I’ve been quiet for the last month. But don’t let that fool you – a lot has been going on. I love January, despite living in a corner of the world where winter means endless grey and no sun. With it comes the start of a new year, and also my birthday on January 22nd. The three weeks between New Years Day and my birthday is my incubation period – where ideas percolate, intentions are born, and priorities for the year get outlined.

This year I had a conundrum. I had 5 gigs. Grant writing, web design, research coordination, training coordination and Jet Set Lisette. Not sustainable. I was overwhelmed.

I’ve always had side hustles – in addition to my part-time research work at the University of Washington. For a decade I was a freelance writer and editor. Then I shifted to web design. My flexible schedule allowed me to take more time off to travel.

When our 13 year research grant ended a year ago, I worked a few hours a week on another small grant, allowing me to keep my UW benefits due to layoff status. I also continued to coordinate curriculum trainings for tribal communities as requested (previously part of the big grant), create websites, and eventually took a part-time grant writing job (nothing like a steady paycheck).

Then there was Jet Set Lisette. I really didn’t need another business – it happened organically as I loved helping people accumulate airline miles and hotel points. I formalized my business in early 2017 and launched an online course later that year. I taught workshops and took on coaching clients. I started a podcast. This clearly was my passion, but it wasn’t generating income the way my other gigs did. And it took precious time.

So something had to go, but I couldn’t figure out what to jettison. I didn’t want to give up the location independent website work that would support the digital nomad future I imagined for myself. I didn’t want to give up the paycheck, the excellent benefits or serving tribal communities. I thought of dropping travel coaching because it was currently the least lucrative. But I felt it deserved at least another year, because of all the energy the podcast was generating and how much I loved it.

So I couldn’t solve the puzzle. By January 10th I basically gave up trying and decided to let it sort itself out. There was nothing more to do for the moment except buck up and shoulder my current commitments.

On January 14 everything changed. I was unexpectedly offered a position as the Product Manager for Nav.it – a fantastic finance app that aims to empower women to become more financially savvy, using travel as the inspiration and end goal. The app combines inspiring and educational travel articles with practical budgeting tools and tips – showing women how to make travel more attainable. Nav.it is determined to elevate female conversations around finances and help women redefine their lifestyles and what wealth means to them.

I had heard about Nav.it, and decided to interview CEO and Founder Erin Papworth as I was excited for their upcoming launch. (The app is now out – you can download it now and start saving for dream travel.) One thing led to another, culminating in a job offer.

And it’s a perfect fit. It’s a remote position so I can work from anywhere in the world. It has great benefits and pay at 30 hours a week, leaving me time for Jet Set Lisette. I was able to quit my UW and grant writing jobs, step away from coordinating trainings and turn my web design work over to a design colleague. I get to simply focus on the arena of women, travel and finances.

Even though family, health and work responsibilities had to come first, I never stopped putting my love of travel (and newfound love of podcasting) out there. Starting the podcast last year was a way to keep fueling my travel dream fire – by talking with other women who have found ways to be bold and travel more. Now it’s my turn to take a leap… in the direction of my passions and my ultimate goal of living abroad.

The lesson? Keep your travel dreams in the foreground, take small yet concrete steps towards your goals, and keep putting yourself out there. Connect with other travelers through communities like Nav.it, Wanderful, Black Girls Travel Too, She Hit Refresh and more. You never know what might happen.

Got any travel goals for this year? Successes you want to share? I’d love to hear about them – and help if I can. Leave a comment below.

(Photo courtesy of Nav.it)

Comments (2)
  1. Avatar

    Wow, Lisette. Shining example of what knowing one’s passion and living authentically can bring to one’s life. Aho and onward, friend!

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