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Daphné Vanessa

Shamil Rodriguez

 

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About This Episode

A

nissa Buckley joins the Student Loan podcast to share her story of how she went from paying off $60K in student loans, how she went from employee to entrepreneur, and how she coped and adjusted through phases in her life that many of us will face.

Anissa Buckley is a nationally-recognized health & wellness expert, entrepreneur, and avid adventurer with a passion for helping people transform their lives through purpose, motivation, and challenge. She holds an MBA and a BS from Cornell University, an Integrative Health Coaching certification from Duke Integrative Medicine, a holistic nutrition counseling certification (CHHC) from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and a personal training certification (CPT) from The National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Prior to launching b-untethered, Buckley founded a nutrition company and developed the retail industry’s leading nutrition database, healthyAisles™ which scores grocery items for health claims. The business success led to an invitation to The White House to confer with President Obama’s chef on the Let’s Move program. The company was acquired in 2007.

Prior, Buckley spent 15 years with Procter & Gamble, Sprint, and Birds Eye Foods. She also co-founded Real Life Food and Fitness, a fitness studio with fresh 500 calorie meals, HIIT fitness classes and health coaching under one roof which was acquired in 2015.

Since 2015, Buckley has been pursuing physical endeavors and biohacking life to better understand the integration between physical and mental challenge and purpose and fulfillment in life.

 

THIS EPISODE COVERS:

  • How writing down your vision can increase your odds of achieving it;
  • Living below your means while your income increases will accelerate your debt payoff; 
  • How happiness doesn’t come in the form of buying many things;
  • The appreciation for life that you’ll gain from living below your means;
  • Learning from different cultures and getting out of your comfort zone; and
  • much, much, more…

CONNECT WITH ANISSA BUCKLEY

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Anissa Buckley (00:00): It's fun to think about instant gratification, and you know, when you get the raise to just go blow it on a new car or a better apartment or whatever. But in the longer run, you're gonna be happier, and there's a lot of science behind this. You're going to be happier if you get yourself out of debt so that in the future when you really do make more money, you have a lot more flexibility on what you can do With that,

The Student Loan Podcast Intro (00:28): Welcome to the Student Loan Podcast. Here you'll find practical advice on tackling student loan debt, paying down your higher education expenses, And inspiring stories about paying off student loans. We're your hosts, Daphné Vanessa, And Shamil Rodriguez.

Daphné Vanessa (00:46): Please rate review and subscribe to the Student Loan Podcast by visiting the Student Loan Podcast on Apple Podcast or wherever you find your podcasts.

Shamil Rodriguez (00:56): This is not professional advice, and we speak from our own personal views and opinions.

Daphné Vanessa (01:02): The Student Loan Podcast is brought to you by StartNoo, where you can serve your community and get rewarded with tuition and student loan payments. To check out if StartNoo is on your campus, visit startnoo.com.

Daphné Vanessa (01:17): Welcome everyone to another episode of The Student Loan Podcast. Today we are super excited to have someone who is so successful, Anissa Buckley, who has such an exciting story. She's a Fortune 500 marketer, she's a three time, believe it or not, entrepreneur turned global adventurer and minimalist. As we are speaking now, she just came off of one of, I think we'll leave it for you to explain actually, but a trip that many people would be jealous about . Something that I think that is so cool about you is that you've actually been invited to the White House to talk about health and wellness. So with that, I don't think that I can give your biography any justice. Why don't you introduce yourself

Anissa Buckley (02:03): . Wow. Well, thanks for that. Um, yeah, you know, you, you kind of said it all, which is, um, it's lessons along the way. Uh, you know, way back when I was 18 and coming out of high school and going into college, um, I just sort of had this desire for adventure. And so, um, you know, it started out with really geographical moves within the US and I started off working for Xerox and Proctor and Gamble out of college, um, and, and gaining some really great, uh, great training and, you know, good expertise in certain areas. Um, and went back to business school after that. And then coming outta business school, um, moved again a bunch of times. So I kind of hopped from the east coast to the west coast to Hawaii to, uh, the Midwest, back to the East coast. I was kind of all over the place.

Anissa Buckley (02:53): Um, and just experimenting with, um, how that felt, you know, to be in what I would call kind of different cultures within the us. Um, and so doing that, uh, just continued to fuel my, my interest in adventure. And so, um, a little bit later in life in my mid thirties, I actually started my first company, um, and was very fortunate to, uh, be acquired within three years. Uh, was a three year buyout. I stayed for eight. And, um, then due to personal reasons, left and started another company, um, which I can share all the details. And, and ultimately, um, after that really went into this, this really crazy period of extreme sort of 180, 180 degrees on my life where I left business for a while. Um, although I did do some remote work, uh, from some different countries, um, we could talk about that. But then, um, then ultimately, uh, back in now 2019 or so, had another idea for my third startup, which is the one I'm currently, uh, running. And, um, yeah. So we can, we can talk about all of that, but you, that's my biography, if you wanna put it in a

Daphné Vanessa (03:58): Nutshell, , that is amazing. So many people look at your life just as what, you know, what the, the kids today are saying hashtag goals, right? Like, you've done everything, you've done corporate, you've been an entrepreneur, you've traveled the world, like you literally have done everything. Do you mind sharing what mindset you have to help you just go out there, put a thought in your head and get exactly what you want?

