As I sit here, getting ready to embark on what promises to be one of the greatest adventures of my life, I’m scared.
There are tears welling up in my eyes, a lump in the back of my throat, and this sense in the pit of my stomach feeling like I ate a hippopotamus for breakfast. The fear is palpable. But there’s a different sensation hiding just under the surface and my need to explore is motivating me to write this message.
The source of the fear, you ask? My new husband, Dean, and I have booked a one way ticket to Nepal in October. We’re renting our house, leaving our adorable boxer, Bodhi, with his grandparents in Wyoming, and saying good-bye to our friends and family. The plan is to travel to the village of Phortse, where Dean lived for several years after architecture school, working to construct a seismically sound building in the Khumbu housing a program for Sherpa to learn the climbing skills they will need to guide on the mountains of the Himalaya. We’ll fly into Kathmandu, trek up to Phortse, and continue on up to Everest base camp. Then, we travel. We have a list of places that we’ve always wanted to visit kept in Excel, a ridiculous number of pictures and blog posts saved by country on Pinterest, and nothing but time until the end of August 2018.
We each have a “bucket list” of three places or experiences that are an absolute must! Mine include traveling to Cambodia to visit Angkor Wat, scuba diving to see antiquities in Greece, trekking to Machu Picchu, and returning to India and the computer lab Softchoice Cares built in Rajasthan.
Ok, I realize that’s four places. However, this last place in particular is extremely important to me. Just as Dean wants to share the people, places and experiences that shaped him after architecture school, I too want to share a place that forever changed me and how I view the world. That experience is the catalyst for this year long trip and one that wouldn’t have been possible without the company that I’ve been privileged to be a part of for the last nine years.
As is sit here reflecting on this next chapter in my life, preparing for my final days of work for a whole year (holy cow!), the fear is still present but is starting to be overshadowed by a completely opposite feeling – gratitude.
I remember graduating from college in my early 20’s, ready to take on the world with the illusion that building a successful career, working my way up the corporate ladder and making a lot of money were the keys to a happy life. This is what you’re supposed to do, right; The American Dream? What no one told me (or if they did, I definitely wasn’t listening), is that happiness doesn’t come from your bank account, career success, being a better salesperson than your peers, the car you drive, or the house you own. Happiness, for me, is the good health of you and your loved ones, making a difference in the lives of those around you, and creating every opportunity to share experiences with people who are important in your life. What a change for that 26 year old working 60+ hour weeks, missing family holidays or a friends’ weddings because work was more important.
I didn’t come to this realization out of the blue one day. This was a long, often painful process, and one in which I’m still working to improve daily.
Looking back, there are a number of people who helped me on this journey and the most surprising (at least to me), is that a majority are people with whom I’ve worked at Softchoice. People who take the corporate values and live them every day. People who were able to recognize my weaknesses and cared enough to hold up a mirror, pushing me to be a better professional, and more importantly, a better human being. People who understood that this trip is a once in a lifetime chance for personal growth and allowed me the opportunity to take a leave of absence for a year.
I swear, I didn’t drink the orange Kool-Aid. But I do think it’s important to take a step back and remember that I work for an amazing company, comprised of people who are focused on a common goal, and truly care. And for that, I am grateful.