Days before my Southeast Asia trip, Sole Sis Lois asked me what bag I was planning to bring. I had my mind set on my trusty North Face roll on duffel bag that allows me to bring up to 12 kilos. I admit it, I've always been a flashpacker. I've carried it everywhere with me from The MaldivesThailand, Hawaii and all over Indonesia. But this time, I decided to challenge myself and travel with a backpack instead after hearing Lois' advice.

Backpack is Best

Traveling with a backpack is just so much more convenient if you pack right. I am barely 5 feet tall and weigh only 80 pounds, so I've limited myself to a mere 7 kilos worth of stuff. It's a scary thought, but no doubt it will be more convenient to drive around on motorbikes, no need to hire taxis all the time. I can save thousands of pesos because I no longer need to buy extra luggage allowance on flights. This will also teach me to leave non-essentials behind and prevent me from shopping for random things along the way too. Sorry guys, no more pasalubong!

7 Kilo Life1
So many too choose from!
I went to a popular sports equipment store and looked for a proper durable backpack. The sales assistant demonstrated the importance of having the right fit. I learned that a hipbelt transfers most of the weight from your shoulders to your hips instead, it makes all the difference! The chest strap also helps keep the shoulder straps in the right place. It took me a while but I finally opted for a 28 Liter Deuter backpack for about 5,500 PHP. I also loved the fact that it opens from the top and from the front as well for easier access. The hipbelt has a small compartment for a phone or some loose change, plus it's adjustable so that it's just snug on my tiny hips. Right now, I'm pretty obsessed with it!

7 Kilo Life4
Specially designed for women so the straps feel comfortable on my petite frame.
7 Kilo Life5

If you want to turn minimalist and downsize your life like I did, here's my packing advice:

-Bring clothes that mix and match
-Have a color scheme so it's easier to pair tops & bottoms
-Button down shirts can be also be worn as a cardigan or as a bikini coverup too
-Bring multiple use items (i.e. Sarong, virgin coconut oil, shampoo/body wash)
-Pack a light eco-bag for day trips & a refillable water bottle to lessen plastic consumption
-Store clothes and toiletries in ziploc bags
-Refill 100ml toiletry bottles so you don't have to check-in your backpack
-Just bring one book that you can swap during your travels

Read more packing light tips.

7 Kilo Life3

Here's my comprehensive packing list:

Clothing:
11 tops
1 polo shirt
4 pairs of shorts
1 pair of leggings
1 pair of genie pants
2 dresses
1 hoodie
11 pairs of underwear
2 pairs bikinis
1 sarong (doubles as a cover up/towel/mini-blanket/yoga mat)
1 microfiber towel

Essentials:
Passport
Tickets
Wallet (with multiple compartments for different currencies)
Coin Purse
Sunnies
Eye mask
Ear plugs
Flip flops
Ballet flats
Universal adaptor
iPhone
Pen

Toiletries:
Travel Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Shampoo/body wash/laundry soap
Lavender soap (slice into 6 smaller bars)
Face & Body Lotion
Deodorant,
Virgin Coconut Oil (can be used as a mouthwash, body oil & hair gloss)
Throat Spray
Face Mist/Sanitizer
Lip gloss
Skin Balm
Baby wipes & pocket tissue
Dental Floss
Cotton buds
Nail cutter
Tweezers
Feminine cup - must try for the ladies!

7 Kilo Life2
The only luxury I allow myself during my travels is to have all natural, eco-friendly skin care products

Reading:
iPad (for blogging, booking flights/trains, travel guides & ebooks)
Osho book

Total Weight: 7.5 kilos

Where am I off to, you may ask?

This time around, there are no pre-booked flights. I want to see the rest of Southeast Asia. Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and parts of Thailand that I missed during my past journeys. I’ve read about these magical places a million times before. I’ve dreamt about these places during endless conversations with gypsies and nomads. But I have no plans whatsoever or any set itineraries. I don’t know where I will be spending my birthday, Halloween, Christmas or New Year’s eve.

All I’m carrying is a 28 Liter backpack, and leaving my dependable roll-on luggage. I only have room for the bare essentials. Maybe just a week’s worth of clothes and an Osho book. No fancy camera, no laptop and no elaborate outfits, not even my sacred yoga mat.

