Freedom, dreams and sacrifices

It’s been a while that I didn’t write an article about something that deeply inspires me.

It’s Friday 8th of June 2018, 00:35hrs and I’m so inspired that I don’t even know where to start from. I’ve always had the best inspiration at night so I’m not surprised that it’s happening so late. I feel so good right now because, you know, I love writing!

Some of the important things I feel like talking about, right now, are freedom, dreams and sacrifices.

I posted the following words on my Instagram account:

« That feeling when you’ve done your work before the deadline… That feeling of being independent and having the freedom to work or not work when you feel like… Obviously, no work, no money. And for now, it’s still unstable. But I chose that. I don’t care about Fridays or Mondays. That, is what I aimed for and I’m not done yet to build and enjoy the life of my dreams! I don’t want a basic life. It’s not always easy but I don’t need easy. I need possible. That, is possible. Choose what you love, people! Love. Always. ♥️»

For some of you, my words are not surprising because you probably understand what I mean. For others of you, my words might sound like a complete fake speech. For some of you, my words might sound like any of your own understanding of them.

No matter what it might sound like, I’m going to share with you the raw truth about my freedom, my dreams and my sacrifices.

9 to 5 — thank you but, no, thank you!

One of the last 9 to 5 jobs I had was as an event project manager in the business tourism industry, in Malta. I LOVED my job at that time. I was young (early 20’s), it was my first full time job with amazing and big responsibilities. I was the youngest employee of the office and I was the only foreigner. It was a huge challenge for me at all levels but that’s what I’ve always loved: challenges.

I was living in Malta, I had a huge 150 sqm and gorgeous apartment in Sliema, near the sea, I had friends, I had a lot of fun, I then had a boyfriend, I had money to go out, I could travel around Europe… I enjoyed myself and I had “the perfect life”.

Well, you know what? I knew that it wasn’t the perfect life for me. Obviously, at that time, I enjoyed my life and I didn’t really know what I wanted or how to get it. But one thing I’ve always known and wanted to do was to travel the world and to be free.

So, after having worked as an event project manager for 4 years, I decided to quit my job to travel the world. I remember exactly how I felt when I went to the office of my former boss to tell him I was resigning. I felt so bad, so scared, and so many other feelings… But I felt so good too (afterwards haha)!

I was doing what I wanted. I was choosing my own happiness. I was giving up the security for the unknown.

Both scary and exciting.

I told my boyfriend: « listen, I’m going to resign. I want to leave Malta and to go to Thailand. Do you want to join me? ». At that time, he was going through a difficult time and we were happy together so he said « yes, let’s go! ».

I quit my job in May and I was flying to Bangkok with a one way ticket in June. I had money on my bank account, my backpack and my boyfriend to start making one of my dreams come true.

Fast forward to another chapter.

The fall and rebirth

That was a tough time but it was a great life experience which I’m thankful for!

I came back home, in France, at my parents place. That was super hard! When you’ve had your own life for almost 6 years and you have to get back into your parent’s home, it’s really not exciting… and yes, it’s not easy. But, let me be clear: I’m so grateful that my parents were there for me because without them, I have no idea how I would have handled the situation. I love my parents more than anything and I will always be grateful for what they have done and keep doing for me.

So, yes, back to my parents house. It took me some months to recover from that breakup but as you probably already know: nothing lasts!

When I started to feel better and to find back my confidence, I was loving my life and myself, again. I had clear goals: to find another job, to save money and to travel on my own. And that’s what I did! I worked for less than a year in a hotel, I saved more than 10 000 euros and I booked my one way ticket to India. Damn, that was crazy! I quit my job (again) and I was leaving with a one way ticket (again) but this time, I was alone!

I remember, at the airport, my mum and my brother dropped me off. My dad stayed at home, I knew it was too much for him to say goodbye at the airport… They were sad and scared to see me leaving alone but for some reason, I didn’t cry. Maybe because I wanted to show them that I knew what I was doing. Maybe because I wanted to show them that I was strong enough. The truth is, once I went down the stairs to reach the boarding gate, I started feeling bad… I called a friend and I started crying on the phone, telling her I had no idea of what I was doing!

