Hey, I’m Maddie!

Welcome to my website, Rose Colored Sunglasses! I’m so thrilled to have you. Before we get into things, I’d like to explain the purpose of this website and a little bit about why I started it, and of course, who I am. 

I’ll start with introducing myself. My name is Madeline, but I go by Maddie or Mads for short! Some of you may be friends or family members, to whom I say, thank you so much for the continued support that you’ve shown me throughout my life, and in this next adventure! Others may be new faces, and to you all I say thank you for giving me and my ideas a chance, and welcome!

I grew up in a mid-sized town in the Midwest called Grand Rapids. While I spent my first through 18th year as a resident, I was still lucky enough to travel to other places frequently while growing up, which sparked a passion for travel and exploration in me from a very young age. 

I have always been attracted to the idea of the nomadic lifestyle, though I haven’t been able to try it just yet, as I have noted that I seem to be one part romantic and one part realistic when it comes to how I view the world and taking risks. While I haven’t made it out on my own in that capacity just yet, I have started to take major steps towards it, getting more and more comfortable with the concept with each step I take. 

I started this dance of putting my toes in the water when I was quite young. My dad is from the Pacific Northwest and we visited our family there at least once each year. When I was around 9 or 10 I asked my parents if I could go on a solo trip there. To my surprise, they told me that this would be fine. I would become what is known as an unaccompanied minor. The name was so beautiful to me at the time. And the feeling of independence that I had as I was escorted by an airport staff member without my parents was quite a rush too. 

As I grew older and experienced the world more I came to understand that my love for travel was becoming an attainable desire. I was able to travel to many different countries in high school including Italy, the Bahamas, China, and Hong Kong. Each trip added more fuel to my fire, leaving me desperately ready for my next adventure.

When I came to university I knew I would study abroad. I landed on Sydney, Australia, as my top choice. I spent about 5 months there studying Psychology at Macquarie University. While I was there I was able to make new friends, create a new life for myself from scratch, and visit several amazing locations, including the Great Barrier Reef and Thailand. It was truly a life changing experience for me, because I was able to prove to myself that I could do it on my own. 

Moving to a new country is absolutely terrifying, however, things always tend to work themselves out. Keeping this in mind, I began to look for more opportunities to move and work abroad as my University graduation date was looming. I was accepted into the Peace Corps and assigned to serve as an English Literacy Facilitator in the Kingdom of Tonga. I moved to Tonga in August of 2019 and spent about 7 months there. 

My first Kava ceremony!
Malapo, Tonga

While I was in Tonga I learned the language (Tongan), taught English as a Second Language (ESL) in a primary school to classes 1 through 6 on a daily basis, fundraised for and rebuilt my school’s library that had been destroyed by a cyclone from years prior, and, created a life for myself there.

Unfortunately, my time in Tonga came to an abrupt close when the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world in March 2020. After only completing 7 of my 27 months of scheduled service, I was being told I had just 36 hours to leave the community that I became able to call home. It was heartbreaking for me, but as we all would begin (and continue) to learn, nothing is set in stone during a pandemic. 

When I came home to Grand Rapids I was lost on what to do for a long time. At that point there was such little information on the virus, and there was a hope that we would be able to be re-instated in our service within a few months. Obviously, things did not happen as quickly as we hoped they might. Even as I am writing this article there are no Peace Corps Volunteers on the ground in any country of the world besides new COVID-19 Response volunteers in the United States. 

While the initial quarantine period in Michigan was far from fun, it did hold some productive moments for me in terms of reworking what my future would look like. I was able to connect with some friends from University who were looking to move up to town in the summer time and were open to adding on another roommate. I was also offered a full time position as a foster care worker that I decided to accept. 

That summer I was able to move back out of my mom’s home and into an adorable house with friends. Having the ability to live on my own and pay all of my own bills for the first time (I had some help in college, though still paid the majority of my bills then too!!) was an accomplishment that I am still so proud of. While it was such a great step for me in my life, my job, unfortunately, was not ideal.

