Hi you! Glad to see you here.

When you follow me on Instagram, you might’ve seen all these dreamy tropical photos of me living in Bali, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and now again Bali in the last 12 months. The year has been pretty wild and I’m so humbled and grateful for this experience and possibility to travel and live like we* do.

*By we I mean myself and Markus. We’ve been together for almost 5 years and he plays a huge roll in my life so don’t mind me writing most of the stuff in we form.

I wanted to give you a little backstory of how I got here – at this exact moment of writing, I’m sipping a coconut from my own garden on a Saturday afternoon in Bali, while my 2 months old foster pup is blissfully sleeping next to me. Life’s pretty good.

Sunset in Bali with my puppy

I’m working remotely, which lets me skip the cold winters of Estonia and go home for the warm summer days. I like to spend the winters in the tropics and I can honestly say that at this moment I’m living MY OWN dream life. And if you’ve told me 4 years ago this, I wouldn’t have believed you.

So I wanted to share with you the things that mostly changed my life (looking back that’s what I think at least). Hopefully, my story will inspire you to go after your dream life – whatever it is!

For this blog post not get into book size, I’ll briefly share the 10 moments in my life, that I believe took me to where I am today, together with some lessons that hopefully can help you.

Definitely there were a hundred more little events and happening, but I think the biggest action-taking started 5 years ago (before that I was in high school like everyone else), so I’ll start from that.

10 Moments of mine that got me closer to my dream life

 

#1: Going to study advertising (Sept 2014)

Advertising is a cool thing to study as you can work in so many different jobs later on. I loved the combo of creativity, psychology and strategy.

I studied advertising at Tallinn University. My thoughts? Well, the courses felt too theoretical and not at all up-to-date (we didn’t learn ANYTHING about social media). But I was really impressed with some of the lecturers and the opportunity to sneak peek inside the real ad agencies!

Also, I found some besties from the Uni, which I’m forever grateful for and I guess the basic marketing knowledge (who knows if I would be even doing social media now without the studies).

The biggest lesson: Learn from anything and everything. There’s some value in every situation, person, and thing you interact with. Even if the lesson doesn’t come from the obvious place, see outside the box and take something with. PS! Learning what you DON’T like is a huge lesson as well.

bachelor-degree-from-my-advertising-studiesMe and my girls after getting our bachelor’s degrees!

#2: Meeting Markus (Dec 2014)

I think to this day I cannot quite comprehend the impact he has had on my life. When we met he was already working for his own brand – Bold Tuesday. And he has shown me what working for oneself means and the freedom that comes with it.

If he had been working a regular 9-5 I think our lives would be SOOO different. I don’t think I would have the guts or desire to move abroad alone. So Barcelona and the rest of our longterm trips wouldn’t have happened. Yikes.

Crazy to think that he was living the lifestyle I wanted (without me knowing it at that time) and kind of taught me to do the same. Oh, and he has also been a big resource for me when it comes to handing all the boring and complicated legal stuff with my own company.

The biggest lesson: Remember that you are most affected by the people you spend time with the most. Pay attention to them and see if they support the life you want to live and if they have a positive or negative impact on you as a person.

me-and-markusFun fact: our first trip together was in Barcelona, who would have known we’ll be living there 3 years later. 

#3: Going to Bali for the first time (May 2016)

…and absolutely falling in love with the island. If we hadn’t gone to Bali, I don’t think we would live here right now. Since coming here in 2016, I knew I wanted to organise my life in a way that lets me come here more often.

And I think at that time I wasn’t even thinking about working remotely, but I guess the seed of the idea was somewhere deep in my brain. Bali felt (and still feels) magical. And I’m so glad we got to call it home now.

The biggest lesson: Seeing more and more different places makes you understand what are you looking for. Same with experiences and activities. So the more you go and do things for the first time, the more you understand what do you want in your life and what you don’t want.

me-and-markus-in-bali-for-the-first-timeKids discovering Bali.

#4: Getting an internship abroad (May 2017)

During my second year at University, I SOO wanted to do an Erasmus exchange program in Barcelona. There was a whole lot of paperwork (cause this school I wanted to go wasn’t my Uni’s partner) and in the end, it was impossible to get the paperwork done and the deadline was o-v-e-r. You cannot even imagine how devastated I was, but as they say: “change your plan, not your goal”.

I still wanted to use the Erasmus scholarship and as I entered my third year in Uni, I immediately started looking for ad agencies in Europe, mostly Barcelona, where I could do an internship. So after contacting 100 agencies (no joke), I got two YES-es in Barcelona. Read about my internship here.

The biggest lesson: Everything, absolutely everything is doable if you really-really want it and work for it. And don’t get discouraged if the road to your dreams is bumpy. In the end, it’s so worth it.

#5: Getting my first social media work (Aug 2017)

After my advertising studies, one start-up found me on Linkedin and was interested in hiring me for their Instagram. The job was part-time and I was pretty excited to get my hands dirty in the marketing field. And as it was remote, I also knew I could continue doing it from Barcelona.

This was a really small project at that time but looking back I think it kind of opened my eyes to the possibility of working remotely and doing social media marketing. Exactly what I’m doing now. Life, huh.

The biggest lesson: Say yes! Try new things. Even if you don’t think you are ready or qualified. You never know the next doors that will open for you just because of that one YES – an unpaid internship, a part-time job or volunteering. Whatever it is, just try it. and if you fail, it’s a great lesson or a funny story.

