never kept count of this. Over 30 but the more you focus on quantity, you start forgetting about the quality.

What other countries are on your list?

Canada, Nepal and Mongolia.

Name one thing you miss the most when on the road?

My tea!

Which do you prefer? Mountains or city life?  

I’m an outdoors lover. I would take a hike up the mountains over shopping in a city any day.

Name 3 qualities that you think are the most important in accomplishing one’s dreams?

Patience, perseverance, relentlessness.

As you can see, choosing to live a traveling lifestyle is not as easy as one would think.  It’s possible as long as you are aware and open to the challenges that it brings.  Thanks Cory for the insight and encouragement!  I’m definitely looking forward to what the future holds for your project and mission.  Undoubtedly, you’re well on your way to your dreams, as we speak.

You can follow Cory via You Could Travel and her social media accounts: Facebook & Twitter.

If you wish to be featured or know of someone who should be, let Brown Gal know & email her at bgtrekker@peakexplorations.com

Follow Brown Gal Trekker via:

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest

Interested in joining solo travelers for trekking tours to Peru, Nepal, Kilimanjaro & many others?  See PEAK EXPLORATIONS.

FREEDOMPRENEUR: Jacob of IntroverTravels

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?  Truth be told, I tend to flip back and forth between the two.  I’m not sure whether that’s a good or a bad thing but being in between keeps life rather complex and interesting to say the least.  I ask you this question because for our feature on Freedompreneurs, I am ecstatic to introduce the person behind IntroverTravels.

As you may or may not know, in the world of entrepreneurship, there’s the inevitable truth that entrepreneurs must faced:

Define your niche.  

Jacob, the founder of IntroverTravels, exemplies exactly that notion.  The thing is it’s not just about creating anything unique because you must also consider the level of marketability of your idea.   So, one must think thoughtfully before deciding on a niche.  For Jacob, his company is focused on marketing tours and travels to introverts.  That’s as unique as you’ll ever get.  When I heard about his idea, I was intrigued and wanted to know more.

Brown Gal Trekker Meets Jacob

I met Jacob via his travel group page on Facebook.  Meeting Jacob was one of the amazing moments I’ve had thus far since I launched Brown Gal Trekker.  For one, Jacob’s  travel company resembles my own social enterprise, Peak Explorations in a lot of ways.  Although we have differences in terms of our target audience and the manner of traveling we do, I feel the differences are easily overshadowed by the significant amount of similarities we have in terms of our end goals and purpose for our respective enterprises.  Needless to say, meeting Jacob is almost akin to holding up a mirror and seeing myself in him.  In that, I find comfort, inspiration and reassurance that my version of living life, though unconventional, is rightfully the path I should be taking.  After all, there’s Jacob who’s doing the same thing!

Once, I had the lovely opportunity to speak with Jacob and talk about our respective projects and travel blogging.  It was insightful to chat with him as he’s super knowledgeable about the marketing side of the travel business.   Jacob didn’t hesitate to share his ideas and provide sound advise from someone like me who’s a novice in the arena.  From that conversation, I gathered that Jacob is by nature a kind person who is more than willing to help others.  It appeared evident to me that he finds value in being of service to others, be it his clients or fellow entrepreneurs in the travel business world.  Being a newbie at this, I was extremely pleased to learn that there are people like Jacob in this business who welcome the idea of collaboration and supporting one another.  In exchange for receiving advise from him, I was flattered that Jacob sough my insight on blogging.  I hope I equally paid him back with some useful ideas.  If not, then perhaps one day I can contribute to his website as a guest writer which I’m sure will happen at some point in time.  Soon after that conversation, the idea of Freedompreneurs series came up and Jacob quickly came to mind as a prime candidate for this series.  I’m very delighted to share with you Jacob’s journey thus far with his enterprise, IntroverTravels.

JACOB MAREK of  IntroverTravels

Jacob Marek grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  Later on, he spent‭ ‬10‭ ‬years in Minneapolis,‭ ‬Minnesota and‭ ‬5‭ ‬years in Miami,‭ ‬Forida.‭  ‬Nowadays,‭ he spends much of the year traveling and living abroad as he gains on-the-ground experience in various destinations for his business which he’ll talk to us in detail about below.  Jacob deems himself as #Entreprenomad!  That’s close enough and a good reason for me to feature him on this series.

