My Story On Being Lost
by Taylor Deer
Growing up in the 90s, I guess it is safe to say that I had a pretty decent childhood. My mom was able to stay home and raise us until I reached middle school; I experienced the last of the “good ole days”, where everyone used to hang out on the cul-de-sac after school without a worry in the world; I competed in dance for 13 years and spent every weekend at my grandparents beach house at the Jersey shore.
On the outside, everything seemed fine and dandy, but on the inside, I was always a lost soul. I had a handful of friends and tried other sports (besides dance) like softball, basketball, tennis, volleyball and cheerleading, but nothing ever seemed to be for me. I was shy, insecure and never felt good enough. I blame this for growing up in an upper middle class area, but who knows?
It seemed like you could get away with being shy and introverted until you reach middle school. That is when it was considered to be “social suicide” for others to include the quiet ones in their friend groups. Now, you’re probably wondering why I was shy and introverted. Well, my answer is that there really wasn’t any reason; being quiet was who I was! Over the years, especially through college, working several different jobs and traveling, I have become a little more extroverted, but I do consider myself to still be a naturally quiet chick compared to many others. Not only was I super quiet as a teen; I was also a super late bloomer. It was the early 2000s and as most girls started to wear makeup, do their hair, dress in Abercrombie and Fitch and hang out with boys, I was over to the side still wearing Limited Too and glitter eye shadow from Claire’s. I was just being a normal kid!
During my middle school years, kids were just terrible! I would go to school afraid of what the next mean person would say to me to make me feel even crappier about myself. To make it even worse, I started to not fit in at dance as well. It was horrible and I really only lived for the summer!
Not only was my middle school years bad, high school was even worse! It wasn’t only because people were still being cruel; I started to feel very lonely for the first time in my life. I remember walking into that high school feeling so small. No one ever noticed me, I barely had any friends because everyone formed their group in middle school and I would get cold stares from both guys and girls. I kept thinking to myself that my college years couldn’t come quick enough!
After four brutal years of high school, I finally made it to college where my whole world changed! I met so many amazing people; I formed lifelong friendships; my creativity blossomed; I not only got smarter, but also wiser and I also had the time of my life! It was a total whirlwind from my middle and high school years and I couldn’t have been happier!
Now, don’t get me wrong, college wasn’t all perfect and fun 24/7. I went through a point halfway through my education where I decided to take a complete U-turn in my education. I started college as a business major with a concentration in accounting. Why? It was because that was what my parents wanted for me – a great education where I would graduate walking into a high salaried job and be set for the rest of my life.
Well, needless to say accounting was definitely not for me. I remember walking into the Career and Academic Planning office at my college, right before winter break, in a panic. I needed to graduate on time! I remember they made me take some type of test to see where my interests and passions lied. Based off of my results, it was pretty clear that I was a creative person, so I needed to change my major right away to start taking the proper courses. I decided on communications with a concentration in public relations and I remember thinking that all of my problems were solved and I finally figured out the rest of my life…
I ended up graduating on time with a decent GPA and a wonderful public relations job in New York City! At the time, it was a dream for me. After a month of working in this position, I got a new supervisor who knew right away how to make my life a living nightmare. As I mentioned in my Q&A, I thought my days of being bullied were completed on my high school graduation day, but it definitely crept back into my life at 22. I was being forced to work early mornings, late nights, weekends and even holidays. She would even belittle and humiliate me in front of my coworkers! My anxiety was at an all time high and I shortly became depressed, mentally exhausted and started to question a lot of things such as “Is this the hell I have to deal with until I retire?” Thankfully, I had the strength to quit my first full time job (without another job lined up) and eventually find a role, with an amazing manager, who helped me gain confidence in my career and shaped me into the content creator I am today.
After two and a half years of working at the job that changed my life (in corporate marketing), I left to pursue another role that was paying me $20K more to only to find out that the job I applied to was totally different than what I was actually doing everyday. Once again, bullying came back into my life at 25 and my manager would begin to humiliate and scream at me for not understanding something I wasn’t properly trained on. I, yet again, quit my job without a plan and started to really consider what made me truly happy.
