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One Way Ticket

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Photo 1Part 1:

Life was good in Lebanon. Actually it was great. I had a job in the entertainment business. I spent time with my family, friends, and boyfriend…there was no reason to leave — which was why I had to.

Let me explain…

Quite frankly, life was too easy. Everyone around me was happy and so was I. Life became this routine of going to work, coming home, going out, waiting for the crazy weekend, repeat — I wont lie to you, I was sucked into that lifestyle and I liked it for a while. Then one morning, I woke up and felt this inhibited feeling to break that cycle.

I knew there was so much more out there — so many things to learn and accomplish.
Trying new things meant opportunity for me, and I was eager to experience new adventures and chase my dreams…and I knew the place to chase them would be Los Angeles.

At 23, I was ready to give it a shot. I had nothing to lose. I had my safety net. I had a home and loved ones to come back to. I knew the “routine” wasn’t going to change anytime soon. So at that moment…I wanted to zig and zag from my life path, so I left.

Fast-forward two years…

I’m in Hollywood. Crazy. Especially because I can still remember talking to my mom at a very young age about what I want to be when I grew up. I told her: “I want to be everyone and do everything. I told her I want to be a doctor, a pilot, a lawyer, a scientist. I want to be a mother and a warrior, a dancer and an architect, a painter, a fashion designer, an FBI Agent, a fitness trainer, a musician, a writer, a veterinarian scientist…”

I was ambitious.

She laughed.

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I realized all those things would be impossible. Then it hit me.
If I were to become an actress, I could be all those people, I could learn about their characters and live all those lives. It was that day I knew my dream was to become an actress. Which led me to buying that one-way ticket to where I am today.

I had just graduated from film school and was ready to embark on a new journey. And “new” was definitely the word for it. I was dealing with so many things I had never dealt with before. I was thrust into adulthood at a rapid pace, but eventually I was settled and could begin looking for a job.

Before getting into the next chapter I’ll need to share one thing with you…

I figured it would be an easy road. I thought anyone with decent talent, ambition, and a good heart could make it in Hollywood. I felt I had the qualities more than I actually did, which I soon realized I was wrong about. There was so much more for me to learn.

So I started meeting people from all around the world. I studied acting with some of the top acting coaches in the world. I was hungry for more. The more I learned, the more I began to notice that I truly knew nothing.

One big thing I also observed was that there were thousands and thousands of people like me, striving for the same thing. But that didn’t concern me…I was ready to get into this beautiful, exciting journey.

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In order to make it, I knew I had to network and meet people. From fellow up and comers to CEOs and A-list Celebrities. I wanted to learn from their experiences and tried to find a place for myself in this world. Looking at my phone contacts today, I have met more than 300 people since I moved to LA. I’m working with Oscar winning producers and directors on films and my acting career has just begun to take flight.

I had this fire in me. I didn’t know entirely what I was doing, or whether I was doing it right (AND I STILL DON’T ), but I took the risk and that’s all what matters to me. And now the only horizon I see in my life is success because of the chances I was willing to take. I dared to leave my comfort zone and experience life far away from my family and friends and loved ones.

I believe anyone with a dream has to be willing to take the leap… because with extreme perseverance there can be great rewards.

So where am I today?

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Well, I am not writing this article on a beach in Hawaii, nor from a high-rise apartment in Marina Del Rey. I’m actually writing this from a friend’s apartment off of Hollywood Boulevard, whom I’m staying with while transitioning to my new place. Days have passed where I’ve stolen toilet paper from public restaurant bathrooms, and I’ve gone to sleep hungry because I was too tired to cook myself dinner. Just yesterday, I was changing my home location settings on my GPS to a different address — and it came to me, that I’ve changed homes 3 times in the past 2 years.

You don’t have to be of a certain stature or age or success in your life to be able to reflect on what you’ve been through or what you’ve accomplished — for me that’s where I am today. I can reflect on the small things that have brought me here and can look forward to the bigger things that I want to achieve… because despite the rough times, these are still the important days that I want to remember for the rest of my life.

“I’ve come to realize that I am a free soul. I do not belong to a country or religion; I do not belong to a race or law. The world is my home – I am simply a citizen of the world.”

I want to encourage young people my age to pursue their dreams no matter how far out of reach they may seem. It’s all about the ride one takes. It’s the path and decisions you take that are exciting and interesting in life. You’re guaranteed to learn and evolve as a person while trying to reach your dreams and aspirations.

So that’s truly why I’m writing this now.

Part 2:

“Embarking for Uncharted Territory: Entrepreneurship”

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Let me explain… Last year, a close friend of mine introduced me to the “Start-up” world. We went to New York to attend a 99U Conference. We sat there and listened to top CEOs talking about their successes and accomplishments. During the conference I got super excited and started coming up with new ideas. I was motivated to become a CEO of my own company. Instantly pistons were firing!!!!

It all started with one idea spark. For the fun of it, I began connecting with people in the startup and technology world. I started attending workshops and learning all about it — and I taught myself how to build wireframes and create apps. I was having fun, and everything was whimsical, but then one day everything suddenly fell into place and became serious. After sharing my ideas with people and continuing to build my connections, I began to form a team — and so here I am, registering my first Start-up company a year later.

One important quote has stuck with me:

“If you don’t build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.”

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I am still in the midst of it all, I am juggling a full-time job at a production company, while launching my startup and making movies! Life’s quite busy to say the least, and I have found starting a company to be one of the most difficult tasks. At times I find myself without enough focus to keep my attention to just one thing, but through it all I have begun to learn how to prioritize my time and energy.

I was a young woman in Lebanon, with tons of goals and aspirations – I did not know what to do with them. Now I kind of do; and in that time, here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Chase your dreams and not be afraid of failure
  • Focus on one thing at a time and get it DONE
  • Find time to reflect and grow as a person
  • Build a trusted team and create new families across the globe
  • Balance work with fun and TRAVEL AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE!!

Keep in mind that working hard and believing in yourself is what matters at the end of the day.

  1. Practice your talent.
  2. Be around creative people who will help you evolve
  3. Keep your standards high
  4. Enjoy the ride!

Headshot 1I am turning 25 in a few days. Looking back, I believe I’ve accomplished more in these past few years, then I have accomplished in my whole life. I’m not worried about how many views this article is going to get. But at least for the few people who are going to read this, I want you to know that life is beautiful, and there is so much out there that you need to go and experience. You only get to live once. Don’t live your life trying to impress other people. Pursue your passion while trying to make the world a better place with everything you do. Chase your dreams, and don’t let anything get in your way.

If you’re sitting there debating whether you should buy that one-way ticket…take my advice and do it! Don’t be limited to a place or a country or an idea. Be free. Move forward in life and try to move people forward with you.

Most importantly…learn to love through it all.

– Ruba