I have no room for fear and negativity. I’m barely five feet tall, and carrying a mere seven kilos on my spine. I’m leaving 99% of all my stuff behind, and every single one of my family and friends. I’m letting go of all the attachments I have ever known. I have no one to please, nothing to prove and nothing to lose. It's just myself and the long road ahead.

Read my heartfelt post on Love the Search.

Have you ever traveled with 7 kilos or less? Share your experience in the comments below.

Ready to jump into adventure,
Sole Sister Adi

Adi escaped from the corporate world so her life now happily revolves around yoga and travel. She lives a simple, eco-friendly lifestyle and inspires those around her to do the same. She shares her AntiGravity and yoga practice everywhere she goes and dreams of building rustic Secret Spot hostels in beautiful tropical destinations. She will spend the rest of the year living amongst the locals in Siargao before she sets off for another Southeast Asian adventure with Sole Sister Stephanie. Follow Adi's adventures on Love the Search and on Facebook and Instagram.



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0 sole trails


I got a note from a friend a few months back that I should check out this Travel and Fashion Style Blog, The Love Assembly. I did and got hooked!

So I connected with the creator and curious mind behind the website, Aubrey. I love the fact that she's a Filipina living abroad who has a great sense of style and that she always looks fabulous whether she's traveling in Sydney, Rajasthan or Paris! I asked her some questions about travel and life. It wasn't easy- she prefers to stay behind the camera to keep a low profile and focus on her blog instead if herself. But I was able to sneak in a few personal questions:

Where is home for you?

Sydney, Australia is where I was born, raised and consider home. My Filipino heritage is definitely a big part to calling the Philippines home also - a piece of my heart is always there.

Aubrey - The Love Assembly10

When did you start a travel lifestyle?

I travelled with my family when I was younger, mainly around Australia and to the Philippines and America to visit family. Then once I hit my late teens/early 20's I was travelling with friends and my boyfriend. I feel like the more I travel, the more it sparks my wanderlust and the more I want to see in the world.

Aubrey - The Love Assembly15

How would you define your travel style?

A mix of simple basics with a touch of bohemian.

Aubrey - The Love Assembly3

Do you still keep a 9-5 or is there any special work that funds your travel lifestyle? 

When I was working full time I would always put away a lump some every week for savings and travels. Now my work is majority online - I create travel and lifestyle content for both my blog, The Love Assembly and Conde Nast Traveler. I also work in digital and social media marketing.

Aubrey - The Love Assembly4

Is it possible to travel comfortably and still look chic?

Of course! Pack a travel wardrobe that has elements of classic and basic pieces that you can mix and match, a specific colour palette and accessories that can instantly update your look.

Aubrey - The Love Assembly9

What are 3 some memorable items from your travels?

3 most memorable items from my previous travels right now would have to be:

1. A vintage pocket book titled 'butterflies' - I love butterflies and my boyfriend surprised me with this book (and a few other gifts) on my 25th birthday in Paris. He picked it up from Portobello Markets from our travels in London and hid it from me until we arrived in Paris. I secretly saw it though when I was looking for my camera in our bag, but I didn't want to ruin what he had planned :)

Aubrey - The Love Assembly17

2. An embroidered kurta from India - I'm addicted to flowy white cotton tops and I've worn the one I bought in India a lot! It's one of my favourites from my collection... I probably should've bought more.

3. I collect seashells from around the world and the most prettiest one I've found was randomly in El Nido Palawan!

As a female traveler, what was the most challenging country you've been to? And how did you overcome that?

The most challenging from my travels was Prague. Coming from Paris, I didn't find it as friendly and I found it quite difficult to navigate with public transport. We got fined a few times for having wrong tickets but it's all part of travelling so it's all good!

Aubrey - The Love Assembly5

What's your advice for all the women out there who want to start living their passions but feel like they're stuck?

Whenever I feel stuck I motivate myself by looking back on where I started to acknowledge what I have achieved so far. I write down goals with clear steps on how to reach them, then take action!

Aubrey - The Love Assembly12

What are your upcoming travel plans?

Hopefully Philippines next month if all goes to plan. Then a European summer next year!

