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A few years ago I found myself in the midst of building my professional career in healthcare, celebrating my latest promotion. I just stared working for this large nonprofit and everything was going right. I worked my way up from an entry, to a senior, to a manager position in the span of a year and a half, but there was this one minor problem.
I was tired, stressed, and completely burned out. As we all probably know, promotions do not just happen. You work for one, and you work hard. I could go on over this topic to explain how one can get promoted fairly quickly, but this is a long discussion and I will share it with you guys, in a different article.
So, back to this emotional buildup – it has finally reached its climax when I found myself… crying, over something minor, in none other place, than… our company’s President’s office. Crying in front of our President, and Vice President of Finance, who was my boss at that time, and one of my staff. I laugh when I think back to this episode now, but let me tell you – this is exactly what can happen when you let stress go on for too long, without addressing it right.
Soon after that incident, it finally occurred to me what might help cure this burnout syndrome. A vacation! Duh. So I went online, searched for a getaway package to someplace nice and warm, preferably where they serve good piña coladas, and a few weeks later I was in Costa Rica. I was all alone, away from the stress, from hundreds of urgent emails and phone calls, far away from crazy NYC; relaxed, at last.
It wasn’t my first solo trip, so I was not afraid to go alone. I just packed my bag, and took off.
To my delightful surprise, this trip actually served as a catalyst, bringing back all the memories of my past trips, reviving my love for travel and leaving me with what’s know as the “travel bug”. Versus before, I did not have the financial means to travel much, for the first time in my life – I finally could afford to.
So off to Canada, Puerto Rico, and Portugal, St. Martin, Arizona, Italy, and Paris, Singapore, Hong Kong, Colombia, Guyana, India, and South Africa, Australia and New Zealand – 60 beautiful countries later, and I just can’t stop.
Now, let’s pause here for a second and go back to… Colombia. Because that’s the gorgeous, friendly, and simply amazing country where I met my husband, Deivis, during one of those trips. On a bus. On my first visit to South America, namely to Cartagena. He was traveling too, though he flew from Bogota, the capital of Colombia, where he lived when we met. He is a Colombian – born and raised.
We met in April 2015, and for the next six months we were in a long distance relationship. I flew to Colombia two more times during that time, and he came to New York once in July, on his work visa. At the end of October, he moved to New York, to live with me permanently.
So, Why Am I Still Traveling Solo?
1. The number one reason why I am still traveling solo is because my husband (we were officially married in April 2016) is currently waiting for his legal documents (aka ‘Green Card’) before he can travel outside of U.S. Once he receives his official status, we are going to travel more often together, as well as do our big, fat, white, wedding in Colombia.
2. Number two reason (which should actually also be number one) why I am traveling is because of this awesome startup company that I am building, that you might have heard of, called Global Storybook. If you haven’t heard of it yet – well, then scroll up, hehe. 🙂
I have never been more serious about any other business opportunities, than this one. As you guys probably already know, I have put in a lot of work into this project and have a lot of faith, as well as solid plans, towards its future.
3. I am also traveling solo because my amazing husband is fully supportive of all my dreams and plans. I can’t even tell you how many times I had a friendly conversation with a male stranger or a friend, who would tell me: “Wow, I could never have a wife that travels so much and is away from me for so long”. “Well, and that’s why you are not my husband”, I would always reply, jokingly.
Jokes aside, every business has a different set of requirements, and even though I am very lucky to travel for work now, nothing can grow out of nothing, and you cannot build an enterprise out of thin air. If you want to achieve something great, you have to not only work very hard at it, but also go through some sacrifices without which it will be impossible to grow higher.
So, as long as you have the right person by your side, nothing should stand between you and your dream. Another key factors here are open communication and trust. Both are very important.
4. Believe it or not, I actually LOVE travel. If I didn’t meet my husband, and were single now, I would not even be based in New York. I would live each new month in a different city and/or country. There’s nothing I want more than to learn and understand various World cultures on a deeper level. And currently, that is only possible by actually living in one, talking to locals, reading about its history and social issues, while developing an insight into its unique way of life.
Yep, and that’s also why and how Global Storybook was born – to bring the different, local cultures closer to us, no matter where we are.
5. Finally, I also love my… independence. I love being my own boss, having my own financial freedom, thinking ahead, without completely relying on the traditional set of roles, dictated to us by our society. Don’t get me wrong, without my husband’s help and support I wouldn’t be able to run a household. It’s just that… for us it’s okay not to conform to the “average”.
I hope I don’t sound mean when I say that I appreciate every opinion but at the same time, I will not let others dictate how I live my own life. And if there’s one lesson or advise that I want to leave you with, after reading this article, is that do not be afraid to stand out! It’s easy to settle for average, for the so-called ‘normal’, traditional way of life. But if there’s anything that you ever dreamed of and had to let go of only because “it did not sit well with others” (unless it’s criminal) go for it! Stand out. Believe me, the more you practice it – the easier it will become.
The hardest part is always taking that very first step (just like with your first solo trip). It’s scary, you don’t know if you can make it, you are afraid that others will judge you and so on. Well, here’s the thing. People will judge. For one reason, or another, people will always judge, it’s just human nature. But if you are hearing a lot of negative feedback (as someone said, not me) – that might actually mean that you are on the right track! So, keep going higher. Don’t quit.
Finally, don’t forget that you only have one life to live – so please don’t waste it, make it right, and be proud of what you do and who you are.
With love and peace,