Important Lessons Learnt In My 20s

There’s something about aging that society has taught us to fear. Could it be the fear of not truly living or being closer to death? Either way, there’s this misconception that aging is not a good thing. I, however, disagree! For me, aging is such an amazing concept that, so far, has involved me learning, experiencing and immersing myself in everything and everyone around me. Aging has brought me a wealth of knowledge, loads of love and enlightenment – and who wouldn’t want all of that? It has shaped me and allowed me to live my best life.

So when my 30s came knocking, I welcomed it with open arms. As the weeks and now, months, have passed since my 30th birthday, I’ve realised that my 20s have taught me everything I need to know to be a successful 30-something-year-old. The lessons were endless, but here are the few that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.

Be Resilient

From heartbreak to career setbacks, I leant how to be resilient in my 20s. This resilience became more prevalent after getting retrenched in 2013. What followed was a turbulent few years of trial and error, attempting to find my feet, voice, and niche in a sea of freelancers and entrepreneurs.

I can’t count how many times I was rejected and told I wasn’t good enough, but I always found the strength to try again. My career struggles taught me how to keep pushing forward even if it felt like I had been kicked 10 steps backwards. The constant motion of getting up and trying again – no matter how tired I was – has paid off in the biggest ways.

Stop Trying To Meet Everyone Else’s Expectations

Since turning 28, the pressure of getting married, having babies and living ‘happily’ ever after has been continuous. For me, ALL of the above is my choice to make and I will not be PRESSURED into doing anything that I AM NOT comfortable with or ready for. It seems like that in everyone else’s heads, I can’t truly be happy if I don’t buy a house, settle down and have a baby. Funnily enough, being happy is my number one priority and I wouldn’t be living the way I am – travelling the world with the person I love and working remotely – if it didn’t fill my soul with happiness. Yes, marriage and having a family does appeal to me, but it is not an essential to me being happy right now.

Unconditional Love Does Not Exist

Whether it is with your partner, a friend or a family member, loving those around you is not always easy. In my 20s, the term ‘unconditional love’ was thrown around a lot, but as I unpacked these two words, I realised that it made no sense. I refuse to allow people to treat me with disrespect and overstep my boundaries – and then assume that I’m going to love them unconditionally. In my opinion, that is abuse and I’m not allowing that to happen to me!

I will love you for every moment that you respect me and my boundaries. But as soon as you abuse that love, I have the right to stop loving you, no matter who you are. No one owns my love or deserves it just because they may be family, a longtime friend or even a romantic partner.

Self Care Is Essential

I dealt with a lot in my 20s, but my 28/29th year was incredibly difficult. From physically getting sick to emotionally having to pull myself together, I’ve never been more tested in life. For the first time, I had to be honest with myself and people around me about my anxiety. Little did I know that my anxiety was caused by a bigger health issue that I continuously ignored. But just talking about it and saying ‘I’m not ok’ made all the difference.

My anxiety convinced me to finally sort out my health issues. It took numerous doctor visits, plenty of blood tests and coming back to Cape Town (because there’s nothing like the comfort of home), but I’m finally feeling like myself again. To recover, I needed both my body and mind to rest. So I dropped clients that overstepped my boundaries and I started the long journey back to my full health. Taking the time for myself to just rest allowed me to feel like myself again. At 30, I now see the importance of looking after myself – whether it is taking a nap or a week off work to recognize and recover from whatever I’m going through. The cost of taking care of myself has been worth it because without our health everything else falls apart.

My Business Is None Of Your Business

My business is very close to me. I don’t share a lot – especially online – because getting a new client, working with incredible creators and following my dreams is something that I do for myself. It pays my bills and I’m grateful for that. The last thing I want is some person whose opinion really doesn’t matter, to have one about my business. My 20s have taught me to keep my business away from judgemental eyes and rather focus my attention on the opinions I actually care about.

Hard Work Pays Off

On the topic of business, hard work does pay off. There’s no two ways about it. I’m definitely not ‘lucky’ to be where I am today, earning enough to live fully and travel the world. It’s taken a LOT of work, sleepless nights and tears. You can read all the books, do all the courses and have all the degrees, but if you aren’t willing to put in the work to achieve your dreams, you’ll never realise them.

Being Kind To Myself

This world is a real shit show and it can be a tough place to live in. It is therefore important to be kind to myself. Being kind to others is second nature, but being kind to myself takes work. Muting my own harmful and hurtful inner voice is as important as ignoring the negative opinions and comments of others. Once my inner voice was muted I started giving myself the credit I deserved and needed. I allowed myself to see the hard work I’d put into my life and take a vacation without feeling guilty.

