Mark Twain

If you missed part one in this series, click here.

“The secret of success is making your vocation your vacation.” ~Mark Twain

To write that “I found myself” in the process of losing my sanity would be to presume that I didn’t know myself in the first place.

Let me tell you a little story:

I’ve attached Mark Twain’s quote to the refrigerator in every kitchen of every home I have ever lived in since I graduated from Boston College in 1999.

It has never been more apt than in the last twenty months as I transition from Chief Financial Officer, Public Accounting Firm to Outdoor Adventure Professional, Independent Business Owner. “Change is good” may as well be my other mantra as I’ve had nine different kitchens and held nine different roles in two countries in those eighteen years.

There are untapped stories waiting to be told that I fear I have taken their unique perspective for granted up until now. I didn’t like where I was at professionally and personally in my life so I hired a career counselor to help me sort it out and I made a wholesale change, rather than continue to struggle in unhappy circumstances. I am proud of that.


Despite a long, strong love for the way a good author can carry me away to another time or location, I have not always wanted to write.


Or at least I can’t remember writing as a force in my life. Creative, non-fiction writing snuck in the side door as a lovely distraction from the stress of an ill-fitting, high-pressure job and the boredom of writing business e-mails and budgets. It remained a welcome presence as I worked with the career counselor to parse my interests. It moved in and became the center plank of my new career platform after a brief stint in marketing for an outdoor publication.

I’ve taken a big leap of faith: giving up a solid career in accounting and finance, going back to school to learn the outdoor technical skills that will allow me to feel comfortable about tripping solo in the backcountry, and eschewing traditional employment for the freelance route without any experience in working for myself. I yearn to overcome my fear of the unknown, to connect with readers through my personal story as well as my adventures.

I have already decided to write (and photograph). I commit to putting away the self-doubt. I commit to learning and maintaining a sustainable daily writing practice. And finally, I commit to planning and taking real trips, to documenting them as I travel through journaling and photographing, to writing engaging stories about them, and to pitching those stories on a regular basis.

I may struggle with writing for the sake of writing. I haven’t learned the art of getting my thoughts down on paper and editing later. I worry that I don’t have a new perspective to share with readers or that I might not have what it takes to be a successful writer, whatever “it” may be and whatever success may look like. However, I go back to Mark Twain’s quote and know that when (not if) I give myself fully to this next venture I will have my vocation and my vacation.

I’ve found the confidence to be me.

To continue the epic adventure, click here for part three.

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