Sometimes in the winds of change…

Dolphin trip in Martinique
It’s all so different now (Whale & dolphin watching on my 24th birthday)

There have been a lot of changes around here. I don’t quite know what happened – well, I do but you get I’m saying… Over the past couple months, it just seemed like nothing was changing until everything was different.

It’s Friday afternoon and I’m writing this from the plaza of the British Library. Funnily enough, I’m not the only person sitting outside with my laptop on this sunny summer day in London. Buses are squeaking to a stop on the busy Euston Road while the sun warms my face and neck; the din of conversations change in volume highlighting different languages. It’s a sound you only get in cosmopolitan cities like London. Suddenly, I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. And to think – just over a year ago I was surfing in Martinique and working 12 hours a week.

Wait – you said Friday afternoon and you’re at the British Library blogging?

Like I said: quite a bit has changed. Most of these changes have been independent of the others so I’ll just start from the beginning…

I got a new tattoo.

This isn’t that big of a deal to me – I had four tattoos already – but it’s worth mentioning. While I was in Barcelona I got 3 words in a fine script on my inner arm: Just Let Go… Funnily enough, I was with my friend Julie and it was with her that I got my wrist tattoo in Toronto. It was the last time we were together – 5 years ago!

I’m the sort of person that can get thrown into a spiral of emotion because one action will bring up all of the other ones that made me feel the same, compounding to make me feel worse. I also hold on quite tightly to the idea that worrying helps me plan for every contingency.

I had a manager who was a pretty big fan of Deepak Chopra and she always told me to let things go. To date, I can’t thing of a single thing I had control over that’s gone badly in the long run. And when I don’t have control? Well, it’s an even better reason to let it go. Sometimes I just need a reminder because I don’t work with her anymore!

I stopped eating meat.

Restaurant in Pest, Budapest
Less this…

If you knew me personally, you would know that I am was a huge carnivore. I love meat but when I really did think about what I was actually eating, it was kind of gross. The recent chicken scandal put me over the edge.

Poppie's Fish and Chips, Spitalfields
More this!

I’m not going to label myself a ‘vegetarian’ or ‘pescetarian’ (I’m still eating fish) because given an exceptional opportunity to eat a delicious dish that had meat in it, I would probably take it. But I’m not making it an every day staple of my diet. I must say, halloumi, hummus and falafel make my day now.

I quit my job to freelance.

Tug Agency, party
Less this 🙁

It was no secret that I enjoyed my job and I loved the company I worked at. I got paid to write and that alone was something I didn’t think would really happen. But there was always a part of me that wanted the challenge (and the location-independence) of being self-employed. I have to work to be able to travel, but I wanted to do both simultaneously. I have the skills and experience to make that happen.

Working at the Phoenix, Freelancing, Pheonix Cinema, East Finchley
More this!

Even though I was really tempted to stay after I handed in my notice, I realized that once you’ve convinced yourself that you want to work for yourself you won’t be happy until you try. What helped me along was this post by Monica at The Travel Hack and when I emailed her for advice (I was worried about paying London rent and prices while building up my work) she said that when she quit her job, she told herself “If not now, then when?” I had the money saved up and I didn’t want to spend another year thinking ‘What if?’

So, that’s why it’s Friday and I’m tanning (and sending pitches) outside the library!

My website has a new design – again.

Fair enough, this was catalyzed by my decision to quit. I started feeling that my previous blog design looked cool but it didn’t really reflect my personality or the blog’s ethos. I want to inspire people to travel and live the life they want, while the previous version had a hip, festival vibe going on. I thought that this looks more open, accessible and fun – from my stats, I think you all agree! This theme also showcases my new freelance writing services on the homepage.

I went with red because it’s my favourite colour and I changed up some pages, added new categories, reduced some clutter and created a place with my portfolio. It’s still a WordPress design that I’ve customized myself, so it’s not exactly what I want and I’ll probably always be making tweaks to it. Someday I’ll have the pennies saved up to get a custom design – until then I’m learning a lot about CSS!

I will also be writing more about… writing. It won’t just be about travel and my life abroad – I’m combining my blog with what is essentially my CV and I have to bring attention to that aspect too. Expect posts regularly on Tuesdays and Thursdays!