As a true nomad, Jacob is currently preparing to spend 3 months in Cuenca,‭ ‬Ecuador and another month in Cusco,‭ ‬Peru‭!  I can only imagine how busy his life is since in addition to traveling, he is building his travel business,‭ ‬IntroverTravels,‭ ‬and his travel marketing agency,‭ ‬45‭ ‬Degrees Marketing.

Running your own travel business requires so much dedication and so I’m excited for him to share with us his experience thus far. Here’s Jacob’s take on how it’s been like for him as an entrepreneur in pursuit of freedom via a nomadic lifestyle.

You recently launched your own travel company.‭ ‬Tell us about it.

I launched IntroverTravels this past summer‭ (‬2016‭).   ‬I design‭ ‬life-changing,‭ ‬nature-inspired travel experiences for introverts‭!‬ With an emphasis on great travel photography,‭ ‬we also have a professional photographer on the sidelines of our group trips,‭ ‬taking photos of and for our guests.

What inspired you to start your company‭?‬

I was inspired to launch IntroverTravels because,‭ ‬as an avid traveler myself,‭ ‬most travel experiences were designed implicitly for extroverts.‭ ‬I wasn‭’‬t comfortable with the way group trips were organized,‭ ‬nor the rushed-pace of most travel experiences.

What are your goals for your company‭?‬

My goals for IntroverTravels,‭ ‬ultimately,‭ ‬are to help introverts re-think the small-group travel experience.‭ ‬But I‭’‬m also passionate about creating custom travel experiences for individuals‭ ‬– whether it‭’‬s singles,‭ ‬couples,‭ ‬families,‭ ‬or groups of friends.

Your company provides travels to the outdoors as well.‭ ‬Can you describe the kind of outdoor related trips that your company offers‭?‬

Sure‭! ‬All of our trips are inspired by nature‭; ‬personally,‭ ‬my favorite style of travel is the African safari‭! ‬But I‭’‬m also extremely excited to help plan trekking experiences in places like Patagonia or New Zealand,‭ ‬exploring Easter Island by bicycle,‭ ‬witnessing the aurorae in Iceland,‭ ‬or wildlife viewing in the Galapagos‭ ‬– just to name a few‭!

At Easter Island.
Rapa Nui National Park, Easter Island.

What makes your company unique‭?‬

IntroverTravels is unique in that we are the first company to make ones personality type the focus in the trip.‭ ‬My style of travel is unique because I prefer to plan using a‭ ‬2:1‭ ‬ratio of relaxation and mind-blowing experience‭!‬ I also love beautiful travel photography‭ ‬– and I know many others want to have some incredible photos,‭ ‬too‭ ‬– so I include a professional photographer in all of our group trips,‭ ‬taking candid photos of our guests and stunning nature portraits.

I love the idea of having a professional photographer to take shots of places I trek or visit.  After all, the next best thing is having photographs after experiencing the place first hand.  I proceeded to ask him further about this “niche” that he has chosen and how it came about.   ‬

‬The idea actually came to me while I was on a solo hiking trip in Capitol Reef‭ ‬National Park in Southern Utah.‭ ‬I was trying to think of why this particular trip seemed so life-changing,‭ ‬and I realized that it was the combination of raw nature,‭ ‬expansive space,‭ ‬solitude,‭ ‬and moving at a comfortable pace with enough vigorous hiking and relaxing appreciation of solitude.‭ ‬So the idea was born to incorporate those elements into the trips that I plan.

As you can see, Jacob shares the same passion in terms of his love for nature and hiking.  He’s confessed to being a hiker as well.

Are you a hiker yourself‭?‬

Yes‭! ‬I love to go on moderate to moderately-difficult day hikes.

What is your most memorable hiking experience to date‭?

