Name: Garmisch P A. Riley
Attended: Canberra Life Planning Workshop, 10 May 2011
I wanted to become a 10thousandgirl because… frankly, I was sick of trying out different roles just to be completely strung out and constantly looking for the eject button. I wanted something to be passionate and excited about.
Half way through 2010 I quit my full time job of three years in a University, started my masters, realised I just wasn’t into it and went head first into a part time NGO job. After that I landed a three month contract in the Public Service. I was a bit of a floater, and with each new experience I realised all the different things I enjoy working on while at the same time, deep down, I knew I didn’t want to do it forever. So, I just couldn’t figure out what I was actually passionate about and what I wanted to pursue. The 10thousandgirl workshop was perfect timing for me. I came home that day inspired, and I realised I was in some sort transition period in my life (and still am). And it was actually okay! I graduated at 20, got married at 23 and at 25 I was kind of floating about trying to decide what to do and determined (stubbornly so) to do something!
In May 2011, I had one month left of my contract with no idea what to do next. I applied for a couple of volunteering roles and had to wait months for the result. And the thing with me is I love planning and organising, so it sort of threw me that I was going to be jobless, hobbyless and studyless come July.
Doing the exercises at the workshop reignited my will to just do! I write lists and make vague plans but I have this problem of not following through. One of the biggest things I got from the workshop is to simply go for it, you won’t know until you try!
And here I am, 10 months later, looking out onto the park across our street, filled with coconut trees, roosters, goats and kids playing basketball. Because, I did in fact get the volunteering role and four months ago hubby and I packed up our lives in Australia and are now living in the Philippines.
My greatest achievements so far are… let’s face it, all have to do with organising, cause I’m a bit of a nut for that.
Moneywise - I’m secretly so proud of the fact that we were able to plan and pay for our entire wedding! Every detail from the decorations on the cake to moving three van loads of guests from the city to the country. Everything was organised to a tee, everything was beautiful, and I honestly loved the whole process of it it all. In the same year, we also bought a two bedroom apartment in Canberra within walking distance to the City. The combination of my parents teaching me about finances, my grandmother telling me endless stories of her business endeavours in the Philippines and of course years of saving allowed me to do the things I do and have the things I have.
Workwise - I took a chance and quit my full time, well paid and secure job to go into a whirlwind of unknown. It was my choice, it was my well-being at stake and I was just at the point where if I didn’t leave I would stay and eventually resent being there. It was one of the best decisions I have made. It opened up door after door of different opportunities. This time last year I was working on the online campaign to Fight Negative Body Image for the Centenary of International Women’s Day. Reading stories and listening to inspiring people made me want to go out there and help.
Studywise - I graduated from Digital Arts in 2006, the same year I met my now hubby. I chose the degree mainly because it combined all the little things I was interested in. Being able to study what you love to do as a hobby is such a gem. Since then I’ve tried studying a couple of different masters, and one of the lessons I learnt from that is I like doing more than theory. I finished a Cert IV in Project Management and, even in the provinces of the Philippines, I can adapt what I learnt to day to day situations.
My greatest achievements since I joined 10thousandgirl… is to appreciate “me time” for what it is.
Time - My contract ended in July 2011 and I had no job lined up. I was going to go travelling for a couple of weeks and after that, I was just going to see how things panned out. At first I was looking forward to having a bit of down time, but it got boring quickly. I got restless and impatient. It was hard to keep motivated when there wasn’t anything I felt like I was working towards. I’m the kind of girl who multi-tasks (sometimes too much), enjoys organising (anything) and just has to be busy (all the time). So after re-organising our apartment, my parents’ house and scanning pages of documents in an attempt to go paperless, I still wanted to do something useful with my time. It just wasn’t satisfying sitting at home all day watching non stop TV shows. So I started blogging, taking photos and generally documenting my day to day activities, for an audience that was mainly just me. I was doing it for myself.
