Call it cliché. But I was inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert's 'Eat Pray Love’ when the book came out in 2006.
I read it as a teen (a few times), watched the movie when it came out, and then when life presented a fork in my own path, I chose the road inspired by her.
You can probably guess what was the catalyst.
A breakup. A wild, messy breakup.
At the time, I had just quit my 9-5 job, and was focusing full-time on my new business Canupy.
I'm not gonna sugarcoat things – it was a ROUGH time. It felt like everything was crashing down at once.
Since I had just quit my job, I had to get used to working alone – at home or at coffee shops. I missed the daily social chats with my former co-workers.
Plus, I was working on this brand new baby business all on my own – with no network, coach, or community to turn to.
And then there was the adjustment to single life. Ugh. It wasn't for me, and I was dragging my feet into it.
Basically, it was a time in my life when I felt super alone.
It wasn’t until I had dinner with a friend that the suggestion of travel came up.
(You’d think it would have been a no-brainer, but my mind was so foggy, the idea hadn't seriously crossed my mind.)
I was already planning to travel to Australia a month later for a family wedding, and so with the encouragement from that friend, I mustered the resources together to turn the Australia trip into a two and a half month adventure – that would take me far, far away from my reality back home.
My destinations? After Australia, I’d spend time in Bali and Hawaii.
Yes, three beach-y destinations just ripe for love, heartache, or romance. 😏
Let the journey begin: Eating in Australia
Meat pies, pasties, sausage rolls, lamingtons, vanilla slices, pho, Thai food… you name it, Melbourne was a great city to park myself in for a month – and eat.
Mind you, I was also with my extended Maltese family AND it was the holidays – so the eating games were in full effect!
While I worked on my business from Melbourne’s Hub co-working spot, met new friends, spent time with family, and did a lot of reflecting, the month was exactly what I needed.
I was not only learning how to run my business from a totally different time zone (hello, 14-hour time difference), but was giving myself permission to feel all the feels.
I know that sounds woo-woo, but taking myself out of my previous reality by traveling to a new country allowed me to feel a see-saw of emotions; happiness that only comes from the joy of traveling to new place, and sadness about the past.
Emotional eating? You bet.
Food was my friend that month. Melbourne's food scene is BOMB, and I became slightly obsessed with all the pastries and bakeries I could sniff out around the city.
Learning to pray: Spirituality in Bali
Landing in Ubud, Bali on January 1st at the start of 2015 was literally a dream come true.
Thanks to Gilbert’s tales of Balinese healers and finding love, I had high hopes for this little neck of the island.
(I also chose Ubud for its dreamy co-working space Hubud, which looked like a real-life treehouse that I could work from.)
It’s safe to say that I was not disappointed during my time in Ubud.
I did, in fact, meet with several healers, including the very same woman who Gilbert befriended – Wayan (that is a whole other story for another day).
And I did, in fact, spend much time in spiritual contemplation, as the entire vibe of Ubud is one of worship, yoga, and raw food cafes.
By the end of my time in Ubud, I was torn between wishing that I had more time there, and relieved that I was off to Hawaii to (hopefully) cure my “Bali Belly.” 😷
Reconnecting with love: Family in Hawaii
Sorry, no salacious Hawaiian trysts to reveal here.
In Hawaii, I reconnected with family who lived there. I mostly spent time with my little cousins in Oahu, but I did take a solo trip over to Maui.
That solo trip was very needed.
While staying at a family-oriented resort, I was the strange female traveler who dared to type away on her laptop while in the midst of a luau.
Some of the grandmas there at the resort could not believe I wasn’t participating! They were sweet and well-meaning, however awkward I felt at times.
The best part of my Hawaiian experience was when I rented a car in Maui and drove myself around the whole island, including the Road to Hana. It was the perfect day of adventure, independence, and reflection (yes, I talked to myself in the car).
In retrospect... my life changed after my own 'Eat Pray Love' experience in Australia, Bali and Hawaii.
I didn’t know it then, but that trip served as a major catalyst.
It was the true beginning of a new business that I still have today (that I never knew I even wanted then).
And, that first trip turned into my FIRST official remote work trip as a digital nomad, and entrepreneur.
It proved to me that my new business venture could be run from anywhere in the world, and that the risk of quitting my 9-5 job to run the business full-time had perhaps... maybe... paid off.
The trip was also the catalyst for my Instagram growth.
I didn't know it then, but taking the leap to share more about my life and travels on Instagram actually grew my personal brand (and business) exponentially in the following year.
This might seem obvious now, but I was a very private person then, and didn't see the connection between really putting myself out there to grow my business.
Today, my life is a very different story.
I not only continue to run my Canupy services while traveling abroad, but I get to help others achieve their travelpreneur goals too.
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More recently, I came across this quote, and it summed up my 'Eat Pray Love' experience nicely:
Y E S. Love this. Looking back, it was my darkest times that were also the greatest catalysts for growth - both personally and professionally. Back then, it seemed like the worst timing ever! But in hindsight, I'm super grateful for those dark times as I see where they led me to today 🌱 #justkeepswimming #growthmindset #canupyuprising
When you're in the middle of it, it's impossible to see where you're going.
And when you're in the middle of it, it's not super sexy to talk about it on social media.
But looking back, I can now see that those tough times created the path I'm on today.
And for that, I wouldn't change a thing.
Have you been through something similar?