Bermuda will always hold a special place in my heart. It has been two years since I called the little island home for about 10 months. I miss all of my friends there, and the way the warm turquoise ocean and breathtaking scenery of the island made me feel. I miss waking up to the most spectacular pink and orange sunrises, and the smell of the salty clean air in my face whenever I was on a boat. Bermuda is where I learned to step out of my comfort zone. Where I tried new things, and embraced the adventurous side of myself that I suppressed for so long. I learned how to be more independent, strong, and most important of all-how to appreciate life and all it has to offer.
*everything about this article sums up who I am and how much I value being independent
Article By Heather Parks from Elite Daily
What exactly makes an “independent” woman? This can mean anything, depending on whom you ask, but let’s start somewhere, shall we?
The independently-minded woman lives by her own rules, likes to make decisions for herself and tends to be very particular about what she wants.
She can be feminist in attitude, while in keeping with its conventional definition, champions true equality of the sexes.
Emma Watson put it beautifully in her United Nations speech, when she said, “It is time we all perceive gender on a spectrum, not as two opposing sets of ideals.”
In fact, bringing others into our lives presents an important opportunity to exercise our independence in a productive way.
While the independent mindset can fall under a wide range of definitions, there are a few things with which we tend to universally identify.
1. We don’t mind spending time by ourselves.
In fact, we require alone time occasionally in order to reset. It gives us time to reflect, as we tend to be very introspective about who we are and what we want. We like to assess where things are and perhaps where we’d like to see them go.
We find peace in understanding not only our own needs, but those of our partners, as well. We may, at times, focus a little bit too much on the future but only for fear of creating distractions from our often-ambitious personal goals.
We need to feel comfortable with our relationships because we recognize them as significant investments of both time and emotion.
2. We take commitment very seriously.
We see relationships as initiatives that require work and beg 110 percent from both people. We take commitment to an overall relationship very seriously, but we take commitment to the individual even more seriously.
We carefully consider the emotional cost of jumping into a relationship so we can make productive decisions. We value relationships as opportunities to grow with someone who pushes us to be better individuals, so we choose them wisely.
This obviously does not mean we think all relationships are life-sucking obligations; we just want to ensure they’re given the attention we think they deserve.
3. We value our social lives outside of the relationships.
Nothing stresses us out more than the thought of not having our own friends. We need unique social lives aside from those created within the relationship.
It presents an important opportunity to grow independently of our partners and gain insight from our non-romantic counterparts who know us just as well, if not better.
These social lives are inclusive of the personal hobbies we may enjoy to help maintain our mental and physical well-beings and to give us that essential alone time to reflect, as well.
4. We are career- and goal-oriented.
One of the most defining characteristics of an independent woman is her drive to make her own money and to make a living entirely from her own hard work. The feeling of accomplishment to us is a high we need to earn by ourselves.
This does not go to say we don’t appreciate being treated to nice things once in a while, but we welcome the challenge of repaying the favor.
5. We appreciate a true gentleman.
To those true gentlemen out there, we sincerely applaud you. You are the ones who prove to us that chivalry is, in fact, not dead. Our hearts flutter when men hold the door for us, keep us warm when it’s cold, kiss us gently just because or tell us how beautiful we are.
We tend to maintain more of a traditional view of how a man should treat a woman and we pick it out of a crowd as if a sixth sense.
We may be reluctant to accept gifts, tangible or not, but we are truly grateful when we do because we recognize the work that goes into affording such things. These are the men for whom we hold out.
Post by Natasha Lo
I think we’re all guilty of making decisions to travel and live abroad due to certain events in our lives. Sometimes these difficult events and hardships tend to make travel getaways the perfect remedy. I’ve known Cassandra all my life. Growing up with her, I knew her story was one to tell. I really wanted to capture a different perspective which was travel as a remedy. She left Hawaii after graduating college to Au Pair and live abroad in Bermuda as well as Melbourne – and has yet to come back home after several years. Her strong, yet adaptable free spirit has always been an inspiration to me so I hope you find a connection with her as I have.