Anissa Buckley (04:26): Yeah, you know, I honestly think it starts with vision and values. And that may sound really like cliche, but you know, I'm a big, big believer in having a vision statement, a personal one. Um, there's certainly really big for corporations, vision statements, mission statements, you know, kind of knowing where you want to go and how you see your life evolving. If you don't have that, um, I think it's really hard to work toward a goal , you know, without having one. Um, so I mean, you really need to spend some time on what I would call your values first. And there are, there's tons of places out on the web that you can find, um, you know, values, exercises, and, and that's really where you have to start thinking about what's most important in your life. And things may crop up, like, um, money, right? Money's important in life when you're younger, especially, um, or a title could be important to you when you're, when you're in your twenties or thirties.

Anissa Buckley (05:23): Um, maybe as you continue to age, you, you have different, uh, values. Things that may be important are having adventure in your life or having work life balance or, um, doing something that's innovative and being recognized for that. So if you start there and then you start, you know, you can kind of move from there into building your first vision draft. That vision statement is, to me, really exactly what it sounds like, right? It's almost a vision of how you see yourself living your life. And so I, I definitely did that. I was actually forced into it, to be honest. When I was 18 , um, my freshman year of college, I actually had a professor who asked us to write our career plan. And within that, of course, you start thinking about, you know, what you might like to do and how that will evolve over time.

Anissa Buckley (06:10): And then of course, as you're doing that, you're, you're starting to think about your personal life. And back then I, you know, I was, I hate to say this, I'm gonna age myself, but I was, you know, back in the eighties and 90, early nineties, you know, it was a, it was a different world and, and, you know, sort of like big and bold was in, and, and having more was in. And so, you know, at those times it was having a house, a big house, and having, you know, cars and things that now are way less important to me. But at that time, they were, and they were drivers of that vision. And so, um, yeah, so that's where, you know, that's kind of where I would say to start on getting yourself excited and motivated to do something like this. Um, you've gotta, you've gotta drive it because it's your life, and you've gotta have that vision for where you wanna go.

Speaker 5 (06:54): No, I think, and the thing that's really helpful to start off there, uh, especially because it was someone who had an impact on you while you were in school, uh mm-hmm. . And what about when it came to now executing your plan, but you were executing your plan, you know, like you said, big and bold at that time, that was the thing to do. Uh, but what about with student loan debt? I know that was something that you also carry too, right? So like how did you balance out those two while accomplishing your vision goals?

Anissa Buckley (07:19): Yeah, that's a great question. Um, well, what I, um, I kind of came out of a, a family where my dad was pretty conservative with money, so he was in a role where he, you know, he made a decent, a pretty decent income, but we never lived. Extravagantly was always super, super conservative, and I could never understand it growing up, right? You always want more, and you want the expensive jeans, and you want the, you know, cool. I don't know, you know, back then we needed a lot of technology. It wasn't like I wanted the next iPhone, but, you know, you always wanted more. And my dad instilled in me the idea that, nope, you know, the first thing you need to do is get yourself to some level of security. And what he, what his, his, um, advice to me was, is pay, you know, if you get your fir when you get your first raise, is how he would say it to me.

Anissa Buckley (08:06): When you get your first raise, don't even look at it as a raise. He said, keep living the way that you were living and take that extra money and put that against your, your debt. And I know that sounds painful to some degree because it's like, well, geez, I've worked really hard and I'm, you know, I'm being rewarded for it and I should be able to enjoy that. But to be honest, in the longer run, what's gonna help you more is that feeling of financial security and getting yourself out of debt and reducing that principle that you're paying interest on. So, um, I would highly, highly recommend that, you know, here, here's what I really would say is, yeah, you want to pay yourself first, so you wanna go ahead and if you get a raise and you get an extra, I don't know, 500 bucks a month, I would say take 400 of it at least, and put that against your debt and the other hundred and I, I'm speaking, you know, generically, we could be talking thousands of dollars here, but if you got another a hundred bucks, then do something nice for yourself there.

Anissa Buckley (09:05): Um, upgrade your life a little bit and, and hopefully we're talking bigger numbers than that, but you know what I'm saying, which is really just take a large portion of it, put it against the debt, and then keep something to give yourself a little reward for the extra work and promotion.

Daphné Vanessa (09:19): No, super helpful. And I, just going back to the career plan that you sort of started out with mm-hmm. , how specific was that, and how do you think that helped you to decide which job you were going to accept, um, and how to pay off your student loans?

