“Some places always feel like coming home. But for me, home has never been a box with rooms, a yard, and white picket fence. I tried. I really did. Less than two years ago I spent my days behind a big desk, in a small office, with nothing on the white walls except for the law degree that I thought would be enough. I was restless, couldn't focus, and was definitely not at home.
I wrestle with WHY I'd ended up behind that desk. When I was really little I wanted to be a doctor. Then entomologist, photographer, journalist, veterinarian, conservation biologist - I could go on and on. Point is, at no time do I remember wanting to be a lawyer. And all those paths I didn't take, they haunted me. So I walked away from the desk.”
Jess, you worked as a lawyer before deciding to quit your job one day and pursue your life of adventure. What went through your head before you made this decision?
The story actually isn’t quite as glamorous as that! I didn’t quite my job to pursue a life of adventure. One day I showed up to the law firm I worked at, and the partners told us that they were having financial issues and had to let us all go. When it happened I felt a great sense of relief, and I immediately knew I didn’t want to pursue law any longer. But I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I got my real estate license and became a broker. It was a lot of work, with crazy hours, but I had more control over my schedule than when I was practicing law. That flexibility allowed me to reprioritize my time, and rekindle my love for the outdoors. The rest is history!
Did you travel a lot when you were younger, or was this something that came about as an adult?
I had the opportunity to travel some with my family growing up. And even as a young kid I had a strong sense of wanderlust. I’m not sure exactly where it came from, but I’ve never been able to shake it!
No matter how big the wanderlust, traveling can seem a bit daunting for a lot of people, especially internationally. Do you have any tips for beginners on planning trips / traveling to places you’ve never been?
Traveling can definitely be daunting. When I first started traveling, going with a buddy, and planning out my itinerary beforehand (especially accommodations), helped a lot. Just knowing that if all else failed, I had someone to laugh about it with, was very comforting.
What has your life of adventure taught you about yourself?
I think my travels have taught me that I’m a lot closer to my family than I ever realized growing up. I was always so focused on getting away, that I never appreciated how important they were to my happiness. That realization taught me to cherish the time I get to spend with loved ones at home, and the importance of being truly present during those times.