So how did it all start? What made you decide to Au Pair and live abroad in a different country?
I’ve always had the desire to leave Hawaii. That thought was always there especially as I watched different shows, read books about cool places or just saw others traveling. I imagined myself in those places and wanted to immerse myself in the culture. But to be honest I always thought about it but never actually did it. I was pretty scared of the idea. It wasn’t till a break up that I decided to just do it. I definitely took it to an extreme level where I didn’t even care where I was going – I just wanted to leave everything that reminded me of him, our relationship and disappointments.
I did however want a job. I didn’t really care where. Being an Au Pair was a chance to not only live abroad but to actually have a plan going into it. I went through a long list of places and eventually got really lucky with Bermuda.
When the decision was made and the documents turned in, I was excited but completely terrified. There was no turning back especially with everyone knowing I was going to leave. I knew nothing about being an Au Pair or living in a different country. Here I was, a girl who lived in Hawaii for 24 years of her life in the same town and all of a sudden going across the world.
How long did this whole process take?
It all happened within a year. First I had to make the decision that I was going to do it for myself. Then from there did everything to make it happen. The part that took the longest was the visa situation.
What was it actually like getting to Bermuda knowing you were going to live there for a year?
Adapting was so hard. I definitely felt overwhelmed, but at the same time felt empowered. I didn’t know anyone so I basically threw myself into everything. It was like a fresh start. Learning the culture, the people… Even learned how to drive on the other side of the road! When people travel, they sometimes just stick to their comfort zones doing the touristy stuff, surrounding themselves with people they may already know. The easy way out. They may never try new things or meet new people. It can be such a shame. For me, I had no choice but to leave my comfort zone.
It wasn’t easy making friends especially because my job had no co-workers, and I also didn’t drink at the time or didn’t party – which was what everyone did there. I did make time to volunteer, host bake sales, join workout and dance classes, walk the city and just talk to people. Generally I’m an outgoing person but this was a whole other level where I really had to engage with people in a completely different way. It wasn’t like I was just there on vacation – I was literally trying to set up a new life.
So I’m assuming you did some research on Bermuda – was it everything you expected?
I did do some research. Tried to get a feel of the place, watch videos on YouTube, read some book and articles. But honestly when I arrived it was COMPLETELY different. I realized that everything I read or saw about Bermuda was very surface level. It was like it had a tourist lens/filter.
Looking back – what are some other thoughts that you have about your decisions?
As impulsive as I was making the decision to live in another country, after meeting more people that have done the same, I realized that I took the safe way to live abroad. Basically I had a job which happened to cover many living expenses that I didn’t have to worry about. For other people I’ve met, especially here in Australia, they just got a visa and moved – not finding a job or anything beforehand.
When you move to a new country and decide to be an Au Pair, you automatically become apart of a family. They give you some idea about the culture, way of life and how to get around which is pretty comforting in a sense. I probably would’ve been even more scared if I just picked up and traveled without a plan.
What do you think has changed the most about you?
I think the biggest change is my ability to literally talk to anyone. I have no problem talking to or approaching people. Also when I engage with people I’m a lot more curious about them – their lives, their story. I want to know their background, what brought them where they are now… Just because I think everyone has a story to tell. I genuinely love hearing other stories.
I also appreciate my family and home much more, and I’ve realized that Hawaii will always be home. As much as I miss them I knew that what I was doing exactly what I needed to be doing. I needed to step out of my comfort zone. Mormon-ism and Hawaii was just two big bubbles I was stuck in.
Lastly I lost myself in my last relationship and now I can say that I’ve definitely gotten myself back. I am so much more independent and no longer afraid to take risks. It’s crazy to think about where I was and where I am now – mentally and emotionally.
In your opinion, what was the hardest part about living abroad?
The hardest part was having to say goodbye. I hate saying goodbye and I’ve had to do it ever since I started living abroad. You make good friendships, but sometimes they’re traveling too so it never gets easier. Luckily technology gives you options to still try and connect while apart.