Anissa Buckley (09:37): Yeah, that's a really interesting question. The career plan was, I would say, fairly specific. So for me, you know, I had a sense that marketing and advertising were the path that I wanted to take. And so, um, I really started really sort of putting, uh, a graduated promotion into a plan where I started with an ad agency. Um, and I started really, you know, at the very beginning as an account, a junior account executive, learning the ropes, um, and then went from there, um, more into marketing within a consumer products good company in, in my plan. Um, and then all the way up to like a vice president role. So I kind of escalated that through the years, um, just, you know, based on my own desire. And quite honestly, um, at that point, no, not a whole lot of knowledge of really how it all worked, but, um, but putting that vision out there for this is what I want, you know, this is what I think I want in my life.

Anissa Buckley (10:35): And then it just, I just sort of followed that meaning coming out of school, I ha I had the opportunity through some connections to interview with Xerox, and I started there as a marketing coordinator. So I really didn't start in an ad agency. However, in my second year with Xerox, I did leave the company and I didn't go immediately de proctor and gamble. I actually went to an ad agency in between, um, and I spent a very little amount of time, I think I was there six or eight months, um, working as an account executive and seeing the other side of the marketing fence. And that was really helpful, um, in the longer run as I went through periods where I was hiring ad agencies, um, and I knew I had a better sense of the expectations I should have for them and the things that I could ask of them.

Anissa Buckley (11:22): So I started there, and then from there, I, I went, I moved over to Proctor and Gamble in more of a sales role initially, and that evolved into, um, a, an infield regional marketing role that they were testing at the time. And then I went back to business school. But my, my point to that is, you know, it, it all, it, you know, kind of coming out of that plan, it had the, the plan had forced me to think about what I really wanted. I think that's the real benefit of writing things down. There's a statistic out there that says something like, you are 76% more likely to achieve your goal if you put it in writing. So, you know, again, I had no knowledge. I just, I just happened to fall into this class and this professor who sort of, you know, forced us to go down this path, but honestly was probably one of the most valuable things I ever did in college, because it, it just really did, um, require all of us in the class to sit down and think 25 years in the future, what might you want your life to be like?

Anissa Buckley (12:23): And that's, I think, the message I'm trying to get across now, which is, yeah, it's fun to think about instant gratification and, you know, when you get the raise to just go, you know, blow it on a new car or a better apartment or whatever, but in the longer run, you're gonna be happier. And there's a lot of science behind this. You're going to be happier if you get yourself out of debt so that in the future, when you really do make more money, you have a lot more flexibility on what you can do with that.

Daphné Vanessa (12:53): I think that's so powerful because we often forget the importance of just writing something down and holding yourself accountable. And I think you've really shared how your dreams became reality, because you wrote it down .

Anissa Buckley (13:08): Absolutely. Yeah.

Daphné Vanessa (13:10): Uh, ballpark figure. How much in student loan debt did you pay off?

Anissa Buckley (13:14): Um, about $60,000. Remember, this is back in like the late eighties and early nineties.

Daphné Vanessa (13:19): Nice. So school was less expensive.

Anissa Buckley (13:22): By far. , yeah.

Daphné Vanessa (13:23): Now, like one year is $60,000.

Anissa Buckley (13:26): I know. I know. It's a very different world. ,

Daphné Vanessa (13:29): Crazy. Um, cool. And then were your student loans just from undergrad, also from your mba? A combination of both.

Anissa Buckley (13:36): Um, actually it was both. Um, so yeah, it was, it was, it was a bit from, uh, business school as well, um, when you, you know, ultimately put it together. So yeah, I had both.

Daphné Vanessa (13:47): Cool. Were you working when you did your mba, by the way?

Anissa Buckley (13:51): Uh, no. I actually went back full time for two years.

Daphné Vanessa (13:54): Okay. And what was the logic behind your decision to do that?

Anissa Buckley (13:59): Um, the, the school that I wanted to go to and the, the curriculums that I was looking for, um, actually wouldn't allow you to work.

Daphné Vanessa (14:07): Oh, wow. They wanted you to focus.

Anissa Buckley (14:09): Yeah. At the time. I mean, now I know there's a lot more flexibility, but at that time, um, they didn't have as many of the executive programs that are now available. Right. So yeah, I made that decision to, you know, to do that.

Daphné Vanessa (14:23): Smart. Very cool. So let's move on into just the journey throughout your career, because mm-hmm. , you've had so many leaps, and I think when you're in college, you almost think that whatever you end up doing is what you might be stuck doing, although that's obviously not happening in practice today as much. Um, but you've really jumped from employee to entrepreneur. How did you make that jump?