Aubrey - The Love Assembly11

Aubrey is the founder, creative force and curious mind behind The Love Assembly, and travel blogger for Condé Nast Traveler. She's an avid and experienced traveller who doesn't sacrifice style while jet setting around the world. With her love for travel, photography and shopping, it only seemed natural to create an online destination to wander a world where travel meets style.

*All images are used with permission from The Love Assembly.

Want more? Read other features on Sole Sister Spotlight.

Do you know of travelers who conquer the world one country at a time? We would love to interview them for Sole Sister Spotlight. Please send us an email at solesisters .weare@gmail .com. We look forward to your suggestions!

Searching for other sisters who make travel happen,
Sole Sister Lois



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2 sole trails


The journey to freedom is never the same for everyone. 

Some people are able to achieve their ideal lifestyle, but either run out of resources or get tired of the lack of structure  and choose to go back to the cubicle. But for a select few, the taste of freedom becomes so addicting that they will do anything just to keep that lifestyle and encourage others to do the same.

One such person that I've met this year is Lydia who is the Cubicle Crashing Ninja at Screw The Cubicle. She helps corporate prisoners escape the confines of the 9-5 life and awaken to their true purpose. I've collaborated with her for the Live Your Passion workshop in Bali and learned so much from her. She's not just a dreamer but a doer who is constantly working on her businesses and projects and here's her freedom story:

Lydia of Screw the Cubicle3

What's your idea of freedom?

Freedom in all aspects of life is what I am most interested in, and currently strive to live this vision in my current life. To me, it's about the freedom to be the "real you" on purpose (not what your family or society defines as "you"), freedom to do work you love, freedom to explore (location and lifestyle mobility), and a very important one- the freedom from conditioning and fears that no longer serves us.

The last one is important, as our mindset and perspective of ourselves and life will dictate whether we have the courage to pursue what is true to us, and to follow our own path authentically.

This is what I call full freedom at its finest.


Lydia of Screw the Cubicle2

Share your back story.


I was born in Malaysia, and moved to Canada when I was very young. I have always been very grateful to my parents for making this decision as it opened up education and life opportunities for me that I wouldn't have had otherwise. Growing up in a very traditional household where everything needs to be "safe and not risky" and not to question too much about life, I was quite a little rebellious rascal and got into trouble often for speaking my mind and being over opinionated (or my Mom would say, "bossy")! I don't blame my Mom for not taking too many risks or raising us traditionally. It was what she knew and she lived in a very different time. However, I knew very early on I wasn't very good at following rules.

Fast forward to my adult life. I was successfully working in corporate Canada in industries like real estate, publishing, marketing, hospitality, and international education. In my last corporate job, everything looked great on paper. I was highly paid, travelled half the year around the world, and had everything "they" told you would be the definition of success. I had a comfortable life, with the home and car living in Vancouver.

 But something big was missing from this "formula" of success.

That missing piece...was purpose. I did not feel I was living out my ultimate truth, and I couldn't feel aligned with the work I was doing at all. My lifestyle was great, but I was craving meaning in my life. I had a disturbing feeling that I barely knew who I was, and what I would want my legacy to be in my time in the world.

On a business trip to Moscow one winter, I had an emotional breakdown in my hotel room, which came out of the blue. I simply did not know why I wasn't happy with my life, when everything seemed to be "working out". It wasn't about money or security of a good life. I was so disconnected with my true self I did not know who I was without the title of that job. That breakdown was the tipping point and the moment that changed it all for me.

The "a-ha" moment came for me when I realized that a human life cannot be simply confined in a 9-5 cubicle life, waiting for vacation days to be "free". I made a choice to not conform and accept that, and decided I had to create a life I truly wanted, or this feeling would never stop.

I knew I had to find out who the "real" me was. I started from scratch and went through a sabbatical trip to Asia and hired a coach. I quit that job, started two mobile businesses, and now live a very meaningful and fulfilling life helping others suffering from an "identity crisis" and craving more freedom in their work and lifestyle.

Lydia of Screw the Cubicle1

What steps did you take to achieve freedom?

