Carla is part of the Global Girl Gone International (GGI) group and GGI Mallorca — a city she loves for it’s vibe, the way life goes by slowly and getting to enjoy nature. It might not be her favourite place in the world — but it does tick a lot of boxes! Carla gave us a peek into her life abroad as a Girl Gone International and shares her GGI journey, so read on for some insights into this edition’s cover model!
Why are you a Girl Gone International?
I fell in love with the excitement of travelling when me and my brother first left Ecuador when I was 12 to visit our parents in Spain, but it took until I was 24 to make my first move alone. In my 3rd year of Uni I moved to Bournemouth and found a job as a housekeeper. It was hard, but that’s why I consider myself a Girl Gone International — it’s not an easy step to take, but I set myself free.
What do your friends and family think of your life abroad?
Some thought I was going crazy, others thought I was going to come back within a few months, but my younger cousins see me as a courageous women. I like to think that my actions have planted a seed in them to follow their dreams without fears.
What countries have you travelled to?
I love Europe for its dozens of cultures and how you can easily hop in a car and arrive in a whole new world in a few hours. I always go back to Italy, France, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Germany and the UK. I love the little Mediterranean islands (my favourite is Corsica) and the vibe of Morocco and the blue city of Chefchaouen. I am the type of traveller who escapes for a long weekend in the woods to breathe and visits friends, rather than a two-week holiday in South Asia for example (which is nice too).
How has life abroad impacted the way you see life?
Life rewards us with high highs and teaches us with low lows. I knew I had to start from the bottom in the UK and my job as a housekeeper was only the beginning. However, I am grateful for the experience — it taught me a lot. It was a journey of acknowledgement and appreciation, a search for purpose, to overcome fear, low self-esteem and uncertainty. Although it took me five years to make peace with myself, I see life from a totally different perspective now.
What has Life abroad taught you about yourself?
I was growing in my career in the dentistry field when I was offered the option to become a manager. I saw myself as a little bird in a cage which led me to decline the position. I realised I valued freedom over all else. A year later I moved to Mallorca to start my own business. I have learned that it’s important to have a goal and to make a conscious effort to focus all our thoughts on that specific goal. Not only that, it’s also important not to sabotage ourselves with old behavioural patterns that hold us down.
I have learned that we are our own worst enemy, and we blame others for our mistakes because that’s what we have learned to do. Being on my own for so many years also taught me that in our life we are the only ones responsible for the effort and for the outcome.
Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your younger self?
I would tell myself that it’s OK to fail, it’s OK to make mistakes. What is not OK is to hide and do nothing about it. Your intuition is always right, and it’s not there to confuse you. It’s actually helping you.
Girl Gone International believes that womEn go farther together. Do you have any examples of this in your own life?
I volunteered to be part of the photoshoot for GGI’s January Magazine to overcome my fear in front of a camera where I normally freeze. They don’t know that, but I decided to volunteer only because a few months before I had met Anne and Adele at a GGI event. I felt comfortable having them around and that helped me leave my comfort zone. Being on the front cover is the perfect example of how women go farther together.
What are you creating in the world right now?
I am a dreamer and have a creative mind which has helped me see things from different perspectives. I try to live a life without attachments as it just makes things easier. It has enabled me to enjoy life, overcome fear and keep pursuing my dream of building a platform to help entrepreneurs, small business and artisans be more present in the digital world. I am now the head of a web design business called Wisecup Media and I have made my hobby the core of my business.
How did you get involved in GGI?
I was starting my life all over again when I moved overseas. When I was looking for a flat, a friend told me to ask the GGI community for help. People were very friendly, and it encouraged me to help, too. Via GGI, I’ve found friends, collabs, but the best part of it are the events where I got to meet lots of wonderful women.
What was the first obstacle you had to overcome since you moved abroad?
The first obstacle was the overwhelming bureaucracy in Spain, even for me, a native Spanish speaker it just got too much at some point. But that was also how I could give back to the community; providing the step by step of how to sort out the same paperwork I had to do.
What book changed your life?
I was studying Carl Jung and read the book called The Disappearance Of The Universe. It helped me change the perspective of how I see my life.
Do you feel at home where you are?
I don’t think I’d ever feel at home anywhere, and I think it is alright to feel like you leave a piece of your heart in every place you’ve visited. That’s the price we pay, and it’s OK. But you can make yourself feel at home by finding a spot you like, a place where you can go to have a coffee or whatever you like, and that makes you feel comfortable. That place will be your starting point and soon you’ll see the waiters talking to you, people who also frequent the place saying hello and eventually you’ll meet people and make friends.
How has the pandemic impacted you?
This pandemic reinforced my lifestyle. Soon after the lockdown I understood that I had to be comfortable with the uncomfortable moments we were facing. It was the only way forward and there was no point in fighting against it. I made a conscious decision that it was not going to impact me negatively and that friends and family could lean on me.
What are your hopes for 2021?
As a newbie business owner I understand the uncertainty that 2021 brings, and that we all share. At this point I only hope for strength to keep pushing and not to forget why I do what I do.
Best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Problems come to our lives because there is a lesson for us to learn, by focusing on the lesson instead of the problem we can stop it from happening again.
Best piece of advice you would give a sister GGI?
Whether you think you can, or think you can’t … you’re right.
By Sina Pape
Sina Pape has lived abroad on an off since she was 18 and loves nothing more than learning new languages and meeting people from all over the world. Except food maybe. Food is a very close second. Sina also serves as the Production Editor for GGI Magazine and is the former Community Leader of Girl Gone International Lagos.