Food is something that brings the world together. Each culture has its own traditions and favorite foods. As a self proclaimed foodie, I was so excited to try cuisines in the countries they originated in. During my travels, I have discovered and will undoubtedly continue to discover culinary treasures around the globe. I am honored to share with you, My Elephant Tribe, the amazing meals I have enjoyed throughout the world.
Almost 2 years ago my life was completely changed for the better. At the time I was working as an event planner for a company in the Railroad Industry (Shoutout to the Wi-Tronix family). I loved the company and the people I was working with, but everyone knew that I was biding my time as I paid off my student loans, until I found THE job. What was the perfect job you ask? I have no idea, but I was going to know when it came. SPOILER ALERT!!!! It never came. I had everything that most people want; good job, good salary, good friends at work, an amazing boss and work/life balance, but something was still missing. Not to mention I was also over 100 pounds heavier. The saddest part was that I was unhappy and I didn't even know it. My life was a mess.
Time and money were always factors in my ability to change my circumstances. If I left my decent paying job how was I going to pay my student loans and continue living the lifestyle I was accustom to? When I started my first training at Choice Center Leadership University in Las Vegas I realized that I was the one holding myself back. I was the one creating the conversations about money and time and worthiness. And the only person that could change that was me. By the second part of the training I was ready to take on the world. As my good friend Arkadiusz said, I just needed to jump. Well that is easier said, than done. I didn't even know the first thing about how to jump. I was petrified of what I’d find on the other side. Would I fail? Would I succeed or worse, would I realize I was right where I was supposed to be all along?
During the leadership portion of the training I realized that if I didn't jump I would never know what was on the other side and I would continue the cycle of unhappiness that I had created. At the end of the hundred day program I was beyond excited. I was going to start my own nonprofit. I wanted to remedy the broken system that is special needs programming. A few days after I made my declaration to start my nonprofit, I got a call from a friend in California. She was starting a nonprofit and wanted me to run it. That meant moving across country and giving up my own nonprofit, but was this my opportunity to jump? One of my former bosses (Shoutout to Mike Heilmann) told me that when opportunity comes we have to be willing to see it and take risks. So, I did what any sane person would do. I quit my job, cashed in my 401K, moved across country all for a job that didn't pay anything. That’s right, I gave up almost $55,000 a year for $0. Seems normal, right? Well, I was done letting money dictate my life. It was time to take risks and whatever happened, happened.
The first few months were amazing. I gained a new family (shoutout to the Griesses and the rest of my California family), I loved the nonprofit, I enjoyed working on my friend’s Senate Campaign and I learned that I love Northern California. By June, I was realizing that I had fallen into my old habits. I was really good at maintaining my professional life, but I had no idea who I was outside of work. Besides my cousins, I had no friends my age in California. It was on a trip to Lake Tahoe that I realized something had to change. I was sitting on a swing overlooking the lake and mountains and realized, I need more.
It was then that the Griesses and I decided to attend a six month training course through Choice Center called Journey Within (sound familiar). In fact, we drove straight from Tahoe to Las Vegas for our first weekend. I realized that everything in my life was for other people. I was doing nothing for myself and therefore I was a losing myself. I didn't even know how to feel my own emotions anymore. When I cried or was sad, it was because the people around me were sad. That’s pretty messed up. It was time for me to take action.
After the weekend concluded, I decided that I was going to spend the week in Vegas visiting friends and would find a way back to California. It was great I was finally doing something for myself. I couldn't remember the last time I had done that. It was on this trip that I realized I wanted to travel more. It is something I have always been passionate about, but always put it on the back burner because I didn't want to let people down by taking PTO or worse, I didn't want people to think I was lazy because I was relaxing on vacation. I had created an unmanageable image for myself and I was drowning. It was time for me to remember my swimming days and start treading because I wasn’t ready to drown.
I began making plans. A month in Haiti, a month in India, a few weeks in Belize. First, I was going to go to Hawaii with the Griesses. I had never been and I was excited. I told everyone that 2017 was my year to travel the world. Everyone was excited for me. I was finally taking control of my life. By the time November rolled around, I could not have been more thrilled to go to Hawaii. It was the start of more travel in my future. However, if I’m honest, when I got there something was missing. It was beautiful and I was having fun, but I wanted more. I remember very clearly sitting on the beach in Hanalei Bay, my toes in the sand, turquoise waters in front of me, mountains and waterfalls just beyond that, and thinking “I want more”. What? I was in Paradise, how could I want more? It was that moment that I realized I had been suppressing my true dream.
I wanted to travel the world, explore new cultures and inspire others to take on their lives and live their best life. How was I going to do that you ask? At the time, I had no idea. When we returned to California I was determined to figure it out. Within the next month I decided that I was going to travel the world for at least a year and start this blog.
Now, my life isn't perfect by any means. I don't have it all ‘figured out’ because SURPRISE!!! there is nothing to figure out. I’m still growing and learning along the way. That is precisely why I chose to call this blog The Journey Within. I hope that my Journey can inspire you to live your best life. Your are worth it. I left in February of 2017 and I could not be happier. Sure I still have good days and bad days, but the good day far outweigh the bad now. I hope that my journey inspires you to take on your life.
What I can promise you is a real and authentic look into my life and my journey. It won’t always be pretty and you may not always like what I have to say, but please stick with me and I promise it will be a journey never to forget.
Thank you for reading and thank you for being a part of my Elephant Tribe.