How does a 50-something, urban-dwelling, corporate refugee end up driving to the end of a gravel road in the wilderness to take a full time job in a remote place two hours from the nearest small town? To paraphrase a line in a Taylor Swift song, will it be paradise or will it go down in flames?
Here’s the thing: I’ve been offered an opportunity to work on stewardship and conservation at a guest ranch as a professional web copywriter. It reads like a dream job. My mission will be to help develop and build their brand, to learn about and then write about the authentic wilderness experience and all the stewardship activities that they offer. To become part of a small team of staff and interns who do a lot more than deliver horseback tours, fishing trips and outdoor survival training all year round.
It’s not like I am a total stranger to major life changes or taking the road less traveled. As hard as I have worked to put down roots, raise a family, be a good wife and daughter and sister, I stand before you as a single older woman about to re-invent myself once again.
This particular episode brings me full circle from the moment when my Dad died last year. I fell apart. Not all at once, and not with much drama. It was like my world tilted sideways. A fulcrum was removed from a key position in the balance of my life, and with it went all the tenets and reasons and explanations for why I live my life the way I do.
I was at a high point in my career, in a senior corporate communications role. I had a classic, well-paid, places-to-go and people-to-see kind of job. The kind of job I had worked all my adult life to earn. Life in that moment made perfect sense and I was, as my Dad would put it, on the ball of my foot with my nose pointed into the wind. Well, it took a couple of months, but I gradually noticed that a still, hollow flatness had replaced that sense of purpose. The foundation had shifted. The meaning of everything had completely drained away.
I left my job and accepted an invitation as a keynote speaker at a conference in New Zealand. I traveled to Montana to research my family tree. I restarted my communications company and took on some contract work. All of it helped and none of it helped.
Then, one night, I was out standing in a field. Literally. The sky was dark and the stars were brilliant. One star flared and blew out in an instant, as I watched. In that moment I knew I wanted more of this. That I had to find a way to be in nature more. To stand under the dark night sky more. Much more. And in the way the world works when it is meant to at times, I saw the posting for this professional copywriter job a few days later. And so here I am. Ready to chase that shooting star. Will it steer me right? I will keep you posted.