A long time ago I discovered a desire to use my living time on this Earth to contribute. There was a buzz I felt from giving back, whether one calls it selfish or selfless, it's what I knew I wanted to feel all the time. You see, I studied hard to secure a 'good' job, I earned good money, brought things, upgraded my car, afforded great experiences but deep down my soul lay low and only glowed brighter when I formed a deep connection with someone. Often I felt the glow brighter when I was giving, either physically helping, sharing knowledge or offering encouragement. Whilst I knew I wouldn’t save the world wearing a wonder woman cape, I knew I could positively impact the lives of many people. It felt like an underlying confidence and knowing so strong that I knew no one could ever rob me of or dissipate. I clearly remember a day when I was working in a corporate office, sitting at my desk one afternoon, starry eyed as I listened to a colleague talk about an ex-colleague who had left the workforce for a period of time to volunteer overseas. I remember being in awe and my soul glowing with an inner knowing that this was also my path.
Over the years, I researched volunteering trips, they appeared either too expensive (I was giving my time for FREE, how could I pay $5000 to volunteer in Nepal for a few weeks excluding flights?!) or the dates were limited and didn’t work with my humble four weeks of annual leave (after 10+ hour workdays I needed my annual leave to relax and recharge). As much as I wanted to pack up for three months and live in an overseas village, I couldn’t afford that length of time away from my J-O-B. Actually, I recall thinking, who could get away for this amount of time freely? Millionaires? Trust fund kids? The self-employed? Retirees? Who could go away for a significant period and not be negatively impacted financially? That was my biggest question as a corporate employee at the time.
As the Universe would have it, I was awarded Gardening Leave in between a change of jobs in 2015. Sometimes in the corporate world, if you work directly with clients and resign from your position they ‘walk’ you to the door, pay you for the remaining four weeks of your employment staying home, doing the ‘gardening’ whilst they protect their intellectual property with your absence. I remember clearly my thought process at the time:
Me: “Wow, what would I do if I could do anything in the world while I was getting paid a fulltime wage?”
Brain: “Spend four weeks with your family interstate of course, they are the most important people in your life”
Me: “Yes I LOVE my family, they are all busy and working at the moment and I’ll be visiting them in a few short months and right now, I have four weeks to do ANYTHING… I’m getting paid so what can I achieve in this time. What I have been putting off to that ‘oneday’ or ‘someday’…this is that time!”
Brain: “Volunteer overseas – you know a friend of a friend on Facebook who lives in Cambodia helping out with a charity, look him up”
And so it went, a nervous young woman who jumped on a plane and headed over to Cambodia alone, ready to build a house with a locally run charity. It all flowed from there. It’s funny what they say about timing needing to be right for your goals because I don’t feel as if I could have started Statera Collective a day earlier or a day later than I did. Everything fell into place at the exactly the right time. No BS.
So I’m not announcing that you wait for the day you work in Corporate, change jobs and get awarded Gardening Leave. I’m asking you to TRUST. Know what you want deep down and keep kindling the fire of that passion because at some point, all of your ducks will line up, the time will be right and everything will be in place. This is your green light to GO for that dream. Just TRUST and anything can happen.
Contribution by Valentina Algeri, Founder of Statera Collective
Statera Collective offers affordable responsible volunteering and wellness trips to Cambodia across different projects and projects start from one week in length so you can give back, fill up and afford the time away from your day job. Enquire at firstname.lastname@example.org