During this time period, which happened to be last spring/summer 2017, I had to take a step back and refocus. I remember thinking to myself that if I wanted to live a happy life and eventually become successful, I needed to get money out of my head and ignore what others expected of me. It was my life, not theirs, and I needed to make the most of it, doing what I loved!
Since I started to guest blog for my aunt’s travel agency to make some money while I was figuring everything out, I was finding out more and more that travel writing was something I truly enjoyed doing on a daily basis. The only thing I had to figure out was how I was going to make a career out of it. Eventually, I created my own blog and website, started taking online courses on the business of blogging, attended networking events in the travel industry and began exploring more!
Even though I wanted to pursue travel blogging as a career, the idea of not getting a steady income started to stress me out and I started to get really bad anxiety. Unfortunately, I let my anxiety get the best out of me, so I decided to go back to working at a corporate job, while doing blogging on the side. I figured I would grow my blog until the point where I was making enough money from it to permanently leave the corporate world for good!
A few months into my next job, I started to realize that it wasn’t for me. All I thought about was my blog and how I could be growing it during my long days in the office. Eventually, depression and anxiety started to creep back into my system and I fell sick of really bad acid reflux from all of the stress. I then decided that it was best to pursue what I truly wanted to do, which was blogging! I left my last corporate job and haven’t looked back.
Ever since I left Corporate America for good, I haven’t been happier and more fulfilled. Even though I am still new to the blogging world and have a lot more to learn, I have been taking one step at a time to educate myself in order to become the successful travel blogger I long to be.
What I have learned through all of this is that sometimes you need to get lost in order to find yourself. You also may need to take a step (or even a few) back to reconnect and focus on what you are truly meant to be doing in life. It is important to always be true to yourself and not let what others say get the best of you. Everyone you talk to has their own dreams in life and it isn’t up to them to impose those same goals on you. If you are feeling lost, do what makes you happy and always practice self-love! I always find motivation and inspiration by reading self help books, meditating and connecting with others via social media and meetup groups. Please know that you are never alone with what you are going through and that there is always someone out there who has been in your shoes before. Try different things and find what works and doesn’t work for you. Eventually, you will find your tribe as well as your place in this wonderful world.
Introduce yourself! Who are you?
Hi Everyone, I’m Taylor and I am a mid-20s travel blogger/writer, content creator and yoga teacher from New Jersey. I started my blog, Brown Eyed Flower Child, to show the world through my eyes.
What is one thing no one really knows about you?
One thing nobody really knows about me is that I wear contacts and suffer from anxiety.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Even though it sounds a bit cliché, I have been told several times to follow your passion first and then money and success will follow. I think what most people need to know is that sometimes your passion isn’t always going to be accepted by society. One major piece of advice both my parents and mentors have told me is to ignore the status quo, what others have to say and to go for what makes you thrive. The beauty of life is that each of us has our own purpose. Being different from each other is a gift and that is what makes this world go around.
What would you say to 16 year old you?
Wow, this question is hard because there is so much I would tell my 16-year-old self. First of all, I experienced one of the lowest points of my life when I was 16. While everyone was celebrating their Sweet 16s, I was struggling from being severely bullied and was also undergoing depression and loneliness. Here are some things I would tell myself:
-It will get better!
-Even though you had the worst four years of high school, you will have the BEST four years of college!
-Over the next 11 years, you will meet some amazing people who will become lifelong friends.
-Don’t be afraid to exude your creativity.
-Listen to your gut, not your heart.
-Get out of your comfort zone and join clubs and meet ups.
-Eat healthy and exercise.
-You WILL NOT be married at 25, but you will travel the world instead.
-Jobs will come and go, but every experience will lead you to your destiny.
-People will also come and go. If they go, let them.
-There is no right age to have it all together.
-You will make it!
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is being kidnapped, set up or locked up abroad.
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
I sure have had family and friends doubt me before, especially when I made the decision to become a full time travel blogger. It honestly, made me feel horrible and low. I felt like I wasn’t good enough for anyone or anything and it even made me feel like I was creating some sort of criminal act for not following the traditional route. It was the worst!