Knowing My Worth

Knowing your worth is not only important in your personal life, but also within your career. I get plenty of newbie/part-time freelancers constantly asking me how much they need to charge for their services. My answer is always ‘know your worth’. You know your experience, qualifications and how long a job will take you, so price accordingly.

For me, it took deep into my late 20s to actually know my worth – both personally and professionally. I still have moments of self-doubt and questioning, but I always remind myself of what I’ve achieved and how far I’ve come.

Overall, my 20s were incredible. I made loads of mistakes and overcame plenty of challenges, but through it all, it made me the strong, successful woman that I am today. If I had to add all the lessons, this post would be never-ending, but the lessons above are the ones that I value most and I hope that you too find value in them.

I would love to hear about lessons that you’ve learned in your 20s, so leave a comment below and share your experience.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to follow my journey.

7 Things I Don’t Do As A ‘Digital Nomad’

After my last stay in Chiang Mai, I got very uncomfortable with calling myself a ‘digital nomad’. I felt like ‘the scene’ in the city had become very populated with chancers, scammers and people who didn’t have a plan, a business or any form of income. I also found myself being surrounded by people who were more concerned with ‘digital nomadism’ as a career than actually understanding that term defines a lifestyle.

Wikipedia describes digital nomads as “people who use telecommunication technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner”. To me, nothing comes easy and being a digital nomad, building a business that allows you to work from anywhere, is hard work. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also met some incredible digital nomads/entrepreneurs who have inspired and encouraged me to dream bigger.

Anyway, back to the point of this post. Because I fall under the definition of digital nomad, I wanted to share my reality and squash a couple of misconceptions that people might have of this community or lifestyle. So here’s a list of things I don’t do as a digital nomad:

1. I Don’t Work On A Beach, In Hammocks, Or Poolside

I fully believe that there is a time and place for everything. For me personally, a beach,  hammock or poolside is not my time to work. My back literally starts hurting when I see digital nomads working in these locations. I prefer a desk and office chair in a quiet place.  I mean, beaches, pools, and hammocks are meant for vacations, so why taint them with work.

(Ironically, the accompanying photo to the Wikipedia definition is a guy working on a beach.)

2. I Don’t Constantly Travel

When visiting a new city, I go with one of three purposes: 1. on vacation (2 weeks/no laptop), 2. to check it out as a potential place to relocate to (1-3 months), or 3. relocation (3-12 months). There’s no in-between. Constant travel is exhausting, but being settled somewhere for 3+ months allows me to experience a new place in my own time while still growing my business.

3. I Don’t Discuss How Much I Earn

There’s this weird thing amongst digital nomads to discuss how much money we make. I was taken aback the first time someone asked me how much I earn (at a social event). My natural response was, “It’s none of your business” which he found rude and quickly lost interest in my company. Personally, I’ve only EVER shared how much I earn with two people – my financial advisor being one of them.

4. I Don’t Live Cheaply

On the topic of money, I don’t live frugally. I work very hard to live comfortably wherever I choose to go. But I don’t live in places that have a cost of living that I can’t afford. In this regard, Chiang Mai works well as it’s safe and affordable place to live. I can enjoy great food, fast Internet and plenty of massages at a fraction of a price compared to other cities (even my hometown of Cape Town). My rule is that if I don’t have enough money to continue to live this nomadic life then I have to go home and find a 9 to 5 job.

5. I Don’t Like Co-Working Spaces

I’ve tried it and it just doesn’t work for me. It takes me back to my days of working a 9 to 5 job so I prefer having a home office. No matter where I live, I need a workstation in the place I’m living. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but it’s my workspace for the time that I am in that city. I want to be able to work any time of the day, not having to worry about anyone around me. It does help that I’m extremely self-motivated which helps with productivity.

6. I Don’t Follow Digital Nomad Facebook Groups

There’s this vortex on Facebook that sucks me in like no other and it’s called digital nomad groups. Firstly, some of the posts and comments just kill me – why are people so negative? And there’s a thing called Google that could easily answer most questions. Secondly, these groups just take up so much time that I would rather spend exploring a new city or working on my business.

7. I Don’t Do Visa Runs

Hopping in and out of countries to just get a 30-day visa stamp is seriously not worth the effort. I always choose destinations that allow for longer stays and get the correct visa beforehand. Trust me, spending that extra money on a visa that allows for a longer stay is definitely worth the effort and puts your mind at ease.

