“The main factor behind success is self-control.”
Being in control of my life is the best feeling I’ve ever encountered, and it’s pretty simple, too.
If you want to lose weight, control what you eat. If you want to be wealthy, control how you spend your money.If you want to be happy, control the environment and people around you. If you want a new job, take control and find a new one.
A lot of you know I am leaving for Vietnam October 9th. I am thrilled to be able to share everything with you as I follow my heart and travel the world. When I first decided to do this, I didn’t tell anyone for an entire month. It’s almost as if I couldn’t wrap my mind around what I was actually doing… like I was living in denial of a choice I made. This was so exciting it seemed unbelievable. When I decided to tell someone what I was doing, my voice didn’t sound confident. I said “I’m moving to Vietnam” and surprised myself, ha. I spoke this journey I am taking into reality. I started by telling my friends, family, strangers at work, and then social media (aka all you fine people). Now, I can proudly say it with confidence. I can relate this back to when I did my first NPC competition. I decided to do it, bought my NPC card, and then announced it over social media. Sometimes I’d be chillin’ at home, smokin’ a bowl, and think ‘holy shit, I’m actually doing this’… and it scared me. The more I talked about it and the closer it got though, the more real it became.
Speaking my dreams into existence has given me control. It has made me more aware of my actions and thoughts. It’s almost like thinking out loud until you actually believe what you’re reflecting on. Words are so powerful, we underestimate them all the time.
“I AM two of the most powerful words, for what you put after them shapes your reality.”
I am not special, I am just like you. I have student debt and credit card debt. I have only an associates degree with no outstanding career. I am a bartender/server, personal trainer and freelance writer. In fact, I make most of my money waiting tables, and that is how I am saving up for this move. I pick up every shift available, seize any opportunity to better myself, and control my surroundings and choices every day.
I am telling you this because I used to think I couldn’t do something like what I’m about to do; travel the world while working. I would tell myself, “I can’t travel the world and follow my heart because ______________” (fill in the blank with any excuse, because I probably said it). It wasn’t until I realized that everyone else who was doing what I wanted to do, was just like me; a human being. This realization allowed me to take full control and create the life I’ve always wanted.
Two choices in my life that have helped see me through this decision:
1) I became plant based vegan.
When you read that you might roll your eyes and think ‘this bitch is crazy again…’ but unless you’ve made this change, it’s hard to understand the connection I feel. I am not saying that because I became plant based vegan that I am able to take this opportunity, but it certainly led me here. With a deeper connection to myself and an awakening of my ambitions, I found a lot of courage within me to listen to my intuition. Choosing this lifestyle has allowed me to feel this way and has given me a new insight on life.
2) My fitness journey, workouts and yoga practice.
I have been working out for a long time. It has taught me so much I can’t even begin to tell you without going on a long rant. What I want to focus on is that it taught me that anyone can do it. Seriously, anyone can be healthy and have a killer body. Those abs you long for? You can have them. Picking up your life and leaving everything behind to explore and see the world….you can do it, why can’t it be you? It has to be someone, let it be you.
I used to look at other women and dream of looking like them. It wasn’t until about 4 years ago, my boyfriend at the time said to me “Sara, nobody is working harder than you, you are a beast in the gym” did I start believing in myself. I realized I could look like all these women I admire. I kept that vision in my mind and now, other women look up to me the same way I used to look up to others. Fitness has taught me that I am capable of anything.
What am I doing to prepare for this move? I’m taking control.
1) I am paying off all my debt. When I leave here, I will have $0 in debt. With student loans and stupid choices (but no regrets, only lessons) I have accumulated $19,000 in debt. By working like a mad woman these past 3 months, I have knocked it down to $12,000 and saved $2,000 (and it’s slow season at work)! Remember, you don’t need a fancy career to pay everything off, but you do need control and determination.
I have made many changes in my life including not going out, eating at home, bringing my meals with me to work, picking up every available shift, and working late even when I don’t want to. I save every penny I make and buy essentials, nothing extra. My car is up for sale and I car pool with my family, so I don’t have to pay insurance. I live minimally; no make up, no hair appointments, nothing fancy or consumer related.
If you are curious, I do live with my parents. I moved back in with them almost a year and a half ago after my break up. I am proud to say it too. At first, I was embarrassed, 25 years old and back with mom and dad. I have even had friends tell me “you need to move out of your parents house and get your own place.” Everything happens for a reason, and I am so glad I didn’t. Nobody knows what’s best for you then you anyways… don’t let other people tell you otherwise. I am able to save large amounts of money per month living at home. Plus, having this time with my family is so enjoyable. I am able to help my mom and dad around the house, cook for them and spend time with them before leaving and I enjoy every moment, even the hard times when everyone is on every one’s nerves (ha)!
2) I am selling everything. I have already sold about 75% of all my shit. Living this way has been so incredible and will have to be another post to fully wrap your mind around how I feel. My room is empty and I have virtually nothing in my closet. I am doing this to learn to live minimally before leaving and to clear my mind and life of all unnecessary clutter.
3) RESEARCH and NETWORKING! I am reaching out to anybody that will talk to me. I love to hear their experiences living as an expat and I take their advice fully to heart. I also spend a lot of my time reading other people’s travel blogs and researching information about the places I plan to visit.
4) Meditation. I started doing yoga this past week which has been incredible in helping me with this. Whenever I am in a pose for a long time, I focus on my breath and center my attention to where I am, but also where I want to be. I envision myself in Vietnam, Germany, and Bali…three places I long to be in the recent years coming up. By doing this, my discipline stays fresh and my actions stay aligned with my goals.
5) I have set up a Charles Schwab account, Roth IRA and I got a credit card that racks up travel reward points.
I chose Charles Schwab because its all online with no ATM fees or foreign transaction fees.
I have met with a financial adviser and have discussed all my financial concerns with traveling, living abroad and what to do about my retirement. Personally for me, I chose a Roth IRA and my first investment was $5,000 with $460 monthly investments after that. I went through Edward Jones and their yearly rate is 1.35%.
I applied for a Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card when I was ready to make my big purchases. If you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months, you get upwards of $800 in travel miles. I made sure I had the cash on hand before making any purchases. By making all large purchases on this card, I gained a lot of points which will be beneficial to my future travels! I bought my plane ticket to Hanoi, paid for my TEFL tuition, and bought a mac book pro (for teaching). Again, make sure you have all the cash before making these purchases! Pay it off at once and rack up those points for your travels. I plan to use this for other purchases too once I save up the cash, that way I earn more points!
Controlling your decisions in life is so rewarding and teaches you important life lessons…it also forms great habits. It’s not always easy, but nothing worth having ever is.