Breaking tradition and social norms
Leaving my job was a big deal… very unusual for me, for my family, and for society overall. It’s not common that walk away from a stable high-paying job with great benefits and leave stocks unvested… as a woman, as an Asian, nor as someone in her mid-30s. Adding to that rarity, I also walked away with the intention to take a year off and seek an unknown new career path.
Who does that?! I didn’t know anyone else who did.
I recently learned this word Nefelibata, which is Portuguese for “cloud walker”. It means “someone who lives in the cloud of their own imagination or dreams” or who is unorthodox and lives outside the preconceived boxes. I realized that’s who I’ve become. I broke societal and cultural norms to follow my own heart and build a life that I truly wanted for myself. Others remained at their jobs, got married, bought homes, had kids, and lived the life we all thought we should have. I wanted that, too, but my path took me somewhere different and unusual.
The interesting thing is that I don’t regret any part of it. I am grateful that my journey took me on numerous adventures, and allowed me to see so much of the world. I took calculated (and sometimes impulsive) risks to courageously move out of my comfort zone to travel alone, go to cities and countries I’ve never been to before, and immerse myself in foreign environments.
Since I didn’t know of any role models for my situation, I had to forge my own path. I wanted answers, so I sought them out from many different coaches, mentors, spiritual teachers, and others around me. I took numerous courses, read books, and went on several retreats to find myself and discover my purpose. I traveled the world to fulfill my outrageous desires, so I could recover from burnout.
From all this search, I realized that all my answers were actually within me this entire time. Searching for the answers elsewhere just showed me the necessity of working on myself internally. I had to change my mindset and how I perceived the world. I had to address and resolve my own negative perceptions and beliefs that were holding me back. I had to cultivate the ability to listen to my own heart and intuition. I had to give myself permission to walk my own path and find my own voice, no matter how unorthodox it is and if no one else understood.
It felt really lonely and illogical at times, but on my journey, I’ve discovered super supportive friends of old and new. I met many others who also took the road less traveled. They all forged their own distinct paths to build their dreams. For all those people I’ve met who told me they wish they could do what I did, I carried their little seedlings of hope with me to keep me going. I can do this. I can build my dream life. Through my own perseverance and determination, I can show others that it IS possible.
So, hello. No matter where you are on your own journey, I’m here to tell you that it is possible. You can have what you want in your life. You just need to take the first crucial step… believe that you can. Things can get hard, but it’ll pass. It’s through these challenges that you discover what truly matters to you. Once you get through to the other side, it’ll all make sense why you had to endure that and how it made you stronger.
You got this!
[ Story Behind the Photo ] This was me wandering the Dubai Marina beach the morning I landed here after being in Uganda for 2 weeks. It was quite the extreme dramatic contrast between a 3rd world country and a lavish 1st world city. The beautiful sunrise and beach were quite serene and relaxing after the long flight over.
Before I landed in Dubai, I worried about the cultural customs and all the cautionary tales of people severely punished for violating the customary laws. But when I got there, that wasn’t the case at all. It felt like any other Western city but even more lavish than I’ve ever seen. People freely wore whatever they wanted. People expressed PDA with no fears. People drank openly in public. People were super friendly and welcoming. I ate gourmet meals, got extremely pampered at spas, and you could find anything you wanted there. (I went to more malls than I ever care to be at, but they had all these cool attractions.)