How I Escaped a 9-5 Dead End Job and Launched a Life Abroad


NOTE: This post is to accompany an upcoming offering I’m cooking up on creating your Escape Plan. If you’d like to help me out, fill out this quick survey. Thank you!

Let me be transparent. I never made it up the corporate ladder like the many “quit your job, launch a biz” stories out there. I’ve never even made more than $35,000/year.

I always knew there was something more for me. Every day felt like squandering my talents. I was’t happy. I dreamed of escape.

There’s something romantic about living abroad. At least, I always romanticized it. I dreamed about moving to New Zealand or somewhere in Europe. My partner at the time always made excuses. How hard it is to start over. How difficult it is to move all your crap (note: DON’T move your crap, sell your crap). How difficult it is to get visas and for countries to accept you for work. And on and on. I felt discouraged and shot down. I knew I wasn’t living my life. I felt stuck in a rut and it was killing my spirit that wanted so much to feel alive.

I learned to let go.

The weight in my heart was weighted down by stuff, and by a dying love I was better off without. I learned to let it go.

This was a dark moment in my life, but it was also a time of great creativity, the typical “tortured artist” stereotype. There was sadness steeped with creative muse. I found my poetry. I became the writer I always was. And although I vowed two years of celibacy to go inwards, sensual, erotic words spilled out of me, confirming my erotic nature would not go hidden.

I knew that no matter what, I was going to be ok. Better than ok. I knew I was moving towards my best life, and learning to be my best self.

Making a List

I made a plan. I dreamed of going back to the Philippines and finding my cultural roots again. Exploring more than just the Cebu province I had always been to with my mom.

I set an intention.
To volunteer in India and move to the Philippines in one year (at the time, 2010). I wrote down a step by step plan to break down the fear. I began to downsize and sell my stuff.

It wasn’t rocket science. In retrospect, this is the exact technique Napoleon Hill teaches in Think and Grow Rich with your ‘statement of desire’. Write down a desired goal and when you’d like to complete it by. Write down what you’re willing to give to get that goal. And then write a plan of action.

My simple list seemed much easier once I broke down the steps:
Step 1: Commitment
Step 2: Research
Step 3: Visa application
Step 4: Apply for jobs/ Get interviews set
Step 5: Sell/move my Stuff
Step 6: Purchase one-way ticket
Step 7: Pack
Step 8: Get on plane

To make the commitment, I found a voluntour opportunity in India. I knew it would be fun to visit another country on my way to Philippines. To experience travel that I had missed from years of passivity and low self-esteem. I researched a lot of options before applying to a program. The application process was non-refundable so this symbolized the point of no return. This was it. Fill in the application. Step one.

I made sure to cut back on expenses/social life/going out. I didn’t go shopping except for food and necessities. I didn’t make that much so it was hard to get ahead each month but I tried my best. I sold most my stuff, with what little I had. A djembe drum, a violin, a guitar, dresser drawers, and an XBox360 I had won from work before I left.

Quitting My Job

I had actually planned to quit my job in December 2009. I had my plane tickets already purchased. I just wanted the last few paychecks.

Turns out, the job fired me in November instead but I left smiling and laughed in their face. It was a mutual departure and I still felt like I had ‘quit’. They just beat me to it.

While I tried to find a small seasonal job during the holidays to hold me over for a month, it didn’t work out and I made the intention to find a job that I could “take with me” and do from anywhere. Soon after, I found an opportunity on my twitter feed for a social media gig. I got the work, although it was very part time, but it was enough to hold me over for SE Asia, and it was my first foray into being “location independent”. I also got a design gig from scouring Craigslist and worked on designing a portfolio for an architect. This small taste of what my new life could be like was just the beginning.

Launching My Life Abroad

It helps to have contacts where you land. In my case, I went to India to volunteer with a group and then went to the Philippines where I have family. I soon grew bored of staying at
the family ancestral house and began to look for other adventures.

I experienced culture shock. Even in my own motherland. I wasn’t used to being on my own, and it was the first time I had gone back without my mom. It was my first time completely solo.

