"Don't worry about fitting in when you were custom made..."
If you are reading this at any age and feel shitty because you feeling stagnant, unsure about where you want to live, or you're still single, I promise it is okay! Life's "success" is not based on whether you have a corporate job, are married, and own a home by a certain age (these are amazing but also don't have to be everyone's path to success). Life is about being happy in whichever path you choose.
I have to write this blog because it's been quite of a reverse culture shock for me being back in the US after spending a year abroad, especially coming from a stress-free Australian lifestyle. I think all of you know I am missing my crew! Americans, under the working-holiday visa I had, actually only have one year to be there (I think now they just passed a law where you can stay for 2 years, but that was after mine had already started). I soaked up every ounce and stayed until the last day that I possibly could.
I remember when I used to find myself daydreaming about living on beaches and traveling and teaching yoga around the world. Often times my friends would be chatting about the high level stress that came from their jobs, their perfect wedding ring cut, or boyfriend talks and I would be checked out in my own curious mind figuring out how I could just be in endless sunshine and adventure. I never felt like I was exactly where I should be because I had these aspirations to travel, but it wasn't exactly normal in American society or probably what my family wanted from me...
It wasn't until I actually made the decision to quit my "corporate" job and go to Australia with no strings attached that I first ever felt completely free. Yes, it was scary as fuck, not knowing anything about the future, about where I was going to live, where I was going to work, or who I was going to meet. Everyone thought I was absolutely insane for doing this, but it felt so right for me. I'm so glad that I did because it brought me to meet some of the most inspiring friends and women that I could ever imagine meeting! Australia introduced me to a lifestyle where I woke up everyday excited for who I was going to meet, what I was going to smell or taste from all the cafes, and ready to soak up the energy of the city. Melbourne life introduced me to women that had these amazing life experiences, such cool stories, and exactly the people that I resonate with. All of them had success stories of following their bliss and who stepped out of their society's "norm". Trust me, people told them not to and sure there are pros and cons to every decision, but look at them now- happy and healthy as ever. Here are my friends from all different cultures and I know exactly why. Follow these girls because they are bad ass bitches. I'm personally inspired by their stories and I hope they can inspire you too!
I will always encourage you to SAY YES to new experiences and challenges. Had any of us been scared, timid to leave, said no, or been shy, we would have never met or had these types of successes. Yes we've all felt lonely or heart break at times, but once you open your mind to opportunity and possibility, your life becomes limitless!
DANIELLE DUCHESNE @dani_duchesne
Danielle and I always joke that we both came to Melbourne just to meet each other! We are actually soul sisters. Only after knowing her for a few days, I was very sick after returning from Bali with Bali Belly and she offered her home and room for me to stay in so I wouldn't have to be throwing up and sick in hostel and I hardly even knew her at the time. She also offered to help me move across the city. This was someone who was genuinely so kind without wanting anything in return. Her story is amazing. She's originally from New Zealand, but her father's family is Canadian. She grew up a KIWI from Rotorua aka Rota Vegas, then decided to put herself through Dance school in Canada. After completing 3 years of dance school in Canada, her and her bestie, moved to London town. She became a top-notch pilates and fitness trainer all over London, mainly at a studio called HeartCore. She finished her two year visa there and then headed to check out all the hype of Melbourne, Australia. In Melbourne, she was recruited to be apart of the original cycle team with a brand new cycling studio, similar to Soul Cycle, called KX Cycle. After about a year in Melbourne, she took her expertise and passion to Hong Kong, with H-Kore. Now she is a free-lance trainer, about to go on an epic around-the-world research and self-exploration trip. The best thing I learned from Danielle as a friend and trainer, is to be REAL and not just real but REAL AS FUCK. She will always tell her clients as it is. There's no separation between her and students and everyone is drawn to her for just that. Follow her journey, workout ideas, and healthy eating inspiration through instagram or FB! I'm so grateful to have met Danielle!
