How travel helped me find direction in my career

How travel helped me find direction in my career

June 18, 2021

For as long as I can remember, I have been intrigued by the thought of traveling the world.

solo girl hike

The desire to travel stuck with me throughout my childhood, college, and into my twenties when I started my first job as a marketing manager at a major tech company in NYC.

For many, the role was a dream job. For me, it never felt right. I struggled with the lack of creative freedom and felt totally trapped in the 9-5 life. I’d wonder: How will I see everything I want to see in the world with my 2-3 weeks of vacation every year? Is this really it? There has to be another path for me.

Five years into that career, I reached my breaking point. I researched travel tech companies, thinking that maybe if my job was at a travel company, I’d be happier. But in the end, all the job postings fell flat. My unhappiness wasn’t going to be cured at a different company. Something else was wrong and I just didn’t know what that something was. 

Around the same time, I came across a book by a young woman named Kristin Addis. The book was called “A Thousand New Beginnings.” It was the story of how Kristin, 26 at the time, quit her high paying job in California to travel Southeast Asia solo.

After reading that story, a lightbulb went off in my head. I could do what she did. I could leave my job and travel the world alone. I had the money saved, and needed the break to figure out what I was going to do next. And so I did.

I left my job in June of 2017 and didn't return until October of that year. My adventure started in Scandinavia, continued throughout southern parts of Europe, and ended in Eastern Asia in Hong Kong and Japan.

hiking views

The most memorable part of that trip was meeting another solo traveler in a hostel in Norway. Two days after meeting, she changed her travel plans last minute to join me on the epic Norwegian Trolltunga hike. We spent a whole day supporting each other in the grueling heat, snow, ice, and wind!

The first big lesson I learned solo traveling was this: We open our hearts to one another when we are alone more so than we do when we travel in groups.

Aside from meeting great travel buddies and seeing parts of this world that left me awestruck, I didn’t have the big life-changing moment like some people do when they first solo travel. The real lessons from my trip came quietly and subtly to me throughout the year after I returned home.

That trip brought me to terms with what I really wanted in life: To be able to drop everything and travel when I wanted. To feel like I was making an actual impact. To spend my days the way I want, whether I was traveling or not.

About a year after I returned from that trip, it was finally clear to me. I was going to work for myself. Be my own boss. Become an entrepreneur. 

I soon went deep into research mode on how to start my own business. Pretty quickly I knew that I wanted to serve the very market I had recently become a part of: solo female travelers.

My research showed me that while there were a lot of solo travel communities and people out there providing education on how to solo travel… There wasn’t a single business simply celebrating solo female travelers through apparel.

That’s when The Lone Travel Girl was born. Over the next year, I welcomed over 5000+ solo female travelers into my IG community and they wore their solo travel apparel with pride.


Some of their favorites include: “They Ain’t Coming, Book The Trip” Sweatshirt and the “She Traveled Without Waiting For Others And Lived Happily Ever After” Mug.

Then travel took a huge hit in March 2020. I suddenly couldn’t sell the apparel because our warehouses were almost entirely shut down. But something interesting happened at that time too. Many travelers in my community started telling me they wanted to work for themselves too. They asked - How did you do it? And how can I?

I was soon coaching some of the women in my community on how to do exactly this: Grow their own online businesses.

I quickly fell in love with online coaching. Today, I coach other women [mostly passionate women travelers!] how to start online coaching businesses utilizing Instagram so they can achieve more freedom.

I will forever be grateful for travel. It’s the thing that provided me with the freedom I always wanted deep down. And now, I am able to pay it forward and help other women travelers do the same.


You can find our [new!] community for The Lone Travel Girl here on IG. We are completely rebuilding our IG, and are so appreciative of each new traveler who joins us.

And you can find me and my online coaching business @heycalliemarie.

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