I found a Zen monastery retreat for 4 months and decided to take up the offer. It soon stretched into 6 months, with a month interlude in Taiwan to temple hop and visit the head temple from the Fo Guang Shan foundation. Because everything in the monastery is provided for (meals and sleeping quarters) and they actually gave us a monthly allowance, I was able to spend less than $1,000 that year.

I traveled here and there around the Philippines and eventually ended up in Manila for two years, living frugally on $50/month rent at an informal dwelling. It wasn’t glamorous, but it was enough to start my business as a self-employed graphic/web designer. Two years and still going. 2014 is the precipice of massive transformation.

If you’d like to have a life of travel/living abroad while being location independent, email me for a free 30 minute discovery session to see how I can help.

Janet Brent

Janet is a graphic/web designer for indies in the holistic and creative arts. She is passionate about working with creative world changers and showing people how to march to their own beats. You can email her at to introduce yourself or work with her. If you enjoyed this, sign up for more updates. TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus

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I’m Crushable & I’m Crushing It

janetI meet people on the internet in person a lot. I’ve been doing that since I was 12 years old when it was considered taboo. I remember going to Disneyland on a high school orchestra trip (orch dork, represent) and trying to meet up with a guy I met on AOL way back when we were 13. The school found out and sat me down like I had done something wrong. They wanted to make sure he wasn’t a psycho killer and forbade me to meet him. I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong, and I knew he wasn’t a psycho killer, but that sucked. Eventually we met in my transition from highschool to college and he bought me a purple vibrator I still use (sometimes). A great ‘coming of age’ parting gift…

I’ve never used straight up dating sites but I was on Make Out Club once, which is kind of hilarious. It’s “NOT a dating site” but ya know, everyone used it that way. It was the kind of phase when you’d bond over music tastes and think that means you’re perfect together. Remember when that shit mattered? It really doesn’t. But if you want to make a good mix tape, you better like someone who’s into the same music. I made a mix tape (CD) once and sketched an erotic picture of me+him for the CD cover. That’s kind of love, right? When High Fidelity was cool and my CD collection was relevant…

I used Make Out Club for NCMOs. My mormon friend told me that stands for Non-Commital Make Outs. That’s what mormons did to get down and dirty. I was down with that. I was too virginal to use it for much of anything else… Until I got into a long-term relationship straight up from Make Out Club. My ex had met his 1st girlfriend on Make Out Club too but he secretly found me more attractive. When I dumped him, he went back on Make Out Club. Third time’s the charm, I guess?

Crazy times.

The whole point of this ramble is to say that I’ve always been “crushable” online. A reader and real life friend (due to the fact that I meet people on the internet) told me this. At first I thought he meant that I “crush it”. That I can build a career around my passions and I think I do that too. I’m totally crushing it right now! Cute, silly, naive lil me realized after a few seconds to let it register, that he meant it’s not hard for people to notice me and “crush” on me online. It’s always been like that, even before I had a blog platform. I guess it’s how I radiate in my own unique way. When you ooze personality (and I clearly do, online), you’ve got a Unique Selling Proposition.

Unique Selling Proposition is kind of like dating. Because you have to sell yourself, in a way. For a job. For a date. For a Make Out Club profile. For any interaction that you have with other people. That’s why SEX SELLS. Because everything goes back to attraction. In that primal sense. In that literal sense. It’s really that simple.

When I say I’m taking “sexual liberation coaching”, it means I’m figuring out how to stand in my power. My sexual power. My spiritual power. My feminine power. And it’s all interrelated. Money, love, sex, abundance, and somewhere along the line, your unique selling proposition too.

Joy, of Facets of Joy, gave me some clarity on this that I never thought about before. I’m just now starting to see the connections.

“The way we receive love into our life is the way we receive money into our life; the way we view money and spend it is the way we view love and share it.

So, if we are familiar with conditional love, we tend to have money debt. If we are familiar with prosperity with money, we tend to have healthy, solid connections that enrich and enliven.”

I’m trying to figure out how to cultivate solid connections that enrich and enliven. My personality and “Unique Selling Point” has always had that potential; I’m crushable and I’m crushing it, and now I’m figuring out how to play with this intentionally to optimize my results.

