The decision to become my own boss and a traveling virtual assistant began with my son, Jesse, and his change of plans in 2012.
He hated working in construction, pouring concrete and having to work like a dog. More than once I told him he needed to work just like everybody else to ever be able to get anywhere. While attending college, almost through his 2nd year, he decided he needed a change. Jesse quit his job and school and took his first trip to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail to see if he could figure out what he is supposed to be doing in this world and with his life. He showed me that you do not have to be rich to travel, you do not have to wait for the right time and you do not have to follow convention. This is when he started his first travel blog: Inspiration Travels
I had read the book Wanderlust by Daniel Steele years ago and will never forget the feeling it gave me, and the newfound desire to travel and see the world, the real world. I had been lucky enough to have taken a couple of trips out of the country, which only made me want to travel even more. I always knew someday I would get out there, but it always seemed very far away and a dream that would never really happen.
I had sold my home in Wisconsin, took some of that money and joined Jesse. After his Camino walk, he was to fly to Munich to meet up with me. I had flown into Amsterdam and with his buddy, Yoran and coworker Caesar, drove through Germany to meet in Munich. The four of us spent a couple of very fun, crazy days at Oktoberfest. Jesse and I went on to Switzerland to take a train through the Swiss Alps. We then flew from Geneva to Amsterdam, where I spent a
week and a half, and Jesse stayed on for several months. This trip gave me the travel bug, and I knew I wasn’t going to be happy to stay at home anymore.
Jesse suggested I look into becoming a virtual assistant. He knows my desire to travel and get out and see the world. I’d been traveling through his eyes from his travels and was a bit envious to be sitting at home, working in an office while he was out gallivanting all over the world. I have been a part of his journey through blogging and he has tried to teach me.
The trial run:
After some meditation and a lot of self-exploration, Jesse changed direction and started his second blog: Seeking the Right Life This new direction was more focused on the hero’s journey and the hero in all of us. I assisted him with post scheduling, found a mapping program and worked that into his Facebook page showing everyone where he was and when, and attached pictures he took to each of the locations. I loved doing this, learning new things and seeing everyplace he was.
Figuring it out:
So, I began researching virtual assistants, joined a couple of Facebook groups and tried to figure out how to focus my energies. Since traveling is what I want to do, I decided on the travel industry as my niche. I loved helping Jesse on his blog, and would love to learn as much as I can about travel, how to travel cheaply and what the best destinations are. So, one of the things I decided to do to get my website going was to take a trip. A nice long 3-month trip. This would include exploring and networking. My destinations included Hungary, the Netherlands, Scotland and the Czech Republic. There are several reasons to each destination.
Where and Why:
Genealogy Trips –
I am Hungarian on my father’s side and Scottish on my mother’s side.
Hungary: I have been researching my genealogy and while in Budapest met with the researcher who assisted in getting my great grandfather’s birth record. I also met with a woman that I became acquainted with on a Hungarian genealogy Facebook group. I am considering Hungarian citizenship so that I can travel freely throughout Europe without having to worry about visas or time frames.
Scotland: The research from my Scottish side goes way, way back. While in Scotland, I attended the Scottish Highland Games in Luss, the seat of the Colquhoun Clan, my ancestors. It was awesome! There was a drink reception at the Clan Chief’s home to welcome those of us who traveled to attend the event. I met some really good people and am looking forward to attending games that will be held in the US in the near future.
The Netherlands: More on a business note, I attended Traverse 2018, a
travel bloggers’ conference, in Rotterdam. Attended some very helpful sessions, learned a lot, and met some more really great people. This was my second travel blogger conference, Jesse and I attended TBEX 2017 Huntsville in Alabama May of 2017. This was before my decision to quit my job and become a virtual assistant, so I was there as Jesse’s sidekick and support person. I loved the energy and positive attitude of the travelers that I met, and was more excited than ever about traveling.
Czech Republic: Another travel blogger conference; TBEX 2018 Ostrava.
The second TBEX that I attended, and it was as awesome as the first one in Huntsville. This was a very educational and great networking opportunity for me. I met so many incredible people, and I think some of those will be long-time friends. I’m sure I will see them again at future TBEX conferences.
All in all, I think the trip was very successful and a great help to me for this website and my plans to be a virtual assistant supporting the travel industry working from anywhere in the world I want!
I learned so much about what changes I need to make before my next adventure, which will make it so much better.
Watch for my stories about this trip that will include country comparisons, what I learned, what I saw, who I met, where I stayed, how I got around, the big mistakes I made. Along with lots of pictures.
My blog will also include virtual assistant tips and tricks, organization ideas, help with Microsoft Suite features, and who knows what else.
So, follow along and get Penny’s perspective on life, the world, being a solo female traveler, starting and building your own business, working from anywhere in the world, learning new skills, and whatever else I think you might find interesting.