The first thing that I did, and I would suggest this to others, is to take the time to dig deep personally (not logically, but the true desires from the heart) to find out what you really desired and are passionate about. Knowing this is important so that you are tapped into that internal GPS of yourself to help guide you to the right opportunities and ideas to make that a reality.

Secondly, I had to create a business that encompasses my skills, passions, and the big WHY, so that I moved from the employee life to an entrepreneur lifestyle where I can be creative and inspired. The "why" is the reason for all of it to happen, my mission for myself and the world. It is important to have a meaningful mission for your work, as it keeps you going when the going gets tough in business. It is bigger than yourself, and not to sound morbid, but something where you'll die happily knowing you've been a part of. Figuring out what you're designed to do, from your passions, values, how you express, and how you help will assist in finding the right type of business idea that is in sync with what you do naturally.

The third thing is about support. Hiring a coach and speaking to friends about my desires helped make my vision come to life. It is now real, not just a dream. Being surrounded by people who have similiar value systems about life is great for encouragement and inspiration.

Lastly, I decided where I wanted to explore, and made sure my business was mobile where I could run it from my laptop and live a life that made me happy. I really believe in having a type of work and lifestyle where you can't tell the difference between work and play. Picking a location that allowed me to eat great food, live in an environment I love, and a place where I can fulfill my interests were all very important to me. That's why I've stumbled upon Bali, and have been here for a year! It's a great hub to have my home and continue to travel throughout Asia.

I made a conscious choice to prepare my transition for mobile living, sell all my belongings in Canada, and pack my life into one bag.

Lydia of Screw the Cubicle6

How long did it take for you to live freely?

From the moment I knew what business idea I wanted to start, it took about 6 months for me to be running my first business. In between that time, I had hired a coach and it really helped me to see myself and perspectives that I couldn't have done alone. She didn't allow me to self sabotage or live in fear, and kept reminding me of why this was important to me. I am very grateful for that.

The ultimate freedom of a mobile lifestyle came to me as an idea 6 months after I started my business. Then 4 months after that, I was on a one way plane ticket to Asia!

What was the biggest challenge you've faced?

I would say that being a "Type A" person, it was hard for me in the beginning to let go and let things flow. I was so used to the old formula of working super hard to get what I want, and pushing against the grain. It was my work style, but I knew it didn't make me happy. So it was having to re-condition and re-program my mind to have less control, and to just live in the moment. I had to create a harmonious balance between my heart and mind so that they played nice together.

Exploring and living in places foreign to me required a sense of trust and intuition. I had to learn to quiet down the critical monkey that sometimes exists in my head, and to learn to take things easy. Even in my business, I found that the more I relaxed and just be real, opportunities always showed up. Allowing myself to be as authentic as I can be, and be open to what I need to receive instead of controlling every aspect of my life and business, gave me the ease to be in flow. And a lot more peaceful night's sleep!

Lydia of Screw the Cubicle5

What advice can you give others who want to have the freedom to live life on their own terms?

Find out what you're designed to do authentically, and do whatever it takes to turn your skills and passion into a valuable service to help others. And know why it matters to you. Get comfortable honing your skills and understand how you serve others. Keep going until you find an idea of work that you would have done for free because it comes to you so naturally. It is your birthright to know your calling and for you to live on purpose.

Be aware of what you desire in all aspects of your life, and what freedom means to you. Be in the mindset of knowing that all is possible, because others have done it. Talk to people who are doing it and living a life you admire, do the research. Continuously bring more things and people in your life that are aligned with what you love.

Travel, get inspired, and be in the community of people who are living their dreams. There is more to the world than just what you are familiar with. Get out of your comfort zone and be open to experiencing what you need to experience. Make a choice to be happy, and step away from anything that doesn't give you those feelings of joy that make your heart sing. Be curious about yourself and life. The world is waiting for you to express your authentic self and you, like everyone else, have a unique "secret sauce" to create impact in the world. Don't settle until you find out what that is and turn up that sense of presence and awareness for opportunities that allow you to share that unique part of you.

Forget what society has told you about what is possible, you get to be the pilot in your own life flight. Get accountable for this amazing gift we call life. Seize it!

Can you tell us of other people who are on the same path?

