Hawai’i Reflections: 2016 vs. 2021

It’s been 5 years since I first visited Hawai’i! In this episode I share with complete transparency the differences in mindset, personality, and life experience between me back then and me now. My challenge for you is to reflect on where you were 5 years ago, and where you are now. My next question is: where you do you want to be in 5 years?

In this episode, we cover my first trip to Hawai’i back in 2016 (5:20), my change in mindset during the last five years (10:47), and what a typical day in Hawai’i looks like for me now in 2021 (15:02). 

Audio Transcript

Hello. Welcome to this week’s episode of The Wanderlover Podcast.

Hawaii reflections at 2016 versus 2021. This is going to be a super casual introspective reflective episode. We’ve been in Hawaii for around three weeks now, and every day has just been such an enlightening experience to say the least. And I’ve been wanting to make this episode for a while now. So I’m just really excited to talk to you guys about my experiences here. So Hawaii for me is such a special place because the first and last time I visited was in 2016. I was 22 years old back then working in corporate finance, living in New York city, dating my ex-boyfriend and life was just so different.

(1m 34s):
So being able to reflect on how I was in 2016 versus now, and really trying to convey the message that really I was in a completely different situation. And in five years time, your whole life can change. So I really just want to stress. Anything is possible. I’m going to share in this episode, what my mindset was like back then, what my lifestyle was like, and then compare it to, you know, Hawaii as we are living it now. So very briefly back when I was 22, I had just graduated college and I accepted a full-time return offer for my summer internship at bank of America doing corporate treasury.

(2m 18s):
So I was working in finance and if you’ve listened to my first podcast episode about my career path from finance to online business coaching you’ll know that it wasn’t where I wanted to be, but I lived a very comfortable lifestyle. So I was able to afford like a very nice apartment. I had 15 vacation days a year and I lived with my ex-boyfriend life was comfortable, but I was at the same time, very risk averse and very close-minded. So what was possible? I will also admit that back then. I had a bit of a stubbornness problem, which of still persists to the day, but at least I’m aware of it now, but back then after graduation, I thought I had made it like working in finance, living in New York city was what every person wanted to do.

(3m 12s):
And I thought it would, you know, make me so happy. And I had reached the goal of my life. And so whatever I was doing with my time, I thought it’s what everyone wanted to do, including what I wanted to do. And with this mindset, with this ego, what had actually happened was it caused me to be super skeptical. If anyone seemed happier as an entrepreneur, as a creative, I automatically dismiss their lifestyle. As you know, Oh, their parents must’ve funded it for them, or there’s no way that they could be successful or there must be a way around it. I was so skeptical of any other lifestyle than mine, because I thought that this is what everyone’s life was.

(3m 55s):
This was what everyone was trying to work for. And this first manifested itself, when I was introduced to a really famous influencer, who was telling me that she was starting her own fitness guide and she was going to write her own ebook. And she had hundreds of thousands of followers at that time. And at that point in my life, when I was working in finance, I immediately shut down the idea that she was even an entrepreneur. And I thought, my first thought, completely honest, who would buy your ebook? That was me thinking back on, this is the 2015, 2016 version of me and just where I am now, it’s so hilarious because she was actually an expander in my life.

(4m 43s):
Had I not met her, had I not met people that made me question my beliefs that triggered me so much where I was automatically skeptical and almost like, you know, I was envious of her. I would not be where I am today. And it’s also funny how this came full circle because the last time I was back in New York, one of my close friends actually asked me, Oh, my friends are wondering like, how do you actually make money? Two people buy your eBooks. And it’s just so funny because I was the one asking that five years ago. Okay. So just a little more background of the 2016 version of me before we get into my first Hawaii trip back then is I was a Myers-Briggs E S T J.

(5m 32s):
And I feel like that explains so much and depicts so much of who I was back then, if you guys don’t know the first letter E I was and still am an extrovert, but the rest of the three letters back then, I was an S instead of an N. So sensing instead of intuition, you are guided more and you see more of what is versus what could be. And I made decisions based on my thoughts instead of feeling. So I will admit that I was less empathetic. I didn’t really show my emotions. And this also came from going to a highly competitive university and working in finance.

(6m 12s):
Then my last letter was a J instead of a P where I needed everything planned out, or I needed Excel spreadsheets and everything. So I was an E as TJ. And so now this’ll make sense going into my first Hawaii trip in 2016, with this background knowledge that you guys now have of me from when I was 22 years old, I had saved what I thought was so many vacation days. I think it was like six, five or six vacation days. I had combined it with strategically combined it with two long weekends or something. And I went to Hawaii in 2016 for a total of 10 days with my ex-boyfriend.

(6m 57s):
And because it was my first time in Hawaii. And because I wanted to see anything and everything, I thought it would be a great idea to split up the 10 days and explore two different islands. So half of the time, five days on Oahu and five days on Maui. And because I had saved all of these vacation days, I obviously didn’t want my precious time to go to waste. Right? And so I had an Excel spreadsheet of the 10 days we were traveling. Granted, you know, you spend 12 hours, hours traveling there and another 12 hours traveling back. And we actually had waivers that said something about my personality too, right.

