My life took a total 180 when I ventured off on my first solo trip to Europe. If you don’t know who I am or where I was before I became a creative, entrepreneurial-gypsy, I moved to New York at 18 to be an actress. And not just an actress: a musical theatre-lovin’, tap dancin’, and song-and-dance actress. But a 10 week backpacking trip to Europe changed my entire life path.
Before I discovered solo travel, my life and dreams revolved around New York and the entertainment industry.
I wasn’t aware that cities existed where artists didn’t worry about auditions, callbacks, classes and struggling just to make ends meet. I had never been in a place where people didn’t know what “Broadway” was or who weren’t desperately chasing after success. And it refreshing.
It was enlightening to be in foreign cities where people’s lifestyles and identities were different, where success and rank weren’t important.
It was refreshing to be in a place where people didn’t know me. The constant judgment that comes from a full-time job of auditioning and singing for super (I literally sang for my supper as a singing waitress at a diner in Times Square) was put on silent.
The Need for Importance and Success Quieted
Living in New York City for the past four years has made me tired, to say the least. Tired from the constant struggle, the need to perform, the need for connection, the need for extra cash, the constant need, need, need.
After four years of hustling, rushing, and bouncing around trying to make ends meet and put on a pretty face at auditions (the jewel-toned dresses, the makeup, where every single girl looks exactly the same…), I realized something that quietly tugged at my heartstrings for so long, but I was too afraid to acknowledge and let go of my “identity.” My values had changed.
The Life of an Actor Wasn’t my Heart’s Calling
I woke up upon landing in the United States and decided to make a conscious and intentional decision: to move past my ego and to follow my intuition from that point on.
Forcing Myself Into One Last Fight
How My Dad’s Sudden Death Changed The Way I Viewed Life
For so many years, I had found worth in my work. But my work suddenly wasn’t identified with my life anymore.
Why keep chasing achievement when you’re miserable doing it?
I took a leap of faith, I followed courage, and I walked away from something that no longer truly lit me up.
For the next year, I completely absorbed myself in the art and business of photography. I self-taught myself photography, business strategies, taxes for solo business owners, marketing, graphic design, and Photoshop.
One thing that has always remained constant in my life, is that when my gut, my intuition, nudges me in a certain direction, you can believe that a decision will be made quickly and effortlessly.
Through the ups-and-downs of my present journey, life has taken unexpected detours, and all when I was least expecting it. But I constantly remained open and flexible, seeing every life event as an opportunity to learn and grow.
I’ve learned to adjust my sails when a wave appears
I’ve also learned a valuable lesson on patience and trust that year. Despite the awkward moments, penniless days, and frustrating weeks when I felt like I was going absolutely nowhere, I realized that I was.
We are on a life journey that is constantly unfolding and presenting new opportunities and lessons. And the best part of it all is that it is ours and ours alone.
We are the designers of our own, unique lives and we are completely allowed to make mistakes, tweak, adjust, get up and start over again.
Again and again. The one thing about us, humans, that I am absolutely sure of is our constant need to evolve, shift and change. Nothing is permanent. As psychologist Will Meek, Ph.D., once said: “Strategic quitting is making a prideful choice to admit that something isn’t working out and to go in a different direction. It’s making a decision to put your energy toward something more fulfilling.” Instead of equating quitting and change as failure, I decided to think of it as regrouping, switching gears and getting unstuck from my present life circumstance. In essence: I decided to follow my intuition. And that is the best route anyone can take on this journey.
I let go of the need for achievement and importance and found pleasure. Pleasure in life, in travel, in discovery, in hobbies and personal fulfillnes.
I found alignment with my intuition, alignment with my values and a realization that it was perfectly okay to let go of the life I once led by.
This is how my life changed when I discovered the art and pleasure of traveling.
More Words on Following Your Intuition Here