Anissa Buckley (14:52): Yeah, that's an interesting one because, um, I think with like, with a lot of, uh, entrepreneurs, it isn't necessarily just a clean cut. So for me, I was working at the time as a brand manager on a frozen vegetable line. And this was back when, believe it or not, health and wellness wasn't as pronounced as it is now. Um, whole Foods was really starting to ramp up, and I was watching that trend, um, and I was looking at consumer behaviors in terms of their buying habits and the types of foods that they were eating, and I could see that move toward healthier products. And so at the time, I was working with our CEO of the company, and I was recommending that we take a more, um, solid stance about health and wellness within our company. And he was against it. He told me that health and wellness was going to be a fad, that it wasn't a trend, um, and that it was gonna go away. And so I was really frustrated by that. Yeah, I know. How crazy is that, right? Um, which I even at the time I was like, that's insane. But, um, pause

Daphné Vanessa (16:00): A moment so that you can just, I know you dropped very, you know, very ever so lightly the fact that you're advising the CEO of major company, . I'm sorry. Can, can you just highlight that a little bit more?

Anissa Buckley (16:15): Yeah. So I wouldn't say I was advising, um, we were responsible, we as a, a marketing team, were responsible for restaging this frozen vegetable brand that had been in decline. So, um, I was, I had the good fortune of being hired by a company that was building a brand new marketing team, um, and knew that they wanted to put some cash into building, rebuilding this, this brand. So, um, so basically I, uh, came into it and had a lot of flexibility in terms of what to do. So we hired a brand new agency, and we were tasked with repositioning the entire product line. And so in doing that, when you're repositioning, you know, you really need to think about what your point of differentiation is and what markets you're going after, who the demographic of your consumer is. I mean, obviously you get very, very analytical and very detailed on all that.

Anissa Buckley (17:14): And so, um, that is where, you know, a lot of the trend analysis was coming out around health and wellness being something of interest to consumers. And so when we presented our plan to our CEO for where we wanted to go with the brand, that's when this conversation came up that he said, you know, I don't, I don't see it. Um, even though the data was there, he just, um, he was definitely somebody who had opinions and they didn't always have to be, um, a hundred percent substantiated by data, which was kind of weird. I've never, I've not since worked in that environment, but, um, you know, it, he just had a very, very different, um, view of where the market was gonna go. And he had, like, you know, and fairness had been in the market for a long time. So sometimes when you have somebody who's lived 20 years in a particular sector of industry, you know, many times they can look at the future and, you know, kind of see it through jaded vision, right?

Anissa Buckley (18:14): Because they, they know what's happened in the past. Yeah. And so I think that kind of was what came into play here. And for me, because it was a brand new industry for me, I was all about looking at, you know, where, where the trends were and what I thought was gonna happen in the future. And so I spent a lot of time on that. So, so NetNet, what really happened there was I became very passionate about the health and wellness industry. I, I don't remember how this happened, but I, I actually got connected to a local independent grocery retailer, and he was very interested in hiring me for some consulting. He wanted to actually work on building a health and wellness program, merchandising program for his company so that, you know, when a grocery shopper came in his store, they would be able to navigate, you know, the aisle, well, he didn't say this, but navigate the aisles, find better products, um, have recipes that were healthy, and, you know, certainly understand which ingredients to put into them and which specific ones to buy.

Anissa Buckley (19:10): So I worked with him to put together this whole merchandising plan, and out of that was the start of my first company, which was pulling all of the nutrition fact panels for all the products in a grocery store, putting them into a database and scoring them against FDA and other types of claims like gluten-free, which became a huge thing. Well, I was doing this, I got very lucky because, um, gluten free, uh, you know, my very first couple of sales calls to large in, you know, large retail chains, grocery chains, I would have to go very high up in the chain to get approval to highlight products in the store as gluten free, because the CEOs at that time thought there was a ton of liability with doing that, which in fairness, there is a lot of liability with something like peanut free where there could be fatality.

Anissa Buckley (19:57): Um, so you have to be very careful about making sure the right shelf tag or the right indicator is put on the right product on the shelf, or you've got a lot risk, right? So there was a lot of issue around gluten-free. And so I'm getting off track here, but my point is only that, um, yes, I developed a, the database that I eventually sold coming out of this sort of very initial consulting gig that I had with this local retailer. So I, I can't tell you exactly, you know, the, the stepping stones to get there yourself, but I would say that if you're passionate about something, um, you just start finding other like-minded people. And I must have had a conversation with somebody who knew this grocery retailer and knew that that retailer was looking to do more in the health and wellness space and connected us.

Anissa Buckley (20:44): That's a lot of how it's happened in my life. Life is really, um, it's networking and sometimes it's unintended. You just, you, if you continue to share what your passions are with somebody, you more than likely will find other people who share those passions, or they have other people in their lives that share those passions and they wanna connect you. It happens all the time to me. And, um, I think that's just the way in my world, that's the way business has worked. So that's how I got started with my first nutrition database, and then I sold that to the largest shelf tag printer in the industry at the time. Company name is Vestcom. They acquired my database and we appended that data, so the nutrition data to the unit price labels that they were printing for large retailers like Safeway, who's based on the West Coast, or Kroger, or Walgreens, a lot of those types of companies. Um, so that was my first business. And, um, yeah, I kind of somehow some somewhat, I would have to say, fell into it through getting into health and wellness, um, with the vegetable company, if that makes sense.

