Stephanie Shar, you’re a pretty bad-ass chick. A mid-western girl by birth, you left home and moved out west several years ago to grab life by the balls: something I really admire in others. And in doing so, you started your own business; have launched a professional modeling career; you started a family; and you provide hope and inspiration to tons of ladies. It doesn’t get much better than that. So I’m here because I want to pick your brain a bit. Okay? Okay!
Let’s get right to it: in your life, what was the scariest trip you’ve ever taken, and why?
Well, first off, thank you so much for having me and for your kind words! Wow! I’m honored to be here. Hmm, so scariest trip. I’m not sure, because honestly traveling isn’t scary for me. But I’d say it was the plane ride on my way to New York in high school, because I hadn’t been on a plane in years and I was nervous! I’ve flown a bunch of times since then though, so I’m totally used to it now.
Yet the thrill of riding in a plane or going to the airport doesn’t ever totally wear off. There’s something so romantic about boarding a plane and taking off into the air. Sigh! Before you moved out west, what were your greatest fears? And how did you overcome them?
I was actually very naive and optimistic before moving from Michigan to California. I had no plan and barely any money. I didn’t have a job lined up and didn’t know what I was going to do there; all I really wanted was to leave! I’m proud of where I’m from, but I wanted something different (and was sick of the snow). So when my boyfriend at the time told me he was going, I decided to go too and off we went. Things went smoothly at first, but it was rocky for a few years. Moving to a new place was an easy decision, but ended up being a difficult adjustment. Finding the right support system in LA definitely helped!
Well said, and SO true! Sounds a little bit like my own move to South America, in fact. But the bottom line is, packing up and moving elsewhere is a BIG DEAL. Oftentimes, there are a lot of naysayers who disguise their fears as ‘advice’. What did your family and friends think?
My mom cried and my dad barely spoke to me for 6 months. I was raised in a conservative home and moving across the country to live with someone out of wedlock was far from what my parents wanted. The rest of my family and friends were pretty supportive, because I think they always knew that even though I was a goody-two-shoes, I had a secret rebellious side. I’m happy to report that, 6 years later, my parents are totally used to me being gone; of course, they do still miss me (especially since I now have a little one in tow).
Seeing your parents react that way must have been so heartbreaking. I’m glad you followed your dreams and that they came around to it in their time (though I bet they wish their grandson was around more!) Let’s talk numbers. Before you took the plunge, did you have a nest egg? Or did you just wing it? What would you recommend to other ladies looking to make a similar leap?
Haha, I wouldn’t recommend what I did to anyone! I think I had a little over $2,000 when I left (which is NOTHING in Los Angeles). I was fortunate to find a job right away, but it wasn’t something I was passionate about… it just paid the bills. I would suggest doing lots of research before moving to your destination — figure out how much your cost of living will be, and then how much you’ll need to make in order to sustain yourself. Try to save enough so that if you move and can’t find a job right away, you’ll be okay for a few months. The job market still sucks in most cities. Proper planning is really important and I wish I’d done more of it — but at the same time, if you wait until you’re “ready” then you’ll never be ready. So pick a moving date in advance, create a plan and stick to it!
You could drop 2k on a pseudo-luxury hotel room in L.A…for one NIGHT. This is all great advice, Stephanie. I think the line is quite thin between adequate preparation and never being ready. Somewhere in that tiny gray area, you gotta take the leap like you did.
Have you traveled abroad? If so, what was your favorite place? And if not, where do you most want to go?
The last time I went out of the country was when I was 19 for my friend’s bachelorette party, and we went to Canada because it wasn’t far from Detroit and we could drink there. Ha! I’ve been to Europe a couple times but I was really little. So… I’m just going to say no, I haven’t traveled abroad, or at least not from what I can remember. I’d love to go to Italy and France, maybe Spain too. And Poland, because I have relatives there still!
For growing up only 2 hours away from Canada, I am embarrassed to report I’ve never been there. Someday…I’ll get there. I think your international travel list sounds great, and I heartily recommend Venice, Italy to you! As well as every other place you want to go, because EUROPE! So, did you hear about the travel apparatus that prevents people from reclining their seats, so long-legged passengers can have a more comfortable flight experience? ISN’T THAT CRAZY?! What do you think?
Wow! Well, it looks rude, but I’m 5’8″ and I’m always uncomfortable on planes anyway, so I don’t think I would even notice if someone was using one. Lol. I always try to save for the bigger seats in front, or grab one in the emergency aisle because I think those have more room!
Would you rather have an honest-to-god Italian pesto in Venice, or some bizarre, once-in-a-lifetime dish from some obscure country you’ve never heard of that includes animal guts only so you could have the bragging rights?
I’d take the pesto. I’m a wimp!
Be real: Malbec or Merlot???
Merlot, because I think it’s cheaper. But if you’re buying, I’ll take the Malbec. I just like alcohol, okay!?
If that’s the case, I’ll certainly buy us a bottle of wine the next time we’re in the same area! Or, you know, three. What do you miss most about home?
My family, the fresh air and wide open spaces…
Word, sista! Did you know that growing up, we used to refer to Michigan drivers as “insane”, “crazy”, and “out of control”…simply because your highway speed limit was 10 mph higher than ours in Ohio? Since living abroad, I’ve realized that Michigan drivers are none of those things…because in the USA, we drive so CALMLY compared to other countries!
That’s hilarious. You haven’t seen crazy ’til you’ve tried to drive in LA!
What is one piece of advice you’d like to offer to my readers in terms of relocation, goal-acquisition, and starting their own enterprises?
Have so much confidence that you don’t need anyone else’s approval! But be humble enough to ask for help. Like, you know, from a coach or something…