Episode 123

Published on:

11th Oct 2023

123. Overcoming Limiting Beliefs, Breaking Societal Moulds & Imposter Syndrome | Alise Saunders, Digital Nomad Travel Blogger

Alise is a digital nomad who left her home country and full-time job behind to pursue a life of following her passions. In this episode, we talk about leaving her home country, selling almost everything she owned, and finding a home in new countries around the globe. We also dive into failures as a digital nomad, challenges of going against societal norms and expectations, and so much more that relates to the digital nomad lifestyle and mindset.

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Website: talesfromanuntamedsoul.com

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Hello and welcome to the Work Wealth and Travel podcast. I'm your host Nicole, aka Nomad, Neeks, and this podcast is the place to be if you are looking to start creating a lifestyle that you love from business, entrepreneurship, travel, starting and sustaining a digital nomad lifestyle, and of course making money online and investing.

We talk about all of it here, so let's dive into it.

 Alise, welcome to the Work Wealth and Travel podcast today. So you yourself are a digital nomad, a bookkeeper, life skills educator, entrepreneur, and warrior.

Before we dive in, I would love to hear more about your story, how you got started in your life and in your business, if that is part of your story and how you got to where you are today. So basically I was making a six figure salary in corporate America. And feeling very underwhelmed by what I thought all of that would entail, what it would mean for my life, right?

I thought suddenly reaching this precipice of my career, that somehow the sky would open up and angels would start singing and it would just, you know, be incredibly sexy and fun and exciting. It was just so unfulfilling and so I decided to leave that life, especially after I had gone through so many illnesses and been able to recover from them and decided to venture out on my own, starting my own bookkeeping business.

Which would allow me to live by my own moral code to really connect with the flow of what my body needed on a daily basis instead of just running myself into the ground, basically having no life. And so we moved into a tiny shoebox of an apartment. I left my career without a single client to start out with.

From there, it really was a progress of going through a trauma healing process in my life. It was a extended period of time and through that process, just really realizing I've built this successful bookkeeping company that's virtual. I can do this from anywhere in the world, and I was really feeling after.

Healing this trauma, experiencing permanent real healing that I wanted so much more for my life. I wanted to live, I wanted to experience, I wanted to feel alive. I really wanted to have the moment that I died, looking back and going, wow, I really lived my life on fire. And so at that point, I. Came up with this idea and this plan that I pitched to my husband.

We should sell everything. We should take everything we own, put it in our car, grab our two cats. You should retire early, and we need to go travel the world. And that's where we are. Wow, what a story. And first of all, I just need to say what a husband do you have. You're just like, I do. So all of a sudden, you know, we need to sell everything and you need to retire and we're gonna travel.

And he's like, yep, let's do it. Like what a great partner, first of all. He really is there. There. Was some hesitation, right? Like most people, he was like, oh, that's a great idea for when, right? Always the later moment in life, which is code for never. And he was like, oh, when I retire, that'll be a great plan.

And I was like, you know what? You could die before then. You could not be well enough to travel. There could be a million things between here and there that prevents us from taking this adventure. I was like, We, we have to do it now, right? There's, there's literally no time to waste in our life, so let's do it.

And he was like, you know what? You're right. We need to do it. Let's, let's put a plan together. And a few months later, we were on the road. I freaking love that. Just doing it. I totally agree. You know, if you say, yeah, when that is a later date in the future, that is literally never going to come. So I wanna ask you, because I was just earlier today speaking to somebody who, it was almost kind of end.

Ended up being a little bit like a mini coaching session because he was like, I really need to talk to you about becoming nomadic. He was in America and, and a lot of people are in this situation where, you know, he had a remote business that he had built for himself. He was an entrepreneur, he had a very successful business and.

He had the family in America, he had a dog. He had a home that he purchased that was going up in value, which was amazing. And he was like, you know, I love this other country in the world, but I am just too afraid. And it was so funny because he kept giving me, I. You know, like, oh, I have the home and I have the dog.

And I was like, these are all things in excuse of fear. And he knew it. He was like, I am just fearful. So what did that look like for you? Or were you maybe just like, Nope, I'm going full force and I'm not even thinking about it. And then what advice would you give to other people who are in the situation that I just described?

