then ⊹ now
It took me years of "wingin' it" to figure out how to work completely online to sustain the lifestyle I was living. I did the whole college route because, well, i just thought that's what i *had* to do. In 2015 I graduated from UCLA with a bachelors of arts in anthropology and a fire in my heart to travel the world.... just no idea on how to *actually* be an anthropologist... and *who* even hires one?
A few months later I found myself with a one way ticket to the hawaiian island of O'ahu... which I proceed to call home for the next two:ish years. I was doing kombucha demos at a local health food store, serving up kale bowls at a health cafe + cleaning a local yoga studio for a free membership. O'ahu was incredible, but every single month I was spending more money on rent + food costs than what I was making.
In 2016 I left the island to travel to baja mexico for my 200 hr. yoga teacher training. "p e r f e c t", I thought.... "I'll be a yoga teacher, travel around the world + host retreats". mmmhm. That was until i remember during my final exam (which is teaching a class) how much I haaaaate public speaking. I'll continue being the student in yoga, thanks.
My friend whom I did the training with ventured off to Tulum, and I flew back to O'ahu because my budget didn't allow extra flights, air bnbs and extended travel through mexico... especially after dishing out a few thousand for the training. Didn't know much about Tulum but I liked what she was telling me about it.... (side note: turns I had a photo saved on my pinterest for yeeeeears of cenote ik kil.)
I lived on O'ahu for another year and finally packed my bag and left island Jan 2017. I sold my car and was sitting on about $10,000 to travel around with. and so the budget travel begins...
first stop: tulum (i got to ik kil),
then across the pond to: iceland,
england (the birth place of this website!),
au pair: switzerland,
a $17 flight to: spain,
social media management + chef: portugal,
bundled up in: ireland + denmark,
back home for a quick visit,
then to costa rica,
back home and broke in june 2017....
oh shit. even with my £10 budget a day for food in london (hello, indian food buffet on the daily) and €20 hostels a night... ya girl still ran out of money and much faster that I had wished for.
After returning home from my this first round of solo travels I promised myself that I would be self employed for the rest of my life. I knew that I needed freedom to travel and work from anywhere in the world, on my own schedule, and have enough money coming through to support this lifestyle that I so badly desired - i had to figure it out.
This summer (and onward) I started doing paid content creation for companies. It was fun and creative and it felt good to have the time + location flexibility to travel. b i n g o, I was getting a taste of the type of freedom that was a non-negotiable in my life. It felt good. I was able to save up a few thousand and found a cheap flight to Sydney, Australia for September (under $200... google flights, y'all).
Australia was expensive and my friend and I were struggling to get a van with our (combined) limited budget... so after about a month in aussie land we got a one way flight to Bali.
OK, THIS IS WHERE THINGS REALLY START TO GET MOVING INSIDE MY HEART.
I completely fell in love with Bali and ended up staying there 7 months.
A friend I had connected with in Portugal had posted on his facebook (the first month of me being in Bali) that he was planning to open up a coworking spot in cangguu (a surf town on the coast of bali) and needed someone there to help with interior design, home renovation projects and social media.
so that's what I did.
I didn't get paid, but I did have a beautiful space to live for free and everything else in Bali is cheap. I was livin' like a queen on my few thousands in my bank.
During that time I also traveled to a few different islands within Indonesia, Malaysia (gotta love the visa runs....), Thailand with a best friend from college, and a month long surf trip in The Philippines with some of my best friends from O'ahu.
Spring of 2018 I was back home at my parents in Los Angeles again.... this summer was rough.
I struggled emotionally, physically + financially.
My body was very sick from my time abroad (I kept getting Bali belly and had some parasites). On top of all this, stress was definitely getting to me.
I just wanted to be back in Bali.
I wanted lasting financial freedom.
I wanted money to free me instead of restrict me.
It was this summer that I took my first step into the realm of online entrepreneurship. I invested about $8,000 (on a credit card, because ya girl had no cash on hand) into starting my very own sustainability brand! cue: bumi box.
I had no experience, or business (no pun intended), starting a company of my own. I developed the idea, designed the products, found manufactures, did all the legal stuff, built the website, designed the logos, managed the social media, bought the product, packed + shipped the orders. It was a lot of work and not so much pay.
You see, I was working with low ticket items meaning when i'd get an order it would be for $48 minus the processing fees + what it cost me to make it.
I was in debt for the first time in my life, but that didn't scare me too much. It felt really good to put myself out there, try something that scared the shit out of me + start building a future for myself.
This summer I continued my social media content creation + management with clients, walked dogs, nannied and even signed up to collect those rentable scooters (birds) and charge them at night. lol, i was hustling - but i always felt like it wasn't enough.
