Recently I’ve been asked quite a few questions about blogging and how I got started. So I figured that after 3 years, it’s time to share my story on why I decided to be a travel blogger and how I got started.
Maybe I’ll inspire some of you to find and follow what it is that you are passionate about.
My Views On Life
I’ve always had a strange way of looking at life since I was little. From a young age, I always had a different outlook on the world, I’m not really sure where it came from. I always had so many big and wild dreams, always and forever. I always believed that life was too short to do anything you don’t want to do and that working the same job for 40 years is not really living. I was never a person who thought that money is everything. I always put family and dreams at the top of my priority list. I never understood why people had dreams and gave them up. I always thought it was important to live each day and each year as if it were your last and throughout my life, I’ve been blessed to have done that. Yes, maybe, many people might have that same outlook, but how many people do you actually know that actually follow through with it?
Vanilla Sky Dreaming Wasn’t My First Blog
Vanilla Sky Dreaming, wasn’t my first blog. I actually started blogging in 2003 back when I was in high school on LiveJournal. LiveJournal was a trend when I was younger, it was before Facebook and MySpace. It was a place where I shared my whole life with the world, told only the truth, even if it hurt and many times it got me into trouble. Later on in life, in 2010, I started a blog called “365 days of selfless acts for humanity“, that I never got to finish. In 2014, I decided that I wanted to be a travel blogger after years of trying a million and one different careers.
Here is my story…
I was born in a small town called Arad, next to the Dead Sea in Israel. My grandparents owned a small pizza shop and worked their life off for that place. They passed away way too young to ever really do anything in their life. My beloved grandfather passed away a month before his 60th birthday and my amazing grandmother passed at the age of 61. They are forever my biggest heroes and inspiration in life. It always killed me that they never got to make all/any of their dreams come true. Always working to make ends meet and barely ever having extra money.
I also look at my mother, she got married to my dad at the age of 19 and had me when she was 20 years old. Later we would be a family of 4 kids, me being the oldest. My mom too, never got to make so many of her dreams come true. She sacrificed her dreams to be a mother like most people in the world.
My dad was always such a hard worker, he would do any job he had to bring money to the house. When we moved to America he would work from 6am until 8pm in his construction business for over 20 years and still does. We left Israel after running away from war in Israel (Why Did I Move To America? I Ran Away From War).
The Dreamer Within Me
I love my parents and grandparents SO much, words can’t describe, but I never wanted to grow up and be like them in that aspect. I wanted to be different. I wanted to go out there and make all of my dreams come true because I saw how much they gave up on making their dreams come true through the process of life.
I always believed that this world has so much to offer, so many things you could become and why just do one for the rest of your life, if you only have ONE life to live. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an actress, a dolphin trainer, a photographer and an FBI agent. I didn’t just want to do one of them, I wanted to do all of them.
Growing up we didn’t have much money and we would move a lot for different jobs my dad had found, which is how we ended up in America. Eventually, through hard work, a crazy drive and ambition, my dad became very successful. That opened up a whole other world in my eyes. My dad still till this day, doesn’t speak English well and has been living in America for well over 23 years, but that didn’t matter. Because my dad had such a drive to be successful that he ended up making great money in his business without knowing English! He made the impossible, possible and that made me always want to make the impossible, possible.
I always couldn’t wait to turn 18 and finally go into the world and make all of my dreams come true.
My Jobs Before Being A Travel Blogger
3 months after high school, a month after turning 18, I decided to move out because having my own place was also a big dream of mine. My first few jobs in life were being a model, a makeup artist and a waitress. There were times where I used to work all of them at the same time. I always started with a crazy drive, I used to want all the shifts, all the gigs and photoshoots. When I modeled I would book photoshoots every day until I started realizing that modeling isn’t that fun or easy as I thought. I would do jobs until I got burned out. That’s what basically happened with everything I did. I would give it 110% and then get bored, sick of it or things weren’t as I though and I’d quit and find the next great thing. However, I always managed to find flexible jobs because having freedom was very important to me. I never wanted to be tied down to anything and miss out on life.
I did this for years. I worked as a promo girl, a dancer in music videos, club promoter, bartender, an extra in movies, I was a wardrobe stylist for TV shows, had more waitressing jobs, I worked as a sales trainer, I managed companies, I started a costume line and a shoe line and a bunch of other things I can’t remember, but nothing ever really did it for me.
Soul Searching – A Spiritual Journey
I also studied so many things, I went to make up school and became a certified fashion stylist. I went to bartending school and then realized that I didn’t want to help people get wasted and drink and drive, it didn’t seem meaningful to me. I moved to NYC and went to FIT to study accessory design, I also went to a few community colleges and studied things I found to be interesting like psychology, sociology, anthropology, musical theater and more, just for fun. I went to a bunch of different self-improvement seminars like Landmark and a few others. I did a voluntary program in Israel for 6 months after starting a blog called “365 days of selfless acts for humanity”, where I was going to do something for the world every single day, but never finished it. I also had a time in my life that I became super religious and studied Torah in Jerusalem.
