We are excited to introduce you to Yaz from The Wallet Moth. She left the monotony of her 9-5 office job to pursue her dream life as a digital nomad. How did she make the leap? Here’s her story!
The Gap Year That Changed Me
When I was 18 (before entering university), I took a gap year with my sister. We traveled for three months around South East Asia - I believe many call it the ‘Banana Pancake Trail’ now. Then we spent two months in Australia.
It was the most wonderful experience, but more than anything else, it helped me gain confidence in doing things by myself. At 18, I was extremely shy and introverted. Backpacking at such a young age definitely helped me feel more at ease with new people and new situations. Ever since that gap year with my sister, I’ve known I want to travel more.
My UK Life
After my gap year, I returned home to the UK, attended uni in Nottingham, and graduated with a degree in English and Creative Writing.
After graduation, I went straight into a standard 9-5 office job as a copywriter for a digital marketing agency. The company was great and the work was related to my degree, but honestly, I was miserable.
I felt unchallenged, unsatisfied, and I just couldn’t fathom why I had to be chained to a desk for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week when I often finished all my responsibilities within a few hours. I was 23, feeling trapped in my life and career. I saved very little of my paycheck and lived to work. I just knew that this wasn’t the way things were supposed to be.
There was a week that I cried every single day at work. I would return home at the end of the day grumpy, unhappy, and unable to enjoy my evenings because I was already dreading another day of boredom and monotony. It sounds like a dark time, I know, but it was reaching this point that inspired me to take a leap into the unknown and build my own freelance business.
Hustling For The Leap
I always credit my ability to manage my money and to thoroughly prepare as the key reasons I was able to build my business and start living the ‘digital nomad’ lifestyle I had always dreamed of making a reality.
Before leaving my job, I focused on saving money. I made my own lunches, I walked and cycled instead of driving, and had nights in with friends instead of going out. These changes have since turned into frugal habits, keeping my dream life all the more in my grasp. I also hustled for additional income through survey sites and jobs on Upwork. I even sold clothes I never wore on Ebay.
Several months before leaving my full-time job, I worked on creating the foundations of my future business by freelancing in the evenings. This was a lot of work, but it really helped in preparing for the leap into the unknown.
The fear of the unknown is one of the biggest obstacles anyone will face when pursuing their dream. Not knowing if it will pay off, if you’ll be able to fund your lifestyle or end up running home with your tail between your legs is terrifying. Honestly, the drive to change my lifestyle is what helped me push through. And as soon as I opened myself up to the unknown, new opportunities immediately turned up on my doorstep.
When I finally quit my job to run my own copywriting and social media management business, I only had one client on my books. It was only when I fully committed to my new lifestyle that I found several other fantastic, long-term clients. I truly think I was in some way rewarded for getting over my fears.
A Digital Nomad in Asia
I left my job at the beginning of 2017 and flew to Thailand a few weeks later!
Deciding where to travel was an easy choice – my family was already planning a trip to Vietnam for my Grandfather’s 70th birthday later in the year, so being in that part of the world made obvious sense. Secondly, Asia is renowned for being very budget-friendly, which was important to me in the earlier stages of launching a business!
I traveled to 10 countries in 10 months, so it was quite a whirlwind introduction into the digital nomad lifestyle! Finding the balance between working and exploring new places was a challenge, but the experience was amazing. I hiked in South Korea, feasted on amazing ramen in Japan, learned to scuba dive in Indonesia, and so much more. Being able to have those experiences while also making an income was quite literally a dream come true.
Continuing The Dream
I am now back in the UK with a thriving copywriting business that I can run from anywhere in the world. The future is open to me now and I am so excited to be able to choose my own next steps for the year ahead.
I cannot even describe how much happier and more fulfilled I feel compared to where I was a year ago.
My dream is always evolving, even now. While I’ve managed to build a business that can sustain my wishes to travel (or stay put) as long as I want, I’m now looking for more structure and stability in my income. I love the freedom that comes with a remote job and the new experiences travel provides, but being newly self-employed does have its risks. I want to give myself the peace of mind that no matter where I go, I’m financially able to support myself in my dreams.
My ultimate dream is to build a stable business that essentially runs itself, allowing me to devote more time to other passions and pursuits. However, no matter how that dream becomes a reality, I will always try to travel as much as possible!
Making Your Dream A Reality
The thing that has most surprised me is how easy pursuing my dream lifestyle was.
That’s not to say I didn’t work harder than I’ve ever worked before and faced some extreme stress, but I’ve persevered and thrived through those times and you will too!
Arm yourself with the tools you need to make your dream a reality.
No dream just happens - it takes a lot of preparation, determination, and a good dose of bravado. However, if you apply yourself and give it time, you can make it happen. Just don’t quit.
Thank you to Yaz for sharing her story. I love that she took a gap year and traveled Asia while growing her own business! We look forward to following her journey in self employment and wish her the best as she continues to grow and dream.
Do you have a freedom story you would like to share? We would love to hear from you! Submit your story here!