We had the good fortune of connecting with Janette Aracely | Travel Blogger and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Janette Aracely | Travel Blogger, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
There have been plenty of decisions in my life that friends and family have labeled as “risky.” While I agree that they were, I would say there’s a bit of methodology behind the madness that eliminates the fear of risk-taking for me. I love hearing of risk-taking stories, but I am even more interested in the logistics behind them. So that is what I’m sharing today, my so-called “formula for risk-taking”: I’m a calculated risk-taker. I like to plan for all of the probable outcomes I can think of before executing. It’s a bit like playing chess. You want to look at all of the pieces on the board, picture hypothetical moves in your head, and prepare for any outcomes you see before you play your next piece. If there are any Queen’s Gambit fans here, there’s one specific scene that may come to mind. I specifically look at the worst scenario and ask, “Does the benefit outweigh the cost?” Sometimes the answer is no, but sometimes even though the thought of the cost makes me cringe, the answer will be, “without a doubt.” The most significant risk I’ve personally taken (besides kissing a hippo in South Africa) is moving out of LA for the first time to a new continent within weeks of making the decision. I grew up in LA and had lived within a 10-mile radius my whole life. But given that LA is a vast melting pot, I frequently met people from all over the world. I kept hearing them say they just packed their bags one day and moved to a new city where they had no job and didn’t know anyone. I found that to be so adventurous – and wanted to experience that for myself. One year, I wanted to push past my comfort zone yet again and travel by myself to a country with an entirely different culture and language that I didn’t speak, so I chose China. On my trip, I met Europeans and Australians who were shocked when I told them I only had 14 vacation days per year. They felt sorry for me, and so did I; until I realized I didn’t need to feel sorry for myself when I could just do something about it. So literally, the day I arrived home, I applied for my Australian Visa and moved there around 5 weeks later. Now to my favorite part, logistics.
STEP 1 The day I got back, I gave careful thought to the following: – I don’t want to live anywhere that gets too cold (LA-native, what can I say). That eliminated a good portion of the world. – I didn’t want to put my Social Media Marketing career on hold, so I needed a country where I could continue to pursue it. This meant it should be a predominantly English-speaking country to secure a job more quickly. This left Australia and the UK, but Australia was the winner, given my first point (the weather). – Once I decided on the country, I looked up PTO (paid time off), salary wages for the position I wanted, cost of living, Visa rules, etc.
STEP 2 Prepping For The Move – I applied for my Visa – it was granted 5 days later. – I gave my company my two-week notice and my apartment building my 30-day notice that day. – I began selling everything and saving all of my money because Australia requires Americans to have $5,000 AUS in their bank account before moving there. – I booked a travel package with a company that gives you a tour of the city (Sydney), helps set up your bank account/cell phone service/health insurance, and find an apartment.
STEP 3 Start Your New Life + Take More Calculated Risks – I uploaded my resume + a presentation of my work to a recruiting website and got a job within 4 days. – I got an apartment and a boyfriend 2 months later. – I always worked in Social Media Marketing but had mainly tested strategies on celebrity accounts or brand accounts, but I started my own Instagram Travel account when I moved. It was the first time I truly got to experiment with all of the strategies I wanted to try but was too scared to test because they might go wrong. This time it was my personal account, and I didn’t care if I made mistakes, so long as I learned from them. – Result: The lack of fear, I would say, is the crucial reason the account grew over 20k followers in less than a year. The IG account helped me get freelance work, articles on blogs, and a travel shoot with my favorite brand, where I was flown across the world and had an unforgettable experience. Potential Outcomes and their solutions: Going back to my “formula”, there wasn’t any outcome I could predict that I considered detrimental, which eliminated my fear of moving forward with this impromptu plan. What if I didn’t like the city, didn’t like the people, was very homesick? It would cost roughly $1,000 to fly back home and to move to Australia; you need to have $5,000 in your bank account. As long as I kept track of expenditures and made sure I never hit below $1,000, I could always come home in less than a day! All the possibilities of me hating something about my new life would be risky (and terrifying) if there were no way out – but given that you’re required to have cash to enter the country, I could always just go back. What if I liked the city but couldn’t get my dream job? If I couldn’t get a Social Media Marketing job but was in love with the country, I could apply for jobs outside of my career path, mainly hospitality. Was that something I had planned on doing? No. But the option was there if I changed my mind. What if I couldn’t make friends or meet new people? Well, this is the fun part. This is where you have to learn to be comfortable, being uncomfortable. Part of the beauty of travel is that you’re forced to come out of your shell and make bold decisions that in turn, help you grow into a new version of yourself. So, I was looking forward to this challenge.
Lastly, I will note that, yes unexpected things will come along that you didn’t plan for or even fathom happening, but these are the moments where you learn that you’re actually capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for. So if you want something, I say, make your calculations and if the sacrifices you forsee are worth it to you, then go run wild.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I stumbled my way into social media marketing in 2012 and have remained in that field since. At first, it was with a company that focused their marketing on brands, then I shifted to celebrities for a bit while working at Rogers & Cowan, and then did it for myself when I started travel blogging in Australia. Now that I’m back in LA, I work at a new agency whose marketing focuses on movies/TV shows.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love that LA feels like it has a million cities in one. So when friends visit I like to show them how much the atmosphere of each location varies. It’s almost like they all have different personalities. This could be anywhere from Hollywood, Santa Monica, Silver Lake, to Malibu, Pasadena, Culver City, etc. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to thank everyone I’ve met while traveling. They have all been strong adventurous people that inspired me to pursue exactly what I want without hesitation.