“Wtf?! I’m going to India with a one way ticket! Alone! What am I doing? Am I crazy?”

It was terrible… A few minutes later, once I was on board the plane, I had a huge smile on my face and I felt amazing! Yeah, that was crazy and I know some of you will understand exactly what I’m talking about. :-) Once I arrived in New Delhi, I expressed my crazy emotions to another friend of mine! I couldn’t believe that I could feel so many emotions in such a short time…

Solo backpacking trip

Thanks to my trip in Vietnam, I had the idea of creating NotMad, a travel guide on a motorbike in Vietnam. It took me an entire year to write it and to publish it. As a perfectionist, I kept wanting it to be « perfect » before releasing it. During the year I was creating it, I decided to go back to Vietnam to travel again, alone, on a motorbike. This way, I brought more details to my guide NotMad.

I went back to Vietnam in November 2016 for 3 months. Then I went to Chiang Mai (Thailand), Bali, Vietnam again, Bali again, Vietnam again and back to France.

In the meantime, I officially became a freelance writer and translator.

I strongly believe that when you love doing something, you do it well. So I decided to do what I love: writing and translating.

My freedom, my dreams and my sacrifices

My freedom — I consider myself as a lifetime traveler. It’s not just some sort of nickname. That really is who I am. I mean, it’s a side of who I am. My dad was born and raised in Italy. My mum’s parents were born and raised in Madagascar. I was born and raised in France. I haven’t been to Madagascar yet but I go frequently to Italy and I travel a lot since my youngest age.

Today, I’m a free woman and I intend to keep being free as long as I can by making my own choices for my own happiness. It might sound selfish and, yes, I am selfish. I am selfish because I am single with no kids so of course I’m selfish and I want the best for myself! I’m selfish because that is how I will be able to bring the best for the people I love, for the people I meet, for the man I will fall in love with, for the people in general.

I’m selfish in the way that I care about loving myself so I can spread love around me.

My dreams — I haven’t travelled the world yet. I’ve discovered a lot of places but, of course, there is always more to do for people who love exploring new things as much as I do. Today, I’m 30 and I still travel. Of course, I’m not a « backpacker » anymore. I used to travel with a 30L backpack and I loved it! I love that I managed to challenge myself to travel light. It was amazing! I could totally do it again but I choose not to anymore. Today, I have different dreams. Of course, as long as I can, I will travel because that’s part of me. I love the unknown. I love the adventure. I love challenging myself and being out of my comfort zone. But I also feel the need of being in my comfort zone. I need both.

It’s all about balance.

In fact, I have two types of friends: the entrepreneurs/digital nomads and the parents/settled in France. So obviously, I have two types of comfort zones: abroad with other entrepreneurs and in France with my oldest friends. And I love that mix. :-) That mix has a huge influence on my dreams because I want to travel and I want to have my own house as a base.

Anyway, for me, it’s easier and more enjoyable to spend money in a flight ticket than in a purse. I don’t care about material stuff. And that’s what brings me to…

My sacrifices — Since May 2017 (when I came back from my 7-month Vietnam/Bali/Thailand trip), I’m living at my parents house, in France. « Whaaat? You’re 30 and you don’t live in your house/apartment?! » « yes, that’s right! » And you know what? I feel like sharing the following with you because I feel that it’s very important. It’s very important to feel comfortable about being different, about doing things in a different way, about doing things in your own way.

It’s not important where and how I live. What’s important is that I take my own decisions. Maybe I could inspire or give some sort of hope to some people who will read that. Maybe I could help you, who knows?! ;-) Why? Because there was a time I was scared of being judged. I felt some sort of shame about living at my parents house. But today, I feel great about my choices and I know what I want.

Sacrifices are part of life. And as long as you have the ability to make your own choices, the sacrifices will not be seen as bad things. They will be seen as challenges that are necessary for your wellbeing.

