“Because of the virus, my trip to the Caribbean and a road trip around the US were halted. I’ve managed to keep my travel itch at bay by watching travel-inspired Netflix shows. I recently also bought a jigsaw puzzle for the family just so we have something to do offline.

Once the circuit breaker is lifted, the first order of things is to reunite with my boyfriend in Hawaii. Thereafter, I’m looking forward to embarking on my very first van life journey – living out of a van travelling slow, whilst exploring the National Parks in the US.

I decided to become a full-time travel blogger because there was nothing that fuelled me more than working on something I believed in. Rather than working to appease people and slogging hard for someone else’s dream, I wanted to make my own dreams a reality.

Travelling, to me, is a process of self-discovery. The most important lessons all came from learning more about myself through travelling. It has made me more humble, patient, open-minded, resilient, confident and easy-going.

Being able to meet people from different walks of life – be it a skydiver, plastic surgeon, pilot, mountaineer or surfer – I’ve learnt to see life through different sets of eyes and cultures. That has taught me to be more proactive in life. 

Time will pass you by before you know it. So now, I’ve learnt to weigh my decisions according to whether I’d regret something if I didn’t do it here and now. Seize the day – carpe diem – because so many opportunities only come once in your lifetime!

Coming from a city like Singapore, I found myself falling in love with the simplicity of a rural town when I lived in Fox Glacier in New Zealand. I never thought I’d be able to survive having no car – and with the supermarket being a three-hour drive away – but hey, I did!

I had some crazy adventures in New Zealand that I’d never get to do here, like gliding, skinny dipping, overnight hikes and helicopter rides to the summit of a glacier. Immersing myself so fully in these incredible, rare landscapes is something I’ll cherish forever.

Before I became a full-time travel blogger, the thought of putting myself out there and working for myself was terrifying; but, I started building up my freelance portfolio and the authority of my blog first. I needed to hit my blog’s traffic goal first.

The turning point that allowed me to blog full-time was an opportunity to move to Japan after my 6-month New Zealand working holiday. Even though I was scared, putting myself out there was the best decision I have ever made.

But working and travelling full-time can be taxing, especially when you’re trying to be on top of tasks while constantly on the move. Being on the road long-term also dulls the sense of wonder and excitement as every new destination starts to appear similar.

It’s a physically lonely job for sure. For us digital nomads, our mindset is different from those holding steady jobs and steady lifestyles. We see things differently, and so the friends that understand us are usually virtual, since everyone is on-the-go constantly.

I keep going by constantly reminding myself that I’m in a fortunate position to be able to achieve financial and work freedom! I am no longer confined to a cubicle, I can work from wherever I want and whenever I want and I am sowing the fruits of my own labour.

I am constantly meeting new people outside of my circle who inspire me, I get to do what I love, I get to learn many soft skills such as communication and adaptability and I discover something new about myself every time I put myself outside my comfort zone. 

Sure, I may not have a fixed salary; but, I’ve learnt that there is more to life than being in the rat race. I don’t have to live behind anyone’s shadow. I’m free to pursue any ideas I have and I’m able to follow my internal compass without restraint.

Pay attention to yourself – what makes you excited to get up every morning? What makes you feel enraged? Frustrated? What do you stand strongly for or against? Where do you find your mind drifting off to? If you don’t yet know what you want, keep looking.

Never settle. Think about where and what your future self would be and take steps today to work towards it.” – Isabel Leong

Interview: Arman Shah

Read Isabel’s travel blog here

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