Years before we actually did this, we came up with a similar concept, not exact by any means. We came up with a similar concept. We actually had put a down payment on a sprinter van. We were going to do the whole van life type situation. We were gonna travel the country and the day that we were supposed to go pick it up.

My husband was like, I can't do it. I, I can't live in that small of a space with the cats with our stuff. He was like, I, I just can't do it. And honestly, I'm glad that we didn't do it. Then there I had not yet built my business. I had not left my job. There was a lot of things that were just Not really well thought out.

I was just still in the situation of I need to get out of this job. I am not well, I wanna go into nature, I wanna heal, I wanna get better. Right? And so it was just this knee jerk reaction of, to heck with everything, you know, we're just gonna go on the road. When we actually did it, it came from a significant place of power.

For us, right? We were both, we had thought it out. We had put the plans in place. I, through the process of going through the trauma healing process, I had so much clarity about my life, about myself, about what I wanted about. What my life purpose was, my heart connection, what I wanted to experience, like all of it was just clicking, right?

It was in such a proactive, powerful rather than reactive. I hate my life. Let's just, you know, chuck it all and, and it's just two totally different energies. Do. I think that if we had done it the first time, I'm sure everything would've been great and we would've had a really great time. Or you know, as much as I now know that my husband hates tight spaces, we may not be married.

So it probably was a really good thing that we did. But my advice to people because, When we did set out, when we actually did do it, there was a little fear, uncertainty, but it was more of that excited energy of starting this adventure and being excited and, oh my gosh, what's it really gonna be like?

I didn't have a lot of fears. I was like, yes, let's go. I'm so excited. Right. Is. To communicate to people that the belief that anything is possible is so important, and when you believe that anything is possible, then it is possible for you to create and dream any life. For yourself and to make that happen.

Start with the end game in mind. What is it that you're dreaming of? What are you fantasizing? What are you manifesting? What does that life look like? What does it feel like? Right. What experiences are you having? And then work your way back to present day and start putting those plans in place. And the people that I work with that want this life and want to get on the road and have the digital nomad life, that's the biggest key I think for them, is having them envision that and then coming back to present day and start just.

Every single day, chipping away at those steps. Look at those limiting beliefs, look at those fears, work through those, and eventually you get to that point where you've worked through all of the steps. I. And boom, you're on the road. You are having that life, but you've got to believe that anything is possible.

There is nothing more special about me than there is about you. Right? I used to look at like National Geographic photographers or travelers and go, oh my gosh. As a teenager I thought, oh, that's the life. That's amazing. But that's not for me. They have a special gift. They have a special talent. They must have a million dollars.

I made up all of these imaginary things about why they had that life and why I couldn't, and the truth is there is nothing that's different about me than anybody else in the world except for the fact I decided that this was the life that I was choosing for myself, and I started to put the plans in place to actually make it happen for myself.

You and I live a very similar lifestyle.. We're both nomadic, we're moving around pretty often, and.

There is nothing special about either of us. However, I will say that I think a factor that we have, that definitely some people have and can be learned is the work ethic and wanting to actually work hard enough to build something of your own, to sustain this lifestyle or to even just leave your home country and.

Not really care about, you know, what your family thinks and what your friends think and you know, your home or you know, like these are all excuses, like I previously said. Absolutely. That are very embedded into us, especially in a Western culture coming from that culture very embedded into like, these are the things that you need to have, especially as you get older and you, you know, are supposed to live a certain type of lifestyle and fit a framework.

And so it's really having the courage to. Break out of that mold and then also. To be hardworking and dedicated enough to start something for yourself. It's not easy. I have done it. You have done it. So in saying that, I would love to chat with you more about how you built your business, what that looks like.

I know that you have a bookkeeping business that you run that you truly enjoy and that, you know, helps you really become a, helped you become a digital nomad and sustain that lifestyle. So what did that business journey look like for you?

So I was sitting in my living room trying to figure out what the next step was for me, and all of a sudden I got this advertisement for a bookkeeping course and I was like, oh, you know, that's super interesting.

Like that really aligns with my skillset. And so there was a free like introduction. And so I participated in the free introduction and it walked you through, you know, okay, we're gonna teach you everything about bookkeeping, we're gonna walk you through like how to start the business, how to get clients like from A to Z, right?