To be fair, I love being a digital nomad as it has allowed me so much. But let’s not get this lifestyle twisted by a facade that it is an easy way of living or a quick way to make money. My hope is that this post helps you see that being a digital nomad doesn’t mean you need to be a carbon cutout of everyone else. At the end of the day, it’s all about living your best life, in whichever way you choose to do so.

I would love to hear the things you don’t do as a digital nomad so leave a comment below and share your experience.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Twitter to follow my journey.


My Move To Southeast Asia

Two years ago, my partner and I took the huge step and became digital nomads. Our first stop on our adventure was a stay in SE Asia, and we fell in love with everything about this part of the world.

For me, the five months we spent in Chiang Mai, Thailand, was one of the most incredible time of my life. This city quickly began to feel like home – minus the dramatic mountain and fresh ocean breeze. So when we decided to head back to SE Asia in 2016, Chiang Mai was on top of our places to go back to list.

After a tough year in Cape Town, in mid-October, we embarked on my longest adventure yet. After a week long stay in Bangkok, arriving in Chiang Mai not only felt like a relief but also like coming back home.

Now five-months into my stay (excluding a mini-vacation to Malaysia), it has definitely been an eye-opening experience. Unlike the fresh-faced nomad that I was two years ago, this trip has been challenging. My lessons have been bigger and my realisations have been clearer. But my determination for success has become my driving force. I’ve come to Chiang Mai knowing that I need to create a life for myself that I want.

To be honest, it doesn’t help that I miss my family and friends, that I’m trying to rebuild a five-year relationship and that before coming on this trip, I let go of two of my biggest clients. It’s been tough, but being in SE Asia – and Thailand in particular – where everything seems just a little simpler, friendlier and heartfelt is making this move so much easier.

To learn more about digital nomadism and working remotely, visit Freemadic.

Lesson Learnt During 2016

It’s no secret that 2016 was one messy year. But seriously – a reality TV show host became the president of the US, and we lost Prince and George Michael. The entire year just sucked. For me personally, it was probably the hardest year of my life. But with hard times came loads of lessons which I’m obviously going to share with you:

The Struggle of Creating Boundaries

Early in 2016, I landed a pretty stable client that taught me a lot. This client allowed me to thrive financially and live comfortably. As the year went on this client took complete advantage of me, my accessibility and time. It started with getting emails at 11 pm asking to have things done by 9 am the next day. I then went on to deal directly with his clients. My final straw came when I started managing his team of underpaid freelancers who couldn’t deliver the quality of work clients wanted. This lead to his clients getting upset at me for sloppy work delivered by his freelancers. And this, obviously, all became my problem.

The sad part is that I allowed it to happen. I allowed it because I wanted to travel again, I could work remotely and the money was good. Even though I was working for a ridiculously low hourly rate, it all added up to a decent salary per month. Clearly, I didn’t value my own time, eight years of experience and well being. What I wasn’t seeing was the toll it was taking on my life. I was constantly stressed and kept putting my work before everything. Even when I was meant to be relaxing, I was talking about how frustrated, stressed and unhappy I was.

As time went by, I quickly realised that his expectations versus what he was paying me versus the hours I was putting into his business were unrealistic. I needed to set boundaries! This was scary, especially because, for the first three months of my working relationship with my client, there were none. I started with putting down clear working hours – 9 30 am to 4 pm, Monday to Friday. A month later I asked for a pay increase.

Even though this was all given to me reluctantly, it felt good that I had control of working hours again. I was brave and had my requests met, but my victory was short lived. Two weeks after setting my new boundaries, they were disrespected. I had the hours I put in at my new rate questioned, and was still sent work at 3 58 pm to be done by 9 30 am the next day. 

To cut a long story short, after nine months of being overworked and underpaid, I lifted the weight of working with this client off my shoulders. I often wonder what would have happened if I had set boundaries from the beginning of my contract. At least I learnt how to set boundaries with clients and how to spot a horrid client from a mile away!

Dealing With Role Reversal

Whether it is a supporter, caretaker or leader, every person in my life has a role. In the chaos and confusion that was 2016, a few of those roles in my life changed drastically. I had to become a supporter to my biggest supporter, and those who I’d always supported needed to support me. For most of the year, I needed to be strong for someone who has always been my strength. I had to show my weaknesses and be vulnerable to those who have only seen my strength.

