It’s true! I did something bold and brave and definitely a bit crazy. I left my stable, comfortable job at Baylor University and opted for the adventure of a lifetime. It’s not that I don’t like my job — it’s just that I want more out of life than being stuck behind a desk all day.
It all started nine months ago when I was struck with an epiphany. I had attended an event hosted by my department when all of a sudden, I was overcome with a surreal, almost out of body experience. I realized I was sitting in the midst of a triad—the perfect convergence of my past, present, and future. The event resembled so many from the early days of my career when I worked for the Baylor Alumni Association and hosted numerous, large-scale events for hundreds of people. The event I was attending that day was a good, quality event, but my role and responsibilities paled in comparison to the duties of my past. But the content of that event was life-changing. Three women formed a panel discussion on a small stage—two professional photographers and one financial advisor. The women shared stories of how they grew in their careers from humble beginnings to successful professionals by following their passion and landing (or creating) their dream jobs. And it hit me … “I have to do something more than what I’m doing right now.” It was the slap in the face I needed to truly ask myself the question, “What do I want to do with my life?”
That epic question had weaved its way through the patchwork of my life. As a child, the question was, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” In my teens, “Which college do you want to attend?” In my 20s, “What career path will you follow?” All had good answers and each stage came with peaks and valleys, blessings and heartaches, trials and tribulations—but in my 30s, I realized the question became much more weighted. The thoughts and appeasement of, “I’ll follow my dreams one day,” all of a sudden turned into, “Holy shit, I’m 37 years old and ‘one day’ keeps slipping further and further into the future.” So at that small event on that life-changing day, for what seemed like the first time ever, I examined my life-options with no barriers attached.
What I discovered—the true unearthing of my passion—was that I had an innate desire to document the beauty of the earth, the people in it, and the stories waiting to be told. I knew I could no longer ignore my calling—I had to be bold and brave and step forward through fear to realistically give my dreams a shot. My life journey had led me to a place where I had no husband, no kids, and no mortgage—and instead of continuing to make excuses for why I could never do something so bold as to travel the world, I started researching the possibilities.
So here I find myself … after nine months of planning, years of speculation, and a lifetime of dreaming—and I’m actually doing it! I don’t know what the future holds or what beauty and speed bumps lie ahead, but I do know I’m finally willing to give this a shot—to pay respect to my dreams and stop ignoring my passion. And hopefully, at the end of this journey, I can look back and say—I followed my calling, I gave it my all, and I have no regrets with what might have been.