As you can tell, I’ve done it all, my life has always been an endless roller coaster of adventures. If there was something I wanted to try or do, I’d do it without thinking twice. I made so many of my dreams come true and along the way, I lived in so many places around the world. As of now, I’ve lived in over 35 houses around the world.
All of this was in the pursuit of finding my purpose in life. I wanted to know what it is that I was meant to do in this big and crazy world. I was begging the world and G*d to tell me what is it that I’m supposed to do, to give me a sign, to tell me the answer. I just wanted to find that ONE thing we all spend most of our life looking for and I was hello determined to find it.
One day in the summer of 2010, on my journey through Jerusalem and learning about life through the Torah/bible, I was looking over the Western Wall in Jerusalem on a rooftop, the holiest place for the Jews. I literally cried and begged G*d to PLEASE tell me what my mission in life is…I got nothing. A few hours later, as I walked through the old Arab market in the Old City of Jerusalem, I realized something. I realized that the things that make me the happiest and the things that are never going to change that I learned throughout all my years of trying a million different things was that I loved art, I loved spirituality and I loved traveling. I knew I had to find a job that combined all those things together in order to be happy, but what would it be was the question.
I loved learning about mind, body and soul, getting inspired and inspiring others. I loved art and did it my whole life whether it was painting, drawing, designing, photography, singing, dancing, etc and had to have it in my life. I knew I loved traveling and knew I couldn’t live without it, since I’ve been doing it my whole life. I also knew I’d never be happy just staying in one place.
However, my dreams were put on hold for a few more years. I didn’t create Vanilla Sky Dreaming until 2014.
Back To Reality & My Competitive Side
After Jerusalem, I needed to go back to America and make some money because I was broke from not working for 2 months while living there. I ended up getting a job in Baltimore as a sales person. My determination for always being the best at what I do, made me the best sales person in the company. That ended up great because I ended up landing a job of being the only sales trainer who traveled. I was like those people you see on reality shows that come into a restaurant that’s horribly done and the owners don’t make money and don’t know why. My job was to be like do this, change that, say this and you’ll make lots of money and I was great at it. After I left, the stores would make double the next month and then triple the following month. That allowed me to travel a lot! Friday’s I would travel to a new state, work over the weekend and Tuesday I’d be back home and would have 2 days off and do it all over again.
That feeling of traveling all the time was my love. I loved it and I loved helping people. My job was flexible and I got to also travel on those days off, but it wasn’t an easy job. The stores were in the mall and I had to work mall hours. That was a full 12hrs shift and during the holiday/Christmas season, it would be 18hrs. It was HARD work, but such good money, BUT money isn’t everything. I missed the sun, I missed doing normal things that normal people do.
On one of the summers that I worked for the company, I took a month vacation to visit my family in Israel. Before I left, I was considering traveling to Italy for my birthday. One of my good friends told me, “girl if you have the money, you have to do it!”, so I did. This was my first trip to a foreign country alone and it changed my life forever.
Following My Heart
I was dating one of the managers in the company and when we broke up I left Baltimore and moved to Miami to do the same thing. Before I left Baltimore, I went on an amazing adventure to Europe, solo again. I did New Years in Paris, visited London and then spent a week in Barcelona. When I moved to Miami, things were different. I was exhausted. I was over it. I didn’t have that drive or passion anymore for the job. I got to the highest level in the company, I sold the most, made the biggest sales and made more money than everyone else. There was no more competition and I was bored.
I always found good paying jobs, I was always willing to put in the time and work my ass off, but sometimes money isn’t everything. I always wanted to be happy doing any job. I’ve been blessed to make great money but I’ve never been a girl that thinks money is more important than true happiness. Life is too short to only care about money and I personally think it makes life meaningless, although we all need money. I guess I just have an artist soul. Every day that I’d go into work, I’d try to figure out how I was gonna waste the next 12hrs of my life. What stores I’d go to so that I wouldn’t have to work there anymore. My only problem was that I LOVED Miami so much and didn’t want to leave, but my job came with an apartment and if I quit, I’d lose my house and I didn’t pay rent.
I followed my heart as always and quit anyways. The best thing that came out of Miami was finding my little puppy Peanut, who’s now 3 and a half years old. I moved back to LA, where I was raised and but hadn’t lived there in almost 5 years.
How I Discovered Travel Blogging
When I came back to LA, I literally didn’t have a single clue, what I was going to do with my life. I felt like I had done everything and more and still, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do in life. At first, I just chilled, moved in with my best guy friend. I later found a random waitressing job at a fancy little spot and did some freelance work. I was back to where I started, what was I going to do with my life…
I was researching and brainstorming for a while. I’m still not sure how I ever found her, but I found a blog called “World of Wanderlust” by a young girl named Brooke. This was right around the time she started her blog, now she’s a huge travel blogger with millions of followers all around the world. Brooke had a way to herself that inspired me. She took beautiful dreamy photos, had good blog posts and she was well…a travel blogger. For a while, I followed Brooke around the world through her Instagram and blog. This girl was living the dream. She was traveling to the most beautiful places in the world, solo, and basically making all my dreams come true. This girl was fearless and driven. I followed her for about 6 months until I realized one random day, THIS IS WHAT I NEED TO BE DOING with my life! This is the coolest job in the world!