When you play with this in that way, and when you harness that USP, you can manifest your wildest dreams (and your dirtiest fantasies)!

What are you better at than anyone else?
This is all about brand positioning. Even if there are a million people doing the same thing as you who are “better”, you’ve got to think you’re the BEST at something, to position yourself on the top. To differentiate from all the rest, you’ve got to get clear on what you offer that no one else could do quite like you. You’ve got to get clear on exactly who you serve. I’m the BEST at something. And I think I’m on my way towards being the BEST intuitive designer for holistic, creative, heart-based small businesses. I’m the BEST at helping said holistic, creative, heart-based entrepreneurs manifest their wildest dreams and deepest desires. This is happening.

Wild Woman - Image credit, David B.

Wild Woman – Image credit, David B.

What do you enjoy doing the most?
Creating, drawing, painting, writing, reading, hiking, trekking, rock climbing, being “outdoorsy”, playing music, being silly, people watching, listening, watching movies, traveling, yoga, underwear dancing, and going on wild adventures.

What do (or could) you provide that no one else is providing?
I provide ebook design, graphic design and web design services but I’m trying to package it up all pretty like. With hearts and ribbons and pixie stardust. The idea I have in mind (and I’m still looking for beta testers, hint, hint) is Shine On Sessions (S.O.S.). A jumpstart coaching+manifesting, design+strategy sessions to help you launch an idea with my intuitive design skills, brand excavation, and magical manifesting prowess as your arsenal. It’s a holistic approach to launching your service/product/business and It’s going to kick ass!! Within this vein, I can also start manifestation coaching because I’m going to manifest it and make it happen (see what I did there?). Manifesting and intentional travel…. I’ve already got something up my sleeve so stay tuned!

What annoys people the most about your industry or blog area?
Follow your dreams! Make money online! Personal development has been done x101. It gets kind of old. How do you create a new spin on it? How do you create something of value that will stand out from all the other crap? How do you insure your products aren’t crap? I’ve got a genius idea! How to make a lifestyle business by telling other people how to make a lifestyle business! That’s so meta. It gets annoying. The whole lifestyle business is going to collapse in itself if you’ve got carbon copies. Just be yourself and march to your own beat. Follow your inner compass. It will tell you what you need to do.

turtleWhat is remarkable about you?
I don’t have too many formal accolades and my resume is probably unimpressive but I’m not your average girl next door. 😉 I’ve won an art scholarship and then rejected it by transferring schools. I’ve painted a mural in my room. I just finished living in the Philippine slums for 2 years. I walked 800km in Palawan island in only flip-flops (what was I thinking?) and had wild adventures with a Filipino martial artist (the man who walks). We survived by squatting in shelters, abandoned huts, magic, and the sheer kindness of strangers. I lived in a monastery for 6 months, 4 of which was during a meditation retreat. I shaved my head. I’m a Wild Woman. I’m intuitive. I’ve drawn people naked and I’ve been a nude art model (and I would do it again). I manifest things with ease. Sometimes, it surprises me but I’m getting used to the fact that I’m a magical manifestor. I manifest people, places, travel, experiences and I’m getting better at manifesting money. I am the magic. I am a radiant goddess and I shine bright; like starstuff. We all are.

A hot messiah... not

A hot messiah… not

Do you have an unusual combination of elements?
I call myself Interplanet Janet sometimes because a School House Rocks song has the same name that practically fits me. Interplanet Janet she’s a galaxy girl! A solar system miss from a future world. I sometimes feel like I’m “out of this world” because it’s hard for me to relate to people or feel I truly belong. It’s part of why I’ve got a gypsy soul and I was born for leaving. It could be the fragmented results of growing up as a Third Culture Kid. Apparently, being a global citizen also makes me feel “other worldly” and alien. Metaphorically, I’ve come to make this mean that I’m a visionary and I’ve got starstuff that shine bright and I’m here to help you shine your light. Ok, that probably sounds cheesy. But I’m here to help shift and elevate humanity. My woo-woo spirit has come gradually, but sure enough, my hippy parts are showing. I was born to shine a light up in your ass and ride it back and forth forever (Me and You and Everyone We Know reference, go watch it if you’re into Hipster bullshit, and by bullshit I mean bullSHINE. I’m in Portland now, so I’ve got it made. Just keep shitting diamonds. You’ll see.). If this paragraph drivel isn’t unusual enough to get a sense of my “elements”, I don’t know what is.

