When I moved abroad to Panama City in 2017, there was one thing that helped me plant roots in my new home.
A crucial piece of the puzzle that helped me to survive and then later thrive in a place where I didn't know anyone and barely spoke the language.
I'd ask myself, " How do I cope with moving abroad?"
The answer to that question came about in many ways. However, there was one thing that really clicked.
What was that one thing?
It was dance
Dance was how I met some of my closest friends, how I formed a community, and how I found peace and strength. My dance experiences and story were something I held close to my heart for many years until, one day, I decided that I wanted to share this story with more people.
So I did what any freelance writer would do: I wrote to several different travel publications to see if they would publish my story.
And you know what happened next?
I sent my story to various publications and didn't hear anything back.
For a while, I thought that maybe my story wasn't good enough.
Honestly, it was hard believing in myself when I wasn't getting any responses.
I mistakingly compared my story with other people's stories, and I thought it didn't compare to other people's adventures of climbing the highest mountain or surfing in shark-infested waters.
Self-doubt was strong.
But then I remembered something I read from a well-known author. They said one of the most important things about getting your story published is that you have to believe in it. So, I had to believe that my story was worthy of being published.
Thus, I was determined to get my story published, and I sent my idea to Conde Nast.
If you're unfamiliar with that publication, it's one of the top travel publications. They have millions of readers and have been around for years.
I remember the moment right before I pushed send. I took a deep breath and accepted that whatever happens, happens. I remembered one of my favorite inspirational quotes, which is "What is meant to be will always be."
So I sent it and thought nothing of it. I went to live my life.
And then I woke up the next morning and read an email from Conde Nast saying they'd love to publish my article.
Holding my phone in one hand, I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes with the other, I re-read the email to make sure I wasn't still dreaming.
Nope, my awesome reality was that Conde Nast was interested in publishing my story.
And without further ado, here is my final story.
Let me know what you think.
My name is Kiersten, and I'm a freelance writer who works with travel brands to create content to connect travelers with authentic experiences that support the local communities.