Women Living Big: Tara Russell

Living Big is a community that’s all about:
Women traveling to big and small corners of the world together; women sharing adventures that stretch their comfort zones; women building connections with one another; women sharing in new experiences, and women joining together to pursue the life of their dreams. Every woman in this community is at a different place in their journey. And we have something to learn from everyone.

This post is part of a blog series introducing you to women in the Living Big community. Today I’m buzzed with excitement to introduce you to Tara Russell. I was fortunate to meet Tara a few years ago at a women’s travel conference where she was a guest speaker. Tara owns a company called Three Month Visa Coaching and Consulting. As a Life Sabbatical coach, she works with mid-career professionals that want to quit their jobs to travel. (Amazing, right?) I asked Tara a few questions to help introduce you to her magic.

Please introduce yourself to the Living Big community!
Hi! My name is Tara Russell and I’m a Life Sabbatical and Long-term Travel Coach, which means that I’m a certified professional coach with a passion for working with clients who dream of taking time off to travel, live, work, study or volunteer abroad. As the Founder and President of Three Month Visa Coaching and Consulting, my mission is to empower my clients to transform their lives and careers through meaningful international travel and volunteer experiences!

What are the highest high’s of building a business, and conversely what have been the lowest lows of building a business?
For me the highest highs of building Three Month Visa have always been related to the privilege of working with my clients. For example, seeing the amazing breakthroughs and “ah ha moments” my clients get to experience, both during our time coaching together and then also when they’re out there on the road, living the adventure they’ve dreamed of for so long. I’m always inspired by seeing their posts to Facebook and Instagram and hearing their updates both during their travels and then when they return home. Those moments have always brought me an immense amount of joy and inspired me over the years to keep on going with building my coaching practice.  

One of the other highlights for me is maintaining a commitment to walking the talk – making sure that I have a regular chance to take off for extended breaks myself so I can get out there on the road for my own grand, bucket-list adventures.  In the end, this practice helps remind me of how very transformational travel can be and reconnects me to my sense of self on a personal level and also to my passion for my work professionally so that I have more to give to the people who matter to me when I come home.  

In terms of the lowest lows, those have often cropped up during the times when I’ve been “tapped out”; when I’ve forgotten about and/or neglected self-care and rest for too long and have just gotten run down. I’m better about that now, but sometimes it can still get me if I’m not careful. I also think the loneliness of being a solopreneur can creep in sometimes if you don’t keep an eye on it – so it’s essential to schedule in quality time with friends, loved ones, and colleagues who just lift you up and “get you” – and encourage you along the way.

Why do you think everyone should take a break from work to explore the world?
In the end, we need vision and fuel to live fulfilling lives and craft meaningful careers – travel gives us the space for contemplation which feeds our vision as well as the chance to recharge our batteries. Many of my clients come to me saying, “I used to have such a strong sense of self…I used to really know who I was,” but somehow that got lost along the way. A mindful pause gives you a chance to reconnect with who you are – or to examine who you could be as you grow and evolve into a whole new phase of your life! It’s difficult to connect with self and think “big picture” when you’re stressed or drained – so a spacious, open-ended adventure gives you that breathing room and helps to kick-start your sense of curiosity and creativity!  

Even better news?  I’ve been delighted to see that over the past several years there have been some prominent scientific studies backing this up, including but not limited to those which emphasize the importance of rest and unstructured time in order to foster creativity and those that point to the fact that money spent on experiences fosters far more happiness than money spent on material possessions.

So in the end when it comes to reconnecting with a sense of purpose and direction in life and building a foundation for long-term happiness, we now have science giving us the green light, too!

Please fill in the blank: I never leave home without ____ on a trip, and why.
Most importantly?  An open mind, a sense of adventure and curiosity, and enough “blank space” / unstructured time in my itinerary to allow for serendipity; for the road to teach me exactly what I’m supposed to learn and for me to meet the people I’m supposed to meet on any given trip.

I also like to have an idea of the “Why” of my trip – a sense of purpose, my hopes for how the journey will unfold, what I hope to gain from my travels, my heart’s “wish list” for the time I’m away.

And when it comes to logistics, I always want to have at least a basic grip on the local language, a blank travel journal, and a camera. Oh, and packing cubes…those things are a traveling gal’s best friend!    

Tara, thanks for sharing your story + words of inspiration!

Cheers to ‘living big’ in your own way each and every day.

Mary

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