Travel Update: I did postpone all of my BIG travel plans for 2020. As disappointing as it was to cancel so many highly anticipated adventures, it is nothing compared to what many have faced in the wake of COVID-19. Words can’t express how grateful I am to those service workers and healthcare providers who have put their health and life on the line and continue to work for the greater good. Wishing you well during this troubling time.
Why did I create SeeingSam? Well, long story short, I always loved the idea of seeing the world, but it wasn’t until 2017 and a trip to Iceland that I started to take that desire seriously. Once back from Iceland I immediately started to prioritize saving money for travel and began planning adventures around my full-time job. Two years later I had been to 9 new countries and 4 new cities (more than the previous 10 years) and could not wait to get to more.
After a layoff in early 2020, I knew I had to take a chance and start living a more fulfilling life that was missing in the corporate world I used to work in. I decided to fuel my wanderlust and SEE as much of the world as possible by embarking on my first long term solo travel journey. I’m now on a mission to experience the world and live my bucket list dreams full time (or at least until my savings run out). The goal: Checking off my top 40 before I’m 40 (that gives me five years)! Can I do it?
Although not sure of what the future holds, I hope my adventures will inspire you to start living your own life changing journey!
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In 2007 I graduated college with dual bachelor degrees in Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising. Always intrigued by the creative aspect behind fashion design, I set off to NYC immediately following graduation and set my sights on the fashion world. I envisioned myself running my own line (and still do). I worked 3-4 internships over the next couple of months (some paid, some not) while trying to find something that felt right…it didn’t happen. After some time in NYC, I moved to Chicago on a whim convinced I was going to get a job with a luxury retailer I had been interviewing for. Fast forward to me boarding the plane to Chicago, I get a call from HR telling me they are going with someone more experienced. I totally didn’t see that one coming, I laughed the whole way there and thought-guess I won’t be needing that “Is it Friday yet?” coffee mug.
Not wanting to move back in with my parents, I landed in Chicago and ended up finding another job pretty quickly. I actually thought this one was going to turn into my dream job (designing a clothing line, managing a brand, producing fashion shows). Fast forward a year later I realized that wasn’t going to happen, the owners didn’t share my same passions. I ultimately moved back in with my parents because I was broke and visionless but I never stopped working. At one point I was working 4+ jobs (magazine stocker, retail associate, sewing bathrobes, hemming pants, and attempting to start an event planning business) trying to save money and find my groove.
Eventually, I took a job as a visual merchandiser and then worked really hard to get the same position at a luxury retailer. When I saw I missed a call from the recruiter I called her back 6 times in a row, not realizing she had caller i.d. She finally called me back and said “so I saw you called a few times”. I was bursting with embarrassment but it had been three weeks and I wanted to know if I got the job. Thankfully I did!
I was excited to start my new position as a visual coordinator but I was only making $15 an hour with mediocre benefits. This was 5 years out of college, not what I had envisioned for myself.
I took another part-time position and worked these two jobs for about 6 months. I was then let go from my full-time job due to the store closing. I was recruited via LinkedIn only a few days after and wound up being offered another full-time position in the wholesale apparel industry. This time in Miami. New experiences are exciting for me. I’ve never shy away from change so I jumped at the chance to move to Miami not knowing what to expect.
By May 2014 I had been in the same position for about a year and a half and while I felt I had finally found a “real” job with all the benefits I thought I needed, it started to become mundane. Boredom set in. I did feel a sense of security knowing I had a steady paycheck and loved my co workers which was a great, however I still wasn’t making enough to live solo in Miami which was disappointing.
Right after my 30th birthday I had no debt, sacrificed a lot of luxuries, and saved enough money for a down payment. I bought a condo overlooking the ocean (my mortgage is cheaper than rent), moved in, renovated a bit, and was offered a District Manager position at a new company. I thought this one would give me the satisfaction I was looking for, an elevated position at a hugely popular fashion house. Two years later I started to get burned out and a bit disappointed with life again….I mean seriously how many times is that supposed to happen in one lifetime? I had big dreams of growing with the new company I worked for but quickly realized a 9-5 corporate desk job wasn’t my cup of tea. I decided I no longer wanted to pursue a corporate career that would take me back to NYC and opted to say in the field as a Wholesale District Manager.
In 2017 I bought a go-pro and tagged along with my parents and a few of their friends on a highly anticipated trip to Iceland. I had not been out of the country since I studied abroad in 2005 and was slacking a bit on the savings since buying and renovating my condo. As soon as I landed I was like “what have I been missing”? Immediately the travel bug lit up inside me and I began plotting my next adventure.
Iceland was a phenomenal experience for me and really got me out of the little slump I was in. With a bit more soul searching and numerous thoughts about quitting my job, I realized quitting wasn’t an option financially (I now have a mortgage and all). I started focusing on how I could live a more fulfilling and inspirational life by traveling and experiencing things otherwise unknown. Saving money to travel quickly became my #1 priority. I tidied up my spending and became excited about the future again.
Curious to know how I save money to travel? Read this post where I reveal 17 QUIRKY ways I save money to travel that you can do too!
Since 2017 I’ve been to 10 more countries and even more states all while working a fulltime job. I am thankful to currently have a semi-flexible position with a manager who encourages me to see the world and a fresh vision of what that can do for me.
I had been toying with the travel blogging idea for a while but I always thought I didn’t travel enough and self-doubt always crept in for a number of reasons. After about a year or more of back and forth, with some friend’s encouragement, a more flexible boss, and well nothing to lose, I said what the heck why not try! I decided one weekend to start what is now Seeing Sam, a collection of my bucket list adventures and experiences from around the globe. It’s a lot of work but I know It will be worth it. While I’m just beginning my journey, I hope I will inspire you to start your own!
Thank you for reading my story. I hope you will (if you haven’t already) set out to pursue the life of your dreams!
Remember in 20 years from now; you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.