During Thanksgiving, Americans typically express gratitude for the many blessings we’ve received. I have much to be grateful for, including the whirlwind of positive changes in my life since last Thanksgiving. My Word of the Year for 2011 was nimble and I think I embodied that one pretty well! Here’s the recap for those following along:
In November 2010 (twelve short months ago), I was living in Austin, Texas. I had put my house on the market, planning to downsize into a smaller living space. After 2 pitiful showings in 2 weeks, I learned my position as a Business Analyst at UT had been eliminated (read: I was laid off from my secure state job 2 days before Thanksgiving). I assessed my options and decided to rent the house fully furnished. In early January, I moved myself and my cat to Rockport, Texas, where I spent a wonderful winter living in my parent’s garage apartment and falling in love with the many birds who migrate to the Texas coast when it gets cold.
During this down time, I thought a lot about my priorities and the concept of lifestyle design. I made a commitment to begin crafting a job for myself that better supports the lifestyle I desire. I want to spend my time traveling and experiencing new things, building relationships with passionate people and solving interesting problems. I want to be in control of my time. And I want to generate a solid, steady income. So I decided to become an entrepreneur. There were a million ideas rolling around in my head and I had no clue what I was going to do (or when), just why. I named my fledgling business Nimble Creatives, because that’s pretty much what we all need to be these days (nimble & creative).
In late March, I had the opportunity to return to Austin for a 4 month gig as a software developer. By June, I was clear that I was ready to leave town. I put an ad on Craigslist for a summer sublet, a tenant materialized and I was free to go. I quickly put together a trip I dubbed my America the Beautiful tour, using the National Parks Pass I won in a photography contest as an “anchor activity”. The idea was to see more of my country’s natural beauty while scoping out my next home. If you missed it completely, you can read about the tour here and here.
In late July, I kicked off the first leg of the trip, which primarily involved visiting friends & family in the southeast and midwest. I spent a week house sitting for a friend in Asheville, NC and instantly recognized that Asheville had everything I was looking for in a home base: a locally-oriented community with a progressive mindset, a strong music & art scene, an abundance of great restaurants, more craft beer than I should really drink, a moderate climate and easy access to hiking in stunning mountains. The only thing missing is the beach and happily Charleston SC is an easy 4 hours away! (note: I just spent Thanksgiving in the Charleston area – trip report coming soon)
I was reluctant to commit to a place without finishing my tour of the country. Plus I’d already lived in nearby Boone, NC for most of the 90’s and was pretty keen to explore a new part of the country. Still I applied for a couple of jobs that stood out and pretty soon I had secured a full-time position as a Business Operations Analyst with a not-for-profit organization. I took this as a sign, and, in the spirit of being nimble, I cut my America the Beautiful tour short, loaded up the wagon and moved myself to Asheville. I flew from LA to Austin on October 5, arrived on Asheville on October 11 (just in time for peak leaf season) and started my new job on October 13! Wow!
I’ve been back in the arms of the Appalachian mountains for 6 weeks now and I am so happy to be here!
But wait – there’s more! I’m thrilled to announce that I’m creating a Travel Coaching and Facilitation business. My mission is to help people travel more! I meet a lot of people who have taken epic trips (sabbaticals, round-the-world trips, living somewhere new for 6 months, etc). I also meet a lot of people who say “I wish I could do that…” to which I find myself enthusiastically saying “You can!” I know it can be very overwhelming to research, plan and prepare for a big trip on your own. So I’m creating a program called Be Your Own Travel Hero that helps people with their trip planning and preparation. You can read all about it on the Travel Coaching page
I am _so_ excited for my new adventures! Please tune in as Be Your Own Travel Hero evolves over the next few months.
Oh and remember that lay-off? Although it was painful at the time, it turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened to me. I’m having so much fun redefining my life (again) and I have tremendous gratitude that the universe knew what I needed, even when I did not.
Wishing you all much love and abundance this winter!
ps I’ve moved all of the content from my personal blog over to this new site and will only be posting new content here. You can use the widget in the sidebar to “subscribe” and receive posts by email (or just add it to your blog reader)