My Decision to Make a Major Life Change - Part 2

Creating Inspired Wandering was not an overnight thing. To give you a little background here, I’ve worked as an architectural project manager for almost 18 years and at first it was great, I loved it. Enjoyed the work I was doing, the people I met and worked with over the years were incredible. The field taught me so much, it helped me to develop so many skills, points of view and friendships over the years. But I always felt like I could be doing more outside of the time spent in the office. I wanted to use my skills to help people, so I started volunteering. I saw that there was this whole other world out there. A totally different way of living, contributing…doing something bigger than myself.

I’d started volunteering in 2008 with Habitat for Humanity in my local community, in Northern Virginia, then internationally with them in 2010. That was a game changer, it completely knocked me for a loop. It changed how I saw the world, how I saw myself and it showed me what living really was. Being free from deadlines, meetings, conference calls and all the stresses that come along with it. To be completely and utterly immersed in an experience, in a place, with a group of like-minded people, with a shared mission.  Those were some of the best trips that I’d ever been on, especially the ones traveling with my daughter. Being able to show her how other people lived in the world, showing her the importance of making time to help others and adding in “once in a lifetime” experiences to the trip. Like safaris, remote island eco-resorts, visits to places barely visible on a map, as well as trips to major metropolitan cities.

 Las Penitas, Nicaragua

Las Penitas, Nicaragua

After we completed the volunteer portion of the trip we’d always stay in the country a bit longer to see more. Staying in small, chic, simply, but BEAUTIFULLY designed local eco-resorts that cared about the communities and the environments they operated in was incredible. Getting to see a place from the inside. Meeting local people, making personal connections. Priceless moments that still make me emotional thinking about them, years later. I didn’t know it at the time, but that idea would be the one that would resonate loudest with me. Creating priceless moments for people to these awe inspiring places.

Fast forward to the end of 2014, I didn’t know how I was going to make a living from travel, but what I did know was that I needed to get out of debt and save money. 

My new years resolution of sorts for January 2015 was to get started on step one, get out of debt. One of the things I knew I needed to do in order to move forward with any plan was pay off debt and save money. I moved to Atlanta, in with my mother and aunt, taking an architecture job there. My only goal at the time was to save and pay off debt. I was excited about the job at first because I knew that I could achieve what I moved to Atlanta to do, save and get out of debt. I hadn’t figured out the travel business idea at that point. But after a few months into the new job, I knew that there was no WAY I would stay there. It just wasn’t for me. 

At the same time I was still trying to figure out what would work best for me in terms of this insatiable need for travel in my life. I’m not really the blogger type, because I don’t like to write. Photography is my thing, I’m a visual person and capturing a beautiful image is what I enjoy.

 Savanna, GA

Savanna, GA

 Savanna, GA

Savanna, GA

But, I also knew that it would make sense to be able to tell the story behind my photos, so I decided to try my hand at writing. I started writing for a travel website, Trip101, to hone my travel writing skills. I knew that in order for me bring my dreams into existence I needed to act and think like a traveler. Adopt the lifestyle of a traveler. I started small. Taking weekend trips, exploring the area and region around Georgia, making the most of my new surroundings. 

 Greek Festival, Atlanta, GA

Greek Festival, Atlanta, GA

 Greek Festival, Atlanta, GA

Greek Festival, Atlanta, GA

 Greek Festival, Atlanta, GA

Greek Festival, Atlanta, GA

One of the most important things that I’d come to understand about making a major life change was that I needed to change my way of thinking.

 Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga, TN 

Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga, TN 

 Incline Railway, Chattanooga, TN

Incline Railway, Chattanooga, TN

 Mt. Mitchell, North Carolina

Mt. Mitchell, North Carolina

It was also around this time when I had my "aha" moment and it dawned on me that creating experiences for people was what I wanted to do. I wanted people to experience beauty. One-of-a-kind beauty that just takes your breath away, a “pinch me, is this real?” kind of beauty that exists, not only in the landscapes, but also in the people. I had experienced this but it’s just really hard to describe those feelings. This is how Inspired Wandering was born. Inspired because of my volunteer travel and Wandering because I still had so much to still see.

 Chole Island, Tanzania

Chole Island, Tanzania

 Matera, Italy

Matera, Italy

 Butiama Beach, Mafia Island, Tanzania

Butiama Beach, Mafia Island, Tanzania

 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

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