My story really started when I was a kid growing up in the suburbs of Chicago. It was nice…but I wasn’t the kind of kid who liked nice – nice was boring. I was the kind of kid who wanted adventure and excitement, I wanted to go out and conquer the world. So, at 13 when I had to opportunity to head off to Northern Ireland for five weeks with my best friend and her family, I took it. Wow, I was finally getting out there and it was exhilarating! And, while it certainly was an amazing adventure which included my first cigarette and my first 17 year-old boyfriend, I didn’t expect the feelings of loneliness and isolation that came with being away from my family and everything I knew, particularly when my BFF and I were not seeing eye-to-eye.
Following that trip, I pretty much tucked myself back into the nice, safe suburbs for the rest of my teenage years. I was young and I didn’t really know how to deal with the fear of being away from home and the deep feeling of missing my family. However, the longing to see the world never went away. It wasn’t until my final year of university that I was able to once again satisfy my ever-increasing itchy feet. I was presented with the opportunity to study abroad – either in the UK or in Germany - and I chose the less obvious path of studying in Germany, less obvious because I didn’t speak a lick of German. So, I sold my car and used the money to buy a series of four Berlitz classes (Editor’s Note – I should have used the money to buy beer in Germany as the only thing I remember from those lessons is ‘this is a pencil’). This was the real beginning of my love of moving to new countries, experiencing new cultures and trying to learn new languages. I say trying because learning new languages is most definitely not my strong suit.
The real test of my sticking power to this peripatetic lifestyle came when, after I finished my year of graduate school at Thunderbird School of International Management, I moved to Sao Paulo with my then husband. While he had a job, I did not. Yes, I was studying for the CFA exam but I didn’t have much else to do, I didn’t have many friends and my Portuguese wasn’t very good - no surprise there. The positives were that in the end I made friends, I passed my exam (phew!), I got a job teaching English and my Portuguese improved (perseverance!). On the flipside, I was struggling to figure out what my purpose in life was and I was also feeling quite isolated as, unbeknownst to me, my marriage was falling apart. The breaking point came when I came down with more than one stress-related illness and I knew something had to change.
My salvation was that I booked a trip to Europe to travel with a friend that I had met during my studies in Germany. During those two weeks, my whole world was shattered by the realisation that in moving to Brazil, I had put my own hopes and dreams on the back burner in order follow my husband's. I realized that moving to an exotic location wasn’t enough and that I had to find some other purpose in life. So, I ended up moving to London, finding a job, making new friends and eventually marrying my mate from University - it took a while but I got there in the end. Since then, we have lived in Hong Kong, Chicago, and Switzerland, and now we live between London and the French Alps. And, while each move has brought its own trials and tribulations, I have loved each one of them for different reasons. And, one of the greatest gifts from all of these experiences, aside from spending my life with my soul-mate, has been a fairly radical career change. In 2016, I decided to become a life / career coach after spending 25 years in the financial services world, which included being a world-travelling financial trainer for the last 16 years. After having spent decades working through my own issues, it is amazing to help others to do the same. The crazy, winding path I have chosen to take has not always been easy; however, the rewards have been amazing and I continue to learn from each experience on a daily basis!