I did the big chop!

A little less of all o' dat!
A little less of all o’ dat…

So, a girl quits her job, stops doing something she loves, and shaves her head. Sounds like she should be sectioned (committed, for the North Americans), right?

Big chop, teenie weenie afro hairstyle, British Library, London
A whole lotta less is more!

A little bit, yeah… But I cut off my hair and I love it. I have an entire post explaining why I did it coming up, but to put it briefly: it’s just easier this way.

There you have it folks… this is me now! And so it is said:

Sometimes in the winds of change, you find your true direction…

I love where I am these days and I can say that it’s a great feeling! Have you made any changes in your life as of late? What was the result? Let me know what you think of my changes in the comments!

 

20 thoughts on “Sometimes in the winds of change…”

  1. “A girl who changes her hair is about to change her life!”
    Loving the new look, I wish I could pull off short hair, it must be so much easier!
    Congrats on making the leap into freelancing. It sounds like it’s the perfect time for you and I look forward to seeing how you get on!

  2. Hi Alyssa ,
    I too have made big changes in my life lately. I have sold my home in the suburbs and moved closer to the city of Toronto.
    I quit my job after 24yrs and will be living my lifelong dream of moving back to my native Jamaica.
    I don’t quite know what I’ll be doing but I trust everything will work itself out. I will take a year to travel the island and enjoy all it has to offer, I’m very excited about this venture. Any tips or advice to offer?

    1. Hi Marian! That’s HUGE, I’m totally coming to visit. That all takes some pretty big cajones, so I trust it’s going to be amazing.

      I’d say: Live in the moment and know that everything works out, one way or another.

      Good luck!

    2. You go Marian I know this is something you talked about for years..
      Now is your chance am sure you’ll be Ok.
      Am gonna miss you when you are gone..
      All the best on your new adventure.

      1. Miss her? You can just go visit – it’ll be awesome, you two wild ladies in JA. I would definitely want to be there for that.

  3. Congrats on taking the leap into freelancing! I strongly believe you will succeed especially since you quit a job you actually liked to do it. You look gorgeous with short hair by the way!

  4. Amazing changes, so proud of you!!! Sounds like you have very exciting times ahead and looking forward to following along for the next chapter! I hope I see you soon! xxxx

  5. Wow! So inspiring to hear this and to think I thought you were already amazing! You’ve just grown further in my regard! I might have finally made the big move to England to teach English Literature (to English teens, which I still find ironic), just months after becoming a newly qualified teacher in BC. Everyone here thinks I must be insane to have made such a leap, as much as most people back home think the same and yet I still hope to one day be a fully self-employed writer such as you. Thank you for being such a fab role-model. Also, you look stunning with your new hair!!!

    1. Aww, thanks Alyssa!

      That’s great news and good for you for following your dreams! I hope all is going well and the kids aren’t being too bratty 🙂

  6. Alyssa am proud of you for following your dreams..
    keep on enjoying what you do.
    I enjoy reading your post, such a good example for the younger generation who are afraid to take changes in there life.

  7. Hey Alyssa,

    Just discovered your blog, and I’m a fan! It’s always refreshing to read about changes in other people’s lives. Congrats on quitting your job to freelance. That’s huge!

    I really wanted to get a tattoo to commemorate my last trip, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. The funny thing is that I have been growing my hair out for the same reason – it’s easier. I have such fine, straight hair that I had to style it every day when it was shorter. Now that it’s long & I don’t have to go into an office, I don’t even have to dry it.

    I don’t believe you about it a sunny day in London. 😉 I just spent a week there and I’m pretty sure I never saw the sun. I did love it, though!

    Anyway, congrats on all your awesome changes – change is good for us, it’s what keeps us alive and dreaming instead of stuck in ruts!

    1. Hi Mandie! I never thought it would be congratulation worthy – more like, dat chick cray! haha, but thank you!

      It was definitely sunny, I’m sure there’s proof somewhere 😛

      Thanks for commenting and welcome! I hope to see you back soon 🙂

  8. Congratulations, Alyssa! All your changes were to better, I mean… look at that hottie, with short hair! You also look more confident, and surely it’s for being self-employed. I admire that, I wouldn’t have been able to do so many changes in a single year!

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