Becoming A Travel Blogger
Back then I had no idea what travel blogging really meant – like most people I thought it was just traveling the world, taking cool photos, uploading it to Instagram and just writing about it. I had NO CLUE just how HARD travel blogging really was. I didn’t know that as a travel blogger I’d have to also be a web designer, SEO master, keyword searcher, a graphic designer, a PR person, an Instagram queen, a videographer, a pro at editing videos (and photos) and finding the right songs for them without copyright. I didn’t know that I’d have to master every single social media platform and all of its psychology behind it. I didn’t know I had to resize every photo I added to blog post and name each photo for google or find eye-catching titles, write descriptions for google, spell check every post 100 times and somehow still find mistakes. I didn’t know that updating Facebook a few times a day is a job and most importantly I didn’t even know how I’m supposed to get paid for all of this. But this is the job I wanted!
When I first started Vanilla Sky Dreaming, it was meant to be a blog about travel, art and spirituality. Somehow along the way, it became more of a travel blog because it seems like it was my number one passion. Funny enough, I still set off to do what I wanted to do. I found my art through creating travel videos, taking beautiful photos and editing them, designing my websites and banners. My spirituality part was to inspire and I get to do that every day by sharing the world with you all and the things that I learned along the way. So I guess you do get to have your cake and eat it too.
I’m NOT Lucky
You can’t apply to be a travel blogger. Sometimes people ask me “how did you get this job?” it’s not a job that you randomly get. You create that job and a career for yourself. There is no real college degree you can get on being a blogger. There aren’t any books on how to be a travel blogger, there are books on blogging but the making money part is never written in them. Just like starting any new business, it’s not always easy, fun and games, you gotta work hard to be good at what you do. I wasn’t “lucky” for being a travel blogger, it took me almost 30 years of trying everything in the world to find what makes me happy. It also took me almost 2 years to start actually making money from it. I am not lucky, I am blessed. I am blessed for somehow finding the drive to soul search for my dream job and having a strong enough self-belief in myself to follow through with my dream. I’m blessed for having G*d show me the way throughout life and blessed to read the signs he gave me. I always knew when it was time to leave my other jobs because I developed a good enough intuition with him to know when he wanted me to leave and I always followed my heart with that.
Travel blogging was the only job that I never quit when it got hard. It’s the only job that I never got bored of. It’s also the only job I was ever willing to do for free and still work as if I had 3 full-time jobs, plus having other side jobs to fund it. I’ve dedicated 1100 days of my life to my travel blog and I’ve also dedicated a half of a lifetime finding it. I sacrificed so much of my life and my day to day comfort to making this dream a reality. I’ve paid my rent late way too many times, I’ve been negative in my account more than I’d like to admit and I also lived for a little over a year in a house with no furniture just to travel the world and make my dreams come true. (Read: I Chose To Live In A House With No Furniture To Travel The World)
Where I Am Now
I never really knew where it would all end up. Worse case scenario I got to visit a bunch of countries and cross off many bucket list items. Since starting my blog, I’ve visited about 40 countries in 3 years. I’ve had the honor of being hosted by the nicest hotels in the world, I’ve gone on press trips which are fully-paid trips by tourism boards. I saw the northern lights in Iceland, I swam with sharks, I zip-lined the tallest and longest zip lines in the Caribbean and so much more because I followed my truth and heart. I’ve been featured in magazines, newspapers and websites and most recently, even Ashton Kutcher has become a fan of mine. I’ve worked with big brands and I finally get paid to do what I love and I couldn’t be more happy. All my hard work paid off of soul searching for years and working hard was all worth it at the end.
I never started this travel blog as a hobby like many people do. It was always meant to be a career. I always knew that THIS IS IT for me.
Making YOUR Dreams Come True
If you have a dream, if you aren’t happy with your life or where you ended up, it’s never too late to change it. TRUST ME.
Always follow your heart, do what you love, even if it’s hard at times because the end result is SO rewarding. You just never know where you’ll end up!
You only get ONE life to live! JUST ONE! Don’t ever spend it doing things you don’t like or things that don’t make you happy, because honestly, WHY?! Life is hard, for all of us. In our own special ways, but we gotta fight through it if we ever want to make our life count for something. It has nothing to do with travel blogging, it has to do with whatever makes you happy.
In my 30 years of living, I feel like I have lived many lives and I never intend on stopping.
I hope you enjoyed my life essay lol and maybe took something from it. Some of us figure things out right away and others it takes a LONG time, but if you love something, you should fight for it.
Thanks for listening. I love you guys. xoxo
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