Prelude: Why I Quit Big Pharma and Moved to Bali

Love the responses I’m getting from everyone on the Facebook posts documenting my travels! It means so much to me for the love and support.

That being said — I keep getting a few of the classic, ‘Why the f#$% are you in Bali?” questions thrown at me.

So I’m going to answer that publicly.

It started, when I left for France on my Rotary Exchange at 17 years old.
NO… I’m not kidding.

That exchange year changed my life. With the bad tending to outweigh the good:

~ My Host Rotary Counsellor was in China for the year
~ I was given ultimatums by my first host family to leave
~ Feelings of depression and loneliness crept in from time to time
~ I attended the funeral of my 2nd host mother mere weeks after leaving their home

Overall, I felt I was dealt the shit end of the stick.

“Amanda, that was 12 years ago. What does that have to do with your trip to Indonesia?”

Great question!
I never thought you’d ask, dear friend.

Once you experience a life-changing event like an exchange year, you are never the same person you were at the beginning of your journey.

Once I was back home in Canada, I did what I thought I was supposed to:

“Go to School. Get a good job. Work 9 to 5. Retire after 40 years.”

OK, I started down that path. Yet truth be told, at that point in my life — when society told me to zig, I zagged. Consistently.

Truthfully, I was so discontented with what the traditional career path is supposed to look like for an average person.

I didn’t want to be average. I wanted to pursue a life of greatness.

To leave my legacy in this world.

Naysayers: here’s your one and only chance to chime in now.

“That’s bullshit, Amanda. Why do you get to pursue a life of greatness? What makes you so special?”

I believe, to the bottom of my core, that we were all put here on this earth for a reason.

Commonly, people let society tell them to bury this voice down deep in a box and hide it away.

And I tried that. I tried really, really hard. The VOICES NEVER STOPPED!!! (As per my momma’s prodding, I do not have schizophrenia either.)

That pang of longing for something more was always there.

Always tugging along at my sole. Telling me to pay attention to it.

And at times I would pay attention. That’s where I would experience extraordinary success professionally, personally or in relationships!

Other times I didn’t listen.

At my lowest, I hit rock bottom.

Thankfully there was no where to go but up.

So here’s where Bali comes into play:

3 years ago, I made a decision that I needed to get serious on personal development. If I wanted my life to change, I was the only one capable of taking the action.

I dove into devouring books by great thought leaders on leadership, marketing, sales, entrepreneurship and the self.

I experimented with entrepreneurship

I tried network marketing and had some mild success. I tried many things and failed too.

Deep down in my core, I always knew I wouldn’t be happy until I was successful in pursuing this unconventional life. I never stopped working towards that vision.

Sometimes friends and family doubted me. Other times, my resolve ruined romantic relationships.

But I never gave up. I never quit.

Through this all, one thing I wished I had more of was guidance. Someone to help me navigate the scary and sometimes lonely road of entrepreneurship on the way to success.

Imagine a group of people to encourage you to get up each time you fall. Or, better yet, learning from a group of entrepreneurs who have already navigated the course.

I’m here in Bali for the next month and a half working on a project that has been a long time in the making.

Finally, I am proud to introduce: The Exchange Student Academy

In the coming weeks, I will be rolling out an online resource to help past Exchange Students on their unique path to Entrepreneurship.

Think of it like a blueprint for success for those young world-class thinkers who have returned from their exchange year abroad.

With tips and tools on how to launch a successful business using their current resources, the internet and a hell of a lot of hustle!

I’ll be using my 10+ years of experience of testing what worked for me and what didn’t.

Many of my past exchange connections will be joining me to share their wisdom, best tips and life hacks of their own.

Stay tuned for more information as it’s rolled out.

Lastly, any help in sharing the message of the Exchange Student Academy during its launch will be greatly appreciated.

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About the Author

Amanda is a bubbly Canadian and past exchange student. In 2013, she became the youngest member of her Rotary Club. Now she’s running a social marketing business from a laptop while travelling the globe.

Passionate about teaching others how they can embrace their talents and build a life full of travel and adventure. She blogs over at and loves connecting with past exchange students.

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