Do you have a big personality?
You know what they say. Big things come in small packages! I may be shorty and timid and sweet but you ain’t seen this mouse that roared yet. I think “big” can mean different things. I may not be the loudest of the bunch, and I’m introverted, but I’m shaping my New Story like no one’s business. And this new story is a confident, joyful, badass creative who will rock your socks inside out.
30 day challenge
Life is art, now go and create it!

How do you use your personality to stand out online?

Janet Brent

Janet is a graphic/web designer for indies in the holistic and creative arts. She is passionate about working with creative world changers and showing people how to march to their own beats. You can email her at to introduce yourself or work with her. If you enjoyed this, sign up for more updates. TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus

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Mindset Tools for Turning Pro


It’s no secret that I’m a self-help junkie. I love going on meditation retreats, reading self-help books, and doing yoga (and I smile with glee when I can finally hold the crow pose for more than 7 seconds!).

Mindset is the most important thing when becoming a successful entrepreneur. It really is a choice. And for as much as I’ve written about it here, I’m still all talk and no action! I still haven’t made the mindset leap. Thus keeping me in a perpetual “transition”, “in limbo”, because I’m stuck in limiting beliefs, procrastination, “laziness”.

I’m back on square one. I broke up with my boyfriend, and I feel like the way forwards seem backwards.

NOW is the time, more than ever, to change your mindset and work towards your goals to turning pro. Do the work. That’s all it takes. Blogs don’t become businesses on their own. You’ve got to treat it as a business from the get-go, even if it’s not making money. Trust that doing the work will eventually lead you there.

Here are 7 tools to help elevate your mindset along the way.

1. Watch Motivational and Inspirational Videos

Here is a recent video that made an impact on me. There is never “going backwards” in life. Even if you feel that where you are in this moment is a “step backwards”, it is always a constant evolution; a spiral. So whenever I feel super lame for feeling still blocked and not acting like a pro, I remember this. I’ve still evolved. I take it my pace and eventually I will get there.

Watching inspirational videos on sites like YouTube, Ted, and Vimeo are great tools to help you stay positive and gain new perspective.

2. Plug into Nature

Yes, unplug the computer for awhile and plug in to nature.

I’m an Earth sign, and naturally, the symbol that speaks to me most is a tree. Rooted. Grounded. Earthy. And living in Portland, I am blessed to be around many of them.

My favorite childhood tree is in the backyard of my parent’s house, where I’m currently staying. At least once a week, I still climb it and connect to its power source. The memories and experiences I had of innocence… It’s a great spot to meditate, write, reflect, or even start creating. I’d like to use this special magnolia tree every day and connect to nature while working on my business. The environment should be an inspiring retreat.

3. Emotional Freedom Technique and Affirmations

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is one of the most powerful affirmation tools I have ever tried. I used EFT to make my best month ever and since then have abandoned doing it.

When I did EFT daily as a morning ritual, I noticed a vast improvement on my productivity and focus. The affirmations felt good and I felt it in my body, because it uses acupressure points and touch to stimulate your energy meridians, and affirmations to help you rewire your thoughts. The combination packs a strong punch. I showed results (huge improvement on my best month ever) and will continue to use this technique.

4. Hire a Coach

So far, I’ve been investing in coaches. I just hired a sexual liberation coach a month ago that has been working wonders for me and I most recently hired a transformation coach. I’m so glad I did! I haven’t even started yet but the signs were good and I felt I resonated with the offer well. I saw that Jodi of Soul Speak was doing some giveaways and when I saw one giveaway for a free coaching session with Nandi Hetenyi, I made the intention that I would love to receive it and that I believed I would. Somehow, I had a feeling it would happen. I didn’t even know who Nandi was and didn’t research but I felt that it would be good for me.

I won the giveaway and researched her “Mud to Lotus” offering and it really spoke to the struggle I’ve been having for years.

