I’m a 14 year wine industry veteran, who fell in love with the wine industry the moment I walked into my first winery job in 2001. I spent my first eight years in the industry, living in beautiful places, doing creative work, and surrounded by wonderful people, wine, and food.
Later in my career, as I moved away from working directly with wineries (and into what is called the ‘wholesale’ sales and distribution management world), I found that I quickly lost my passion. Although I was savvy at my job and I continued to move forwards in this area of the industry, my heart wasn’t in it.
Everyone has certain skills and abilities that they shine at and that they love to utilize and share. When we get to shine at doing what we love and are great at, it inspires us, keeps us going ,and wanting to learn more. Achieve more.
While I was using a lot of skills that were perceived as valuable to those around me, I wasn’t tapping the abilities I truly shine at and enjoy using. I was busy doing the job that I had, instead of putting my energy towards getting the job I wanted. After finding 5 years had passed and I was still doing the same thing (and still wishing I could change my professional direction), I decided to take action. I knew I’d never be able to get the job I wanted, unless I just started doing it. So I looked at my options and took a leap I would never have thought I’d be willing to take. I sold all of my stuff, bought a ticket to Europe and made a plan for a year of traveling while achieving personal and professional goals. I had enough savings to live for a year (frugally) and to return at the end of that year to the U.S and still have six months of living costs covered while interviewing for new jobs/resettling.
Here were the priorities I had, when I left my job and decided to go on this journey:
– to travel and to refresh my digital marketing skills by actually doing the projects for myself and for friends, that I’d need to do in my next job
– to get back into good health
– to improve and update professional skills I had not been able to take the time to focus on with my manic work travel schedule (mainly: marketing, social media, and writing skills)
– to improve my fluency in at least one foreign language (I speak Italian but I wanted to improve my Spanish or learn French)
– To visit a few more major wine regions and taste wines from some unique-lesser known places
-to start a Blog and keep it running long term and growing over time into something bigger and better
– to get multiple articles published in publications I admired
– to write and publish a book (even if just an e-book)
I started my journey 20 months ago with $29,000 (all of my savings + the cash from selling my furniture and wine cellar)
After the first six months of spending a lot of $ on continued education, and back and forth trips to Europe, I took the necessary next step and bought a one way flight. The plan, at that point, had evolved to include at least another nine months to one year. In 2016 I began to bring in a little income by doing freelance marketing, social media and writing projects, and decided to remain in Europe (Spain) until the New Year so that I didn’t have to leave my boyfriend (who is Spanish).
That decision was not made lightly as I had no job in Spain and had to use most of my ‘start over’ fund in order to be able to afford to stay in Spain without working full time (which is almost impossible unless you line up a job before coming to Spain and have the paperwork assisted with by the company). But love trumped monetary logic and as my boyfriend and I knew when me met, that we were not going to be able to leave each other, the ‘decision’ didn’t really seem like a decision at all. It seemed the only option.
Now, here I am after a wonderful almost two year journey, I’m happy to be back on the West Coast, preparing for the second chapter of my career with a job I’ll wake up every day excited to tackle and the second chapter of my life with the man I love.