Brooklyn Borwnstone
There’s a blue sky above with mottled clouds drifting overhead as I sit in the backyard of a Brooklyn brownstone. We’re here for a week before hopping on the QM2 to cross the Atlantic. It’s been a life dream that I have been actively working towards for about 7 to 8 years – to spend a year away from the noise of life to experience and explore other parts of the world. My partner in all this is my husband, professional sculptor Michael Binkley. Michael has been through a creative dip lately and his motivation for the intermission year is to get Back to Epiphany (more on his journey in another post).

We left Vancouver, Canada end of May 2018 and don’t plan to return until sometime the following summer. My last day of work in mid-May felt surreal when I awoke that morning. I hadn’t really thought about what it would feel like, as I was awash with to-do lists, packing and planning. But awoke I did – to a sunny Vancouver morning, heading into my last day of work for over a year. I did it – arrived at the threshold of change and a shift in our lifestyle. I must admit I was quite verklempt that entire day knowing that we were on the brink of an exciting chapter.

So why am I doing this? Won’t it hamper my career or work journey? Isn’t a year+ too long to be away from my network? What can possibly come from this bold move that I can apply to work when I return? So many questions from people these last few months when they realize what I am doing. But notice how I used the word ‘work’ in the title and not ‘career’. From a young adult, I never distinguished between work and/or career. Enjoying life has always been my priority over work and having flexibility to travel, curate Michael’s art shows or work for days on end in my garden, or even learn a new skill, must be part of the equation.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a healthy work ethic and enjoy my work as a Digital Producer. After 18+ years having my own special events business, I went back to school for Interactive Design, and have been in the Digital+Tech world for the last 7 years as a freelance Digital PM/Producer. I mostly work on enterprise level websites with large budgets and lots of Stakeholders.

But it’s time for a shift in my thinking and my doing.

I’m tired of the daily noise and the attitudes of some people, but mostly I’m aware of the negativity that is creeping into my life. For no particular reason, I’m at risk to become one of those complaining, pot-stirring, shitty people. I need some soul sauce to get back to the nugget that is me. This seems very first-world-self-indulgent but the time and opportunity for significant growth is here, so I’m hanging on to the ride, for all 365+ days of it. My hope is that I can define more things about myself, get more creative, learn, explore and reflect on my approach to life.

My travel to this point has included a 7 day car ride from Vancouver to Brooklyn with 1 husband, 5 suitcases, 2 backpacks and 2 dogs. We’ve enjoyed one dog puking in the backseat 2x, and another dog rolling in poop. Thank God for a dog hammock to protect the backseat of the rental car. Did I mention we are taking the dogs with us, on the QM2? And yes, we are crazy for doing so (watch for posts on travelling with dogs to the UK & Europe, and how to deal with the paperwork for the QM2 embarkation).

So I sit back and enjoy a robust coffee from DeKalb Ave in our Brooklyn neighbourhood-for-a-week, in a quaint backyard amidst a wash of blue hydrangeas and millions of people. But I stay quiet for a moment and breathe in the energy of gratitude and contemplation.