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Yes, the rumors are true. I quit my job, left my entire life behind and moved to Japan to begin living the life I've only ever dreamed of. It's been over a month since I last posted on here [ my apologies for the delay.] I needed some time away from the public eye to process and absorb my new environment and lifestyle. I'm looking forward to bringing you guys along the ride with me. Let's get right into some of the questions I've been asked.

Why Japan?

Truth is, I didn't really choose Japan, it chose me. I knew I wanted [pretty much HAD to] move by March 2018, and I was really sick of New York. I was conisdering Atlanta or Los Angeles but I felt like I'd pretty much just be taking the life I was living in NY and moving it to a different state, just with warmer weather. I'd still have to get a job to pay my rent and monthly expenses and put my real passion on the backburner. I knew that's not what I wanted to do [more on that later.] At the same time I realized I had to make this move in March, my cousin from Japan was visiting the family in NY/NJ and her dad [my uncle] insisted I would be welcome to stay with them in Japan at any time. Then, my mind started running wild about all the possibilities and opportunities. I've always dreamt of traveling far and wide and living overseas although, where I come from that's pretty far fetched. I never doubted that it would happen, I just had to realize at that moment that this was God placing the opportunity right in front of my face and I'd be a fool to let it pass me by.

Prior to the decision, I didn't know much about Japan. I was never really into anime [besides Pokemon of course], Japanese food, or culture. Not consciously at least. Sure I love sushi and BAPE but once the idea of moving to Japan was presented to me, I took it upon myself to learn more about the culture so it wouldn't be such a shock when I arrived [stay tuned for an upcoming blog post with more on the Japanese culture.] I then realized I was already more in tune with Japanese culture than I thought. Especially fashion wise. I could never pin-point my personal sense of style and inspiration, it always just came naturally to me but when I came to Japan it truly felt like my style was a perfect fit for this place. Not to mention Japan is a very advanced yet systematic society with great food, beautiful views, and the culture has so much to offer and learn from.

 Was I scared to quit my job and leave my entire life behind?

Yes and no, but mostly no. I was lucky enough to land an amazing position 6 months after graduating college as a Product Developer in the sunglass department of an international wholesale company; this was directly related to my B.S. in Fashion Merchandising/Marketing degree so it made me feel good that I'm not in thousands of dollars in debt for no reason. I had a decent starting salary with benefits and I worked in a truly amazing company with coworkers who I built strong bonds with. Not to mention we were located right in the heart of the fashion district of Manhattan on 5th Ave. My job was the perfect mixture of creativity +  business and the company was laid back and very accomodating to your personal life if necessary. However, at the end of the day it was still just a job. As much as I loved what I did,  the people I worked with, and the knowledge and experience I gained, I still had to wake up at the same time every day and be there for 8.5 hours. I still had to answer to someone else. I still had to live paycheck to paycheck because after taxes, medical insurance and travel expenses were taken out from my paychecks I barely had enough left to save, pay rent, bills and feed myself (let alone pay off my student loans). And that is exactly the way I DON'T want to live my life.

 Moral of the story is as much as I loved my job, that wasn't reason enough for me to give up the opportunity to fulfill my purpose and go to Japan. I want to devote my life to my own dream, not somebody else's. I gave my boss a month's notice and they all took it much better than I expected. Everyone was SO happy for me to make such a big move and I think it made us all realize how much we appreciated eachother as people - inside and outside of work. I interviewed a bunch of people to fill my position and then trained the new hire, which was a learning experience as well. I still keep in contact with many people from the company, even my boss follows me on Instagram, haha.

Aside from my job, I really didn't have anything else holding me back from making such a drastic change. My mom was planning to move from NY to Florida the same time I was planning on leaving. My friends are back home trying to build their own future. I was not in a relationship [rare], nor did I have kids [which is also really rare where I come from.] So I thought, "Why the hell not?!"

How did I manage financially?

I came to Japan with only a small amount of savings and a lot of hunger to succeed. I bought a one way ticket which wasn't that expensive and I created a financial plan to help minimize my monthly expenses and bring in some extra income.