I really admire Anne Perry, the editor in chief of Business Heroine Magazine, as she's a big advocate and supporter of women in business to create freedom lifestyles through business.

I also love Natalie Sisson from The Suitcase Entrepreneur. She is living what she is teaching, and helping others build a mobile business with resources and technology tips to make it happen. Her website is .

Ash Ambirge is an awesome chick with a potty mouth like me! I love her concept of "screw business as usual", and her website at The Middle Finger Project is one that I visit often for straight up marketing tips, with a dash of sarcasm to boot.

Lydia of Screw the Cubicle4

Lydia is the Cubicle Crashing Ninja at Screw The Cubicle. She helps corporate prisoners escape the confines of the 9-5 life and awaken to their true purpose. Lydia left a well paying but unfulfilling cubicle job in Canada to launch small business startups. Now based in Bali, she enjoys location independency, self-expression, and a purposeful career coaching others to gain full freedom at its finest.

Utilizing her own unique The “Real You” Roadmap program, she guides people towards careers and lives of authenticity. She combines their passions with skills and talents they already have to live a life of meaning, play and service. Certified as a True Purpose™ coach and Neuro-linguistics Programming (NLP), she also shares her many years of experience in small business. Lydia taps into people's "sweet spot" by discovering what they're designed to do and why, then helps them craft practical steps to deliver that purpose in a vehicle of a mobile business.

Lydia is also getting ready to fly to the Philippines in November to conduct YOUR FREEDOM BUSINESS ROADMAP workshop. If you're interested in the Freedom Lifestyle and need that extra kick to launch your own escape, email us at solesisters(dot)weare(at)gmail.com with your most preferred dates below and we'll put you on the priority list.

Nov 15-16 (weekend)
Nov 22-23 (weekend)
Weekdays between Nov 15-23 (please specify dates)

And if you have friends who might be interested, feel free to hit the FORWARD button!

In pursuit of freedom,
Sole Sister Lois


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0 sole trails


After my recent travels around Asia and the Philippines, as any traveler would know, I started getting “the itch”. And it's not the kind that over the counter ointments can easily remedy. I needed a special cure: the feeling of being in a place for the very first time.

Travel has always been a part of my life. Having parents who worked for an airline, my siblings and I were always encouraged to see new places. My dad is an adventurer himself and he always showed us the fun in taking the road less traveled.

So the question remained: “Where to next?”

And then I saw the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. That’s when my obsession about Iceland began. I mean sure, it’s not like I don’t know what or where Iceland is, right? But I always thought it was entirely made of…well...ice. It wasn't until I saw that film that I became aware of how truly beautiful and diverse the Icelandic landscape was.

snaefellsjokull - photo by joncy

And yes, I felt that Iceland is still off the beaten path. 

Fast forward to almost a year later, after a few tourist visa runs, a friend and I found ourselves on a plane to Reykjavik, amidst a volcanic eruption (truly a la Walter Mitty).

Reykjavik was not what I expected. At 64°08' N, the northernmost capital in Europe is small compared to other countries’ big city capitals. But it was big in terms of personality with its quirky and colorful streets, and even quirkier people with a dry Icelandic sense of humour.

reykjavik grapevine
Icelandic sense of humor on the Reykjavik grapevine

I quickly fell in love with this place. Piling on our thermals, wool socks and fleece lined coats, we strolled the streets of Reykjavik.

Iceland3

Iceland1

Iceland2

After a few days in the capital, we set off on a 12 day, 2500km road trip around the country. We took our rental car/mobile home through the highways, tunnels, and gravel roads of Iceland, where sheep and horses hung out by the roadside and where every turn gave us a stunning sight.

Iceland1 gravelroad

myvatn - krafla caldera, namafjall

Iceland horse

The weather was moody, it could change dramatically every 15 minutes. We drove through pretty harbour towns, lava fields, about 500 different species of moss, geysers, geothermal pools, glaciers, fjords, mist covered mountains, black sand beaches and probably thousands of waterfalls (or fosses, in Icelandic). Most of the time I had to remove my sunnies or open my car window just to see them without anything between my eyes and stare at the magnificence before me.

