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A New Age Success Story: From Booked And Busy To Casual And Carefree

By Travel Noire

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Written by: Shirea L. Carroll

Success is measured exactly how we define it. Subsequently, how we define it determines our journey to obtain it. If you measure your success by money, you will spend your life chasing it. Measure your success by career accomplishments, and you’ll find yourself on a ladder you can’t get off of. I realized that if I wanted to obtain success in the way in which I dreamed of, I would need to define it more simply – and that’s exactly what I did. Peep game.

It all started in 2014 when I was working as an online editorial director of a very popular women’s lifestyle magazine. Thinking like many of us do after working hard 9-5 that I deserved a vacation. Using tripit.com and friends and family recommendations, I planned an overseas trip to Paris to celebrate a milestone birthday – solo. It should be noted that I had spent the previous two years getting very comfortable doing things by myself…movies, dinner, domestic travel, nightlife – all by my lonesome. I had learned to enjoy my own company and felt completely confident booking a trip to France for 10 days with hopes to change my life or at least change the look of my closet. 

What I didn’t expect was the word “change” to be such an understatement. In a matter of 10 days, in between tasting the best hot chocolate ever at  L’Angélique Cafe, picking up my jaw viewing the epic “Wedding at Cana,” at the Louvre, and partying to Tupac with friends from Greece on a balcony in the South Pigalle  – this trip brought on complete evolution. However, it was the moment I visited Paris’ notorious landmark – the Eiffel Tower that I knew like Drake said – nothing was the same. 

I don’t know if was being 100 ft away from a symbol so iconic, so grand, so epic that made me realize I hadn’t really been living. They do say Paris is “magical,” and right in that period of time me, myself, and my selfie stick experienced a true viola moment! I felt open, alive, and overwhelming curious to what else in this big ole’ world would make me feel this surreal. Just like that I got bitten by the travel bug, and experienced what it was like to put a filter on my life – and I wasn’t trying to go back to looking at a plain picture. No more hustling in the entertainment business to stay booked and busy, I knew that success needed to be simply defined. If it fulfilled my soul while my mind expanded – nothing else really mattered.

Fast forward five years, 20+ passport stamps, and two senior-level six-figure positions later, and I find myself writing this love letter to travel with a smile on my face. I’m sitting in Bangkok’s immigration office extending my resident visa for another 90 days, after living here for three months, holding the hand of the love of my life. Cheesing because I realized I am successfully living the life I envisioned for myself five years ago standing in front of the Eiffel tower.

And yes, considering Bangkok is the Asian New York, nothing is particularly easy about acclimating yourself in this super city. However, even with all the challenges, smells, spicy foods, and mosquito bites, I feel that same magical moment from Paris, but on the daily. My journey has gone from foie gras to pad thai, and although I’m not interviewing today’s hottest celebrity I’m feeling even more accomplished than when I was.  My decision to travel and ultimately leave the United States  indefinitely was actually the first time living life on my own terms and not the way we are socialized it is “supposed to go.” Living my life doing less, but experiencing much more. This was the first step in embracing simple success. Am I healthy? Am I happy? Surrounded by love? Is my soul full? Am I procuring knowledge? Helping others? Yes, yes, and yes! Now that’s a success story.

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