Excuse me for a moment, but I am going to get totally vulnerable here!
Life is not always what it seems. Four years ago, I was searching for the woman I am today. Longing to know exactly who she is and what she contributes to this life. My search for self lead me on a journey of travel.
Every single person has a story, including me. When I set out to discover myself, I was 20 years old, living in my own place, finishing my Bachelor's Degree at the University of North Florida and dating the same types of guys. I was battling anxiety and depression and just needed an escape from the constant panic attacks that my life brought me. I learned 6 key things about myself while traveling Europe.
I AM A TOTAL BAD ASS
Please understand that when I say I am a bad ass, I am not saying I am a mean person. I am saying that I am pretty strong. I have been through so much in my life from sexual assault to PTSD and more. These are topics I don't typically share with anyone but I am being pretty vulnerable here in hopes that I will empower other people to travel the world. My bad ass mentality allows me to feel the hurt of my pain and conquer it. I don't allow my past to define who I am as a person or as a woman.
I AM POWERFUL
I used to think I was weak. I used to believe that I wasn't capable of handling and managing life the way "normal" people did. I used to believe all of those horrible things about myself. But I am a woman. As a woman, I have power. I have the power within myself to make my own reality. I am so grateful that I learned this because now I know I am not weak. I am powerful!
I am strong
There is nothing that I need to prove to anyone. I am strong both mentally + physically.
I AM BEAUTIFUL
Beauty is both an inside trait as well as outside trait. I can't picture I time when I didn't believe I was beautiful on the outside. There were plenty of times when I wasn't connected to myself that I didn't believe my inside was beautiful. I didn't believe I was capable of empowering other woman or even myself because I wasn't in the right mindset. When I learned my inner power, I learned my inner beauty.
I AM CAPABLE OF DOING ANYTHING I SET MY MIND TO
When I set out to discover myself, I didn't even know what I was venturing into. I took a leap, hopped on a plane and never looked back. I pulled myself out of depression and anxiety from traveling, if I can do that, I can do anything.
i am a queen
Finding yourself means you understand yourself inside and out. When you finally identify yourself you can stand proud and shout "I AM A QUEEN" or king, if you're a male.
Yes, ladies. I got confidence in myself. I truly learned who CIENNA is! But, I have been here all along. It just took traveling to show me- ME!
One day while watching Grey's Anatomy, I was scrolling through Instagram when I saw an ad to go abroad and shadow doctors. I had never heard of this company before but I truly wanted to learn more. I thought, I could be a doctor just like Dr. Meredith Grey. I had no idea why I assumed I could be a surgeon when I was getting my Bachelor's Degree in Advertising. However, my brain wasn't in a great state.
I had been out of the country before but never to find myself. I didn't know that I was going to discover my entire self at just 20 years old. I thought, I was just going to Europe to see if I was capable of being a doctor.
Everyone in my life told me not to go to Germany (my first stop) with this company since no one knew of it. But, I forced myself to travel to another country without any friends or any family members. I needed to just go and something inside of my very being told me to go. I went alone but met so many great people while there. Since I was alone (technically), and no one knew me, I could finally be myself.
By being alone- I had to figure myself out, real quick, ladies! I was forced to eat alone, which is something I had never done before in public. I had to learn how to communicate with others when I did not speak the native language. I had to force myself to ask people for help. I had to put myself in situations that I otherwise would not have had to do in my own home town just so I could get around and survive.
I realized in those moments that I was learning so much about my own being. I went out and bought a book in Italy (all in English) on how to discover my why. I was a workbook chapter book and it forced me to learn why I get up out of bed. The book forced me to understand my mere existence and my purpose for life.
When I came back to the states, I told my crush of 10 years that I was completely into him. I started going back to church and developed my love for worship. I became closer to my family, and learned my self worth.
Those affirmations I said earlier about myself are still true and are still things I believe, years later. It's so interesting because every time I travel now, I feel more and more secure in myself!
This is why I started this business - because I want more and more women to feel confident in themselves and love who they are.
My advice: travel the world and learn to love yourself.
Cienna Richards is the CEO of Your Life Travel Club and a world traveler. Your Life Travel Club hosts international retreats and trips for women. Our mission is to empower women to live their best lives and travel the world. Connect with us on social media and subscribe to our weekly travel card to get all the updates on up-coming trips, blog posts, YouTube videos, and podcast episodes.