And I thought, oh, this is really interesting. And the alignment with my particular skillset, my work experience. Really made it seem like a great fit for me. So I went ahead and purchased the course. I went ahead and, and completed the course, got lots of certifications and really it just so aligned well with my skillset, my work experience, and the ability to create the life that I was really wanting to create.

And you know, honestly, that was it. From that point, I was like, okay, I'm gonna build this business, and that was the moment that I decided, you know what? I'm so committed and so sure that I'm going to go ahead and make the leap and leave my job before I even have a single bookkeeping client, and I'm gonna go for it.

And so I went to my husband and my famous phrase, I have a crazy idea, this is when he knows he needs to sit down and start taking an oxygen very quickly. And I said, I think that I should quit my job. I'm gonna do this bookkeeping business, and we should probably move into a tiny shoebox of an apartment.

And you know, just. Ride this thing so that I can build the business and you know, we'll see where it goes. And he was like, yeah, let's do it. You know, he was like, it, it's time. It's time for you to heal. It's time for you to be happy. It's time for you to create something of your own. So, yeah, so again, we downsized into like 600 square foot for two people and that was it.

You know, my office was in the bedroom. He had to get out of bed at the crack of dawn if I was going to have a client meeting so that they didn't see him sleeping behind me. Right. And I was able to build a successful bookkeeping business. I was absolutely terrified. I am not gonna lie, I was white knuckling it on some days because I had imposter syndrome like crazy, even though I knew what I was doing.

. But I was like, oh, so all the fears, all the fears and so many people not supporting me, saying, oh, this is crazy. Why would you leave a six-figure salary? This is insane. This is everything you spent your whole adult life working toward and you're just gonna walk away from it. Like what? And you know, so, Here I am now talking to you from Greece with the most supportive client base, who is just my biggest cheerleading session section, you know, so I'm just so grateful for the clients that I have been able to have relationships with and how supportive they are of this journey.

And I've totally been in this situation too, of you know, like, gotta get outta bed 'cause I have a call and this is where the desk is. Yeah that was definitely, that's why we don't book hotels so much anymore. 'cause that can definitely be a bit of a struggle. But I, I love your journey, and I think it's so important to note as well the transferable skills.

I think a lot of the times when you are thinking, not you, but really anybody is thinking to themselves, you're like, I want to start something of my own. I've never done anything on my own, so I have no skills. It's like I. What have you just worked? Or what is your degree in? Or what have you dedicated, you know, your life to working for yes.

Somebody else's company, but like, what industry is that or what are you passionate about? And if those two things are the same thing, then you know, you've, you've built up a whole decade or a whole career of experience in this field. Of course you can go start something of yourself. 'cause those skills are so transferable.

But I think that is also a piece of the puzzle that is, Very easily overlooked because you just think, oh, I'm starting a business. I have to start from zero. I've never had a business before when you really never do. Exactly. I couldn't agree with you more. I. So I would love to chat about, because you know you are a full-time digital nomad and being from America, I would love to hear some of the pros and cons, whether that is kind of more in the American front and mentality or family.

The pros and cons of living abroad and living this digital nomad lifestyle, giving up a amazing salary that you. We're sold the dream about, and then you hit that peak and it was like, yeah, this is not all it's cracked up to be. What are some of the pros and cons of leaving your home country, living somewhere else and really embarking on this digital nomad adventure?

The pros and cons are sometimes the exact same thing, and let me explain what I mean. Is that the pro. Of being in a situation of constant change can also be a con to some people, right? Depending on what your mentality is. So if you struggle with something, not being a digital nomad, that same thing in my experience and with my clients, is going to be magnified once you are a digital nomad. I sat there in my living room before we got on the road and I was like, what do I need to. I have an evolution of who I am. I need to be in constant change. I need to be challenged. I need to have all of these things coming at me. I need to learn to let go of control.

I need to learn to go with the flow. I need to learn to trust myself. I need to learn that no matter what happens in the world at any time. I will be able to figure it out. I will be able to come up with a solution and I can trust myself in the moment to be able to handle anything. Right. So these were all of the things that were coming to me as I was saying, this is why I wanna travel.

This is why I wanna sell everything. This is why I wanna get on the road, because I want this evolution of who I am. I want to grow, I want to expand. I want to take up space. I want to know myself. I want to. Live that life on fire like we talked about earlier. And I really felt that change in all of these elements of travel, were going to give that to me.

