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19 countries later and my "Wear the green dress!" era


6 min read

Jun 23



It has been a life time since I left my job. I've learned a million things and I have 2million more to learn. I started writing it all down, more of a diary to myself so I wouldn't forget these precious lessons. There's something so authentic about writing. There's possibly even some science towards writing things down to ensure they're engrained in your memory, which is what I'll continue to tell myself at least.

I've been to 19 countries in the past 8 months, and although I'm significantly poorer in ££ I'm hugely wealthier in terms of knowledge. If anyone reading this is worried about whether to take the leap or not - stop thinking and go.

With every country I have visited brings a new challenge and nothing brings a new challenge like trying to make friends in a city full of settled people. Toronto is not like Costa Rica or Vietnam, it's not full of holiday makers hanging out on the beach or lonely at a bar with "talk to me" written on their forehead. This would take a extra leap outside of the comfort zone to make friends. Not only being overwhelmed with loneliness and a lack of friends, the pressure of looking for a job with zero connections, trying to remain sane when there's 75,000 hours in a day makes it all the more difficult. I got so obsessed with the need of getting a job, I forgot how much I need human connection. After 5 days without speaking to another human begin (in person), I had a really dark day. I woke up in the morning a mess... I don't need to go into the manifestation piece again but after waking up in a dark place I got 5 job rejections that day;

Just kick me while I'm down.

I'm not the kind of person to not take action, but action is so much harder when you're in a bad place. I reached out to friends globally and they helped me get back on horse.

I need to fill my calendar up with things to do. There's a fine balance between the value of spending money to stay sane and not spending too much money so that I would beat myself up for it straight after in the fear that I will run out.

I went back to basics, I realised I can be anyone here, the new friends I'm meeting have no expectations of me. So who do I want to be here? What do I love doing? What kind of people did I want in my life? What would I have most in common with people?

One of my goals for 2024 was to perform in public again, and not drunkenly at karaoke, actually perform so I took up singing lessons again back around Christmas time with I was in the UK. My singing teacher / singing therapist made me realise my fear of singing came from me being a perfectionist. I am an okay singer but I'm aware I'm far from perfect. So why would I perform when I knew I would make so many mistakes? Dee said to me "but can't you just perform because it makes you feel good?

Can't you just do it for you, rather than for everyone else?".

I reached out in a Toronto Musicians Connect group and explained I'm very nervous I need a safe space to perform and practice while I figure out who I am as a singer and anyway, how could I possible expect to get better without practice? I went along to an open mic night, the first song was a disaster but I cannot tell you how much I didn't care. I know NOONE here, I just laughed it off and although it wasn't a great performance I just LOVED doing it. I did it for me, not them. I performed another song now the nerves were gone, I had this feeling in my gut I needed to sing The Foo Fighters - The Best of You. Now, if you've not heard me sing before, this song would not suit my voice at all but something in the pit of my stomach was desperate to perform it. The audience were up, singing along, arms in the air, and cheering.

It wasn't about being perfect, it was just about doing what I loved

Let's remember the Vietnamese lessons we learned: Perfectionists never deliver. How could I expect to achieve my goal if I was expecting to be perfect? And realistically the better you get at just about anything the more you learn about how far you have to go. I'm never going to be a perfect singer, and never singing again isn't an option.

Skip to the end of the week and now I'm in a band, and as a side note, one of the guys in the band just so happens to be in my field of work and has introduced me to around 10 new people. I've got a lead out of every single one of the people I've spoken with and I'm on 3rd round interviews at one of the places he put me in touch with. I was so much more fulfilled and I got 3 more interviews after that.

My manifestation angel is rolling her eyes at me right now

I meet a random friendly girl from Facebook to go to the beach with, we end up at a house party, every single one of them are musicians - not something I knew before arriving. What are the chances?! I'm really starting to believe "the energy you put out is the energy you attract". Imagine a house party where everyone can sing or play guitar and everyone is just drinking, chilling and jamming. The old me would have been completely petrified. They're so much more experienced than I am as a musician, I would have refused to join in. It was a safe space for me to explore what I want, what I can do, what kind of music suits me. The most encouraging, inspiring space. And at the end of the day, if it was a disaster, I never had to see these people again if I didn't want to!

I'm on an inspiration high, it's magical.

Last week, I met a friend I used to work with for lunch and a walk, she was talking to me about Taylor Swift concerts and sparkly red jumpsuits. She apologised for being obsessed with this jumpsuit, "I must sound mad".

"No, actually you dont. I have 5 different versions of the same type of dress at home because I have a dream about this gorgeous green silk dress and every time I see a version of it, I buy it even if I have no occasion"

"Did you bring it to Canada?"

"Of course, if by some miracle someone invites me somewhere fancy like a wedding or something, I want to be able to wear it! I've owned 2 of them for over a year and they still have the tags on"

"WHAT?! How can you not have worn it?!"

"I've been travelling the world, my wardrobe is trackie bottoms, sports bras and hoodies. Also, there have been no special occasions anyway"

"Just put a jacket over and some trainers and just wear it! How can you leave it in the wardrobe?!"



She's right, this stunning green dress is being wasted. It needs to be shown off. But I'm a jeans person, or shorts, I don't even like wearing skirts. How on earth an I going to pull this off?! Go back to basics, do you want to be a jeans person or do you want to be the person who wears the green dress with trainers? Yes? Then just wear the green dress.

I'm not talking about green dresses

I also went to a Women's Entrepreneur Meet up event last week. I met some incredible people. One of the things that stuck with me was someone saying "wow, with your energy you must draw in so many people. It must be hard for you to filter out all the people who don't serve you". Well that hit me like a ton of bricks. And when a 4 year old forgets your name and calls you Joy from "Inside Out" you remember what you stand for, your values, more of who you are and who you want to be.

I've only been in a Canada for 3 weeks by traditional calendar weeks and approximately 9 years according to the anxiety calendar years - I've learned a million things already. Life is too short to waste is not doing the things you love doing, to not make steps every single day towards becoming the person you want to be or towards your dreams and goals.

So perform the damn song, meet the strangers, start a band, and wear the green dress



6 min read

Jun 23



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