My name is Debbie and let me tell you a little bit about myself.
Born in the Philippines, I did not always have the best of things and my family often struggled to make a living. Everything changed when my mom immigrated to the United States when I was 2 years old. From then on our situation became better, but I also lost a mother who had to leave in order to give us a better life. So, it was just me and my dad until I was 8 years old.
Like most immigrant families, there was a lot of struggles along the way. The biggest one is not being able to see my mom for most of my early childhood.
At the age of 8, my whole life was uprooted to New York. There was a lot of growing pains. Having to adjust to a new country, learn a new language and get to know a parent I didn’t really know. My dad went back to work as a Merchant Marine where he traveled all over the world and we only saw him for 3-4 months out of the year. I was left to again live with only one parent until the age of 18.
Since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to do something creative. I became obsessed with painting, drawing and anything that allowed me to express myself through any creative mediums.
However, coming from an immigrant family who struggled to provide food on the table. I was always told not to pursue anything in the arts because it wasn’t practical, and I was “going to be on the street begging for money”. I’ve always been very stubborn and of course did not listen.
At the age of 18 after being in college for 4 months, I realized that the major I had chosen was not what I wanted and left school. My parents were understandably furious. They gave me an ultimatum, change my major to Nursing or leave the house. I left the house.
Confused and feeling like an utter and complete failure, I left New York for a few months to live in Florida with my aunt and uncle, where they supported my love for the arts.
I came back to New York a few months later with a completely new perspective, I decided to go back to school and become an art teacher with focus on photography. It was there where I met one of the best mentors I have ever had. He introduced me to photojournalism where I found a real passion for film photography.
This passion led me to travel the world after college and soon after to work with NGO’s in Central America, the Middle East, and Asia. The work that I created from my travels were then shown in galleries in North America and Asia.
I have always found myself looking for my purpose and meaning. It brought me to travel in remote areas all over the world as a photojournalist, teach art to toddlers, assist renowned photographers and photo editors, as well as started and failed businesses where I followed the money and not my passion.
In the past, I have always continued with a career that I was not happy with because it was stable or made me money. However as I continue on, I have realized that without passion, there is no fire. Without fire there is no purpose.
I found that fire when I became honest with my self, and began to do what I really wanted instead of what was expected of me.
Today, I hike beautiful trails, meet incredible people in the most unexpected places and get paid to travel the world!
I have created The Offbeat Life because I know I am not alone. I know that there are so many of you who feel lost.
During my years of travel and through countless conversations with inspiring strangers and mentors, I have been given many incredible insights that have changed my way of thinking and living life. Now, it is time for me to share it with you!
Don’t get me wrong. My life is not perfect and I am still struggling to find balance. However, I have found that helping to ignite the fire in others has allowed me to impact the lives of so many, by encouraging others to take the chance to design a life full of substance and not from circumstance.
Start this journey with me because you are meant to do something great. Now, let’s ignite that fire and share it with the world!
With Love & Passion,