I started dreaming about moving abroad when I was about 21 years old. I remember returning from a two-week study abroad trip to Dublin, Ireland having my eyes and mind wide open to the possibility of living overseas. This new travel passion was intensified after graduating from college in 2016, and going on a group trip to Italy. I was intoxicated by my love for Italy. It's hands down my favorite place. However, my post-grad life was one twist and turn after the next. I'm sure you can relate.
The pressure to find a "real job," start my career, launch a business, date, make new friends, move to a new city, and so on. I felt this immense internal pressure to be settled and have my life nice and neat. Honestly, It was anything but. Any time I talked about travelling, I was usually met with questions such as: "What are running from?" Or projections such as "That's so expensive," "Sounds dangerous," or even "You probably haven't found someone cause you travel too much." Ouch, that last one hurt the most.
All of these comments made me hesitant and afraid towards taking the leap. The opinions of others seeped into my mind causing me to think that maybe I didn't have what it takes, and that I would end up broke and homeless in the middle of some remote region. However, there are some dreams I just can't shake. Obviously, the pandemic halted my travel plans, but if we're being honest, I was afraid of the nomadic lifestlye long before 2020.
After being laid off twice, and paying off my student loans, I felt peace and alignment to make this dream a reality. Now that I'm abroad, I'm thankful I did it in God's perfect timing for my life.
If you're ready to move abroad or simply head in the direction of travelling more, here are the steps I took. Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it, the time will pass anyway. So with that mindset, here are 5 things you can do to prepare for your move abroad.
My plans to move abroad got delayed on multiple occasions. But delayed does not mean denied. Looking back, each move set me up for something better. It's easy to want to chase our passions, and keep up with whatever is trending on social media. Yes, travel is one of my passions, but so is being financially stable. For a season, I focused on my financial life. I took side jobs to help me pay off debt, and developed discipline. You don't have to accomplish everything in one day. There is time. No rush, just diligent steps in the right direction. In the end, we'll all get to where we're supposed to be.
Save. Save. Save.
I know Instagram has conveyed that folks hastily quit their "corporate jobs to move abroad," and that's a cool story, but it's not mine. Take your time to save and create a strategy to move abroad. Identify what type of travel experience you want, and be open. Build out at least six months of an emergency savings, start a travel savings account, create a budget and stick to it. Tokyo will be just as amazing in 2022 or 2025. But do you know what's not fun? Not being able to afford basic life expenses. Save, sis.
Study. Study. Study.
Reading articles like this is a great start. I've taken free courses, read books, followed my favorite travel accounts, consumed blog post after blog post, and all the resources about moving abroad I could find. We are in the information age, so anything you want to find or know is literally at your fingertips.
Your Friends Ain’t Coming. Take Action Anyway.
Your life is yours, and that's it. This is your dream and vision, no one else's. Having a travel buddy, bae, or whatever else is great, but don't let that be the only thing holding you back. Now is a perfect time to live the life of your dreams. A meme was trending on Instagram recently, it said: "Your purpose ain't a conference call." The people who are supposed to be on the journey with you will come, but you have to take the first step. It's absolutely scary. I'm still processing the fact that I sold all my stuff to move abroad, but I did it.
Find Your Travel Crew.
Now, once abroad, there are plenty of resources to find like-minded people. Facebook groups and hashtags are great places to start. If you want to ease back into travelling, then finding a group trip through companies like Dipaways and Wind Collective are great places to start. Work up the confidence to talk to locals or book group tours. We're all looking for connection and friends out here, so remember you are not alone in your desires for community.
To follow along with my journey, check out my Digital Nomad Vlog #1: Saying Goodbye, Surfing, and Natural Hair below!In this video, I show y’all goodbyes from friends and family, an empty house/co-living tour, a morning surf trip, and what’s the heck I’m doing with my hair,...
Featured image by Getty Images
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
If the recurring strikes and scandals didn't give you an inkling of how seedy the entertainment industry can be, surely you can look to stories of former child stars whose fame of yesteryears can, at times, be a source of the conflict and inner turmoil they encounter today. While some child stars were able to keep riding the Hollywood wave to new levels and heights in a decades-spanning career, some found success occupying other lanes like retail, and some still look to the past as if it were yesterday with heavy regret due to the career that could have, or even should have, been.
Tiffany Evans' claim to fame happened early on in her childhood as her powerhouse vocals caught the attention of many during her time as a contestant on Star Search in 2003. At the time, she wasn't even 12, but she was racking up perfect scores with every performance, a competition first. Unsurprisingly, she scored a record deal shortly thereafter. Tiffany would go on to release her self-titled debut album in 2008 with singles like "I'm Grown" and perhaps her biggest hit, "Promise Ring," which featured Ciara. In 2005, she also had a minor role in the Tyler Perry film Diary of a Mad Black Woman.
Two decades later, Tiffany is now reminiscing on being able to spend her childhood years doing something she loved but regrettably having "nothing to show for it" as an adult, all due to greed and because the industry will either lift you up or spit you out.
Recently, an Instagram post published by The Neighborhood Talk shared a comment Tiffany left on the Instagram account @flyandfamousblackgirls regarding her experience with childhood fame. The post she commented on was a picture of herself from February 2003, when she appeared as a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The comment she left felt like an open letter to her inner child. In it, she recounted manipulation, missed opportunities, and abuse she encountered during that time.
"If I knew then what I know now I would have done things differently. I wish I could've changed so much that was going around this little girl. Everybody took from me. All of the hard earned money I made. The work I put in. They took from me, ruined some relationships in this business for me, squandered some opportunities that if you guys knew about it, you would've wanted to get it back in blood for me.
"I spent years doing something that I love, to become an adult and have nothing to show for it. It bothers my mental a lot some time. The ones who know the truth, really know... from a teenager to my adult years I went out looking for love in wrong places, was manipulated, and terribly abused."
Tiffany then expressed that her journey to where she's grown to since her time in the limelight brought her beauty that she has so much gratitude for. Since music will always be a priority for her, what she has been through doesn't stop her from wanting to see her career go further than it was allowed to go in the past.
Her comment continued, "Out of that kind of life I gained beautiful children, I met my soulmate but I really want to see what I worked so hard for all my childhood finally come to life! And I love music so I'm really working at it still y'all. I trust the Lord. Thank you for always rooting for me love y'all!"
"Please keep rooting for me." Tiffany ended her comment, prompting people to follow her music page. "we're dropping music together and some solo stuff soon too."
We're always rooting for you, Tiffany!
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Featured image by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images