Before La Sierra was even a thought in my mind I began another journey: one of self-discovery.
I was 22 and had just finished uni. Naturally, the next step was to get a full time job. I had it all mapped out: I’d work in advertising and live a comfortable life. I was content… but content isn’t the same as fulfilled.
I wanted to enjoy myself in South America for a few months before I started out on a career. Suffice to say, that trip changed EVERYTHING.
One month in, I fell in love. In Ecuador. I met Rene.
I was struck by his spirit. He embodied everything I felt I didn’t have; he personified freedom. Meeting Rene ignited a fire within me and we were swept up in a whirlwind romance. Love wasn’t something I’d factored into the equation for my trip - I had a list of places to be, people to see and a bucket list to check off. After one month together I left whatever it was that was bubbling between us and continued on my journey with my friends.
My heart didn’t leave Rene when I did. It stayed in Ecuador. Looking back, I think of something that the poet Nayyirah Waheed says:
"Don’t disrespect your heart by hearing what it needs and giving it the opposite".
Deaf to my heart, I completed my trip and returned to Australia, to the prospect of security. As planned, I was going through an interview process with a top advertising agency, yet I found I didn’t want the job at all. But I needed the job? I wasn’t so sure anymore. The only thing certain was that I had big, life questions to answer. Security or Freedom? Money or Love? Who am I?
Torn between two worlds, I left a small suitcase packed. It made the possibility of return seem real to me. In desperate need of a sign about what to do, I made a promise to myself: I promised that if I didn’t get the job I would go straight back to South America.
Almost instantly, I received a call from the advertising agency. More than relieved, I was over the moon when I heard I didn't get that job!
Two weeks later I was off. On a one-way ticket to where Rene was living in Panama, to explore what I had with this stranger. And just like that, the expectations I had had for my life were washed away. Honouring my heart transformed my life.
It wasn’t until a year later that I was touching back down in Australia and starting the next part of my journey: my business, La Sierra.