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In 2012, I moved my family hundreds of miles to take a job I thought would catapult my career to the next level—and had a big wake-up call. Though I had always been a serious, driven person who prized career success, in this latest move up the latter found myself miserable. My new role was extremely demanding, political, and emotionally stressful. I felt as though I could not be myself at work. Inside of me a voice screamed to get out of this situation, but I felt trapped by a written two-year commitment I had signed.

Within one year, doctors diagnosed me with arthritis and spinal disc compression, and subsequently with Multiple Sclerosis. I struggled with pain, feeling as though my body was bursting into flames every two or three seconds. My limbs betrayed me, and I couldn’t control them. Before I had wanted to be numb to the stresses of work. Now, horribly, I had gotten my wish.

One day, although I was having difficulty bathing and could no longer write my name, I went grocery shopping by myself thanks to a medication, desperate to feel the normality of life. I mustered every ounce of energy I had to wheel through the aisles with a shopping cart. When I headed back out to the parking lot, I was so exhausted that I was leaning on the shopping cart so it could bear my weight. Only then did I realize I had exited the wrong side of the store and the car was far away. I honestly didn’t know whether I had the strength to walk to the car.

Healing Myself Naturally

That was a turning point for me, and I waged war on my MS. I did it with research, changing my nutrition and seeking medical alternatives, from herbal remedies to teas to vitamin supplements and health programs. In 2016, after years of battle, years of being told to just accept my illness as it was, I had an MRI and learned that the lesion that caused my illness had healed and disappeared.

That same year I took up hiking. I started out with just a brief walk to celebrate the gift of my mobility. Then I remembered all the days that I wasn’t sure I could ever walk freely again, like the day in the grocery store parking lot. I realize how often I had taken the ability to walk, and many things in life, for granted. It shocked me to see how walking through the natural landscape made me feel centered, light, and happy. I could feel nature was healing my soul.

As I drove back to the city, despair creeped back into my mind. My body ached for the healing powers of the sun, the breeze, the dancing grasses, and the singing birds. MS was gone, but my doctors were now concerned with digestive issues, having found pre-cancerous polyps in my intestines years prior. In January 2017, I went to a retreat as part of learning to heal myself. I realized during that experience that it was that very job that was making me ill. It was a revelation to understand that my thoughts and emotions about my experience had created my illnesses. I had to make a change.

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Leaving the Corporate World Behind

I knew that more of that same corporate life would not bring me joy. I no longer dreamed of being Vice President or in charge of anything. I wanted to be home, where my schedule was my own, and I could listen and deliver to my body what I needed when I needed, and when I felt the yearning, and I could hike through nature. I wanted freedom to live on my own terms. I was done being a work and medical victim, believing that everything was happening to me, when it was all happening because of me and all the choices I made and thoughts I perpetuated. I also wanted to live and work according to my moral code, and not be in a position where I felt compelled to sacrifice my moral code for someone else.

With my employment background, a unique set of combined skills, and an amazing online course that required no prior experience, I could set up my own virtual bookkeeping business—learning step by step how to do bookkeeping, attract clients, and work from home anywhere in the world. I now saw a way that I could build the life I wanted.

My husband, Gregg, and I planned for a time when I would resign to focus on my business. We saved up money, paid off a car, and moved into a tiny apartment. I left my job without a client of my own, but with the simple belief and intention that my plan would work. It did thanks to the bookkeeping course that provided step-by-step directions to building my business. Within no time at all, I had clients and was making money.

The Real Meaning of Success

I’m happy today to say I’m successful, but not in the way I used to define success, which was based on how much money I made or how much of my life I sacrificed to my job like a martyr. In my old career I made a six-figure salary, and now I don’t—though I could. But these days, I’m so much more successful. I have genuine conversations and relationships in my work. I’m affecting the lives of others. I am authentically me, living and running my business by my own moral code and not by someone else’s “rules”—for instance, I turned down a client that conducted animal testing.

I am living life on my own terms, on my schedule, in complete control of my business, embracing all of my gifts, becoming powerful and taking up space in the world. In my own way, I am living big, boldly—and realizing I was never meant to fit in. I was meant to change the world by empowering others to create their own definition of success.

