Photo courtesy of Debbie Arcangeles
Debbie Arcangeles was raised in the Philippines by her dad, after her mom immigrated to the US to try to build a better life for her family. Debbie eventually made her way to New York to be reunited with her mother and was encouraged to follow a conventional career path like nursing. So when Debbie opted instead to pursue a career in the arts, her traditional parents were not pleased. Her rebellious path led her to working with NGOs as a photojournalist.
She was able to travel the world, see exotic places and meet fascinating people. A perfect life. Right? But Debbie couldn’t help but feel that something was missing. She watched as some of the people running the NGOs were benefiting much more than the people they were supposed to be supporting. Debbie realized her real mission in life was to help people.
And so she launched The Offbeat Life. Now she spends her days traveling, podcasting and mentoring others who want to leave the 9 to 5 grind and follow their passions. Here’s and excerpt from our interview with Debbie.
Passionistas: Tell us a little bit about what The Offbeat Life is and why you ultimately decided to start it.
Debbie: I was doing a regular nine to five and I honestly had a panic attack every four months. I don't know what it was, but every four months like clockwork I would have it. I used to be a photojournalist and I used to travel a lot and I really loved that. I thought, well, I need to do something that's more stable and I love children. So I went back to school to become a therapist for children with autism. I really enjoyed that. But at the end of the day, there was just something missing in my life.
So after I had all of these panic attacks for about two years, or longer, I just said to myself, I can't take this anymore. I need to do something. Because I needed to look into myself and realize that I was a cause of my own misery. It wasn't anyone else. It was me. So I was the only person that could change this. So I really looked at myself and I talked to a coach and she asked me the question, “Are you just wanting to travel because you want to do it and it's a passion of yours or is it something that you are doing because you're trying to escape from what you really need to do with your life?” And that was kind of like a light bulb, like an aha moment for me. And I said, “Oh my gosh, yeah, that's what I've been doing.”
So then I started to dig deeper within myself and I said, who are the people that I really look to and say, I love what they do and I love what they're doing with their lives? Honestly, it's the people that I have met throughout my travels who were location independent, who had their own businesses. They were helping other people build this really rich life. And a friend of mine introduced me to a podcast and I said, “I love talking to people. Why don't I just do this?”
It didn't start out as something I was supposed to do for a living. After six months of doing it, sponsorships just started coming to me and I said, “Oh my gosh, I can make money from this. This is crazy.” So that's how it started. And two years later, I'm here, I'm doing it full time and I really love it.
Passionistas: Is there one lesson you've learned so far on during your journey that sticks with you?
Debbie: Well, there's definitely a lot of failures. You probably have heard this before, but I feel like the more I failed, the better I actually get because it gives me so many different lessons. I think for me, I embrace the failures now. And you just learned from it. And I think there's a quote that also says it doesn't get any easier, you just keep getting better. So I truly believe in that. I think after a while you do something, you feel like, oh this is getting easy. No it's not. It's just you just got really good at it. Because everything is hard. There's so many things that are really hard in life, but if it comes easy then everybody would do it. Right? So I think failing is a good thing and you should embrace it.
Passionistas: What's the most rewarding part of what you do?
Debbie: Everything. Everything that I do now. I know that sounds really, Oh my God, whatever. It's not true, but it is. Meeting people through my podcast is so rewarding. Some of my closest friends now that I have are from, my podcast and my job. I get to travel. I do this for a living. People pay me to do it, which is ridiculous. Sometimes I look at what I do and sometimes when I'm traveling I'm like, I can't believe someone would pay me to do this. This is ridiculous. And just learning. I feel like every day, again, I feel like I am getting so much out of it and I really want to give more because at, for me it's not balanced right now, so I need to give more actually because of everything that it's given me and the type of lifestyle that I'm able to live right now because of the decision that I made and I'm just really thankful for all of that.
Passionistas: Why is it so important to you to help other people in what you're doing for a career?
Debbie: Because why should I be the only one to enjoy life like this? I feel like it should be spread around for everybody. Right? I feel like the more people enjoy their lives, it's just better everybody, you know? I think everybody should have the right to do that is to have happiness with whatever it is that they're doing. If it's not the job that you hate, it's something else. And I think for me it's just taking that leap and taking really a chance on yourself and believing in yourself to be able to do what it is that you want to do. And I think if I help as many people as I can to do that, it'll enrich their life and I'm hoping they do the same thing for someone else. And it'll just be a cycle, especially for us women, you know? I think that's really important to do.
Hear Debbie full interview here.
And learn more about The Offbeat Life at her here.