Do you remember the first time you fell in love?
I was just 16 when I traveled abroad for the first time and fell in love with international travel.
It was on that very first trip abroad to Spain that I committed to spending the rest of my life traveling, explore new culture sand learning new languages.
Traveling made ordinary things seem extraordinary.
The Spanish language I had heard growing up in Los Angeles was now musical and poetic. Shopping for groceries was like an expedition into unknown territories, making new discoveries as I went along. Bread, cheese, and coffee were no longer just daily sustenance, but culinary feats. And dinner time converted from ritual to critical discourse on life, politics, and humanity.
As the language and culture began to transform, so did I.
I learned to appreciate the simpler things. I learned the importance of exploring difference and that cultural exploration requires a specific set of attitudes, skills and knowledge. And I learned that the only thing I really knew I wanted to do for the rest of my life was travel.
It was decided! Whatever it took to lead a global life, I was going to do it. Before my time in Spain came to an end, I sat with our teacher and asked, “What can I do for a living that will allow me to travel? She said, “teach English”.
That was it! I was going to travel the world teaching English as a Second Language.
Seven years later, I began living my global life with my first job abroad teaching English in Seoul, South Korea. This was a very different experience from the first, we all know it is impossible to duplicate the first time. My year living and teaching abroad can best be described as turbulent. There were incredible highs and unbelievable lows.
Nonetheless, the year I spent in South Korea was equally valuable and transformational. It taught me to be resilient in the face of adversity. I learned that culture shock is real and no joke. And I learned that I was human and vulnerable to world around me.
When I returned home to the United States, I continued to teach and began the evolution of my career in international education and leadership.
What did I do?
I looked for new challenges and worked hard! Then I made sure people noticed. And then I converted my experience into a new expertise.
And finally, I have learned to remain focused on learning and growth.
In 2003, I went back to school to earn a degree in Leadership and Training and have focused my work on the relationship between global experiences and leadership. Since graduation I’ve been working independently as an intercultural and leadership training and consultant.
It isn’t the career I set out to have when I was 16, but it has been a rich career that has evolved through the experiences and learning I have had since the day I arrived in Spain.
Leading a global life isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. And similarly, so is establishing a career built on passion.
So as you are exploring career options or a transitions:
Discover the beauty.
Live the adventure.
Believe in the wonder.