Before we kick off this special interview I just want to share a little bit of Maz’s story from her blog, she’s honestly one of the most inspiring people you’ll ever come across. As you’ll soon discover, she’s someone who got dealt a shit hand of life cards early on but has taken it upon herself to take full responsibility for her own happiness.
Now I know there are a lot of other people on this planet that have been through hell and back and are still experiencing circumstances a lot worse than I can ever imagine, but seeing I am spilling my inner most thoughts to the world, I may as well have the courtesy to introduce myself properly and allow you to get a better understanding of my background and where I’ve come from.
I was born in Manila, Philippines. My parents weren’t exactly rich or even well off. Safe to say we were considered “lower class”. I still remember being 3 years old and terribly hungry. I was with my Papa and there was no food to be had. All we had in our shoe box home (imagine a tiny tin shed that barely even fit a car), was a bowl of rice that had been sitting there for days. Millions of ants crawling through it. My stomach was eating itself and as much as I didn’t want to eat the rice, I was famished. As I am writing this, I can remember the feeling of the ants crawling around in my throat.
My mother worked hard and eventually brought me to Australia. I’m extremely grateful for all she had done and so unbelievably blessed that I have been able to grow up in such a wonderful country. The culture change at first was tough but I settled in fine. I lived a pretty normal life. It wasn’t until I was fourteen that my life took a turn. Life as I knew it changed for me at this age. Everything I knew was turned upside down…
Mazzygirl, tell us a bit about yourself…Where did you grow up? How old are you?
I grew up in a small country town called Laidley, Australia. I’m 30, a travel addict, blogger, vlogger and bikini model!
What are 4 things you’re grateful for today?
- I am alive and healthy
- I finally feel like I have family
- I am in a position where I am able to inspire others
- The universe always gives me what I need at the right times
Where has your curiosity taken you so far? Where to next?
I’ve only been to 20 countries so far but there’s so much more! I lived in Toronto, Canada for a couple of years and have traveled Asia, Europe, Carribean and some of the states. I’m open to what the universe has in store for me. I don’t tend to make long term set travel plans as I like to go with the flow. Who knows where I end up!
When and where did you start off on your wanderlust journey?
I had only been to New Zealand, Brunei and Philippines when I was 23 but then decided to book a one-way ticket to start an adventure. 3 months later I was in Thailand and 3 years after that I was finally back in Australia.
Where are you based now and what’s the best thing about where you live?
I’m based in Brisbane, Australia. I didn’t appreciate it as much until after I returned. What city allows you to access the beach, rainforests, and out back within an hour?
Top 5 on your bucket list?
Still yet to do Spain
Where is one destination you feel most like yourself?
Mmm that’s a tricky one to pick just one. Whenever I end up anywhere near a beach, I feel at home. I like living simply and being able to enjoy the little things in life without worrying about the stresses of the rat race we find ourselves in. I really have a soft spot for SEA as the majority of people there have little but seem so much more happy and appreciative of the smaller things in life.
Mindset is a hot topic on your blog, I’m curious… Who or what inspires you?
Tony Robbins and Oprah Winfrey! Does this need an explanation?? Lol
How has solo travel changed you? What personal development skills has it taught you?
I used to be quite shy and barely made new friends unless someone I knew introduced me. Solo travel forces you to step outside of your comfort zone and has taught me to open up as a person. Now I can make friends with anyone from any walk of life. The one thing I learned from Solo travel is that we are all the same, regardless of status, heritage or what we own. Everyone has insecurities and flaws and deep down, everyone all has the same need and wants of feeling valued and loved.
How do you maintain your health (and figure!) while traveling?
Working out when I can and also exploring a ton! I love hiking and chasing waterfalls so that in itself is great cardio! I’ve also learned not to be excessive. Since I started bodybuilding I’ve realized just how much alcohol affects your body and mind. I also eat food in moderation. If I’m going to eat something with high fat and not so clean, I eat cleaner in the meals around it. Excercise is also now a habìt. I’m addicted to the endorphins. If I don’t get my sweat on, I feel lethargic.
You do an amazing job of sharing your wisdom through storytelling… What inspired you to start your (amazing) blog?
Nawww thank you. I hope it inspires people.
I was on my way to a job that sucked the soul out of me. I was dragging myself out of bed each day and had had enough. One morning on my way to work I started brainstorming and that night I had a website up and 3 days later created a facebook page and rebranded my Instagram. The most spontaneous thing I’ve done but also the decision that has felt the most right.
What was your process like from start to where you are now?
