I won!!  In a contest sponsored by Carnival Cruise Lines, I won a spot as a face on their billboard campaign.  Woo Hoo!!Since one of the billboards is located in Conroe, we had to take a roadtrip to see it.  Click the photo to see me in action!!

 

Inspiration – “Focus on where you want to go, not on what you fear” – Anthony Robbins

Be blessed!

~A

Check one off the Life List!

The other day I did something that I never thought I would actually muster up the courage to do. After many flights and fantasizing about how cool it would be to fly a plane, I got the opportunity to do it!!

After a safety check and review, I climbed aboard the Cessna 172 eager for adventure.  As co-pilot with my trainer and pilot Thad, I maneuvered the craft over the skies of west Houston overlooking downtown and Williams Tower. Although I was nervous, Thad was actually comfortable as I took control…Okay, it was only for about 15 minutes, but it was exhilarating!! As I check this adventure off my Life List, I am actually considering getting my pilot’s license in the future.

Has anyone else had flight lessons or earned their license? Let me hear about your experience.

Also, I was so excited to be featured as a case study earlier this year on the Vagabonding website.  Here is the link in case you missed it http://www.vagablogging.net/vagabonding-case-study-angela-petitt.html.

 Keep checking in…Always more to come!

Inspiration – Don’t wait to realize you shouldn’t have waited!

Angie in Cozumel

Hi All!

 This year has gone by so fast. The past few days I have been reminiscing about past journeys and adventures. In addition, I have been really inspired by so many people on Twitter and Facebook who are going after their dreams. Next year will be even better!!  Oh, did you get a chance to see  my feature in the Houston Chronicle
 or on the Career Break Secrets website?  It is still hard to believe that it has been 15 months and counting since I left corporate.  Be safe tonight and enjoy bringing in the New Year!!

Next SabbaticalScape – China, Japan, Russia…and a job?

Step it up & Do things differently! Stretch out of your comfort zone, commit yourself to God, read your bible daily, make godly choices instead of just good choices, step out on faith, and love thy neighbor as thyself. Leave the nonsense in the past and move forward seeking God first and all things will be added unto you ( Matt 6:33).

Happy New Year & Happy Travels!

Peace & Blessings.

~A

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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.

*****
“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

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Check out my feature on Lost Girls World website…So excited!!

http://www.lostgirlsworld.com/2010/11/8915/

Inspiration – Life is not about fitting in… it’s about standing out. ~Unknown

Be Blessed!

~A

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Just as the summer was winding down, we decided to take the kids on a trip – a cruise to be exact. Leaving out of Galveston, we boarded the recently renovated Carnival Ecstasy for a 4 day trip going to Cozumel.  It was actually nice for a quick getaway.  The kids loved it!

If you are planning a similar cruise, here are some tips for you:

1 – Bring air freshener or deodorizer – Sometimes the bathroom and cabin, or compartment as my 6 year old nephew called it, can get stuffy.

2 – Gratuities are automatically added to you account.

3 – Cozumel has beautiful scenery!! After docking in Cozumel, you can get an air conditioned tour van that will take you to the free beach, shopping, and tour of the island for approx 4 hours really cheap. (We paid $15 per person, with 10 people in the van).

(Taxi service is widely available but negotiate a price & agree on it before getting in the cab).

4 – There are free beaches, but it is customary to buy drinks/food. (Actually, the food was cheap – like 6 bucks for nachos).

5 – Sign up for the cruise line royalty club/frequent cruise club for gifts, for special invitations to parties, onboard discounts, and other goodies.

6 – Make sure you know what kind of cabin you are purchasing. For example, some window cabins are obstructed with only light coming in and no view.

7 – Tell the travel agent, waiter, or cruise line if you are celebrating something special…they may give you a slice of special dessert at dinner.

8 – Although you won’t be in your room often, check to see what free/on demand movies are available on your stateroom tv.

9 – Bring any medications with you like Pepto Bismal or Advil. These things can be pricey on the boat.

10 – Get to know your cabin steward. They can be a great help for things (extra blankets, lotions, and etc).

11 – You don’t have to eat everything on your plate.  But for the fun of it, order ALL  the deserts!!

12 – Review the daily agenda of classes and events the night before so that you don’t miss anything.

13 – Take a journal, a good book, iPod, or magazine to read while relaxing at the solarium or poolside.

14 – Many of the onboard shops have clearance sales the last sea day or the last night of the cruise. Get your last minute souvenirs then. *This ship had a great $10 boutique that had great accessories. I picked up a FAB straw beach bag!

15 – Get to the shows early to get a good seat.

16 – The internet can be expensive at sea. I would suggest getting online at an internet cafe in port. Just ensure that you logout appropriately.

*** There may be only one outlet in the some cabins!!

17 – A lot of ships now have anytime dining or mytime dining. This gives you the flexibility to eat anytime you want. You may have to pay your tips upfront, but at least you can eat whenever you want.

18 – Bring shower cap and facial wipes to remove cosmetics (saves on towel usage).