(7m 43s):
Because I didn’t value my time. I was so on the hunt for the cheapest flight it’s that I could find. So even if that meant like overnight layovers, I would always choose that over a direct flight or a more expensive flight. Oh, how things have changed. So in total, it was maybe eight days, and I had an Excel spreadsheet of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and what activities that we were going to do every day. And just thinking about how that was the norm to me, I had friends who did that. I had other friends who actually sent me their Excel spreadsheets. So I was just in a very Excel spreadsheet oriented world where time was so valuable.

(8m 25s):
And you just really couldn’t waste any part of your vacation. And one story specifically that I want to share with you guys that I laugh at every time I think about it is when my ex boyfriend and I were on a resort on Maui. We had two or three nights there, and I had wanted to do one of the activities that was scheduled and planned on my Excel spreadsheet. And I was freaking out because I think we had woken up a little later than, and it turns out that day, he, he just wanted to stay and sit on the beach at the resort. That’s why he wanted to do for the day.

(9m 6s):
And I remember honest to God guys, I had like almost a nervous breakdown and a panic attack because we weren’t doing anything quote, unquote, valuable or productive with our time. And we got in such a huge argument because I had wanted to go explore or do something. And he, his argument was we had been on the go, I will give him that, like, we were go, go, go with my Excel planning spreadsheet for so many days. And he just wanted to sit and relax. And that was unfathomable to me at that point. I just could not see where he was coming from. Didn’t understand why he would just want to be sitting on a beach when there are beaches in like Manhattan, which obviously is so flawed because they’re not the same, but that was a huge arguing point for us.

(9m 58s):
And that’s not to say that if you do use Excel spreadsheets and you are super planned with your vacations, I’m not trying to bash on you for that. But for me, at least it was the sense that I couldn’t enjoy the present moment. You know, that quote, stop and smell the roses. I literally could not stop to smell the roses because time was just so scarce. And I always felt like I needed to rush to be able to enjoy my limited vacation days to the fullest. And I want to ask you guys, how does that vacation sound to you? Be honest, let me know in a DM, but looking back, even reflecting on myself now, you guys know the 2016 version of me in Hawaii.

(10m 43s):
I don’t know how I was once that person, but I was. And so now thinking what happened in the past five years, what helped me and what shaped my mindset so that I went from this really E S T J a punctual planned finance girl to a free spirited world, traveling entrepreneur. The first thing that comes to mind is mindset. And is this graphic that I have on the wander liver podcast page, it’s a little cartoon. And there are these steps. The first step, the bottom step is I won’t do it.

(11m 24s):
And then as you start going up, each step, it goes up to, I can’t do it. I want to do it. How do I do it? I’ll try to do it. I can do it. I will do it. And yes, I did it. So the easiest way for me to explain this point is in 2016, I was somewhere along the lines of, I can’t do it and I want to do it. So seeing the lives of entrepreneurs in New York city of other influencers, instead of automatically being skeptical and being like, Oh, it must be X, Y, and Z, that they’re able to do this.

(12m 6s):
I started slowly changing my mindset and started acting and asking questions from curiosity and from an inspired place, I wasn’t competing with them. I wasn’t trying to judge them. I genuinely wanted to learn from them. So that was the first step. And then over time as your mindset changes, because on the step like these stairs steps like four through nine, after you reached the halfway point after you reach the, how do I do it and get up to, I’ll try to do it. That’s when the action starts, that’s when you start taking inspired action and building this dream life that you, you know, couldn’t that I couldn’t even have imagined back then.

(12m 54s):
So now let’s talk about the past three weeks here in Oahu. This is 2021. Danielle speaking to you on the wander, love her podcast and surprise. I have no excels the spreadsheet this time. I told that story to rags and he was like, how are you like that? Okay. Even thinking about like how I used to travel and vacation, I don’t know if I could handle that. I don’t know if I could handle the 2016 version of me a little too, too much, but right. Last three weeks on this Island, working online, launched momentum, mastermind, recording podcasts for you guys to listen to.

(13m 42s):
So I could share all of these insights and having this amazing platform like social media websites, technology. I am just so beyond grateful that I have created this brand on these platforms that allow me to work from anywhere and reach people around the world. I feel like I have all the time in the world, not literally, but I feel like I’m living like a local. We have our local friends and we’re not doing touristy things every single day. It’s not like I have a new hike, a new surf spot planned one after the other. I have my surf spots that I love that I repeatedly go back to.

(14m 23s):
And I don’t feel the need to constantly go to a new place for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day, because I just have more time. Right? So the pace of life is definitely a lot slower. I can genuinely say I stopped to smell the roses. I literally stopped to smell like every flower that I pass by, because there’s just so many flowers and being here again, being here with you guys with my business, with rags, it’s just been magical. Seeing how much has changed in the past five years.