I knew that I was going be home for a bit getting my life together so I managed to save up $1,000 and bought myself a 20 year old green saturn hatchback to drive around in. If you told me that just three years later i'd be buying a tesla paid in full, I would have NEVER of believed you...
I met my boyfriend this summer and my little bit of travel fund cash was going towards flights to florida (not my first travel destination, but that's where he lived) - I even had to miss a trip to Greece and Morocco with my best friends this summer because I couldn't afford to go.... shit!! Something seriously needed to change.
My boyfriend and I did quite a bit of road trips together and soon started talking about the idea of moving to hawaii together. I was feeling excited about getting out of my parents house and having a home base of my own again. I kept it cool, and naturally always dream big, but realistically, I needed to get my financial situation floooowing.
Having the wanderlust heart that I do (and some penny saving qualities from my great grandma) i'm always on google flights looking for deals. Well, I found some very cheap roundtrip flights to Bali for March of 2019 and after a lot of convincing to my boyfriend he said ok to the spontaneous travels.
It definitely felt like that was the "irresponsible" decision at the time, but as they say....
Y O L O.
A friend of mine was hosting a yoga retreat in Bali during March and invited me to attend and shoot the event. This retreat was the start of my new life manifesting right before my eyes. Strangely (to some), money was what came through so strongly this entire time. We were asked to journal about what we wanted to release for a puja fire ceremony. I didn't know we were reading these out loud to the group so I got really raw and real. I almost had a mini panick attack when we were sitting around the fire and I found out we were sharing... I felt so fucking vulnerable. I released my negative relationship with money, thinking it was evil and only held me back in life. I forgave my family for all the arguments and fights around it growing up. I let go of the identity of being broke. I was ready for a fucking change. I was at my low point in life. I couldn't do this anymore.
I read it out loud - AHO - and threw the note into the fire watching it burn.
My best friends had returned back to their home in Bali after their Greece and Morocco travels and we're already planning a business trip to London in the coming weeks. I was staying with them during my time in Bali and I couldn't believe how quickly their lives had changed. They had invested in a water ionizer and we're using affiliate marketing to earn commission on sharing this line of products with others + making sales.
Selling water machines? How boring does that sound?! Right, that's what I thought.
...and who would even buy these machines from me?
Turns out a lot of people want access to some of the worlds best water + this incredible business opportunity. I finally saw how this was so much more than selling. This was an opportunity to build a profitable business of my own, promoting a product that aligned with my passion for sustainability. I could help people heal + break free from the system they are currently in. I loved that the product was built to last over 20 years and helped people go green in their homes and approach a healthier lifestyle. On top of all this, the compensation plan was like nothing I had ever seen before. With the possibility of earning over $1,000 on my first sale & opening up passive + residual income.
I could quite literally pay off my bumi box credit card in less than 8 sales...
I came home to LA and purchased my machine the day I got back.
this was truly the catalyst to the freedom I was so deeply seeking in life.
so that was then...
& THIS IS NOW
I am eternally grateful for saying yes to this, and taking a one in a lifetime chance.
I now have a team of over 500 individuals that I have helped get access to cleaner water in their home and start a business with.
I have moved into my dream house on the sweet and slow garden island of Kaua'i. I have furnished my home with handmade custom local furniture.
I spend my days tending my garden and orchard of 100+ organic fruit trees, surfing, walking my pup on the bluffs, skateboarding, and creating pottery.
I've been able to donate money to organizations I believe in and help my beloveds out in times of need without having to think twice about taking care of my rents, bills, etc. first.
I have continued to travel + finally got myself to Greece. I called it my month long solo honeymoon ;).
I've helped my mom financially by setting her up in this business strategically where over $100,000 in commission has gone to her passively.
I have built a close knit and supportive community of entrepreneurs all over the world (most of them being women!). I have continued to devote energy + time into a platform (KYW CO.) that teaches you how to duplicate what i've done with this business.
+ I put my heart and soul into it.
+ I sacrificed my time at the beginning knowing that I was setting myself up for the future.
+ I told myself that failure was not an option.
+ I understood that the day you plant the seed, isn't the day you get to enjoy the fruit.
+ I continued to take messy, imperfect action
and put myself out there, even when i didn't feel ready or qualified or confident.
+ I built trust with my audience and consistently showed up on my social media sharing my excitement for these products + business.
I will continue to do this for many, many more moons.
This work feels aligned with every aspect of what I believe to be an "ideal job". It has continuously lit a fire within me and laid out a path for me to keep moving forward.
If you've made it this far,
thank you. I love you. and I hope that you know you deserve whatever it is you desire in life.
keep the vision alive.
let your heart lead the way, always.
+ know your why.