19- Relax and Enjoy the journey!!

Inspiration – Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life  –  Michael Palin

Be blessed!

~A

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Photography, or at least taking pictures, has always been one of my favorite things to do.  I love my Nikon!!  But generally, after all the photos I have taken on all my journeys, I basically just use the point and shoot capabilities.  So, when I saw the groupon offering a great deal on a Val Westover photo workshop, I didn’t hesitate to purchase.  

The hotel venue was packed!!  Honestly, I wasn’t expecting that at all.  The workshop started off with a lecture that well covered the essentials of camera operations and capturing true emotion.  Then, after a break, most participants met up in Uptown Park for a hands-on shooting “safari”.  As an extra bonus,  I actually got a chance to meet and talk a bit with Val when I ran into him and his team at Pot Belly’s during the lunch break.  I really had a lot of questions, but couldn’t think of any one of them at that particular point…go figure LOL!!

I must say that the hands-on safari portion nailed it for me and several others.  It made all the difference to have the lecture coupled with the practical application of trying out what we learned.  Otherwise, I would still be in point and shoot mode.

Today was a beautiful day and a real treat in getting to use my camera in a fuller capacity. Val and Stephanie were great, very personable, and extremely helpful.  They know their stuff!!   Oh yeah, afterwards I rewarded myself with Walnut pecan apple pie from McCormick’s and Schmick’s!!

Inspiration – If there is a good thing about photography, it is that it can be easily enjoyed. – Lord Snowdon

Happy Snappin’!!

Blessings!

~A

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Hi Everyone!

Hearing wonderful things about a destination makes me curious.  Are the reports true?  What if my experience is different?  What makes this locale special?  One place I always wanted to visit was Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. It is located on the eastern side of the island of Hispaniola, with Haiti on the other side.  I heard that Punta Cana had beautiful beaches.  And you know me, I love azure beaches!  Punta Cana did not disappoint.

As soon as we landed, I knew the trip started off right. We were greeted by islanders playing music and kicking their tip basket toward tourists.  Kerri kicked it back and we ran!! LOL!!  We just wanted to find our shuttle and get settled for fun.

Mud everywhere!

The first night was nice, but the next day was better.  First, we loaded into the truck that shuttled us to the dune buggies.  They told us not to wear white…we later found out why. The dune buggies were actually mud buggies!  We rode through Punta Cana’s back roads and country side, hitting every muddy pothole in sight.  Thanks to Kerri’s driving, we were covered in red mud from the rooter to the tooter!!

Horses & Cave “diving”

Now, we were off to ride the horses on the beach. That horse was out of control.  He started to gallop and throw me all over the place. What fun!! The next stop was at some cave.  As we descended into the bowels of D. R., we realized why everyone was in line. One look at each other and we decided, “we are only here once – let’s do it”!  One at a time, we jumped into the deep dark cold waters of this cave.  What a thrill!!

After we climbed back to the mud buggy to strap in, a sweet little girl helped me put my helmet back on and asked me what time it was.  I told her and gave her my watch as a thank you.  She happily ran off and then, another little girl asked me the same thing.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have anything else to give her.   

Step off

We had so much fun that day! We were so tired the next morning that Kerri screamed at the maid to “Step Off” as she knocked on our door to clean the room late that morning.  Apparently, the maid understood that!

The following days were filled with water sports – parasailing and kayaking.  Plus, we got some guy to take us out on the catamaran while we soaked up the sun.  The beaches of Punta Cana are indeed beautiful.  It definitely lived up to the hype. On this trip, we didn’t get to explore the surrounding area or go to Santo Domingo. But that’s ok – one day I will go back!

Take a look at our adventure in pictures…enjoy!

Inspiration – It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. ~Author Unknown

Peace & Blessings!

~A

Hi All!

I was thinking that most people tend to have a Bucket List… Not expressly written down, but inherently dreamt of or about.  I mean, the idea of a list of things to do before I die sounds good, but also seems, well, morbid.  It’s like a countdown to death.  Plus, when life happens, that list goes to the backburner – indefinitely.

Can we go a little further? I would like to suggest another list – let’s call it a Life List. A life list details the events, experiences, desires, dreams, or goals a person would like to incorporate into their life. These are things that one thinks will make for a more exciting, purposed, and inspired life. And moreover, I would even venture to say it also brings life to others.

Ziplining in Cabo - Woo Hoo!!

A life list can also be a wake-up call or an “aha” moment.  It is that moment that we realize life is indeed short and tomorrow is definitely not promised.  It is that moment which calls us into the deeper more meaningful life that God wants for His children.

I think I have always had a life list per se. I can see how different things and events in my life are like snapshots of the big picture journey that I am pursuing currently.  Some great things happened, and some not so great.

I believe we must take every day as an opportunity and gift from God to responsibly step out into what is buried deep in our hearts.  We can try something new, do something different, or just step out of our comfort zone. This can be scary, but also very rewarding. So, be inspired and launch out into the deep…for that is where your treasure will be found!