FAREN MACDONALD @farenmae
"Not all those who wander are lost"
I love Faren's story! Faren is originally from outside of Toronto and her and her long-time boyfriend were originally going to travel to Australia together. Before this decision, she lived in London for some time pursuing a career in fashion. Once she came back to Canada, she got into pilates, as her mom owns a successful studio there. She became certified STOTT pilates before heading to Australia. She came to Melbourne, completed a yoga teacher training in Byron Bay (a small super healthy surf/beach town I definitely recommend checking out!). She's found love with a French man and they are cutest couple and 2 years later they will continue to grow and travel the world together. Faren is currently sponsored and the manager at boutique fitness studio that I worked at in Melbourne, Core Candy Fitness. She is smashing life!
SARA ZAVIK @zavyzavyyogini
Sara is probably one of the coolest chics I've ever met (I mean I don't have to say much, this picture captures the essence of Sara)! She was one of the very few other Americans I met in Australia that also just happened to make yoga her lifestyle and career so that was instant connection. She's originally from Virginia but she's lived abroad now for about 5 years! She's been everywhere and finds work, love, and happiness wherever she is! She travels to India for at least a month at a time every year to reconnect with her yoga teacher and to stay fresh on her teachings. She teaches ALL over Melbourne now and she's such a yogini inspiration to all. You can catch her also teaching at all the Wanderlust festivals in Aus!
ANNA SMIRNIOPOULOS @annasmirni
Anna was not only another shorty which means instant friends, but one of the hardest working clients we had at Core Candy and I always looked forward to training her every week. Anna is such a pleasure of a person to get to know. She's from Athens, Greece originally but she's been teaching grade school and living in Melbourne for the past 3 years. The best advice Anna gave to me was to 'stay true to yourself.' She's always so down to Earth and motivates everyone else around her by her hard work ethic and healthy lifestyle.
JANET YOCKERS @Jcyockers @somunchyoga
This girl, omg... I had just flown all the way back from Los Angeles, didn't even go home first, and went straight to work the launch of "uber eats" in Melbourne. My good friend was a manager at Uber and she wanted me on her team, so I made sure I was there, and so cool that I went because it just so happened that out of 300 volunteers Janet was placed on our team too! We instantly started talking and she was from America too, Wisconsin, and she also had a major love for yoga. She had just arrived in Melbourne earlier that week. Her goal for the day this day was to go home with someone's number and we exchanged numbers, so her day was a success. She had previously worked for Google in San Francisco, and she came to visit her friend in Melbourne over Christmas break and completely fell in love with it. She decided then that she was probably going to move to Australia. She ended up quitting at google and when I met her she told me she wished she could just teach yoga or manage a studio and be happy. Now she is sponsored to stay in Australia and she is managing and teaching at one of the hottest yoga studio's in Sydney called One Hot Pilates and Yoga. She applied for a challenge on instagram to be the manager at their first studio in Melbourne, she won and ended up doing such an exceptional job that they sent her to open the location in Sydney. She just started a new instagram account called @somuchyoga where she features her favourite eats she finds with her beautiful yoga inspo!
SHELBY MAHONEY @shelbs_land
Shelby and I actually went to high school together but it wasn't until we were both in Australia that we really got to know each other. When her mom found out I was moving to Australia, she told me to reach out to Shelby because she lived there. It just so happened that out of the entire continent, Shelby literally lived across the street from the gym that my partner and I were training at in Melbourne. A super cute part of the city called Fitzroy! Shelby took a three month sabbatical from her busy consulting job, left San Francisco, and came to Australia. In those three months she found love, applied for a management position with Uber and got the job. When she came back to the US it was to quit her job as a consultant and back her bags to come to Australia to actually move. She ended up growing the hell out of Uber in Melbourne and running a team of 30+ underneath her. I even worked for her in the Uber office with some spare time. When she was in Melbourne she had traveled to Bali a few times and every time she was there was so happy and always wanted to stay. She always joked about just staying. Now, up to date, she's spent the last several months growing UberMOTO in Bali! How cool is that! Shelby is such a smart, lady boss that is making her dreams reality. I'm so grateful to have had her in Melbourne while I was there because I'm not sure how well I would've handled everything had she not been there.