Stykkisholmur, Snaefellness Peninsula

Icelandic coast

Vatnajokull, largest glacier in Europe

Iceland mist

But the highlight of our trip would definitely witnessing the Northern Lights on three different nights. They looked like green and pink ribbons of light dancing in the sky.

Northern Lights

Godafoss - waterfall of the gods

Jokulsarlon - Glacier lagoon, South Iceland

Anarstapi

Apart from the majestic landscapes we saw, it was the people of Iceland that made our experience special. Despite the freezing temperature, they gave our trip warmth and soul. Everyone that we met was truly genuinely kind and happy. And the other travelers we saw along the way shared the same awe that we felt in this incredibly beautiful country. A couple we met invited us to stay over their beautiful home and all of their friends welcomed us with open arms and happy hearts. Before we left, they showed us their collection of mineral stones that they get from the sides of the cliffs, and gave me one. 

Iceland stone

So that I can literally take a piece of Iceland home with me.

When the road trip was almost over, after the long drives, parking at campsites, curling up in our sleeping bags, and enduring the cold, my travel bud (and personal paparazzi) asked as we were driving back to Reykjavik, “So Niks, last stretch. Any thoughts?” 

Only one thing popped in my head. “I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.”


Iceland  fave part

How to Make this Trip Happen: 

-Filipinos need a Schengen visa to get into Iceland.

-You can easily fly to Iceland from many European cities including Paris and Zurich. The cheapest flight we could find was via EasyJet from London Luton to Reykjavik.

-Iceland is VERY expensive. It's even pricier than Switzerland. If you are not a luxury traveler, you can happily survive on hotdog sandwiches (made from lamb) which you can get from food trucks and petrol stations.

Iceland1 map

-Sept. 1 in Iceland signals the beginning of the low season, which runs until May 31. The price difference from high to low season can be huge so you should consider your travel dates carefully.

-There are several hotels and hostels all over the country. To save on cost, we stayed at campsites. You can rent campers, tents and other camping gear.

Iceland paparazzi
My travel buddy and personal paparazzi, Joncy Sumulong
-Renting a car is the best way to explore Iceland but it can be very expensive. We got our vehicle through Hasso. Biking as well as hitchhiking are also common and very safe. Although quite pricey, day tours are available to almost all the sights and tourist areas. Most tours start and end in Reykjavik.

Is Iceland on your bucket list too?

Iceland horse2

*All images credited to Joncy Sumulong and Nikki dela Paz

Nikki is an architect, surfer and traveler. She's the daughter of traveler parents, so she naturally got that gene. She's also an adventurer by heart and surfing is her passion. Her job as a freelance architect allows her to travel and surf, and in return surfing and traveling inspire her design. Follow her on instagram, twitter or her blog.



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0 sole trails


If there were 2 things that I chased after most in life it would be: Freedom + Passion. Or simply, the freedom to live my passions. 

It had taken me years to achieve my idea of freedom or something pretty close. Some of you are already familiar with my story: I quit my job in Manila in 2006 to live in the US. After a year, I lived for a few months in Europe. After running out of money and job options, I came back to the Philippines and went back to my old job for a year. Before I started to get comfortable, I quit again to travel for 6 months all over India and Southeast Asia. 

That was in 2011. Upon coming back, I thought I would have to join the workforce again. But in the last 4 years, I've used all my skills, experience and smarts to avoid just that. I started blogging, got into social media, dabbled in motivational speaking and organised workshops and retreats. All in the name of Freedom and Passion. 

If you could live life on your own terms, would you ever want to quit?

That's the same question I asked a handful of people who believe in what I believe. These people have searched for their own version of freedom and were able to craft a life based on it and have surrounded themselves with the things and people they love. I've asked them questions in order to learn from them and we're starting a new series called "My Freedom Story" to share that with all of you.

Let's begin with Sacha whom I met in a lovely town of Pai, Thailand. She's been traveling along with her husband Jmayel and their dog Eden and creating cinematic videos wherever they go.

Sacha Freedom Story2

What's your idea of freedom?

To me, freedom looks like a full tank of gas, an open road and nowhere to be at a specific time. To wake up in the morning faced with a blank day ahead of you - a day free for you to make out of it what you want, to have no time constraints or anyone to answer to, a day full of your own choices.


Share your back story.


