Dreams of Becoming a Digital Nomad

Hey guys! I know it’s been a while, but I’ve been focusing most of my time on the food blog I share with Matt (which can be found here) as well as our Instagram page (which can be found on our blog page). I wanted to come back to my personal blog, though, to write about what’s been on my mind lately.

Recently, I started binge-watching The Amazing Race from season one and it has seriously reignited my desire to start traveling again. I’ve been scouring the internet to see how some people have made their dreams of living abroad and traveling long-term a reality. Some blogs I’ve found truly inspiring are The Intrepid Introvert and Nomadic Matt, as well as Eat Your Kimchi (who I have loved since before I lived in Korea.)

Then, I started thinking of things that I could do to make income while living abroad. Of course, the first thing that came to my mind was teaching English since I have experience and I have passion for it. So, I started researching some purely online options to teach. After making a post on Facebook and talking to a couple I knew in Korea, I think I am going to try and apply with VIPKID. The hours are flexible, they provide all the teaching materials, and they offer a great base rate of $14/hr.

Ideally, I’d love to travel while teaching to support myself. There are so many places I want to see and things I want to do. Sometimes I feel stupid being 26 years old and not having a stable 9-5, but I don’t think that is something that is ever going to make me happy.

Does anyone else teach English online through a platform like VIPKID? Please tell me about your experiences!

Or, if you are traveling abroad and working remotely doing something else, tell me about that too!

30 Day Yoga Challenge: Day 7

Today, I did the seventh day of the DO YOU YOGA 30 Day Challenge. It was called “Yoga to Ease Low Back Pain.” I liked this video a lot, especially since it focused on pigeon pose (one of my favorites). Pigeon is also an excellent hip opener. I feel really good right now, too, because I spent a lot of time yesterday shoveling snow and cleaning my car off. That was not fun for my body.

Speaking of snow, it was pretty terrible yesterday. I got to work early because the roads were bad (my 15 minute drive took me about 40 minutes) and as soon as I got there, the plaza manager called our store and told us that everyone would be closing at three. However, we actually had to wait for our district manager to tell us when to close, and we ended up staying open until 5. Literally the only store in the entire plaza.

People still came for their coffee, though. In droves. In a blizzard. It was insane and I was having a lot of anxiety because of it. We did everything we needed to get done and were out of there by about 5:30. I had to shovel my car out of the snow since a plow hadn’t come through the parking lot.

Driving home sucked, as it was now dark outside and still snowing. When I got home, though, my mom had made a yummy beef broccoli stir fry and I ended up watching Seinfeld in bed. Let’s see what today brings.

What are your plans?


Happy New Year!

It’s been a while since I’ve written last; I’ve been quite busy with work over the holidays. However, I wanted to wish everyone a happy new year, reflect on 2016, and share some of my goals for 2017.

This time last year, I was living and working in Korea which is, at this point, surreal to me. I was living a completely different life. There are still many things I miss about living abroad, but things are going much better for me where I am right now. I enjoy my job and my coworkers, and I have a wonderful relationship with my boyfriend Matt.

For 2017, I am making it a goal to live a more healthy lifestyle. I have wanted to lose  weight in the past for vanity’s sake, but I know I will be happier in the future if I make long term changes to my diet and exercise routines. For example, I am planning on starting a yoga challenge and seeing where that goes. I did yoga for a while in college, but stopped when I couldn’t afford to go to a studio anymore.

Additionally, Matt and I are going to make a conscious effort to cut back on things like fatty foods and alcohol. Since we are doing it together, I think we will be able to keep each other on track and hold ourselves accountable.

Finally, I’m hoping to move up at Starbucks this year. I’d really like to become a shift manager. It’s more responsibility, but a better paycheck – which I could definitely use.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Feel free to share!

Return of the Wanderlust

Recently, I’ve had the overwhelming desire to go abroad again. The more I think about it, the more depressed I become about staying in this country. I don’t exactly speak openly about my political beliefs (especially on the internet), but I am truly worried about the future of America; and I feel like I will never have a future here.

I am 26 years old, working hourly as a barista to pay my bills. Overall, I enjoy my job right now, but I don’t feel like it is sustainable even if I pursue a management position. I see that the managers don’t really have lives outside the company. They are always on call, coming in earlier and staying in later than they have to. I don’t want that.

I want to leave work at work and enjoy my life. I want to travel and experience new cultures.

