How to Become Debt-Free as a Digital Nomad
The #1 Reason You’re Not Earning What You Want
Hey there! I am so excited to have an incredible guest post today by Christy Renee Stehle who is an author, speaker and mindset coach.
From sick and overweight to traveling 20 countries in 2016 and over 30 total, she’s lived many chapters in her 31 years. Christy now travels the world full-time teaching overachieving nomads how to find their brains’ off switch, love who they see in the mirror, and attract powerful freedom.
You can Download Christy’s free course on How to Be a Money Magnet 7-day series here: https://www.christyrenee.co/7-day-money-magnet
Have you ever done something so asinine that if a friend suggested it you would laugh in their face?
In a wild burst of courage that still surprises me at times, in July 2018 I let go of every safety net I had in my life. I said goodbye to the boyfriend I’d had since childhood, I donated everything I had accumulated in my two years abroad —save for one small carry-on suitcase — I quit the lifeless job I couldn’t stand and embarked on the craziest journey I had yet to date. With a one-way ticket in my shaky hands, I set out to travel the world with no money.
At the time I had this one suitcase, no job, $10k of student debt, $1000 bucks in the bank, and two halfway maxed out credit cards to my name. It was a crazy idea, I hardly had a plan for making money on the road at all. All I knew was that I didn’t want just another dull job while traveling; I craved something more, something purposeful.
Two years ago my life looked “perfect.” I had a location-independent job while traveling, making money on the road with a good income, a “perfect relationship,” and had visited 30 countries before my 30th birthday….yet still I wasn’t happy.
I thought that there was something so wrong with me that I had so much of what I once dreamt of in life, and still I awoke anxious each and every morning. It was easier for me to avoid any of the harsh realities of the life I was living, and so instead of examining the source of my crippling anxiety, I did what I was trained to do: I swept that shit under the rug and practiced ‘positive thinking.’
I invested my efforts into fixing a life that no longer fit and focused on making the best of my situation.
The truth was, I worked most nights until midnight and started again at four a.m. I was performing a job I couldn’t stand for clients that drained every bit of my energy. I was the sole breadwinner — and had been for two years — and my partner criticized me anytime I expressed any emotion other than happiness.
I spent money on things I didn’t need in order to feel better, and I was numbing myself with wine and cannabis every…single…day. As a formerly-identified overachieving perfectionist, admitting that life, that city, that relationship wasn’t right for me was my worst nightmare. And so for a long time I avoided it.
My own inner fears of failing, looking weak, and letting go had me fighting a war inside my own mind: I was constantly battling between the anxiety screaming in my head and my conditioning to just ‘be positive.’ Finally, finally, I got to a breaking point.
I knew something had to change. I had recently been introduced to the personal development company Mindvalley, and for weeks afterward their programs routinely appeared on my social media feeds.
Their university program looked amazing; a rotating campus every year, a like-minded community of people who craved travel, wealth, and purpose out of life, it sounded like a dream come true, yet I did what I was trained to do once again….I told myself I couldn’t afford it.
Instead, I jumped feet first into the company’s free content and there I discovered one trick so simple, it changed my entire world.
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The Secret Recipe to Becoming Debt-Free: I Am Enough
Deep down do you really think it’s possible for you to live abundantly, traveling the world debt-free as a digital nomad? Do you actually feel worthy of the life you dream of? I invite you to pause now and get really honest with yourself and journal your thoughts before continuing to read. Do you believe it’s possible for you? Do. You. Feel. Worthy?
Our minds are masters at deception. If you’re like I was, perhaps you’re allowing yourself to believe you think you are worthy….After I really starting examining my behaviors, I realized that if I felt truly worthy there would be no way I would be living as I was.
Three little words: I am enough.
These simple words changed my life. Taken from Britain’s top physiologist to the stars, Marissa Peer, this phrase written in red dry-erase on my bathroom mirror started my journey to financial freedom.
I began valuing myself more, and it became clear that the day-to-day decisions I was making weren’t in alignment with the person I said I wanted to become. Slowly at first, I began enacting changes and soon found myself on the road to travel the world with no money.
The Limit Does Not Exists: How Going into Debt Got Me Out of Debt
After I was acing as if I believed I was worthy (a cornerstone of financial freedom), magic started to happen. The month-long university program would have set my partner and I back around three thousand dollars, yet as if by divine serendipity, tickets were suddenly offered to us by an expecting couple for a whopping $850.
