Colombia DSC_0398 (2)

Reprinted from 11/3/2010  http://www.lostgirlsworld.com/2010/11/8915/

 

This week’s Lost Girl, Angela Petitt, an IT professional and native Houstonian, who decided to take a step of faith by resigning her corporate position during the recession to go on sabbatical. Her sabbatical travels have led her to amazing destinations such as Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Colombia, and Panama.

With a desire to serve, Ms. Petitt has been involved with projects such as volunteer mission trips, faith based outreach, and mentoring at a juvenile delinquent center. In addition, she was recently presented with the 2009 WHS Wall of Honor Service and Leadership award by her alma mater. Follow Angela’s adventures on her blog www.sabbaticalscapes.com.

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“Are you crazy?”

“How can you afford that?”

“What do you mean you want to quit?”

“We are in a recession!!”

“Did you win the lottery?”

Those were the reactions I got when I mentioned my plans to my family and friends.  Although they meant well, I felt that there was more to life than a winning corporate existence.  My response to them was “If not now, when?”   I knew that even with a successful career in technology and an MBA, I wanted more…I wanted freedom!  A week later, I was on a plane bound for Italy.

Making the decision to opt-out of corporate America for a while was the first step in my journey. The notion of quitting was several years in the making, being fueled more and more every time I went on vacation.  (Be warned – This is the main symptom of Lost Girl-itis.) When I came to the realization that I really wanted to see the world and was ready to move beyond the cubicle, I knew it was time to make a change.

At mid-career, I wanted my sabbatical to be different.  I did not want to sell anything to make it happen. Plus, I wanted my sabbatical to be a true rest from the ordinary and an escape to the extraordinary. For me, that meant living life to the fullest and making time to do the things that I enjoy.

With a mix of land trips and cruises every month or so, I was able to see amazing destinations.  My sabbatical has given me many memories such as cave diving and giving a little girl my watch (you should have seen her smile) in Punta Cana, staring in amazement at the pyramids of Giza, standing thigh high  by the Sphinx – while getting caught in a sandstorm,  getting rained on in the Costa Rican rainforest,  glaring into the mouth of a steamy volcano in Nicaragua, hiking to waterfalls in Puerto Rico’s El Yunque with my precious Mother,  playing with monkeys in Roatan, zip lining in Cabo, sipping apple tea while overlooking the Mediterranean in Turkey, dancing at Music on the Rocks in Positano, marveling at the ancient ruins of the Acropolis in Athens, eating everything in sight aboard cruise ships (I love desserts!), walking in the steps of Jesus in Israel, and many other exciting adventures.

In addition to traveling, I have continued to volunteer at church and have had the opportunity to learn golf, horseback riding, and photography. I even realized that it is a welcomed treat just to enjoy a lazy day, okay a lazy week, at home on the couch.
Last August 2009 when I took a step of faith by resigning my position to go on sabbatical, I really had no idea how things would transpire.

Of course being single with a mortgage and supporting my college–age nephew, everyone thought I was crazy – especially during the recession.  But, I have no regrets. Since starting my journey, I have grown in courage, confidence, and wisdom. More importantly, I have come to understand my God given uniqueness and that life is truly precious and too short to waste.

Furthermore, my time away has instilled in me the renewed desire not to merely survive, but to authentically thrive!  I am now working on my doctorate degree and looking to re-enter Corporate America.

So have faith and step into your dreams.  There is more out there. Fabulous after 40, or any age, is definitely a beautiful thing…Enjoy the journey