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Designing Dreams: Janna’s Journey from City to Safari

Hear that? It’s the roar of your wildest aspirations.

“Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life.” This timeless saying sounds good in theory, but how often do we pause and reflect on what it would actually look like to design a life that aligns with our passions? 

Moving from the hustle of LA to the heartwarming simplicity of Idaho felt like a whole-system reboot. There I was, back in my home state, asking myself, "What now?" It was a time to reimagine, to rethink what 'doing more of what I love' really meant. (Enter stage left: applying for my dream job at YNAB.)

Maybe that’s why Janna’s story resonates with me so much. 

Janna, a dedicated YNABer, didn't just tweak her daily routine; she rewrote her entire story from Amsterdam city slicker to South African safari guide. Her journey is an example of how intentional spending can be the compass that guides you to your true north. 

Let her story inspire you: If you were to start from scratch, what life would you design for yourself? It's time to explore how Janna turned her wild dream into reality, with YNAB as her trusty companion.

Bold move, Janna!

"I saved enough to go to South Africa for one year to get my safari guide qualifications!" Janna exclaims, her voice brimming with achievement. Geeze, that sounds way cooler than moving back to Idaho. For Janna, a former city girl from Amsterdam, this wasn't just about saving money; it was about chasing a dream sparked on a safari in South Africa in March 2022.

Unsurprisingly (because let’s be real, who hasn't been wooed by a David Attenborough docuseries), Janna fell head over heels for the bush, visualizing owning a lodge to share this piece of paradise with others… hopefully with less dramatic background music.

The first step for Janna was understanding nature, leading her to a one-year safari guide program. "Not so much to become a guide," she clarifies, "but to learn all about the South African bush and the skills to survive." Janna's determination saw her quitting her job, sub-renting her house, and moving continents. Now, she joyfully shares, "I can ID birds by name and call, give safaris, shoot rifles, change tires of Land Rovers, and see the Big 5 every day!" Meanwhile, it’s a wonder I can identify the Idaho bluebird.

“Now, 10 months after I quit my job, sub-rented my house, wired all my savings to the training school, and touched down in Africa, I am as happy as I can be.”

When your life gets a new set of binoculars 

The financial side of Janna’s dream was significant—about $30K for the program and living expenses. Here's where YNAB played a crucial role. "By reviewing all my categories, it was easy to cut back my spending to an absolute minimum, putting all the money towards my $30K goal."

YNAB wasn't just a tool; the method guided her journey, helping Janna manage her finances even with variable income and an international move.

With the YNAB app, Janna could plan her future from anywhere—African bush included.

Janna masterfully used YNAB’s four habits to handle job-related expenses for her new role as a safari guide. She gave every dollar a job, directing her funds not just to big goals like her training, but also to crucial items like her safari uniforms, essential for her professional presence in the bush. Recognizing these uniforms as true expenses, she planned for them alongside her monthly expenses, ensuring she was never caught off guard. When unexpected gear costs cropped up, she rolled with the punches, adjusting her budget with the agility of a cheetah in the wild. And through aging her money, Janna spent wisely, using funds earned well in advance, adding financial stability to her adventurous career shift in South Africa.

What's next for Janna? Her top financial goal is to buy a lodge one day, a vision that feels more realistic than ever. (I for one am excited to be an early guest! The Big 5 are on my bucket list.)

Turn your dollars into dream chasers

Janna's journey from Amsterdam to the African bush is more than a change of scenery; it's a blueprint for intentional living. Janna found YNAB through a simple internet search, but what she discovered was a path to realizing her deepest aspirations. 

Your true north, that guiding personal goal, can range from the simplicity of regularly paying the electricity bill to the complexity of planning an international move. Remember, your true north isn't fixed; it can evolve and shift over time, adapting to your life's various stages and adventures.

So, what's your wild dream? A cabin in the woods? A cottage by the sea? Leaving the workforce to stay at home with your kids? Turning your hobby into a full-time gig? Let YNAB be your guide in this exciting expedition. We’re in it with you for the unexpected potholes, surprise river crossings, busy city streets, and friendly skies.

Remember, it's not about tracking expenses; it's about unleashing possibilities. Every dollar you assign is fuel for the ride.

With YNAB, you're not just wandering through the savannah of spending and saving; you're on a purposeful expedition. Try it free for 34-days.

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Designing Dreams: Janna’s Journey from City to Safari