I was born in what people would label “the slums” of the Philippines. Luckily my mother worked hard and brought me to Australia when I was 3/4. I was kicked out of home at 14 and found myself homeless and couch surfing. I nearly finished high school (I was a straight A student) but halfway through my senior year I had to drop out of school to keep up with rent and feeding myself. Back then wages were super low so I worked as a checkout chick at the local super market after school and then later in the evenings head to a 5-star resort to waitress until early hours of the morning. I worked part time at a pub on weekends too. I would get in trouble for falling asleep in classes as the teachers didn’t know what I got up to outside of school. I ended up dropping out to work full time as I couldn’t afford rent and bills. I’ve been in and out of abusive relationships and my solo travel adventure changed me and my perspective. It opened my eyes to a big wide world we have out there and I realized that we had the power to create whatever we wanted. Now I blog to help encourage and inspire others that may be struggling, stuck in bad relationships, jobs they hate, unhealthy mindsets etc.
What’s been the coolest experience of your travels so far?
Omg, there’s way too many to list!!
The craziest thing that’s happening to you, or you’ve witnessed on your travels?
I can only pick one?? When I was traveling Thailand for 2 months every time I would leave a city/town it would flood. The whole country was flooding but I only arrived and experienced the sunshine throughout my whole trip. Since then I’ve traveled to places and had left just before cyclones or massive floods had hit. It’s such a bizarre coincidence as I didn’t even know natural disasters were coming. I swear someone is watching over me.
Favorite travel hack?
Always make friends with a local. They’re the ones that know all the coolest places off the beaten track and away from the tourism. They’re also a lot cheaper than going to all the tourist spots!
Apart from traveling and health/fitness, what are you passionate about?
Personal development and the law of attraction. A lot of people tend to see the bubbly, outgoing side of me but those that really know me see just how deep I am. People fascinate me. I love a good D and M!
What’s your biggest fear?
Heights and I cringe at the thought of a life without freedom.
What is your purpose?
I feel I was put here to help inspire and motivate people that are in situations that I’ve found myself in.
What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring travelers?
If it’s scary and exciting at the same time, just do it. You won’t regret it! Don’t follow the crowd and meet the locals. They know the best spots and you will learn a lot more about their culture than going on a guided tour. Also, don’t set a strict timetable. Leave room for spontaneity. Unexpected adventures are the best types.
The strongest people usually have the most scars. What you believe, you become. You are the company that you keep.
The Monk That Sold His Ferrari
Airbnb, CouchSurfing, Hotel, Van or Hostel…what is your travel style?
Hahaha all of them depending on my mood. I’m pretty adaptable. Sometimes I like to be a minimalist and sometimes I like to pamper!
What are your essential traveling items?
Camera, bikinis, passport
What are the three most important things travel has taught you about life?
I wrote a blog about 5 valuable lessons travel has taught me, here’s an excerpt from that:
We see and hear quotes every day stating that travel is the greatest teacher. We meet and know people that have ventured over to other countries returning with exciting stories, all telling us that going to another country had opened their eyes.
I never really understood it until I myself went venturing out into the big wide world, and upon return, everyone that I knew had told me that I had changed. Not in a bad way but they all said I had grown so much from when they last saw me and I had changed for the better.
Everybody changes throughout their journey and everybody grows at their own pace. We just don’t seem to really notice it until we take a moment and reflect on who we are now, compared to the person we were last year or the year before.
1. Every Single Person Is Beautiful In Their Own Individual Way.
2. You Really Don’t Need Much To Survive
3. The Little Things Can Sometimes Be The Most Priceless
4. We Never Remember What People Do For Us, We Remember How They Made Us Feel
5. You Will Be Much Happier If You Appreciate What You Have
My blog is linked at the end of the interview check it out for the full extended post.
If you had one week to live how would you fill your last moments?
Shout my family and best friends on a week long epic traveling adventure no one would forget!
What pieces of advice would you give your 15-year-old self?
I also wrote a blog about this lol. The main thing would be not to sweat things so much. Things that feel like a big deal now will be so insignificant in the future. Don’t take things so seriously and allows follow your heart and listen to your gut instincts.
Where can we follow your journey?
Snapchat – lilmissmaz87
Last, but not least, what is your definition of success?
Freedom. Freedom from your past. Freedom from financial worries, freedom to travel when and where you want, freedom to be the authentic you, freedom from caring what others think of you, freedom to follow your heart, freedom to be the best version of yourself. Also being surrounded by people that encourage, motivate and inspire you.