Her background in yoga and Buddhism makes her a perfect match for me as my transformation coach.

Hiring a coach may be a big investment, but potentially one of the best investments you could ever make with yourself. It will be life changing and full of ABUNDANCE. Yes, I had to train myself to think that parting with money is actually abundant but the gift of abundance you give to yourself and the return of investment will be well worth it. I feel like I’m finally ready to make big changes and take bold risks.

5. Meditate

Meditating regularly can help you come up with great solutions to problems. Just 15 minutes a day is all it takes to clear your mind and reenergize for the day ahead. You’ll be calmer, more peaceful and healthier, emotionally, physically and spiritually! Starting the day right and creating a morning ritual is great. I’ve been experimenting with morning ritual and there are some great free meditation apps to help you set a timer.

6. Keep a Journal

carebearsWrite a gratitude journal. List down any signs or synchronicity when it happens. List three goals you’d like to achieve each day. Write down “morning pages” (three pages of freewrite every morning).

There are a lot of things you can do with a journal. I write mine in my Care Bears notebook, but you can keep one on your computer too.

I also do a process of ‘automatic writing’ on the computer where I write down a question, meditate briefly to center myself, and call upon my spirit guides to answer the question. I write whatever comes up without thinking about it. So far, since starting in December, I have had a few predictions come true. I’m not saying that I’m psychic, but there is definitely something there no matter how skeptical I get about the process, and how much I question getting out of my own way, and wondering if what I write is total drivel and wishful thinking. There was no idea I could have known about some of the things I’ve written down and they have eventually come true! Unfortunately, I used this technique mainly in my love life and should use it more for business strategy. Let spirit be your coach. Let intuition guide you and that’s all you really need.

Read Books

Read books to expand your knowledge and learn new things. I’m currently reading Natalie Sisson’s new book, Suitcase Entrepreneur, about creating freedom in business and adventure in life.

I’m also reading Women Who Run With the Wolves for my women powered inspiration and Love With a Chance of Drowning for my memoir inspiration of another graphic designer turned author that I’d like to be someday!

I’ve been a voracious bookworm since I was a kid. I knew that the more I read, the better I’d be in writing. And the more you read, the more you can learn about how to go pro, start a biz, or learn new skills. The library is my lifeline.

* * *

30 day challengeWhich key tools will you turn to regularly to maintain your mindset and how will you use them effectively? This is the question Natalie Sisson asks on Day 7 of the Blog Challenge.

I’d love to hear what tools resonate with you and what you use to maintain your mindset in the comments below!

Janet Brent

Janet is a graphic/web designer for indies in the holistic and creative arts. She is passionate about working with creative world changers and showing people how to march to their own beats. You can email her at to introduce yourself or work with her. If you enjoyed this, sign up for more updates. TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus

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Saying No is Saying HELL YES to Me

30 day challengeIf you woke up tomorrow and were free to do anything you wanted with your life, what would you do and who would you be?

Top Tip: Feel free to focus on your a) ideal lifestyle and/or b) business/ career and just let it out. Assume there are no barriers at all. Don’t be shy. Explore!

I’m in a transitional phase, in limbo, in the in-between, and I’ve felt like this for at least 3 years.

I just let go of a [romantic] relationship that wasn’t serving me well. Saying no. Closing doors. Clearing space for new opportunities, and growth.

The thing is, I feel ALIVE and healthy and reinvigorated. Sometimes, saying no is saying HELL YES to yourself.

Letting that mental and emotional energy that you just had for another person go so you can be selfish (in a good way) and take care of yourself. I often find myself neglecting who I am in a relationship, spending too much energy taking care and nurturing the other person that I forget to take care and nurture myself.

It’s not that I completely neglect myself. I still work towards what I want. But I do it in a passive way. I do it half-assed. And I have no one to blame but myself.

I’ve finally realized that taking ACTION is the only way to get through a transition. I’ve been feeling “in limbo” for way too long because I haven’t been taking enough action.

So now I recalibrate. Now I take ACTION. And it feels fun and exciting and new again. It feels like I’m on the brink to something amazing. And I’m on a mission.