It was after a round the world trip 10 years ago at age 20, that my love for travel was ignited. On returning home, I had this feeling that there should be something 'more' and I just couldn't shake it. I couldn't settle into anything as nothing felt right for me anymore. I went through a few different jobs in a variety of occupations and locations, before deciding enough was enough and I had to make a big change.

My husband and I were married in a sunset ceremony in Morocco in 2011 and it was after that we decided to create our own unique life together. We began making plans to leave England for a move to Asia with our dog Eden and less than a year later we found ourselves standing at London Heathrow airport, not knowing in the slightest what lay ahead of us.

Sacha Freedom Story3

What steps did you take to achieve freedom?

Ultimately the first step I took to freedom was leaving my corporate city job 5 years ago. I started a wedding photography business which then kept me busy for 2.5 years. At the same time I began contributing images to stock photo libraries with the intention of accumulating an online income. When the stock photography began to generate an almost passive income, I realized that I was earning enough money to start a new life in Thailand.

When my husband and I stepped off the plane in Chiang Mai we started to explore video production by creating a mini web series of our new life in Thailand called "8 Miles From Home". The name came from a book about my life that I was intending to write and not long after it began, it gained popularity among the expat and Thai communities in Chiang Mai. Over time, the videos became my husband's focus and I started to document our journey in a blog under the same name: 8milesfromhome.com.

Those were the steps towards carving out my own freedom with my partner and creating a location independent income that we can nurture together.

How long did it take for you to live freely?

The short term answer for this would be 10 months. That's how long it took from making the decision to leave England and move to Thailand, with my husband and I heading off to the airport with our bags packed. I guess for a long term answer, you could say it took 25 years before I realised there were other ways to live and had the courage to break away from my former life and left my city job.

Though it is these last 2 years living in Thailand that I have really felt I am able to live free and am able to design and discover a life truly of my own choosing. I am still bound by some limitations that I set on myself and so I honestly don't yet feel totally free, but I know I am well on the way.

Sacha Freedom Story4

What was the biggest challenge you've faced?

Initially the biggest challenge would be leaving behind everything I knew and stepping out of my comfort zone. However, I think the biggest challenge for me now is an ongoing one, which is the fear of the unknown. Ironically, freedom can bring with it its own fears, the fear of solely earning my own money, my entire future being based on decisions I make and not knowing if what I am doing at any given time is the 'right thing'.

Because you are on your own path its sometimes difficult to find people to fall back on or even understand your choices. Since we have left England our responsibilities have grown, they are just different responsibilities from what we used to have. The things that make freedom so great, for me, are also what make it a bit scary too! But it is these feelings that make you feel alive and make you realise you are living your own life!

What advice can you give others who want to have the freedom to live life on their own terms?

Everyone can live a life of their own choosing. It's having the courage to break away from what you are used to and trying something. Everything is scary until you actually start making steps towards the goal, then you will realise it probably isn't as scary as you first thought it would be. Looking at the big picture in the beginning will be enough to turn most people off as it will seem too difficult and people will naturally always want to go for the easy and safest option. Breaking it down into smaller challenges and tasks to set yourself on the right path to freedom, rather than trying to do everything at once and overwhelm yourself, will make everything suddenly seem do-able.

Nothing is impossible, but it can often seem that way until you begin to try.

Sacha Freedom Story5

Can you tell us of other people who are on the same path?

Angela Scott from TielandtoThailand, a friend and fellow blogger in Chiang Mai. She left the USA to start a new life in Thailand with her husband Chris and their gorgeous cat Mooshu.

Lourika Reinders, owner of Lourika Reinders Photography. She spent 2 years living and travelling in Thailand before returning home to her native Namibia to listen to her passions and set up and create her own thriving photography company. Along with her 2 stunning puppies she adopted and brought back from Thailand.

Sacha is the female part of the 'Man, Woman and Dog' trio traveling Thailand in a classic Ford Escort Mk 1. Sacha, along with her husband and dog, left the UK to digitally capture the world in their own unique style 2.5 years ago. They are now based in Thailand and Create Cinematic Travel Videos about their experiences. They have no plans to return to England as yet. Follow their journey on 8 Miles From Home.


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