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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Natay Hayes interview

Seven months ago a friend of ours Natay Hayes, embarked on a journey across the world. The trip was transformative, informative and inspiring to so many who follow her on social media. Below is an interview with Natay on what made her decide to take the leap of faith, how she prepared and how it’s changed her life. BLISS girls live life to the fullest, smartly of course and this is just one example of how it’s done.

Amira: First tell me a little about your background and how it influenced your decision to travel the world.

NatayMy background is in Human Resources. But that wasn't the reason I traveled the world. I read one book after graduating college and it literally changed my life. The book was Rich, Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. It talked about those who get up and go to work for money vs. those that put vehicles in place to bring them money. I looked at work differently ever since I read that book. I would not have been able to quit my job and travel the world had I not first put a vehicle in place that would bring me money. In other words, something that would sustain my travels while I was on the road. So ultimately, I had the financial means to do so and that probably more than anything influenced my decision to travel the world.

Amira: Was there anything you knew you wouldn't leave the U.S. without?

Natay:  Absolutely. My camera. 

Amira: How did you prepare mentally, financially, etc for this trip?

Natay:  Mentally - good question. Not sure if I have an answer. I didn't know what my day would be like, I didn't know what anything would be like I just knew I was going and I would be totally open to the entire experience. So I prepared my route. I planned about a year and a half out. Everyday I'm on the internet figuring out where I want to go and how I'm going to get there and marking out major historical places that were must see's and all the things I just had to do. Financially I saved almost 2 grand a month for this trip. I paid off all my credit cards, I turned off cable, and I lowered my car insurance and deferred my student loans so I had very little expenses before leaving.

Amira: What were some of your fears?

Natay:   Getting robbed or raped or killed or falling off a cliff. Outside of that I didn't have many fears. But I guess that was enough.

Amira: What was the hardest part about planning for this trip?

Natay:  Figuring out modes and means of transportation. But, once I got to some of these places I realized I didn't need to do as much research for that. I could have easily figured out how to do all of that once I got there. The second hardest probably would be figuring out how I was going to stay within budget.

Amira: What places did you visit? Which was first and why?

Natay:  I did Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and Greece. This is the order in which I did the countries. Thailand was first because they had the best weather. Actually all the countries had great weather. It was important that I had a route that included great weather. Thailand was an easy place to start because of the rest of the countries that followed. The whole South East Asia hub was relatively easy to travel through. So, no other real reason besides good weather and the route.

Amira: Any funny stories from your trip?

Natay:  Where would you like me to start? The bus broke down in the middle of Kenya. It was dark and literally in the middle of nowhere. My phone was suffering from water damage, because it fell in the water when I was swimming with sea turtles. I took an 8 hr ride to go find these sea turtles and never found them. Then my phone breaks, go figure. Anyways, everyone is getting off the bus to find other arrangements. They're calling their friends and family members. I'm panicking. There are no taxis or cabs or any other modes of transportation. I raise my hand and I'm like "uh anyone speak English, I'm going here can I hop a ride with someone". 30 mins later the bus comes back on. I didn't even care I was the only person on that bus. 

Amira: Tell us about a high and a low from the trip?

Natay:  Wow. I found the opportunity to be as present as I could in my entire trip. So many milestones. A high had to be my birthday, flying over Mt. Everest. I'm like wow. This is the highest point on earth and it was my birthday and here I am celebrating, right now in this moment. All I remember thinking was how magnificent is God's creations and how humble I was to live in this moment.

My low? I was pick-pocketed in Tanzania.  I never keep all of my credit cards in one spot, but I was literally on my way to try and book a flight and brought all of them with me just in case one didn't work. So, I lost a little bit of cash, my driver’s license and 4 credit cards. I thank God my passport and phone wasn't gone because it was right in the same place as the wallet. 

Amira: What was your favorite place and why?

Natay:  Easily Vietnam. I've never been to a country that had so much diversity in one place. I went to about 6 or 7 different cities there and each one was so unique and had such a different vibe that I just enjoyed it. Not to mention, the food is cheap and the people are some of the friendliest people I've ever met. Oh and all the clothes you can get custom made there too for super cheap.

Amira: What did you miss the most while away?

Natay:  Breakfast!!! No one eats breakfast, sometimes it's just tea. I'm like where's the food?!

Amira: What was the most profound thing you learned?

Natay:  Good question. That's hard to boil down. I learned so many things about other cultures and their experiences. I think I'd say I saw firsthand how interdependent we are on each other. It's easy to know these things from the news, but hard to make the connections. Now I can say well I've seen it. I've been to these places, I've seen how they lived, I see what life is like in Nepal and know firsthand the effects the recent earthquake will have on the country, etc.

Amira: What did you learn about yourself ?

Natay:   I think one of the biggest things the trip solidified for me was my ability to create and live out my creations. In living my life every day, the way I wanted too, life became this "store" for me. To use my thoughts and resources to begin to create the exact life that I want to live. So now that I'm back home the biggest thing for me is figuring out what I want next and how I'm going to create that.

Amira: Any advice to other people trying to do the same thing?

Natay:  Save a lot of money! My advice is always to do things and prepare the best you can. Life doesn't stop. I still had to pay bills, I still had responsibilities to come home too. I wanted to make sure I would still be in a decent financial position. I couldn't go back home to live with my parents.

Amira: Anything you want to share?

Natay:  Live your life. We hear it all the time. It hits us only when we lose people close to us. We forget about how precious life truly is and how much of a gift it is. We take this time for granted; we get caught up in the rut of paying bills and just going to work. Set yourself up to win. What are you waiting for? What have you got to lose? 

Amira: Would you do it again?

Natay:  In a heartbeat. 

Oh and of course I had to visit her along the way, BLISS girls always support a sista and show love 

Thank you Natay for taking the time to give us this interview, we know you have been busy since returning. This story is just too amazing not to share with our readers. You are truly an inspiration to our readers and to us. If you guys have any questions for Natay you can leave a comment below or follow her on facebook Natay Hayes or on Instagram @diamondstamps.

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