Even still, we “couldn’t afford it.” We owed thousands in debt and with the intensity of the program, I didn’t think I could keep up with my job while traveling.
Have you ever had one of those out of body experiences where electricity shoots up and down your spine and your fingers and toes get all tingly? This experience of combined energy in my body and the serendipity of the tickets was too strong a force to ignore, and even though I didn’t have a plan to be making money on the road, I finally had the confidence to believe in myself, and so I booked the tickets straightaway on my credit card.
At Mindvalley University I studied from some of the best and most brilliant minds across a wide range of topics. I absorbed knowledge nine hours a day, five days a week. Shockingly, I was so empowered by all this new information that I didn’t stress about my job while traveling.
Instead, I ate it up. There, I learned paradigm-shifting practices to remove limiting beliefs. I felt my mind expand in new ways upon learning the most surprising limit of all: the ‘truth’ that ‘it’s bad to go into debt’ was in fact just a myth. A false limiting belief that I, like many before me, held onto from society. Money in the bank, I learned, was merely potential energy. Only once we invest it does it become kinetic.
And when we invest it consciously — that is spending it on things we value — it flows and circulates, and most importantly — it returns. Old belief after old belief of mine continued to shatter from these exercises, and soon I found myself fully understanding the inner workings of money.
How Energy Management Sets Digital Nomads Free
Back before my life as a nomad, I suffered from gut disease so debilitating, I once thought it impossible to live life on the road. Forget the challenge of how to travel the world with no money…Traveling with gut disease this bad? To an aspiring digital nomad, it felt like a death sentence.
It was in this dark time that I was gifted the most important lesson of my life to this day. As an American without health insurance, I developed a newfound self-responsibility so profound that I became clear on how to manage my energy.
I learned surprising things that drained me daily and discovered exercises I could practice to amplify my energy inside. While the journey took years, once I discovered the right combination, everything clicked. Within three months my partner and I were selling everything we owned and planning an open-ended trip around the world.
After learning at MVU that money was just another form of energy, a way to exchange energetic value, I felt that crazy spark ignite in me once more. Would I be able to apply the same techniques that healed my body back then to heal my finances now?
When healing my gut issues, I noticed a difference made based on the energy I showed up in. If I was excited to eat a food versus feeling guilty or lacking…my body actually responded differently. I tested this theory out with my finances, and began to notice when I got excited about money parting from my hands…more money returned to me in weird ways.
The more I prioritized alkaline foods in my diet over those that were acidic, the more power I noticed my thoughts began to have, and the more power my thoughts began to have, the more abundance I was able to attract. Habits like overthinking, spending mornings glued to my phone, and avoiding self-honesty drained my energy, and as crazy as it seemed at first, I noticed once I changed my patterns, abundance flowed to me in increasingly new and unexpected ways.
Replacing the Study of Poverty with the Study of Wealth
Most of us, I feel, are familiar with the old adage, energy flows where attention goes. I’ve long wondered why so many of us who wish to increase our bank accounts, in that case, focus solely on budgeting. If money is an energy, doesn’t it stand to reason that if we focus our attention on the money that leaves our accounts that it would only create more of the same?
I decided to put the theory to the test, and was ecstatic when I discovered that both physics and biology backed this theory of abundance tracking.
The Reticular Activator System is the bundle of nerves at our brainstems that filters unnecessary information from that which we deem “important.” It separates what we focus on into our conscious mind and separates everything that isn’t “important” into our subconscious mind. How does it know what’s important? We tell it. Have you ever noticed if you start paying attention to white cars, suddenly, you’ll see white cars everywhere?
There aren’t miraculously more of them, they’ve always been there, yet now you’ve deemed white cars a worthy stimulus to your brain’s software system. This principle holds true with both opportunities and abundance. As humans, if we are always focused on situations that make us feel negative, our brains will believe negative situations to be important to us, and therefore will filter out more and more negative situations. If we place our focus on what leaves our account, our brain will think money leaving is important to us.
How do we solve this problem? We just focus on the ways money is already working for us. I advise my clients to paint a picture of where their money goes, cancel any unnecessary subscriptions services, tidy up limiting habits, and then stop tracking what goes out — instead of tracking only what comes in.