I worked in what may be one of the toughest positions I might ever have. My position required me to work with biological parents in an effort to reunify them with their children who had been placed in foster care. I had an inappropriately large caseload, which was unfortunately the same as everyone else in our agency. I was the face of the catalyst of these parents’ grief and anger. I received verbal abuse almost daily. I worked tirelessly to have the majority of my clients put in little to no effort in return. And at the end of the day, of course, it was still everyone else’s fault that their children had been removed from their care, and I got to hear about it endlessly. To state the obvious – it was exhausting. I felt that no matter what I did to try and take care of myself both professionally and personally, I was unable to fill my own cup enough. I made a brave decision and decided to quit my job and pursue something new. 

*I do want to take the time to say that social work, and more specifically, foster care, is an incredibly important field that takes a brave, passionate, and hardworking individual to get into. The people that I worked with do some of the most important work that there is – and they do it day and in and day out with an occupational commitment that matches no other that I’ve ever witnessed. Everything that is done in that field is done out of compassion and love for others. It is done for the children who are in situations that they do not deserve to be in, and it is done for parents, who are individuals in need of support and understanding themselves as well, regardless of their flaws and mistakes. That service-centered attitude was what initially drew me to this field and position, and kept me going for so long. I wanted to be a part of something greater than just a 9 to 5 corporate corporation. Being able to work and help better the lives of children and parents in my community seemed like a much better way to spend my time. I am so impressed by my coworkers who have been and continue to work hard in this field for years. They absolutely deserve more recognition for their drive and strength, and it was an honor to work beside and learn from them for as long as I did.

This leads me to where I am now. I work as a private nanny for a family in town and have absolutely been loving it so far. It affords me the flexibility to write while the baby is napping, exercise during the day via our many long walks, and make money and work with children in an environment that is non-threatening and enjoyable. While I’ve taken a pay cut, I have to say that the peace of mind and lack of mental and emotional exhaustion has been well worth the loss of a few hundred dollars a month.  

As much as I love and appreciate this job opportunity, I also know that it is not a long term solution for me. I have dreams of getting back out into the world where and when it is safe to do so again. A lot of my time has been used to research different locations around the world, as well as different location independent career paths that could fund my lifestyle wherever I choose to end up. 

One of the career pathways that I am choosing to pursue is lifestyle design coaching/support, which is another reason that I decided to create this website. I have always been an open book when it comes to my mental health, educational, and career-related struggles, goals, and triumphs. I believe that my unique perspective of being someone in their mid-20’s who is attempting to eventually go digital in work and international in life could be incredibly helpful to some of you who are in the midst of making your own big life choices and leaps of faith. My experiences living, studying, and working abroad have taught me a lot about how to navigate through unfamiliar situations, and I want to be there with concrete tools and advice for you if you’re finding that you’re in a similar boat now – whether you be going abroad or staying domestic! I also know from experience that making big leaps can be incredibly daunting, especially if the people you are closest to have not been through similar experiences or are not jumping for joy for you and your big changes ahead. Sometimes you just need an ear to listen and bounce ideas off of, someone who knows what you are going through because they’ve been there before, and most of all, a cheerleader on your side. If this service is one that sounds beneficial to you please don’t hesitate to go to my contact section and reach out to me via email for more information! 

All in all, I want to wrap up by expressing how incredibly excited I am for this next chapter in my life, and I’m happy that I get to share it and my journey along the way with you! I would love to start up some dialogue and hear any feedback that you might have for me in my subsequent posts as well, so please engage as much as you would like! I want this to be a community where everyone can learn and grow together!

Cheers, and thanks so much again for being here! 

Mads xx 

Published by Maddie

Hey there, Reader! My name is Maddie, and I've created this page in order to have a space to build community and explore what it means to truly pursue the creation of your own "best life". I am currently working as a private nanny in Michigan before I head off on my next big adventure in the fall (details to come)! I plan to share all of my thoughts, inspirations, and experiences here with you, and I hope you'll share some of your own with me as well! Cheers, and happy reading!

3 thoughts on “Hey, I’m Maddie!

  1. To wander is a wonderful thing… when we wander we find ourselves, meaning and our purpose.
    Go boldly beautiful niece – the world awaits you and we will be anxiously awaiting each tale of your journey! ❣
    With all our love and support – your Oregon family 🌲❤


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