What a difference a year makes! I could never imagine what lie ahead of me when I closed my office door saying goodbye to a job of over twenty years. The job elimination was not in my plans and yet here I was unemployed for the first time since I was sixteen. Like most travel addicted folks, I did what any crazy travel person would do – I jumped on a transatlantic cruise to Barcelona (the NCL EPIC) after staying at the EPIC Miami hotel and began a three month journey, which I called my EPIC Journey,(aka EPIC Adventure) funded with my vacation payout. My trip was loosely sketched out on paper and for the first time I didn’t have a plan (ok, I had at least a month’s worth of hotel rooms, air and train tickets booked as it was Italy in May) but the days were open for me to explore. I’m still writing about that adventure with so much more to share.
Since my Travel Sabbatical, as it’s listed on my resume (and prompts curious queries during interviews), I have had a bunch of friends who have realized that they are not happy in their jobs, careers or lives. I have two friends who sold their homes in Philly and relocated to the West Coast (traveling with cats) in search of their next chapter. Another relocated to Florida. I have a friend who is taking a career break by leaving her job and embarking on her YOLO (you only live once) trip in Europe by taking a transatlantic cruise like I did. She has an open ended return opting to see where the wind takes her. Another friend and her husband are taking a year to travel and taste the world (they are food bloggers) – with their U.S. cross country road trip complete, they are now living in Lyon, France before moving to Asia. In one year, more friends made massive changes in their lives than have in the past twenty years!
When I returned from my trip, I was naïve to think that I could easily get a new job in Philly or London (stupid visa rules). I was fabulous, my resume was awesome and yet I was thrown into a new world that didn’t make sense. There’s no logic, there’s a lot of networking to do and with daily rejections my job search became a full time job – one I didn’t like nor did I apply for. Some days there were highs, some days madness and other days, I wallowed in chocolate, albeit a new $8 artisan chocolate bar addiction.
What I could tell you about this time would make you laugh, would make you cry, and would make you want your own chocolate with a bottle of wine. I started replying to recruiters who said I was overqualified, overpaid and overeducated saying “I disagree with all of that, however, if you said I was overweight, well I’d give you that”. When you’ve been rejected for silly reasons, you need to find the humor in it – they definitely won’t forget their conversations with me. I started writing about it and maybe someday it will become a book – a funny, sarcastic, sad story with a happy ending.
After my birthday trip to London in November (a much needed break during the job search madness), I came back with a restored spirit to continue forward. I was volunteering at the local university, taking classes to start my own travel consulting and planning business (Arden Road Travel) and looking to map out a new strategy in my war with the job search. As the New Year began, I wished for a bidding war over me – if I can’t have two guys fighting over me, why not two or more companies? Be careful what you wish for!
Sadly, Prince Charming and another Prince (are there other Princes out there – not named William and Harry?) were not dueling over me, however, I did end up with two offers (yeah!) that drove me to more chocolate as I had a hard decision to make with one happy company and one disappointed company. So now, one year after my door closed on that job that led me to my EPIC Adventure, I’m now getting ready to turn a page to begin another chapter in Job 2.0 and Sue 4.6.
To start this new chapter, I have the awesome opportunity to go to Miami and jump on a cruise. This time as a guest of Fathom Cruises to the Dominican Republic on a social impact cruise (they start sailing to the DR in April and to Cuba in May, alternating weeks with the one ship). Perfect timing before I start the new job to clear my mind of the job search craziness. I’m super excited since I first met Fathom and learned of their mission at the NY Times Travel Show and featured them in my “5 Offbeat Travel Finds”. I wondered then how a group of 724 guests converging on the island every other week will be able to make an impact in the various projects in the long term and now I’m going to see first-hand.
A year ago, my world changed and what an EPIC adventure it has been – one involving old & new friends, new loves (sadly chocolate counts here), new foods, shoulders to cry on and tears of laughter. So I hope you’ll follow my Fathom Cruise adventure (#traveldeep hashtag for guests), come back to read all about it and contact me to help you plan your own EPIC Adventures.
UPDATE: Sadly, my Fathom Cruise was delayed and ultimately canceled in a whirlwind 24 hours of tears, tequila and teamwork. I came home in shock and gutted that I wasn’t able to experience the Fathom adventure prior to the start of my new job.
Read the Hotel Review of the Holiday Inn Miami West where I was assigned to stay during the delay