Looking back on those years in that job, I see I refused to feel my feelings, storing them instead inside my body, where they made me ill. I believe that my body literally responds to my thoughts and emotions—with a sore throat if I’m not speaking my truth, digestive issues if something happened that I can’t digest, understand or accept, or MS when I don’t want to feel and devalue myself.

I believe that when emotions are too big to process and I don’t have the tools to feel, heal and release them, I store them as energy in my body tissues and organs, where these negative feelings can create disease.

I believe I’ve been storing emotion since I was a child, so the most challenging part of my journey has been learning my feelings after years of trying to numb myself, and expressing myself healthily. I know my life’s purpose is to heal my generational trauma and inspire others to live their best lives. I also know that I can only do that by living my best life. I’m learning to do that every day! 

A Wake-Up Call

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had a profound impact on me. With so many losing so much—jobs, health, life—I went even deeper inside myself, examining all the things that still kept me small, safe and bored in my routine life, and asked myself what my true heart’s desires were. I pushed myself to see beyond what I thought was possible, to dream what life could look like if I was living creatively, without fear of failing, as if my talents, money, and options were endless. I let go of the belief that because some in the world were suffering; I had to stay in suffering, too.

One night lying in bed, I had a vision that lasted for hours, in which I saw myself traveling the world. I felt the joy in my body from these travels and how affected I had been by people I met, how having a constant change in my life helped me to release the false sense of control.

I instantly knew I wanted that life, but it still didn’t seem possible to me. For decades I’d seen traveling photographers or bloggers and thought how I’d love the opportunity to do such work, but I convinced myself that could never be me because they were special and I was not. Gregg and I started playing a game where we looked at photographs of places we wanted to visit, fantasizing about what we would do there.

How I Came to Blogging

One day I watched a television show about a video blogger, and I realized how as a child I had loved to write stories and gave them as gifts to my family and friends. Creating a blog would combine my loves of nature, travel, writing, and was just the creative outlet I was looking for to break the routine cycles of my days where I sit in the same spot on the couch, have lunch at the same time each day, and look at the same four walls.

I proposed to Gregg that he retire early, sell everything we own, and take off to travel for a few years, sharing our experiences online. Naturally, he thought I was joking. But I wasn’t.

“Life is too short to wait, Gregg. COVID has taught us we never know what tomorrow brings, and life doesn’t always give you the time you deserve on this planet. At the end of our lives, I want to be grateful for meaningful time we spent together! No more giving to each other what’s left over at the end of a workday! If you die in one year, will you regret not doing this today?”

He paused, took a deep breath, and, having trusted me on more than one crazy adventure before, said, “The universe will help us make it happen.” We set the plan in motion. 

Mid-Life Crisis? I Just Want MORE!

We did a trial run before we put more of the plan in motion. For real, we were unsure if we could stand being packed like sardines into our car with all that we owned and our two cats. (See that post here.) The summary is that we loved it, and we had an amazing time. We decided on the way home that we were ready to put our plan fully into motion and spent the next few months giving notice to Gregg’s manager, then selling, packing, and putting our lives into our car.

I’m probably at the mid-point of my life, and I’m realizing how much more that I want to experience. I want MORE! Looking ahead, time seems so short, like it could all pass in a blink. I’m tempted to hold on tighter so it doesn’t pass so quickly. What makes the hours and minutes matter, what gives life meaning and value, is to be in the moment, to be fully present with the man I love in a world that astounds with its beauty and diversity. 

Where will we go?

On April 16, 2021, when our apartment lease was up, having sold or gifted most of our belongings, with no home to return to, we packed up our car and got on the road, heading for our first destination as digital nomads, a rental house in Tennessee, to start a new chapter of our lives. The first eight months of travel was dedicated to traveling around the Northeast of the United States from Main down to the Florida Keys. In 2022 we traveled the West Coast, up to Seattle, and down through Utah to New Mexico, staying in cat-friendly vacation rentals and hotel accommodations—cabins and specialty venues. In 2023, our travels will take us, and our cats, to Europe, adventuring to Greece, France, Portugal, and all the places we’ve dreamed of going. 

Thank you for joining our journey and wishing us well. We hope to inspire YOU to dream big and make those dreams happen by showing you how to break down the barriers you are facing.

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