But at the same time, that is all very uncomfortable. It living in a constant state of change, constantly being challenged, never knowing where you are, right? Nothing is ever familiar. I'm in Greece, I can't even read the road signs, you know, like it's not even the same alphabet that I am used to from the United States.

So everywhere that I'm going there is challenge. Going to the grocery store in Greece and trying to find something that I can, you know, some sort of meal that I can put together or trying to get places. And we get lost and the only person that's there available to give us directions doesn't even speak our language.

And so we're using apps and we're using hand signals and, you know, maps and pointing and you know, it's all of these things. That are part of that evolution, but being a digital nomad is getting real comfortable with being uncomfortable, and that is amazing opportunity for growth, but it can also be tiring.

It can also just be overwhelming overstimulating if you are not in that, to have that experience. If you are trying to. Push that away, or trying not to be uncomfortable or trying to resist the change. Or trying to resist the growth that is going to be a con. All of these things that I've mentioned that are the beauty of growing and evolving into this new person, if you are not.

For that reason, then that very opportunity will actually be your con. All of the things that you are resisting in your life as a non-digital nomad becomes so magnified because you're out in the world, you're constantly challenged, constantly having new experiences. So whatever your triggers are, Whatever your unhealed trauma, whatever your fears, all of that is going to come up and it's gonna come up much bigger in my experience than if you just stay home and your sheltered routine, everyday life where you've probably configured your life to, to minimize the uncomfortability of your life as much as you possibly can.

So you've created this fortress of, of fake happiness. All around you so that you are never triggered, right? You're, you're constantly not being challenged and you know, so when you get on the road and you have a very different experience of uncomfortability, it can be very challenging to lean into that if that's not really what you're looking for.

I completely agree with everything you just said and it's so interesting because it makes me think of, you know, I have lived out of my home country for six years now, and I remember in the beginning it, it's very difficult, you know, to adjust to the language in a different culture. But then I remember after a few years, I would periodically go back to my home country and.

I would hear, you know, on the subway or different thing. 'cause I would overhear conversations in English and I would just be like, this is so weird. Like I actually know what these people are saying because I was so used to, you know, like hearing Mandarin behind me or like whatever foreign language of the country that I was in.

I was in China for a lot of that time period. I just remember thinking, this is so foreign to me that I can actually understand these conversations. But to most people, it's just every day. Of course you can eavesdrop on people and hear what they're saying, but to me I kind of just blocked it all out.

And so it was so funny that that was such a small thing that a lot of people do every single day on their commute to and from work and don't even realize. And for me it was such like a little luxury. And I think that really sums up being a digital nomad perfectly because. Everything is just new all of the time, especially when you are changing countries so often.

Nothing is really constant and so I do think it is really important in saying that as well to find a constant within yourself, whatever that looks like, whether it's a routine or a workout or you know, whatever that looks like because everything around you is changing, and I love to embrace that, but I also do need those constants sometimes as well.

And I have to tell you, it really, I never realized how many external cues that we have in the United States in living our daily life. Like you're saying, overhearing conversations you know, just being able to read signs or, you know, there's, there's so many things happening in our everyday environment.

I really didn't realize that luxury until I came here and there's. There's like nothing, like I can't understand any of the signs. I can't understand the packages for the food. I can't understand what the cashier is saying when I go to checkout, right? All I do is like, hold up my credit card so that, you know, she knows that I wanna pay with card.

And you know, like you were saying, just, you know, people in line who are talking or there looks like there's an argument happening over here and you're like, I wonder what's happening. Or, you know, one day there was this big truck that came down the street with a loud speaker and I, I told Greg, I'm like, I don't know, like, are are they saying like the water's gonna go out?

Are they, is this like an advertisement or, you know, is something happening, you know, like we're, we're not safe. Like, you know what, what is what, like all these things. I mean, you know, it, it's just so much that I just didn't even realize that I took for granted. But it has been so interesting to be able to operate my daily normal life.

And be okay inside of myself, regardless of all of these external things. So I, I love that you mention that because it was so jarring to me those first few days, first few weeks, and now, you know, I'm like, okay, I'm used to it. I have no idea what's going on, and I've just accepted that. And it comes back to trusting myself, believing in myself, and just knowing that if something does happen, I'm gonna be able to figure it out.