ALISON TINSLEY @alisont23
"The world is beautiful"
Alison Tinsley is the most inspiring, up-lifting, positive person this world has to offer. I tell her frequently that her instagram is my favorite. She's been one of my really great friends for a long-time and one of the few who supports me through everything. No matter what continent we're on, we're always just a face-time call away. Her life story is incredible. Her goal in life was to travel to 25 countries by the time she turned 25. On her 25th birthday, we met in Thailand, and that was her in-fact her 25th country that she visited. I don't know anyone else who has done this. At an early age, she was already exploring the Globe and crushing life goals. Her two passions are cheerleading and travel and she made it possible so that both of those worlds could collide. Instead of working for one single cheer company, she reached out to teams individually abroad, told them her skill-set, and she contracted herself out to these teams. She's been doing this for the past 5 years. Last year, she was the coach for Team Denmark at the World's Championship, leading them to the best place they ever had, and now back in the States, she envisioned herself coaching a University team. She is now the all-girl coach at the University of Michigan. She's also believed in envisioning what you want and then going and getting it. So many people ask her how she has made this life possible, so she started her own business to encourage young cheerleaders who want this similar life experience or to do this as a career as well. Her new business is called World Cheer Exchange, go check out her website at www.worldcheerexchange.com.
Kirsten Nielsen @kirstennielsen2
I sadly didn't have much time in Aussie with Kirsten but what I learned from her is that "confidence is everything." This girl walks into any room and gains everyone's attention. She's very happy with who she is and it encourages others to do the same. We have to first be happy with ourselves before we can be happy elsewhere. She's quite young and decided to move from London town to Australia. That alone is intimidating and she is doing so great! She's teaching all over the city's top studios now. Get it girl!
Look at her body! Jodi is an incredibly young-hearted woman who took me in as her own the second I met her! She was a student at one of the studios I taught at there and we became instant friends. She was just like straight up from the beginning. She has ran her own successful business for many years and now she has taken this last year to fulfill her passions- taking yoga teacher trainings all over the globe. She's spent time learning and practicing in Hong Kong, Bali, Byron Bay, and NYC learning to teach yoga and soon to open her own studio. I could spend hours talking about all the fun times we shared in Melbourne in the little amount of time that I had with her! She knows what she wants and that's powerful in itself.
These last two I didn't meet in Melbourne but I'm just inspired by what both of them do for the world...
HOLLY MIHELIC @hollymihelic
Holly has always been a special soul. She's always been the one to go the extra mile. When we were in high school, she painted on my wall "have big dreams and dare to live them"... and I think it's safe to say that she has tried to live by that ever since. She's always been there to uplift and help every single person around her. She was captain of the cheer team, homecoming queen, top grades, and everyone knows and is friends with Holly. She recently left her "9-5" to start her own business as a soul coach and writer. She's on a mission to help people live to their fullest potential and to help people get out of their own way. She's all about self-love and self-healing. My favorite quote on her page is "stop waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel, it's time to light that bitch up yourself!" I can't wait to see what Holly does with her business! She's currently running a Mindful Motivation Course so be sure to check out her page! She has lots of fun stuff coming your way!
JACKI VITTA @lavittaloca
Jacki has been my best friend and sister since 1st grade. If you are ever feeling like you need to spice up your life, message Jacki. There is never a dull-moment in her life. She is a very successful business women at PWC, but she also knows how to enjoy her life to the fullest. She's the perfect balance, which I think is what so many of us strive for in life. So many people tell her that her snaps give them life-- follow her story, you won't regret! Her and I have been to so many places together that I will forever be grateful for her spontaneous, adventurous, yet smart self. Check out her insta for foodies, fun, and yoga!
I hope this article has left you with some inspiration that anything you put your mind to, you are capable of doing. I think the hardest step is just getting started or taking that leap of faith that everything will workout. Keep a positive mind set and don't let anything or anyone get in your way of having whatever it is that you want!
Love, travel, and be happy. Stay grounded (have roots) but also expand your wings!