Speaker 5 (21:49): No, it does. And I think it's tremendous that you were able to identify that opportunity, uh, but then also, like you said, you were sharing your vision, right? Essentially mm-hmm. with those around you. And when the opportunity presented itself, you, you identified and you took action to achieve that goal. I mean, I'm, I'm oversimplifying it, but I think that, um, those, you're moving blocks are essential. Um,

Anissa Buckley (22:13): Yeah, I think if I just, one more thing I'd add based on what, what you just said, Shail, I had that vision of helping people make healthier choices. That was really what I would say was my vision at that time. And I didn't know quite how that was gonna happen, but I just was very passionate that, you know, because I'd been in the food industry, I knew what was happening with processing of our food, and I was really passionate about helping people find foods that were less processed and that were healthier for them. So I think, you know, to me, that was the driving force behind why I ended up where I did, because it didn't mean that I was gonna go create a nutrition database. I mean, I could have ended up being, you know, a, a blogger about healthy foods or, you know, um,

Speaker 5 (22:59): That's true

Anissa Buckley (23:00): true working, working as a nutritionist, going back to school and becoming a, a registered dietician. There's a million things I could have done with it, but it somehow it evolved into this nutrition database through my experience with that, with that local retailer. So just, I think my, my advice on that one is, um, you know, if you're passionate about something, and I think this happens a lot, you know, we many times we'll discount that as an opportunity for making money. And we'll say, well, that's just my hobby. I can't, I, there's no way I can make money doing that, but I disagree. I don't even care what it is. You could be an ice skater, you know, you could be a, a ice carver. I mean, there's, there's, there's money to be made if you have a passion, because passion is what drives your, you know, know eventual expertise in something. You have to be passionate about it because you're not gonna sit and work 60 or 80 hours on something that you're not passionate about. And then if you are passionate, it doesn't feel like you're working 60 or 80 hours necessarily.

Speaker 5 (23:59): No, I agree. I think that's, that's a tremendous advice there. No,

Daphné Vanessa (24:01): I, I was just agreeing, I think that, you know, when you really love what you're doing, it does not feel like work. You don't even realize the time.

Anissa Buckley (24:10): Yeah. You guys probably know that

Speaker 5 (24:13): No, definitely. With that. Exactly. You know, I think this is a really great segue, uh, into a big part of your story of where you are today, right? So you, you went to school, you had a vision, um, that you put together, you executed on that you were having a lot of six corporate world as an entrepreneur, but then, you know, this big and bold concept that you had that was happening culturally speaking, uh, you flipped it on its head. I think there's, there's something to that. So let's share why you did that, how that happened. What am I even talking about?

Anissa Buckley (24:48): Yeah, I think you're talking about how I moved into that sort of global adventure side of my life. Um, yeah, absolutely. And how, how that happened. It, unfortunately, it happened for personal issue, personal reasons. So in 20, I don't know what the year was, maybe 2010, my mom was diagnosed with dementia, and I was on planes like every week for the previous 10 years. And I, you know, I didn't, I didn't have as much opportunity to see my parents. And so when she was diagnosed, I knew that she didn't have a lot of time left, um, you know, as herself, shall we say, where, you know, she was aware of things. And so I, um, actually decided to resign at that time from Bestcom. I was the vice president of health and wellness at that time. And I, I left the company and I started my second company, which was a local, um, studio that had fresh 500 calorie meals, health coaching, and high intensity training under one roof.

Anissa Buckley (25:48): And I, um, I did that. I know it sounds sort of, um, counterintuitive to start a company when you wanna spend more time with your, with, with somebody, but, um, but it was local and my parents were close. And so it gave me the opportunity three to four nights a week to go over and actually have dinner with my parents and spend time with them. So I started that company, and then what happened, unfortunately, is both parents passed away within eight months of each other in 2014. Oh, wow. And I went through a divorce at the same time, and then ultimately decided to sell the business. So my whole life kind of upended all within 12 months. And, you know, I, I guess I always like to refer to this as sort of loss of identity because I had been, you know, head down for, at that point, I was 46 years old, believe it or not.

Anissa Buckley (26:41): Um, I put my head, you know, my head had been focused on work, work, work most of my life. I'd been a business woman. I had been a wife, and I had been a daughter, and all of a sudden I was none of those. And so, um, that's where I just decided to cut loose and travel the world. And, um, in doing so, I connected up with, uh, someone who was a former pro cyclist and decided to take another sort of avenue for my passions. And, and quite honestly, some discipline I do have, I, I, I love like working really hard at something. So I undertook Iron Manning, went to first to South Africa, and we did a lot of biking over there because, um, he was actually very familiar with lots of great biking venues. So we got into Iron Manning and ultra running, and, um, you know, we cycled the east coast of Africa, and I could go on, but out of that, that was the transitional period for me, because I learned how to go from, you know, where I had previously been.