Aside from the trip mentioned above to Capitol Reef,‭ ‬my most memorable hiking experience was in Grand Teton National Park.‭ ‬Hiking is one of my favorite activities to do with my brother,‭ ‬who is an even bigger nature nerd than me‭! ‬We decided to hike up to‭ ‬10,000‭ ‬feet on the Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes Trail.‭ ‬When we reached the top,‭ ‬we were just a few hundred yards from a glacier‭ (‬in late-Summer‭) ‬and got that vertigo-induced rush of adrenaline.‭ ‬When we came across a quail,‭ ‬sitting silently in a bush,‭ ‬we stopped for a few minutes‭ ‬– in absolute silence‭ ‬– appreciating the cold,‭ ‬crisp air and the sound of nothing but wind blowing between the granite peaks.‭ ‬Transcendent‭!

What do you like the most about hiking‭?‬

My favorite part of hiking is the feeling of‭ ‬connection to nature.‭ ‬I enjoy taking the time to actually experience nature‭ ‬– whether it‭’‬s smelling the juniper or listening to a chorus of birds or dipping my feet in a cold mountain creek.‭ ‬As Oscar Wilde once wrote,‭ “‬It seems to me that we all look at Nature too much,‭ ‬and live with her too little.‭”

So, I was curious to ask Jacob one thing – whether he enjoys hiking solo or with others more.  After all, as an introvert, the idea of a group outing can be tricky.   Here’s his response:

It depends‭; ‬I would say,‭ ‬counterintuitively as an introvert,‭ ‬that I enjoy hiking with others more.‭ ‬First,‭ ‬it‭’‬s a safety issue‭ ‬– I prefer to have‭ ‬someone with me should something go wrong.‭ ‬But I also enjoy experiencing a life-changing hike with someone else who can comprehend the enormity of what we just hiked.‭ ‬That said,‭ ‬I do enjoy a solo hike very much as a way to escape the normal busy-ness of the Real World and clear my mind for deeper thinking.

What are some lessons you‭’‬ve learned from hiking‭?‬

I‭’‬ve learned that I‭’‬m good at decision-making and that when you remove the stimuli of our daily lives in the city‭ ‬– and get in the middle of nowhere‭ ‬– your brain can have the space to think of your life,‭ ‬and where you fit in,‭ ‬in a very meaningful way.

At Great Smoky Mountains.

What advise would you give to those new to hiking‭?‬

I would encourage people to do their research before hiking‭; ‬always have a plan of where you‭’‬ll be hiking,‭ ‬bring along the right supplies‭ (‬shoes,‭ ‬bear spray,‭ ‬rain gear,‭ ‬etc.‭) ‬and to always bring more water than you think you‭’‬ll need‭!

Jacob shares with us some of his favorite hiking photos.

Zion Observation Point

Devil’s Tower Prayer Bundle

Machu Picchu via Inca Trail

What treks/trips do you have on your bucket list‭?‬

I have so many hikes on my to-do list‭! ‬Near the top,‭ ‬I would list Glacier National Park,‭ ‬New Zealand,‭ ‬and several different areas in Patagonia.

What would you say are some of the challenges that arise as an introvert when you‭’‬re traveling or trekking?

The biggest problem I come across as an introvert hiker is the issue of crowds.‭ ‬Especially at the most popular national parks,‭ ‬some trails can be incredibly crowded.‭ ‬To avoid this,‭ ‬I try to travel during the shoulder season‭ (‬I typically avoid the low season if the weather is particularly inclement‭) ‬as well as hike more difficult trails.‭ ‬Typically,‭ ‬the higher the difficulty,‭ ‬the fewer people attempt the trail.

In that respect, I wouldn’t advise Jacob to hit the trails in China’s  National Parks. Personally, when I ventured there solo I was quite overwhelmed by the massive size of the crowds.  I think that’s when I realized how introverted I can be.  

At Yellowstone’s Artist Point.

On that note, I moved on to ask Jacob about his pursuit towards this dream of living a nomadic life.  You obviously veered away from the regular‭ ‬9‭ ‬to‭ ‬5‭ ‬job.‭ ‬Can you describe the process that led you to have the lifestyle you now have‭?

I‭’‬ve always had the motivation to have my own business‭ ‬and escape Corporate America.‭ ‬After a few years in financial marketing,‭ ‬and several years in travel and tourism marketing before that,‭ ‬I knew that I needed to open my own business.‭ ‬In order to live more affordably and build my business,‭ ‬I left Miami in order to travel throughout the year building my business.‭ ‬Traveling abroad works so well because it is more affordable than living in an expensive city like Miami and it allows me to gain on-the-ground experience in destinations to better sell them to‭ ‬my clients‭!‬

I have heard plenty from travelers about Jacob’s notion on living cheaply abroad.  There’s certainly truth to that.  If research is done properly, one can execute such a cheaper kind of lifestyle successfully, which leads me to ask Jacob as to his definition of “freedom.”

