On the trail of my own self
Happiness, self-realization, self-growth and a fulfilled life.
These are the slogans we can often come across while reading various articles on the Internet or in popular magazines.
How pursuing all these can influence our lives?
Certainly, some young women have experienced a tremendous change not only while traveling deep into their own self, but also literally to countries, which they knew only from their friends’ tales.
Such trips liberate, allow us to get to know ourselves and to foster the features which are necessary to lead a happy and fully fulfilled life.
Alita– my today’s interviewee – decided to chance her luck and move to the Land of Rising Sun, where she resigned from everything that was meaningless to her and focused on everything that allows her to grow instead. What’s more, she started inspiring other women to follow in her footsteps and even though this journey may not be easy, it gives hope for a better tomorrow.
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers a few words about yourself?
Ali: I am Ali, the creator of share to inspire blog. I am a 27-year old self growth enthusiast and an English Teacher in Japan. I created this platform to amplify my story and inspire fellow women to improve their lives and become the best version of themselves. I started my personal growth journey in 2017 when I moved to a foreign country and the effect in my life was dramatic. I never looked back since then. Now, I feel like it’s my purpose to share what I have gone through and empower fellow women.
Passion Piece: You are a freedom chaser who decided to start her new life in a completely new country. Why did Japan win your heart?
Ali: My life back in the Philippines was mundane. I would wake up every day to do my job, then go home and spend the rest of the day doing stuff that did not provide value to me such as watching TV and spending much time on social media. But, everything changed when I got to teach English in a language school. I taught people with different nationalities, but most of them were Japanese.
Stories inspire and motivate us to do something we thought we could never do. Through interesting conversations with my students, I got to know more about their culture and their ways of life. I instantly got fascinated in Japanese culture. Often at the end of the day, I was left inspired and wanting to study more about their culture. It led me to take actions and experience it myself and so I came to Japan.
Passion Piece: What were your ups and downs while settling down in the Land of Rising Sun?
Ali: I cannot deny that my first year here in Japan was hard. The language barrier made it tough to live since a few people speak English. Here’s a funny or interesting story for you. On my first day, I needed to go to the station to set up my Internet at home. Since I was not familiar with the transportation system, I decided to walk. And on my way, I tried to ask people for directions but I approached them with the scariest question: ‘Hello, Do you speak English?’. I scared the guy and he walked away from me as fast as he could. I blame my high expectations of Japan and the stereotypes for this. If there’s one thing I can advise people wanting to live here, it is to ditch their expectations. Later on, I realized that to truly experience Japan, you have to speak their language.
My struggles did not stop on the language barrier. Japan is a beautiful country, but it has it’s ugly parts too. The longer you live here, the more you discover about the deep parts of their culture, and their ways of living. I was glad to make a lot of friends, but the struggle to truly fit in has always disappointed me. Japan has a lot of unspoken rules and I find it hard to understand and accept them. At the end, I could not make real and intimate friendships.
Passion Piece: What do people ask you most often about? Are they surprised with the cat cafeterias or have they already become popular all over the world?
Ali: I can’t count how many times people have asked me how to get a job in Japan. More and more people are getting interested in the Japanese culture and wanting to work here. I can’t blame them since Japan is a very safe, clean and convenient country to live. It has amazing and unique traditions. One thing I found fascinating is the popularity of cat cafes. According to BBC, there are nearly 150 cat cafes across the country. The reason for this is because most apartments here forbid owning pets and cat cafes are the alternatives. I was not sure if it has become popular all over the world so I did my research and yes, cat cafes have spread throughout the world.
BBC article kocich kawiarni.
Passion Piece: You are not only a teacher, but also a blogger. What made you set up your own website?
Ali: I have always had the desire to set up my presence online and influence people but I was always confronted by my self-doubts and fears. I did not have enough courage to take actions on my dreams but a slow turn of events happened when the pandemic hit. We were forced to stay and work from home. I got a lot of free time and I felt the need to upgrade my skill set. I signed up for a class online and I chose programming. After successfully building a website from scratch, I had my eureka moment. I gathered all the courage and inspiration I had to buy a domain, purchase a plan on Siteground and wrote my first few articles. That was the start of my blog and I think it was the best decision.
Passion Piece: What topics do you discuss most often? How do you choose them?
Ali: I am passionate about personal growth and it is the topic I mostly discuss on my blog. These include growth in our relationships, finance, productivity and lifestyle. One of my favorite articles is my tips on overcoming self-doubt and chasing our dreams instead. This topic is close to my heart as I suffered from self-doubts too. A lot of people out there dare to dream but often get crippled by self-doubts. My articles are the results of keyword research, my experience and surveys from my audience.
Passion Piece: Why is self-growth and empowering women so important to you?
Ali: I believe that self-growth is the bridge to happiness, success and life fulfillment. It is a process we can engaged in to improve the quality of our lives and reach our full potential. I say it is very important to me because indulging myself in personal development activities such as reading books, journaling, meditating and exercising has pushed me to attain my ideal self. I got to know myself better and self-awareness is such a powerful thing. I got to improve the way I approach challenges, I cultivated positive habits and I got better at making decisions. The most important of all is I was empowered. My days are not filled with meaningless activities anymore.
There are many books, articles and resources that can teach us personal growth. I highly encourage you to embark a journey and the world is just better with empowered women.
Passion Piece: Is there a secret key to a happy and fulfilled life? Can your readers find it while reading your blog?
Ali: I wrote a blogpost about secrets of couples who are happy in relationships. Although it is meant for couples, I think we can still applicable to everyone. On top of the list is happy couples have confidence and unwavering belief in each other. For me, this is one secret to a happy and fulfilled life. When you have confidence and belief in yourself, you help yourself accomplish your agenda. Any successful people would never reach success without having first confidence and belief in themselves.
Passion Piece: What’s your dream career path? Anything blog related? If yes, what projects would you like to work on in the near future?
Ali: I love teaching and I think I will die with this profession but I also enjoy blogging. I would like to pursue and establish my presence online. When I hear stories from fellow bloggers who are inspiring thousands or millions of people, I too would want the same. I wouldn’t give up teaching and make blogging as a full-time job but I want my blog to grow more and reach more people. One of the biggest projects I am working this year is creating my own shop and selling digital products. It would really make me happy too if I could create my own course or coaching programs.
Passion Piece: What do you love doing in your free time? What hobbies are popular among the Japanese?
Ali: I practice what I preach so I involve myself in meaningful and valuable activities such as reading, listening to inspiring talks on clubhouse and being with nature. My favorite on the list are self-care activities. Having a ‘me time’ is essential and this is where I visit new cafes, read a book, enjoy the ambiance, journal and observe people who pass by.
Japan is a reading nation and I witness every day how the importance of reading is emphasized in my elementary schools. Kids grow up loving to read books and if you ever come to Japan and take the trains, there are only three things Japanese people do inside the train: reading, sleeping and being with their phones.
Passion Piece: Which motto would you like to share with my readers?
Ali: I like to end this interview with this quote:
There is no growth in your comfort zone as well as there is no comfort in your growth zone.
Passion Piece: Thank you very much for this truly inspiring conversation and I wish you continued success on the way to your self-growth!
See you around!
Photos by: Alita Pacio