I withdrew my application with the Peace Corps last week.
Never in my life had I felt such a strong pull in one direction to do one thing. It was as if there was an invisible string attached to my torso, with the other end securely fastened to Banff. Someone on the other end would gently tug on the string while I felt the surge on my chest. There was a sense of urgency as I frantically tried to tie up my life back home as I prepared to follow this little, invisible string tugging on my heart.
I found this feeling is what is commonly written on inspirational signage, tattooed body parts, and social media profiles: Follow Your Heart.
When I was transitioning out of my corporate job, one of the most common questions I’d receive was, “what will you do after your trip?” I’d kindly smile and respond with “we’ll see,” knowing full well I had a plan upon my return, and that was to continue to follow my heart.
I have a desire to start my own business but didn’t feel ready yet. On my quest to find that next step to make me feel independent enough to startup on my own I found the Peace Corps. Peace Corps representatives are often the only American in a village, with limited resources, and vast problems. It was perfect for me. I was someone looking to prepare myself for the many scary situations I’d face being a single woman starting up a company of her own.
My plan was to return from my travels and spend the remaining four months visiting with family over the holidays and wrapping up my life in the United States before departing to Georgia (the Eastern European country, not the U.S. State). There, I’d spend 27 months serving as an NGO Advising Volunteer, immersing myself in the culture, building lasting relationships, and trying to stay warm (Georgia is a beautifully mountainous country with the weather to match).
While I was on the road, immersing myself in the culture, building lasting relationships, and well, trying to stay warm, I learned, I didn’t need the Peace Corps any longer. On the road something switched in my heart and rather feeling that familiar pull to Georgia, it started pulling me toward home, to start tinkering away on this idea I’ve dreamed up.
Come to find out, all I needed to feel ready enough to become a founder is to be thrown into unknown situations, with the limited resources to problem-solve them. And I’ll be darned; I was actually good at it. I became an expert at asking myself questions.
Kimi, are you lost? Yes. Can you ask someone for help? Yes.
Kimi, do you have enough time to hike this mountain and get back before dark? No. Should you turn around? Yes.
Kimi, do you have the physical strength to pull the loaded Yeti out of the trunk? Surprisingly, Yes.
While I’m looking ahead at the next steps in life, my road life isn’t over (Hot Springs, AR is my next adventure to bring in the New Year). It’s not like there was this thirst for a big trip and I’m now satiated. Travel is in my blood and my love for Mother Nature and the beauty that surrounds us is only stronger now than it was when I left home.
To all you readers that encouraged me along the way, thank you from the bottom of my heart! I look forward to sharing the next adventure with you all. As Traveling Kimi becomes Founder Kimi the adventures won’t stop but they’ll slow down. For each one I face, I’ll happily put the story to words and share them with you. Before the next adventure I’ll share what I learned on the road, and the endless preferences I have for clothing and gear. Until then, adventure awaits!