I never wanted to be a business owner. There, I said it. When I listed my dream jobs as a little girl, not once did I ever see myself owning a business. I was (and am) a writer. That was always enough for me. Until it wasn’t.
Sometimes the be-all, end-all goals we think we want to achieve don’t quite scratch every itch. That can be a terrifying thought. It certainly was for me. What have I been doing with my life? What have I been working so hard to achieve? Fortunately, I had enough strong, motivated, accomplished women already surrounding me who taught me a very important lesson: you can have more than one goal. And you can be more than one thing. Time, for once in my life, was also on my side, as I was transitioning into a life back in New York after having spent six months abroad in Mexico learning so very difficult life lessons. So I tilted my travel writing hat to the side and made room for a second one, and Vaera Journeys was born.
It took seven months from inception to fruition. Seven terrifying, soul-shattering, esteem-crushing, financially unstable months. But when nine women flew down to Playa del Carmen to help me launch my entrepreneurial retreat company with our inaugural event, none of anxiety-fueled nightmares or bounced rent checks mattered.
This was going to work. I was going to be a travel writer/business woman combo, and there were women out there who wanted to do it with me.
Nine writers, bloggers, and social media influencers flew down to Mexico for five days of networking, bonding, creative collaboration, and exploration of my dearest country, Mexico. Each of these women is a business owner with a personal brand, and each one has a specific set of talents they could showcase, as well as build upon. Admittedly I arrived to my own retreat with zero plan. I actually arrived to my own retreat with zero suitcase, as well, thanks to an unexpected disaster that had me arriving to my own business launch under less-than-ideal circumstances. (Another story; another time.) Point is, I had nothing. No talking points, no takeaways, no toothbrush. But working on the fly, navigating the landmines, and ultimately rising to the occasion (a fancy term for ‘sucking it up’) is kind of what starting a business all about. Faking it til you make it is entirely a thing.
And while there was much for me to learn about the logistics of running a retreat, one thing became abundantly clear: this idea is good. The women who joined me took off and running entirely on their own. They were there to learn. They were there to create. They were there to network, bond, and explore. And that’s exactly what they did. Case in point: Our last day was given as an entirely free day to relax, with no itinerary or agenda. And what did these brilliant women chose to do with their free time? Work with each other. As I wandered around the resort I was n awe, and damn impressed, to see women who arrived on this trip as strangers helping each other as friends and potential colleagues to grow their personal brands and help with their own Purpose Projects.
We will never stop learning. We will never stop growing. Despite the hiccups along the way and the lessons I still have to learn about running a successful business (and life), when you show up to do the work success is not a hope. It’s a guarantee. When women come together on the edge of new adventures, they will surely fly. I tip my two hats to these bad ass, successful, EPICALLY awesome women who brought me to tears and filled my heart with hope that dreams only stay dreams if you let them.
Photo Credits: Class - Kristen Love, Group on boat - Jessica Maxwell