How I Have Changed My Life and You Can Do It Too

5 years ago, I cried at Frankfurt Airport, barely being able to feel the excitement, as I all I could focus on was UNCERTAINTY.

I was queuing at the gate with a one-way ticket to Cape Town, and I was surrounded by couples going on a safari holiday.

No-one else seemed to be there who just gave up their whole life, flying into an unsure future. I remember the couple in front of me talking to me {because I cried} and when I told them that I just said goodbye to my family, quit my job, sold my stuff and had no idea when I would be coming back – they were in awe “how brave I am”. I didn’t feel very brave at that time. ?

I spent the first week in a dorm room with 12 Brazilian girls in Cape Town.
Then I took the Baz Bus throughout the whole country. ??
I volunteered at a wildlife hospital and at a cheetah ? rehabilitation project for 2 weeks. I helped to cut a horse in pieces to feed the wild cats {“You want to volunteer with cheetahs? Here you go! That’s what they eat.”}

I learned horse riding at a rhino ? reserve.
I got attacked by a blesbok and thought “Oh shit, now I’ll die.” ?
After 3 months in South Africa and Lesotho, I flew ✈️ to Thailand.

I backpacked from Bangkok via Ko Lanta to Kuala Lumpur {at the time when flight MH370 disappeared}, took the bus to Singapore and stayed at my first AirBNB ever.

I couldn’t believe someone would let a stranger into their house by leaving the key under the doormat.

I liked Singapore and said out loud “I would love to work here and stay here.” I told my AirBNB host and had a job interview in a media agency 48 hours later {wow… I always have been a manifestation queen, without even knowing it.}

Be careful what you wish for ’cause you just might get it!

Work hours in Singapore seemed weirdly long though, they were laughing about the “5 day work week in Germany” – and there was still my lifelong dream of Australia.

Australia was expensive, so became my latest mission. I traveled through Australia for 6 months by volunteering for accommodation and food.

I lived in Warnbro, Western Australia with a family for 3 months and learned everything about Vegemite, AFL, and Australian life. Afterward, I traveled the East Coast, doing workaway arrangements in Cairns, Tully, Mission Beach, Long Island, Byron Bay and Brisbane.

susi kaeufer looking out over the bay of koh lanta in Thailand

I volunteered at a luxury resort on the Whitsundays and I had a feeling THIS would be more my own travel taste.

I entered my first $million+ home at the Gold Coast when volunteering at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and even though this felt crazily unrealistic, I felt like “this is how I want to live one day”.

Then I arrived in Sydney.
I was looking for a job.
I had one on day 3. {#manifestationqueen}.
Andy was my trainer during week 1. I kind of liked him but told myself “He’s totally not my type.”

The job was the coolest job I could have pictured for a backpacker job in Australia. I was live chatting with players for an Online Casino, as a customer service representative.

On day 1, I skipped home full of excitement and told my friend: “OMG this is it, I want to stay here and hope they can sponsor me!” I worked night shift from 11 pm to 7 am and really wrecked my health, but I was ALL IN to get a sponsorship visa to stay in Australia.

Long story short, after 6 months and a LOT of perseverance I got sponsored to stay in the country.

I fell in love with Andy.
I worked at the Online casino from 2014 to 2017.
I got promoted as a team leader. I loved the coaching and mentoring part of my job.
I lived in a shared house with 4 people between 30 and 77, and a dog and two cats.
This could be the happy end of the story.

If not the job kind of lost it’s sparky magic after 2 years and the sponsorship visa, tied to this position started feeling like a trap.

Work here for 4 years, and maybe you’ll get permanent residency. Quit your job = leave the country.
People said “It’s only 2 more years” and I’m like “ONLYYYY?”
2 years is a freaking long time for me.

4 weeks after moving in with Andy {trust me, 4 weeks are enough to know if it works or not. But that’s another story for another time}, we decided to apply for an Australian partner visa.