I have a note app on my phone in which I track the ways money is working in my favor daily. If I eat lunch with a friend who charges $300/hour for their expertise and we spend thirty minutes discussing business…That’s $150 I just tracked. If I am dining out in an inexpensive country like Bali and can eat breakfast for $6 versus the $20 it would cost in California…That’s $14 I just tracked.
Questions to Prompt Abundance Mindest:
- Have you received any discounts today?
- Have you purchased things today that are much cheaper in your country than they would be on vacation or in a more expensive country? Can you track the difference in what you’ve saved?
- Have you received any income?
- Have you paid a credit card and removed debt?
- Have you found cash stashed anywhere?
- Have you received valuable information during a time with a friend who usually charges for his/her services?
- Have you received any gifts, free courses, or influencer invites?
- If this is your first time tracking, can you think of all the ways abundance has been working for you over the last few days, weeks, or month and track the noteworthy abundance there?
- Did you drop your laptop and it didn’t break? Did you leave your phone in a taxi and it was returned? What are things that could’ve cost you money for replacements and didn’t?
- Have you cancelled subscriptions you’ll be saving on?
- Do you have any subscriptions that save you money?
- Are you staying somewhere for free?
- How much do you have in checking? Savings? Count that!
- Did you decide not to purchase something and so saved money?
- Get creative with it!
How we speak aloud and in our heads has a direct impact on the realities we live and our ability to live life debt-free as a digital nomad. Because this in-depth topic is so vital to our financial well-being, I no longer only teach it in my coaching program, I’ve created a free video series because everyone needs this information.
Begin by taking note today, how often you find yourself using the words, “I can’t, I want,” and “I need.” Make a note in particular around how frequently you say, “I can’t afford that/it.” Statements such as this are so very rarely even true. You likely can afford it, you are just choosing to prioritize your expenditures differently.
Daily coffee and little luxuries like eating and drinking out will cost you somewhere around $12k a year, depending on where you live. If you can afford that kind of cash for things will little or no return on investment, you can likely afford whatever it is you’re saying you can’t. You are just choosing to prioritize differently. Something to think on.
Replacing these words with empowering statements of self-responsibility, like “I create” and “I choose,” creates a new status for us in life. We let go of the victimhood mentality — where life happens to us — and we begin to see how capable we are of designing our realities.
The Best Investment Money Can Buy: Investing in Your Self to Get Out of Debt
I don’t really know why it came as such a shock to me — the most successful people in life have always said the best investment we can make is in self. It was a hard concept to grasp until I saw the effects myself. Each and every penny — even those that were charged in debt — that I put towards being a better me, offered a valuable return.
Part of the human condition is that we are masterminds at repeating the same patterns, even those that limit our potential. Our brains are computing engines programmed to choose the path of least resistance in pursuit of one primary goal: survive. Our software is designed to keep us safe and warm, playing small, and has little regard for our big lofty dreams of traveling the world debt-free as a digital nomad. When decide we want to thrive, we meet all kinds of resistance.
This is why the coaching industry is so successful. Professional athletes take their years of experience and condense their in-depth knowledge down to train young athletes to perform at their very best. To help them in learning what they don’t know and pushing past the resistance. I used to view hiring a mindset coach as an “unnecessary” indulgence, and now I’m not sure there will come a point in my life when I’m without one.
Having the support from the people who could see what I see is what fueled me to have the courage to let go of that relationship, that job, and those possessions. Once I was living in alignment with who I wanted to become, I was able to turn $15k in debt and $1000 to my name into a debt-free abundant life as a digital nomad in a series of just a few weeks.
The beautiful thing about this unconventional method to clearing debt is that the results are far from specific to just me. My clients all experience incredible results, and most recently one received an unprecedented $10k raise as a teacher.
- Write “I AM ENOUGH” on your bathroom mirror. Think it. Believe it. Feel it.
- Invest time and money into both free and paid personal development. Money is an energy and the more energy you invest in mindset growth, the more rewards that follow
- Remove energy drainers like toxic relationships (romantic and non) and mindless activities like scrolling social media and watching TV. Clean up your relationship with food and fuel your body with a 60-70% alkaline diet. Implement morning rituals that uplift you.
- Change the study of poverty for the study of wealth
- Replace limiting language with empowering language
- Invest in a support system who sees your self-imposed limits you’re blind to.
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