“What do we leave behind when we cross each frontier? Each moment seems split in two; melancholy for what was left behind and the excitement of entering a new land” ~ Ernesto ‘Ché’ Guevara
My story on how I started traveling wasn’t necessarily the happiest of times. It took a broken relationship and broken heart to give me that big push to leave my paradise of a home in Hawai’i. I always knew I wanted to travel and explore the world, but never took initiative to do so until the age of 23. I remember being a little girl and dreaming of roaming the streets of Paris, swimming the turquoise waters of Greece, and exploring the endless vineyards in Italy. I’m also pretty sure I was certain I would marry an English man and have 3 Hapa kids with funny accents and live happily ever after. Well it didn’t necessarily pan out that way (yet), but I’ve been immensely blessed with the experiences I’ve had since I left home. I could go on and on about all of my stories from traveling, but instead I’ll sum it up in a shortened version.
I had heard about au pairing from a friend of mine in Florida, and always felt like it was a good way to travel while making money. So I hopped online, made my profile, and started looking at different families. I basically didn’t care where I went; all I knew was that I wanted to get out of Hawai’i and away from anything that reminded me of him. London, NYC, Spain, Amsterdam, Germany were all possible options for me.
I then received a message from a lovely Kiwi girl who was au pairing for a family in Istanbul. She described her experiences so far with them, and they sounded like a wonderful family. We skyped a couple of times, and actually became quite good friends. She told me all about Istanbul and what a life changing time it has been for her. We talked about boys and relationships, and I told her how I was broken hearted and in a fragile state, but also at a point in my life where I wanted to do what I wanted to do without being held back. Surprisingly she had gone through a similar circumstance and that is why she decided to leave New Zealand and go to Istanbul. We definitely connected on that.
I was ready for this, and against my parents will I bought a one-way ticket to Istanbul leaving 2 days after Christmas. My parents didn’t know how to handle this, and were completely against the idea. But nothing was going to stop me at that point. Well something actually ended up doing just that, and the job in Istanbul fell through because of a miscommunication with the family and au pair. So there I was with a one-way plane ticket to Istanbul with no job lined up. FREAKING OUT.
A lot of people I linked with in Istanbul told me not to worry, and that they would help me find a new job. I was running out of time, and decided to take this as a sign that maybe Istanbul wasn’t the right place for me to go. $500 down from my plane ticket (never book with Vayama) and two relieved parents later, here I was back to square one. A couple of days later I received a message from a family in Bermuda. I did not know anything about Bermuda besides the disappearances and other freaky shit in the triangle. But I decided to check out the family’s profile, and ended up setting up a Skype date with them. After talking to the mom and her daughter on Skype, I decided to take the leap and agree to live in Bermuda for a year or more.
I presented my parents with my new crazy idea, and I think at that point they gave up and knew that there was nothing they could do to stop me. I sold my car, majority of my clothes, and quit my job. I remember the day I was leaving I was an absolute wreck. I doubted myself and the decision I made. I choked back tears as I said goodbye to my friends and family, but cried so hard when I got to the airport and checked my bags in. Reality was hitting me, and I was so scared. I’ve lived a sheltered life in a Mormon bubble for most of my life, and here I was moving to a country where I didn’t know a single soul. 23 hours later with a layover in Los Angeles and then Miami, there I was approaching the island of Bermuda as the sun set. It was an incredible scene, and a feeling I cannot describe.
This is the picture I took from the plane as we approached Bermuda. The picture doesn’t do justice to just how breathtaking it was.
And honestly the rest is history-and something I will forever keep with me. I’ve been so blessed to be able to meet the most incredible people while traveling and also have all these life changing experiences while on my journey. I have changed so much and am not the same person I was before. When you travel, you learn so much about yourself and surprise yourself of what you’re really capable of. The first step is taking the big leap and risk. I promise you when you go after what you want, you will not regret it. Leaving for Bermuda was the best decision I have ever made. Now here I am 3 years later living in Melbourne, Australia, and pursuing my dream career and Masters Degree. I’m looking forward to this new and exciting chapter in my life -with every intention to continue traveling.