Anissa Buckley (27:41): And there's nothing great about this. I mean, I, I'm gonna say this, like, I flew first class everywhere I went, um, and everything was pretty much as you would expect, meaning you'd land, you'd get your rental car, you knew you were gonna get your rental car, you'd go to the hotel, you knew you had wifi, you know, everything was as expected. And what the global travel really taught me was, first of all, minimalization in a big way because we, we basically didn't live in hotels. We stayed in Airbnbs that were cheap. I had no income, right? So I certainly had some savings and whatnot. I'm not gonna say I didn't, but, you know, I wasn't making an income and I was spending a fair amount of money flying around and living and whatnot. So I had to be really, really frugal with what I was doing.

Anissa Buckley (28:27): And so we would stay in like a $10 Airbnb in Moshi, Tanzania, you know, when we did the Kilimanjaro climb, for example. And in doing that, I no longer had the things that I used to have, right? So, you know, I had a fluffy life where, um, I was pretty catered to when I was traveling so much for business, merely because when you travel that much, obviously you get upgraded and you make all sorts of miles and things. And so life was very different when all of a sudden I didn't even have a washing machine. I didn't have running water, sometimes I didn't have electricity. And I just came back literally two weeks ago from the Himalaya, same situation. You know, you stay in these tea houses and in the Himalayas, in Nepal, and, um, you spend $6 a night and you basically get a cabin that has no electricity.

Anissa Buckley (29:13): I sometimes it has electricity. I shouldn't say that. Sometimes it has electricity, but it has, um, you know, there's no hot water. There's no heat, and you can, you know, you can be there at minus 20 degrees. And so, um, you know, it's not cushy. There's no toilet situation in your room. You've gotta go outside and, you know, basically go to an outhouse kind of thing. I mean, so you, you learn what you are capable of and you learn what you really need. And so my first couple of years of kind of, um, traveling this way, you know, the big learning was, um, you know, I had appreciation for having my washer and dryer in my house and being able to, you know, get outta bed in the middle of winter, in the middle of the night and, uh, not freeze my butt off. But on the flip side, um, what do you really need?

Anissa Buckley (29:59): Well, I didn't need, you know, 150 blazers, , you know, that I would wear to business meetings or, you know, like, I mean, just the ridiculous things you accumulate over years of working in business environments, um, or thinking that you need these things, right? Oh, I need a new pair of shoes, or I need to have this or that, and you really don't. Um, it's just all overkill. And so I sold a lot of what I had, um, when I, when I first, like, after my first year of starting this and really focused on, um, streamlining my life and minimizing cost and expenses. And again, that goes back to the very first part of our conversation, which is, you know, I call it paying yourself first, but really, you know, thinking about keeping yourself financially free, right? Of stress, because the less stress you have, obviously the better off you are.

Anissa Buckley (30:47): So the, what I'm meant to say is the less debt you have, the less stress you have, the less expenses, right? Not having to pay. Like I had a house in New York, you know, when I was, when I was doing all the, the travel and my first, um, my first company sale, you know, I first sold my company. We had, you know, we had a decent sized house that had a swimming pool, that had a jacuzzi, and we had to, you know, have the lawn mowed in the driveway plow, and all of those things. And they all add up over time, right? Mm-hmm. . And so you begin to think to yourself, do I need this? You know, do I even like this? And I think that's what happens in America is, you know, we work so hard to make more money, to buy bigger things, to pay more.

Anissa Buckley (31:26): And the reality is, to me, that does not make you happier in life. It does not bring you better health, because all it does is stress you out that you now have to make more money to support your bigger lifestyle. And it's just a cycle that continues. And, you know, I feel right or wrong, it's not for everybody, but I feel like I broke that cycle, you know, when I went through that period, um, and really learned what I needed to live. And, you know, I became much happier. I felt the most alive I'd ever felt. And when I turned 50 years old, honestly, it was in the best shape of my life. And I could compete with 30 year olds at that point because I was, you know, I was doing a lot of physical stuff all day, and I was really taking care of myself. And, um, so yeah, so that's, that's kind of the message is, um, think about what really does bring you happiness. And I would almost bet you it is not things

Daphné Vanessa (32:18): so, so true. This is so powerful because it really puts on its head what society's been telling us for so long and many generations. Mm-hmm. , how did you navigate switching to this minimalist lifestyle with society's expectations, particularly family and the friends that you had left? Did people judge you for this change? ? How did you take it? What, what, what are some of the, um, pieces of advice that you could give to people that are going through the same transition and are being judged by their loved ones?

