Angie Kalousek – Living for Now

[singlepic=1409,175,,,right]Angie Kalousek shares with us how choosing to take a “Leap of Faith” and venture off on a two-month career break in Europe affected her life.

Prior to my career break, I had traveled quite a bit, which I suspect is what gave me the bug. I’d spent time in most countries of Europe, Russia, Chile, Thailand, Israel, Australia and Costa Rica…and of course the more proximate Canada and Mexico. I also have visited roughly half of our 50 states…but I don’t really consider that traveling.

I think the past experience traveling was really beneficial in that I knew how to “tone down” my American-ness…which goes a long way with the locals. Always be gracious by learning at least a few phrases in the local language – and smile a lot. I would have to say that as much as my previous travel prepared me for my trip, corporate life did little to prepare me. Maybe that was why I was going – to learn something new.

Prior to my trip, I was more excited than anxious. I did have to make sure that financially, it was a sound idea – and I took care of some of that by subletting my apartment for 4 months. I guess the one little fear I had was that I would need to look for a job when I came back. I had no idea how hard or easy that would be – but had a feeling it would all work out for me.

[singlepic=1410,175,,,left]While traveling, the biggest thing that I felt was just extreme gratitude. Gratitude for the opportunity to immerse myself in a life completely different than my usual day to day; gratitude for the friends that I traveled with and how they “got me” in a way that no one else does, gratitude for the beauty in this world, and gratitude for the new people and experiences I encountered that now help make up who I am.

I feel like taking time to completely step out of my “normal” life, allowed me to get a much clearer view of who I am, what I want and what I will and will not accept in my life. I learned that I’m a bit of a slave to my routines – and that the world will not end if they aren’t executed in exact fashion. I learned that the little lives we lead are just one way – one option, and that if you keep your eyes open, you’ll be able to see the countless other options that exist for us. Then you can really choose.

The hardest thing about my travels was coming home. I remember sitting on the plane and flying back into the beautiful city of San Francisco and realizing that although things had remained the same here….I had changed. I no longer wanted to go back to the same routines and somehow my friends would have to get used to an Angie that was slightly different. Slightly more open, slightly less inclined to go along with status quo and slightly more in touch with my heart’s desires.

I’ve been back over a year now – and I did get a job…and as a result of that, I’ve had to develop a new set of routines. But I now see these routines as a necessary part of where I am right now and I realize that I may be in a different place tomorrow.

I think the key thing that I’ve learned as a result of my travels is that all we have – all we can count on in certainty is this moment. This moment may be intense, or wonderful, or challenging, or exhausting, or quiet…but it is always NOW. It is always the reality that we have to embrace and learn and grow from.

[singlepic=1411,250,,,left]I realize that when you’re away from your norm, it’s a lot easier to be fully present. So I try to jolt myself into presence as often as I can. Since I’ve been back, I’ve taken trips to Paris, Geneva, Vietnam, Malaysia – and some closer jaunts to Mexico and Hawaii. These are my life-blood. And while I’m back I just try to remind myself to embrace and be grateful for what is right in front of me. Not always easy to do – that’s for sure. But the experience of being abroad brought me that clarity and its memories can always put a smile on my face…and bring me back to now.

Read what Circumstances Inspired Angie to take a career break.

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