Another Life Changing Decision – Part 1

Let me start with saying that I am starting to write this post on Jan 22, 2014, but have no plans of actually posting it for 2-3 months. I want to keep track of all of my thoughts and processes, but I am not in anyway ready to announce these to the world at the moment. So … here it goes!

Just what is going on in my head?

A couple of months ago, I began thinking about going abroad for an extended period of time. It started one day when I was at work in November and a client contacted me about the SWAP New Zealand program. For some reason, when I read the eligibility it hit me … You can apply for your visa and must have it in hand before you turn 36. Yikes! Suddenly I was feeling old, a little lonely for not being settled with a husband and kids and I was staring at this opportunity that I could only possibly do sometime in the next 10 months of my life.

The pondering began.
Could I really go away for a year and live in another country?
How could I possibly make that work with so many responsibilities here?
Am I too old? Really? Do 35 – 36 year olds move away to another country for a year to work and travel?

I dropped the idea to my family throughout the coming weeks. I’m sure they all thought I was crazy, but yet were not really surprised that an idea like this would come from me. Over Christmas I dropped the idea on friends and family again to start to prepare them that I was really serious about going to work abroad for an extended period of time. At this time, I’m thinking 6 months to a year, but with full knowledge that I could decide to stay for 2 years or 10 years … who knows.

In early January, I met with my friend Andrea who had just done a volunteer assignment with CESO. She had gone to Guyana for almost four weeks and told me how much she loved the work, the experience and the organization. Even better, they pay for your flights and living expenses while you are there. They offer lots of interesting locations, so I vowed that I would start the process of becoming a volunteer. As of Jan 22nd, I have not yet started that process. This is a mental note to get on that. No matter what I decide to do over the next year, I think it is an excellent opportunity to travel and give back. So, what am I waiting for? Maybe it’s a project for this weekend.

On January 9th, I had the opportunity to speak directly to my upper management at my job. I was scared to death, but decided to take a leap and just put it out there. We sat down and chatted for an hour or more and I brought up my concerns about working in an office environment. Although I left my home-based photography business because I was craving the stability and companionship that an office environment would provide, after a year I’ve decided that I might just be better suited to being an entrepreneur.

This led into the conversation about the possibilities of continuing to work as a travel agent, but doing so from a home office instead of our store front. My manager was receptive, knowing that I had already approached her about this once in the past. We discussed how the program works along with the benefits and downfalls. In that, I also decided to approach the subject of whether it is possible to work as an at home agent while living abroad. Can I live in Mexico or Costa Rica, but still sell tour packages and custom itineraries to clients in Canada? This is the question that I am currently awaiting a response on. I’m crossing my fingers for a yes.

Regardless, I have informed my manager and upper management that within the next few months I will be aiming to become an outside sales agent, rather than working in the office. There is way more flexibility for me, higher wage potential, the ability to do a little bit of photography on the side and possibly, the opportunity to work from abroad. Downfalls … no regular salary, back to working from home and likely going a few weeks without a pay cheque. Not quite sure how I’m going to manage that one at the moment.

** Please note: Although I am posting this on May 6th, it was written back in January … it is the beginning of a series of how my thought process has worked to get me to the decisions that I am about to announce. Please keep in mind that none of the above ‘ideas’ are or were ever carved in stone … simply thoughts and possibilities.

3 thoughts on “Another Life Changing Decision – Part 1

  1. OMG! This is so exciting. It’s a cliff-hanger … I need to know more. You may inspire me to _____ there’s another cliff-hanger!

  2. Shari, its very interesting to read your thinking process and see (try to …) what is going on in your mind. It is exciting & scary moments at the same time. Demanding a lot of faith and belief in life. It is a big exercise to go through this and keeping telling yourself you are on the right track. To keep talking to the young Shari who is showing on your shoulder that it will be fine…I respect your guts to making the step and setting yourself to move forward. When reading your life changing decision I thought for a moment I was reading my own dream, thinking I was in my mind. We only come to this world once… take what you can.

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