If you visit the about page of WildLives.co, you’ll see that a big part of our mission is to celebrate people who have managed to kick off their wage-slave shackles, veer off the course of rat race, and start living life on their own terms. If you want a perfect example of that kind of person, head over to thefivefoottraveler.com, where you’ll quickly get acquainted with Sarah Gallo.
Sarah is a digital nomad whose home has become the open road. She’s making ends meet as a travel blogger, working from her laptop as she explores this magnificent planet that we all call home.
In other words, her life is pretty damn sweet, and she’s bound to be an inspiration for a lot of people – particularly young women who are thinking about traveling alone. So we decided to track her down and get the inside scoop on her wild life.
Keep scrolling for our Q&A with The Five Foot Traveler herself, Sarah Gallo.
WildLives: So first off, tell me a bit about you. Where were you born, what do you do, and if you don’t mind, could you tell me how old you are?
Sarah Gallo: My name is Sarah Gallo, I’m 24 years old, and I’m a travel consultant, travel blogger, social media strategist, and online entrepreneur. I was born in Connecticut, USA.
WL: Tell us about your fear of flying. How bad was this fear, what prompted you to try to get over it, and how did you ultimately get over it?
SG: Following the terrorist attacks on September 11th, I developed a debilitating fear of flying. I was nine years old at the time, and I started having severe panic attacks; I needed a pretty big dose of Xanax to even make it on the plane, much less through the flight. I always wanted to conquer my fear of flying and tried everything imaginable to “cure” myself, but to no avail. After ten years of dealing with this detrimental fear of flying, my family encouraged me to try hypnotherapy. I thought it would be the biggest waste of money and refused to go, but after much persuasion I walked into the room, ready for my session. Three sessions later, my ten-year crippling fear of flying was no more. I’ve taken over 200 flights since overcoming my fear, and I haven’t had any problems since!
WL: What advice would you give to other people who are hoping to conquer their fears?
SG: Whether it’s a fear of flying, or something else, it is so important to find a way not to let your fears hold you back. It won’t be easy, and it will take patience, dedication, strength, and discipline, but if you want it badly enough, you will find some way. Sometimes that may mean medication, or hypnotherapy, or breathing techniques — do your research and be willing to try a variety of things. Be open-minded. I wanted to travel. I knew that if I continued to heavily medicate before flying that I’d never be able to travel without my parents by my side helping me while I was in a hyper-anxious state, and that was not an option for me.
WL: Having beaten this fear, you’ve now travelled all over the world. When did your adventures begin? When did you really start traveling frequently?
SG: My adventures began in May of 2011 when I went overseas for the first time; my grandfather brought me to Paris and London for two weeks as a high school graduation gift. I then studied abroad twice during University and traveled extensively during those months. Once I graduated University, I realized that the desk-job life just wasn’t for me, so I took off traveling. It is hard for me to believe that I have been traveling full-time for three and a half years now!
WL: What have the highlights of your travels been so far? I know from my own travels that this is an incredibly difficult question to answer, but please do your best!
SG: This question just isn’t fair! Some of my highlights include sleeping in nomadic gers in Mongolia, completing the world’s highest bungee jump in Macau, trekking through Patagonia, camping on the Great Wall of China, seeing sea lions bathe their newborn pups in the Galapagos Islands, road tripping the North and South Islands of New Zealand, hiking from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sea of Galilee in Israel, bush-camping in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, and polar plunging in Antarctica on Christmas Day.
WL: I know you take a lot of pride in showing women that it’s possible to travel the world alone. Obviously, there are risks out there for anybody, but if you’re smart, it can be a safe and exciting experience. Why is it important to you to send out this message?
SG: You know, the world is a scary place whether you have someone by your side or not. If you’re a savvy, smart traveler, don’t let anything hold you back. So many of my favorite experiences would be lost had I waited on others to join me.
WL: How has your life changed since you started traveling? Why do you think it’s important for people to travel?
SG: I always thought that by 24 that I would have a stable career and be starting a family. I won the “most studious” superlative in High School, having graduated in the top ten of my class, and went on to attend a prestigious University in the Big Apple. I always thought that I’d graduate college, land an incredible career in New York City, and be on my way to marriage and kids by now. Let’s just say that that most definitely did not happen! I realized as soon as I began traveling that I didn’t want that kind of lifestyle – that travel was more fulfilling for me. It’s so important for people to travel to gain perspective on life. When you see the way some others live around the world, it makes you that much more grateful for the life you were given. It makes you grateful for the little things.
WL: From what I understand, you’ve been supporting yourself while you travel, correct? With your blog and online business, you work from the road, digital nomad style, right? What is it like living this lifestyle?
SG: Yep! I’m a full-on digital nomad. I use my blog, thefivefoottraveler.com, to document my experiences and share with others what I wished I had known when I traveled to various destinations. I utilize my online business, www.joinme.thefivefoottraveler.com, though to bring in the money. It allows me to work remotely and work only a few hours a day, all while having no boss and no deadlines, so it’s not a bad gig! I now get to spend most of my time exploring, and most definitely won’t be sitting at a desk working for anyone else, that’s for sure! This life is…enjoyable, relaxing, and flat out exciting. It allows me to see the world without thinking, “I wonder if I can get off a week to go there.” I get to do what I want, when I want, and from wherever I want. There’s no feeling like being completely in control of your time!
WL: What advice would you give to the millions of people out there who are stuck at home with 9-5 jobs they hate, who want nothing more than to take off and start living the life of an adventurer? How do you break free of the things that weigh you down and start living the life you want? You’re living the kind of life that so many people want to live—how do they make it happen?
SG: Just go. And no, I’m not simplifying it. With the exception of certain circumstances (like health issues, care-taking, etc.), nothing should hold you back from living the life that you want. You hold the reigns of your life. We live in a world where, thankfully, we are no longer tied to one job. You don’t like your job? Leave. There will be another. I know this sounds risky, but that’s part of the adventure! I know that sounds harsh, but our generation doesn’t need to settle for a miserable 9-5 job when there is just so much opportunity awaiting us in this world!
Inspired yet? Yep, us too.
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This article debuted on WildLives.co on 29/5/2017.