Up until the spring of 2016, I had consistently lived by a series of identities that had proudly followed me my entire life. Mom, marketer, friend, daughter, giver, event creator. That is until The World came in on a white horse like Prince Charming and rescued me from a future bound by limitations, an opportunity to experience a deeper meaning to the world, which in turn heighted my entire identity. Ah, Wanderlust. It is more addictive than any drug, a giver of abundant euphoria and something that will forever be a part of my DNA.
For the two decades prior, I traveled more miles than I can count on endless business trips. Circling the globe to nearly every continent, only to land, check into one of the many not to be named generic hotel chains, open packets of dried coffee creamer in my hotel room before heading down to eat a free lobby breakfast, jump into an Uber, and head to meetings. Those sometimes day-long meetings may have led to dinner with colleagues or clients at some unmemorable restaurant that all fit within our per-diem limits.
I would sometimes leave those dinners, en route to my overly boring, cookie-cutter hotel that had no soul, and I would pass by the lively restaurants and bars that had vibrant energy and a few Michelin stars, and I would always think, “ I really need to come back here and do this on my terms."
Coming back from those trips, I would be inspired to quickly look at my calendar and determine “when can I go back?" Hours of research, reading reviews, developing the ideal itinerary only added to my anticipation. But alas, a life of career, kids, responsibilities tapped on my shoulder, and those trips stayed in the ‘inspiration only’ status mode.
Can’t help but think as I look back…was all that planning, strategizing, fantasizing a lost cause, or...was it the activation of something yet to come?
After leaving the corporate world, I started my own marketing firm. I quickly realized how to design my career, my life, my passions – all on my terms. Hmmm...I kind of liked that feeling of still doing what I loved, but with the freedom of curating everything that brought me joy.
And, what brings me joy? Creating moments in life that elevate my sense of purpose. To expand my mind, my expectations, my senses, my relationships. I learned how to make every moment in life count and have meaning. I soon also realized that these journeys, when accompanied by similarly expansive, and amazing humans, can take those experiences to the next level.
I soon after started to plan my own travel, invite friends and family who would savor awe-struck moments along side me. Whether it be the most jaw dropping view, appreciation for luxury linens, having a bite of the most delectable culinary dishes, to riding golf carts in remote parts of Mexico to get the perfect ceviche – they all were opportunities to tell a story, live in the moment and truly connect with the people and places we encountered.
Growing up in a small town, travel to far off places was something that I never thought would be an opportunity for me. I thought, only bigger city folks with a family that was intact could do that--a Dad who worked extra hard so he could take his family on luxurious adventures, take his kids out for the types of meals that required them put their napkin on their laps, a trip that allowed them to blow up beach balls from their poolside cabanas or booking the wife an afternoon at the resort spa. Not for small town, single parent small bank account homes like mine.
Imagine my delight as a junior in high school, when I learned our French class was planning a trip to Europe. Never did I think my single mom who never had a passport herself, was plotting and saving for me to live out that unimaginable opportunity to join that life-changing class trip! That trip was a symbol for me to realize that a small town and limited budgets would not deter me from dreaming big, manifesting things into reality and just make it happen!
So, make it happen I did, and the reality of Sojourn was created. Let's toast to that!