So one thing I would love to tell you is: ignore people who judge you! There is no age limit to stay at your parents’ place. You don’t have to feel obliged to rent an apartment or buy a house with a 20-year credit because everybody else is doing it. Life is not meant to be lived on credit. Too many people are not happy because they don’t live the life they decided to live. They live the life they have been told to live. Same scenario over and over again: go to school, get a diploma, be in a relationship, buy a house on credit, buy a car on credit, go on holidays on credit, get married on credit, have kids on credit, etc etc etc…

I love kids and I will probably have my own at some point but I don’t feel like following the same path as everybody else, that’s all. That’s my very own choice. We’ll see how I feel and what I think if I have children someday but for now, these are my thoughts.

There are more people who want to break the rules but too many are scared because they are scared of being judged. They are scared of being different. Don’t be scared people! Dare to be yourself! Dare to make your own choices! Dare to break the rules!

I have no loan. I have no rent. I have no car on credit. I have no house on credit. I have no kids. I don’t come from a rich family but my parents educated me in a way that I should better not live on credit. And I’m so thankful for that! It has been hard for them to see me taking a different path and to see me having a lifestyle completely blur for them. However, I know what I want in life. I’m happy in my life. I guess that it’s what counts most for my parents. I’m happy, I know exactly what I’m doing and what I want.

My lifestyle as a freelance web writer and translator

That’s one thing.

Now, obviously, living at my parents place has its pros and cons. It’s challenging to live with my parents and it’s probably challenging for them to live with me too, especially when you’ve had your own apartments before and when you don’t have a « basic » lifestyle. But to be honest, they are amazing and they let me do my own things at my own pace. I’m the one who has to be flexible anyway since I consider they have all the rights in their own house. I’m just their daughter coming and going.

With regards to the pros, I can save money and I’m enjoying quality time with my loved ones. Some year ago, we had some challenges which really put my family into some difficult time so I cherish the time I have with them as much as they do too.

I’m lucky to have parents who are still married and who love each other. They inspire me in their own way. And when I need time for myself, I travel somewhere.

So yes, I don’t have a basic lifestyle because I’m a freelance writer and translator. That means that I can work (almost) from anywhere as long as I have my laptop and an internet connexion. Wait, I’m not trying to sell my job as the best one which gives me the best life ever! First of all, I work. Then, it’s MY perfect job. Furthermore, if I don’t work, I don’t earn money. And believe me, even if I live at my parents house half of my time, I don’t ask them any money. I also believe that now, I am the one who should be there for them if they need me. They have done enough for me so it’s my turn to take care of them.

I don’t travel for holidays but to change offices

People don’t understand that I work. Of course when I go to Bali or Chiang Mai, they are beautiful destinations and they dream of going there on holidays but Bali and Chiang Mai are like home to me and I can just go there to work and enjoy myself on my free time like I would do it anywhere else. I don’t blame them for not understanding that because they have no idea about the “location independent” lifestyle. However, it’s very tiring to meet too many people who think you are rich and spend your time being on holidays because it’s absolutely not the case.

It’s like when they ask me: “when are you going to stop?”

LOL

To stop what? This is my life! Of course I want my house somewhere as a base but if I can travel, why should I stop? Why should I stop doing what makes me feel alive?

I work and, of course, I’m far from having a lot of money. However, during my entire life, I always made sure I could afford what I really dream of. I love travelling and I love that I can change countries or cities which become new offices.

I’m enjoying my job especially when I have great clients who trust me with exciting projects. I’m free to work or not work when I feel like. I don’t have to work on a Monday if I don’t want to as much as I can work on a Sunday if I want to! The job has to be done so it’s up to me to organise my schedule.

Obviously, even that has its pros and cons. There is nobody but myself to make me work and focus. Sometimes, it’s very difficult, believe me! Don’t assume that I sit under coconut trees and I enjoy holidays without doing a thing! I wouldn’t even like that because I’m an active woman! ;-)

But, that is what I chose. Nobody forced me to have that lifestyle. Nobody forced me to do that job. Nobody took these decisions for me.

