Taking a Leap of Faith to Travel

A few weeks ago, I sent a friend who is chartering boats in the Caribbean an email to ask where he was going to be in April/May so I could possibly plan a trip to visit. Imagine my surprise when he wrote back saying that he was going to be sailing from Israel to the Bahamas from mid-April to mid-May—did I want to join them for an ocean crossing? Um, YES! But I didn’t have enough vacation days, unless I, of course, decided to leave my job. But that’s crazy talk…right? Like most of my ideas, it was an out there thought, at first. I have always said that I would love to travel extensively, one day, but kept finding excuses for it to not happen. Finances, family, career—those were just some of the excuses I could think of. But this time, something seemed different. What was keeping me from doing this? How bad could it really get? This is what savings are for, right? How hard would it really be to do this? The more I thought I about it and the more I talked to people in my circle of trust, this crazy idea started to sound not-so-crazy after all. Once I realized that this could realistically happen, would I turn that “one day”, “someday” idea into reality?

It’s with mixed emotions, mostly excitement with a cup of fear and a smidge of sadness that I share that I’ll be leaving my job this week.

photo 2(1)5 years, 6 months and 7 days ago, I walked into the Intel lobby, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to take on the world—or rather, the Intel world. While this wasn’t my first time in a corporate environment, this was different from the internships that I held during college; this was my first real job and the start of my career at Intel. Over time I learned to speak the Intel language (there’s an acronym for everything), I have spent more time on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/blogs than you can imagine (remember, I’m a social media strategist), I turned into a morning person (yes, me, the girl who could barely go to 10am classes in college now prefers 7am meetings over 7pm meetings), I’ve had the opportunity to travel to places near and far to meet with colleagues, attend industry events and present at conferences, and I’ve met incredible people who went from being colleagues to friends from all over the world. It’s extremely tough to leave such a good thing behind but an opportunity presented itself that just seems right. I’ll miss my Intel family (yes, family—what else do you call a bunch of fun-loving, hard-working, incredibly smart and caring people?) but I know that the friendships and relationships that have been cultivated in the cubes and over calls are ones that extend far beyond the workplace. Intel will always hold a special place in my heart and life—and before I get too sappy, I could always be back!

The incredibly thoughtful farewell poster from my team

There’s a different world that I’m looking forward to taking on now—the world at large. I have this passion for travel that I’ve always fed over the years through my trips. I took a bigger step towards that passion with the contest I entered. And now, I’m taking an even bigger leap towards this passion. My last day in the office is this Wednesday and I leave early Thursday morning to make the trek from Portland to Israel. I arrive in Israel on Friday and we set sail on Saturday. We’ll be sailing from Haifa to Malta to Gibraltar before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to either the Bahamas or Florida (TBD). And that’s pretty much all I know at this point. I’m just trying to get from today to the boat and then I figure I’ll have lots of time to think about what I want to do next after I return from the sail. I’m really excited to spend time with my friends, to learn how to sail, to sleep, to reflect, and to just take a break. I’ve been told there’s lots of time to do all of that when you’re at sea with no land in sight for days or weeks at a time. Bring it on.

Just call me Sailor Sejal?

This is the biggest decision I’ve had to make in my life, so far. It’s exciting and scary, but it’s been less threatening and intimidating thanks to the support that I’ve found and the encouragement that people have extended. I’ve always known that I have an incredible support system, but I’m still blown away by all of the messages of support, of encouragement, of envy that I’ve received. I’m still a little paralyzed with emotion (good emotion) but ready to tackle the whirlwind and adventure coming my way. My someday is starting today—well, actually more like this week, but you get the idea. I still need to pinch myself to remind me that this is really happening. I hope to update my blog when I have internet, but until then, I’d appreciate all and any positive vibes you could send my way for a safe journey. Excited. Overwhelmed. Numb. Scared. All of the above and more is how I feel. Here goes nothing!

The Hardest Part About Quitting My Job

A Year Later - Remembering A Friend