I have not always been The Perpetual Pilgrim. I woke up one morning, it was a morning like every other, but that morning when I awoke – I wished that I hadn’t.
I lay in bed, feeling the world was on top of me – that every bit of joy had been removed overnight. I had never felt quite that bad before. Sure, I had moaned and quipped about going to my regular 9 to 5, but I had never ever wanted to not wake up!
My life up to that point, when I reflect now, was pretty amazing. So there was nothing on the surface that would have made me feel so low. I plodded on with the day, and while I was sitting quietly in the lunch area, strange because I had never felt the need to even take lunch, I knew that I needed to make some massive changes.
I resigned on that day.
My corporate career was a successful and ever-changing one:
When I resigned, my position was that of a legal project manager. At this global multinational law firm, I was responsible for a team of young, dynamic attorneys, and I oversaw contract milestones and implemented a strategy to streamline their processes. It was a vibrant and energetic work environment, and I enjoyed it. Being an introvert, I did have to take extra care of myself in my downtime, because of the loudness after very long days.
Before that, I had landed the best job in the world – or so I thought. I would be responsible for a compliance programme at another global company, which would have me travelling worldwide. To anyone else, compliance and the thought of it would probably have resulted in a few rolled eyes, but I loved the idea. It would be outside of my comfort zone because one of my responsibilities was to present training to my peers and colleagues. Completely scary for this introvert, but the travel was what really grabbed me. Initially, I was so bad at speaking to large groups, but as I grew in the role, I started to love the impact that I was having. People told me that they actually enjoyed how I presented the compliance programme!
There was success in my life, so what brought me to that place that morning was a mystery to me.
So, having resigned, during that last month at work, I had planned out every activity that I had been postponing for “a better time”. My first one on the list was walking the Camino de Santiago.
I set off to Spain on a bright morning in March 2019. With my backpack on my back, filled with only the things I really needed, I set off on the trail to the medieval city of Santiago de Compostela. It was a pilgrimage that would change my life forever.
It is the simplicity of the Camino that resets the mind. You wake up; you walk; you eat; you sleep – all to be repeated for days until you reach your final destination. With my two prosthetic hips, I did face a few challenges, and since I am better designed to swimming, another one of my passions, I had a few “fits and starts” along the way. It was the best thing that I had ever done!
I returned home and found out that I had fallen completely in love with this “Camino de Santiago”. So much so, that I now have a goal to walk another 25 Caminos. There are pilgrimage routes all over Europe and the United Kingdom, which drives me to have my new life.
There was no going back to a regular job – to a job with a boss and set vacation days. When I did the numbers on where I am now, 48 years of age, my time is somewhat limited to achieve this great goal.
An online business was my only option – and The Perpetual Pilgrim was born. For me, to be perpetually on pilgrimage – both figuratively and literally.
The most significant change from this relatively short journey to where I am now, from the day I resigned, I have discovered my core values of freedom and adventure. I guess I always knew that they were there because if they weren’t my success in my corporate career would have been enough to make me completely happy.
It is those core values that changed my heart and mind during my pilgrimage. It was a spiritual awakening for me, and there was no going back to a life where I don’t “push my own wheelbarrow” as my old Dad used to say.
Now, today I am amazed at the progress that I have made in this digital space. It has been a voyage of self-discovery and finding out who I am and what sets my soul on fire.
I figure that so many other introverts out there might be lamenting with themselves about their own online business. It’s a bit scary to be honest, but once you overcome little hurdles and move into your space of strength, the opportunity to grow and help others grow is clear.
It is now my mission to support and encourage the quiet-one’s, to be confident to become louder about our magnificent selves. It will be a collaboration of people who appreciate the quiet approach to life, but at the same time be loud about it.
It will be their own Camino – their own path to living aligned with their core values.