(15m 4s):
My day now looks like waking up, going for a surf, then having some calls posting on socials, and then, you know, watching TV with a bottle of wine or going to watch sunset and then have a bottle of wine. And it’s just so much more relaxed. And there’s such a healthy work life balance. It’s working to live, not living to work. So present day, I told you guys back then I was in E S T J. Now I am an E N F P. And if you’re familiar with Myers-Briggs, it might be quite surprising because three of my four letters have changed.

(15m 47s):
And E N F P just embodies who I really think I truly am who I always have been, but because of the confines of working in finance, living in New York city being hyper competitive, it just didn’t allow parts of me to be expressed. So as an E N F P still an extrovert more intuitive. So I think more about the big picture and less using my five senses or what the world currently is that I’m in. I’m always thinking about the future about what I could do, what I could create, how we can design our dream lives together.

(16m 27s):
I also now make decisions more based on feelings rather than thoughts. So I let emotions all the time, drive my decisions. My gut tells me whether I want to do something. Whether I want to work with someone, I let my emotions drive, whatever it is that I am currently trying to decide on. And last but not least J to P. So from judging to perceiving, and I believe this is just less planning, no Excel sheets. I don’t have a really strict five-year plan of when I’m going to get promoted or what my life’s going to look like.

(17m 7s):
I have a vague idea, I vision board, but then I just let the universe do its thing going with the flow and just trusting and knowing that everything is going to work out the way that it’s meant to be. So, as a recap, I really want to highlight the importance of expanders in my life and in your life. So back then, when I would meet influencers, I would immediately be skeptical and close minded about what is possible, right. And what I said was when you train your mind to start seeing what is possible and people that inspire you and the inner knowing that you can do it too, instead of being like they have X, Y, and Z.

(17m 51s):
So it makes it not possible. Really try to change that and be expanders that are now influencing my life is taking me to another level where in five years, I’ll probably do another podcast episode and be like, Oh my God, I can’t believe I was in Hawaii back then thinking X, Y, and Z. I don’t even know. I’m only hoping to improve from here every single day. So if you’re feeling stuck, I know exactly how you feel. At one point, all I knew was corporate finance. All I knew was how to climb the corporate ladder. And with all of these Hawaii reflections, how my personality, how my life has just completely done a one 80, my happiness levels are like sky high right now.

(18m 40s):
Whereas before it was more anxious and nervous, I know that you can do it too. And you just have to believe in yourself. If you’re looking for a little extra guidance on your entrepreneurship journey, I want to invite you to apply to momentum mastermind. There are only three spots left. This is my first ever group program where I’m bringing together a group of ambitious creative entrepreneurs who are just starting out and who are going to meet every single week between March and June to support each other and smash business schools. I feel like this was the perfect container, the container that was missing between my online courses and my private coaching, because of the group aspect.

(19m 28s):
When you see what other people are doing, what other people are capable of achieving, you realize that you can do it too, right? And things that you’re not currently thinking about in business, a coach and mentors and other people can help see your blind spots and point them out. The whole point of this is so we get momentum for four months straight. So you’ll feel so absolutely accomplished and incredibly supported the whole way. If you want to apply, just send me a DM and we can set up a call. There are only three spots left guys, and we start next month.

(20m 8s):
I hope you gain so much value from these reflections. If you are resonating with the 2016 Danielle, and you want to level up and move past it, where you can start living out the life of your dreams, I’d be so happy to talk to you about it, sending you so much love, always and have an amazing week.


If you’ve enjoyed this episode, it would mean so much if you could leave a review on Apple Podcasts. This helps us spread The Wanderlover mission to those who need a dose of inspiration today, thank you!

Share on Pinterest

Danielle Hu

Danielle Hu

Danielle Hu is a multiple 6-figure travel influencer, business coach, and Founder of The Wanderlover. She has traveled to over 65+ countries running her online business and surfing in remote tropical destinations. Her mission is to help creatives and coaches achieve time freedom, location freedom, and financial freedom through online entrepreneurship.

the digital nomad society

Join the success club for new and aspiring  Digital Nomads

The Digital Nomad Society

Join the success club for new and aspiring  Digital Nomads

Want business tips and travel inspiration straight to your inbox?

Join my newsletter

Share on Pinterest

Hi, I’m Danielle

My mission is to help you design a location-independent lifestyle through online entrepreneurship, to achieve time freedom, location freedom, financial freedom.

Related Posts

Advantages of Online Business

Advantages of Online Business

An online business truly opens up a world of opportunities and possibilities with your time, location, and income. After traveling the world and running my freedom-based business for many years, I will be sharing with you all the top benefits of having an online business!

read more
Best Surf Destinations for Longboarders

Best Surf Destinations for Longboarders

Surfing is one of my passions and I’m so excited to be sharing the best surf destinations for longboarders this week! I rank them on wave consistency, water temperature, and ease of access, which are all crucial to longboarding fun. If you’re a surfer or aspiring surfer, tune in!

read more

Grab My Free Case Study

How I went from a side hustle and unfulfilling jobs to finding my passion, 5-figure months, and full-time world travel.

Are you ready to do the same?