I gave up my room in my apartment so my brother and his family could live comfortably there [ cross rent off the list. ] I drove my car down to Florida with most of my belongings to stay with my mom and best friend if I ever decide to go back. I fully own my car - I didn't lease or finance for this exact reason. I am actually trying to sell my car now so that will be even more money in my pocket and I won't have to pay my monthly insurance. I paid my cell phone off in full so that my monthly bill will only be the cost of the plan. I canceled any unnecessary subscriptions. I sold a lot of my unwanted belongings such as my bed. my T.V., a bunch of clothes and shoes and I split the money into my savings and checking accounts.

Money rules the world, this is not news. However, if you aren't super careful it can rule you, too. Most people I talk to about my situation always use their bills or money as an excuses as to why they "could never" make the move I made. Pardon my language, but that is pure BULL SHIT. That's the catch, money was made to keep us imprisoned. To keep us stuck. To keep us working. Most people are too lazy to think outside the box and rather stick to the beaten path and work a 9-5, enjoy their life on the weekends and retire after 65. I'd honestly rather die than live a life like that, therefore I'm not letting a few bills or even debt keep me from living the life I want. There's plenty of money out there for all of us, you just gotta claim it.

If you make excuses, you'll never find a way but if you make a way, everything else can be figured out along the way. I'm not saying it's smart to just break your rental lease and run from your loan payments and phone bill. All I'm saying is that you can formulate an effective plan that will allow you to live below your means financially and still make a huge move to living a more meaningful life.   After all, I value experiences more than I value material things so it wasn't a big deal for me to give up so much to be able to move to another country.

How am I making a life for myself in Japan?

The main reason I made the decision to come here was to pursue a life of freedom and wealth, to not ever have to work for someone else's dream again. With that being said, the day after I arrived in Okinawa, Japan my uncle put me in contact with one of his friends in the area who is an entrepreneur himself and has many great connections in the nightlife, music and arts scene here. We immediately clicked and began working together. He has been managing me and helping me polish my services as a creative entrepreneur. He constantly brings me new clients and we work with a team that functions as a small scale corporation. We are all teaching and learning from eachother. I have been focusing on building my business as a creative; offering services in graphic design, photography, personal styling, marketing/social media management. I am making more than enough money from my gigs and clients to live a comfortable life here and I expect to have my own apartment and car soon.

I didn't come here with the expectations to start making money this soon, but I am so blessed to be given the opportunities I have been given. It's almost as if all I had to do was step outside my comfrt zone and as soon as I did, God was like "Great job, you passed the test. Now here is everything you've been praying for." Don't get me wrong, it's not all sweet and dandy all the time. Entrepreneurship has been the most stressful and challenging journeys I've embarked on thus far, but its a good stress. The feeling is so fulfilling, so I don't doubt my decision even for a split second. I know this is what I'm menat to do.

What made me make the final decision to embark on this big move?

It's simple really. I needed a change and I was presented with the opportunity. I've always said I wanted to travel the world and live in different countries for some time. It used to seem like a vague dream in the distance, so I had to realize that this was the perfect time to make it happen. I pretty much come from nothing, man. I've lived in the projects several times, in roach infested apartments, constantly hopping from one family member's couch to another my whole life. My mom busted her ass to keep me and my brother fed and cared for. I've been workig since I was 14 years old to help ease the load off my mom and take care of myself. I had to grow up at an extremely young age, and coming from NY I was taught to hustle at a young age as well. Gratefully, being a female I didn't have to hustle and do the dirty work that most boys were exposed to. But I did learn from everything I saw and I used the same techniques and mentality they have in the streets and applied it to education and business. I made sure I did well in school and got a college degree with Honors. I made sure I was always learning new things outside of school, doing my own research, teaching myself new skills, and now it was time for me to find a way to make a living off of everything I learned. A change of environment was necessary because being in a place of comfort, with people I've known my whole life was not providing me with the motivation or energy I need to go at this full force.

As someone who values human relationships more than anything else in life and always prioritizes them, I really wanted to take this time to go down a different route. An unfamiliar one. Devote all my time, money, and effort into myself for once. Stay away from commitment for a while [which has helped me gain SO much clarity - wow this post is giving me so many ideas for future topics haha] and just follow my truest passions - to travel, to create, to inspire.

In conclusion, quitting my job and mvoing to Japan has been the best decision I've ever made. I will never hesitate on any of my goals or dreams again after seeing how rewarding it is to just take the leap and I really hope you guys can learn to do the same. 

Stay tuned for more upcoming posts on my experiences in Japan so far!

Photography by Nona

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