Dream Chaser & Freedom Junkie: Nicole Connolly
Nicole Connolly. Freedom Junkie & Dream Chaser.
It’s the first Dream Chaser feature in 2016 and I couldn’t be more excited for you to meet Nicole Connolly, Freedom Junkie extraordinaire.
Have you ever dreamed of ditching your commute, your bland cubicle, the endless (and let’s admit, pointless) meetings and working from anywhere from around the world? If you answered yes, you’re going to love Nicole’s story.
Here’s just another reason why the internet is an awesome place. I know Nicole through a Community that we are both a part of filled with passionate, hard working people striving to create the life of their dreams. It’s literally a group of Dream Chasers. We have connected online, cheered each other on and I love watching her journey. There’s usually a palm tree involved. Life is good.
I’m excited for you to hear from Nicole because many people dream of what she has done but think that they could never quit their job, sell what they own, load up their laptop and travel the world while running a successful business. They may dream of it but fear may be holding them back.
Nicole and her husband Michael have done just that. Now, she’s teaching others how to do what she has done. I know for years I dreamed of ditching my commute, working from home and never missing drop off and pick up at school. Now, that’s my reality.
Nicole and I are similar because we’re both chasing our dreams and are passionate about inspiring others to do the same.
Nicole Connolly is a full time traveler, online entrepreneur and chief Freedom Junkie. In 2012 Nicole and her husband Michael sold everything they owned to travel the world indefinitely. Now, 4 years, 45 countries later they are still living a life of adventure. Nicole has built a mini online empire and now teaches others how to do the same through her online course, Quit the Cubicle.
I’m honored to have Nicole Connolly featured as a Dream Chaser. Here’s her amazing answers to our favorite questions.
1) Describe for us the dream that you went after and achieved. How did you identify it? Gut instinct? Science? A little bit of both?
I have always loved travel but as I got older the 4 weeks a year that most Australians take was not enough for me. As soon as I got back from a vacation I wanted to leave again. So I started to think “what if I don’t come back? What if I just kept traveling?” So that quickly became the dream. For the last four years I have been traveling the globe full time.
People often ask me how this lifestyle is possible, and I tell them “It’s simple. I had a dream so I developed a plan to make it happen.” That ‘plan’ was to start an online business so I can earn money from my laptop and work from anywhere in the world. So that is what I do.
2) What made you “go for it” and go from idea to action?
I had a telephone conversation with my mother and told her about my wacky dreams of selling everything and traveling full time. I expected her to tell me to stop living in a fantasy world, but she told me to follow my heart and do whatever makes me happy. I didn’t give it anymore thought once I hung the phone up. But then she passed away a few days later and that’s when everything changed. The conversation played over and over in my head and I realized that life was too short to live anything but an extraordinary life. It was right then that I made the decision to make my dream lifestyle my real lifestyle.
3) Fear is one of the biggest things we face when we have a dream. What were some of your biggest fears and what did you do to overcome them? Were they ‘real’ or ‘in your head’?
I think all fears are ‘in our head’. Fears are our safety net and they have purpose for sure but letting those fears make the decision can be detrimental to your happiness. And yes, I had some fears. My main one was “What if this doesn’t work and I’m back home in 6 months?” And then it occurred to me, ”Well, so what if I am, at least I gave it a shot!” So I did!
4) Aside from fear, what was another challenge you faced? What did you learn from it?
The biggest challenge was knowing how much money I would need to get started. You see, Michael (my husband) and I didn’t want to work for the first year of our journey. We wanted to take a year off from work and just enjoy the journey. So we had to live off our savings. The challenge was making the small amount we had in the bank lasting until we started our online business. We overcame that challenge by utilizing house sitting as our main source of accommodation during that first year, which kept our travel costs down in a big way.
I didn’t have to make too many sacrifices to be honest. I actually believe that the way I am living right now was always my destiny. So there wasn’t a lot to sacrifice, only a lot to gain. The biggest reward has been my happiness. Until I started living this lifestyle I never felt the joy I now feel every day. And I have to say, seeing Michael so happy and at peace is also a great reward. In our ‘old life’ he was so stressed all the time, as was I, but now he is happy and free and to see that brings me so much joy.
6) Sometimes other people closest to us may not be on board. Did you encounter this and what did you do about it?
Not at all. I was very lucky in this aspect. I have a very small family, as does Michael, so we didn’t have too many people to convince. But when they saw how passionate we were, and how much we wanted this lifestyle, they were all very supportive, if not a little jealous.
7) What is your most memorable and special moment to this point as a result of taking the leap? Did you celebrate it or fly right over it to just keep going?
Personally, the most memorable moment was that day 4 years ago when we got onto the plane and left Australia. I was finally on the way to my dream life of world travel! I was crying happy tears for almost the whole 14 hour flight!
For my business, the most special moments (because there have been many of these) have been when my students have given me feedback on how much I have helped them change their life. I didn’t know how I would go with starting an online business and whether I would get the same joy as I did when I had a brick and mortar business. But when I get those emails and messages it reaffirms that this path I am on is the right path.
8) We will also be featuring female focused non-profits to highlight the importance of female focused philanthropy. Do you have a favorite non-profit organization that you support whether it be monetarily or through volunteer hours?
I am a big supporter and donate regularly to Pencils of Promise, Save the Children and the RSPCA. I donate time to animal shelters whenever there is one in the area we have traveled to.
9) I have to ask- do you have another dream lined up that you are going after or still basking in this one?
I am always basking in my current dream, never taking it for granted, but I am one of those people who always wants to grow personally and in my business at all times, so yes, I have more dreams lined up! For 2016 my focus is my business and my students. I am creating a lot of great stuff for my students right now so they can learn and grow even more so this year. For me personally, this year will see me adopt a puppy, buy a car (I haven’t had a car since we sold everything and left Australia in 2012!) and slow our travels down so Michael and I are changing destinations only every 3 – 6 months. Those are just a few of the many goals for 2016. It’s going to be a big year!
10) Tell us one awesome tidbit that you wish someone would have told you.
To not let fear get in the way of your dreams. No matter what your dream lifestyle looks like you should be out there working for it every single day. Don’t waste time with the “I can’t do this” voice in your head. Because if you work hard enough eventually that voice turns into the “OMG I did it” voice! And that voice is music to the ears!
Isn’t she awesome? Here’s what I know for sure- taking action on a dream is what makes the difference between dreaming and reality. It’s about investing in yourself, your future and learning the skills that are essential in this digital culture. Consistent action, coupled with learning from those who are doing what you want to do is what can make all the difference in the world.