Inspiration – It’s not really about being career-focused , it’s more about being LIFE-focused.

Success to You!

~A

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“You’ve never been to NY!!”  That’s what people exclaim to me, knowing that I have been all around the world, but never NYC.  Well, after firming up details for my Holland America cruise slated to leave out of Manhattan, I finally decided to take a bite out of the big apple.  

NYC here I come!!

Hurricane? What!?!

For this “sabbaticalscape”, my friend Kerri was able to join me again.  Little did I know that Hurricane Earl had dibs on the big apple as well. Weather reports were pouring in stating that Earl was on his way toward our intended path. But with tickets bought and bags (almost) packed, this did not stop us!

The Arrival – Day 1

We landed in Newark and shuttled our way to the Marrakech hotel, located on the Mahattan’s upper west side.  This trendy boutique hotel was nicely decorated in a Moroccan motif.  Energetic music greeted us as we entered the door and walked up the stairs to the front desk for check in. With no elevator, the bell hops eagerly packed our bags to our 3rdfloor abode.  The room was clean, cute, and kind of small…much like our budget!! But I must say that I was well pleased with the excellent service from the staff.  They did a lot to accommodate us – everything from hailing cabs to carrying bags, and getting a delicious pizza ordered at 3 am!

Not wanting to waste any time, we quickly put our bags down, got a map, and hit the streets. I was able to give a friend a call, who referred us to a small restaurant many blocks away.  Much to my surprise, the food was really good.

From there, we continued walking…walking…and more walking down Broadway. Then all of a sudden we heard music. It was Lincoln Center!! They were having a free outdoor concert/opera of Hansel and Gretel on the big screen…did I mention FREE.

The Experience – Day 2

 The next day, a friend of mine offered to show us around the city. But, Kerri had other ideas.  Needless to say, after much “discussion”, we bought the 2-day ticket for the hop on-hop off bus and decided to meet up with my friend later that evening.  Regardless, I knew we would have fun.

As a first timer in NYC, imagine my surprise as I stepped out of the hotel, caught the nearby subway, and in a flash we were on 42nd street in Times Square.  Amazing!  The lights, the people, the buildings, and the shopping!! But wait, we were also hungry.  Generally, my rule while traveling is to only eat things that are local to the area.  In other words, no chain restaurants!! But, we made an executive exception – McDonald’s.  We had to eat quickly and get moving – so much to see and do.

From the hop on bus route, we were able to see the Empire State Building, the original Macy’s, Greenwich Village, and more.  We then walked to the World Trade Center site, did some window shopping, and walked down to Battery Park. Hungry again, we bought a $2 hot dog from the infamous carts. I thought for sure I would be sorry, but everything turned out ok…if you know what I mean.

Nearing dusk, my friend Keir met us at the park and took us around to board the Staten Island Ferry. I actually saw some kids break dancing in the street! Of course, this added to my authentic NYC experience. LOL!!!

With the night still young, Kerri was ready to go out.  Actually, I could have gone back to the hotel and hung out in that area. But, we were in NY and we were both eager to break in the hot new shoes we bought.  Nonetheless, we danced, met new friends, and club hopped (a first for me). We got back to the hotel and guess what?  Half asleep, Kerri wanted a NY pizza.  She ordered some awful looking pizza at 3 am in the morning. Turns out, that was the best $30- 3 am in the morning pizza I have ever tasted…Not anything like pizza here at home.

The Explorers – Day 3

This was the last full day of our labor day weekend and not being morning people, we pulled an “Angie” – we didn’t get up until 1 pm. But, we still had one more day on our hop on bus ticket. So, we decided to use it for the blue route to Harlem, the museums, and enjoying Central Park.  We never did make breakfast anywhere. LOL!!!  Oh, we did forget one thing… the bus stopped running at 6!!  (Tip – Always note where and what time the last bus runs). So, we explored, okay walked,  the area back to the hotel , stopping to eat (as usual) and just taking in the sites. Even with our late start, it turned out to be a great day.

The End – Last day

With only a few hours left before check out, we rolled out of bed at 7 am with a goal to get on tv. We took the subway into Manhattan and started to make the rounds to each tv studio. I actually got on GMA!!  Even though it was only for a split second, it was a thrill to call home and to tell them to try to catch me on the show. In addition, we were lucky enough to get a photo with anchor David Muir.  Afterwards, we made it to the Met to snap photos of us with the masters.

Much to my surprise, I LOVED NY!

With only a short amount of time left before Kerri’s shuttle arrival, we made it back to the hotel—just in time!! She left for Houston and me..well, I was en route to my next sabbaticalscape – a 10 day cruise of New England and Canada. WOO HOO!!  Oh by the way, we never saw any signs of Hurricane Earl!

 
Inspiration – Don’t save all your dreams of retirement for the end.  Live some now while you’re young, healthy and able to tango!  Tim Ferriss
 
Be blesssed!
~A
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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