Yeah, I totally agree with everything you just said again, and. Really just having to trust yourself. You, I'm in the exact same situation as you a lot of the time. I don't know what's happening around me. I don't know the conversations like, because of course I'm not gonna learn every language for every country that I go to.

But yeah, you really just have to have that unwavering belief in yourself that it doesn't matter what comes, I don't foresee what's gonna come, but it doesn't matter because I believe in myself. So I think that is very key to successfully living a nomadic lifestyle. So, To start wrapping up the episode now, what is one thing you feel like that is very important within the digital nomad lifestyle or as a business owner that is a big part of being a digital nomad as well that we have not touched on here that you would want to mention?

I would say, although I think that we did touch on it, I think that it deserves its own moment in the conversation, which is just the limiting beliefs. I had so many limiting beliefs that I not only didn't even realize, but if you had told me, if you had tried to tell me that I had a limiting belief around something, like I would've been like, no, no.

Like I don't have a limiting belief. I am like all about that, whatever it is, you know, and it really. Was part of the biggest source of my growth over the past few years of delving into dissecting you know, thinking of it like a lake where I'm just swimming in it, looking at each individual belief, listening to the crazy crap that came flying out of my mouth sometimes and taking the time to go.

Wow. That was interesting that I just said that. Where did that come from? Let's go meditate on that one. You know? Did that come from my mom? Did that come from school? Who said that? Where did I hear that? Do I really believe this? How does that belief serve me? Does it empower me? Does it disempower me? Okay.

That disempowers me. So let's choose a different, more empowering belief. Let's work to integrate that belief into our everyday life, into who we are and let's continue to look at our actions. Be aware of the thoughts, be aware of the words. Be aware of the things that I'm doing and be aware of the things that I'm not doing.

Why am I not doing that? Why am I not taking that risk? Why am I backing away from that? Why am I timid about that? Is there a fear? Is there a limiting belief? Let's look at that, right? Just being in a state of willingness to be open, to be honest, to look at all of the parts of me. To really delve into those beliefs and identify their place in my life.

Where did it come from? Did I actually choose that belief or was I just indoctrinated with it? And I have just continued to carry it potentially generation after generation in my family. The decision to choose who I am has been tremendous. There is so much work that I will die doing. It is a constant process.

It's not something that I think I'll ever be able to check the box, but to be willing to look at all of the parts of me, even the ones that I might judge as not being great, right? To learn, to not judge myself, to just accept, okay, this is what it is. This came to me from whenever in my life. But today I'm going to choose who I am and I don't choose to carry that forward in my life.

That has been tremendous in my evolution, in my ability to be a digital nomad in my ability to travel freely through the world and to live in a way that I do feel like I am fully living, like I am living my life on fire. Right. And so it's just that process. And I think that we are taught, like we talked earlier, to don't go into a space where you're uncomfortable.

Don't look at those fears, right? Just keep trudging along in the every day. It'll be fine. It'll be good. I'm happy enough, you know, but that's not what I choose. That's not what I choose for myself. Totally. I like that you mentioned that. Like, I'm happy enough. Right. And you, you always have a choice. And I think a lot of people, what I like to say is don't critically think about what they want in their life.

And so you just, you know you're happy enough and you go along with things. And for me, I didn't want that for my life and for you as well, and for a lot of nomads because we do critically take a look at our life, see where it's going, and. Realized, no, I want a different reality and only I can make that reality a reality.

. So thank you for sharing everything you have shared on the episode today. Where can people find you, learn more about your story? Where are you available online? Yeah, so untamed Soul Info the business is Tales from an Untamed Soul. We are on Instagram as well as Facebook, and then of course our website. 

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About the Podcast

Work, Wealth & Travel - A Digital Nomad Podcast
Welcome to Work, Wealth and Travel, a weekly show where we help you break free from the norm and create a life of freedom, adventure, and fulfillment. If you're tired of the nine-to-five grind and yearning for a lifestyle by design, this is the podcast for you. My mission is to provide you with the knowledge, tools, and resources to become a successful global citizen. We cover a range of topics including entrepreneurship, finance, travel, and second residencies to help you build a sustainable and fulfilling lifestyle that's authentic to you.
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