There are so many people who think that travel is only for the young or that if you want to move to a different country that is something that has to be done as very young person. I am so happy to introduce you to my dear friend, Pamela Finney, a dynamic and fascinating woman who has accomplished amazing things after the age of 30. Don’t get me wrong, she has been fabulous all of her life but as you will see, her life as she ages is getting better and better! She is a true Travel Ninja.
When did travel become part of your life?
I took my first “real” trip out of state to Atlanta, GA from California when I was 17 and I went to meet my cousin there without my parents or siblings and I was hooked on the adventure of traveling to a new place and being totally independent. It was a true gift from my mother to allow me to take that trip because it did so much for me and my confidence in being able to navigate an undiscovered part of the world. I always knew I would travel after that and that I could handle anything!
2. How long did you live in Paris and how old were you when you moved there? What were you doing there and where did you live while you were there?
I lived in Paris for close to 3 years between 1999 & 2002 and I was 31 years old when I moved. I lived there for the first 6 months just enjoying life and learning the language. I loved it so much that I started a campaign to find employment and enroll in school so that I could stay longer and improve my French even more. I found a job at Laboratoire Fournier and I completed my graduate school work at Schiller International.
What did you family think when you told them you were moving to Paris? Did you speak French before you moved?
My family thought I was crazy and didn’t believe I would do it. I started only talking to people who thought it was exciting and possible and from the time I decided to do it to when I actually got on an airplane and left was 6 months. I did not speak French but lived with a French speaking woman and her teenage son and I immediately enrolled in intense French lessons. I become conversational very quickly! With a lovely American accent that never went unnoticed! LOL!
Was the transition easy for you when you moved back to the states from Paris? Did you experience reverse culture shock?
The transition was fairly easy! I moved to Paris for a life experience and not because I had any disdain for the states so moving back wasn’t difficult. I love living in the bay area and have a great support system here of family and friends. I wouldn’t say I experienced “reverse culture shock” but I did have a different understanding of Americans and the value of travel.
Before I moved I was judgmental of people who didn’t travel but after my experience of living abroad I am less judgmental because travel takes commitment, time, desire and a sense of adventure and it’s not for everyone. The benefits totally outweigh the risk in my mind because of increased understanding of different cultures, ideas and values and it increases tolerance and understanding which is so important! I encourage everyone I meet to travel because I have never regretted a trip and it has always been worth every dollar spent!
Did travel come to a halt when you got a new job once you moved back to America?
Not at all! I still travel and it’s still a priority! I go back to Paris often and since moving back I have been to South America, Europe, The Caribbean, and Mexico and all over the states for work and pleasure! Traveling is something I look forward to and dream about constantly, there is so much to see and do.
You are an Ironman and traveled Phoenix and Nice, France to compete in those contests. How did you get involved in that and what did the training process consist of?
Physical fitness is a priority for me and I have been running since I was in my twenties. Things evolved gradually from running to competing in road races to doing triathlon. I love to challenge myself with new goals and I always have something new I am striving to achieve rather it be learning a new language or learning how to swim.
I love to set goals and firm timelines to complete something. When I set a date for something I know I will go after it and achieve it, I dislike dreaming about something when I could actually be making it happen. My latest hobby is bikini fitness and I just competed in my first event on June 6th and I came in 3rd for my age group! I will do another one this summer and am shooting for a first place win! I love the combination of weight lifting and diet. I started on this path in February 2015 and I am sold on the benefits of clean eating and weight lifting, it has really changed my life!
How did you become interested in bikini fitness and what did you have to do to get your body to look so good?
I got interested in Bikini fitness because I know that as we age we need strength training and with my endurance sports I was doing so much cardio. I also wanted to change my body shape and increase my core strength. I committed to working out with a trainer 5 days a week and, most importantly, eating clean. It means I had to give up sugar and processed for and WINE!
I didn’t think I could do it because I love my wine but after making my commitment and paying the trainer my money, I did what she said and I felt so great! In the past 4 months I mostly didn’t drink wine but there were 2 occasions when I did and it was ok. I believe there needs to be balance but that eating clean most of the time is paramount!
I am so proud of myself because I didn’t think I could stop eating chips and cookies but I did and felt so much better for it. Before I started on this journey I suffered from night sweats since I was 28 years old, the night sweats completely went away with my diet change.
Also, I eat very little dairy and as a result, my sinuses have cleared up and my summertime allergies are no longer a factor! I’m not a nutritionist or a physician but my personal results have been amazing and I believe they are directly correlated to my diet change. Diet matters more than we want to believe!