Foodies - When I went to the 10thousandgirl workshop, hubby and I just started the paleo diet (basically no carbs or sugar but lots of meat, vege and nuts). I won’t deny it, I struggled at first big time because I love my sweets, chips and baking all things sugary. But I was also too stubborn and didn’t want to give up easily, so a friend told me about a bunch of gluten free or paleo recipes. And so my obsession of baking healthy snacks began. I tried different recipes, found my favourites and used any excuse to bring a plate of healthy sweet snacks to any occasion. Going paleo makes me less cranky, lifted my energy (and mood) and it just makes me feel good!
Moving – In August last year, I received an email saying I was successful in getting an eight month volunteering position in the Philippines. I was over the moon and totally wasn’t expecting it! Three months later, hubby and I said goodbye to Canberra and moved to a small provincial town called Talisay City, in Negros Occidental. The volunteer role was practically made for me They wanted someone with a digital media, training and marketing background. It was perfect! The actual location itself was the same city where my dad grew up and both my grandparents taught at the local College and Elementary schools. Another bonus is that the allowance I receive for volunteering actually covers our living expenses while we’re here. This totally appealed to me because I love being self sufficient and contributing to the kitty! It’s been exciting, terrifying, exhausting, enjoyable, sad, rewarding and about a million other emotions, but overall it’s been pretty darn good!
My personal goals for the next 12 months are to…
- reach the goal for my bamboo hut fundraiser
- teach kids English, hopefully somewhere awesome, new and different
- learn more about my heritage, the Filipino culture and Tagalog
- travel through Europe
- spend more time with family and friends
- keep up with my yoga, meditation and Zumba, regardless of where I am
My financial goals for the next 12 months are to…
- save for a two month European adventure
- save to move overseas (again) towards the second half of 2013 (to teach, live and play)
- keep topping up the home loan
- continue my minimalist cheapskate spending habits
In 3-5 years I’ll be…
- back in Canberra
- wanting to start a family, because being here (in the Philippines), you are surrounded by so many cute kiddies, I can’t help but be clucky
- having short mini weekend getaway trips with hubby (and kiddies)
- continuing to take photos, write blogs and giggle about something random
- starting my own paleo sweets cafe (an idea I just came up with about last month!)
And financially, in 3-5 years I’ll be…
- living comfortably and still be able to travel
- running my own cafe, that’d be cool
- hopefully getting into property investment
It’s my birthday in the year 2020 and I… will be 34. I will probably be in Canberra, with a couple of kiddies in my grown up house having the latest tech-y stuff (thanks to my beautiful geeky husband). I will have a few properties up my sleeve and have a booming paleo sweets cafe. Perhaps by 2020, we can take the kiddies on a trip here to the Philippines. Anything is possible!
The very first steps I’m going to take right now… is actually living, working and playing in the very place my dad grew up, which has been an awesome experience. I’m working in a bamboo hut, surrounded by an organic farm, where I get given freshly harvested eggplant every other week. I’ve become a big fan of fresh air, being outdoors and just taking it easy. I’ve learnt so much already and have met such gorgeous people who, despite enduring hardships, are the most inspirational and positive people I have ever met. I have a new appreciation for life, my time and to just let things be.
I’m currently half way through an online TEFL course, which will allow me to teach overseas when the time is right. By having this qualification, I will be able to work in the next country we move to. This also means that we can once again live off my salary for day to day expenses, and save the rest for travelling, investing and the future.
I’m also taking a lot of time out for myself right now. This has been one of the hardest things that I’m learning to be okay with. I’ve always been a big believer of plans, sticking to them and being busy. But in some situations it’s just not possible! And so I am learning how to stop, take a breath and just let things be. So far so good, and it’s made me enjoy everything a lot more! Because it is okay to change plans. Right now I’m sure I’m up to plan G (in terms of what I can do for work here), but I’m okay with that, because it’s too hard to be stubborn and try to make something work when it clearly won’t. Ultimately, when you stop to take a breath, just sit and watch, you notice all the little beautiful things that you would otherwise miss.
This is where you can find more about me
If you’d like to share your story and help others get inspired (there is no story too big or too small) please email Arienne (firstname.lastname@example.org) who is patiently waiting by her email for you to contact her…Unfortunately she is not in a bamboo hut though she would love to be sitting next to Garmisch.