For me,‭ ‬freedom is the ability to make the choices that make me the happiest and that help me achieve my own goals.‭ ‬I love that technology now allows so many of us to build our businesses and pursue our passions online and earn a living from anywhere in the world‭ (‬with wifi‭!)‬.

At Zion National Park.

‬How do you see yourself accomplishing your own definition of freedom as you noted above‭?‬

I see myself building IntroverTravels,‭ ‬at least for the first few years,‭ ‬while on the road traveling to various destinations.‭

What advise would you give to someone who is thinking about leaving their‭ ‬9‭ ‬to‭ ‬5‭ ‬job to pursue their passion‭?‬

I would say to build up a nest egg and have realistic expectations‭; ‬most businesses take at least a few years to get off the ground to a point of self-sustaining profitability,‭ ‬so be sure to plan for your cash flow.‭ ‬But once you‭’‬ve done that‭ ‬– just do it‭!‬ As they say,‭ “‬If you take the leap,‭ ‬you‭’‬ll learn to fly.‭”‬

As an end note, I asked Jacob to name 3‭ ‬things that are the most important in terms of pursuing one’s dreams.‭

‬For me,‭ ‬the most important things are courage,‭ ‬passion,‭ ‬and persistence.

I hope Jacob’s insights have helped you get a better sense of how an alternate world in which one chooses to live an unconventional life looks like.  We all have various ways of defining freedom in our lives.  There’s no one right way to define and live it.  For Jacob, it’s rather clear which way he needs to go by following that deepest desire of his to live a life on the road while sharing the same passion with others through his company.  I admire his audacity to take that leap as I know for a fact it is one of the most intimidating steps one can ever take in life.  After all, jumping into the abyss of a world full of uncertainties and unknowns to leave a life that’s so familiar and stable is almost a deliberate way of challenging ourselves to embrace the authentic version of who we are.  It’s not a small feat. No, not at all.

To follow Jacob’s travels and know more about his current and future projects, see IntroverTravels .  You can also follow him via Instagram, Facebook page and Facebook group page.

If you wish to be featured or know of someone who should be, let Brown Gal know & email her at bgtrekker@peakexplorations.com

If you enjoyed this post, then read more about the Inca Trail and Easter Island.

Follow Brown Gal Trekker via:

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WOMAN TRAIL LEADER: Marite Perez

Have you ever imagined living a life mostly dedicated to the outdoors?  Better yet, do you ever contemplate on being a leader on the mountain trails and get paid to do it?   And all the while being a woman doesn’t stop you from leading a group in various parts of the world?  In fact, the experience of being outdoors and trekking have made you the strong KICKASS woman that you are.  

When I heard about Marite, that’s what came to my mind.  I’m amazed at how she has lived her life which only a few of us can truly experience – the almost complete freedom to roam the world at our own choosing.  I only experienced a brief one year of that kind of traveling life.  Since then, I’ve been wanting to relive every moment and make it my full time reality.  To me, Marite’s way of life signifies THAT depth in life where profound revelations abound – ones that will pave the way for most of us to become our authentic selves.

marite-in-sand-dunes

Brown Gal Trekker Meets Marite

To be exact, Marite and I have yet to meet in person.  Where that will happen,  I can’t really say.  But that uncertainty excites me.  It’s a situation where somewhere in the world an aspiring nomad meets a lifelong nomad in action.  I have my co-founder, Swamy, of the non-profit, Trails Without Borders to thank for this unlikely introduction.  He highly suggested that I connect with Marite when I was discussing the idea of having female guides as part of Peak Explorations‘ team.   Upon meeting Marite via Facebook, I quickly became an admirer of hers.  She, after all, met Swamy while they were climbing up Denali this year (2016).  Marite was with a team of Venezuelans while my co-founder was going solo to summit the highest point of the U.S.  Both of them obviously have star quality in them but for this segment, Marite beats Swamy as my very first feature for obvious reasons…. fortunately.