I made these choices and I’m happy I did! There is nothing sure with my lifestyle but I’ve always loved taking risks and go for the unknown. This is who I am. This is what I enjoy.

Life with my parents

But hey, I chose my life as it is and I have no reason to complain!

Before, I felt some sort of shame to say that I was living at my parents place. There are/were even some people who are/were judging me —the same people who don’t enjoy their life to the full so I don’t blame them. These people were judging me because of jealousy and/or incapacity to understand what is different from their own lives. Nevermind, I don’t blame them and I hope they will find happiness in their lives.

But you know what? Now, I don’t care at all about what other people think! It’s the complete opposite. I feel so happy and confident that I can talk about this with no shame at all. I feel so happy about not having any loan. I feel so happy about being able to travel whenever I feel like. Because you know what? I have dreams and I will make them true.

So far, I’ve always achieved my goals and I intend to keep doing so, with all the sacrifices and with all the pleasures attached to that.

When I was living in Malta, a few months before quitting my job, I stopped going out to save as much money as possible to go to Thailand. And I did it even if some of my “friends” were criticizing me for not going out as much as I used too. When you have dreams, you do whatever you have to do to make them happen. I had dreams and I did everything I had to do to make them happen. Full stop.

When I was jobless, moneyless and boyfriendless, I found everything back and even more, and I achieved what I aimed for. Everything is possible when you believe in yourself and when you love yourself. And by the way, about the boyfriend thing: today, I don’t need a man in my life but I want to share my life with a man who will be willing to share his with me. I want to be free, together! (I love that expression haha!)

Now I have my “digital nomad” job — the one that I chose for myself — I’m saving money, I don’t have an apartment to rent, I have the same car since I’m 18 and, once again, I’m going to do everything to achieve my goals. I have my priorities and I don’t need anybody to understand or to approve them.

I’m so happy for the people who are happy. And I’m a woman who will always try to support other people to find their happiness.

Dare to be different

You know, in the end, I’m like many other people who understand that they can make their dreams come true. These people who understand that life is not meant to be the same one as their neighbor’s if that’s not what they want. The same people who understand that they can decide for themselves instead of being told by someone else…

I dare to be different at my own scale. I dare to be different to make my own choices. I dare to be different because I dream of a life with no debt.

One of my values is that if I don’t have the money to buy something, then, I don’t buy it. It’s as simple as that. I’m just speaking for myself here and I wouldn’t get a 20-year loan to buy a house, or a car or whatever. That is not what I want. And it is not because some of my friends do it that I will do it too. I’m happy if they’re happy. But my happiness is not going to happen this way. That’s all.

We all have our own version of our happiness. And we must respect our different interests.

So if I have to stay at my parents place for a few years to be able to build my own house without constraining myself with a debt, then so be it. I’m fine with renting temporarily places in different countries or cities when I need my own space. I’m fine with focusing on my goals.

What matters the most is that I do what I love. I surround myself with people I love. I do everything to place « love » at the core of my life and motivation.

Remember: « I don’t want a basic life. It’s not always easy but I don’t need easy. I need possible. That, is possible. Choose what you love, people! Love. Always. »

As a conclusion, I would say you are who you hang out with and I would like to share the following:

When I was not satisfied with the direction my other friends were going, I prayed that I would get friends with big ambition to come into my life. I had to shut the door on some of my old friends. Through that experience, I learned It is okay to say goodbye to friends who were only supposed to be in your life for a chapter. It is your responsibility to make sure that you do not open the door again when things get lonely. — Source: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/hang-with

I stumbled upon that while I was looking for the quote “you are who you hang out with”.

I wish you all the happiness you are looking for! :-)

Thank you for the time you spent reading my article. Please feel free to applaud, comment and share! ♥️

https://cynthia-castelletti.com/ & www.notmad.fr & www.zetravelerz.com Quelques articles en français & some articles in English ! :-)