“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

 Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

The year is 2017, and my 6-year relationship is on the verge of ending.

Sean and I were living in Upstate New York at the time, I just finished my Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, and my definition of success was to land the high paying job in NY because I worked SO HARD in the previous two years.

From the beginning of Sean and I’s relationship, the precedent was set that Sean would be traveling to Thailand to compete in his passion for Muay Thai. When we first started dating, we tried to hold off our relationship for the fact that Sean was leaving on a six-month journey to Thailand and China.

That trip turned into one month because he missed me so much. When he returned, we immediately moved in together.

Flash Forward 6 Years…

and Sean’s yearly stints of leaving the USA to travel to Thailand started making me resentful. I finally had the home base I always dreamed of, completed my B.A. Degree like my family told me too, but I was genuinely struggling with feelings of insignificance and disempowerment.

At the stem of this pain was one truth:

I was defining my meaning of success from what I heard I was SUPPOSED to do my entire life.

From my parents and grandparents. To then being caught up in the structure of University and surrounded by the many “drifters” that reside in it. I was lost in search of my true identity.

I was self-sabotaging BADLY. This started at an early age, from smoking cigarettes to day-drinking alone and attention seeking, or rather, ATTENTION FEENING.

Everything I was doing was pushing me deeper into this BELIEF:

“This is all I deserve.”

& that’s a hard mindset to get out of.

Of course, I’m scared as shit to tell you this, but I need to be honest if I’m going to help anyone. For a long time, I prided myself on being the most productive “hot mess” you could be.

But in reality, I’ve been numbing myself from the pain of not answering my soul’s calling.

The pull I’ve felt for years to help and empower as many people as I can. To aid in their reality check of life as it currently is, and transform their mindset to say FUCK YES to being happy, is what I feel called to do.

At the end of the day, happiness is a choice.

As someone who suffers from depression, is Manic Depressive and has a lineage of Depression, I don’t take that statement lightly.

When I made the decision to move to Thailand in 2018, there was SO much healing that needed to happen. I needed to love myself again, but most importantly, FORGIVE myself again. I needed to trust in myself, in my husband and in the move BLINDLY If I ever dreamed of genuinely seeing my divine purpose on this planet.

I knew leaving my hometown and starting fresh (yet again!) was what I needed to do.

On the plane ride over my entire nervous system was in shock.

Fortunately, I was teaching English to Chinese students online at the time, so I wasn’t stressed about the income part, I was more worried about never teaching yoga again.

“It’s just never going to happen.” I thought. “You can barely get one person to show for your yoga class in New York, what the actual fuck makes you think you can do this abroad?”

My head slumped down on the window of the airplane, as a tear rolled down my cheek.

Fast forward the second most terrible 48 hours of my life, we had brought our dog on this trip, and my stress levels were through the roof!
I mean, how could they not be?

I’m moving to the other side of the globe, putting my poor dog in cargo for the second time in her life and I have no fucking idea how I’m going to step into my soul’s calling and design a way to make this life purposeful!?!?@#$%!

Yet, this is the resistance showing its face amid real, everlasting change. Going from depressed to happy doesn’t happen in one night, let alone one year! It’s a constant battle to see over emotion and not allow feelings to get in the way of the work.

My life’s work.

As Author Paulo Cuehlo writes in The Alchemist,
“The darkest hour of the night came just before the dawn.”
This quote has always seemed to ring true, even in my darkest moments.

There is always light to be found, even in the moments we simply cannot believe it.

After about two days of arriving at Koh Phangan, Thailand,
I got asked to be the head yoga instructor at Diamond Muay Thai gym.
And what was even better?
My classes started having a REAL impact on people. All because I finally was able to show up as my MOST AUTHENTIC SELF and create a space that invited as many people as possible.
My power? Is in my VOICE.

My most authentic self-expression is what allows others to feel safe and strong.
Enough for them to find the strength to express themselves fully.

I was not happy in my space in New York, where living in Thailand has supported my transformation.

I realize my stance on transforming your life comes from a place of having the support in this crazy dream. Without my overly optimistic husband, I’m sure my realistic attitude could have talked me out of this a long time ago.

I decided to ask two Digital Nomads currently living on Koh Phangan, how they felt before taking the leap, and how it has turned out thus far.

Alexander De Wilde, 26, was on the way to a grappling session with his training partner in Belgium. Alex asked his friend how he ended up leaving Poland and living in Belgium. With 400 euros in his bank account, he realized that not having the money in his bank account was a shitty excuse not to travel.

When we are ready to take big leaps like move or travel, we need to have that blind trust that although the money is not there now to support, because it rarely will be, you must TRUST and make the leap towards your growth, ANYWAYS.

This gave De Wilde the light bulb.

While working on his book, The Year of the Alpha, De Wilde made the leap and moved to Koh Phangan in March 2019.

“I didn’t have a fear of Being a Digital Nomad,” De Wilde said. “My biggest problem was self-sabotage. It was like I didn’t love myself enough to get what I really wanted. I was in a state of rejecting myself and success.”

How often does this fear-based mindset take the wheel? In a digital age where anything seems possible, it can often be challenging to make that first decision.

“The main thing is to change one thing at a time,” De Wilde said. “I beat depression and suicidal tendencies first. After that, I started to improve my mindset, and then I started setting goals. It’s all about taking it step by step, and it doesn’t matter where you start. What matters is that you start.

Julia Gao Miller, 23, has been living on Koh Phangan since January 1, 2019. After realizing her online ventures had earned her enough money to get by in New Jersey, she had the Aha Moment!

“I had already traveled to Thailand a couple years before with Paul Banasiak’s group, so I knew roughly what the cost of living was over there; I realized that “barely scraping by” on the East coast in the states could basically last me 3 months in Thailand!”

With already having a background in Coding and Web Development, Miller grew her following on Instagram upwards of 12k and realized how in demand Social Media Managers truly are.

“Someone sent me an advertisement from a gym in Pattaya, Thailand, who was looking for a social media manager; The gym was even willing to get a work visa to get an experienced person to manage their social media!” Miller said.

From there, she gained the confidence to approach gyms in Thailand in exchange for her social media marketing and web development skills. Today, she is sponsored by Diamond Muay Thai Gym as she continues to grow their platform and her own.

Maybe, you’re thinking, “But, I don’t have the online background skills that Julia has, I will never be able to make a living online.”

Here’s Julia’s tidbit on where to start:

“If you want to be a digital nomad, I’d say start connecting with other digital nomads! Find out where they congregate in your local area like co-working spaces or hip coffee shops. Connect with them online and start building your online personal brand. That’s always useful!”

Myself, Alex and Julia all agree:

Your first step: Get crystal clear on what you want.

When we settle into our comfortable lifestyles it is often because we struggle to face the pain of our reality.

Ask yourself, what lifestyle do you dream of?


What one step will you take today that will draw you closer to your dream life? Let me know in the comments below!

Liz Fagan

Author Liz Fagan

More posts by Liz Fagan