Obviously, I don’t have nearly enough money to make this a reality anytime in the near future. However, it is constantly on my mind. I don’t know where I want to go. Everywhere?

I had a very complicated experience in Korea, but it was mostly due to my particular hagwon. I met so many amazing people and got to see so many amazing things. Compared to what it is right now, my lifestyle was much better in the regard that it felt more financially stable.

Have you been in a similar situation? What have you done/are doing to make your dreams come true?

I Didn’t Choose the Mug Life

The mug life chose me.

Three years ago, I had just graduated from college and needed a job. My good friend Greg was working at a new coffee shop in Montclair, NJ and said he’d give the manager my resume. After an awesome interview (spent talking mostly about unicorns), I was hired. I was a barista, and eventually a key holder and trainer for a year. After struggling with some personal issues, I ultimately quit and had to move to Ocean County. During my year at that coffee shop, I had my fair share of meltdowns (like I do) but I always kind of missed the environment. I learned some sweet skills and met so many interesting people on a regular basis.

About two weeks ago, I took a job at Starbucks. And I’m really excited about it. I will be starting out as a barista but hopefully within six months, I can become a shift lead (more money!).

Starbucks seems like a great company to work for. The offer benefits after 90 days to all employees who work at least 20 hours/week (medical, 401k), free drinks during shifts, 30% off orders when you’re not working, and free ground coffee or tea to take home each week. I even get a free premium Spotify membership. Pretty sweet.

After completing my introductory computer training, I started training on the floor. The espresso machine is not one I’m used to, but the trainer was impressed with my steaming. I even successfully made a flat white on my first try and the manager walked by just in time to see it. Learning how to make the specialty drinks will come in time, but I feel really confident about making the regular espresso drinks. It’s just a lot of memorization.

Anyway, it might not be a museum or a gallery, but I feel like working here is a good opportunity right now. I need money and I need stability. If I could manage to climb my way up the corporate ladder, it might be very good. After looking up how much managers make here, I realized it’s probably more than I would ever see in a museum anyway.

I’m trying not to feel like I’m throwing my dreams away, but I kind of feel like I’m throwing my dreams away. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a world where dreams are enough to succeed anymore. My peers were told that we could be anything we wanted growing up, but it’s just not the truth. I can probably count on one hand the number of friends I have who are doing what they went to school for.

Blah blah. Depressing shit. That’s the end of my rant, I guess. I’m just happy I’m employed right now.

Return to Unemployment

Once again, I find myself unemployed. The job I took at the interior design studio turned out to be a real life Devil Wears Prada, overflowing with rich white women looking to spend $10,000 on sofas, designers who belittled me every chance they got, and a lack of sufficient training to do the job that was expected of me.

After my intelligence was insulted for the final time, I picked up my purse and walked out the back door never to return. In celebration, Matt made pulled pork tacos and we drank tequila.

I refuse to be mistreated in the workplace.

Now, here I am: sad and broke. I have applied to many jobs and am even working with a recruiter. I have gotten several rejection e-mails and the only (potential) interview I have (kind of scheduled) is with a tile design company and the owner seems like a flake. I have absolutely no desire to go back to waiting tables.

I am filled with crippling anxiety and depression. I graduated three years ago and feel like my life has, in no way, worked out the way I had originally imagined. I make posts on Facebook, I’ve reached out to my mother’s friends. Nothing. As time goes by, it feels harder and harder to start a career. When I interviewed for the interior design studio, the owner bluntly asked me why I hadn’t held a full time position up until that point.

How do you even respond to that? I don’t fucking know.

I have a four year degree and I’m in a lot of debt because of it. I am literally three credits away from my Masters degree.

However, I feel like the fact that I didn’t grow up with money and connections to the art world has seriously hindered my search for my magical museum job. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t have majored in art history. If I was given the chance to go back and do it all again, though, I don’t even know what else I would study. English education? Communications? I guess it doesn’t matter now.

At this point, I’d take anything full-time with benefits.

I can’t help but break into hysterics on a fairly regular basis. What am I doing wrong? What did I do to deserve my current situation? I’ve worked hard and I have absolutely nothing to show for my efforts.

Has anyone else found themselves in a similar situation? How have you coped with it?

An Announcement

I apologize for neglecting my 30 Day Challenge for the past week. However, I hope you can all forgive me because I have something to share with you…

I got a full-time job!

