Breaking Free for a Life on the Beach

Two years ago I never would have imagined that I would be sharing the intimate details of my bikini-clad life on a deserted Caribbean beach.

I had barely traveled….worked four jobs in Seattle…and was far from happy. As a high-earning, project manager at 24—with my own freelance design business, a successful boyfriend, a beautiful apartment, and a nice car—my life sounded pretty wonderful on paper.

But I felt unfulfilled.

Then one day it all changed.

My cushy project management position—the bread and butter of the high-income lifestyle to which I had become accustomed—suddenly disappeared. It was the push I needed to start changing my life.

At the same time my best friend, a food blogger, received a contract to write her first book. The two of us decided to move abroad for a few months while she wrote and I learned the art of relaxation in a small Caribbean surf town in Costa Rica called Puerto Viejo.

That trip changed my life.

Simple tasks like acquiring clean drinking water were an adventure. My modes of transportation were my sand-covered feet and my rusty bicycle. Designer clothing I packed quickly deteriorated in the tropical climate and I stopped straightening my hair.

I befriended people who couldn’t care less about my career or education…but wanted to know instead about my personal interests, the places I had traveled, and the places I longed to know. I took long walks on deserted beaches, read novels, practiced yoga, cooked healthy meals, stared at the stars, swung in my hammock and listened to the sounds of the jungle.

I bought nothing because I needed nothing…other than a bikini, coconut water, and the turquoise ocean. All that I wanted was freedom and the feel of the Earth under my bare feet.

When I returned to the U.S. I sold nearly everything I owned and continued to travel. To Mexico, Belize, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Panama, Colombia, Nicaragua, and finally back to Costa Rica.

I fell in love with the excitement, exploration, and liberation of a nomadic lifestyle. I began to wonder if travel could become more than a hobby for me. I wondered if it could become my business. I wondered if it could become my life. As a result I let go of my design career and pursued a different dream instead.

I started writing This American Girl last November with the intention of creating a travel lifestyle blog that valued experiences over possessions. I wanted to create something that inspired people to follow their dreams. I wanted to remind people that most limitations are self-imposed. I remind myself of this daily as I continue to travel the world.

My readers often ask how I am able to fund my life abroad. While making money from my blog was something that once seemed impossible, I am now regularly contacted and contracted for writing assignments that have enabled me to keep traveling.

I write these articles from hammocks on tropical islands without cars, in jungle cafes, on lakefront docks in quaint fishing villages, and today I am writing to you from the beautiful colonial city of Granada in Nicaragua.

The more I continue to follow this path of traveling and writing, the more I realize that everything

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