“Everything tells me that I am about to make a wrong decision, but making mistakes is just part of life. What does the world want of me? Does it want me to take no risks, to go back to where I came from because I didn’t have the courage to say “yes” to life?”
― Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes
It was November 26th of 2012, I boarded a plane headed back to the United States after spending 2+ months roaming free (not only in my physical body) ~ alas and more importantly — in my mental thoughts whilst traveling around the Island of the Gods, Bali, Indonesia.
For the first time in my life, during this period of time, I let go of all the expectations of what was required of me and what the next right step included (i.e. going on for my Master’s degree or finding work in a world that I ran from 3 years earlier – the world of corporate america).
I arrived in the states in utter confusion. I wanted to be back on the island. I did not want to return to the United States. Life in the states (for me) was too fast, too (ALL) consuming, and confusing. I stayed with my family in Carmel, CA for a few weeks and walked the ocean all day each day contemplating what my next move would be. I was broke from my time in academics and from recent exploration of Bali (which was life changing). I had sold most of my material possessions (damn, I still have a lot of clothes – even after numerous attempts to rid myself of clutter).
I thought of staying in San Fran to give life a go! My family thought I could find work and make a great life for myself – whilst I LOVE being near the ocean – San Fran cost of living was offsetting. So, I boarded another plane back to Texas. I had friends, family and a sense of safety from the world unknown in Texas. And, because of these factors – I knew that even though I was in a massive transition – being with them, made the transition less of a fearful experience.
My friends and family watched me for the first few weeks – wondering (though I think secretly knowing that somehow, like a magician pulls a bunny from the hat, I’d find my own way – so damn thankful for my friends and family who constantly believe in me – even when I search to find my own belief).
So, I am now back in the comforts of my old hood(s), my old friends, and my old life (though I still haven’t figured out the equation of how to get my bank account to register more than a few dollars. EPIC MOMENT – my bank card gives me an error message at the pump when I reach $1.74 -“You have reached your spending limit”.
I begin to search (frantically) for work! I give into the fact that I am going to be forced to go back to the world of corporate america (where the money is great but the freedom is little). It makes me nauseous to think of going back – even with a bank account with very little funds.
I have student loans that will need to be paid. I have a credit card that I used to put myself through school – all of this, has to be paid. The government and American Express really have little concern with my desire to “change the world” whilst traveling and meeting people- big smile – I don’t blame them and I am working to clear up these two major obstacles (debt!). I have been debt free once in my life – post-divorce after living out of envelopes (thank you Dave Ramsey – your program really works) – it felt DAMN good and I know I’ll get there again – one of these days!
DId I mention at this point of the story – I don’t have a car at this point in the game of life. I sold OLD FAITHFUL – the 12 year old Altima with 300k miles on it to get to Bali. My best friend (and life sister) hands me the keys to her mercedes and tells me I have it until March when the lease expires – Is this really happening – I think to myself! You can’t make this shit up!
I search and search (and search some more) for jobs in the world of corporate america. I get requests to modify my resume – add this/delete this/move this. I am becoming a cog in the wheel again. I am changing myself on paper to fit a job description.
Alas, the call comes in! I am getting a windfall of cash from the land my family has owned for oodles of years. It isn’t enough to wipe out the debt of the past three years – nor is it enough to assist me in my need/drive/desire to travel whilst changing the world! BUT, it is a DAMN GREAT AMOUNT (did I mention I max’d out at 1.74 at the gas pump)? Again, I say to those of you taking the time to read this – You can’t make this shit up! I’ll get to my point in the summation of my story shortly. Stay tuned!
An old business partner reconnects with me in December. We talk about doing business together. A few months later, we close a deal with a local Dallas entrepreneur that meets two of my MAJOR requirements that I have defined for myself with regards to work – 1) I can do it from my location (which included every damn cool coffee house in Dallas, Texas and the mountains of Boulder, Colorado) and 2) it has meaning in the world – this company is giving 25% of the profits to charity.
The last ten months in Dallas have been spent slinging drinks (bar tending – a skill I learned to put myself through school – at the ripe age of 36 – you are never too old to learn a new skill), house sitting – in some of the finest homes in Dallas, Texas (thank you to ALL that opened up your homes and hearts to me) and working on this technology project – whilst trying to close more technology projects to keep me on the road traveling and working (from my desired location!).
In the midst of all of this – I have been invited to join the ROLE Foundation. A non-profit on the island of Bali, Indonesia that has a large focus in helping protect/preserve the environment through various women’s and children’s education programs. Also, a focus on empowering women through education and skills – which is something that I am keenly interested in.
The last 10 months allowed me the opportunity to form a team of board member’s to support and serve the ROLE foundation in the United States. It also afforded me the opportunity to learn the process of applying/becoming a designated non-profit in the United States. It was hard work and at times I wondered what the hell I had signed up for – Alas, I think back over the last 10 months and think to myself – is there a better way to have spent my time – I think not!
So, why do I share this with you today? I share this with you because – If you are not in my inner-circle and only see my life from the periphery – you might think I am a very lucky woman. And, whilst, I do not disagree that I am lucky (having some of the worlds best and finest family and friends is enough to make me believe in my stroke of luck).
More importantly, I share this with you because – It all started with a dream to travel and make a difference in the world FIVE YEARS AGO!
I had no idea how it would happen – yet, today, as I sit on the island of Bali with fruitful work with my technology team and a full day of work each day with the ROLE foundation – I do feel as though I am the luckiest woman in the world.
It has been a journey to get here. It has required uber amounts of FAITH and TRUST in life and keeping my eye on the dream! It has required running through many doors – even though some of them closed before I could get through them! I always knew and trusted that another door would open! I don’t want to get all airy/fairy here on you – because at times, I cried and trembled with fear – how the hell is this going to work out?
I simply never gave up – nor will I ever give up! I believe that you only get one shot at this thing called life! I believe you are called to make the hard choices and take the risks if you want the prize.
To your great success!
Remember – it won’t always be easy! I can attest that my arrival on the island yesterday confirmed that all the worry and doubts of the last 10 months – were really unnecessary! And, my hope is that I can continue to follow my heart and my dreams with a bit more grace (though there is a good reason my mother did not name me Grace).
“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.“