It’s been a while since I’ve written, and I wish it were mostly due to my busyness living life. There are countless reasons: I turned thirty, had a fun-filled end of summer, went for a new job at work, and applied for a new Australian work visa. What else got in my way? Sporadic illness, procrastination, writer’s block and failure to dare greatly. I’ve journaled often and written reflections, but I’m always waiting to have that perfect a-ha moment or wave of clarity before I hit POST.
There are a few reasons that I’m writing NOW.
In the first quarter of 2019 I’ve already witnessed much, from great loss to new life. I’ve pondered and pivoted, endured waiting periods and ambiguity. To borrow from one of my comrades in cultivating a life with intention (yes - we have a “bookclub”) — my aim this year is to stay brave and leap whenever possible. If her goal is to leap, mine is growth -- I intend to try new things and keep flexing new muscles in order to build my career, cultivate courage, stay inspired and optimise for maximum well-being.
What do I mean by leap?
As 2018 came to a close and Christmas break approached back in California, I learned that a highly-ranked “dream job” was opening in my line of business at LinkedIn. In a unique intersection of high-demand and great timing, our APAC sales director was investing in a headcount role to support and enable our field team. In tech, this job is called Sales Enablement or, at LinkedIn, Sales Readiness. I wouldn’t know for a while if it would be based in Singapore or (potentially?!) Sydney, but what I did know was that I had been interested in teaching and consulting internally for years. I also had a chance opportunity to meet with the global leader of this team — she was working in our SoCal office at the time, and only through the end of 2018. We spoke that week.
After weeks of interviewing sales managers, talking to field reps and soliciting advice from learning professionals, I prepped a learning proposal geared at the team of which I’m currently a part. I spent those weeks considering my personal ambitions, my life and routine in Sydney, and my non-negotiables. Based on what’s in my heart, I told my company (in one of several “brave” moments) that I’m not currently willing to moving to Singapore. I shared my story, leveraged what I’ve learned from all my employers (to whom I’m so grateful, from Islands to Apple!), and taught a new concept or two. Days before my thirtieth birthday, I was offered the job of Sales Performance Consultant for LinkedIn APAC.
At the end of year while lounging at home in Cali, I considered my New Years’ Intentions differently than I had in the past. As I wrote ideas like “visit a new country” and “go on a solo trip abroad,” I was struck by a rhetorical question in my mind: what better time than the present? Though I knew work awaited and an interview process would begin as soon as possible, I also knew that January would be the best and slowest time for our customer business to be without me. I saw no better way to ensure I was ahead of my resolutions than by booking a trip while December was still in progress. So, off to Google Flights I went...
One of my dearest friends (Brittany the PhD!) and her hubs had a trip lined up to visit New Zealand’s South Island for their belated honeymoon come the first day of January. They invited me to rendezvous for part of their camper van road trip, but I was home in the U.S. during most of the time they’d be meandering. On the other hand, I recognised that I'm living in a remote corner of the Asia Pacific ring — right next to the beautiful and green island country — and shouldn’t miss an opportunity to meet my friends Down Under! While I had visited the North Island’s capital city of Auckland for a quick work trip, I had longed to see the South Island's natural beauty and lakefronts for a while. Finally, I learned that their itinerary’s January finale was a quick and affordable flight away from a long-desired bucket list location that all of my Sydney friends love: Queenstown.
In the end, New Zealand was beckoning and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity! So I re-packed my suitcase and headed off for a five day adventure from Christchurch to Queenstown via coastal mountain road-trip. On Day One, I took a shuttle from CHC’s arts district to the mecca of marine mammals where I’d meet Britt and Jefe: Kaikoura. We made great decisions, from choosing whale-watching via small plane (success! and no seasickness. See below.) to seeking out a small, quirky brewery off the main road that donned an escape room and mini-golf course out back. Night One we spent cooking in the camper van and seeking out refuge from the rain, which was made easier by the Irish pub (and its cute British bartender) based behind our campsite. I even tried my hand at surfing and caught a wave so tall and scary that I stayed flat on my tummy throughout the entire, exhilarating ride. Thanks Jeff for the push!
After saying goodbye to my travel buddies at CHC airport, I jetted off to Queenstown for my first international trip (mostly) solo. I was immediately met with stunning views and soothing ease; I took a $10 bus toward the lake town’s centre and walked mere steps to my hostel (recommended by a friend who was traveling days later). I arrived before 8am, allowing me to spend the day in leisurely solitude. First stop: the biggest mountain I could see - since it seemed likely to beget the biggest adventure on my way back down it. See my video here.
I enjoyed two full days of strolling, savouring and leaping (from zip-line to zip-line). I even tried one of my scarier adventure sports yet: river-rafting (with strangers!) down the ice-cold Kawarau River. Queenstown was ridiculously picturesque, so I walked/jogged and dined/drank alongside the volcanic lake as much as humanly possible. I met friends traveling from the North of England (see: center), the middle of the U.S. and the cities of South America. I slept in a hostel [for the first time solo] and enjoyed a deluxe pod that reminded me of Zenon’s room on her space station. Finally, I met with one of my first American Sydney friends for fresh seafood, downhill luge rides at sunset, heartfelt catch-ups and overdue reflections on life. After 48 hours in solitude, it was special to have company and an adventure companion at that!
The least-novel leap I’ve taken this year has somehow felt the scariest of all. After witnessing my own family and certain friends experience loss, I’ve come to re-appreciate and more deeply understand life’s profound fragility. Not despite but perhaps through the pain of distance and fear of worst-case-scenarios, I appreciate even more the fun times at home and today’s technology. I can’t predict the future, but I know that my home remains first - and always will - in California. So, led by my heart once again, I decided to pursue a second work visa to reside and consult in Australia.
This week, on 23rd March — it was approved. I have the option to be A Broad Down Under through March 2021.
I’ll take each new adventure and its subsequent teachings one leap at a time. For now, wish me luck and thanks for staying along for the ride!
A Broad Down Under