I Just Want to Be ME

I want to discover my radiant goddess within me. Shine that crazy diamond. Shine bright.

My ideal lifestyle looks like fun and play. Everything comes out of ease and joy.

Morning would be my “morning ritual”. Each morning, I’d start the day off with at least one hour of self-care and self-love. This can look different from day-to-day but the intention is the same. I’m not good with keeping up with habits and I freak out when I have to commit to something daily. Daily meditation? Daily yoga? Daily morning jog? Forget it. Might as well throw “ritual” out the window.

Instead, I focus on what feels good for me in that moment. In that way, I trick myself from thinking of it as a luxury and not a chore. I hate chores.

This is something I should want to do, not something I have to do because I’ve placed a silly rule or schedule for myself.

The luxury to play and explore what morning ritual is each day could mean various sorts of things like yoga, meditation, reading a good book, writing, taking a walk, jogging, dancing, playing music, or enjoying a green smoothie.

This morning it looked like a 10 minute meditation with Susan Piver, green smoothies & bacon, and a backyard yoga session!

I just want to be me, and I want the luxury to be able to explore what that is.

It’s no secret that I love travel and exploration. I’m enamored by the bohemian lifestyle, the beatnik generation, the open road. I once walked 800 km in Palawan, Philippines and I want to do more long distance trekking.

But for as much as I love to explore foreign places, I love even more exploring the inner depths of self.
I THRIVE on self-help/inner-work and clarity.

My ideal lifestyle means I have a sustainable online business that can take me anywhere around the world to fund my adventures. I wouldn’t want to be a perpetual nomad, but I wouldn’t want to live with rent and contracts either. I would love to be “based” in a paradise from home surrounded by nature. Co-ops and eco-treehouses and tiny houses come to mind, all wrapped around a social enterprise (that I help build, of course) that’s sustainable with permaculture gardens and communal spaces for yoga, and various workshops.

My lifestyle affords me the luxury to live a perpetual vacation and invest in myself. I work with clients I love that are holistic, creative and heart-centered. I design websites, ebooks and help launch projects from idea to creation. I write memoirs, erotica, and paranormal romance novels. I have my own products and help people every day with the value that I create.

I hold space for other people to shine.
I approach it holistically, in ways that can help you manifest your dreams or desired outcome. Then I work with you to build and design your website/e-book/product so your offering has the midas touch of creativity and your grand vision displayed in visual form; that extra oomph and marketability to make your offer or web presence SHINE. I want the feeling you have with your own inner-workshine to match the external product so you feel 100% connected. That’s what I want to create for myself… and that’s what I want to create for you.

I feel a new signature offering is in the works. If you’re interested in beta testing, if this sounds good for you, give me an email and we’ll go from there.

Janet Brent

Janet is a graphic/web designer for indies in the holistic and creative arts. She is passionate about working with creative world changers and showing people how to march to their own beats. You can email her at to introduce yourself or work with her. If you enjoyed this, sign up for more updates. TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus

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The Well Fed Collective

I don’t write enough about what I do here. Part of it is because I’m still afraid to market myself but another part of it is because I’m still not sure I want the Purple Panda to connect to my web design services, per say. I’m a freelance designer but I’m not designing under “Purple Panda”. I see Purple Panda as a mascot to my personality and thus, to my business, but it’s not my business, if that makes sense. In fact, I’m a digital hobo at the moment, with no real Web Design site to speak of to call my own (I’m working on it… it’s JFlo Studios).

I’m one step closer to having a true online presence as a web designer today because I am proud to be part of a new web design launch called the Well Fed Collective.

We’re a group of dynamic magic and we make tasty websites for do-good entrepreneurs on a budget. If this sounds like you, come check out our 72 hour sale. Our flagship DIY Web Design Guide, headed by creative founder Jessica Rea, is on sale for 50% until July 4th! Check us out and check out the beautiful manifesto that Jessica created! It’s pretty dope.

Janet Brent

Janet is a graphic/web designer for indies in the holistic and creative arts. She is passionate about working with creative world changers and showing people how to march to their own beats. You can email her at to introduce yourself or work with her. If you enjoyed this, sign up for more updates. TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus

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