Anissa Buckley (32:58): Yeah, that's, um, I'll answer this in two ways. I think, first of all, how I personally dealt with it, um, I have to be honest and say it was really hard, meaning I didn't know that lifestyle before I took off with this individual that I took off with to travel the world. Um, and it was his lifestyle beforehand, meaning, you know, he had been used to living on rental income. He had properties that he was, you know, basically living off of. He didn't work. Um, and that, to me, first, first of all, that was foreign, the idea of not working, um, because I had been a workaholic for 30 years. So the idea of not having those goals and those objectives was super scary. And I would get angry with him that, you know, for example, he wouldn't wanna take a cab, he would require us to walk, and I might have 50 or 60 pounds of luggage and bike boxes and things on me, and I would, I would be upset.

Anissa Buckley (33:59): And it took me, it took me, I mean, you can imagine this, right? I mean, I remember being in London. That's so funny, . Oh, yeah. I would, I remember being in London with him, and honestly, um, he, he forced me to take the train, forced me. He did really, he forced me to take the train to get to the airport, and I literally had a giant bike box. I had a backpack on my back that probably had 35 pounds in it. I had, um, another suitcase that I was pulling that had like 25 or 30 pounds. I felt like a pack mule, you know? And I mean, I think I was sweating by the time I got to the airplane. I was like, gross, you know, needed, it felt like I needed a shower at the time. Um, which that's a whole other com, you know, commentary of how over hygiene sometimes we are.

Anissa Buckley (34:42): Um, you know, and, and I've, I just, my whole, like, again, I came out of the world where, you know, and this is a female comment, but you know, your makeup's perfect, your hair's perfect. You're going into a business meeting, um, with one of your clients, and everything is perfect. And my world was upside down. I mean, let me just tell you, you know, when we first landed in South Africa, we, he picked a house or a unit that was at the top of a hill, and we had to go down the hill. And I'm telling you, this was a big time hill in very steep. We had to go down the hill to get anything water, to do our laundry, to go to the grocery store, the restaurants, anything. Oh my gosh. So, oh, yeah. So we were up and down this hill, like all day long.

Anissa Buckley (35:22): I'm getting a little off topic, but my first point is it was really, really hard for me initially, and I had a lot of like, internal angst about this total life change. I couldn't see it at the time. Um, I mean, I loved the physicality of it at, at times, but then other times I'd be super off, to be honest, because it'd be 95 degrees out and I'd be walking everywhere and sweating and just carrying everything and ah, you know, so that was, that was that. But then as far as my friends and my family were concerned, what I would say is in terms of advice is, and I always say this, you gotta find your people, right? You have to find the people who support what you're doing. And I'm very fortunate. I do have actually three girlfriends from college still. I mean, it's been 40 something years now.

Anissa Buckley (36:10): Wow. Um, yeah. And, and we still all get together and they've been very, very supportive of this massive lifestyle change. And it's not anything like what they do, so it isn't like birds of a feather kind of thing. Yeah. Um, but their daughters, it resonated with their daughters. And I think that that was helpful because they, their daughters would want to know what I was doing, where I was traveling, what kinds of things I was eating, you know, what I was wearing. I mean, so it was, it was fun for a while because, um, my friends would wanna catch up and understand. And so that was a support group, and it was almost, I almost felt like an entertainer for a while, you know, because I was, um, I was always kind of, um, sharing like new and adventurous things that nobody else was really doing.

Anissa Buckley (36:53): Yeah. Um, but you know, honestly, there are definitely people still today that look at me like I'm insane that I left the business world quite honestly in 2014. Um, and I did do some consulting throughout those years. So to be fair, I didn't completely pull out a hundred percent. There are times absolutely I have. Um, but I would just say that, you know, you, you always have to balance it a little bit with making sure you've got a couple of people on your support team and then those that aren't, um, you know what I mean? It's your life and you, as long as you are comfortable with what you're doing, that's what matters. And if somebody's not, then don't spend a lot of time with that person, cuz they're only gonna bring you down, you know? Um, I know it's hard if it's like your mother, father, whatever, you're never, you're unlikely to change their opinion initially. But over time, if you stay the course, and, you know, in my case, for example, it was a part of what I and I, I have now ended up doing as my, my new business, my third venture. Um, it's almost like, you know, kind of research on a new business. And so for me, I can always justify that in my mind. And if somebody has a hard time with it, they're probably not my person, you know? So true.

Speaker 5 (38:09): . Hmm. It really reflects Anisa in your story, and I hope a lot of people are taken away from this is like, I'm, I just wanna recap some of this great stuff that we're capturing here. Uh, knowledge bonds, I would call them because, uh, you know, you really hit the nose, uh, when it came to, you know, needs versus want mm-hmm. , right? And really identifying what it is that you actually need. Uh, but then also the idea of of, of figuring out how to cope with that change that you're, you're gonna make if you're making decisions that may be outside of the norm that you, your friends or family or close, uh, you know, people that are around you may be thinking, oh, wait a minute. What, you know, you have such a great path. What are you doing? You know, why are you getting off of it?

