How did I get to this place in my life, this place that feels so confusing yet entirely energizing? It's a long story that goes back 39 years. I won't bore you will ALL the details, but some are important.
I don't find my job very fulfilling. In fact, I've never found any job to be entirely fulfilling. They've all had their perks and some have made me very happy for a small amount of time; or moderately happy for a longer period. But true professional happiness has always eluded me. I am on a quest to find that professional happiness I have always craved. And I know where I want to be, I just don't quite know how to get there.
I was raised in a home where we traveled a lot, and explored often. We were outdoorsy, but in a very affluent sort of way; we sailed and snorkeled and flew to exotic resorts and rented large homes for family vacations. I don't recall ever going camping with my family and, like most kids, my siblings and I weren't keen on long hikes into the wilderness. We saw the world and I am fortunate for that. It's one of the stars that have finally aligned to get me to this place.
As a teen and young adult, the only hiking I ever did was a quick, two-to-three miler up a small hill overlooking a lake in New Hampshire. I did this hike numerous times because the view was gorgeous, but it wasn't exactly a life-changing thing for me.
I met my first husband when I was 23. I had also just moved from Boston to the San Francisco Bay Area and was head-over-heels for him, but also for California. He was the one who helped me find my loved of hiking and mountain biking. Everything was so foreign and beautiful in Northern California and I couldn't get enough. Another star aligned.
My first career out of college was in high tech public relations. It was a desk job that I hated so much, and I vowed never to work a 9-5 desk job ever again. Another star aligned (but I went back on my own promise to myself).
In 2013, I quit my desk job, bought a franchise and became a dog trainer. With the alternative and flexible schedule I kept, I was able to do a lot more hiking and found it to be an incredibly therapeutic activity. All the stresses of buying, owning and running a small business was kept in check through my time spent outdoors. And in 2015, as I faced the realization I was going to close my business, it was hiking, with the new addition of backpacking, that became my salvation. Another star.
After closing my business, I struggled. Correction: I struggle. I have had two different careers since closing my store. I resisted the urge to attempt some major changes when I had a decent chance. I started a backpacking blog, but neglected it for months because my job got in the way and, to be honest, it felt like a lost cause. A pipe dream. A path to nowhere tangible. I went back to working desk jobs again. My plan was to pull in a nice paycheck and be an awesome weekend warrior!
But no matter how amazing my weekends are, Monday through Friday still suck! We spend the vast majority of our waking lives at work and many people place a high value on the stability and structure a "normal" job provides. I do value those things, too, but I know, through much trial and error, that I place a far larger value on feeling fulfilled, stimulated and inspired by my job.
The stars of my life have aligned in a way I can no longer ignore. I am not willing to live in denial of who I am and what I want out of life anymore. I have three passions:
1) The outdoors
2) Empowering and educating
My plan is to combine these three passions into a hodgepodge of a career. To be clear, I have no experience working in the outdoors industry; I have no idea if I can actually empower anyone; and I have never done any professional writing of any kind. So, this should be interesting. It's not going to be a quick process. It's not going to be easy. I barely even know where to start.
I guess I just did.