It cost me $8,000 (after already paying $4,000 for my sponsorship visa) and it was the scariest investment I’ve ever made in my life until then. This was a LOT of money for backpacking Susi and a LOT of trust in “everything working out perfectly fine”.

The waiting time for approval was 12 – 18 months.

In September 2016, at work, I decided on “Dreamlife Deluxe” as a business name for my brand new coaching business.
Every day I worked from 6 am to 2 pm in my day job, and at 2:15 pm I was at home, sitting in front of my laptop, working on my coaching business for the rest of the day.

If someone asked me to go to the beach, I looked at them like the had no life purpose. ?#sorry
I was obsessed with coaching and creating a location independent business, that I can take with me wherever I go, instead of starting another backpacker career in my mid-30s.

This kept me going for 1,5 years. My job became my side hustle, building my business became my drive, my motivation, my mission. {Remember, I was still on my sponsorship visa and couldn’t quit}.

In January 2017, 8 months after my application for the partner visa, I got an email from immigration (and I thought we finally have a case officer). I knew it takes at least 12 months and it was the first time they’ve even contacted me. It was the approval of my partner visa & my ability to quit my job.

I asked Andy: “Do you want to quit your job and travel the world with me?”
And #blessed as I’ve always been since day 1 of this story, he said “YES”.
We walked into HR together {I had visualized this 100 times} to quit. I was FREE.

We bought a one-way ticket to Bali and I started my second round the world tour in May 2017.

Once taking it full-time, my coaching business took off.

Traveling as a couple has been different, and traveling whilst working has been different. Not everybody always understands that I’m not “on holiday”, but running a company every day.

Andy and I traveled to Bali, Europe, and Las Vegas, before entering Canada on a 1-year visa. My last workaway assignment was one month at a rafting resort {in the middle of nowhere – and we clearly had different definitions of the word “glamping”…}.

Volunteering for accommodation and food AND running my coaching business didn’t work out as expected.
I was asking for a reason to leave the forest earlier and head back to Vancouver. #askandyoushallreceive
That’s when Tony Robbins showed up in my life.

There was a multi-speaker event in Vancouver with Tony and it has changed my life.
I got my business logo as a tattoo to remind myself that I’m done playing small. No more workaway. I’m a CEO now.

Afterward, we discovered petsitting for us.
We found petsitting gigs in Vancouver and near Calgary and spend a beautiful summer in Canada.

In September it started to snow. I applied for a dream housesit on the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia for a mansion. We got it.
October to December 2017 we went to St. Lucia, Barbados, Martinique, Antigua, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent & The Grenadines.

Luxury mansions and Caribbean 5 star hotels felt really really good to me.
Housesitting and day passes at Sandals resort helped me to step into a lifestyle that’s always been a dream until then.
I decided that THIS is how I want to live.
My business exploded to consistent 5-figure months right after, in November 2017.

In 2018 we lived in England, Vietnam, Bali and Australia.
Andy started working for me and I founded my own company in July.
I went to Tony Robbins’ 4-day event “Unleash the Power Within” in Singapore and Sydney.
We bought tickets for Date with Destiny in 2019.

I started investing in high-level 1:1 coaching and learned how to juggle large investments and large amounts of money. I registered for GST. I learned a LOT about running a business.

The best part:
I have designed a life that I truly love and that everyone told me isn’t “realistic”.
People thought it’s a phase.
An adventurous year, before I have to settle down.
I’m not {ever} DONE with this!

This turned out much longer than intended, but this morning I noticed the date and I had to cry a bit in disbelief. ?

Not in my wildest dreams could I have pictured the last 5 years and I wish I could go back to crying Susi at the airport in 2014 to tell her that everything will not only be alright, but truly perfect.

Thank you to everyone who has been part of this journey. Thank you to Susi in 2014 for taking the leap.

Author bio for Susi Kaeufer, Mindset Coach and Visibility Strategist for women entrepreneurs

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