Lessons Learned in 2012
2012 was a big year for me on every front. Here is a brief recap.
I quit my steady job as a Study Abroad Advisor,
Supporting students to study abroad gave me a great deal of satisfaction but it was time for a change. I could not accomplish my larger goals in the margins of my free time. I have learned how to honor my intuition when it tells me to leave my comfort zone–even when it means stepping into the unknown. I have not spent a single second of 2012 regretting my decision to trade in stability for the vision taking shape on the foundations of all of my travels, studies, research, and work.
…lived in South America for three months,
I spent three months in Medellín, Colombia learning Spanish at a university and being a student of the road again. Even though I have trained hundreds of students on how to adjust to a new culture, I was reminded of the fact that this did not mean I could skip the rough patches. Rather, it meant going through the sometimes exhilarating and sometimes messy and uncomfortable experience of figuring out how to buy food, catch the right train, cope with loneliness and general frustration, and negotiate relationships and conflicts in a different language. It was fairly interesting to be told over and over again by strangers as well as friends that Colombia is a scary, dangerous place and then to experience Colombia as a beautiful and dynamic place. One of the faculty in my MA program in Northern Ireland once said that “perception is more important than the reality” and I find this to be largely true when speaking about human interaction.
…traveled the US coast to coast for the first time,
For reasons I cannot explain, I cooked up the crazy idea to go on a cross-country roadtrip solo shortly after returning from Colombia. So I spent 41 days trekking across the United States by car, train, plane, and bus. Thousands of miles of solitude proved to be deeply restorative and just as important as meeting new people and connecting with old friends and family along the way. A few highlights:
- Speaking with strangers. Staying with strangers. Driving places with strangers.
- Beginning a relationship and collaboration with Travel720 (looking forward to working with them in 2013!)
- Walking the beach at the Pacific and spending a day in wine country
- Hearing the streets of San Francisco erupt when the city’s team won the World Series
- Seeing the place my parents will now call home for the first time
- Scoping out Seattle and Portland (I have this hunch that I will someday end up in the Northwest for one reason or another)
- Singing karaoke (badly) twice
- Visiting craft breweries across the country
…and started The Traveling Advisor.
The first entry in my personal journal back in January was basically a manifesto for what I want to see happen in my professional life in 2012. The following quote from that entry sums up the inspiration for launching The Traveling Advisor.
I want to work with people who are excited about learning. I want the learning about self and others through the medium of international experience, encounter, and travel to be a central part of what I devote my time and energy to. I want to engage others in this process with me.
Over the course of the year, this idea grew and changed. I realized when I was living in Colombia that there was no reason to wait any longer to begin and so The Traveling Advisor was born. It has been only four months and I have learned a tremendous amount thanks to friends, family, social networks, other entrepreneurs*, and hours of self-instruction. I have already gone through a website re-design and am in the process of planning new features for 2013. I am super excited and hope you tune in again for 2013 goals to be released early next week in the new year!
Until next time, will you comment on what you are taking with you from 2012 into 2013?
*A special thanks to Yamile Yemoonyah, Gigi Griffis, Chris Gillbeau, Natalie Sasson, Derek Halpern, Jorge Soto, Seth Godin, and Jennifer Thomas for shedding insights into giving value to community and clients alike.