Speaker 5 (38:47): Uh, and really helping find folks that can create that safe space for you to exist, uh, as you're going through that transition. Uh, and then, and then also just sharing, thank you for sharing just what that, that loss of identity, right? Really going through that, that part of your life. Um, especially after having what, 20 years of success in the corporate side, uh, and entrepreneurial side, and then having to decide what you were going to do with so many life changing events happening at such a short time, a short amount of time. Uh, so I, I'm recapping all this because I want anyone who's listening and maybe going through, uh, issues in their lives or, you know, feeling a bit overwhelmed with their student loan debt or just trying to figure out, Hey, how can I pursue this goal that may seem unlikely at this time, but still enjoy, you know, the life that I do have that's in front of me. Mm-hmm. . So Uma thank you for sharing that, that story and sharing your story with us. Uh, because one, I I grew with athlete's very inspiring. Um, and two, um, it's something that needs to be said more often, right? Not everything is going to be a straight path, uh, to whatever it is, whatever fulfillment that you, you decided to have. And, um, and, and I really appreciate that, that you're share that with us. Cause I think you demonstrate you're literally a living example of how life really is.

Anissa Buckley (40:00): Yeah. I mean, it never, you know, it's not easy, right? Um, to make all these jumps. And it's a lot easier for people to take a job, stay in that job for a long period of time and, you know, just sort of be there. And there's nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with staying in one job for a long time. That's not what I'm saying. What I am saying is, um, sometimes it's easier not to challenge yourself, right? Um, but to stay in a more stable place where you've, you're excelling, you know, you've, you've sort of tackled what you needed to learn and you are just sort of going through the motions more so, and, you know, I get it. I mean, that is very comfortable. It's easy, there's less stress in your life. But I think over the long haul, what you'll find, and this comes out of I think Harvard Business Review put out some study on this, the people who, at the end of the day, the end of life are most fulfilled are those who actually had, you know, a fair amount of adversity in their life.

Anissa Buckley (41:02): Um, because adversity, I think what it does is it makes you appreciate all those sort of even keel, you know, stable times in your life. Um, and I think when you don't challenge yourself, you'll always wonder, well, what if, what more could I have done? What if I had pursued that thing that I really love? You know? So I would just leave that message for people that just don't assume that, that you can't, um, make a living or at least spend some time doing the things that you really love, um, I mean, in your life. I mean, that's important to try to, you know, to try to let that creative outlet exist. Um, it's really important to your mental health in my mind. Um, and then, you know, from there, um, you just have to kind of follow your own course with it. Meaning that you've got to develop some internal confidence that you know, you know yourself better than anybody else does. And and this is your passion and you just, who cares what anybody else says, right? You have to stick with it. And if you stick with it, I bet more often than not, you're pretty successful at finding a way to actually make a living or make some money, let's just say, um, doing whatever that is. So

Daphné Vanessa (42:11): Thank you so much. Today has been, I think, super eyeopening for myself. I really appreciated just hearing your story and how you were able to, it's not even for you an escape. It was almost like you lived multiple lives, . And I'm so inspired by that because I think it, when, I don't know for women anyways, I thought that my life was over, or I don't even wanna say how old I am, but I did think that my life was over when I turned 30 . Um, and

Anissa Buckley (42:44): I just, no, not even. No, no, no.

Daphné Vanessa (42:46): But you're basically telling us that like, there's life in the thirties, there's life in the forties, there's life in the fifties, like, life does not end 29, you know, which is really, really satisfying to hear.

Anissa Buckley (42:59): There's a lot of great stats there. I, um, Daphne that I could share with you. But, um, I have one, two things I have to say. When I was in the Himalayas, I actually ran into a couple from Germany who were 72 years old and mountain biking. Oh

Daphné Vanessa (43:10): My goodness.

Anissa Buckley (43:11): 140 mile track that went over a 19,000 foot pass. So yeah, pretty amazing. Amazing. And then I met an 80 year old woman who had hired a guide to take her this 140 mile track. So oh my goodness, don't ever think it's over. Um, I am 55, I'll be 56 shortly. And to be honest with you, I'm still in better shape even though I'm not what I was at 50. Um, and that's completely because of lifestyle, because I'm in my third startup and I'm working all day and I don't have the time to go do quite what I did. But my point is only, um, our bodies don't have to decline nor do our brains at quite the rate we think they do. Um, there's a lot we can do. So anyway, I'll leave it at that. I could go off on a tangent. I will not do that to you.

Daphné Vanessa (43:52): So where can we find you?

Anissa Buckley (43:55): The best place is our website. Um, it's b hyphen untethered.com. Um, we're also on social media, uh, same thing. It's bun tethered, b u n t e t h e r e d. I know it's a little weird. Um, bun tethered on, on Facebook and, um, Instagram and YouTube. There's a hyphen in the one in YouTube. I mean, there's, if you Google it, you'll find us, basically. But that's where we're at.

Daphné Vanessa (44:20): Awesome. Thanks so much, Shail. Take it away.

Speaker 6 (44:24): More information on today's episode. Visit the student loan podcast.com/episode 78. That's the student loan podcast.com/episode 78.

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