Now in an overall happier place, I’ve truly found the people that are concerned about my well-being. The role reversal of 2016 allowed me to see who my true friends are. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I needed to walk away from friendships that expected me to be strong from them when all I needed was someone to lean on. It also made me realise that I have a partner who will be with me through the toughest times.

Dealing With Anxiety

After dropping two of my biggest clients, I got a serious bout of anxiety. Waking up every morning with my stomach in knots, crying for no reason and in a constant state of stressfulness was not a fun way to start my move to SE Asia. 

At first, I didn’t know what was going on and all I wanted to do was sleep so I wouldn’t feel anything. But as soon as I identified what was causing all my anxiety, things became easier. With the support of my partner, meditation, yoga and getting back into my writing, I was able to overcome my anxiety and throw myself back into work. It is definitely something that needs working on, but it is an incredible feeling knowing that I’ve got this under control and my anxiety is not controlling me.

At the end of 2016, I could honestly say that even though it was a tough year, I came out at the end emotionally, spiritually and physically in a better place. In 2017, I strive to rediscover my carefree self, remain grateful and always remember to follow my gut.

I’m Back & Blogging

Yes, it’s been a couple of years, but I’m back and blogging! After having this domain for almost four years, I’ve decided to make it the new home of Words By Lara Moses. I’m so excited to share my stories (and your stories) again. But first let’s catch up:

Five years ago, I could have never imagined my life to be what it is today. From working a few incredible 9-5 jobs, becoming a digital nomad, travelling the world and starting my own content creation and blog management agency – Copy In The Cloud – my life has done a 360.

Falling Back In Love With Words

Over the last five years, I’ve been so consumed with words being my job. Unfortunately, by catering to clients’ needs I’d forgotten about my own, and the truth is that I’ve lost my passion for writing. In an attempt to find my voice, my truth and fall back in love with words, I’ve decided to give blogging thing another go.

Thank You Freemadic

Even though over the past few years I have been sharing bits of my story, it hasn’t always been completely transparent. My passion project, Freemadic, has blossomed into a place where I’ve had the opportunity to share my digital nomadic/location independent journey, but it is a shared platform that I’ve had to respect as that. At the end of the day, Freemadic gave me the butterflies for writing that has ultimately lead to relaunching my blog.

If you’re interested to know more about my travels, my life on the road and how you can do so, go ahead and follow Freemadic.

What’s Next?

I aim to use this platform as a form of therapy. A place that I share my truth, a place that I can be honest about every and anything. I have so many ideas about where I want to take this blog, but for now, it will be my place of truth, honesty, and love – and I hope that by sharing I can inspire and motivate you to live in your truth.

To anyone who wants to follow my adventures, you can do so on Instagram, Twitter and SnapChat – all accounts are @laramoses87.

Dealing with Rejection as a Freelancer

Dealing with rejection is tough. Spending late nights working on proposals, only to get THAT email that reads “we’ve gone with someone else”, can be extremely frustrating. Since starting my freelance career I’ve got many of these emails that have left me feeling awful and had me questioning whether I’m doing the right thing by choosing to freelance. It would be so easy to slip back into a 9-5 job and live the status quo, but I’m not happy with the easy option. So I keep my chin up and remind myself of the following:

1. Don’t Take It Personally

Working in publishing before I started my freelance career made it easier for me to accept rejection without taking it personally. You need to realise that sometimes you just aren’t what a client is looking for, even though you might think you are. It is not your fault that the client is looking for someone that is not you. You just need to find the clients that do want you.

2. Believe In Your Skills

Yes, THAT email makes you feel like crap, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t talented. Again, you were just not what the client was looking for. For me, it was super important to keep believing in my skill set and not falling into the trap of ‘I must not be good enough’. Again, the client is just not looking for your skill set.

3. Ask For Feedback

Constructive criticism helps us grow, learn from our mistakes and makes us better at what we do. Once you get that ‘rejection email’ ask for feedback like ‘what could I have done better?’ and ‘what do I need more experience in?’.

4. Remind Yourself Why You Are Freelancing

Whether it is the freedom to go for a surf when the waves are good, live your digital nomad dream or pick up your kids from school every day, we all have our reasons for leaving the 9 to 5 world. For me, it was to live a happier life, do what’s best for my soul and travel.

5. Never Give Up!

Keep looking for the right clients, work opportunities and jobs that are worth your time. Giving up is not an option. We all somehow have to find the strength to move forward keep on pushing for our dreams.