Everything happened so quickly, really. I applied for an interesting position through Indeed and was asked to come in for an interview pretty quickly. Then, my second interview was scheduled before I even left my first one. Several hours after my second interview, I was offered the position with Zaksons Fine Furniture and Interior Design.

My position is in the administrative support department and it is entry-level, but I am very excited to be working in a creative environment. I will be helping a team of interior designers to place orders for their clients as well as keep samples (like fabrics and leathers) organized and updated. I also got to visit the Zaksons outlet location (right across the street) to help with an order today.

Everything is very exciting right now!

I have been tirelessly searching for a full-time job for the past three years. This is the first one I’ve been offered and I really think it’s going to be a good fit. I think Zaksons is a good company and I feel like there is a lot of room for growth. I still feel like I’m in shock.

Can’t wait for tomorrow!

30 Day Challange: Day 11

Something You Always Think “What if…” About

Lately, I’ve been thinking “what if I stayed in Korea?” No, I didn’t forget how miserable my school made me. However, I could have looked for a new one. I could have picked a new city. I loved being in the classroom; I loved my kids. Moreover, I was much more financially stable while I was there. I was able to save a good amount of money while still living very comfortably – eating out, traveling, shopping.

Since coming home, I’m not that comfortable. I feel like I keep repeating these thoughts, but they’re constantly on my mind. I hardly have money to do anything fun with friends. If I’m not working, I’m usually home on the Internet. I would love to treat myself to new cosmetics (like I did often in Korea) or try new restaurants multiple times per week.

I don’t want to continue to dwell on the “what ifs,” but they do pop up. For now, though, I must focus on the future and finding a full time job I can be happy with, even if it’s not in my field. And that’s exactly what I’ve been working on.

Also, if anyone would like to do this challenge with me, it can be found here.

30 Day Challenge: Day 8

Share Something You Struggle With

Something I struggle with is anxiety and it affects me on a regular basis. Over the years, I’ve held a number of different jobs and, while my tasks have changed, my response to stressful situations has not.

As a server, I can feel very overwhelmed. This happens when I either have a large party or many tables at once. If I feel rushed or if I’ve forgotten something or if things simply aren’t going smoothly, I can’t help but burst into tears. I have to completely remove myself from the situation and I end up in the back or locked in the bathroom.

At 25 years old, this is incredibly embarrassing. People will tell me to grow up or not to let it bother me. But it isn’t that simple. Rationally, I know it’s ridiculous to get upset over the fact that it took me two more minutes to bring a guest their Pepsi, but in that moment it feels like the end of the world to me.

My eyes fill with tears and it becomes physically difficult to breathe.

I wish I knew how to keep this from happening, but I don’t. I’ve tried yoga. I’ve tried breathing exercises and meditation. But nothing seems to work.

What’s something you struggle with? What’s your coping mechanism?

Also, if anyone would like to do this challenge with me, it can be found here.

The Post-Graduate Struggle

When I decided to leave for Korea, I was under the impression that teaching English there would fix all my problems. Namely, my financial instability and my emotional distress caused by my financial instability. However, the stress of my job ended up taking an even greater toll on my psyche despite the fact that I was making considerably more money than I had been at home.

Since returning to New Jersey, I honestly spend the majority of my time watching Netflix in bed and crying about how much money I don’t have, even though I am currently working. Student loans. Car insurance. Phone bill. Gas. After all my expenses are paid, I have very little left for myself and it tortures me. I am officially back to square one.

In Korea, I had more than enough money to go out to dinner multiple times per week, treat myself to some new cosmetics, or even take a weekend trip on a whim. And that was after I sent half my paycheck home to take care of my expenses! Now, an iced caramel latte at Dunkin’ Donuts is hardly affordable.

The state that I (and many of my peers) are currently in is a sad one. What did we go to college for? To be in debt for the rest of our lives and not find jobs in our fields?  To work somewhere part-time and still live at home with our parents three or four or five years after graduating?

It hardly makes me feel better when I see people working in positions which I know they got because their families have money, connections, or both. The system is truly flawed because of this. I am absolutely certain that there are much more qualified people who could be working in so many of the jobs out there, but are not given a chance because of some petty reason.

Then, of course, there are the jobs that expect you to have five years of experience for an entry level position when you only went to school for four. How is anyone supposed to gain experience if employers are not willing to take a chance on a promising individual and teach her or him the skills necessary to do that job?

It baffles me. It saddens me.Please feel free to add your comments, and perhaps we could get a discussion going.