What message do you think every woman should hear?
You are enough.
What is your favorite thing about where you live?
I just love the location of where I live. I am right outside of New York City, only a couple hours away from the beach and a short drive from the mountains and wine country. Also, as a traveler, I love living near a major airport hub LOL. It’s seriously the best of all worlds!
What do you love most about yourself?
I love that I am always able to see the beauty in life, even during those times when things seem to be going wrong.
Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
After graduating college, I got a job at a PR agency in NYC. It was a dream come true for me at the time to be working in the “greatest city in the world” while having the “dream job”. Needless to say, a month into the job role, I got a new supervisor who made my life a living nightmare. I honestly thought my days of being bullied were complete the day I graduated high school, but boy did it creep back into my life at 22. I remember being forced to work early mornings, late nights, weekends and even holidays. My boss would belittle and humiliate me in front of my coworkers everyday. My anxiety was at an all time high and I shortly became depressed, mentally exhausted and started to question a lot of things such as “Is this the hell I have to deal with until I retire?” Thankfully, I had the strength to quit my first full time job (without another job lined up) and find a role, with an amazing manager, who helped me gain confidence in my career and shaped me into the content creator I am today. Everything always works out in the end!
What is the biggest thing you’ve learned along the way?
One of the biggest things I have learned and continue to work on is patience and to trust the process.
Why do you love to travel?
This is a difficult question to answer because I have so many reasons why I love traveling! Traveling makes me feel alive. It also helps me get out of my comfort zone, find myself, gain better insight on the world, escape a bubble, heal, learn and connect with others.
What motivates you most?
I love seeing other people, who normally don’t travel, get inspired by my content to explore the world. It is the most moving feeling when I see others experience different cultures and adventures the way I do!
How do you manage work-life balance?
Ever since I started my own blogging business, I have been working more hours than I ever have, but it really doesn’t feel like it when you are doing something you love. I usually wake up at 7am and begin working around 9am. I always take a break for lunch, working out, errands and dinner. It isn’t a typical 9-5 job, but I like creating my own schedule. It is definitely the most liberating feeling.
What is your favorite meal?
I absolutely LOVE anything with seafood and pasta mixed together!
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
I am always on the lookout for e-books and courses that will help me with a specific skill that I am looking to improve on. I try to take one step at a time when it comes to growing my business. When I first started blogging, it was all about creating a great website and freshing up my writing skills. Recently, I have focused on enhancing my photography game, growing my social media, networking with other bloggers and creating an engaging newsletter. Next, I would like to start learning more about video! In addition to educating myself online, I always enjoy reading motivational and inspiring books. A life changer for me was reading Jen Sincero’s “You are a Badass”.
What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
I was a competitive dancer for 13 years!
If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what would you be doing?
If I weren’t a travel blogger, I would be trying to my best to get any marketing job in the travel or tourism industry. I also would try and open up my own clothing boutique or coffee shop. There are so many wonderful opportunities in this world!
What is something on your bucket list?
Something that is on my bucket list is to visit every continent, including Antarctica!
Have you ever had an extraordinary experience?
Last fall, I traveled to Ireland to teach yoga to a corporate group of individuals. My time in Ireland literally felt like royalty! From staying in a real castle to falcon flying, it was truly a magical trip of a lifetime.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration through traveling to different countries, states and cities; Instagram; Pinterest; yoga and meditation; spending time in nature and reading inspiring books.
What are you biggest passions?
I am definitely passionate about traveling and writing, which is why I am now a travel blogger. I also am passionate about inspiring and helping other individuals.
More About Taylor
Taylor Deer is a world travel blogger, content creator and yoga teacher from New Jersey who created Brown Eyed Flower Child to show the world through her eyes. The travel bug bit Taylor when she studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain during summer 2012. Ever since then, Taylor’s sense of wander has expanded to several different countries and regions in Europe, Asia, Africa as well as throughout the United States. Whether she is traveling to get out of her comfort zone and find herself, to gain better insight on the world, to help someone or participate in an event or retreat, each travel journey is special and means something different to her.