Lessons From Being Retrenched

At 26-years-old, the worst thing that could have happened to me did – I was being retrenched. I was working my dream job as Copy & Entertainment Editor of Seventeen Magazine South Africa. I was the envy of all my friends, loved what I did and was earning just enough to get by. Then, after almost being at the company for two years, our team of 20-something-year-olds got called in for a very important meeting and told that the magazine was closing. I watched as hearts dropped, tears rolled and awkward jokes were made. For me, to be perfectly honest, it felt weird. I’d been thinking about leaving the company and discussing my options with a few people. Despite this, it was hard, I cried and went into panic mode, but after the dust settled, I learnt a few very important lessons from being retrenched.

1. Do Not Make Your Job Your Life

…because when you lose it, life feels like it’s spinning out of control. I learnt this the hard way when I lost my job. To be honest, it felt extremely personal and I felt like all my hard work, missed holidays and late nights in the office were for nothing. It is important to understand that if you do work for a big company, you are ultimately just a number and it is not personal. Your blood, sweat, and tears are valued when you create a beautiful product or have a satisfied customer, but if money is not made, you have to go! I gave most of my life to a brand that left me and I was left picking up the pieces of non-existing life.

2. Walk Away When Things Aren’t Working Anymore

After the closure of Seventeen, all former staff members of the magazine were promised a placement within the greater company. All other staff members got placed in jobs immediately, but as a copy editor, I found myself sitting in an empty office staring at a blank computer screen. It frustrated me so much and made me feel so worthless. As a result, I made the hard decision to leave the security of a paycheck and take the retrenchment package. It was liberating and unknowingly the bravest thing I’ve ever done.

3. Know The Purpose of Everything You Do

I came across this quote just after we had that important meeting and it helped me take control of a bad situation: “Choice not chance determines your destiny”. It embodies everything that I believe in right now. Don’t let chance determine your greatness. I refused to sit back and allow my career to be determined by an opening at another magazine or newspaper. I went to Seventeen with a purpose and because I liked the brand, not because it was the only thing available.

4. Nothing Lasts Forever

Like the magazine, nothing lasts forever! Tears will dry, you’ll pick yourself up and try again. I understand that I was super young and very fortunate to be retrenched without a family to support or five years before my retirement, but it happened. And even though it felt like my life was ending, I saw the opportunity to take some time off (make up for all those missed holidays) and live a little. Because life doesn’t last forever either.

5. Be Nice

I was very angry when I lost my job, but I refused not to be nice. I felt like I’d been given the short straw especially when I saw people simply be placed into other positions. It was so heartbreaking. I’ve had things said and done to me throughout my career that tested me, especially at Seventeen (Devil Wears Prada type stuff), but this was the worst. When I left I turned the other cheek and was more grateful for the thing I’d learnt than for the nasty behaviour of others.

6. It’s Not The End

Life doesn’t put anything in your path that you can’t deal with. It’s all about how you deal with things. To be honest, it is only the beginning. I was paid out a pretty penny and decided to give freelancing a shot. Now I get to build my career around my life – not my life around my career. And I can truly say I am happy!


5 Things I Learnt in 2011

In my wildest dreams, 2011 couldn’t have been more awesome. Yes, it had its ups and downs, but through it all, it turned out being the best year of my life. I lived a little more and probably learnt some of life’s most important lesson. So here are the top 5 things I learnt in 2011:

1. Australians Aren’t That Bad

It must have been something about our sporting history with the country or the fact that they stole my best friend but having spent an amazing month in their beautiful country, I realised, they’re not so bad after all. 

2. Get Yourself a Credit Record

I, unfortunately, involved myself in a 3 car pileup on Valentine’s Day. My poor little car had been squashed between two others and had to be written off. With my minimal budget and a serious case of whiplash things looked pretty bleak. Anyway, long story short, within a month, I did the impossible and got a new job and bought my dream car. The only issue was that I didn’t have a credit record but thank God for supportive parents and BOOM, the Polo was mine.

3. Feelings Are For Those You Care About

Don’t waste your time, money or effort on anyone who doesn’t see in you what you see in them.

4. Models Are Paid to Be Skinny

I mean, seriously, if someone paid me to go to a gym for the hours every day I’d do it. But I work a 9-5, deal with my curves and most boys like a little cushion for the pushing.

5. There’s No Place Like Home

Cape Town is the business! Not only is it a holiday destination filled with my friends and family but also Design Capital of the World and home to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, I’m definitely one lucky lady to call this amazing city home.

Here’s to 2012 being even more awesome!


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