#6: Moving to Barcelona (Sept 2017)

Biggest. Change. Of. My. Life. I had never lived abroad before and my longest trips were a month in Bali and in Thailand. Now I was going away for 9 months! We gave up our rental apartment in Tallinn and flew to Barcelona. Oh my, me and Markus still think back at the Barcelona times with the biggest smiles on our faces. The city is wonderful and we had such a fun time living there!!

The internship and living in Spain taught me two things: 1. I love the adventure of living abroad, 2. I don’t love working from 9-5 to someone else’s schedule. Also, Barcelona was a great test for Markus as it was his first time working abroad. We both loved it so much that we knew we can do it from even further away…

The biggest lesson: Living abroad teaches you so much. If you ever get the chance please-please-please take it. At least once in your life. Getting out of your safe zone is definitely challenging, but these are the adventures you’ll remember forever.

moving-to-barcelonaGetting used to our new city. ♥

#7 Started my own company (Sept 2017)

This is more of a legal side moment, but registering my own company allowed me to be more independent and get more freelance work. As I had the internship in Barcelona full-time, I only did a little work on the side, but I think getting a company registered for my name was step one of working for myself (which I didn’t know I fully wanted at the time).

The biggest lesson: Not a lesson, but isn’t it just funny how we do things on a daily bases that get us closer to our dream life without even knowing it ourselves.

PS! If you have some side-projects, it’s smart to make your own company and bill through that – clients will love it and you’ll have more flexibility and control over your financials.

#8 Started working for Bold Tuesday (April 2018)

I joined Markus and Kairi in Bold Tuesday right after my internship. This was my first big social media marketing job (part-time tho). It felt as a natural step as I was already so invested in the brand by having daily discussions with Markus.

And Bold Tuesday as a brand really spoke to me – I mean travel and design is the perfect combo, don’t you think? Having this job allowed me to start planning autumn abroad without any fears of how can I afford it and took away the pressure of needing new clients ASAP. Actually, I’m still working with them until the end of 2019.

The biggest lesson: I’d say again say yes to things you don’t feel 100% ready for. I’ve realised, the more I say yes to opportunities, the more new ones come to my way. Just do it, I guess.

#9 Moving to Bali for 3 months (Sept 2018)

Moving to Bali was different than moving to Barcelona. First, now me and Markus both were working remotely and second, now we had a time difference of 6 hours with Estonia. This was actually more challenging than we thought, but it was still so worth it.

PS! Now we have managed to get a much much better daily routine (if you are interested, I can let you in on that).

The 3 months in Bali was a great test period to see if we liked being so far from home for many months. And we did like it. A lot…

The biggest lesson: Design the life you want to live for yourself. I want to travel and live in Asia half of the year and at the same time build a career. And this is totally doable. You don’t have to pick one or another – know what you want and make it work.

moving-to-bali

#10 Getting another social media client (Dec 2018)

…which gave me confidence that I can actually do it. During the summer in Estonia and autumn in Bali, I was working for Bold Tuesday part-time and doing some small freelancing projects on the side.

I wanted to have more REAL clients, so I started pitching myself to brands I wished to work with and actually got a client this way! It was a big deal for me as it was a pretty well-known Estonian coffee company. This job lasted only for a couple of months, but from that on I was sure I wanted to work with different brands and felt that it is actually doable.

The biggest lesson: Set a goal. Make a plan and start working. I wrote to many companies, did follow-up emails and then Skype calls and out of 10 brands I contacted I got one client. If I hadn’t got that client, I would have written to 10 more brands (maybe in a different way). Remember, change your plan, not your goal.

getting-a-social-media-clientWorking from Bali. From my phone.

Applause! You made it to the end.

So the rest is kind of history. After 3 months in Bali in 2018, we came home to Estonia for Christmas and spent January here. And then we were off to Sri Lanka and Vietnam for 4 months.

Summer 2019 we spent home again (wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, Estonian summers are magical). And in October we were off to Bali with a one-way ticket.

How long are we staying here? We haven’t decided exactly.

So currently we are living in Bali, fostering a 2 months old pup and working full-time. Markus is doing Bold Tuesday and I’m managing my time between 6 social media projects (including Bold Tuesday). Life is good and I’m already excited for 2020.

End thoughts

I sure am lucky that I have the freedom to design my own life. And I do have the best parents in the world, whose support has encouraged me to find my path and taken away some of the anxiety about the future.

But I’ve also worked hard. And kept pushing forward. I’ve understood that I cannot put my happiness (or unhappiness) in anyone else’s hands. It’s my life. And my choice how I live it. I hope you know that too! And if you are not already working for your dream life, that you’ll start today.

Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like me to write about!

Sending good vibes from Bali,
Hannaliis

6 thoughts on “10 Moments of mine that got me closer to my DREAM LIFE”

  1. Kas oskaksid ehk paar nippi anda, kust leidsid neid firmasid, kes oleksid avatud koostööle ning kuidas täpsemalt oma ideid/töö pitch’isid? Mida kirjutasid nende meilile? Kust said vajalikud teadmised ja oskused, kas läbi oma praktika? Tänud ette:)

    1. Hei Jaana! Aitäh nii sisuka küsimuse eest!
      Kiirlt võin öelda, et kuna mul on erialane haridus (reklaami baka) ja olen ka praktikaid teinud, siis sain lihtsalt emaile saates paarile brändile jutule (millest tuli ka 1 töö). Aga see on väga põnev (ja mahukas) teema ehk kirjutan sellest pitchimisest ja brändide leidmisest eraldi postituse lähiajal. 🙂

      Päikest sulle!

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