BACKGROUND

Marite was born in Venezuela and has deemed Spain as her residence for the past 15 years.  However, during the time of submission of her interview, she noted she was in Alaska.  I can’t say that is still true since she travels frequently as a guide and an explorer but she did add that this past summer, she explored the state while intending to return in the winter to be a guide for cross-country skiing, hiking, biking, dog-sledding, canoeing and for regular sightseeing and wildlife tours.

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HIKING LIFE

Marite started hiking at the age of 16.  In my interview of Marite, she shared her most memorable early days of hiking.  One that came to her mind that permanently changed her view of life was a trek in the Amazon rain forest in Venezuela.  On that hike, she trekked with the local Indians without any provisions, meaning no food, water, or tent.  Her group relied on what they could get from nature such as fish, fruits and even ants  and spiders!  Along the way, she met shamans in the local villages which added so much more meaning to the journey.

Marite loves everything about hiking as she treasures “the experience of being close to beautiful nature, landscapes, and the local people.”  Marite also finds hiking to be the gateway to learning more about herself.  To her, hiking is “a way of life…and you get  stronger physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.”  I couldn’t agree more.

marite-yoga

I felt that way myself when I spent extended amount of time on the trails by myself.  Nature has a way to minimize distractions in our lives to finally come face to face with the inner workings of ourselves.  I value that about hiking as much as Marite even though now I don’t get to trek the world on a full time basis like I once did.

When asked whether she has a preference on going solo or with others as to hiking, she noted she enjoys both.  She adds, “hiking  alone is a challenge.  It is meditation.  As to hiking with others, you learn from your companions while teaching and sharing with each other what you know.”

Speaking of lessons from hiking, Marite learned to appreciate and love mother nature, animals and human beings as an integral part of her life.  She reminds new hikers that hiking is an incredible way to spend time as it is a healthy and enjoyable endeavor.  Marite also emphasizes that hiking adds to the experience the pleasure of traveling and the opportunity to expand and open one’s mind in doing so.

Below, Marite shares with us some of her favorite treks thus far, of which the last one happens to be a favorite of mine, as well.  From her photo, you can easily understand why we both love it.

CORDILLERA REAL, BOLIVIA

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PATAGONIA IN CHILE & ARGENTINA

marite-bike

EVEREST REGION, NEPAL

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LIFE AS A GUIDE

Of course, I am very much intrigued about Marite’s profession as a guide.  Marite started working as a guide in the Andes as a tourism student in Merida, Venezuela.  She then ended up working regularly at the same job with local agencies in Merida, Los Roques, Los Llanos and Amazonia (Venezuela).  Marite’s experience in leading a diverse group of hikers is vast as she worked as a guide for groups from Europe, U.S., Canada, Brazil and Japan.

Guiding, however, has its set of challenges.  Marite notes that as a guide you would need to be ready to address all sorts of problems that may arise during the trip.  The manner of handling the problems requires that it be done expeditiously while being mindful of the comfort of all members of the group.  According to Marite, to be a successful guide, you have to know the territory, the history and culture, and be able to network with professional tourism operators.

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As Marite has traveled to so many places for years, I wondered what treks or peaks she has yet to conquer at this point.  For Marite, her future trekking adventures include the Baltoro Glacier and K2 Base Camp in Pakistan, the Grand Italian trek and the famous Markha Valley trek in India.

Coincidentally, Baltoro Glacier/K2 Basecamp trek and the Markha Valley are both future scouting trips for my social enterprise, Peak Explorations.  If logistics and timing work out, Marite and I may finally meet officially in Pakistan!  For now, I will try my best to follow her adventures on Facebook.  I did urge her to start a blog to make it easier which she agreed to explore at some point.

AS WOMAN AMBASSADOR

As you can imagine, it didn’t take long for me to name Marite as one of the Women Ambassadors of Peak Explorations. In a male dominated world of global trekking, Marite surpasses most men on the trails with her strength in purpose as a guide, her dedication and pure girl power awesomeness.  I’m truly honored to cross paths with her as we continue our planning of future joint global trekking adventures.

Thanks for sharing with us, Marite!  We all look forward to learning about your future treks, some of which I anticipate will be a joint one with Brown Gal Trekker.

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